Back in 2012, in the wake of the 38 Studios meltdown, I used this very column to make a proposal to the RI Economic Development Corporation: $75 million to launch VagiTech, my company that would manufacture synthetic, on-demand vaginas. Predictably, the EDC did not respond. This past month, there was a major medical news story of four successful implantations of lab-grown vaginas. With that proven track record of success and business genius, I now submit to the State of Rhode Island, the City of Providence and any other interested party with a checkbook, my proposal for the Superman Building. I ask you to please refrain from “making it rain” until I’m finished speaking.
First up, there’s the matter of me acquiring 111 Westminster Street from the current owner, High Rock Development. The building is currently valued near $30 million. The most desirable option would be to simply win it outright in a high stakes horse race bet, but as that does not appear to be an option, I’ll take a little lesson from my business hero, Miami Marlins owner/former sheisty art dealer Jeffrey Loria. I will offer High Rock $5 million in cash (raised through a 99/1 public/private partnership with the City of Providence), outright ownership of the Providence Journal (which the State will seize on my behalf under eminent domain) and a lefty bullpen guy to be named later.
With that simple matter sorted out, my efforts will turn to redevelopment. My vision is for an innovative, mixed-use urban community, which is just my nice way of saying “dystopian hellscape of every bad idea in urban development.” The occupants will run the gamut of commercial, office, food service, residential, light industrial, hazardous chemicals, infectious disease laboratories, methadone clinics, those weird storefront churches and, of course, an Alex and Ani store. The first floor lobby will contain a combination frozen yogurt/hookah lounge, just one of my many million-dollar restaurant concepts. (Along with my combination strip club/sushi bar, Mama Roxy’s Fresh Fish – no stealsies.)
The new Superman Building will be a green building. It will be entirely heated and cooled by a sophisticated geo-thermal system, it will generate its own electricity through a combination of solar panels and wind turbines, and the climate and lighting will be controlled for ultra-efficiency by an advanced computer system powered by a giant blast furnace in the basement that burns old tires.
The redevelopment of this building will be an immense boon to the local economy. First, the influx of bribes, kickbacks, slush money and “campaign contributions” required to get all the necessary permits is estimated to generate approximately $11 million in economic activity. The actual renovation is expected to create hundreds of jobs for hardworking Rhode Islanders – and by “hardworking Rhode Islanders” I mean the hundreds of Eastern European migrant laborers that I swear are legitimate citizens of the state and definitely were not smuggled in through the port in unmarked shipping containers. Then of course, there will be the tax revenue generated by a thriving, fully occupied Superman Building. I will strike an agreement with the City to pay $42 (less a $39.50 historic tax credit) per every $1,000 of 50% of the total assessed value of all the floors that are prime numbers in any odd-numbered year during which the total rainfall is within 1/1000th of an inch of the prior year totals and at least two Red Sox starters pitch over 200 innings with an ERA under 4.24.
There will also be a substantial rebranding effort, to shake off the grim economic realities that have beset this building. The “Superman Building” will be rechristened the “Lord of the Rings Building,” and its iconic lantern top will now be home to the all-seeing Eye of Sauron. All who look upon it will despair.
So, unless someone else has a better plan, let’s just go ahead and do that.