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Microloft Apartments in Oldest US Mall

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You might have noticed that mall-shopping is becoming more and more outdated. Many giant malls that used to attract millions of adults (and teenagers) are being abandoned, but the oldest US mall has been renovated and transformed!

The Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island is now home to tons of “microlofts” between 250 and 800 sq. ft. There was so much interest in the apartments, there’s now a long waiting list, and there aren’t even model apartments open for show! When they first opened, apartments started at just $550/month, but the website no longer quotes that price.

Way to reuse and recycle, though, rather than tearing down a historical landmark! Do you think we’ll see more of this in the future?

Related: Tiny Modern Apartment in South Korea

Microloft Apartments in Oldest US Mall

Images via The Arcade

Even so tiny, it’s very functional!

Your big window looks out on the central courtyard.

Related: Stunning Modern Micro Apartment in New York City

Images via The Arcade

Video: Micro Lofts at the Arcade Providence

Video: Oldest US mall blends old/modern with 225 sq. ft. micro lofts

Apartments Include: 

  • One-bedroom units from 225-800 sq. ft.
  • Kitchen with nearly full-sized refrigerator, sink, dishwasher and microwave
  • Full bath with shower
  • Built-in beds, seating and storage
  • Gathering spaces including a common room with flat screen TV, Wi-Fi and porches
  • Bike access: Outside ramp brings rider directly to bike storage room
  • Additional lockable storage on basement level
  • Coded security access for residents
  • On-site laundry facilities
  • Convenient access to public transportation
  • Downtown conveniences including restaurants, theaters, shopping, art and culture, music and entertainment, gyms and car rentals
  • Parking available at two nearby garages for a discounted monthly fee

Related: 398 Sq. Ft. Apartment in Stockholm


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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Debbie
    March 15, 2017, 12:29 pm

    I wish this man could do this with a lot of buildings that are not being used anymore. This is an awesome idea. I would live in one of these units for sure. I would love to see them built for the elderly also. I am older and do not want to have to travel all over to get my items I feel I need. This could make me a HERMIT, LOL. I love being at home in my RV , but I still have more room than I really need. I love these spaces to meet new people and make friends. I don’t really want to be a HERMIT either. I like meeting people and making friends. I love these spaces and would love to be able to find one in my area in Texas. Hint hint!

    • Kim
      March 15, 2017, 12:33 pm

      I agree with everything you said Debbie. It is the perfect concept.

  • Kim
    March 15, 2017, 12:31 pm

    The building is beautiful. The apts are perfect. I love everything about this. I wish more cities would start doing this. I would be the first to rent one.

  • Gail
    March 15, 2017, 12:54 pm

    The Arcade is in my home state of RI. About 30 miles from me. I remember shopping there years ago, and have shared this story with some of my friends who would thrive living in a micro apartment! Great job!

  • Sonya
    March 15, 2017, 5:47 pm

    We have a dying mall in my hometown, as well as a need for more senior housing. This could be the way to go. Great idea!

  • Zack
    March 15, 2017, 5:54 pm

    I only pray we do not lose any of those places that has been memories for us all, from shopping for a gift for a family member, or a new ball gown for your daughters first prom, or spending the day speeding along rails of steel for amusement on parks to thrill your very soul which are caverned by these beautiful buildings which protected us from the winter’s snows to the summers heat… If we could now use them for our ever growing population, or to house those maybe who has never known the meaning of a home… I would say that any loss of these historical sites be a great loss for us all…!

  • gale
    March 15, 2017, 6:04 pm

    A couple of old manufacturing building are being restored into condos here in Asheboro NC. They aren’t huge but not quite tiny either but it’s a wonderful way to save old beautiful structures and stop waste. These condos are really attractive and right down town. I applaude the conservation effort here.

  • della
    March 15, 2017, 8:22 pm

    Love his idea. Wish more states would do this. But being a senior would love to see more places turn around or built for the lower cost seniors. All the apartments that are being built here in Central Ia. are nice but who can afford $700 on up when you are on a fixed income. Things are high enough. This is a very nice way to safe old buildings. Hope to see more of these. Like to be right down town where you can get to things. Love the apartments that was shown.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 16, 2017, 5:52 am

      I think this is a really super idea!

  • Pat
    March 15, 2017, 10:46 pm

    LOVE these apartments! I had seen them discussed somewhere online in the last couple of years and swooned over them then. Wish we had them here in our area. I’m retired, and my husband will retire in the next few years. We would truly appreciate something like this–no yard, no maintenance; just quick access to shopping, restaurants, entertainment. Retirees and empty-nesters could certainly use nice apartments should as these. Not all of us want to sell our soul to buy a condo. The Arcade should be repeated in every town with aging, unused buildings.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 16, 2017, 5:50 am

      I bet most towns in America have a mall like this one needing to be revitalized! I hope this gives developers a good idea.

  • Diane Gray
    March 16, 2017, 2:29 am

    I read years ago that someone predicted malls would be made into apartments for the elderly. It doesn’t have to be just for the elderly, but it’s certainly convenient if there are stores downstairs, and you don’t have to go outside to go to the doctor’s office, post office, bank, bookstore or grocery store! Who wouldn’t want that type of convenience, no matter what age?

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 16, 2017, 5:48 am

      So true, Diane. That would be splendid!

    • Empress Lockness
      March 16, 2017, 9:40 am

      That actually sounds like a great idea, especially in places that have extreme cold or hot weather. I always thought the Embassy Suites would make awesome apartments.

  • Elle
    March 16, 2017, 12:08 pm

    Nice apartments. $550 for the smallest of them is a bit pricey. Went to the website and saw, as you did, they do not post pricing. Always makes me suspicious about the organization in charge when they do not post anything at all, not even a range, which can be easily changed as time passes. Nevertheless the places are very nice for singles and couples. No dogs? That’s typical.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 20, 2017, 11:15 am

      I think they might have removed pricing now that it’s all full and they have a huge waiting list. Something tells me that price will increase because of the demand. That being said, $550 is a reasonable price in a city in New England. Even 25 miles outside of Boston, rent will cost you $1,500/month easily 🙁

  • Betty
    March 17, 2017, 5:00 am

    This works so well I’ve often thought that shopping centers waste far too much space with those massive shops but dividing the space into micro apartments and micro shops is brilliant – solves the housing crisis and keeps jobs – a brilliant idea and a beautiful building to live in – when can I move in?!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 20, 2017, 10:46 am

      I know! It’s just grand.

  • Annette
    March 17, 2017, 10:43 am


    March 17, 2017, 10:48 am

    Another great idea on TH apartments. Hoping they’re reasonable prices!
    Love the designs!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 20, 2017, 10:42 am

      They certainly started out so at about $500/month (for city-living!), but I wonder if the prices have increased.

  • Sandi B
    March 17, 2017, 9:48 pm

    I agree with what everyone else has said. I have often wondered why these older complexes couldn’t be used to build affordable housing units. It could be done with so many older buildings from warehouses to bowling alleys and theaters as well — buildings that are just sitting empty and decaying — we humans are just so wasteful. Malls have plenty of parking so I do not see why there would not be parking for tenants and guests. Get some of the homeless off the streets, young people starting out, older folks on fixed incomes. There really does not need to be a housing problem.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 19, 2017, 5:13 pm

      I agree. The problem is it’s likely a zoning issue! They were commercially zoned, not residential. However, they should make exceptions so we can use all this space.

    • Kim
      April 2, 2017, 2:01 pm

      Not only the homeless, which is a good idea, but for the rest of us also. I would love to live in a place like these. I would sell my home and be there in a minute.

  • Michael L
    March 17, 2017, 11:28 pm

    Now… if someone could figure out what to do with the more recent malls. So many are closing.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 19, 2017, 5:10 pm

      I think this would be a great solution!

  • Dawn
    April 2, 2017, 1:39 pm

    In the video they said that the micro apartment, 225 square foot one was $ 750 a month

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 3, 2017, 8:02 am

      Cool 🙂 That video is a little outdated though, so it might be different now.

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