America’s First Mall Gets Facelift With Micro-Lofts

As the first indoor shopping mall in the United States, the Arcade was built in 1828 in the now-historic heart of downtown Providence, RI. The classic structure is adorned with Greek Revival columns, granite walls, and classic facades, and looks nearly the same today as it did 185 years ago. As a staple of the city’s financial district, the Arcade has been home to bustling small shops and eateries, and has been a popular gathering place for people who live and work in the area. The property is listed in the national register of Historic Places, and in 1976 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Over the life of the property, retailers have come and gone, as well as shoppers. With the decline in consumer traffic at the mall, developers decided to breath new life into the structure, and the area, by creating micro-unit residential housing. Boasting 48 micro-apartments, these tiny lofts range from 225 SF to 275 SF, with a base rent of roughly $800 per month, and include most of the furniture a renter would need, such as an elevated bed over a four-drawer dresser, living room seating with additional built-in storage, a 50-inch flat screen TV, and a kitchenette. The property also features a common space for residents with flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, porches, and on-site laundry facility. The main floor features unique retailers and dining establishments, just steps away from the micro homes.

The trend of tiny loft living has increased in popularity across the globe, and has recently proved to be just as popular in the U.S. In Denver, the Turntable Lofts feature space efficient, 339 SF lofts located next to Mile High Stadium and minutes to Downtown Denver. As with the Arcade, Denver’s Turntable Lofts are fully leased and have a waiting list of interested renters. It seems the new tiny trend is proving to be a viable way to live in desirable locations, while also allowing developers a way to breathe new life into existing buildings.