Greater City Providence

Brown University Alpert Medical School

Rendering from Brown University by Ellenzweig Associates

The Corporation of Brown University met on Saturday and approved plans for the renovations of 222 Richmond Street in the Jewelry District turning the building into the Alpert Medical School. Pre-recession plans called for the university to construct a new building near Rhode Island Hospital to house the medical school. After the school’s endowment lost $740 million the school started rethinking expansion plans, including the medical school. Since the recession, the university has been focused on renovating existing properties.

The university hopes to begin the $45 million renovation of the 135,000 square foot facility early next year (pending city approval of the plans) and open the building in August of 2011. The university touts the economic impact of the project for the state:

According to an independent analysis by Appleseed, Inc. of New York, renovation of the medical education building will directly create nearly 350 temporary jobs in the construction trades and related industries and, through a multiplier effect, will support an additional 200 jobs and generate $26.2 million of economic output throughout the state.

Also at Saturday’s meeting, the Corporation reviewed a report from planning architect Frances Halsband outlining a framework for the university’s construction and renovation within the Jewelry District.

The set of planning principles and design concepts she presented would help establish a pattern for development that would integrate the University with the neighborhood, contribute to a more vibrant community, and support ongoing efforts to spur economic growth.

The Corporation reviewed plans for enhancements in the Jewelry District. Ideas under consideration include wider sidewalks for Richmond Street, better landscaping, improved signage, and additional retail.

A coherent, consistent and well-crafted plan for developing its properties in the Jewelry District | particularly the new medical education building and the Laboratories for Molecular Medicine at 70 Ship St. | will contribute to the revitalization of an important Providence neighborhood and will help build the Knowledge Economy in Providence.

…emphasis added.

Brown OKs new $45M medical school HQ [Providence Business News]
Corporation Approves Schematics for Medical School Education Building [Brown University Media Relations]
Corporation members discuss priorities, outlook for tough times [Brown Daily Herald]
Brown Medical School to Relocate to Jewelry District [GC:PVD]

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • I’m thrilled to see Brown taking on renovation/preservation projects again. Losing a big chunk of their endowment has humbled them out of the slash and burn method of expansion that they’ve been in for about 10 years now. It’s just unfortunate that it had to take a full-on economic depression to get them to act more responsibly.

  • Corey, I agree. I’m also pleased to see that they recognize that the 10 inch sidewalk outside 222 Richmond won’t cut it.

    View Larger Map

    I mean look at that!

  • Ugh, tell me about it. I’ve always thought Richmond needed to go on a diet. It’s one-way! It doesn’t need to be that wide.

  • Brown University has made a serious investment in the Jewelry District and Providence. This investment will create jobs and long term stability to the Jewelry District which is desperately needed. Thomas Donovan, General Manager, Cushman & Wakefield

  • I live at 3 Ship St and while I am thrilled the neighborhood will get a facelift, our condominium is directly across the street from the new medical center and we will be impacted by the 18 month construction. It would be considerate of Brown to meet with the condominium owners prior and during construction so we know what to expect week to week. We have not heard anything from Brown as yet.

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