Greater City Providence

PBN: JWU plans new business, tech school buildings

Johnson & Wales

A new business-school building is at the heart of Johnson & Wales University’s latest downtown-campus expansion plans, which also include a new technology-school building, dorms and offices.

The planned business school, one of up to eight new structures in a revised master plan that also includes major renovations on the campus, would be located at the corner of Chestnut Street and Friendship on land that used to include a piece of the former Interstate 195.

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.


  • One thing that probably should not be read too much into, but is worth noting, is that on this site plan at least; the proposed parking garage is built around the Miribar Building. See the little white building (existing) surrounded by orange (proposed) along Richmond Street.

  • Heres my sincere hope: if JWU has the resource and interest to build fast and develop some of the stitchwork required to bring the JD and Downcity together, they can get out of Kinsley and Mathewson. Both of these spaces are ripe for renovation and new tenants, and would be far more cost effective and attractive than the greenfield space on the I-195 land for startups and mid sized businesses, businesses that actually exist rather than the fictional large biotech company that’s going to swoop in and save Providence and transform the JD.

  • The PBN article says the technology school is currently occupying the retail spaces on Mathewson and they would vacate and sell that location when the new school is built.

  • JWU’s building on Mathewson is directly opposite Hotel Providence; however, the Kinsley Building….I’ve been told, is already vacant. It is owned by JWU, but not utilized.
    Having walked by that building every day enroute to work, I can safely say that I never see anyone going into the Kinsley Building.
    There’s bustling activity at their Mathewson Street location, but it would be a welcome sight to bring some viable retail activity to the stretch of storefront windows (in both locations).
    The block on Westminster Street from Mathewson to Snow is basically dead space. There’s activity when Aspire is busy. 333 Westminster is vacant retail on the ground floor and rented office space above.
    This makes perfect sense to condense the campus within a defined area… I’m overly glad to see they are asking for less land than originally intended.
    In regards to the design…the building proposed facing East Franklin Street (service road)…I hope that the design is of more than two stories…if dormitory space, let’s hope it is taller.

  • JBouchard- I look at Kinsley from my home window. That building has been completely abandoned for at least 2 years. I believe the space they are in in Mathewson also contained the Franscican church that has closed. Hopefully the building can become more friendly to street level activity. Though there are people and students in the area, this building basically marks the end of an”active” Westminster.

    They’re putting a new restaurant in my building (across from Federal Building on Westminster and Aborn). I hope that will help bring more people across the sea of parking.

  • As a former JWU student who used Kinsley in his freshman year,that building is extremely outdated,but would be a good space for retail or apartments.

    The building on mathewson is also extremely outdated,and it is often forgotten about by JWU who don’t frequent that building as it is not exactly near the other stuff.

    I’m excited for what JWU is planning,I just hope they don’t over expand.

  • Jason – good to know re: Kinsley Bldg.
    As I mention, I pass by it everyday (and work across the street from it), so it’ll be interesting to see what develops.
    Regarding your building (I presume you’re talking about the Conrad Bldg?), news of a restaurant is exciting!

    With regard to the new JWU buildings – work will not commence until the grid is completed by the state…..any idea as to when that project should be completed?

  • I don’t particularly agree with how it is cutting off the urban fabric of the city (which is bad enough already). We should be reconnecting streets, not cutting them off. Claverick street should not be split in two by this plan.

  • It would be nice if there was a public walk where Claverick street would have been. From the looks of it, there is a green space there. Hopefully they won’t fence it off.

  • The best option of course would be to not cut it off at all, but if they must, then a public walkway it shall be…

  • According to the image above, looks as though 35 Richmond St. (MiraBar building) is included in the recently proposed 800 car garage in the surrounding lot. Any new info on the parcel, plans or renderings?

  • They should just offer Mirabar the fair amount to move the club. I know that in the past, the owner has said that the amount was too little. Besides.. I’ve always wanted a club in that church on Westminster 🙂

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