economic development

Chafee, DOT announce transfer of I-195 land

COURTESY CITY OF PROVIDENCE
PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT for the land that once contained Interstate 195 in downtown Providence’s Knowledge District.
Posted 4/24/13

PROVIDENCE – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and the R.I. Department of Transportation have announced the completion of the land transfer process between the state and the Interstate 195 Redevelopment District Commission.

The transfer provides $38.4 million to the DOT to be used to fund the remaining contracts of the I-195 relocation project and will “pave the way for redevelopment of 27 acres of property in the heart of Providence,” said a release from the governor’s office.

“This is a very exciting time with work just underway in providing utilities and realigning city streets around these parcels and now the transfer of land ownership that allows the I-195 Redevelopment Commission to complete its mission of bringing new businesses and jobs to Rhode Island,” Chafee said in prepared remarks.

“We have long talked about the benefits of the Iway project in freeing up land under the old highway for development and are about to see that come to reality,” added the governor.

A total of 21 parcels were transferred from the state to the Redevelopment Commission, including 17 parcels representing 19 developable acres, three parcels totaling 8 acres to be designated as park land and another small, undevelopable parcel.

The $38.4 million, which were the proceeds of a bond sale by the I-195 commission for the purpose of purchasing the land from the DOT, is in addition to the $3.6 million realized last year by the sale of two parcels to Johnson & Wales University.

“The transfer of these lands represents the first significant milestone of realizing the full potential of this once-in-a-generation opportunity for Rhode Island and the City of Providence,” I-195 Redevelopment Commission Chairman Colin P. Kane said in a statement. “The high level of inter-agency cooperation serves as an example of efficient and timely permitting for all Rhode Island.”

As part of an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration, the proceeds from the sale of former highway land will be used to fund the remaining Iway contracts.

Work is currently underway on Iway contract 14, which broke ground on April 8. Using a $13 million contract with Cardi Corp., the DOT will establish utilities and street alignments to serve the new parcels between the Providence River and the Interstate 95 corridor.

According to a release, later this year the DOT expects to break ground of a similar project designed to restore city streets on the east side of the Providence River.

Future contracts listed by the release include: resurfacing and landscaping work on the I-95 corridor in late 2013, construction of a pedestrian bridge on the footings of the old Providence River Bridge in late 2014, a realignment of Gano Street in the area of the Washington Bridge in 2014, and establishment of the park areas in 2015.

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