Greater City Providence

ProJo: Developers say lack of state support stalled project for I-195 land


A lawyer and a doctor who hoped to build life-sciences laboratories on former highway land in the capital city have given up on their efforts because they say they haven’t received necessary state support.

Timothy H. Ehrlich, a Boston lawyer who represents biotechnology companies, and Dr. Johannes Fruehauf, president of the Cambridge Biolabs project in Massachusetts, pitched a Providence Biolabs project last June to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission. They hoped to encourage start-up companies to develop into viable entities whose scientific research might lead to new treatments for diseases and might otherwise improve people’s health.

“We had to suspend our Providence Biolabs initiative when it became clear that there was not sufficient state support available to bring a shared laboratory to Providence,” Fruehauf told The Providence Journal.

This article does not have any comment from the Governor’s office and only a non-specific comment from the 195 Commission’s spokesperson, so take that as you will. It however does not sound very good.

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.


  • So Raimondo’s administration is ignoring them because they’re not big enough? I thought this was going to be a business savvy government, but instead it sounds like they’re trying to find a large basket to put all their eggs in.

    I get that if you want to make prov a biotech hub, you need the right level of investment. But I don’t see how that precludes aiding smaller companies.

  • I’m guessing by “lack of state support” they mean the state wasn’t willing to foot the bill or ease up on taxes, which is completely fine by me. If a project, even a small one, needs “state support” just to exist / be financially viable in the first place, it isn’t worth doing.

    (and I say that with a heavy heart at the loss of such a project downtown)

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