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Raimondo Administration Starts Process for Locating New Innovation Campus

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

 

Where will the new Innovation Campus be located? Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed is pushing for it to be located at Newport Grand. Others are pushing for it to be a linchpin in the development of the Superman Building and others are pushing for it to another component to 195 land redevelopment.  

When voters approved Question 4 bond issue in November, they approved $45 million of which $20 million was for the development of an innovation campus.

Now, RI Commerce and the University of Rhode Island (URI), will soon begin "requesting proposals from industry, academic and research partners to develop, program and occupy a transformative Innovation Campus." Beginning in spring 2017, potential partners will be invited to submit initial responses, with a request for proposals to follow from the RICC in summer 2017. 

Commerce Corp. envisions successful applicants being partnerships of private industry and universities in addition to URI. Development partners will be required to meet or exceed the state’s investment from bond proceeds. Respondents will be offered access to technical assistance workshops to guide concept development. It’s expected that a development partner(s) will be selected by early 2018.

“This project is about Rhode Island’s future,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “Investing in strong university-industry partnerships will help existing work already happening in Rhode Island turn into jobs for Rhode Islanders.”

“We’re looking forward to working with applicants to draw upon Rhode Island’s strengths and find some truly transformational ideas for our economy,” said Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island’s Secretary of Commerce. 

According to research conducted by the Brookings Institution in the Rhode Island Innovates report, Rhode Island is a leading state for university research. Rhode Island institutions conduct over $320 million in research each year, and the 30 percent growth in Rhode Island’s research activity has been nearly double the national rate of 16 percent. The Brookings' report was developed in part with the consulting group Deloitte -- the firm in the eye-of-the-storm for the failure of the UHIP healthcare infrastructure.

As the state of Rhode Island’s public research university and a critical partner in economic development and growth, URI offers 80 undergraduate and 70 graduate programs, including leading programs in engineering, health, business, oceanography and pharmaceutical sciences. URI will work closely with the RICC throughout the solicitation process and will collaborate with the designated partner/team to develop and program the Innovation Campus.

“The Innovation Campus will allow the University to partner with businesses to help solve real challenges, to provide educational opportunities for its students and to innovate products and services,” stated Dr. David M. Dooley, President of URI.  “As the state’s public research institution the University can deploy its researchers, faculty and students to partner with other higher education institutions and businesses creating a true hub of innovation in Rhode Island.”

The Innovation Campus is modeled in part by precedents of academic-industry collaboration at a number of facilities across the country, including Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, Pennovation Works and The Bridge at Cornell Tech.

 

Related Slideshow: Power List - Business

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Big Bankers

Kevin Tracy and Oliver Bennett— There are deals and there are BIG DEALS. In Rhode Island, with all of the changing players and banking relationships, one reality is pretty much the same. If you have a big deal that needs sophisticated financing, the community banks may not be able to handle it.

Bank of America may have abandoned the Superman Building, but they are still in Rhode Island and still doing big deals. Kevin Tracy, the former Brown golfer and Oliver Bennett — long ago Fleet Bank trainees — are now the guys you bring in for a $50 million deal.  The more things change - the more they stay the same.

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Lookout

John Hazen White, Jr. — White has taken Taco to new levels as he has made a series of strategic acquisitions to bolster the Rhode Island manufacturing company into a global firm.

He continues to be a leader in American manufacturing investing in worker retention and employee training.

Behind the scenes, White is a combination of an adviser and moral compass to many in Rhode Island. Despite taking a lower profile than his Lookout RI days, White is still a force pushing for ethics reform. 

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Ambassador

Joe Paolino — Once the young Mayor who took over in the 1980s when Buddy Cianci was forced to resign (the first time), now the leading corporate voice in Providence if not Rhode Island.

While others complain at lunches at the Hope Club and University Club about the plight of the Capital City, Paolino has rolled up his sleeves and taken on issues like panhandling and homelessness.

With a real estate empire that includes much of downtown, some of the top properties in Newport and Hasbro’s campus in Pawtucket to name a few, Paolino has close ties to Governor Gina Raimondo and even closer ties to the Clintons - could a federal appointment be in the works in 2017?

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Dominant

Steve Kirby — No one dominates commercial real estate in Rhode Island like Kirby does on Aquidneck Island. His red “Kirby Commercial” signs are literally everywhere across the island and in Newport proper -- they are more frequent than street signs.

Want to open a clothing store in Newport? Go see Steve Kirby. Looking to launch a startup tech firm? Call Kirby. Developed cool technology and want to start producing for the Navy? Email Kirby.

Kirby maybe the most influential in business on Aquidniick Island. (PS He will tell you which bankers to talk to).

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Labor Boss

George Nee — President of the AFL-CIO, Nee is one of the most influential players in business in Rhode Island. 

He is Vice Chair of the Convention Center Authority Board, on the Commerce Corp board, the most influential voice for labor at the State House, and involved one way or another in just about every negotiation on constructing public buildings or issuing a tax stabilization agreement in Providence.

For the most part his public persona has been more muted recently, but that has not impacted his private influence. If it happens in Rhode Island, Nee has probably touched it.

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Monopoly

Sally Lapides — If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today and saw the number of Residential Properties’ real estate signs on the East Side he would call it a monopoly and want to break up the company. Lapides not only dominates one of the most affluent sections of Rhode Island, but she also delves into the arts, education and politics.

When you sell the wealthiest and most influential their homes, you make a lot of friends.

Lapides is a force in residential real estate and it will be interesting to see what she does next.

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Transformative

Helena Foulkes — Two of the biggest decisions CVS ever made were the brain children of Foulkes. The Extracare card and the removal of tobacco from its stores were both influenced by Foulkes.

She has emerged as a national power in business and makes all the business lists for top women, but make no mistake - she is wildly influential in Rhode Island. 

She is close to Raimondo and she may decide to jump into political waters in the future - or may decide if she can snag the CEO spot at CVS.

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Visionary or Free Rider

Buff Chace — One of downtown Providence's biggest real estate magnates is a lightning rod in the Capital City. Widely considered to be one of the prime catalysts of Downcity's resurgence, Chace's accumulation of properties on Westminster Street is straight out of a Monopoly playbook. 

His recent acquisition of the ProJo building has further solidified his dominance, which has not been without intense scrutiny, given his ability to continually secure -- and extend -- tax stabilization agreements at a time when the city's dire financial straits are close to reaching a head. 

Wealthy, influential, and active in the community, Chace has chaired  the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy and has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Providence Foundation, and is a director emeritus for GrowSmart RI and a trustee emeritus of Trinity Repertory Theatre.

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Big Time

Richard Baccari — One of the biggest real estate developers in New England. For decades he has been a major player in Providence, Rhode Island and the northeast.

During that span, he has been the driving and innovative force behind some of the region's most significant residential and commercial development endeavors. 

See a Stop and Shop development and Baccari probably built it. Has fought back business challenges and much more.

 
 

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