Greater City Providence

PBN: Despite false start, transformation of Jewelry District taking shape

Providence Business News outlines the development happening in and around the 195 Land in the Jewelry District:

Seven years ago, this area was supposed to be part of the newly designated “Knowledge District.”

There were plans to transform the Jewelry District into a hub of innovation, research and technology. The brainchild of business and civic leaders, the idea was born in a time of recession in the economy and crisis in the state’s economic-development efforts with the collapse of 38 Studios, the video game company founded by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. It was also a time of welcomed change in the district after Interstate 195 was rerouted south of the neighborhood, clearing a swath of 19 acres of developable real estate stretching from Interstate 95 to the Providence River.

Today, the Knowledge District concept – albeit under a different name – is taking hold, particularly in the old footprint of I-195. Whether it can become a model for Rhode Island’s new economy, however, remains to be seen.

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.


  • Please note that the Jewelry District is called the Jewelry District. It has no other name. The I-195 commission have marketing their land under different names but the Jewelry District is still the Jewelry District.

  • Not necessarily. In a few years no one will care about the name, since that industry abandoned this part of the city. Jewelry District may become only a reference in a History Book. But I get you. I lived in Chicago for almost two decades and the Sears Tower will always be called the Sears Tower just like the Industrial Bank Build will both remain those names (which they aren’t they are the Willis Tower and the Superman Building…whatever). Cities change and improve and evolve and names change and that is great! Better than stagnation and decay.

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