MARSHALL FELDMAN, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR URBAN STUDIES AND RESEARCH AT URI
Be suspicious of "models." For a city to copy another city as a model, is a bit like saying, "Let's look at how many left-handed pitchers were on the team that won the World Series last year. Now if everybody has the same number of left-handed pitchers on their team this year, then all teams will win the World Series this year."
There's [also] an underlying assumption here that there are what we call "agglomeration economies": by having certain kinds of businesses located near each other the whole is more economically competitive than the sum of its parts. While this is certainly true for some kinds of businesses, it is not clear that it's particularly true for the kinds of businesses that are being anticipated for the district. It's also not clear if the small scale implicit in the 195 relocation has any agglomeration economies. I think the area known as "Silicon Valley" is actually bigger than the entire State of Rhode Island.
MICHAEL VAN LEESTEN, PRESIDENT OF THE VAN LEESTEN GROUP AND MEMBER OF 195 REDEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
We want to create jobs that not only will be for people with white laboratory garb but, also, we want to create blue-collar jobs and employment opportunities to help to provide opportunity to the residents in the city of Providence. In Providence, as you well know, the unemployment rate in certain of our neighborhoods is in excess of 25 and 30 percent. And yet we have some wonderful talent within those neighborhoods that, to the extent that we blend training with the kind of blue-collar jobs that could emerge, I think that would really be an important part of the planning process.
COLIN KANE, PRINCIPAL OF PEREGRINE GROUP AND CHAIRMAN OF 195 REDEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
We're very much a proponent of mixed use. People have this sort of [attitude], you know, "It's 'meds and eds.' " Well, the truth is, it's a linear mile of property. And we have parcels that are so small that they probably support two town homes. We have other parcels that are so large that they could support half a million square feet of laboratory space or office space or hotel space. So, it's not a "one size fits all." Just think about drawing a line through any city in America. If you drew a one-mile line through any city in America, you're gonna have a whole bunch of different uses along that line. And that's what we would anticipate here.
Right now we have a couple of years of road construction and park construction. We're focusing on getting the infrastructure in place. You can't build a building until we can plug you into a sewer.
"Where 195 Used To Be: A Community Exploration" will take place on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 pm at URI's Feinstein Providence Campus (80 Washington St).