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Hasbro HQ Proposal Could Land Providence New Tallest Tower And Demolish Superman

Boston Office
The Superman Building in downtown Providence, R.I., has sat dormant since 2013.

Several real estate developers are vying to build toy company Hasbro a consolidated Rhode Island headquarters, but only one would bring life to the site of a much-maligned downtown Providence eyesore.

Paolino Properties and Gilbane Development are proposing a 36-story tower for Hasbro on the site of the vacant Superman Building. The skyscraper would be demolished in favor of a new tower.

The toy company, which has been in talks to acquire rival Mattel, employs 1,600 people in Rhode Island, Go Local Prov reports. It had been reported to be exploring options for its corporate headquarters, including renovating its Pawtucket campus or relocating elsewhere in the state. Hasbro also has an office in downtown Providence at 1 Hasbro Place. 

The 428-foot Superman Building, formally known as 111 Westminster St., became vacant shortly after Bank of America announced in 2012 it would not renew its lease. Both the city and state have since explored how to rehabilitate it. Paolino Properties Managing Partner and former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino Jr. told Bisnow in September the building had become a symbol to the city and “the big thing Providence needs downtown is for that building to get occupied.” 

Total demolition is a departure from earlier plans. Paolino owns an adjacent parking lot to Superman and worked with the tower’s owner, High Rock Development, to pitch the combined site to Citizens Bank when it was looking for a new corporate headquarters in 2014. The proposal called for a new tower on the Paolino lot and rehabilitation for Superman. Citizens instead decided to build a corporate campus in Johnston, Rhode Island. 

The new tower proposal could be cost-effective, as it has previously been estimated to cost as much as $115M to rehabilitate the dormant skyscraper. High Rock bought it for $33.2M in 2008. 

Paolino and Gilbane Development Chairman and CEO Robert Gilbane declined to comment for this story.