NCA joined Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Director of Economic Development for the City of Providence James Bennett, Developer Evan Granoff and others for the celebration of the Arcade’s soft opening on October 21, 2013. 11 of Arcade Providence’s 17 micro-retail shops officially opened after a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Westminster Street entrance.

Later this year all three levels and the basement of the 1828 landmark building and “America’s oldest mall” will be occupied.  There will be unique local shops and restaurants on the first floor and 48 micro-lofts on the second and third floors. A bike garage and storage for the tenants is planned for the basement.

NCA’s adaptive reuse project will make the Arcade economically self-sustaining. Most of the micro lofts — priced as low as $550 a month and including all utilities — are less than 270 square feet and include a private bath, small kitchen, built-in bed and seating. Ten others will be larger, from 500 to more than 800 square feet, with two or three bedrooms.  All of the micro lofts have been leased and the lengthy waiting list exceeds a two-year waiting period.

The retail spaces range from 641 to 2,300 square feet, with the two largest to offer outdoor seating.  A few also have an additional entrance so they can stay open later than the Arcade’s 9 p.m. closing.

The Arcade, once the center of a thriving financial district, has been empty since 2008. After it closed, the Providence Preservation Society placed it on its “Ten Most Endangered Properties” in Providence list.  It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976.