City Council Approves 1st Passage of 30 Year Tax Agreement for Superman Building

Oct 20, 2022 | 0 comments

Superman building

Providence, RI – Tonight, city councilors passed, for the first time on a vote of 11 to 1 (with 3 councilors abstaining), a 30-year tax stabilization agreement (TSA) ordinance between the city and High Rock Westminster Street LLC, the owner of 111 Westminster Street (also known as the Superman building in downtown Providence). The TSA is one component of a $223 million public-private partnership project, which includes the City of Providence, the Providence City Council, the State of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, Rhode Island Foundation, and Rhode Island Housing.

 “I want to thank my council colleagues who had the vision and political fortitude to pass this TSA tonight,” said Council President John Igliozzi (Ward 7). “For 26 years on the City Council, I have championed TSAs and tax treaties as tools for the city to turn empty lots and boarded-up buildings into new mixed-use spaces, businesses, and apartments. The Superman building will embody the spirit of a new beginning in downtown Providence. The redevelopment of this iconic but sadly dormant building will revitalize our capital city, encourage more investment, and create opportunities for all of us,” said Igliozzi.

 Councilman John Goncalves (Ward 1) added: “Ultimately, these redevelopment plans will further stimulate our local economy, reinvigorate our downtown, and further build up this growing and vibrant residential and commercial neighborhood. The long term returns will be enormous and certainly a step up from a seemingly frail downtown that hasn’t quite realized its potential.”

 The proposed project is expected to create 1,600 construction jobs, with a goal of hiring 20% minority and women-owned businesses. Plans call for 285 residential apartments, with 20% of the units deed restricted as affordable. The building owner has committed to a mix of retail and community space in the Grand Banking Hall, opening the building’s doors to all. The TSA ordinance will come before the full council for a second passage next month.  A copy of the agreement is posted here.

TSA for Former Providence Journal building

Councilors approved for first passage a 20-year tax stabilization agreement ordinance for 203 Westminster Street, which sits in the space of the old Providence Journal building and Kresge’s department store. The proposed “Hive Life” would become 124 apartments next to city hall. The agreement can be seen here.

 Councilor Salvatore proposes new safety & security guidelines at housing developments for seniors and persons with disabilities

Councilor David Salvatore (Ward 14) introduced amendments to Ordinance 38643 “Security Development for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities,” increasing fines for landlords who refuse to comply with safety and security requirements. The amendment would also require property owners to maintain on-site security personnel and register a point of contact to be located in the City.

“During the last several months, I have observed firsthand the unsafe conditions that some of our residents are forced to live in, said Councilor Salvatore,”. “With these new measures, I hope that certain property owners and landlords will be motivated to follow the law and protect the health and safety of our city’s most vulnerable residents.”

The original ordinance was sponsored by Councilor Salvatore and was initially passed by the City Council on May 20, 2021. In it, strict requirements were approved that require property owners to implement and maintain security plans in developments that house seniors and persons with disabilities.

“We have a moral obligation to implement safety measures that keep our elderly and disabled residents safe. It’s unacceptable that not one of these private or public developments has adhered to the ordinance that was enacted more than a year ago. We all have a responsibility to ensure that vulnerable residents are safely housed. I am disappointed that amendments have to be approved by the City Council to achieve these results, said Salvatore.”  

Currently, landlords found in violation of the ordinance have 30 days to make changes. After that period, property owners and landlords are subject to a $150 fine per day. The new amendment would increase the daily fine to $500. Councilor Salvatore is calling on the Department of Public Safety to enforce the original ordinance and impose fines on any landlord that is non-compliant with the law.