‘Superman’ tops Gizmodo list of top five ‘zombie towers’

The Industrial Trust Tower, Rhode Island’s tallest and perhaps most infamous building, headed a Gizmodo list of the top five “zombie towers” in mid-sized U.S. cities. More

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‘Superman’ tops Gizmodo list of top five ‘zombie towers’

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GIZMODO HAS NAMED Rhode Island's "Superman Building" the No. 1 "zombie tower" in a mid-size U.S. city, in a list that also included vacant or foreclosed skyscrapers in Buffalo, N.Y., Macon, Ga., San Jose, Calif., and St. Louis.
Posted 11/22/13

PROVIDENCE – The Industrial Trust Tower, Rhode Island’s tallest and perhaps most infamous building, has the dubious honor of topping a Gizmodo list of the top five “zombie towers” in mid-sized U.S. cities.

The 1927 art deco building, also known as the Superman Building, has stood vacant since April 12, when former tenant Bank of America Corp. moved out of the 26-story tower at 111 Westminster St.

The Gizmodo article cited a recent New York Times article in which Paul Almeida, the building’s chief engineer, described a peregrine falcon roosting outside a window as “the only tenant we have.”

“Tall buildings are economic bellwethers: Evidence suggests they tend to rise just before recessions, and they’re the first to proverbially fall when the bubble bursts,” said the Gizmodo article. “Some are newly vacant, others have sat empty for years — but, either way, in these smaller cities the economic impact of a single building is much larger.”

High Rock Westminster Street LLC, which owns the Industrial Trust Tower, filed a lawsuit in July against Bank of America for allegedly leaving the building with “crumbling facades, corroded window frames and obsolete building systems.” High Rock is asking for more than $23.6 million in deferred maintenance plus ongoing reimbursements for lost rent.

Earlier this year, High Rock proposed converting the tower into apartments, but the developer’s request for at least $70 million in state, federal and city aid fell flat.

The other U.S. “zombie towers” named on the Gizmodo list were One Seneca Tower in Buffalo, N.Y., Ramada Plaza in Macon, Ga., Riverpark II in San Jose, Calif., and Roberts Tower in St. Louis.

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