Igliozzi stated, The vacancy of 111 Westminster Street presents an opportunityand also a sense of urgencyfor the citys economic development plans. By bringing public, private, and institutional stakeholders together, we can redefine the vision for our future economy, and ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared by all.
Council President Solomon said, The economic success and vibrancy of Providence rests on the ability of local leaders to channel the citys many assets and resources, make serious but balanced regulatory adjustments in order to attract businesses, and to be creative and innovative in our approach. He added, We will be bringing the best minds, and the best doers around one table to outline direct actions the Council can take to achieve short- and long-term goals.
Referencing 111 Westminster, Igliozzi noted, When you have a building of this significanceboth historically and economicallythat is unoccupied in the heart of downtown, and whose owners are seeking massive public investment, it is imperative that the public and all stakeholders are informed and engaged.
Igliozzi noted that the owners of 111 Westminster, High Rock Development, LLC, have indicated that they would seek between $10 million and $15 million in property tax savings as part of a stabilization agreement with the City. We need to ensure any redevelopment plans, and any public investment, is the result of a thoughtful process, and part of a long-term economic development plan and vision for the capital city.
Hassett compared 111 Westminster to the old Masonic Templenow the Renaissance Hotelwhich laid fallow for decades and became a symbol of neglect and lost prominence in the city. We simply cannot allow 111 Westminster to languish, Hassett said. We successfully transformed devastating deterioration into exemplary re-use and preservation in the case of the Renaissancewe can do the same for our iconic Superman building, which does not have nearly the amount of redevelopment challenges as did the Masonic Temple, explained Hassett.
Under the Councils plan, the task force would consist of 15 members, including: three mayoral appointees; three councilmanic appointees; member of the Providence delegation to the General Assembly; real estate professional; representative from a health care institution; representative from a college or university; historic preservation professional; representative from the business community; labor organization representative; representative from a downtown civic organization; and the director of economic development for the city or his designee. Members would be appointed by Council President Solomon, and the task force would have three months to issue a written report and recommendations to the Council and Mayor.