Tour Tickets Sold Out!

Thank you very much for your interest in the tours of the Superman Building. We are overwhelmed with all of your enthusiasm. We apologize for the limited number of tickets. Scheduling of these tours in conjunction with the Providence Preservation Society around the holidays has been a challenge. We are working on additional dates in January and February. Please be patient with us as we attempt to get more people into the building. 

From WPRO: Superman building to open for free public tours


Superman building to open for free public tours

Posted on July 18, 2016

The owner of Providence’s Industrial National Bank Building, better known as the Superman Building, announced Monday that the building would be opening on select dates for public tours. The tours, lead by members of the Providence Preservation Society, are available to members of the public by registering at An initial schedule of dates is listen below. There are plans to add dates to the schedule. To tour the building participants must register through the website.

“I want Rhode Islanders to have access to the tallest building in the state. I want them to enjoy the views, which are one-of-a-kind in Rhode Island and I want them to have an opportunity to appreciate the architecture and history associated with the building,” said David Sweetser, principal of High Rock Development. “We appreciate the Providence Preservation Society lending their expertise to these tours.”


Providence Journal Says: Tours of Providence's 'Superman Building' snapped up quickly

By Staff and wire reports

Posted Jul. 18, 2016 at 11:12 AM
Updated Jul 18, 2016 at 12:15 PM


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — All tickets to five free public tours of the so-called "Superman Building" were quickly claimed Monday morning, the company that owns the building said this morning.
The company, High Rock, said it will try to schedule more dates for the tours.
The tours of Rhode Island's tallest building will include views of downtown and beyond from the 25th floor. The building has been vacant for three years. High Rock has been pushing to get public money to help pay to redevelop it.
Two of the tours are timed to allow views of the lighting of WaterFire at sunset, and another is timed to allow participants to attend an outdoor showing of the original "Superman" movie at the end of the tour.


PBN Story: Free Superman building tours scheduled, ‘sold’ out in 2 hours


PROVIDENCE – Those interested in seeing the inside of the closed “Superman” building at 111 Westminster St. will have to wait their turn. Two hours after letting the public know about the complimentary tours, scheduled for five dates between this weekend and Sept. 24, the events are now completely booked.

According to a press release from the building’s owner, David Sweetser of High Rock Development, the building, formerly known as the Industrial Trust bank building, but nicknamed “Superman” due to its resemblance of the iconic structure in the comic books and old television show, will be open for free tours July 23, Aug. 11 and 20, and Sept. 10 and 24.


RI Monthly Tours Superman

Superman resides in Providence.

He towers above us all, providing a watchful eye on the goings-on on Westminster Street, peeking out towards Narragansett Bay, even glimpsing wisps of steam from somewhere in Johnston.

Providence’s Superman is the former Industrial Trust Bank building, a domineering presence in our skyline. It is called the Superman building for its resemblance to the Daily Planet building in the "Superman" comic, and the nickname is pretty much used by every Rhode Islander I’ve ever met.   

Its Art Deco style was built upwards, inwards, upwards, and its umbilical cord was cut in 1928, a year before the 1929 stock market crash. The building burst into the world on the back of a bear.

It survived recessions, floods, hurricanes and snowstorms, but today it faces its biggest challenge yet: uncertainty. Bank of America, which inhabited the space, left in 2013 and now the building sits vacant.

Just what will become of Superman?



Superman building opens for free public tours

The first set of tours SOLD OUT in about 2 hours, WOW! More dates are being planned. Follow our social media accounts for details.

Providence, RI – In a continued effort to provide greater public access to the Superman Building, the building’s owner, David Sweetser of High Rock Development has agreed to open the building to public tours. The tours will be lead by members of the Providence Preservation Society. Members of the public who are interested in touring the building can register at An initial schedule of dates is being released today. There are plans to add dates to the schedule. To tour the building participants must register through the website.

“I want Rhode Islanders to have access to the tallest building in the state. I want them to enjoy the views, which are one-of-a-kind in Rhode Island and I want them to have an opportunity to appreciate the architecture and history associated with the building,” said David Sweetser, principal of High Rock Development. “We appreciate the Providence Preservation Society lending their expertise to these tours.”

The initial tour schedule includes the following dates:

  • Saturday, July 23 at 7:30 pm, participants will be able to view the lighting of WaterFire at sunset (8:12).
  • Thursday, August 11 at 6:00 pm, participants can watch the original Superman movie, which starts at grant’s block at 7:30 pm after the tour
  • Saturday, August 20 at 6:45 pm, participants will be able to view the lighting of WaterFire at sunset (7:37).
  • Saturday, September 10 at 3:00 pm
  • Saturday, September 24 at 5:45 pm, participants will be able to view the lighting of WaterFire at sunset (6:38).

“Paul Goldberger, architectural critic and 1984 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, is credited with explaining that ‘architecture is history made visible,’ the Industrial National Bank, located in the heart of the Downtown Providence National Register Historic District, is proof that Goldberger's statement is true,” said Providence Preservation Society Tour Leader Barbara Barnes. “Every square inch of this building, inside and out, reflects the story of Providence. Friezes on every facade from Kennedy Plaza to Westminster Street tell how Providence was founded and how it grew to be a center of commerce, transportation and industry. Medallions high above the tellers' stations in the banking hall contain silhouettes of those who shaped and guided the city to greatness and prominence such as Roger Williams, Stephen Hopkins, Gilbert Stuart, and more.”

“This art deco skyscraper represents the strength and success of Providence and offers an optimistic blueprint for the future. Providence architectural historian, Mack Woodward, has written that it may look like a New York City building, but "the only 1920s skyscraper in Rhode Island is undoubtedly Providence's best known landmark," said Brent Runyon, executive director of the Providence Preservation Society.

The tours will last approximately an hour and a half. Each tour will begin with a brief video presentation and then participants will view the vault, the banking hall, and the 25th floor, where they can enjoy spectacular views of the city.

Providence Preservation Society tour guides include Barbara Barnes, Beverly Pettine, Lucie Searle, and Brent Runyon. Other guides will be announced later in the season. Each tour will have four tour guides and a total of 40 participants. Participants will be given a free t-shirt and a pair of binoculars.

For more information about the Superman Building please visit

Officials push for redevelopment of Providence landmark - Turn To 10

Visible to passing motorists zipping through the state on Interstate 95, Rhode Island's tallest building has gone from icon to embarrassing reminder of tough economic times.

But after three years of vacancy, a development team is now pitching for the state's help to renovate the Providence skyscraper known locally as the Superman building.

Dominick J. Ruggerio: Let's work to save 'Superman' building - Providence Journal

A residential plan brings the building back online and adds a neighborhood to downtown. This will be transformational for the city, as well as Kennedy Plaza, particularly in light of the plan to move bus berths to an intermodal transit hub adjacent to the Amtrak station and hospitals. These benefits are in addition to the jobs created, income tax revenue generated and long-term economic impact of an active Superman building.

Mike Fink: Don't lose this essential piece of Providence - The Providence Journal

I would like to save the Industrial Trust building — the co-called Superman Building — from the awaiting bulldozer. It is such an elegant skyscraper, almost legendary in its lonely splendor. It looks both "modern" and yet also somehow "gothic" as well. I can see its top floor from the window of my office at the Rhode Island School of Design and it cheers me up.

Providence Preservation Society unveils most endangered list - The Providence Journal

The downtown "Superman Building," the Wedding Cake House and the Southwest Pavilion Building at Rhode Island Hospital were all included on the Providence Preservation Society's 2016 Most Endangered Properties List.

The preservation group, which was founded in 1956, has been releasing the annual list since 1994 to help generate interest and support for the city's important but at-risk buildings.

The PPS noted that many properties featured on the list in the past have been saved, "including the Masonic Temple, the Foundry, the Shepard's Building, and most recently, the Teste Block and Arcade."

True: Superman developer on why he needs subsidies - PolitiFact Rhode Island

Now we needed to check on construction costs. We reached out to Gilbane Building Co. an international construction company based in Providence.

At our request, the construction firm’s Rhode Island team leader, John Sinnott, analyzed construction cost data from the MS Means City Cost Index, a standard industry tool.

"While there is a slight overall difference in costs between Boston and Providence — when it comes to larger more complex projects costs are roughly the same," said Sinnott.

A rehab of the Superman building would be in the larger, more complex category. -- Michael F. Sabitoni, President, Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council

Edward Fitzpatrick: Look! Up in the air! The 'Superman building' is vacant another year! - Providence Journal

2016 will begin with work under way to convert the old South Street Power Station into Brown University offices and a state college nursing education center, and that project relied on some $50 million in state and federal tax credits, plus state lease payments that will total an estimated $6 million a year.

Joseph R. Paolino Jr. : Taxpayer investments essential to make Providence thrive - Opinion - Providence Journal

What Providence needs is a skyline like Boston’s -- full of cranes and new construction. Unfortunately, the only cranes in Providence are fixing air conditioners or doing other minor repairs.

I don’t know if the "Superman building" will be eligible for the Rebuild Rhode Island tax credit. But make no mistake, the Superman building will remain a vacant symbol of failure without government help. Every successful economic development project in Providence involved the state in some way.

NorthPoint celebrates kickoff of $63M Power & Light project - Kansas City Business Journal

NorthPoint ultimately purchased the mostly vacant building from Gailoyd Enterprises Inc. of Carmel, N.Y., which had owned it since 1965. But first, NorthPoint had to win approval of a complex incentive package that included a 25-year property tax abatement averaging 36 percent annually and $8 million in tax increment financing.

Where Young College Graduates Are Choosing to Live - The New York Times

When young college graduates decide where to move, they are not just looking at the usual suspects, like New York, Washington and San Francisco. Other cities are increasing their share of these valuable residents at an even higher rate and have reached a high overall percentage, led by Denver, San Diego, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Portland, Ore., according to a report published Monday by City Observatory, a new think tank.

And as young people continue to spurn the suburbs for urban living, more of them are moving to the very heart of cities — even in economically troubled places like Buffalo and Cleveland. The number of college-educated people age 25 to 34 living within three miles of city centers has surged, up 37 percent since 2000, even as the total population of these neighborhoods has slightly shrunk.

Hartford's Bank of America Tower Gets New Life As Apartments - Hartford Courant

Taxpayers have a big stake in the renovations at 777 Main. Funding includes $78 million in federal and state loans and tax credits. That includes a $10.2 million loan and a $7.5 million equity investment from the Capital Region Development Authority, which is helping finance apartment construction downtown.