Greater City Providence

WPRO: Former Rhode Island Mall to become factory outlets

PowerPoint Presentation

Interior concept rendering from Winstanley Enterprises

The developers of the former Rhode Island Mall are hoping to open “The Outlets at Rhode Island Mall” late next year.

Winstanley Enterprises of Mass. and Surrey Equities of New York bought the mall back in 2012 and had previously planned to turn the vacant shopping center into several big-box stores.

I hate to say I told you so* about the big box concept but… I told you so.

The completed outlet mall would house between 40 and 60 outlet stores according to Silvera. He says it will have similar tenants to the Wrentham Outlets, but unlike Wrentham, it will not be an outdoor mall – they plan to keep the existing exterior of the Rhode Island Mall, but will completely renovate the inside.

[alert type=”muted”]The developer has a marketing brochure online [/alert]

*Who am I kidding, I love to say I told you so.

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.


  • There is an old crappy mall down here that reinvented itself as an indoor outlet mall and it does quite well now, in fact, well enough that a large portion of its parking lots have been turned over to secondary development. It is also the only mall in the area that actively promotes recycling.

    There’s a Sears outlet there, plus all the usual “factory” outlets, a small food court, a place that JUST SELLS POPPED CORN, an attached movie theatre, a TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack and the higher end retailers, a Cheesecake Factory and a few other of those big box restaurants (Those are the new development) a few nail and hair places (including one that caters to children only) and on the far far end of the property is IKEA. It is not far from a Wegmans, but the folks who live down there are really pining for a Trader Joes.

    There are also lots of those typical mall kiosks of rice and lavender heated pads, and in the spring there’s a dude that sells seriously good Easter candy, including white chocolate deviled eggs. It is a very unusual mix of National and Local retail (with, of course, the emphasis on the national, but still, it is something.)

    There are several play areas for kids and an electric train that rides all around the mall (it is quite big, and kind of looks like an asterisk) and while there are sometimes gang related gunfire, it is generally a pretty nice place to go, if you have to go to a place like this. I hope the one in Warwick turns out as well.

  • Outlets are big business. Better to at least spend the money here vs another state. Let’s be positive

  • Oh, I love the idea, happy to spend my money in RI rather than going to Wrentham, and happy not to go to Wrentham because going to Wrentham is terrible. Plus, RIPTA goes here. And this is so much better than their grand idea from 1992 to build more big box stores.

  • This is a great idea. I was never a fan of malls until the big box “lifestyle center” came on the scene. At least people park once and walk around inside malls, instead of driving from store to store in the same parking lot in an outdoor shopping center. All the better if additional stores pop up in the sea of parking lot like mothra said happened elsewhere.

  • An interesting sidenote to the Potomac Mills that I described above–it had acres and acres and acres of parking. I mean a serious crazy amount of parking, and during the down times (when the mall was icky) they let commuters park there (because it is right off 95, at the very bottom of what one would consider Northern Virginia, and folks used it for years as a park and ride. Until the economy got better and the mall management decided to go ahead and build some stuff in the parking lot and people went INSANE as you can imagine because when you take free, convenient parking for people who aren’t even shopping at those stores–well, you can just imagine the outrage. Eventually VDOT and the County and the area of Woodbridge came up with some alternatives but not before a lot of screaming and stomping of feet and rending of garments and vows NEVER TO SHOP THERE EVER AGAIN.

    Now you have to realize that the stretch of 95 from just south of Woodbridge, all the way up to, say, halfway to Baltimore is a clusterpuff of epic proportions. There are times when both north and south 95 are closed for hours at a time because of fatal accidents. There is almost always construction, and it really doesn’t matter what time of the day you travel, you WILL get stuck in traffic. So the fact that people were trying to get out of their cars and take the bus in is good, but really, the greatest sin in all this is the way counties further out from DC Metro keep building hundreds and thousands of housing units without the infastructure of rapid transit or even decent mass transit. So as usual Sprawl (and snotty entitled behavior) ruins everything.

  • This plan sounds well thought out.RI has one of the highest income gains in the country,and with improving economic news,it all fits.Warwick seems to be urbanizing rather than suburbanizing.Transit,bike paths&airport city focus will also assist Providence in ways that don’t show just yet.That is the key here actually,to ally with Providence rather than compete with it.It’s the Metro we must implement.

  • I think this is a great idea for the rhode island mall. Well it is not too far from the airport and it will attract travelers. I know the wrentham outlets does from both tfgreen and Logan airports, I work at the wtentham outlets. It will also be helpful for me because I live in providence and to go to work everyday is a 35 minute ride were if I got a job at these new outlets it would cut my ride down by like 10 to 15 minutes. Also my boyfriend lives in Warwick and some day we want to live together and his work is in narragansit. You may ask yourself why I don’t work in Warwick now or even at the Providence place mall, well the reason is I like the higher end stores. Warwick does not have those yet and as far as providence place they just did not hire me. I also tried garden city and no luck either. The other good thing about bringing in these outlets to Ri is that Rhode islanders won’t have to travel so far for outlets. Also it will be like wrentham and north attleboro all in one. Well in north attleboro you have like route 2 a mall and then if you drive there are a bunch of different strip malls with stores. Then you have to travel to wrentham for outlets where if this all goes threw you could just go to one town and have a ton of shopping to choose from high end or non high end. So yes I hope all this goes threw!!!!!

Providence, RI
Partly Cloudy
5:10 am8:22 pm EDT
Feels like: 73°F
Wind: 10mph S
Humidity: 86%
Pressure: 29.84"Hg
UV index: 3
77°F / 52°F
75°F / 57°F
79°F / 64°F