Tenants, investors show strong interest in purchasing Arcade Providence units

THE DEVELOPER who restored the Arcade Providence reports strong interest among buyers for units in its conversion to condos. / PBN PHOTO/MARY MACDONALD

PROVIDENCE – Response to the conversion of The Arcade Providence to condominiums has been overwhelming, said Evan Granoff, the developer behind the historical building restoration.

Granoff said this week he’s received numerous inquiries from potential buyers about the residential units, which have been leased since the building was refurbished and reopened in 2014.

“There’s a lot of people who are very interested,” he said.

Built in 1828, the Arcade is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest indoor shopping mall in the U.S. Its revival has won numerous historic preservation and architecture awards.

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For the next several weeks, tenants in the building can let Granoff know if they want to purchase their units. State law in Rhode Island requires a property owner to offer the units first to tenants, and a 60-day window for tenants to respond is still in play.

In addition to the 48 residential units on the second and third stories, the condominium conversion will affect retail units on the ground floor. As with the residential occupants, businesses have the first option to buy their space. Separate associations will represent commercial and residential owners, he said.

The Arcade is almost fully leased, with all but one residential apartment occupied. Existing tenants have expressed strong interest in purchasing units. Some of them have been at the Arcade since the building reopened, Granoff said.

Other interested buyers include real estate investors who want to buy as many as five units at once, which they would then lease to future tenants, Granoff said.

The building is attractive because the micro-units are modern and efficient, and within an easy walk of downtown amenities, particularly Providence Station.

Most of the units are less than 400 square feet, but about 10 are in the 400- to 800-square-foot range.

Prices will start at $137,000 for the residential apartments, Granoff said. The units are not listed, he said, because the building is still in a phase where tenants have the first right to acquire.

Commercial units will start at $125,000.

It was always his intention to eventually sell the units, and they were created with that concept in mind; each has its own water and electrical units and accounts, Granoff said.

The process of conversion to individual owners will take more than six months, he predicted.

The conversion process will accommodate tenants who want to continue leasing, as well, he said. “People can keep renting them. No one is being thrown out of any space at all. It’s ongoing,” Granoff said.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at Macdonald@PBN.com.

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