PROVIDENCE – The Arcade Providence’s first microloft tenants moved in on New Year’s Eve, almost two years after owner Evan Granoff announced his $7 million plan to renovate the historic building known as one of the country’s first indoor shopping malls.
Of the 48 microlofts, ranging in size from 225 square feet to 450 square feet, about half are now occupied, and the waiting list of prospective tenants for the remaining half has grown to more than 2,000.
Retail shops on the Arcade’s first floor opened in October, but the renovations on the second- and third-floor microlofts weren’t completed until December. Now that tenants have begun moving into the microlofts, spokeswoman Robin Dionne said the stores and restaurants downstairs – particularly New Harvest Coffee and Spirits – have become a central hub and meeting place for tenants.
“That’s where everyone goes,” said Dionne. “Everyone is really happy, starting to get to know each other.”
While some applicants have had to turn down a lease offer because of the Arcade’s no-pet policy, Dionne said no one who has viewed the apartments has objected to their style, which she described as “charming” and functional.
The tenants range from young professionals just out of college to older residents getting ready to retire or sell their homes. Many live with spouses and families in Massachusetts or even New Hampshire on the weekends, but need a place to sleep in Providence where they work Monday through Friday.
“This is definitely a home away from home for a lot of people,” said Dionne.
With rents starting at $550 per month, 46 of the 48 microlofts offer one bedroom and one bathroom, and include a kitchen equipped with refrigerator, sink, dishwasher and microwave. The Arcade’s single two-bedroom unit and a three-bedroom unit have both been leased already, Dionne said.
Although the Arcade has received requests for short-term leases of as little as three months, Dionne said they are looking for tenants willing to commit to the Arcade’s one-year lease who will help build a community with the other residents.
“If you live in a tiny apartment surrounded by other tiny apartments, you’re going to know who your neighbors are,” said Dionne.