We are thrilled to share the news! Evan Granoff and his team at 130 Westminster Street Associates, LLC announced an exciting adaptive reuse project in one of the city’s most beloved historic buildings. The Arcade—recognized as a National Historic Landmark and known as the oldest indoor shopping mall in the country—will soon house 14 shops and restaurants on its ground floor, along with 48 micro-lofts on the second and third floors.
At a press conference on January 25th, Granoff acknowledged that people have fond memories of the Arcade and care deeply about its future. He described the busy public passage between Westminster and Weybosset as the ‘lobby of the Financial District,’ but he recognized that it’s much more than just a place to pass through. Although people shopped, ate lunch, and got their hair cut there for years, the 3 level layout was problematic, and it was challenging to lease the upper floors.
After closing the Arcade in 2008, Granoff has remained determined to renovate the building and make it economically viable. According to his plan, the first level will remain retail, with units ranging from a minimum of 90 square feet to a maximum of 3300 square feet. The average size will be 400 square feet, but the spaces are flexible and may be combined. Rents will be affordable and retail tenants will have access to the basement level.
Starting this fall, the two upper floors will house 38 small micro-loft residences ranging from 220-275 square feet, plus 10 larger units ranging from 500-800 square feet. Each unit will have a private bath, storage area, built-in furniture, and a small kitchen with a dishwasher and microwave. To help build a sense of community among the 70 residents, a lounge area will be furnished with couches, a flat screen TV, and games. With pricing starting at $550/month including utilities, this is an opportunity to attract creative young professionals downtown.
Granoff thanked Mayor Taveras and the City Council for his commitment to the project, allowing the Arcade to enter into a tax stabilization agreement with the city. In addition to the mayor, several downtown stakeholders gave their enthusiastic support for the project before the large crowd at the press conference. Governor Chafee described the building as representing everything great about Rhode Island with its rich history. Lucie Searle, incoming President of the Providence Preservation Society Board of Trustees, said that the restoration would ‘breathe new life into the old building’ while fulfilling today’s needs. David O’Brien, owner of Picture This Galleries across the street on Weybosset, supports the new vision for the building and is excited about the interest generated by new businesses.
J. Michael Abbott and Andrea Torizzo of Northeast Collaborative Architects are responsible for designing the renovations. For more information about the project, you may download the property brochure or visit the website.