'Superman' Building Owner Renews Call For State Support Of Rehab Project

Jun 4, 2014

The owner of the Superman Building in downtown Providence renewed his call Tuesday for a public-private partnership to revitalize the vacant skyscraper. But it remains unclear whether the state will provide $39 million in requested help.

Superman building owner is asking for $39M for to rehab, the now vacant building in downtown Providence.

Massachusetts developer David Sweetser said the Superman Building could remain empty for decades if it’s not put to a new use.  He’s calling for state help to remake the building with retail, commercial and more than 250 apartments. Sweetser said his plan would satisfy a strong demand for apartments in downtown Providence and provide a boost through jobs and more consumer spending.

“The future of this building is inseparable to the future of the City of Providence and the state of Rhode Island. It is a moment in time to rehabilitate a decaying icon into a building that will be the center of the city," said Sweetser.

While critics question the use of state money, supporters of the Superman project say public investment is typically a part of reusing historic buildings. Sweetser said he’d offer a bond to ensure the renovation is completed. But House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said there will be no money for the Superman Building in the legislative budget being unveiled later this week.

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