PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With costs rising to redevelop the Superman building in downtown Providence, current and former elected officials are split on whether the massive project should receive more taxpayer support.

It’s been nearly one year since state leaders rolled out a plan to redevelop the state’s tallest building. The price tag of the project was $220 million at the time. But developer High Rock spokesperson Bill Fischer said last week costs have since increased.

He declined to provide an exact estimate, but confirmed the developer has been meeting with state and local leaders in recent weeks, including Gov. Dan McKee, Commerce Secretary Liz Tanner, Housing Secretary Stefan Pryor and Providence Mayor Brett Smiley.

The deal is already poised to receive upward of $65 million in federal, state and city funding, along with a $29 million tax break for the first 30 years. News about the possibility of the project needing even more public funding has sparked debate across the state, splitting those who want to see the iconic building redeveloped and others who oppose providing more taxpayer money.

Former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino tells 12 News he supports the state’s efforts to renovate the vacant skyscraper. He said state and city leaders should do whatever it takes to make it happen.

“We’re in very challenging times in regards to the finances for projects to be done,” he explained.

Paolino stressed that the Superman building, which is next door to some of his own commercial property downtown, is “a historic building in our state, not just Providence.”

Fischer said the developer is looking into how much of the increased cost it can bear internally, suggesting they would likely need public money to cover the gap.

Paolino suggested the city and state should shift taxpayer support previously earmarked for the now-failed Fane Tower project to subsidize part of the increased costs tied to rising interest rate realized by the Superman building developer. High Rock has pointed to the Federal Reserve repeated decision to hike short-term interest rates as exacerbating costs.

“I think they have to, and what they should probably do is take the $25 million they were going to allocate for Fane and use it for the Superman building,” Paolino said. “Whatever makes sense, you’ve got to make happen.”

Earlier this month, Fane Tower developer Jason Fane pulled the plug on plans to build a residential skyscraper in downtown Providence. The tower would have been the state’s tallest building, stealing the title from the Superman building at 111 Westminster Street.

State Sen. Sam Bell, a Providence Democrat, has long criticized the project. He argued that converting the historic structure from office space into apartments is not cost-effective and state leaders should reconsider the entire deal.

“In order to make the math make sense, you need an absurd level of public subsidy,” Bell said. “The project fundamentally does not make sense.”

“It’s ridiculous and it is wasting public money,” he added. “I hope this project fails … and maybe then we can do a real project and reopen the building.”

Fischer tells 12 News the developer remains optimistic that the project will move forward as planned, even with the price hike.

The Superman building project returned to the spotlight shortly after the state hit the pause button on $27 million of bonds to help build the 10,000-seat minor-league soccer stadium currently underway alongside the Seekonk River in Pawtucket.

Eli Sherman contributed to this report.