Greater City Providence


Apparently this was all anyone was talking about over the weekend and I completely missed it. Sometime this weekend posters were placed on the doors of the shuttered Arcade claiming that a new marketplace was “Coming Soon.”

Channel 10 ran with the story that a market is opening in the Arcade, ProJo however picked up the phone and called the owners of the Arcade.

“I had nothing to do with the posters,” said Evan Granoff, of the family-owned Granoff Associates.

Granoff said he’s never talked to the two men or anyone else associated with the organization. Currently, there are no definitive plans for the building.

I think Joelle Crane from the Providence Foundation is on the right track, she was quoted in the ProJo saying, “It’s an interesting joke.”

And interesting it is I’ll say. If The Hub actually moved into the upper floors, and a food market went in on the ground, that would be ideal.

I have not taken the time to pick up the phone, really, I’d prefer not to be told this is some elaborate joke (well timed to coincide with the release of the PPS Ten Most Endangered Properties list). Here’s how ProVide describes themselves on their website:

ProVide, the premier artisanal food and wine marketplace, is finally coming to Providence, RI. Two years after partners Giancarlo Mostaccioli and Tommy Pacheco won permission to convert the city’s long-dormant Westminster Arcade – known to locals as simply The Arcade - into a large-scale grocer’s, our team has paired with local farmers, artisans, administrators and institutions to transform the historic shopping center, located in the center of Downtown Providence and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, into Rhode Island’s foremost culinary mecca.

The marketplace, located at 66 Weybosset Street, is poised to become the ultimate destination for food lovers all over the Northeast to shop, savor and explore. Its offerings include in-house farmers’ markets for locally sourced meat, seafood, produce and dairy; a culinary educational center that will feature demonstrations from local chefs and food purveyors, and a discerningly curated selection of boutique eateries and confectioners. A delight for the self-styled epicure as well as the novice cook - indeed, for eaters across the board – ProVide aims to live up to its name.

Awesome right? Too bad 66 Weybosset Street is the address of the Arcade Parking Garage.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • This + Hub would be awesome, truly awesome.

    As a result, I see little reason to believe Downcity will be this lucky.

  • Am I grumpy to think that Providence needs less “boutique” and “discerningly curated”, and more “affordable and accessible” groceries?

  • “discerningly curated” and more “affordable and accessible”

    You can haz both! in one! – as proven by the great public markets in Montreal, Philadelphia and elsewhere.

    Providence is so ready for this.

    This was a magnificent joke. Hats off!

  • People at my work have been chatting about this all day. I work downtown and it would be great for a market like this to be available. Sounds wonderful.

  • My guess is that if Joelle thinks it’s a joke, it most likely is a joke, regardless of what these people are saying. She of all people would know what’s going on here. That being said, it’s the kind of joke that I wish I had been clever enough to come up with: dangling a carrot in front of the public in order to put pressure on the building owners.

  • dangling a carrot in front of the public in order to put pressure on the building owners.

    Literally, check out the header image on their website.

  • Honestly, it’s a great idea. Portland, me had a public market for many years that was a great place to find local produce and baked goods. It was an awesome site for people to gather and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon

  • As soon as I read the part about the 2009 decision by the city council to take over the management of the Arcade and put these guys in, I knew it could not possibly be true.


  • I can’t imagine any point to this hoax that couldn’t be made as effectively with far less effort.

  • I’ve long thought (mostly to myself) that the Arcade would make a great Farmer’s Market location and Quincy Market-style food arcade. There is even a large parking lot RIGHT NEXT DOOR.

    If a little prank/carrot helps something like this come to fruition, so much the better. Heck, if it works, I’m gonna think about what building to hit next.

  • Heck, if it works, I’m gonna think about what building to hit next.

    I was talking with someone about that on the Twitters.


  • I love the prank/hoax. It’s so elaborate that if the person behind it is actually proposing this and has the ability to make it happen, maybe the developer would go along with it.

    I mean… if you’re going to have a hoax for something that would be a great addition to the city in said location, why not go all out? The worst that can happen is people just laugh it off and continue speculating (like we’re doing now). But if anything better than that happens… it’s genius!

  • Doesn’t perpetrating a hoax like this create an antagonistic situation between “ProVide” and the owners?

  • With Tweets like this:

    Tip of the day: when testing seared meat for doneness, the best thermometer is the tip of your nose. #tipoftheday

    I doubt they are serious about getting the Granoffs to let them open a marketplace in the Arcade. It is creating discussion around the city and shaming the Granoffs into action. It is well past time for them to sh*t or get off the pot when it comes to plans for the building. This is lighting a fire under their asses.

  • In the Channel 10 story the reporter mentioned that Granoff was quoted saying that some work would start in six months. When they apply for a building permit, the permit should reveal what they’re intending to do, at least structurally.

  • Perhaps we should come up with a use too. Or better yet, a contest for its resuse! We could solicit ideas and then post them. Help keep the fire under their asses going.

  • I’m hearing there will be a protest at the Arcade on the 21st (the day “ProVide” was said to open) at 11:45am.

  • I heard about this “protest” too. Wonder what that’s all about.

  • I was talking with the owner of a business downtown that used to be in the Arcade. He said he spoke with the owner of the building who said he now has a plan for it. Take this for what its’s worth, but according to the gentleman I spoke with the plan is for retail on the first floor and “living accomodations” on the second and third. Sounds odd but would definitely be one of the most unique places to live in the city.

Providence, RI
Partly Cloudy
5:10 am8:23 pm EDT
Feels like: 75°F
Wind: 14mph S
Humidity: 65%
Pressure: 30.15"Hg
UV index: 6
90°F / 68°F
91°F / 68°F
91°F / 70°F