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The Boston Globe

Metro

Providence’s Superman building to go dark at night

PROVIDENCE — Rhode ­Island’s tallest building will no longer light up the Providence skyline after it becomes vacant next month, a spokesman for the owner told the Associated Press Thursday.

The 1928 art deco-style building, known locally as the Superman building because of its similarity to the Daily Planet building in the old television show, is the most distinctive feature on the Providence skyline and is usually topped at night by a blue light that can be seen as far away as Massachusetts. Its façade is also illuminated.

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Bill Fischer, spokesman for High Rock Development, said the blue light will be turned off after the end of April, when Bank of America’s lease expires, and the lights that illuminate the façade will be minimal, if they are lit at all.

‘‘That is not something we desire, but it’s just a reality,’’ he said. ‘‘This is a costly proposition to maintain lighting in the building with no one paying rent.’’

Fischer said Bank of America the single tenant in the building, currently pays for the lights. After the bank vacates the building next month, High Rock will have to pay $2 million per year at minimum for expenses that include taxes, insurance, minimal heat, and other costs, Fischer said.

The Massachusetts real estate investment and development firm has said the best use of the building would be to convert its 350,000 square feet of office space into around 290 apartments, but Fischer has said the company needs state historic tax credits to do so. That would require the General Assembly to revive the historic tax credit program, which ended in 2008.

Fischer called the decision ‘‘a sad day for Rhode Island.’’

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