Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Video: Tour Arcade Providence Micro-Apartment Complex

I’ve long expressed my affection for the Arcade Providence, America’s oldest indoor mall that was recently converted to house ground floor retail and two upper floors of micro-apartments. Fair Companies took a video tour of the building and interviewed the building’s developer Evan Granoff as well as a few of its tenants.

Besides getting a live action view of the spaces, the video goes into more detail about the building’s economic and social structures. Granoff touches on some of the economics, about how the micro-apartment structure, with its high cost per dwelling unit square foot offsets some of the expenses related to the building’s huge common areas. He also talks about the “micro-retail” shops on the ground floor that support independent businesses. The tenants talk about how the little spaces give them everything they need as well as some of the adaptations they’ve made to fit into the dinky spaces. Worth a look.

  • Tim Domenico

    Twenty dollars a month for utilities is incredible. What a great use of a nearly 200 year old building. A lot intelligence went into this development.

  • Cedric Reuter

    Impressive. I still can’t shake the odd feeling that I always get from developers, and when the tenants are describing the fact that they essentially subsist on packaged foods (and really have no choice) I cringe. I wish there were more of a spread of living options in the building, and that the shops were more diverse. While there is, and always will be, a need for those small, efficient spaces, I would love to know that more conventional lifestyle could exist there as well. A lifestyle that includes eating fresh food, cooking it, entertaining etc. Maybe even a space for a couple or family. I guess encouraging the fast-paced I-only-have-so-much-time-and-space to eat packaged meals or work on my iPad lifestyle is a little off-putting to me. But maybe it’s more sustainable than I think.

    • Melbournite

      It’s interesting how the developer says the bigger apartments were the last to rent. I think there’s a high demand for this type of space among those who need a pied-a-terre type of living space. Note the busy postgrad student, and the woman who uses it as a second home.

      For me personally, those tiny spaces wouldn’t work for day-in, day out living just because I have a cat 9notice the lack of pets there) and also need a tad of floorspace to exercise or whatever. And I agree that the tiniest bit of personal entertaining space would make these more long-term liveable. The dishwasher is a total waste of space, although I realise dish drawers and compact models are not as widespread in the US.

      Still I think it’s a smart fit-out of a lovely old building that’s probably pretty well located for city living.

  • KristinaMcGovern

    I guess if you’re a college student it is okay but honestly, the first apartment looked like a cramped extended stay hotel. I know people say that most people under 35 years old want to live in dorm like homes and don’t mind not having extra space or a kitchen but I do! I grew up in NYC and lived in apartments my entire life. My currently place is 350 square feet and I have a real kitchen (and I live with my boyfriend and dog.) I can’t afford to travel much and after working all day I like to go home and enjoy my apartment. These tiny places are joyless. Whatever happened to home enjoyment? Not everyone can afford to go out every single night. And I think I would go batty living in a mall. Do residents have views of the street or do all the apartments look out over the mall? It kind of remind me of the Luxor Hotel in Vegas where all the guests have a few of the casino- gross! I like the idea of these apartments but the execution stinks.