America’s Oldest Shopping Mall Has Been Transformed Into Stunning Micro-Apartments — Take A Look Inside

Province, Rhode Island has a sizzling new development in a beautiful old building.

When it was constructed 188 years ago, the Arcade Providence was America’s first shopping mall, hosting boutiques on all three floors. Now those shops have been converted into 48 small apartments and a mix of businesses, including restaurants, a coffee shop, and a new hair salon.

Redesigned by Northeast Collaborative Architects, the three-floor building boasts classic Greek architecture, pillars, stone walls, and a large central atrium illuminated by skylights.

The restoration transformed the top two floors of stores into micro-apartments, ranging from 225 to 775 square feet, and priced from $800 to $1,800 a month. Most measure 300 square feet or smaller. For example, a standard one-car garage is approximately 200 square feet.

And NCA Principal Michael Abbot tells Business Insider that their tenants only need to show up with two suitcases, and they’re good to go.

Micro apartments have increased in popularity to accommodate the increasing amount of single people moving to cities, and the amount of Americans who live alone has grown steadily since the 1920s.

In the past 90 years, single-person households have gone from 5 per cent to 27 per cent of the US total.

At the Providence Arcade, each fully furnished micro space includes an elevated bed over a four-drawer dresser, a small kitchen table, a sofa, a 50-inch flatscreen TV, and a full bathroom. More spacious apartments don’t come with a built-in bed.

Providence Arcade developer Evan Granoff told Fair Companies that the studio size apartments feature an open plan, with no full wall between the bedroom and kitchen. A door for the bedroom would violate Providence’s housing code because it would create a sleeping space that the city considers too small.

The kitchens are equipped with a mini-fridge, sink, dishwasher, and microwave — but no ovens or stovetops.

In a recent tour video by Fair Companie’s Kirsten Dirksen, a new tenant said that she didn’t mind not having an oven. Since she’s doing a fellowship in international emergency medicine, so she doesn’t spend much time in her apartment, and she eats a lot of Lean Cuisines and canned soups.

The complex lies in the centre of downtown Providence, so tenants theoretically could simply eat out for meals they can’t zap in the microwave. The architects also preserved the central atrium as a space for shops, bars and restaurants.

And Abbott said that not only does it (the central atrium) give filtered light to the units, but it becomes the public street connecting neighbours.

On the first floor, there’s a common room with a TV, seating and laundry room, and on the second floor, there’s storage space to store bikes or keep other belongings that don’t fit in the apartments.

The building had numerous lives before the micro-apartments.

Approximately 250 of the original windows were covered with cement over the years, but NCA restored all of them.

The mall, once called the Westminster Arcade, was built in 1828 and was the first indoor shopping mall in the US. Operating only two hours a day from 11 am to 1 pm, it featured a food court and boutiques by local merchants who hoped to sell to a growing suburban population, but in 1976, it was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Published by Angela Lloyd

My vision on life is pretty broad, therefore I like to address specific subjects that intrigue me. Therefore I really appreciate the world of politics, though I have no actual views on who I will vote for, that I will not tell you, so please do not ask! I am like an observation station when it comes to writing, and I simply take the news and make it my own. I have no expectations, I simply love to write, and I know this seems really odd, but I don't get paid for it, I really like what I do and since I am never under any pressure, I constantly find that I write much better, rather than being blanketed under masses of paperwork and articles that I am on a deadline to complete. The chances are, that whilst all other journalists are out there, ripping their hair out, attempting to get their articles completed, I'm simply rambling along at my convenience creating my perfect piece. I guess it must look pretty unpleasant to some of you that I work for nothing, perhaps even brutal. Perhaps I have an obvious disregard for authority, I have no idea, but I would sooner be working for myself, than under somebody else, excuse the pun! Small I maybe, but substantial I will become, eventually. My desk is the most chaotic mess, though surprisingly I know where everything is, and I think that I would be quite unsuited for a desk job. My views on matters vary and I am extremely open-minded to the stuff that I write about, but what I write about is the truth and getting it out there, because the people must be acquainted. Though I am quite entertained by what goes on in the world. My spotlight is mostly to do with politics, though I do write other material as well, but it's essentially politics that I am involved in, and I tend to concentrate my attention on that, however, information is essential. If you have information the possibilities are endless because you are only limited by your own imagination...

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