Blow up the Superman Building?

Mar 19, 2013

Credit RIPR file photo

In the best of all possible worlds, Providence's iconic Superman Building would be revived as housing that would add downtown residents and reduce the amount of prime office space. Yet Providence Mayor Angel Taveras isn't ruling out the possibility that the structure might have to be leveled.

During an appearance last weekend on WJAR-TV's 10 News Conference, Taveras said:

"The use that I really don't want to see happen, but we have to put everything on the table is, is it more efficient to take it down and put something else up? I think that would be a tragedy in the sense it's part of our history."

City Hall is awaiting an economic analysis on the outlook for reusing the Superman Building, which is being vacated by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America. The building, bought by High Rock Westminster Street LLC for $33.2 million in 2008, has a single heating-air conditioning system, making it unusable presently for anything other than a single tenant.

Taveras' administration is looking at using tax credits to facilitate a residential reuse for the structure at 111 Westminster St.

Leveling the Superman Building would bring a cascade of mostly negative national attention. Yet the mayor's inclusion of demolition as even a remote possibility suggests the level of uncertainty facing the iconic structure.