Point225: The Wexford Science & Innovation Center

A hub of scientific and academic innovation and one of the first projects to break ground in the newly available I-195 District

About this Property

#Proposal

The Wexford Science & Innovation Center is the first foray into Rhode Island for the technology-focused Wexford development company. The company has spearheaded over 50 properties in their 15 years in business (2021) to create what they call “knowledge communities.” The company was formed to meet the specialized real estate needs of universities and research institutions, so they partnered with Brown University and interested private business partners to create and plan the building.

Ayers Saint Gross Architects were hired to design the $88 million project featuring seven stories, 196k square feet, 31,000 square foot floor plates with 13 foot ceiling clearance, and a Gold LEED rating. Shawmut Construction built it in less than two years, with a groundbreaking in October of 2017, a topping off in March of 2018, and a ribbon-cutting in July of 2019. The building’s design has won an award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Maryland chapter, and the Providence Preservation Society’s Award for Leadership In New Construction.

The building was constructed on land opened up by the I-195 redevelopment project, as the former highway was removed where it once cut through the Jewelry District. The Wexford Center was one of the first parcels to break ground in this new District, after winning approval by the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission in late 2016. Both Parcels 22 and 25 are owned and developed by Wexford Science & Technology of Baltimore, Maryland, and CV Properties LLC, of Boston and Southport, Connecticut. Parcel 25 is currently parking, Parcel 22 lot 1 is Point225, and Parcel 2 lot 2 is being developed into the Aloft Hotel. Wexford Properties has developed Point225, South Street Landing, and 2/3 Davol Square in collaboration with its anchor tenants. It also has a controlling interest in River House which houses many students who work and learn at these locations.

#Design Reception

Unlike some of the construction projects during the boom of 2000 to 2008, the aesthetics of this property did not meet with much pushback. With the open land in the Jewelry District, many residents and advocates for smart development were in favor of a modern, LEED-certified building like this one to provide contrast as one moves from the historic downtown and into the historic Jewelry District.

We think the design is pleasing enough, modern in a classic, simple way, and not gaudy or overly shiny. The bend in the middle provides some visual interest, while each façade has a slightly different window pattern — all glass with very little obstruction on the river-facing east, a gradually diminishing pattern on the north, a regularly spaced pattern on the south with a floating corner effect on one side, and a regularly spaced pattern on the west. It is subtle but it gives each side a little bit of variety. For interior users of the space, views towards the river and residential hills on the east are highlighted by having the most glass on that side.

#In the News

Innovation Center, future home of Brown’s School of Professional Studies, breaks ground

by O’rya Hyde-Keller
Brown.edu | September 25, 2017 (abridged)

To celebrate the groundbreaking for a new Innovation Center on former Interstate 195 land in the heart of Providence’s Jewelry District, Brown University President Christina Paxson joined Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, the state’s entire congressional delegation and a packed lineup of government and business leaders on Monday, Sept. 25.

Brown’s School of Professional Studies (SPS) — in a move that will allow it to expand its executive-level master’s programs focused on business, technology leadership, health care and more — will serve as an anchor tenant in the building, being developed by Wexford Science & Technology. SPS will join fellow tenants Johnson & Johnson and the Cambridge Innovation Center.

“This is an example of the real benefits of public-private partnerships. We can leverage the talent that we have at Brown in new, different and very compelling ways,” Paxson said at the event. “Data science, engineering, biomedical research, human-centered robotics, brain science — we can do our work better and have even more of an impact on the world if we do so in collaboration with people in the private sector.”

After signing a letter of intent last December when the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission authorized incentives from the state’s I-195 Redevelopment Fund to support the $158 million project, Brown finalized this month a 15-year lease for 50,000 square feet of space. Projected to open in early 2019, the 191,000-foot Innovation Center represents phase one of a multi-part Wexford project envisioned for the Jewelry District.

[…] Brown’s anchor tenancy in the Innovation Center continues the University’s commitment to collaborative growth and economic development in the Jewelry District, where the University has invested more than $225 million over the past decade. The groundbreaking took place on an empty parcel next to the University’s Warren Alpert Medical School and just blocks from the soon-to-open South Street Landing. That project — a redeveloped power station that includes 136,500 square feet of Brown space, a 750-space parking garage and a future 266-bed housing complex — will welcome more than 400 Brown staff members who are set to move in over the coming weeks.

Brown’s School of Professional Studies, currently located at 200 Dyer St. adjacent to the site of the future Innovation Center, offers an array of world-class programs for mid-career professionals — including an executive MBA and programs in technology, cybersecurity and healthcare​ — that enroll accomplished professionals from around the globe who travel to Providence for one- and two-week residency experiences during their studies. In addition to creating an expanded student presence in the Jewelry District, a new home will allow for additional academic programs, significant enrollment growth in existing programs, and the potential for collaboration between CIC startups and Brown student, faculty and alumni entrepreneurs, SPS Dean Karen Sibley said.

“This Innovation Center will help us to serve our students — who come to Brown from across the country and around the world — with ever more innovative educational programming,” Sibley said. “Our tenancy here gives us the opportunity for synergistic collaborations with companies like CIC and Johnson & Johnson that ultimately will enable more business and technology leaders in Rhode Island to create innovative solutions to real-time industry challenges.”

Brown’s total investment in the project is expected to exceed $35 million between lease payments, capital improvements, furniture, fixtures and equipment. […]

Captured October 27, 2021 from https://www.brown.edu/news/2017-09-25/wexford