- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Johnson & Wales University has broken ground for a new academic center on land opened up by the relocation of Interstate 195 in downtown Providence.

The university held a ceremony for the $40 million engineering and science center Wednesday. The school says it put the “first shovel in the ground” on the land freed up for redevelopment.

University Chancellor John Bowen says school officials hope their plans for the land will serve as a catalyst for other private development.

Twenty acres of land on the edge of downtown Providence were freed up for redevelopment by the interstate’s relocation. The ribbon of land can support 3 million square feet of mixed-use space.

The university purchased a parcel in 2012. The academic center is scheduled to be complete in July 2016.

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