PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — One day after lawmakers and officials reignited a push to restore Providence’s tallest building, Senate Republicans are expressing concern over using taxpayer dollars for a project they say they know nothing about.
The Superman building on Westminster Street has been empty for years.
There is now a push to get it back open and a push back from state Republicans on how to pay for it, before the plan to save the Superman building takes flight.
Senate Republicans say they have concerns about using taxpayer money to rehab the building.
“Effectively, the developer is attempting to transfer his risk to the taxpayers,” said Republican Senator John Pagliarini, who represents District 11.
“I think the taxpayers don’t want it,” he added. “I don’t think that if you were to take a poll that anybody wants to support the use of state tax dollars for the use of a private developer anymore.”
Representatives for the building’s owners say they’ll need about $39 million in state support to make the empty building a new home for apartments and office spaces.
One of the worries for developers is the fact that the longer they wait, the more it could cost to repair the building.
“We’ll I mean, that’s probable. Personally, I’m a land use attorney so I understand the arguments,” said Pagliarini. “But it comes down to the due diligence when they purchase the building they had a plan. You just don’t go investing that kind of money without knowing what you’re going to do and having the resources to do it.”
A representative for the building’s owners says there first needs to be specific legislation on how to pay for the building before they continue with the debate.