‘Superman’ owner renews bid for redevelopment

The owner of the vacant “Superman Building” at 111 Westminster St. is again calling for public support to help convert the downtown tower into apartments. More

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‘Superman’ owner renews bid for redevelopment

PBN FILE PHOTO
HIGH ROCK DEVELOPMENT, owner of the Industrial Trust Tower also known as the 'Superman Building," said Monday it plans to renew efforts seeking public support for the renovation of the 1927 art deco building.
Posted 2/10/14

PROVIDENCE – The owner of the vacant “Superman Building” at 111 Westminster St. is again calling for public support to help convert the downtown tower into apartments.

In a news release Monday morning, Massachusetts-based High Rock Development announced “the renewal of efforts” to renovate the 26-story office building in a public-private partnership.

The release did not include financial details of High Rock’s updated plan, making it difficult to evaluate how much has changed from the $114.7 million redevelopment proposal made last spring after the building’s lone tenant, Bank of America Corp., left.

That proposal included $39 million in state assistance plus a property tax stabilization and federal historic tax credits, but was turned down by government officials.

On its latest offer, the release said High Rock is now willing to:

  • guarantee completion of the renovation.

  • provide “significant new debt/equity” for the project.

  • create an endowment to support maintenance and programs at Kennedy Plaza.

  • commit to “work with union trades.”

  • keep space in the building available for community use prior to renovation.

“This is a difficult project, but a very important building,” said High Rock Principal David Sweetser in the news release. “I’ve acknowledged my loss from the purchase of the building, but I am still interested in moving forward to repurpose this building because I believe in Providence and I believe in Rhode Island. We think our plan to create new housing will help both the city and the state grow the new economy and return the building to its former prominence in Providence.”

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As a native Rhode Islander, I also believe in the future of our city and hope to see our beautiful skyline preserved. It is true, "it is a difficult project" but it is an important building. We wouldn't have PPAC today if it wasn't for people who believed in the city and saved the former Lowes State from the wrecking ball. We need that kind of support and commitment again.

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