Superman Building Deal is a Super Bad Bailout

Recently, Governor Dan McKee and other politicians announced a plan to redevelop the “Superman” building in downtown Providence into primarily an apartment complex with 285 units. The apartment complex will include 57 units for “affordable housing.” The overall project will cost over $220 million. To pay for this project, taxpayers will need to spend about $65 million. Rhode Island taxpayers will spend $26 million. Providence taxpayers will spend $15 million. Taxpayers at the federal level will spend $24 million. High Rock Development the owner of the “Superman” building bought the property for $33.2 million in 2008. The property is currently assessed at $14.2 million.
The Rhode Island Republican Party released the following statement:
“What a waste of taxpayer money. Taxpayers are spending about four and half times more on a building than it is actually worth. In total, taxpayers will spend $65 million for 285 apartments of which 57 of them will be for affordable housing units.  Therefore, taxpayers are spending about $1.1 million per affordable housing apartment. This is an incredibly poor use of taxpayer money. By comparison, Governor McKee has proposed spending $90 million in federal funds to create and maintain 1,500 affordable housing units, or $60,000 per affordable housing unit.
Even more absurd is the fact that the City of Providence is planning to spend $15 million to bail out the Superman building. Meanwhile, Providence leaders are at the State House begging for permission to borrow $515 million in the hopes of bailing out their own pension fund.
Why are we wasting so much taxpayer money on the Superman building? Is it to bail out a real estate developer who made a bad decision? Is it because some politicians think wasting millions in taxpayer money on a dilapidated building will help them get reelected? Regardless of the real reason, the taxpayers will be stuck paying for the tallest, most expensive government-subsidized apartment complex in Rhode Island history.
The Superman building was once a symbol of Rhode Island’s private sector economic prowess. Now it will become a symbol of a wasteful government bailout.”