Superman building

RIPR FILE

Supporters of turning the vacant Superman Building into apartment units say they may unveil a new financing plan as soon as next week.  The General Assembly has been wary of offering a public subsidy to reuse the Superman Building in the aftermath of the collapse of video-game company 38 Studios. Supporters of the project say filling the Superman Building with tenants and other new uses would boost the economy in Providence.

New Life For The 'Superman' Building?

Feb 11, 2014
RIPR FILE

There may be new hope for the tallest building in Rhode Island.  But efforts to rehab the so-called Superman building, in downtown Providence, failed just last year.

The 26 story building, built in 1928 went dark in April of last year, when its tenants, Bank of America, moved out. The owner, Massachusetts-based High Rock Development, proposed a plan to turn the office space into residences.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling The Bottom Line. Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

Peter Green

A photographer living in downtown Providence has caught amazing photos of hawks, owls and falcons flying above the capital city. He discovered the wild birds by following the pigeons.

It all started when Peter Green moved into an apartment facing the Superman building. He loved to watch the pigeons fly outside his window, and one day he spotted a falcon munching the pigeons that had captured his attention.

"Superman" Building At The Center Of Lawsuit

Nov 12, 2013
RIPR FILE

A court case beginning this week could impact the future of Rhode Island’s tallest building, known as the Superman Building.

The building’s new owner claims it was left in deplorable condition by longtime occupant Bank of America.

Massachusetts developer High Rock, which owns the so-called Superman Building in Downtown Providence, is suing Bank of America for more than 23 million.

High Rock claims that the former tenant left the 26 story building so neglected that it is un-rentable without costly repairs.

Starting this week, only the beacon atop the so called Superman building will be lit. Most of the other exterior lights will be dark, said Bill Fischer, spokesman for the building’s owner.

Bank of America was the only tenant and it left the building earlier this year. Fischer said keeping the beacon lit is sign that work is being done to bring the building back to life.

“You know, to maintain outside lighting on an empty building of approximately anywhere between $26,000 to $30,000 a year, is not a prudent expenditure of money,” said Fischer.

The owner of the vacant Industrial Trust Building -- aka the Superman Building -- submitted a bid in response to a state RFP for 70,000 to 80,000 square feet of office space.

Bill Fischer, a spokesman for High Rock Development, says the bid was submitted in time for a June 3 deadline. "We wanted to keep any and all options open," Fischer says. "We did respond," even though High Rock continues to believe that a residential conversion offers the best future for the historic structure.

Jef Nickerson / FLICKR

The Dynamo House, the century-old onetime Narragansett Electric power station, now sits as a forlorn reminder of what once thrived along Providence’s downtown waterfront.  And as Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay notes, it now stands as a guard to the old Jewelry District that state and city officials are trying to rebrand as a Knowledge District.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday it looks at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and Mark talk with Grow Smart Rhode Island executive director Scott Wolf. They discuss proposals for the Superman Building, the costs of such development,  urban residential living and trends in downtown office buildings.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

May rolls in with history being made in Rhode Island. Welcome back to my weekly column. As always, your thoughts and tips are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's head in:

Providence already has too many underused office buildings. RI political analyst Scott MacKay on what can be done to prevent the Superman building from going dark.

Maybe you were driving home from a night Celtics, Bruins or Red Sox game. Or perhaps you visited friends in Boston or were returning from summer vacation on a lake in Vermont or New Hampshire.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Roger Williams University Law School professor Jorge Elorza, a housing court judge in Providence and prospective mayoral candidate, joins the Roundtable this week. We talk about what's next for the Superman Building, growing interest in the 2012 race for treasurer, and debate over investing the state pension fund in hedge funds.

We're 18 months out from the November 2014 election, but that's not stopping Mark Binder from announcing on Thursday another legislative challenge to House Speaker Gordon Fox.

Via news release:

Beacon Atop Superman Building Won't Go Out

May 2, 2013
RIPR

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.

RIPR

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.

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