PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s tallest building will light up the Providence skyline once again this holiday season, as its owner prepares to renovate the long-vacant tower.
State leaders announced earlier this year a $223 million redevelopment plan for the so-called “Superman” building, with government subsidies helping offset the cost to High Rock Development, the building’s owner. The Providence City Council recently approved a 30-year tax break for the property.
12 News first noticed last week that the Westminster Street high-rise’s exterior lights had been turned back on. The building has been dark for much of the time since its last tenant, Bank of America, moved out in 2013.
The decision to illuminate the high-rise was made to show appreciation for those who supported “the proposal that will bring the Superman building back to life,” High Rock Development Principal David Sweetster said in a statement Monday.
“It just seemed appropriate to light the building at this time of year as a small gesture of gratitude,” Sweetster said.
The exterior lights will remain on through the month of December as the developers finalize financing, prepare building plans and survey for demolition. The redevelopment plan calls for the structure to become a mixed-use building with 285 apartments, which will rent for prices estimated at $1,384 to $5,287 a month.
The redevelopment plan also includes carving out retail space in the “grand banking hall” on the ground floor.
High Rock Development was supposed to begin demolition roughly five months after the redevelopment plan was approved.
Asked Monday why that hadn’t happened yet, Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Liz Tanner said the extensive renovations are a huge undertaking.
“There’s a whole lot of work that needs to be done,” Tanner said during a live interview on 12 News at 4. “We’re continuing to work that out and make sure it’s the best building it can possibly be.”