Central to the argument for saving Providence’s Superman Building with public investment is a vision of the downtown economy driven by residents as much as office workers.
It’s a vision that’s emerged over the last two decades of downtown revitalization and would take a major leap forward if Rhode Island’s tallest building was filled with 280 apartments in the heart of the Financial District.
The new residents and their neighbors in other buildings would draw different services, such as a supermarket or expanded mass transit, than offices would.
The two recent studies of potential uses for the Superman Building at 111 Westminster St. outline the demographic and market shifts that have local developers rushing away from office construction toward rental housing.
Full disclosure, I work for Cornish Associates.