real estate

‘Superman’ owner seeks up to $75M in public financing

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HIGH ROCK DEVELOPMENT LLC, the owner of Industrial trust Tower, is asking for up to $75 million in public financing to help transform the so-called "Superman Building" into apartments.
Posted 4/30/13

PROVIDENCE – The owner of the Industrial Trust Tower in downtown Providence is asking for up to $75 million in public financing to transform the historic office building into apartments.

A study of redevelopment options for the property, known as the “Superman Building,” released Tuesday by consultants for tower owner High Rock Development LLC, concluded that converting the property into residences makes more sense than trying to find new office tenants for it.

“It is incredibly important that we get this right and adopt a plan that ensures the highest and best use of the building,” said Bill Fischer, spokesperson for High Rock Development. “These reports confirm that converting the Superman building into rental apartments is in fact the highest and best use of the building.”

Transforming the 1927 Art Deco office tower into an apartment building will cost $130 million, the studies, from Cornish Associates of Providence and HR&A Advisors Inc. of New York, said.

To finance such a project, High Rock is proposing $39 million in unspecified state assistance, $21 million in federal historic tax credits and between $10 and $15 million in city property tax breaks.

The Wellesley, Mass. firm would invest $55 million – through debt and equity – in the project.

The residential conversion plan laid out by Cornish would create 278 rental apartments ranging from “micro-studios” to three-bedroom apartments. Rents would range from $1,125 to $2,750 per month.

The conversion would also include 33,000-square-feet on the lower level for shops, offices and restaurants.

The 26-story Superman Building is the tallest in Rhode Island.

The previous tenant, Bank of America, left the building this spring.

2 comments on this story | Add your comment
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Robert Shea

Who is doing PR for these clowns? $75 million, wasn't that the same amount Carceri, Fox. Paiva-Weed, et al gave to Schilling's failed enterprise. Only in RI! No sane investor would ever take on this risk. $75 million for the state, $55 million for the investor. Nice NPV for the investors, absolute bust for the tax payers!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 | Report this
Ken C

Let's not confuse the difference between 38 Studios and this venture. First, 38 Studios was given direct bond cash backed by RI with no appreciable collateral and, apparently little oversite. Thank you, Mr. Carcieri. Welcome to your legacy. High Rock is looking for tax credits and abatements which will produce a nice piece of collateral in the form of a newly repurposed building which would certainly have value on the open market. We can argue over amounts and whether the purpose of the building at the end of the project has merit, but let's not shoot this venture dead in the corral before the gates open by thinking this is on the same level as Mr. Bloody Socks' and the Carciri packed EDC boondoggle. Let's keep the conversation real, please.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | Report this
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