At Risk - Providence's Tallest Building

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The problem is the cost to modernize it and bring its systems up to date. The present owners and other possible development proposals are all looking for big state money handouts to subsidize them.
 

DBM

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The new governor is willing to tear it down if necessary. If this happens I personally promise to never return to Rhode Island.
Yes, and Buddy Cianci was willing to go to jail for what he believed in ... politicians make all sorts of grandstanding statements all time; why should we take this one seriously? The City got the back taxes it was owed--so everything can immediately revert back to the same status quo of the past

[checks notes]

nine years, since BofA departed for less Art Deco-y pastures.

Given how effortlessly inertia has reigned supreme here since 2012, why should we project anything other than that the present impasse will continue on for another nine years, easily?

After all, only two things are given here: with each passing month, the property deteriorates more, degrading its asset value. And as the deterioration intensifies, that hurdle is compounded by the inexorably increasing cost to retrofit/modernize.

Seven years ago, it was appraised as exactly worthless. Maybe now, as its decrepitude has intensfied in the intervening time, it can pull off the rare feat of being appraised at a negative valuation?
 

Blackbird

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Given how effortlessly inertia has reigned supreme here since 2012, why should we project anything other than that the present impasse will continue on for another nine years, easily?

After all, only two things are given here: with each passing month, the property deteriorates more, degrading its asset value. And as the deterioration intensifies, that hurdle is compounded by the inexorably increasing cost to retrofit/modernize.

Seven years ago, it was appraised as exactly worthless. Maybe now, as its decrepitude has intensfied in the intervening time, it can pull off the rare feat of being appraised at a negative valuation?
Are we talking about the Superman Building here or the state of Rhode Island? 🤔
 

theSil

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Now comes word that David Sweetser, the principal at High Rock Development, which bought the building for $33 million in 2008, is gearing up to make another request of the state. State Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor told The Public’s Radio last week that it involves “tens of millions of dollars in subsidy.”

“The project would literally add a neighborhood of approximately 450 residents downtown - adding vibrancy to the city’s core, preserving the acclaimed historic character of the capital city, as well as being transformational for Kennedy Plaza,” Fischer said in prepared statement. “The project would also include a designated public meeting space within the building’s grand banking hall.”

The Superman building’s owner is making another attempt to redevelop the property. Article says that the state government had previously wanted a big corporate office here, but covid has finally killed that dream.

In my mind, 450 residential units right downtown is probably the highest and best of use of this site. However, I’m skeptical that McGowan’s idea of setting aside 25% of units as affordable would pencil, given the huge amount of work that’ll be needed to rehab the structure. The city should just focus on minimizing the subsidy to the developer.
 

nicanbot

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I think a fair perspective at large. The intro is clickbate, the point on Fane limited, ongoing media points like this on McKee talking demolition lacking any nuance, but I think fair otherwise.
 

Shawmut

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Looks like the developer is making his proposal! 285 apartment units at ~$215 million, the project will be seeking state subsidies of $45 million and federal historic tax credits of an additional $22 million. In addition, the developer will be seeking a Tax Stabilization Agreement from Providence. Will soon find out how serious the city/state is about saving the building...
 

DZH22

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Looks like the developer is making his proposal! 285 apartment units at ~$215 million, the project will be seeking state subsidies of $45 million and federal historic tax credits of an additional $22 million. In addition, the developer will be seeking a Tax Stabilization Agreement from Providence. Will soon find out how serious the city/state is about saving the building...
The loser mentality of the people who post on that site always appalls me every time I go to the comments. Clearly those people have no pride in where they live.

I was thinking, what would be Boston's equivalent to tearing down this building? I'd say at minimum it would be like tearing down the Custom House Clock Tower, Old John Hancock Building, and John Hancock Tower, and maybe even more than that. Shockingly pathetic attitudes down there in Providence. Like I said, if this building is torn down, I will never return to the state, and go so far as to become an anti-Rhode Island activist and convince as many people as possible to never visit. Right now I do the opposite as Providence is still my 2nd favorite New England city. It will be dead to me if these losers on golocalprov get their way.

The same can be said about their attitudes towards the Fane tower. For a city that desperately needs an influx of money, they sure do everything they can to make sure they don't get it. No outside investor will want to touch the place if that tower is unable to get built. IMO it's the city's last chance (including the last chance to get the money needed to save Industrial Trust) and they are doing all they can to botch it. The people down there don't deserve the city, and are intent on ruining the place forever. If they can't save this landmark building, we can change the logo of Rhode Island to a pile of rubble.
 

theSil

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I'm confused as to where the discrepancy is coming from between the 450 units mentioned in the Globe and GoLocalProv pieces and the 285 units mentioned in the GoLocalProv headline.
 

theSil

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Shockingly pathetic attitudes down there in Providence
A lot of the state does seem pretty allergic to public subsidy here. Who woulda thunk that Curt Schilling might indirectly cause the Superman building's demise
 
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A lot of the state does seem pretty allergic to public subsidy here. Who woulda thunk that Curt Schilling might indirectly cause the Superman building's demise

He was indirectly responsible for losing the PawSox. There was less public support for subsidies of private entities after the Schilling 38 Studios disaster. The RI politicians at that time were crazy to provide an untried startup all that money in a volatile industry such as electronic gaming.
 
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nicanbot

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The loser mentality of the people who post on that site always appalls me every time I go to the comments. Clearly those people have no pride in where they live.

I was thinking, what would be Boston's equivalent to tearing down this building? I'd say at minimum it would be like tearing down the Custom House Clock Tower, Old John Hancock Building, and John Hancock Tower, and maybe even more than that. Shockingly pathetic attitudes down there in Providence. Like I said, if this building is torn down, I will never return to the state, and go so far as to become an anti-Rhode Island activist and convince as many people as possible to never visit. Right now I do the opposite as Providence is still my 2nd favorite New England city. It will be dead to me if these losers on golocalprov get their way.

The same can be said about their attitudes towards the Fane tower. For a city that desperately needs an influx of money, they sure do everything they can to make sure they don't get it. No outside investor will want to touch the place if that tower is unable to get built. IMO it's the city's last chance (including the last chance to get the money needed to save Industrial Trust) and they are doing all they can to botch it. The people down there don't deserve the city, and are intent on ruining the place forever. If they can't save this landmark building, we can change the logo of Rhode Island to a pile of rubble.
Yup - totally agree - golocal commenters are about as vile as the site's writers. Like the folks over at city data, I don't think most actually live in the city. Curmudgeons IMO.

Totally disagree on Fane though - something trash golocal folks are actually desperate for. That podium would totally destroy everything happening down there. There is a lot of building already happening.
 

DBM

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The loser mentality of the people who post on that site always appalls me every time I go to the comments. Clearly those people have no pride in where they live.

I was thinking, what would be Boston's equivalent to tearing down this building? I'd say at minimum it would be like tearing down the Custom House Clock Tower, Old John Hancock Building, and John Hancock Tower, and maybe even more than that. Shockingly pathetic attitudes down there in Providence. Like I said, if this building is torn down, I will never return to the state, and go so far as to become an anti-Rhode Island activist and convince as many people as possible to never visit. Right now I do the opposite as Providence is still my 2nd favorite New England city. It will be dead to me if these losers on golocalprov get their way.

The same can be said about their attitudes towards the Fane tower. For a city that desperately needs an influx of money, they sure do everything they can to make sure they don't get it. No outside investor will want to touch the place if that tower is unable to get built. IMO it's the city's last chance (including the last chance to get the money needed to save Industrial Trust) and they are doing all they can to botch it. The people down there don't deserve the city, and are intent on ruining the place forever. If they can't save this landmark building, we can change the logo of Rhode Island to a pile of rubble.
I don't doubt that the provincial rubes yakking away on GoLocalProv are exasperating, but this is so much hyperventilating nonsense and empty posturing. You're going to boycott a city that you admit is your "2nd favorite" in the entire region? No, of course you're not. Just like you're not going to expend any energy on trying to get your friends to boycott it.

[I mean, really: a friend of yours will mention to you that, say, they're going to visit the museum of America's most celebrated marine designer, and you'll reply, "oh no, you can't go to Bristol: you see, 15 miles north, the state has made some really stupid decisions regarding something that .... has absolutely no relation whatsoever to that, or any other well-known Rhode Island pastime, for that matter."]

As for "the city's last chance"--citation, please? Quite a pessimistic (if not lazy) assertion considering the following over the past 30 years:

--daylighting the Providence river; creating the Waterfire amphitheater and its assorted stupendous cultural/economic activation; relocating the train station (admittedly to a somewhat isolated part of downtown) and developing the Providence Mall (battered by Amazon and COVID, for sure, but it still looks pretty vibrant these days, and, on net, it's been a fantastic success, I have to think)

--demolishing I-195 and realigning--a move easily as transformative for downtown Providence as the Big Dig/Greenway was for Boston; freeing up acres of greenspace, creating the new pedestrian bridge connecting the parcels that used to be overshadowed by the old I-195 alignment. Huge success with redeveloping the parcels freed-up by the realignment, as epitomized by CIC Providence.

Every other New England city save Boston would be dying to be in such allegedly "last chance" straits....
 

DZH22

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I don't doubt that the provincial rubes yakking away on GoLocalProv are exasperating, but this is so much hyperventilating nonsense and empty posturing. You're going to boycott a city that you admit is your "2nd favorite" in the entire region? No, of course you're not. Just like you're not going to expend any energy on trying to get your friends to boycott it.
You don't know me at all. A city that intentionally demolishes its tallest building, in particular an irreplaceable prewar (1928!!!) building, is going to be dead to me. I couldn't bear to see the city without it; it would probably make me physically ill. Frankly, it's not like Rhode Island is "on the way" to anywhere else. It's an easy state to skip. I would never return to Providence. I have traveled there many times (about 2-4 times annually) and with a handful of people, and shilled it to a handful more. All of that would end, full stop. There are plenty of other places that deserve a shot at my time and my money.
 

shawn

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I could never quit Pastiche, even if the Superman goes. Better cannoli than anywhere in MA.
 

MrDee12345

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You don't know me at all. A city that intentionally demolishes its tallest building, in particular an irreplaceable prewar (1928!!!) building, is going to be dead to me. I couldn't bear to see the city without it; it would probably make me physically ill. Frankly, it's not like Rhode Island is "on the way" to anywhere else. It's an easy state to skip. I would never return to Providence. I have traveled there many times (about 2-4 times annually) and with a handful of people, and shilled it to a handful more. All of that would end, full stop. There are plenty of other places that deserve a shot at my time and my money.
You could always just drive through the state but not spend any money. That way you can add to the air pollution and traffic, but do nothing for their economy :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

DBM

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You don't know me at all. A city that intentionally demolishes its tallest building, in particular an irreplaceable prewar (1928!!!) building, is going to be dead to me. I couldn't bear to see the city without it; it would probably make me physically ill. Frankly, it's not like Rhode Island is "on the way" to anywhere else. It's an easy state to skip. I would never return to Providence. I have traveled there many times (about 2-4 times annually) and with a handful of people, and shilled it to a handful more. All of that would end, full stop. There are plenty of other places that deserve a shot at my time and my money.
RE: RI not being "on the way" to anywhere else: apparently I-95, which in the past had a 45-mile traverse through RI, must have been miraculously (scandalously?) realigned overnight such that it now avoids RI entirely and no longer tethers it firmly within the Washington DC-to-Boston megalopolis that is the densest and wealthiest corridor in the nation (with all the attendant economic benefits that showers upon the whole stretch). Too bad and unlucky for Lil' Rhody!

Also, it seems like you're conflating Providence with Rhode Island here. Yes, in many ways RI "feels" like a city-state, given Providence's extreme dominance over its culture & economy... and Buddy Cianci may have certainly wished that it was... but it's not.
 

DZH22

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RE: RI not being "on the way" to anywhere else: apparently I-95, which in the past had a 45-mile traverse through RI, must have been miraculously (scandalously?) realigned overnight such that it now avoids RI entirely and no longer tethers it firmly within the Washington DC-to-Boston megalopolis that is the densest and wealthiest corridor in the nation (with all the attendant economic benefits that showers upon the whole stretch). Too bad and unlucky for Lil' Rhody!
Unless you are on the South Shore (I'm not), 90 to 84 is always faster to get to NYC and beyond than sticking to 95 through RI. Literally the only reason to take that route is if you specifically wanted to see Providence. Outside of Providence, the rest of the state has little to offer that can't be found in other areas of New England. I hated my time in Newport, am scared to death of the Mount Hope Bridge, found Cranston, Woonsocket, and the other smaller places I have been through to be meh... Trustom Pond was cool enough but, again, there's a lot of cool shoreline in New England. Rhode Island can be easily skipped. In fact, I think I might have been 18 the first time I went, that's how easy it is to live here and not go there.
 
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Unless you are on the South Shore (I'm not), 90 to 84 is always faster to get to NYC and beyond than sticking to 95 through RI. Literally the only reason to take that route is if you specifically wanted to see Providence. Outside of Providence, the rest of the state has little to offer that can't be found in other areas of New England. I hated my time in Newport, am scared to death of the Mount Hope Bridge, found Cranston, Woonsocket, and the other smaller places I have been through to be meh... Trustom Pond was cool enough but, again, there's a lot of cool shoreline in New England. Rhode Island can be easily skipped. In fact, I think I might have been 18 the first time I went, that's how easy it is to live here and not go there.

You are missing hidden gems like Bristol, Watch Hill-Westerly, Wickford, Jamestown, and East Greenwich.
 

Shawmut

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From the Governor:

McKee said an ask of $40 million in state help is too much.

“I have not heard a high subsidy reason to get involved with the Superman building at the moment,” McKee said.

“I think on a project like that, the ownership needs to put skin in the game. We’re not against certain levels of participation from the state level, if the project makes sense. I just haven’t seen a presentation yet that makes sense to go all in the way we’re being asked at this time,” the governor added.

Seems like a no for McKee as it stands now...
 

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