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.
Right now the 26-story building has one heating and air conditioning unit. High Rock says it would invest $70 million on a residential conversion. The developer says it also needs $39 million in state support, $21 million in federal tax credits, and between $10 million and $15 million in tax stabilization from the City of Providence.
An economic impact report on the Superman Building says cities similar in size to Providence have used residential development to revitalize their downtowns. Yet the failure of 38 Studios last year has made many lawmakers wary about using tax dollars for private sector projects.