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RI Leaders and Experts React To Hasbro Tower Proposal and Demolition of Superman Building

On Monday afternoon, GoLocal broke the story that two of the mega-forces in real estate development and construction teamed up and presented Hasbro with a plan to consolidate the entertainment and toy company’s three major Rhode Island locations into one ...

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Prev Next Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello This space is very important to the continued growth and development of the economy in our state and city.  I always appreciate economic development proposals, and should this one advance further, I look forward to reviewing and analyzing it closely. Prev Next Will Morgan, Leading Architectural Critic The proposed 36-story glass box for Hasbro on the site of the Industrial Trust Building is a terrible idea on so many levels. As is all too typical in contemporary Providence, this idea is only about Property Development–only about dollars, square footage, trashing history for a quick profitWhere is the discussion of architecture, of inspired city planning, of encouraging innovative design, of enriching the city’s spirit? Imagination is also lacking in the assumption that the so-called Superman Building cannot be savedWhat a tired litany! Too many cities have lost major landmarks that defined them because they lacked the will and the imagination to take on the challenge of rehabilitating an outstanding work of architectureWe can no longer call ourselves the “Creative Capital” if we are unwilling to expend the creative capital to save that treasure. If Providence really wants to attract people and companies, then it needs to ditch its tired let’s-build-it-and-aesthetics-and-good-planning-be-damned philosophyA truly smart city would see that rehabilitating the Industrial Trust and combining it with first-rate design is not only possible but to be expected. Prev Next Senate President Dominick Ruggerio I welcome news of this potential major investment in downtown Providence, and look forward to learning more about the proposal. Prev Next Bradley PDorman, Managing Partner, WhaleRock Point Partners, LLC We would be 100% behind the Hasbro dealIt would reinvigorate the downtown community so I am all for itGreat for RI!!   . Prev Next U.SSenate Candidate Bob Flanders I think this would be an exciting development for Providence and the state if this were to happenThe Superman building is irreversibly outdated and, given the impractical high cost of trying to modernize such a structure, it needs to be demolished, in my opinionIf this project were to proceed, then it would convert what is now a white elephant into a modern facility housing one of RI's iconic businessesMore importantly, it would catalyze further development and business activity in Providence's downtown area, reversing a long slide and lamentable hollowing out of our central commercial district. Prev Next David Brussat, Architectural Critic Paolino’s proposal makes perfect sense in the context of Providence’s recent development historyThe policy of the current and recent mayors seems to be this: Tear down everything that represents the city’s venerable brand and replace it with anything that can be relied upon to weaken its brand. Hey! Sounds like a plan! This plan has a pedigree that reaches back to the Vietnam War: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” For those shaking their heads in wonder, yes, Providence has already traveled down that roadThe Downtown Providence 1970 Plan, announced in 1960, proposed demolishing the city’s beauty and replacing it with uglinessPure urban removalFortunately, only Cathedral Square and Westminster Mall were builtThe former, though the brainchild of modernist icon I.MPei, remains dead spaceAs for the latter, Paolino himself deserves a lot of credit, as mayor in the 1980s, for removing the failed pedestrian mall, which was just as ugly as Cathedral Square, and replacing it with a street that can sit alongside many of Europe’s finest for beauty and civility.   Prev Next House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, Candidate for Governor I love the fact that we have preserved so many of the architectural treasures of our state’s historyIt makes our cities unique, beautiful and livableSo it’s not easy to say, tear down the old Industrial Trust BuildingRhode Islanders have good memories of the “Superman Building’ in its glory daysFilled with workers, it was an economic engine for our stateIts beacon proclaimed its financial clout across the horizonSadly, it has been empty for 4 years now, and instead of delivering economic vitality, it is a drag on downtown ProvidenceMy understanding is, that the interior, designed 90 years ago, is no longer conducive to the work environments that are needed by today’s companiesIt would be extraordinarily expense to renovate the building to today’s standards. Having Hasbro fill the void would be a strong stimulus for a beleaguered downtown district and the commerce it spurs in the area just from being filled again with employees and visitors would undoubtedly lead to additional jobs in the surrounding areaI think it’s great news that two real estate powerhouses, Gilbane Development and Paolino Properties, have been diligently working to find a path towards that goalAnd that other developers are also interestedWhether they restore the existing building, which given the challenges seems unlikely, or demolish it and build a new building, it can only be a positive improvement for ProvidenceI am thankful that Hasbro’s commitment to Rhode Island is so strongIt really is commendable.   Prev Next Providence Preservation Society Whether the Industrial Trust Building has monetary value *may* be up for debate, but it is undeniable that it is among the most valuable buildings in Downtown Providence for MANY other reasons, among them embodied energy, craftsmanship, high quality materials, architectural beauty and interest, etcLet's get Hasbro to build in downtown Providence, but let's use some of the parking lots that we have so many of...and build parking into the buildingThat's what cities do when they improveNot tear down iconsWe call on Jorge Elorza and Gina Raimondo to help find a suitable place for Hasbro in our Downtown.   Prev Next Saul Kaplan, Founder and Chief Catalyst of Business Innovation Factory I like the sound of Hasbro TowerDon’t look now, but Rhode Island may be starting to believe in itself! A new Hasbro headquarters downtown is a game changer which will help transform Rhode Island’s skyline and economyIt’s wonderful to see local companies like Hasbro and CVS Health playing offense and positioned as the innovators reshaping their industries.  Prev Next Aaron Renn, Urbanist at the Manhattan Institute The Superman Building is clearly a challenging situation for ProvidenceBut it's also a signature historic structure that can never be recreated if lostHistoric architecture is part of what gives Providence its unique characterGiven the availability of other sites for any Hasbro HQ, it's not clear why demolition is a card the city needs to playI would prefer to see the Superman building mothballed until redevelopment makes sense, though I recognize that there may be limits to what can be done to save it.   Prev Next Bob Burke, Owner of Pot Au Feu Restaurant Let’s play a little Monopoly - Downtown Providence Edition. As a lover of our iconic architecture, it would be great to see the new building built on the parking lot site where 110 Westminster was going to be builtThe engineering work worth millions has been done and millions in demo cost tearing down Superman would be saved.  Superman would then be viable as a micro residence site for workers attracted by the creative power of Hasbro - that’s a win-win-win. Monopoly Downtown - it’s all about landing on the right spot.     Prev Next Ray Rickman, Founder of Stages of Freedom That building is a symbol of Providence -- in spite of all its problems, it's enormously elegant, it's the skyline.  I'm slow to think it should come down. Having said that, I saw the rendering (which remember are usually 50% better than how they'll look), it looks glamorous, and would create a whole new skylineSometimes you have to move forward.  So at first blush I'm opposed, but if it's not going to cost the public -- and it's truly a private development -- and it could be, this isn't being done on spec -- I'm not opposed to considering it.    Prev Next       Related Articles UPDATED: Plan to Build Hasbro Headquarters in Providence—Demo Superman Building RI Leaders and Experts React To Hasbro Tower Proposal and Demolition of Superman Building Restaurateur Burke: Build Hasbro HQ Across Street from Superman EXCLUSIVE: Hasbro Looking at Superman Building to Create Providence Campus Did Pawtucket Chase the Wrong Ball — Memorial, Gamm, and Potentially Hasbro All Gone Rhode Island’s Hasbro Ranked 2nd Best Corporate Citizen in U.S. Did Hasbro’s Verrecchia Have a Conflict When He Voted to Fund $75M to 38 Studios Hasbro Ranked 1st on 2017 100 Best Corporate Citizens List Hasbro IncRanks as Most Community Minded Company in America RI Comic Con, Hasbro Spar Over Marvel Comics Icon Stan Lee’s “Last New England Appearance” Hasbro, IncAnnounces Earnings of $175.76 Million EXCLUSIVE: Citizens Bank Looking at Superman Building for Corporate Headquarters PODCAST: Citizens Bank Looking at Superman Building for Corporate Headquarters Superman Developer Asking for Tens of Millions in Subsidies Again Take a Tour of the Superman Building GoLocalTV: RI Leaders Make Case for Saving Superman Building Senate Republicans Oppose Rehab of Superman Building Using Taxpayer Funds Superman Building Has Zero Value, Appraisal Shows NEW: Block Calls Superman Deal “Kryptonite” for RI Will New Superman Building Proposal Stand Chance for Success? Guest MINDSETTER™ Steve Durkee: Why Providence Needs Superman New Proposal: Ten of Millions of Taxpayer Funds for Superman Bldg Can Providence Survive More Apartments in Superman Building? Public Tours of Superman Scheduled to Build Support - UPDATED Bob Whitcomb’s Digital Diary: Superman Building, Mike Pence and Hillary Commerce’s Pryor Announces Program Expansion, Talks 195, Superman, and PawSox Robert Whitcomb’s Digital Diary: Greedy-Boomer Bathos and Last Chance Superman What is the Status of Superman Building? Bill Fischer Updates GoLocal LIVE Will 3 Towers on 195 Land Kill Superman Building’s Future for Residential? If PayPal Comes to RI, Superman Building Not Likely High Wire Act: Women Investigate Superman Building New Round of Superman Building Tour Dates Announced   Enjoy this post? Share it with others. 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