Senate Republicans oppose taxpayer-funded rehab of ‘Superman’ building
STATE HOUSE – The Senate Republican caucus today announced their concern with authorizing public funding for the rehabilitation of the “Superman” building in downtown Providence.
“At this time, the taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for a project they know nothing about,” said Senator Nicholas D. Kettle, (R-Dist. 21, Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich). “We recognize the importance of this building to Providence and the overall image of Rhode Island and support efforts to get this building back on line. But we need to do a proper and thorough vetting of any public money that is used here.”
The caucus, like all Rhode Islanders, are eager to see 111 Westminster Street repurposed. But there is deep concern about the type and amount of taxpayer money that could be used for the project.
“The owner should have done their due diligence and known the costs that would be associated with rehabilitating this building when they purchased the iconic building” the caucus said. “We look forward to seeing the building revitalized, but the taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook to get the lights turned back on.”
“If it were a stable company that wanted to come in, like GE, and renovate the building themselves, we would be more open to considering using taxpayer money. But without the promise of jobs and a specific tenant for the building, we need to be very careful about just blindly handing out Rhode Islanders’ money to a developer,” said Senator Elaine J. Morgan, (R-Dist. 34, Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich).
“The taxpayers should not be forced into a partnership to develop an apartment building. Taxpayers bear risk, millions in cost and no upside,” said Senator John A. Pagliarini Jr. (R-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton). “Stefan Pryor testified before the Senate Finance Committee that the project is eligible for many grant programs, including $15,000,000 from the Governor’s proposed Budget that was submitted months ago.”
Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere, (R-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown), Mark W. Gee (R-Dist. 35, East Greenwich, Narragansett, North Kingstown, South Kingstown) and Edward J. O’Neill (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield) make up the remainder of the Republican caucus.
For more information, contact:
Katie Haughey Cardoza, Senate Minority Office
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903