Arcade plan to include apartments, retail

IN BETTER TIMES: The Arcade's upper floors, shown here in 2007 before the 1828 landmark closed, are expected to contain apartments, which will be supported by retail on the ground floor.
Posted 1/20/12

PROVIDENCE – The owner of the historic Arcade shopping center on Westminster Street is set to announce redevelopment plans for the empty downtown landmark that sources say will include apartments above first-floor stores.

Evan Granoff, principal of 130 Westminster Associates LLC, has scheduled an event at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Arcade to announce the plans along with Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

Known as one of the country’s first indoor shopping malls, the Arcade has been on the Providence Preservation Society’s list of Top 10 Most Endangered Properties since 2009 after it was closed for renovations in 2008.

At the time of the closing, Granoff announced plans to renovate the interior of the 1828 Greek revival building and then lease it to a single tenant. The single tenant never materialized, and the building has remained in mothballs since.

In addition to its architectural value and historic status, the Arcade is considered vital to the health of the Financial District because of the public link it provides between the primary commercial arteries of Westminster Street and Weybosset Street.

Asked for details of the plans, Granoff this week referred calls about the Arcade to spokeswoman Jennifer Bramley, who said only that a “major announcement” about the future of the Arcade would be made at the Wednesday event.

However, multiple sources with knowledge of the plans told PBN they will include more than 40 small apartments in the second and third floor spaces that used to be occupied by shops. The apartments, which will not have full kitchens, will be targeted to young people and professionals looking for a small space to stay downtown while on business.

The ground-floor spaces will again feature a mix of stores and probably a restaurant or café, the sources said.

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