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McKee Administration Announces Finalists for Rhode Island Department of Health State Health Laboratories and Additional Private Laboratory Space

RHODE ISLAND, April 7 - PROVIDENCE, RI – The McKee Administration today announced four finalists for the new Rhode Island Department of Health Laboratories and additional private lab space. The finalists were selected following a request for proposals (RFP) seeking qualified entities to provide a site and develop a new facility for the Rhode Island Department of Health State Health Laboratories (RISHL) and additional private laboratory space. The RFP was issued in November by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation on behalf of the State of Rhode Island.

"As we emerge from the current pandemic, it is so important that we make strategic investments in both the near-term recovery and the long-term economic and public health of the state," said Governor Dan McKee. "Today's news brings us one step closer to catalyzing this significant economic development opportunity and advance the state's important public health goals."

Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio and House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi said, "Rhode Islanders rely on the State Health Laboratories for public health services, environmental protection, criminal justice, and more. A new, 21st-century home for this essential facility is long overdue. Additionally, this federally funded building will serve as a catalyst for private developers in the field of health laboratory research, generating further economic benefits to our state."

A multi-agency team including representatives of the Department of Administration, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of Health, the Executive Office of Commerce, and the Commerce Corporation have concluded their evaluation process which included a technical and financial review by the RESGroup and interviews with the respondents. Proposers were evaluated on the basis of their experience with comparable laboratory development projects, their financial approach, and the economic development potential of the proposed project, among other factors established in the RFP.

The finalists will now need to provide additional information and responses to the review team. These responses are due no later than May 5, 2022. It is anticipated that a developer will be selected in the summer of 2022.

The current State health lab suffers from significant challenges including aging infrastructure, substandard life-safety systems, and a building design unfit for a modern laboratory engaged in collaborative, competitive research.

The four finalists selected are: ? -Ancora | GRE proposing lot 402 in Providence's I-195 Redevelopment District

- Pebb Capital | Lincoln Property Company proposing 33-51 Bassett Street/174 Clifford Street

- Related Beal | Boston Andes Capital proposing lot 402 in Providence's I-195 Redevelopment District

- Wexford Science & Technology proposing lot 402 in Providence's I-195 Redevelopment District

"This announcement today brings us one step closer to having a new Center of Excellence for Laboratory Sciences, which will be one of the most significant public health developments in Rhode Island for decades to come," said Interim Director of Health James McDonald, MD, MPH. "To take full advantage of the federal funds that are available it is critical that we keep the selection process on track and moving forward quickly. A new lab will help us respond to the complex public health challenges we face today, and help us keep pace with emerging scientific technologies, all while growing Rhode Island's vibrant life sciences sector." ? "We need to move beyond worrying about our health lab's state of repair and instead ensure that this crucial facility is state of the art. It's time to develop a new, high quality State health lab to meet Rhode Islanders' public health needs going forward," said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. "Building this facility presents another opportunity: the State's project can serve as the anchor for a larger lab complex that offers needed space to commercial and institutional tenants. There is significant demand for such private lab space in our state and this complex therefore has the potential to enable growth in Rhode Island's increasingly vibrant bioscience sector."

This RFP provided an opportunity for parties to propose a suitable site, whether publicly or privately owned. The RISHL will require approximately 80,000 square feet of space. Respondents were required to include a minimum of 25,000 square feet of additional laboratory space for private bioscience tenancies. The finalists are proposing 62,000 to 118,000 square feet of private space.