- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Brown University and Wexford Science and Technology are planning to build two new research facilities in Providence’s Jewelry District.

Brown President Christina Paxson spoke to hundreds of business and civic leaders Monday evening at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner. She said the university is planning to build a translational science complex - a field that includes medicine, brain science, bioengineering, computer science, and big data.

“Brown’s approach has been - and will continue to be - to encourage and participate in public-private partnerships that stimulate economic expansion, incubate innovation and bring stakeholders together,” Paxson said.

She did not say how much the center would cost or where it would be located other than that it would extend the universities’ $200 million investment in the district.

James Berens, founder and president of Wexford Science and Technology, also spoke at the dinner. He said the company wants to build a 1-million-square-foot life-sciences complex, including a hotel and conference center, events space, and three office technology and laboratory buildings.

Berens outlined a plan to partner with universities in Rhode Island, which the company has done in 10 other locations with 12 universities.

He displayed conceptual images for Wexford’s project, noting that they do not currently have any contracts or tenants.

“But clearly I’m not up here showing you this if I didn’t think that that was possible,” he said.

Brown owns some of the land, which was freed up by the rebuilding of Interstate 195. Wexford is planning to buy five acres.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said developing the 195 land is a major piece of her plan to redevelop Rhode Island’s economy around innovation.

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