Someone (make a few) finally saw past Clark Kent’s clumsy facade and recognized the full potential of the Superman Building.
For those in need of a quick catch-up, the Superman Building, also known (to very few) as the Industrial Trust Building, is Creative Capital’s tallest skyscraper and can be seen for miles while driving. to town on 95 in either direction. . The height coupled with its distinctive Art Deco design easily makes it the most recognizable silhouette in a rendering of Providence’s cityscape. First built in 1928, the historic building gets its nickname from rumors (unfortunately untrue) that its unique structure directly inspired the look of the Superman comics. Daily Planet Headquarter.
And like the eponymous character himself, the building has earned itself quite a fan base, including a fan account dedicated to tracking its “lit” status at night.
There have been many calls to “Save Superman” since Bank of America left the scene in 2013 (see what’s been going on since here), but no one has intervened so far. Without cape or tights, Governor Dan McKee, along with High Rock Development, the Rhode Island Foundation, the City of Providence, and other local and federal leaders, announced plans for the historic rehabilitation of 111 Westminster at a press conference on Wednesday.
Prior to the announcement, the Rhode Islanders were asking the important questions.
And many were excited for what was to come.
The anticipation was certainly justified. The conference, which took place exactly nine years to the day when the Superman Building first succumbed to its version of Kryptonite – outlined plans for a $220 million conversion of the iconic building into 285 residential apartments, 8,000 square feet of commercial office space and a mix of retail, event and community uses. 20% of the apartments will be dedicated to affordable housing, and High Rock Capital shared that they have also pledged to make a charitable contribution of $500,000 to Crossroads Rhode Island over a ten-year period after the project’s completion. In addition to attracting new residents and businesses to downtown, local leaders are also looking forward to the creation of nearly 1,600 construction jobs over the next two years. Demolition is expected to begin within the next six months.
“For many Rhode Islanders, the ‘Superman Building’ was a symbol of opportunity and hope”, Lt. Governor Sabina Matos said at the conference. “That’s why it’s so fitting that we make this announcement now as our local economy recovers, as we double down on our commitment to solving our housing crisis, and as our state continues to gain momentum. Our beloved “Superman Building” will once again shine on the skyline of our capital city and remind us all of what is possible when stakeholders work collaboratively and creatively to solve long-standing problems.
Reactions have been largely positive and welcoming to the Superman Building’s new purpose.
And I, for one, look forward to a definitive answer when visitors ask what this grand building is for on the way to town.