America’s Oldest Mall Now Contains 48 Charming Low-Cost Micro-Apartments

With online retailers making shopping an efficient, no-fuss experience, it’s no secret that brick-and-mortar malls aren’t as popular as they used to be. Yet, what’s to be done about the shopping malls that are no longer populated by crowds of shoppers? What can we do with structures like Arcade Providence, America’s oldest shopping mall and a National Historic Landmark? To solve such a dilemma, Northeast Collaborative Architects decided to stage a $7 million revival by transforming the Providence, Rhode Island space into mixed-use housing with 17 shops on the ground floor and 48 low-cost micro-apartments on the top two levels.

Starting at an affordable $550 a month, residents can rent an Arcade Providence, one-bedroom unit that’s 225 to 450 square feet in size. Inside, there’s a built-in bed, full bathroom, refrigerator, sink, microwave, dishwasher, seating, and storage. For more amenities, tenants can also use the shared TV room, game room, on-site laundry facility, bike storage area, or parking garage that’s located across the street. For those who would like more space, there’s also a two-bedroom and three-bedroom unit available. The only catch is that there’s a waiting list with about 4,000 people currently on it.

As for the building as a whole, it stays true to its original Greek Revival style. It resembles a light-filled atrium complete with regal columns that pay homage to its historic presence. It now serves as inspiration for all other shopping malls out there.

Anna Gragert

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