Rhode Island Department of Education



Burns negotiated a complex development lease for conversion of a former power plant building into advanced education space for the University of Rhode Island (URI) and Rhode Island College (RIC), to be administered by the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner.

Since the institutions and the State Administration did not want to make any financial payments until the completed facility was up and running, Burns tackled tax issues, construction related contracting issues, lease negotiations, drafted and shepherded legislation through the State General Assembly, and facilitated a shared use agreement for the State institutions to meet our clients’ goal.

We helped our clients ink a 15-year lease with purchase options for half of the 275,000 square foot space (Brown University leased the other half for office space), which will house the high-tech Rhode Island Nursing Education Center utilizing nursing/simulation labs and computer based AV systems for URI’s and RIC’s advanced undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, starting in September 2017. The RI NEC project is a multiple win since the shared space, located close to hospitals and the Brown Medical School, is significantly less expensive and more efficient for both schools and the State than the two separate facilities each institution had initially envisioned. Significantly, the project also adapts and reuses a derelict power plant to jump start redevelopment of the Providence Jewelry District and former Route 195 corridor.

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