The beacon light atop the tallest building in Rhode Island will remain on for the time being. But the owner of the so-called “Superman Building” says that could change if state leaders don’t approve a $39 million package of tax credits. State leaders are decidedly lukewarm to the idea.
In the wake of the 38 Studios meltdown – a state-financed gaming company that went belly up leaving Rhode Islanders with a 75-million dollar tab -- Rhode Island political leaders are reacting coolly to the idea of issuing 39 million dollars in tax credits to the owners of the Superman building. Governor Lincoln Chafee, House Speaker Gordon Fox and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras have suggested the plan is too costly. Bill Fischer, a spokesman for building owner High Rock Westminster of Massachusetts, cautions that if the money is not forthcoming the renovations necessary to turn the building into apartments and shops will not go forward and the building will be mothballed.
"We cannot renovate and convert the building for a residential conversion without state support. I know people are looking at those bottom line numbers. And I understand that. But I hope they take the time to actually read those studies and review those studies and take a look at what cities of similar size are doing around the country to protect their downtowns."
The Superman Building – located in the heart of downtown Providence -- has been vacant since Bank of America moved out last month. The cost of renovation is estimated at 130-million dollars.