Arcade interior tops PPS ’09 endangered properties

The interior of the soon-to-be-renovated Arcade tops Providence Preservation Society’s 2009 Most Endangered Properties survey. More

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Arcade interior tops PPS ’09 endangered properties

SEEKING SHELTER: The Arcade, above, and the General Ambrose Burnside House on Benefit Street were among the 10 properties listed on the Providence Preservation Society’s 2009 Most Endangered Properties survey.
Posted 5/11/09

The interior of the soon-to-be-renovated Arcade tops Providence Preservation Society’s 2009 Most Endangered Properties survey.

The list, announced last week, also includes two historic theaters, an East Side apartment building and six properties that also made the 2008 list. The What Cheer Mutual Fire Insurance Co. building – vacated last year by the United Way of Rhode Island – has also been listed as being under threat of demolition.

Granoff Associates LLC, which owns the 181-year-old Arcade in downtown Providence, last May announced an $8 million renovation intended to create a more green building and attract a single tenant. In pegging the Arcade’s interior as an endangered gem, PPS said the building’s “impressive architecture and deep roots in both Providence’s and America’s history contribute to concern surrounding the building’s proposed reconfiguration.”

And PPS officials took note of the developer’s intention to “ensure both the architectural preservation and the long-term economic viability of this treasure.”

But, PPS said, “[S]hould the Arcade be reconfigured for a single tenant, the integrity of the interior space, especially the public corridor, will be severely jeopardized.”

Granoff principal Evan Granoff did not immediately return a message seeking comment. In introducing the renovation, however, Granoff said, “It hasn’t made money now for 20 years. Well, it might never have made money. It’s just reached the point where, if you walk through there, it’s sorely in need of renovation.”

The list was announced May 6 at PPS East Side headquarters by PPS President Oliver H.L. Bennett. Ten properties and one National Register District make up this year’s list.

The complete 2009 list includes:

• The Arcade Interior – 130 Westminster St. and 65 Weybosset St.

• The Atlantic Mills Towers – 100 Manton Ave. The mills are “highly visible and visually distinctive,” but they haven’t been maintained and are “falling into a state of disrepair.”

• Bomes Theatre and Castle Theater – 1017 Broad St. and 1039 Chalkstone Ave. Both theaters represent a time when neighborhood movie theaters were popping up around the country, but both are closed and vacant.

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