There may be new hope for the tallest building in Rhode Island. But efforts to rehab the so-called Superman building, in downtown Providence, failed just last year.
The 26 story building, built in 1928 went dark in April of last year, when its tenants, Bank of America, moved out. The owner, Massachusetts-based High Rock Development, proposed a plan to turn the office space into residences.
Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.
This week Dave and Mark discuss the opening of the Arcade in downtown Providence and its significance for redevelopment of the downtown. They also analyze the record quarterly earnings of Washington Trust Bank, looking at how it happened and whether this is a model for other banks.
While most Rhode Islanders are out drinking up the joys of beach life this summer, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is trying to lure them back into the city in a series of television and radio ads that started running last week.
The ads highlight popular tourism spots in the capital city and try to allay people’s concerns about parking, saying:
“Whoever said there’s no parking in downtown Providence needs to come visit us. We have over 15,000 parking spaces. The city’s in bloom this summer with fabulous restaurants, concerts and more.”
The Arcade Providence is announcing a new round of retail tenants. The historic Arcade downtown has attracted Adirah, Kingston Crafts, ArchAngels, Luniac Glamour and Ntrendsic.
Adirah is a Providence gallery concentrating on authentic African art. ArchAngels Threading Studio restores brows that have been damaged by over-tweezing, bad waxing or threading by inexperienced threaders.
Kingston Crafts specializes in locally made and antique furniture restoration. The Arcade represents the firm’s first retail location.
The Providence Downtown Improvement District is out with its annual business guide and it shows a surge of new business for the city center area.
The guide shows 13 new restaurants and shops opened last year. Thirty-five new businesses have opened their doors in the past two years. And this is just in the downtown area. It does not include College Hill, Federal Hill or other popular business districts.
Joelle Kanter of the Providence Downtown Improvement District said the new businesses run the gamut.
The owner of the vacant Superman Building in downtown Providence wants to use $39 million in state money to convert it into for residential apartments. It remains unclear whether the General Assembly is willing to support that kind of spending.
The Superman Building has been sitting empty ever since Bank of America left in early April. The property’s owner, High Rock Development of Massachusetts, wants to convert the art deco building into 278 rental apartments.
A plan to fill Kennedy Plaza in Providence with a mix of pedestrian-friendly activities will be announced Thursday evening.
The effort to populate Kennedy Plaza with more people is being led by the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy. The group’s head, Cliff Wood, said it will take time and a mix of millions of dollars in public and private money to reach the goal. The vision is to fill Kennedy Plaza with a variety of uses, like transit, shopping, socializing, concerts, a beer garden and children’s programs.