By Steve Klamkin WPRO News
A ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday marked the opening of the $90 million Wexford Innovation Center, designed to be a cornerstone of the revitalization of vacant land where Interstate 195 once cut through Providence.
Nearly 200,000 square feet of space in the Jewelry District will house the Cambridge Innovation Center, which provides working space for start-ups and entrepreneurs, a Venture Cafe and District Hall, and space where Brown University will locate its School of Professional Studies and a program for aspiring medical students.
“You know, when you have Cambridge Innovation Center and Ventas and Wexford, you know, they could invest anywhere,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “Shawmut could build anywhere. But they’re building here, investing here, adding jobs here. Because they know what we know, which is Providence is the place to be, we’re a city and a state on the rise. We have talent that people want to hire. We have top-notch universities.”
Workers were still constructing space for some of the tenants, including Brown University.
“We’re really excited about collaboration with other tenants,” said Brown University President Christina Paxson. “It represents a significant expansion of our footprint into the Jewelry District.”
“We will have our School of Professional Studies here, and that’s a school that runs a number of programs for things like a Master’s degree in cybersecurity and healthcare leadership, things that will, I think really connect with the private sector,” Paxson said. “And, a Gateways to Medicine program which is for aspiring medical school students.”
According to the governor’s office, the $90 million building will receive $18.8 million in incentives from the 195 Redevelopment Fund and $15 million in Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits.