Brown acquires portfolio of Jewelry District properties to support aspirations for research growth

 In support of a plan to grow its overall research activity, Brown University has purchased a portfolio of properties in Providence’s Jewelry District neighborhood from the Care New England health system.

The portfolio includes 10 distinct parcels in close proximity to Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School, adjacent Brown research buildings, and facilities operated by the University’s affiliated hospital partners. The parcels are home to four buildings, located at 200 Chestnut St., 70 Elm St., 261 Richmond St. and 300 Richmond St.

After agreeing to contract terms in March 2022 and conducting due diligence, the University closed on the purchase on Wednesday, June 29. The closing culminated a yearlong engagement process between Brown and Care New England; the parties started conversations in July 2021 and discussed initial offers last fall.

Russell C. Carey, executive vice president for planning and policy at Brown, said the acquisition comes as the University is developing its new Operational Plan for Growing the Research Enterprise. The plan, which will be finalized in early fall as an addendum to the University’s strategic plan, will position Brown to build further on substantial forward momentum in research activity in recent years.

Creating a new integrated life sciences building is one instrumental priority as Brown considers investments in space, staffing and infrastructure to support its research aspirations. Equally important is creating additional and upgraded laboratory and other space for research in health, medicine and a wide range of other disciplines; the new acquisition is intended to further develop the research capacity of Brown and its partners.

“In recent decades, Brown has made a series of substantial investments in the Jewelry District in support of collaborative work space for employees, housing for graduate students and — most extensively — biomedical research and education,” Carey said. “As the University seeks to expand its research enterprise, these new properties will offer additional opportunities for growth in research space in a neighborhood where thousands of Brown scholars, staff and students already work and study every day.”

In recent decades, Brown has made a series of substantial investments in the Jewelry District in support of collaborative work space for employees, housing for graduate students and — most extensively — biomedical research and education. As the University seeks to expand its research enterprise, these new properties will offer additional opportunities for growth in research space in a neighborhood where thousands of Brown scholars, staff and students already work and study every day.

RUSSELL C. CAREY  Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy

The properties Brown acquired are currently exempt from property taxes given their use by the nonprofit Care New England health system. With plans to continue research and educational activity, Brown expects that tax-exempt status to remain in place.

Care New England will continue current research and laboratory operations at 200 Chestnut St. — home to the Kilguss Research Institute, where a number of Brown-affiliated physicians and scientists are based — and 70 Elm St. via a lease agreement with Brown. The two Richmond Street buildings will be vacated as Brown develops a specific plan for their use.

The properties are adjacent to Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School at 222 Richmond St. and smaller University buildings hosting biomedical research and education operations, and close to the Laboratories for Molecular Medicine at 70 Ship St., one of Brown’s primary life sciences research facilities.

Carey noted that the acquisition adds to Brown’s efforts to help reinvigorate Providence’s Jewelry District neighborhood. It follows the 2021 acquisition of River House to offer affordable, high-quality housing for 270 graduate students, and coincides with plans to create a new integrated life sciences building in the coming years, which would fulfill a long-held goal for new life sciences space in the area.

After Brown selects an architect for the life sciences building, an extensive programming phase will assess factors ranging from space needs and site requirements to conceptual design and projects scale and scope. As part of that process, the University will begin to consider Jewelry District site possibilities in depth. Carey said that while the portfolio of properties purchased from Care New England offers one potential site for development of the new life sciences facility, Brown’s project team will explore multiple options before recommending a building site for approval by the Corporation of Brown University.

Before the River House acquisition and plan for a life sciences building, the University had already invested more than $225 million in Jewelry District development over the last decade. This includes such projects as South Street Landing and the Innovation Center at 225 Dyer St. that have attracted new partners to Rhode Island and brought new life to a neighborhood where roughly 1,600 Brown faculty, students and staff work, teach and conduct research daily.