Governor McKee Hosts Topping Off Ceremony for 150 Richmond

Published on Tuesday, March 26, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee was joined today by numerous dignitaries in the I-195 District for a topping off and beam signing ceremony at 150 Richmond—a 7-story, 212,000-square-foot building to be anchored by PVD Labs and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) State Health Laboratories.

“Today’s milestone celebrates the power of collaboration and marks an important step forward for Rhode Island’s life science sector,” said Governor Dan McKee. “I’m grateful for the team who came together to make this project happen – the Biden Administration, our Congressional Delegation, the designers and construction workers building this impressive structure, and the scientists and businesses who do innovative work, right here in the 195 District.”

Attendees included U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Representatives Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amo, Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, R.I. Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi, R.I. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Providence Mayor Brett Smiley. Also attending were Chair of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Marc Crisafulli, State Health Lab Director Dr. Glen Gallagher, Brown University Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Jain Mukesh, Chair of Rhode Island’s new Life Science Hub Neil Steinberg and Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner. Representing the project’s developer, Ancora Legal & General (Ancora L&G) CEO Josh Parker served as master of ceremonies for the event, while Dimeo Construction CEO and President Stephen Rutledge presided over the beam setting.

PVD Labs, a private life science space, will occupy approximately 130,000 square feet of the development. Brown University has already signed to lease 20,000 square feet within PVD Labs. 

The RIDOH State Health Laboratories will occupy 80,000 square feet of the facility. The labs will have Biosafety Level 2 space to accommodate environmental, forensic, and chemical testing, and Biosafety Level 3 space to accommodate biological testing. This portion of the 150 Richmond Building was financed with a $81.7 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control. 

“The new state health lab will be cutting edge with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced capabilities,” said Senator Jack Reed, who helped secure federal funding for the CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grants in the American Rescue Plan Act (P.L. 117-2). “It will help strengthen our public health system, bolster preparedness, and assist with things like testing for blood lead levels, monitoring air and water pollution, or supporting infectious disease outbreak and surveillance investigations. It will foster collaboration among researchers and grow the state’s bioscience sector. I was pleased to work with my Congressional colleagues to deliver $81.7 million in federal funding for this project as well as additional federal funding to equip the lab space with cutting edge technology.”

“In the event of another crisis like the COVID pandemic, Rhode Island will be better prepared with a state-of-the-art health lab,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “Built with a significant federal investment, this new lab will help keep Rhode Islanders healthy and add a landmark addition to the 195 District’s growing life sciences cluster.”

“This building represents an investment in the health and well-being of Rhode Islanders, and I’m proud to help deliver federal funding to help this project come to fruition,” said Representative Seth Magaziner (RI-02). “Once completed, this state-of-the-art laboratory will be used to respond to emerging public health threats, including infectious diseases, and accelerate scientific innovation and research.”  

"I am eager to join my colleagues in celebrating that the future is on the horizon for the Rhode Island State Health Labs and PVD Labs. This project has already created good-paying construction jobs and will go on to provide life sciences professionals with state-of-the-art technology as they serve our community," said Congressman Gabe Amo (RI-01). "It is remarkable watching our state make strategic investments in major public private developments for Rhode Islanders. I look forward to seeing the scientific innovation and economic development turbo-charge our rapidly growing life sciences industry to create good paying jobs."

“The creation of the RI State Health Lab and PVD Labs is an investment in the quality-of-life here in Rhode Island,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “This is a game changer not only for our state’s biomedical industry, but for the many Rhode Islanders with long-term health conditions who will benefit from the breakthroughs that will be developed in this lab space.”

“With the topping off of construction at 150 Richmond Street, we are celebrating a major milestone in our efforts to create a hub for the bio and life science in Rhode Island,” said Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi. “I was proud to support the inclusion of $45 million in the state budget to jump-start the work, but making our vision a reality also requires the collaboration of our educational and health care partners. That partnership is demonstrated by everyone gathered at today’s celebration, from our congressional delegation to labor leaders. One of Rhode Island’s greatest assets is our ability to connect and collaborate, and that unique strength makes the possibilities endless for the Rhode Island Life Science Hub.”

President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio said, “A new, federally funded, 21st-century home for the state health lab is long overdue. Additionally, this building will serve as a catalyst for private developers in the field of health laboratory research, generating further economic benefits to our state. It is the kind of investment we have always envisioned for the former I-195 land.”

“Providence is quickly becoming a hub for new economic growth, particularly within the health and life sciences fields,” said Providence Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “I’m thrilled to join our state, local and community partners to mark this milestone in the creation of both the Rhode Island State Health Lab and PVD Labs. This state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Providence will soon be the center for collaboration, innovation and growth between the healthcare, higher education and business communities of our city.”

“Ancora L&G is delighted to be part of this important development, delivering vital state health and commercial lab space and contributing to the growth of Rhode Island’s life science community and wider economy,” said Ancora L&G CEO Josh Parker. “Our local partners have been instrumental in the progress we have made so far, and we are grateful for their continued support throughout. We look forward to welcoming RIDOH, Brown University and many new entrepreneurs and visionaries to the completed building, as well as providing a landmark community asset for Providence as a whole.”

“We are excited to celebrate the topping off today, as we move closer to giving the life science cluster a giant boost with this development in the 195 District,” said I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Chair Marc Crisafulli. “This project was just a vision for many years, and it is exciting to see the steel and concrete rise at 150 Richmond.”

Additional state partners in this collaborative effort are Rhode Island Commerce, Rhode Island Department of Administration, Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and RIDOH.

Ancora L&G is a 50:50 partnership between the U.K.-based financial services group Legal & General and the Washington D.C.-based real estate developer, Ancora. Ancora L&G, which was selected as the developer for the project after a competitive RFP process, has partnered with GRE, a regional development services company specializing in the science and technology sector.

What They’re Saying 

Neil Steinberg, chair of the Rhode Island Life Sciences Hub Board of Directors: “With the new Life Sciences Hub up and running, our top priority must now be to accelerate the development of spaces like this which have been lacking here in Rhode Island. Modern laboratory spaces will propel advances in life sciences and public health by our partners in the public and private sectors, as well as academia, supporting a dynamic ecosystem of new companies that will nurture talent, drive innovation, and realize the full potential of this rapidly growing sector.”

Glen Gallagher, PhD, director of RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories: “We are incredibly grateful to the CDC, our Congressional Delegation, and all of the State Health Laboratory staff for helping turn our vision for state-of-the-art labs into a reality for Rhode Island. The core of this project involves the use of pathogen genomic sequencing, which has the potential to revolutionize how we monitor and treat infectious diseases and investigate crimes. In addition, this new facility will allow us the flexibility to quickly respond to emerging biological and chemical threats. Our new home will put Rhode Island at the cutting edge of laboratory science and keep us well positioned to be a leader for the foreseeable future.” 

Dr. Mukesh K. Jain, dean of Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School: “For Brown, having a presence in 150 Richmond means the opportunity for world-class laboratory space in close proximity to scientists conducting health and medical research at our partner hospitals, existing Brown labs and our in-development integrated life sciences building. Just as importantly, our hope is that Brown’s presence builds interest in PVD Labs from new commercial life science ventures seeking space in Rhode Island.”

Brad Dimeo, chair of the Dimeo Construction Company: “Dimeo Construction Company is proud to be a part of this pioneering project that aims to advance public health infrastructure and innovation. We're delighted to offer our expertise in constructing this cutting-edge facility, which will be a foundation for Rhode Island's health and life science sectors."

Director of Administration Jonathan Womer: “Long-term investments like the State Health Laboratories are critical to sustaining and growing Rhode Island’s economy. Equipping our public health professionals with a much-needed modern facility is essential to ensuring we are prepared to address whatever testing, research and other needs may come our way in the future. We are proud to play a role in this public-private bioscience partnership, which will provide high-wage employment, contribute to growth in a vital industry and solidify the State’s position as a leader in public health and scientific innovation.”