PBN: ‘Superman’ developer submits revised proposal for state aid

In Buildings, Downcity by Jef Nickerson6 Comments


The owner of the vacant “Superman Building” at 111 Westminster St. downtown Wednesday proposed a new $39 million package of state assistance to renovate the tower.

In its second attempt to gain state financing for a rehabilitation project, High Rock Development said it would seek legislation to create a 111 Westminster Historic Redevelopment Program and Revolving Fund to finance converting the office building into a mixed-use project with 280 apartments.

[box]See also:
WPRI: ‘Superman’ owners seek $39M from taxpayers[/box] [box style=”note”]Full disclosure: I work for Cornish Associates who are consulting with the building’s owner, High Rock Development.[/box]
About the Author

Jef Nickerson


Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  1. Many people are dead set against the state spending any money on this project, thanks to the 38 Studios debacle, in large part, I would think. But, I ask them, isn’t 1,000 jobs, living and office space in the downcity center, and the revival of a beautiful, landmark, historic building worth some consideration for the deal? it would just be a shame to see that magnificent building left to deteriorate, and go to waste. We already have so many empty buildings in the area, and ridiculously high unemployment numbers… Any thoughts, folks?

  2. More to what Paul said.

    I see many of these Art Deco buildings here in New York and elsewhere in the country being transformed into apartments. One example, my favorite, is 70 Pine St. in Downtown, http://ny.curbed.com/places/70-pine-street.

    Also, I heard this may happen to the Chrysler Building as well, total rental conversion, but that is just speculation at this point.

    To me I would love to see this project get done with great care, but at the same time as quickly as possible. I don’t know why everyone seems to be sitting on their hands for this, Its been a whole year since BoA moved out. There seem to be no real drawbacks to this project. Providence recently got named one of the most liveable downtowns, and it needs more apartment housing stock.

    It is beyond me how the Curt Schilling deal even went through. I was out of Rhode Island by this point. It boggles my mind that the state gave so much money to one single company. It was a huge red flag, I don’t know why no one stopped this from happening. I think this project is totally different from that one.

    I still think another developer or real estate company could partner with the Building Owners to rehabilitate the project, I do not think this building has been marketed to its full potential. I think the Industrial Trust Co. Tower really needs some sort of cheerleader. Maybe the building owners are doing this, but I really do not know. 111 Westminster St does have its own website now, so thats a start.

  3. I’m gonna say it loud and clear. No state money for private development. None. Look, High Rock aka Buff Chace has enough other properties in the region that he could use as collateral and get a loan from a BANK.

  4. Would you rather see the building, perhaps one of the most important buildings in the city, rot and be demolished? Or would you rather have the state assist in what can be considered historic preservation? I don’t think the state should give assistance to private development where the building does not carry such intrinsic value to the citizens of the state. This is not one of those cases.

  5. I agree, this building is worth saving.
    While I am sympathetic to the idea that the government shouldn’t pick projects to subsidize, we have done this so often with sprawl projects (e.g. big subsidies to CVS hq in Woonsocket area, Fidelity in Smithfield, in both cases even building or widening highways (Routes 99, 7) to accomodate them. So if that is the way the game is being played, I don’t see why this project shouldn’t get some help too.

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