Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

marc_ri

Brown's Jewlery District expansion

79 posts in this topic

The following was sent by President Simmons this afternoon:

Members of the Brown Community:

I am pleased to report to you that the University has taken another step forward in our efforts to plan for strategic growth beyond College Hill. Yesterday evening, the University signed an agreement that states our intention to purchase seven buildings and other properties in the Jewelry District. This purchase, one of the largest in the University

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


the jewelry district could definately use more trees. What is neat is that i have access to a small endowment at the RI foundation (separate from the ME Sharpe street tree endowment) that exists specifically to plant trees around brown, and i wonder if it would count down at the jewelry district if the trees are planted around brown buildings... i will have to look into that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as liam said in his thread about the same topic.... i hope this doesn't become all tax free just because brown bought it up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let the Great Jewelry District Race begin!

It'll be very curious to watch Brown's plans for these buildings and this land unfurl over time...

as liam said in his thread about the same topic.... i hope this doesn't become all tax free just because brown bought it up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let the Great Jewelry District Race begin!

It'll be very curious to watch Brown's plans for these buildings and this land unfurl over time...

:huh: The last few paragraphs addressed that:

"Brown will honor existing leases and will pay full property taxes on the facilities as long as they are not used in support of the University's institutional mission.

If at some point any of the properties are committed to University use, we will begin the 15-year transition process from fully taxable status to tax-exempt status, a process outlined in our Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with the City of Providence.

We expect that this purchase, when accomplished, will provide Brown with new options for growth as we continue to implement the Plan for Academic Enrichment."

- Garris

PS: Which property is 1 Davol? I know 10 is where Chestnuts is and 3 is where Davol Square Gym is located. Which is 1 again?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so if they become university buildings, they're only taxable for 15 years (in what i assume is a plan that decreases their taxes over those 15 years)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Yes, I believe so. Thom Deller was explaining this to a group of us at the charrettes. I believe he said that the PILOT policy's 15 year limit is as a result of a state, not a city, law, and any change in that 15 year period will need to happen on the state level.

Many large institutions pay their municipalities a fee in lieu of taxes, including Yale in New Haven.

- Garris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

is having these institutions grow better for the city than the tax money they'd be getting from some other type of developement?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The analogy I like is Yale and New Haven. Without Yale, New Haven is Bridgeport. Frankly, in my opinion, without Brown, RISD, PC, and J&W, Providence is Fall River...

Those universities and the prestige, jobs, and stability they offer are what separates us from everywhere else. Pretty architecture and a river only gets us so far...

- Garris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While Brown.RISD, and J&W are major factors in the life of Providence, to equate Providence to Fall River and New Haven ignores the historical, political, demographic, and economic history of Providence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, without the colleges, Providence would be...... a bigger Central Falls. I think Garris gave too much credit when he said Fall River.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about "Without Brown, RISD, PC, and J&W, Providence is not a major educational center."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have agree with Garris that this is a good thing in the long run for Providence.

True, there may be a short-term drop in revenues as these properties are taken off the tax rolls.

But having these properties will make it possible for Brown to expand its programs and research. This will allow it (on an admittedly smaller scale) to do what Harvard and MIT have done in the Boston area: create fully taxable spin-off ventures--consulting firms, software firms, pharmaceutical laboratories, etc.

A sizeable knowledge-based economy does not yet exist in Providence in part because Brown has not had the resources to help bring one into being. Expanding into the JD where there is a lot of space will definitely help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Didn't I read an article somewhere or the other that Brown's PILOT is actually on a par with regular taxes when you consider all of the varying applicable tax rates and the cost of assessing them?

Maybe I am making that up, or it was about Yale or Harvard?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Garris..I am shocked.

While Brown.RISD, and J&W are major factors in the life of Providence, to equate Providence to Fall River and New Haven ignores the historical, political, demographic, and economic history of Providence.

Providence has always been the core of a major metro area (which includes Fall River), was one of America's great industrial/economic/transportation centers in the industiral period, is a state capital/political center...none of which applies to the cities you cite.

How about "Without Brown, RISD, PC, and J&W, Providence is not a major educational center."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I gotta agree that without the colleges (Brown and RISD in particular) Providence wouldn't be much different from Fall River and New Bedford--an old factory town. I would also say that the fact that Providence is on Route 95 and linked to Amtrak and the MBTA has enabled it to plug into the Boston Metro, which has further kept it from becoming a postindustrial backwater.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Combination of schools, location, transportation infrastructure (highway, northeast corridor, airport), remnants of industrial power, role as an immigration gateway and status as state capital further kept Providence from becoming a postindustrial backwater.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't say this news is exactly exhilirating. It would be music to my ears if they were building on the abundant vacant lots that already exist in the Jewelry District....but... Maybe that will leave the newly created vacant lots that are opened up from the relo of 195 for actual development that will contribute to the tax base of the city. That would be a dream, but with luxurious visions like a Ship St. canal and a waterfront park(appeasing the small% of people that actually live in the JD) that will be vandalized, under-utilized, and unkempt in a short time, one can only hope that the powers that be realize that this area should be marketed for true economic purposes as well. I'm sure that these acquisitions will create a few highly-sought after positions that will generate some economic activity, but how many well-paying jobs will actually be created? If these buildings serve as research centers and the like for an overwhelming majority of students that leave the state anyways, what net tangible benefit is actually created? Even if this spurred a wave of development in that area, what kind of development would be created? Low-paying service sector jobs that cater to convenience? Brown and every other non-profit institution has its grip on the city of Pvd and its tiny provincial borders.There should be some sort of restriction on the properties it acquires or force it to build up and not out. I digress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I gotta agree that without the colleges (Brown and RISD in particular) Providence wouldn't be much different from Fall River and New Bedford--an old factory town. I would also say that the fact that Providence is on Route 95 and linked to Amtrak and the MBTA has enabled it to plug into the Boston Metro, which has further kept it from becoming a postindustrial backwater.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't say this news is exactly exhilirating. It would be music to my ears if they were building on the abundant vacant lots that already exist in the Jewelry District

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bridgeport is also on 95 and has rail access but they don't have an Ivy League college like we do......and they're plugged into the NY metro... :whistling:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The PILOT works as follows: years 1-5 pay 100% of assessed value. years 6-10 pay 67% of assessed value, years 11-15 pay 33% of assessed value. Year 16 it comes off the rolls.

I would hope that this it the start of Brown becoming a major research institution. One of the arguments for universities is that they create spin-off companies at a large rate, which helps to offset lost property tax revenues, brings in lots of federal $$ and creates jobs. The problem with Providence is that we lack major research institutions in 'hard' sciences such as computer engineering, biotech, etc. The spin-off rate from the Portuguese and Brazilian studies department at Brown is somewhat less than MIT's Media Lab :D .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the criticism that Brown's acquisiton of these buildings shows a zero-sum gain attitude.

It assumes that the taxable office space will just disappear and be replaced by tax-exempt space. What this overlooks, however, is what happens to the taxable office space. Does it just disappear or does it move elsewhere in the city?

I would bet that Brown's move into the JD will help current projects (Alco, Dynamo House, Foundry) attract tenants and create development opportunities elsewhere in the city (i.e. Promenade) as displaced firms seek to relocate when their leases expire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.