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RI officials look to UPMC for economic guidance



Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, other state politicians, education and hospital executives, and business and labor leaders were in Pittsburgh last week hoping to learn how they might transform the Ocean State?s faltering economy. They toured a downtown building where the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center leases about a third of the 2-million-square-feet of space. UPMC's President/CEO Jeffrey A. Romoff told the delegation at the start of a tour of the massive facility that when the nonprofit medical center relocated its headquarters into vacant space at the top of the building (and emblazoned its initials on the outside of the tower), the building's occupancy rate shot up to 95%, which Romoff said contributed to the turnaround of an "OK downtown" into a thriving area. When Chafee said he was particularly interested in learning how the nonprofit medical center overtook the for-profit industry. And, turning to Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Chafee said he's particularly interested in how the host city has been compensated. "You're going right to the jugular," acknowledged G. Nicholas Beckwith III, chairman of the UPMC board of directors.
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