Date September 20, 2023
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City approval enables Brown to proceed with life sciences building, athletics practice facility

Providence’s City Plan Commission approved a new Brown Institutional Master Plan, offering a key approval to create laboratory space for cutting-edge life sciences research and a new indoor athletics training facility.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Providence City Plan Commission unanimously approved Brown University’s new Institutional Master Plan at its Tuesday, Sept. 19, meeting.

The approval provides the authorization required for Brown to proceed with two significant projects — an integrated life sciences building in the city’s Jewelry District and an athletics practice facility on College Hill. The CPC’s public hearing and vote followed a series of community meetings in which Brown leaders detailed plans for both projects with local residents, neighborhood associations, community groups and elected officials.

Brown’s master planning process and community outreach ensures the University's planning efforts are carefully coordinated with the city, said Russell Carey, executive vice president for planning and policy at Brown, advancing a productive relationship between the University and its home city. 

“Carefully planning major projects with city leaders and residents is our responsibility as a committed neighbor and community partner," Carey said. "We expect the life sciences building to continue the Jewelry District’s growth as a nexus for biomedical innovation and economic development, while the practice facility at our athletics complex will mitigate existing noise impacts on neighbors. Both projects advance Brown goals and align with the needs of the state, city and the neighborhoods in which they’ll be based.”

Brown's planned integrated life sciences building will include state-of-the-art laboratory space for researchers in biology, medicine, brain science, bioengineering and public health. The selected location for the 300,000-square-foot, seven-story research facility will be on Richmond Street in the heart of the Jewelry District, across from Brown's Warren Alpert Medical School near Ship and Elbow streets. The modern facility will expand laboratory space for scientists working on pressing health challenges, and the building will serve as a new focal point in a neighborhood becoming a hub for biomedical innovation.

The approval of the IMP also paves the way for the University to move forward in designing and constructing an indoor practice facility at the Erickson Athletic Complex on the northeast corner of its College Hill campus. As envisioned, the 76,000-square-foot facility would replace the current Meister-Kavan Field, moving existing activities to an enclosed building and mitigating noise impacts on neighbors. The building would also advance Brown's capacity for varsity, intramural and recreational sports activity.

While the projects will require additional authorizations at Brown and specific approvals with the city — for example, review of the ILSB height by Providence’s Downtown Design Review Committee — the CPC vote offers approval on the formal master planning process that must precede new phases of physical development for higher education and health care institutions across Providence. 

With continued progress in fundraising, the University estimates ILSB construction to begin in 2024 and culminate in the range of three to four years. Construction for the indoor practice facility is targeted to begin in Summer 2024 and last approximately 18 months.