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$54 million fight over Superman Building is settled in court

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/8/2017
FILE - In this March 27, 2013, file photo the Bank of America Building, center, also known as the Superman building, stands among other buildings in downtown Providence, R.I. A $54 million lawsuit over Rhode Island’s tallest building has been settled just before a trial was scheduled to begin in federal court. A trial had been set to begin Monday, May 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this March 27, 2013, file photo the Bank of America Building, center, also known as the Superman building, stands among other buildings in downtown Providence, R.I. A $54 million lawsuit over Rhode Island’s tallest building has been settled just before a trial was scheduled to begin in federal court. A trial had been set to begin Monday, May 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A $54 million lawsuit over the state's tallest building, called the Superman Building, has been settled just before a trial was scheduled to begin in federal court.

The owner of the Providence skyscraper had sued its former tenant, Bank of America, saying the bank allowed it to fall into disrepair. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank had countersued, arguing it spent millions of dollars on maintenance before it moved out four years ago.

A trial had been set to begin Monday. The amount of the settlement hasn't been disclosed.

The building is owned by High Rock Westminster Street, based in Newton, Massachusetts. It has been vacant for years and has become a symbol of Rhode Island's economic decline.

It was the tallest skyscraper in New England when it opened in 1928 as the Industrial National Bank Building and became the most recognizable feature on the Providence skyline. The Art Deco-style skyscraper, at the heart of downtown, got its superhero nickname because of its similarity to the Daily Planet headquarters in the old TV show.

High Rock has said in court that Bank of America took such bad care of the building over a period of years that the limestone facade is crumbling, among other problems.

Bank of America had said that it spent tens of millions of dollars on maintenance and repairs on the building during its lease, and contended that High Rock decided to sue so it could get the money it needs to convert the 26-story building into apartments.

Neither side returned calls or email requests for comment Monday.

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