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Providence Arcade Micro-Loft

Providence Arcade Micro-Loft

Rochester tore down its enclosed downtown shopping mall.

Providence is turning its mall into micro-lofts.

The Providence Arcade, built in 1828, is considered the oldest shopping mall. It closed in 2008, suffering the same fate as downtown malls across the country. A developer wants to revamp the historic space by mixing boutique retail shops and tiny apartments.

The micro-lofts are 225-450 square feet and rents start at $550 a month. Check out the concept here.

 Matt Hickman of Mother Nature Network writes:

Although it’s not entirely clear as to what kind of businesses will be repopulating the Arcade, I’m thinking that when future residents need to give directions that this will be more of a “I live in the sleek micro-loft above the artisanal bakery and across from the jewelry design studio” than a “I live in the shoebox above the Orange Julius that used to be a Sunglass Hut” type of situation. And with its smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-downtown location and WalkScore of 98, the location of this “vibrant arcade community”couldn’t be more foot-, bike-, and public transit-friendly.

Not surprisingly, the wait list to get in on one of the units is already quite daunting.

Itsy-bitsy living units are getting popular in big cities, such as New York. But Providence is a medium-sized city, with a population smaller than Rochester. Could micro-units work in Rochester? With complaints about the cost of downtown rental units and an abundance of old buildings with space, I could see it happening.

Links of the Day:

“Almost no orchestra has expenses as high as the RPO.”

Syracuse has to shuffle teachers and principals in order to comply with No Child Left Behind, even though there’s no evidence indicating this kind of disruption improves schools.

Safety is a major reason women don’t ride bikes in traffic.

Cable TV is headed for oblivion.

16 Responses to Micro-Rochester?

  1. The Syracuse shuffle isn’t just because of NCLB, the ineffective rating and one year to improve is RTTT. A bigger and much more expensive set of laws than NCLB was or is.

  2. February 20, 2013 at 8:55 am Hahvahd St responds:

    Why would I pay $550 a month to live in a dead downtown Rochester, when I can pay $375 to live a large townhouse 3 miles away in the vibrant Park Ave area? People will move downtown if the apartments are big and well-appointed, otherwise there is no incentive. Why would we build tiny apartments when we really need to fill large spaces in?

  3. February 20, 2013 at 9:03 am ParkAvePete responds:

    @HahvahdSt couldn’t agree more with this.

  4. February 20, 2013 at 9:05 am Hahvahd St responds:

    My point is that our downtown isn’t such an attractive place to live that people will cram into tiny, expensive apartments when you can live within a 5-minute drive in much bigger places in the South Wedge or Park Ave areas.

    • February 20, 2013 at 9:41 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      I have no interest in Park Ave. anymore. And I certainly have no interest in roommates.

      • February 20, 2013 at 12:17 pm Hahvahd St responds:

        Perhaps Park Ave is a bad example because it gets that negative “college” tag too much (by the way my whole street is families, in the Park Ave area), I’m just saying you can live in a decent-sized, inexpensive place within 5-10 minutes of downtown. Rather than micro-apartments, we should try to build bigger apartments to fill some of the gaping holes downtown.

  5. Regarding “Safety is a major reason women don’t ride bikes in traffic.” – my totally anecdotal reaction is that ever since Rochester and the surrounding towns have started taking cyclists seriously, I have seen a LOT more women riding. Five or six years ago just about the only women I would see on bikes were on club rides. Now I see many more of them, with a heavy proportion on practical and utility bikes, some of whom are clearly doing things like running errands, etc.

  6. February 20, 2013 at 9:37 am Steve Orr responds:

    The modern shopping mall in downtown Providence similar to Midtown, Providence Place, remains open. (www.providenceplace.com)
    The place being made into micro-apartments — interesting idea, that — is analogous to our Reynolds Arcade, which also was quite the thing in its day.

  7. February 20, 2013 at 9:58 am DominionROC responds:

    Probably about 500,000 people lives within a 15 minute drive to downtown Rochester. And it takes about 15 minutes to walk from one side of downtown to the other. So what is the benefit of living downtown? The problem is NOT there isn’t enough people living downtown…its just relatively few people want to VISIT downtown. Until that changes…Downtown will reamain an obscure place!

    Instead of our obsession with getting downtown residents…why not work on creating an exciting/dynamic/safe downtown. When that happens…you will have hundreds of thousands of potential regional residents who will visit downtown ROC. That is how you create a successful downtown…not the current mantra of obsessing over getting a relatively small handful of people to live downtown. First we try heavy public subsidies to get downtown residents…now they talk of creating microscopic homes to achieve lower rents! This is just CRAZY!

  8. February 20, 2013 at 10:10 am ParkAvePete responds:

    @Rachel Why have you lost interest in park ave?

  9. Is this a joke? Micro-apartments are a trend from Tokyo and other Asian metropolises. You know, ones with 4-14 million residents clamoring for space…

  10. February 20, 2013 at 1:36 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    Why not turn the Sibley Building into a smaller downtown shopping mall and gathering place, with more and more residents and businesses moving downtown, but have an anchors, such as a consolidated Rochester Bryant and Stratton campus or have the local campus of Empire State College forgo their plans of moving from Irondequoit to Brighton and move to Sibley instead, now that MCC Damon Campus is moving out to Kodak. There could also be, instead of or in addition to these ideas, a re-formed National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum and Archives of U.S. Soccer and re-formed Billie Jean King Int’l Women’s Sports Center and Hall of Fame of the Women’s Sports Foundation to dovetail the proposed North American Museum of Sport and Culture that The Stong Museum is proposing to operate in Buffalo that could take in much of what was in the short-lived Sports Museum of America in Manhattan. Such a mall in Sibley or in the Midtown Tower would need an anchor such as one, more, or all of theese, similar to how the Steamtown Mall in downtown Scranton, PA has large national chain anchor department stores, how the Strawberry Square Mall in downtown Harrisburg, PA has a science museum, or how the Center City Mall in downtown Cleveland, Ohio has an intermodal transit hub.

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