Lawmakers Consider Bill To Revitalize 'Superman' Building

Jun 3, 2014

A bill that would use $39 million in taxpayers’ money to revitalize the vacant Superman Building is slated for a Senate Finance committee hearing this Tuesday.  Lawmakers have been lukewarm about using a public subsidy for the Providence skyscraper.

Providence's so-called Superman building has been vacant for the past two years. Efforts to rehab the building have yet to get off the ground.

The bill introduced by Cranston Senator Joshua Miller calls for using 39 million dollars over four years to remake the Superman Building. The idea is to convert the iconic structure at 111 Westminster Street into a mixed-use development with commercial, retail and public space on the ground floor, and some 250 apartments on the remaining floors.

A public subsidy for the Superman Building has been a tough sell after Rhode Island’s losing investment in Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios. Some critics say a private apartment complex shouldn’t need taxpayer support.

But supporters say the Superman Building could deteriorate and remain vacant without help from the state. The subsidy bill points to a shortage of downtown apartments, and says revitalizing the building will provide a big economic boost. The owner of the property plans to put more than 80 million dollars into the project.

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