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By PBN Staff
By PBN Staff
PROVIDENCE – Scaffolding has been erected on the Westminster Street side of 111 Westminster St., also known as the Superman Building, as the owner, High Rock Westminster Street LLC inspects the façade of the historic 26-story art deco tower with an eye to needed repairs.
High Rock spokesman William Fischer said that the structure covers the sidewalk below to facilitate inspecting the lower part of the building, but also is in place for “public safety.”
“The owner is taking the responsible course of action,” Fischer said, noting that chips off the stone work have fallen to the sidewalk and street as the façade suffers from the effects of exposure to the elements.
High Rock has sued former tenant Bank of America, asking for more than $23.6 million in damages, alleging the bank left the building with “crumbling facades, corroded window frames and obsolete building systems.”
In a ruling earlier this month, U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith dismissed a counterclaim by Bank of America on one piece of the suit that claimed Bank of America owed hold-over rent because it failed to remove furnishings, equipment and other property following the April 2013 expiration of the lease for the tower. In November, Bank of America had agreed to pay High Rock $350,000 to remove the property and later claimed that that payment made the hold-over rent claim null. Smith has allowed the rest of the suit to move forward.
Fischer said that High Rock is inspecting the exterior of the building to determine how much work needs to be done to “protect the building’s integrity” and how much it will cost. The developer expects to begin the repair work this year, although since a report has not yet been issued, the details are not settled yet.
The future of the building is not clear, as High Rock has tried to develop support for some public investment to help redevelop the iconic property.