A crowd of visitors, which included Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, assembled to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the new River House at South Street Landing.
This transformative P3 project, developed by GMH Capital Partners and Wexford Science & Technology, LLC began with the identification of a need by Brown University to provide housing for their medical students. Close collaboration between the development team, the City, and the university has resulted in a true live/work/learn/play environment located in the heart of the Jewelry District.
Designed by architects SGA, the River House residences focus on comfort and convenience, catering to the needs of students and young professionals through a variety of amenities, including a rooftop lounge, co-working space, a coffee bar, and fitness center as well as access to the Providence Riverwalk and a welcoming new courtyard. At the same time, its proximity to two hospitals and the med school gives prospective employers better ability to access the talent pool.
Halvorson Design was responsible for developing the vision for the entire public realm associated with the South Street Landing development, which also includes the adaptive reuse of the old Power Station that was renovated in 2018 by Wexford Science & Technology to house the nursing departments of Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island as well as administrative offices for Brown University.
The landscape design knits together a group of underutilized industrial sites to form an active, unified academic and residential environment overlooking the Providence River and providing links to the Urban Coastal Greenway, I-195 Park, and downtown Providence. Given its location over a capped brownfield site, the project required close collaboration with Beta Group, civil engineers, and local and state environmental permitting authorities.
Hallmarks of the project include the replanting of native riverine plant species adjacent to the Riverwalk to complement the river’s edge ecology and enhance the pedestrian/bicycle experience with overlooks and areas for respite. Creative stormwater management techniques use permeable paving and bio-retention rain gardens to capture and hold stormwater, reducing flooding and associated erosion while creating attractive features that frame the central lawn area.
Touting the project’s role as an economic engine bringing life to the I-195 district, Mayor Elorza calls it “ground zero for the transition from an industrial base to a knowledge base,” dubbing the area the Innovation and Design District. Elorza says he looks forward to seeing the site bustling with activity, with people walking and jogging along the river, bringing vibrancy and activity to the once-forgotten site. “A year ago, this was an empty lot, but out of that dirt, we are making opportunities.”