Settlement reached on Superman Building in Providence

PROVIDENCE – The owner of the so-called Superman Building has reached a settlement with its former tenant Bank of America N.A. in a long-running legal battle over Providence’s tallest building, according to WPRI-TV CBS 12. 

Details of the settlement were not immediately available, although a statement from attorney’s was expected at some point. Late Monday, the two parties filed a motion in U.S. District Court of Rhode Island requesting all claims and rights of appeal be dropped. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The dispute stems from 2013, when High Rock Westminster Street LLC, owner of the iconic former Industrial Trust Building at 111 Westminster Street, filed a lawsuit against Bank of America alleging the bank failed to make agreed-upon repairs before moving out in 2013. The real estate company is seeking damages totaling $54 million.

The lawsuit sought to hold Bank of America accountable to contractual obligations to maintain and repair the building. High Rock said the building was left with “crumbling facades, corroded window frames and obsolete building systems,” according to the lawsuit.

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Much to the chagrin of local lawmakers, city advocates and Providence residents, the decades-old, Art Deco-style skyscraper – a quintessential part of the city’s skyline – has since sat vacant.

High Rock owner, David Sweetser, a Newton, Mass, -based developer, has repeatedly failed to garner state subsidies to help pay to refurbish the building,  which first opened in 1920s. The building, often referred to as the Superman Building, has lost nearly half its value over the past three years.

Indeed, the skyscraper was valued at $15.4 million, according to latest revaluation for Providence by Vision Government Solutions, marking a 46.9 percent decline from $29 million in 2013.

When contacted by Providence Business News, Sweetser referred all questions to his spokesman, Bill Fischer, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Eli Sherman is a staff writer at PBN.