By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – A $7 million transformation of downtown’s landmark Arcade building into a mixed-use complex of shops and “micro-loft” apartments was unveiled Wednesday by developer Evan Granoff to an overflow crowd of dignitaries and locals.
Shuttered since 2008, renovations on the 1828 structure, the first enclosed shopping mall in the United States, are scheduled to begin almost immediately and be completed in August. The building's reopening to the public is slated for the fall.
“For me, the decision to close the Arcade was difficult, but it was necessary and correct,” Granoff told those gathered in Arcade’s central Atrium. “I knew we could create a more sensible and long-lasting solution for this distinguished landmark. And we have.”
The solution includes 48 small apartments, most ranging from 220 to 270 square feet, located in the former retail spaces on the second and third floors.
The apartments, which will be furnished, including refrigerators, dishwashers and microwaves - but no stoves - will be marketed toward recent college graduates and young professionals, Granoff said. Rents will start at $550 per month.
As part of the residential conversion, windows along the building’s sides that have been closed for years will be fixed and reopened to provide light for the apartments.
On the first floor, a new series of stores and restaurants will be leased in the 14 retail spaces - most about 400 square feet - with plans for at least one cafe opening onto an outdoor seating area.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said the announcement of the renovation plans marked “a great day” Providence and Rhode Island that will be “protecting the fabric” of the city and its history.