Chic living in the city

Chic living in the city

Arcade Providence debuts local retailers, cozy micro-lofts downtown in September

PROVIDENCE - A coffee company with roasting roots in Pawtucket is expanding next month to serve coffee - and single malt whiskey - to patrons of the renovated Arcade Providence downtown.

New Harvest Coffee & Spirits will offer "a coffee slash whiskey bar," with loose leaf teas and sandwiches and pastries from Seven Stars Bakery, said owner Rik Kleinfeldt, whose roasting plant he owns along with Paula Anderson will remain headquartered in the Hope Artiste Village, producing 6,000 pounds of coffee a week.

Built in 1828, Arcade Providence is the oldest indoor shopping mall in America. It is set to re-open mid-September, Director of Outreach and Client Relations Robin Dionne said last week, after being closed since 2008 for renovations by the 130 Westminster Street Associates LLC, which is also responsible for renovating the city's Turk's Head Building and Old Colony Bank building.

"He has a lot of interest in this particular area," Dionne said of owner Evan Granoff, adding that the project draws inspiration from the art and design-based college students in the area.

Arcade Providence, with its glass atrium ceiling seen throughout the open space, will feature 16-17 retail locations on the first floor, including restaurants and shops, and 48 residential micro-lofts on the second floor. Prior to the renovations, the multiple floors were filled only with retail tenants.

Apartments, which come fully furnished with furniture built into the wall and designed for optimal storage capacity, measure anywhere from 225 to 900 sq. ft. Rooms are spoken for, and there is a waiting list many, many times the capacity, Dionne said.

There's a similar demand for business real estate in the building that sits between Westminster and Weybosset Streets, as well as on the National Register of Historic Places.

It is not a bad problem to have, Dionne said, as local businesses were carefully selected and big chain stores turned away.

"We could be as selective as we wanted," she said, and New Harvest Coffee's plan to offer caffeine and spirits, as well as cocktails that mix the two, was one that stood out.

"We love New Harvest," Dionne said, explaining that the company "is really ahead of the game here" with the coffee and whiskey concept.

A roaster, New Harvest Coffee supplies beans to businesses around Rhode Island, but "we rarely get to showcase our own coffee," Kleinfeldt said. There is a coffee bar at the Hope Artiste Village, but this Providence spot will be the company's first free-standing location.

He is also interested in whiskey, which Kleinfeldt said is becoming an artisan craft, much like coffee, with consumers interested in localized production and knowing the sources of ingredients.

The restaurant will have the feel of both a coffee shop and bar, he said. There are plans to stay open until at least 11 o'clock on weekend nights.

But coffee isn't the only thing brewing behind the closed doors of the Arcade.

Retailers that have been announced thus far include Adirah Gallery, featuring African art; ArchAngels Threading Studio; DASH Bicycle, for bike rentals and repairs; Kingston Krafts, specializing in custom and antique furniture; Luniac Glamour, selling jewelry, accessories and clothing from Rhode Island-based designers; Ntrendsic, a clothing store; Royal Male, selling European clothing; Southwest Passage, featuring Native American jewelry; and Sugar Coated Heaven, a dessert business founded by a Johnson & Wales University student.

Fellow Hope Artiste Village tenant Jessica Ricci will be opening her first shop, and closing her Pawtucket studio after two years, to sell her original jewelry made from items found on her travels throughout the world. Dionne said she knows Jessica Ricci Jewelry is well-received by consumers.

Ricci talked about her memories of the Arcade when she was growing up in Providence.

"I had always gone there as a kid," she said, to buy stickers and grab lunch and cookies. "To be in that building is an incredible opportunity."

And while she does have a few vendors that sell her eclectic, feminine jewelry, which originated from flea market finds when she lived in Italy for four years, Ricci said she is looking forward to the "one-degree of purchase" that she can achieve by opening her own store.

"It feels better for me to sell directly to the public," she said. "I'm really excited."

Ricci explained that she has respect for the project and what it means for Downtown.

"Revitalizing Providence is an important aspect for me," she said. "It looks amazing."

Kleinfeldt said the city has come "so far" in the 24 years since he moved to Rhode Island.

With Providence's growing shopping and dining scene, he said, "I think the Arcade reopening now is perfect timing."