Updated July 30 at 9:30am

Interest percolating in downtown housing

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

Meghan Downing of North Providence describes living in one of downtown Providence’s premier apartment buildings as still more of a fantasy than reality because of their price.

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FOCUS: CONSTRUCTION, DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE

Interest percolating in downtown housing

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Meghan Downing of North Providence describes living in one of downtown Providence’s premier apartment buildings as still more of a fantasy than reality because of their price.

But the executive assistant at G-Form LLC was intrigued enough by the idea to spend her 32nd birthday with 11 friends sampling roof decks and exposed brick at a half dozen downtown properties.

“There were so many different spaces I thought were brilliant. The views are spectacular, especially from some of the rooftop decks,” Downing said. “It’s still probably more of a fantasy for my group because of affordability, at least the ones we saw, which were the best of the best.”

Downing and her birthday party were among 450 people who took the Downtown Providence Living Tour, an event organized by The Providence Foundation to kindle interest in moving to the city center.

The late September tour was the third hosted by The Providence Foundation and first since 2010, when construction at the Regency Plaza Apartments and Avalon at Center Place prompted a two-year break.

It was also the largest tour yet with nine properties on view, including two new buildings still partially under construction, the Arcade and Providence G.

Together, the 48 microlofts at the Arcade and 56 luxury rentals at Providence G have added 104 new homes to downtown this year, but the feeling among observers and property managers is that there is demand for more.

“Most of these properties showed one model unit and in many cases – the Promenade, Westminster Lofts and Residences – that was the only open unit they had,” said Providence Foundation Program Manager Joelle Kanter. “There is so much excitement that people see this as an emerging neighborhood. The more people who live here the more vibrant the street activity. We need more residents to support the retail.”

Since the recession, people have wondered how there can be scarcity in the rental market with so many empty or underwater condominiums and vacant former commercial buildings on prime downtown streets.

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Obadiah2

Smart money some time ago sensed that there will be a coming boom in downtown living in Providence. This trend will become apparent to the masses when the demand for new housing units moves beyond renovation into "new construction". More residents in downtown will drive added retailing and services along with cafes and restaurants. The fact that you can walk to so many attractions doubles the attractiveness of downtown.

With the vibrancy of downtown Providence and the opportunity to meet new and exciting people, why would any up and coming, young person want to live in a boring suburb like Warwick???

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