R.I. Commerce approves property transfer required for Bryant University expansion
When Fidelity Investments Inc. announced in June it was gifting a building from its Smithfield campus to Bryant University, it left out one small but very important caveat.
The financial services firm didn’t actually own the building at 100 Salem St., so it wasn’t theirs to give away. Now, it is.
Rhode Island Commerce Corporation on Monday approved an amendment to its ground lease with FMR Rhode Island LLC (an affiliate of Fidelity) transferring ownership of the property from the state to the company, which in turn will allow Fidelity to donate the building to Bryant, according to Matt Touchette, a spokesman for R.I. Commerce. The vote was made unanimously and without discussion.
The rest of Fidelity’s Smithfield offices remain under ownership of the state through its economic development agency, under a ground lease inked more than 25 years ago, according to Rick Metters, a spokesperson for Fidelity.
The 1996 agreement requires Fidelity to pay $2 a year in rent, as well as principal and interest on the 25, $1 million-apiece bonds that the state economic development agency issued to pay for infrastructure improvements to the corporate office space. Fidelity also agreed to invest “at minimum” $30 million in building and construction costs within the first seven years, and create 1,000 full-time jobs, according to the agreement obtained by Rhode Island Current Wednesday.
With R.I. Commerce’s stamp of approval, Fidelity now plans to turn over the 250,000-square-foot building to Bryant “as soon as possible,” Metters said in an interview on Monday. He was unsure of the exact timing of the property transfer.
The building, which sits across from the university entrance, will house its College of Business and administrative offices, as well as student activities, by spring of 2024, Bryant said previously. The building, which was assessed in 2022 at $32.6 million, marks the largest land gift to Bryant in more than 50 years.
This story has been updated to include details of the lease agreement based on a response to a public records request.