Take Part - The bustling stores that used to grace the oldest enclosed mall in America, the Arcade Providence in Providence, R.I., have been transformed into mixed-use housing: shops on the ground floor and micro-apartments on the top two levels.
The Arcade was built in 1828, and like many malls struggling after the recent economic crash, the building, which is in Providence’s downtown, closed in 2008.
No new enclosed malls have been constructed in America since 2006, and nearly half of the nation’s existing malls are expected to go out of business within 10 years.
... Gutting the Rhode Island property wasn’t an option—the building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Enter developer Evan Granoff, who has spearheaded micro-housing projects in space-cramped cities such as Boston and San Francisco.
Granoff bought the mall, set aside the ground floor for retail, and set about transforming the top two floors.
Each of the new 38 micro-apartments, which began welcoming tenants in early 2014, is 225 to 300 square feet—they take their design inspiration from shipping containers. Despite their minuscule size, the spaces come with the basics: a bathroom, a bedroom, storage, and a tiny kitchen (a mini-fridge and microwave are included, but there’s no oven or stove). A handful of 900-square-foot apartments are available for folks who want a bit more breathing room. The building also comes with amenities, including a game room and laundry facilities.