Bank of America Building (Providence)

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111 Westminster Street
Providence-first impression.jpg
General information
LocationKennedy Plaza, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Coordinates41°49′28″N 71°24′39″W / 41.824553°N 71.410696°W / 41.824553; -71.410696Coordinates: 41°49′28″N 71°24′39″W / 41.824553°N 71.410696°W / 41.824553; -71.410696
Construction started1925
Completed1928
OwnerHigh Rock Development
Height
Roof428 ft (130 m)
Design and construction
ArchitectWalker & Gillette, George Frederick Hall
DeveloperIndustrial Trust Company
 
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111 Westminster Street
Providence-first impression.jpg
General information
LocationKennedy Plaza, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Coordinates41°49′28″N 71°24′39″W / 41.824553°N 71.410696°W / 41.824553; -71.410696Coordinates: 41°49′28″N 71°24′39″W / 41.824553°N 71.410696°W / 41.824553; -71.410696
Construction started1925
Completed1928
OwnerHigh Rock Development
Height
Roof428 ft (130 m)
Design and construction
ArchitectWalker & Gillette, George Frederick Hall
DeveloperIndustrial Trust Company

111 Westminster Street[1] (formerly the Bank of America Building, and commonly referred to as the Superman Building) is the tallest building in the city of Providence and the state of Rhode Island, and the 28th tallest in New England.[2] Standing at 428 feet (130 m) and comprising 26 floors, it was the third tallest building in New England when completed, behind the Travelers Tower in Hartford, Connecticut,[3] and the Custom House Tower in Boston.[4][verification needed][5]

History[edit]

The building was built as the Industrial Trust Tower in 1927[6] and designed in the Art Deco style popular at the time. Though stepped buildings in New York City had been a common solution for Manhattan's strict zoning policies regarding adequate light and air, there were no such restrictions in Providence; nevertheless, New York architects Walker & Gillette chose to keep symmetrical stepped massing. The base and the trim at the base's top were built to match the cornice height of existing adjacent (now gone) four-story buildings.[5] The building has remained relatively unchanged over the years with the exception of the lobby, the upper windows and several stone eagles at the top of the tower on the light beacon, which were removed decades ago after an eagle fell to the street below.

From nightfall until midnight, the building's peak has traditionally been lit a bright blue (red and green at Christmas, red for Valentine's Day). On April 7, 2013, however, Bank of America, the building's last tenant, announced its intention to vacate the space and plans for future lighting of the empty tower remained in the dark. Bank of America officially left in March of 2013, leaving the Providence landmark dark for the foreseeable future. High Rock Development put forth a plan to convert the building into mostly luxury apartments, involving $80 million in tax credits. This plan was rejected and the state has applied to move some of their Health and Human Services offices into the now vacant property. High Rock Development is expected to decide on this in early Fall 2013.

In popular culture[edit]

During the 1950s, it was rumored that 111 Westminster Street served as the model for the Daily Planet building in the Superman comic book.[citation needed] The building is still referred to by Providence locals as the "Superman Building" for its resemblance to that of the comic and 1950s television series. However, Superman co-creator Joe Shuster claims he drew his inspiration not from this (nor the also rumored AT&T Huron Road Building in Cleveland, Ohio, where Shuster was living at the time), but rather from his home city of Toronto (such as the Commerce Court North and the Fairmont Royal York). The building shown in the television program, however, is the Los Angeles City Hall.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (or "The Superman Building" to locals)
  2. ^ http://www.skyscraperpage.com
  3. ^ [1] Emporis.com, Travelers Tower, Hartford, CT
  4. ^ [2] Emporis.com, Custom House Tower, Boston, MA
  5. ^ a b Woodward, Wm McKenzie. Guide to Providence Architecture. 1st ed. United States: 2003. ISBN 0-9742847-0-X. p101.
  6. ^ For a time the building has been the Fleet Bank Tower.
  7. ^ CTV.ca: "Superman co-creator has humble Canadian roots". Accessed July 25, 2007.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rhode Island State House
Tallest Building in Providence
1927—Present
130m
Succeeded by
None