The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission was created in late 2011 to serve as the responsible authority for the sale, marketing, and oversight of land made available in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, as a result of the relocation of Interstate 195.
Its mission: “To foster economic development on the I-195 land and beyond and generate job creation opportunities that embrace the city’s demographics by creating an environment that encourages high-value users to build well-designed structures that enhance the value of surrounding neighborhoods and augment the sense of place.”
The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission is led by Executive Director Peter McNally and the board of directors that includes seven individuals nominated by Governor Gina Raimondo (with guidance from Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello) and approved by the Rhode Island Senate. Board members include:
Joseph F. Azrack, Chairman
Joseph Azrack is the principal owner of Azrack & Company, an investment and advisory firm focused on the real estate industry. Azrack has over 30 years of real estate investment experience and was previously Managing Partner and Chairman of Apollo Global Management's real estate business, as well as CEO and Chairman of AEW Capital Management. Azrack holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University and a B.S. from Villanova University. He is a trustee of the Urban Land Institute and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business Administration.
Robert C. Davis, Vice Chairman
Robert Davis recently retired as a partner of the Boston law firm of Goulston & Storrs where he represented a wide range of clients in real estate projects over a 35-year career. He has represented colleges, schools, retailers, hotel operators, and developers in all phases of real estate development. He holds a J.D. from Boston College Law School and a B.A. from Brown University. Davis’ previous experience includes working closely with state and city officials as the representative of a developer chosen to redevelop 50 acres of prime real estate within the City of Quincy, Massachusetts. Davis was directly involved in developing a funding mechanism for the necessary infrastructure improvements as well as obtaining special legislation for the project from the state.
Elizabeth "Beppie" Huidekoper, Treasurer
Elizabeth Huidekoper has served as the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration at Brown University since 2002 and has retired from Brown in 2016. Upon entering Brown, she played a vital role in planning and executing the growth of the Plan for Academic Enrichment, which called for the addition of 100 new faculty members and the transition to universal need-blind admission. Huidekoper's other responsibilities included workers’ contract negotiations, capital projects, and decisions on raising the cost of tuition. Previously, she was the Vice President for Finance at Harvard University. Huidekoper received an M.B.A. from Boston University and a B.A. from Bowdoin College.
Melissa Husband serves at the Executive Director of Community Action Partnership of Providence. She earned an M.P.A from the University of Rhode Island and a B.S. in Political Science from Roger Williams University. Currently she is an Adjunct Professor at the Roger Williams University Continuing Studies who has personally and professionally committed to working in Rhode Island communities of color and with low-income families, seniors, youth, and individuals of various backgrounds. With over 10 years of experience in leadership and effective broad-based management including program, grant, and staff and budget management, Husband also has experience in arenas such as fundraising, operations, and program policy development.
Sandra Smith brings 20 years of experience in strategy consulting and business management from her work at the Boston Consulting Group, Charles Schwab, Catalyst Strategies, and Recon Strategy. Smith is currently a Program Director at Brown University developing a new Executive Master program in Science and Technology Leadership. She holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of Business and a B.A.Sc. in Industrial Engineering with honors and a M.A.Sc. of Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto.
Barrett Bready Barrett Bready, M.D., is Founder and CEO at Nabsys. Dr. Bready is an adjunct professor at Brown University where he teaches Biotechnology Management. He serves as a commissioner of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, a large land redevelopment project in downtown Providence with a focus on life sciences and other high technology sectors. He has received numerous awards including, in 2011, Rhode Island Innovator of the Year from Providence Business News. Dr. Bready received an M.D. and an Sc.B. in physics from Brown University, both as part of Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME).
Bonnie Nickerson is the Director of the Department of Planning and Development for the City of Providence. In her role she leads a great team of professionals who oversee the City’s boards and commissions and review development proposals in the City. The Department also leads the City’s efforts in comprehensive and neighborhood planning, redevelopment, and special area plans as well as urban design, GIS, waterfront planning, environmental planning, and transportation and transit planning. Nickerson also oversees the work of the City’s Community Development Division that allocates federal funds to support affordable housing, and comprehensive and lasting neighborhood development. The Department’s work is a partnership with many stakeholders and in her role as Director, Bonnie coordinates planning efforts with local, state, and federal planning partners. She is a trustee of the Providence Foundation and a member of the Rhode Island State Planning Council. Prior to her role as Director, she served the department in other capacities and worked in the nonprofit sector. She is passionate about where smart planning and place making come together to make lasting impacts on communities and quality of life. Nickerson has a Master of Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island and B.A. in Urban Studies from Mount Holyoke College.
Stefan Pryor received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University and serves as Rhode Island’s first Secretary of Commerce. He oversees the state agencies and offices responsible for economic development, business regulation, housing, workforce development, and tourism. Pryor was President of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which undertook revitalization initiatives including post-9/11 residential and business grant programs, the development of over a dozen new and renovated parks and open spaces, and grant programs for the rejuvenation of downtown’s tourism industry and arts/cultural community. While in New York, Pryor also served as a Vice President at the Partnership for New York City and led the organizations' public education initiatives, including a program that worked in collaboration with two low-performing, high-poverty NYC school districts. Pryor served as Deputy Mayor and Director of Economic and Housing Development in Newark, New Jersey, and significantly improved the city’s previously underperforming workforce development system and increased the city’s rate of affordable housing production. During his tenure as the Commissioner of Education for the State of Connecticut, the state passed landmark legislation aimed at closing achievement gaps, improving chronically underperforming schools and districts, enhancing educator effectiveness, and increasing rigor and raising expectations for all students.
On April 24, 2013, former Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation announced the formal completion of the land transfer between the state and the I-195 Redevelopment Commission. A total of 22 land parcels were transferred, including 19 parcels representing 19 developable acres and 3 parcels totaling 7 acres to be designated as parkland.