RIPTA Announces Phase 1 of the Providence Transit Center Project
Board approves contract with development partner
Providence, Rhode Island – The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) Board of Directors voted today to approve a contract with Next Wave Rhode Island Partners for Phase 1 of a public-private partnership (P3) to design and construct a new transit center in Providence.
Next Wave Partners is a consortium comprised of a number of Rhode Island-based companies including Gilbane Development Company, Marsella Development and Gilbane Building Company, as well as Plenary Americas, CUBE 3, and Jacobs. Successful community-based projects from these subsidiaries include 100 Westminster Street, Union Station, the Providence Performing Arts Center, and the Nightingale Apartments in downtown Providence.
“Bringing our transit system into the 21st century will attract more riders, reduce cars and emissions on our roadways, and create more opportunities for mixed-use development,” said Governor Dan McKee. “By using a public-private-partnership model, we will develop a transit center with riders and maximize the expertise of Next Wave Partners.”
“Thank you to Governor McKee and RIPTA’s Board of Directors for their support of public transportation and vision to improve the ridership experience while also creating economic development opportunities,” said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA CEO. “A new transit center is a major step in strengthening our transit system and laying the groundwork to expand ridership, maximize investment from the private sector, and create a financially viable model.”
Avedisian added, “We are looking forward to working with Next Wave Partners, who share our vision for bringing state-of-the-art amenities to Providence and have extensive experience here in Rhode Island and across the country. We look forward to engaging the community in the design and planning process.”
RIPTA’s contract with Next Wave Partners differs from a traditional construction bid. Using a progressive P3 model, RIPTA and Next Wave Partners will work together in two phases to complete the new transit center, a common model for larger infrastructure projects. RIPTA will be designing and developing the transit center alongside Next Wave and opening each stage of the process to public input. This approach will ensure RIPTA has input at all stages of the development and can access the private-sector funding and expertise needed to successfully deliver a project of this scale.
"This new transit hub promises to deliver modern facilities for riders and drivers,” said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “I am looking forward to collaborating with RIPTA to ensure that this new transit hub fully meets the modern transportation needs of the many residents, workers, students and visitors that use our bus hub every day.”
In the first phase, RIPTA and Next Wave Partners will complete site studies and assessments, engage with the public, seek permitting and any third-party approvals, and develop 30% and 60% conceptual designs. Following input and development of designs, Next Wave will develop cost estimates for the project, as well as financial structuring and advising. Upon successful completion of the first phase of the project, the parties would negotiate a contract for a second phase of the contract for financing and constructing the project. We estimate Phase 1 to occur over the next year and a half.
Along with our development partners, Marsella Development and Plenary Americas, we are thrilled to get this progressive P3 underway with RIPTA to deliver a state-of-the-art transit center that will enhance mobility, connectivity, and accessibility for the riders, residents and visitors of Providence,” said Russell Broderick, executive vice president of Gilbane Development Company and principal-in-charge of the Next Wave Rhode Island Partners consortium. “This project highlights the P3s ability to facilitate a comprehensive process to advance essential community infrastructure projects that meet the needs and expectations of the public sector partner, the facility users and the broader community. We look forward to collaborating with project stakeholders through a robust public process in the months ahead to bring this vision to life.”
The new transit center will serve as RIPTA’s central bus depot, providing millions of trips annually, and considering anticipated growth, the transit center will feature a state-of-the-art temperature-controlled passenger arrival and seating area, staff break areas, and amenities including multi-modal accommodations for bicyclists.
RIPTA and Next Wave will also explore mixed-use transit-oriented development, such as first-floor retail and residential housing on the upper floors, offering economic development opportunities for the city. In contrast to the current sprawling footprint of Kennedy Plaza, which is spread out across an urban park, the new transit center will provide a single central location. Kennedy Plaza will continue to serve a reduced number of routes.
“This is great first step forward toward constructing a transit hub that has the ability to greatly enhance the transit experience in greater Providence,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, RIPTA Board Chairman. The hub will allow services to expand and serve new markets and will provide a safe and efficient center for operations. The partnership with Next Wave also opens the possibility of other amenities as part of the hub including retail spaces. I want to thank the RIPTA board for the hard work they have done and continue to do to transform RIPTA.”
RIPTA has been engaged in numerous, lengthy discussions for over a year with state, local and community leaders about building a new, multistory, mixed-use transit center in Providence. The proposal has garnered broad-based public support. The project, in part, is supported by a bond referendum to improve RIPTA’s transit services via a new transit center in the downtown area. On January 17, 2023, Governor Dan McKee announced the opening of the Request for Proposals period. Submissions were due on April 17, 2023. RIPTA’s Board authorized the Agency to engage in contract negotiations with Next Wave Partners on August 26, 2023. The contract, approved by the Board on January 25, 2024, is for the Preliminary Services phase of the project (Phase 1). The contract includes a milestone schedule for performance and compensation for the vendor to ensure all aspects are delivered upon.
In the coming months, RIPTA and Next Wave Partners will launch a robust public comment period to gather stakeholder input for designs for the new transit center.