We get it, already. The Superman Building is vacant and it’s a shame. This important, iconic, symbolic building that “resembles the Daily Planet building that Superman leapt over in the 1950s television series” remains as a huge reminder that our state’s economy is failing.
Thank you, reporter from the New York Times, for allowing every hipster in the nation think that our state’s only gleam of hope is the restoration of one downtown building.
While the argument for converting this 428-foot skyscraper in downtown Providence into 280 rental apartments seems like a sound idea, it really doesn’t and people aren’t buying it. This project would’ve been underway already if taxpayers really thought this was a good idea. Not just for their wallets, but for the future of the state as well.
The common wisdom circulating the media on this topic is that taxpayers are simply afraid to take on another gamble, and shouldn’t be their responsibility to bail out the developer. While this is very much true, here’s another reason…
According to this article, the economic impact analysis provided by the developer predicts this venture (worth an estimated $75 million in public funds) would generate an estimated $159 million for its construction, and 1,095 full-time jobs for the 30 months it would take to finish this project.
Does 30 months of 1,095 full-time employees mean long-term job employment? Doesn’t sound like it. Once those 30 months are up, the private owners will hire a small team to manage the excessive demands of its tenants, and that’s about it. Sure, they’ll hire a plumbing company once or twice but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Additionally, more and more renters are looking to neighboring cities and states to live in. Why? Because the economy doesn’t support the lifestyle of downtown living for many people.
As Mayor Taveras once said: “A city is more than just one building”. So let’s stop romanticizing the idea that this one building contains the path towards our state’s economic salvation.