real estate

Bank of America to vacate ‘Superman’ building

BANK OF AMERICA is pulling its workforce out of the 111 Westminster St. by early next year, leaving the landmark downtown office tower vacant, the banking giant said Tuesday.
Posted 1/31/12

PROVIDENCE – Bank of America is pulling its work force out of the 111 Westminster St. by early next year, leaving the landmark downtown office tower vacant, the banking giant said Tuesday.

The sole tenant of the 26-story structure known locally as the "Superman" building, Bank of America will move its workers to other office space in Providence in a “phased” consolidation to be completed by April 2013, company spokesman T.J. Crawford said.

Bank of America currently uses less than half of the office space in the 350,000-square-foot Superman building while also leasing space in nearby buildings including 100 Westminster St., 1 Financial Plaza and 1 Citizens Plaza.

The company, which has been downsizing nationally since the recession, had made no secret of its intention to streamline its operations in Providence and has declined an option that expired Tuesday to renew its lease in 111 Westminster St.

“This was a decision that any responsible company would make,” Crawford said. “This decision was not based on any head count reduction.”

In addition to moving workers to offices in Providence where the company already leases space, Bank of America is also looking for an additional 50,000-square feet of space for remaining workers leaving the Superman building.

The company is also moving the retail bank branch on the ground floor of 111 Westminster to another nearby location, Crawford said.

State and local leaders have reached out to Bank of America to try to keep the company in at least part of the Superman building, but Crawford said there is “no possibility” that the company will keep a presence there.

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Followup questions:

1. What have the building owner and political leaders done to rehabilitate the building or locate other, more modern office space for the bank?

2. Given its very dated design using small spaces interrupted by walls and immovable columns, is the building usable for any present-day purpose? If not, then -- despite its iconic status -- should it be demolished for the good of downtown?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | Report this
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