Forget houses built atop shopping centers: in Providence, R.I., one developer is creating residences inside a vacant mall, cutting apart the landmarked building and divvying up space for 48 apartments, most of which measure between 225 and 450 square feet. The structure itself is the nation's first-ever enclosed mall, a Greek Revival complex built in 1828 by architects James Bucklin and Russell Warren. Despite receiving landmark status in 1976, the Arcade Providence made it onto the city's 10 Most Endangered Buildings list in 2010; so the project makes room for more affordable housing and puts forth a plan to save a building that may otherwise have been expunged completely. "It's allowing us basically to put the building back to what it was when it was built," developer Evan Granoff tells Providence Business News. "They were individual rooms that were tiny. We're actually creating more of the streetscape [feel] that was inside." More below.
Rents starts at $550 a month, and each unit comes with built-in beds, bathtubs, and storage, although there's no stove. All connotations of suburbia horror films aside, Architizer points out that abandoned shopping malls actually make sense for micro-dwellings: "Tiny apartments lack viability as isolated buildings. To make any sense at all—and to keep tenants from descending into a depression we'll call spatial affective disorder—micro-dwellings must be plugged into a livable urban grid, with decent walkability, transportation access, and nearby shops and services." And, well, a mall would do just the trick.
· The New Mini-Mall: Tiny Apartments To Open In Nation's Oldest Shopping Center [Architizer]
· All Micro Homes coverage [Curbed National]