Repurposing America’s Oldest Mall

The oldest indoor shopping mall in the US has been repurposed  from stores to tiny homes.    The Arcade Mall, located in Providence, Rhode Island, has a waiting list for the forty-eight micro lofts.

The main level of the mall contains boutique shops and the housing units are on the second and third floors.  The resulting effect is a calm indoor ‘avenue’ of shopping and residences.

Developer Evan Granoff had a few challenges through the process, including the issue of cooking facilities.   When city ordinances didn’t allow for cooking facilities due to the size of space, Granoff registered the property as a co-housing  facility, which allowed for convection microwaves.   Residents find it to be an acceptable compromise as they can easily purchase meals on the lower level of the mall or create simple menus within their space if they are home or dine in one of the many local restaurants in the Providence downtown area.

Quite the interesting endeavour.   It’s certainly worth the few minutes to watch the video at the end of this post.

People talk about saving historic buildings, but often the only way to save them is to make them economically viable.   – Evan Granoff

The concept of adaptive reuse – repurposing unused buildings into usable facilities-  has been around for some time.  Developing standing buildings – such as warehouses, mills and distilleries-  into homes not only minimizes urban sprawl, it reduces the waste created by demolishing and constructing new structures.    There are issues that can occur; modernizing electrical, plumbing, and internal structure while ensuring any harmful chemicals such as asbestos are not within walls coupled with zoning and local bylaws that will allow for changes to the original building.    Not an easy task.  But if you look at some of the links below,  you’ll see some pretty amazing spaces with incredible architecture.

Unusual Buildings Converted in to Spectacular Homes

Architectural Digest Gallery of Converted Spaces



For additional reading:

Adaptive Reuse 

Business Insider – Oldest Shopping Mall in America

Historic Buildings Modern Uses – Saskatchewan

Historic Places:  Affordable Housing and Neighbourhood Improvements in Canada

Unusual Buildings Converted in to Spectacular Homes

Architectural Digest Gallery of Converted Spaces


Great things happening at Madeira Park Elementary

Check out the Local this week – an article on Madeira Park Elementary, written by yours truly.

The original was about 500 words which was difficult enough- I was edited down to 300.

I’ve also pasted the published article below.


Located in the north section of our school district, Madeira Park Elementary, one of our smallest schools, provides education primarily for Egmont and Pender Harbour areas, one of the largest physical catchment areas in our district. The staff at MPES is “excited to dive in and start implementation” of new curriculum that is being rolled out in B.C. schools. The school has been immersed in experiential learning (learning through experiences) to support new learning outcomes. MPES students expect to go on whole-school field trips that take them to the Port of Vancouver to study ecology and economy; Grouse Mountain to study bears and ecology; or Porpoise Bay to see the fragile salomonid ecosystem.

Next spring will be the third annual “Week Without Walls”, dedicated to outdoor experiences and environmental studies in the Pender Harbour Community. It continues rain or shine! Fine Arts Week was started last year to balance the academics and athletics. The school played host to painters, sculptors, musicians and actors over a week to introduce students, staff and parents to different media in which artists can express themselves. The students had an opportunity to work with Jeraldo Avila and learn about acrobatics and perform in a school-wide circus.

A small school encourages the staff and students to work in teams. This year, there will be two grade 4, 5, 6 classrooms that will be learning in big picture themes, and then splitting into smaller groups for individual attention. Madeira Park Elementary ensures highly effective student learning takes place for all students by providing special support in literacy and numeracy. Principal Krangle is a true example of how one person can inspire a community. Described by outgoing PAC Chair Mandy West as “a supportive principal who helps to make it all happen”, Krangle has a gift for encouraging’ involvement of parents. Two years ago, I found myself playing the older version of my daughter’s character in the school’s musical adaption of “The Polar Express”. Quite the treat for me. There is hope to launch a musical this year, and with incredibly supportive parents and local community, it is sure to once again play to a packed house.

As a trustee, it is extremely exciting to watch the engagement of students, staff and community around education. As a parent of former students, I’m a bit jealous that my kids aren’t a few years younger.

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