Lifespan Health Mixed-Use Development Study
Lifespan, a Rhode Island-based health system, owns a key 5.3-acre site in Downtown Providence. Adjacent to the Rhode Island Hospital campus, Interstate 95, and Interstate I95, the vacant former home of the Victory Plating Company has the potential to serve as a major gateway for an expanded downtown for people entering from the south and from East Providence.
After initial discussions focused on the potential to develop approximately 100,000 SF of medical and office space, alongside 12,000 SF of complementary retail, RKG was tasked with identifying any additional development opportunities. These included residential or additional retail and office uses that could help in making the property a vibrant gateway into the southern portion of Downtown Providence.
With a site large enough to support a relatively high-density, urban, mixed-use environment, RKG conducted a series of in-depth market, housing, and best-use analyses. While the site's potential was clear, RKG reported that its ability to support uses beyond the original proposal would depend in large part upon the neighborhood's ability to transform and connect with Downtown proper. An initial development of the site was well positioned to support office space, building off the biosciences cluster that had been established in Downtown by Brown University and Lifespan, among others. However, the site's ability to support residential units and up to 30,000 additional SF of retail was seen as feasible, but at-risk due to its somewhat isolated location. Development on vacant parcels in the former I-195 path would help connect the site to central Downtown, and a strong branding campaign for the site and the greater neighborhood would be needed to reduce the potential risks of building additional uses and square footage.
Photo Source: New England Development, Ed Wonsek ArtWorks