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The Grant former Poamlands, Mill River Arcade & WT Grant Department Store

 

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Former “Arcade-style” Mall becomes Collaborative Office Space

ArtInRuins gets in to the development business.

Michael Lozano and J. Hogue became the new owners of 250 Main Street, formerly the POAMLANDS mall, in downtown Pawtucket on June 15th, 2006. After a long engagment with lending partners, the City of Pawtucket, and the former owner, the deal was finally transacted and work quickly began on reviving the historic department store into a new type of office environment.

J describes the concept simply as a collaborative, semi-private space where anyone can shut their door and hunker down to meet a deadline or leave their door open, visit their neighbor, or hang out in the coffee shop and brainstorm with others around them. The first floor has 12 units ranging in size from 200 sf to 720 sf. The basement level has 7 studios ranging from 200 sf to 2000 sf. Rent includes internet access and wireless throughout the spaces.

Long-term “anchor” tenants include Kafe Lila, a coffee shop with fresh home-made breads, ice cream, cookies and lunch specials in one streetfront space, while the other is occupied by Flying Shuttles, a weaving studio for adults with developmental disabilities. Other spaces include J’s design studio office for Highchair designhaus, Circuit BMX, studio space for Ghost Town silkscreen studio, Strange Famous Records, and other design-related businesses.

“Everytime I mention these ideas to people, they respond very favorably. Some people get really excited,” says J. “‘A cafe?” they say, “We’ve been waiting for something like that.’” The former DMV next door is full of office space for the Pawtucket School board and the Riverfront Lofts and Bayley Lofts have almost completely leased up, and office space is at a premium in Providence. “People are really looking for this kind of space.”

This is the first development project for partner Michael Lozano, but he is no stranger to development. He currently works for the Pawtucket Community Development Corporation, as a director of real estate. They housing for lower income families, mainly, but these days, that means that they build housing regular people can afford. He’s been wanting to enter the real estate development business for quite some time, but as a developer who is willing to try a new concept instead of the old mill-loft condo song and dance.

The building officially for business in January of 2007.

 

The title records for the property go back to 1934, when it was a WT Grant department store. The WT Grant Company held on to it until the late sixties, but even as a WT Grant department store, the title listed multiple tenants for the property. This continued into the eighties and nineties, when the building was known as the Mill River Arcade, and then the Poamlands (Prospectors and then Preachers on a Mission, a Christian Hip-Hop theme) during the late nineties and early ought’s. In late 2004 a pipe burst on the second floor, flooding the 9000 sq ft basement with up to two feet of water. This was around the same time that the former DMV next door suffered from a burst pipe and the DMV was forced to move to the Apex building. A barber shop on the first floor was the last business to leave POAM in late 2005.

The information about each building grows as visitors let us know about their experiences. Did you or a member of your family work here? Did you grow up near it as a child? Let us know. All entries will be moderated and may be posted in an edited form. We will use your name unless you tell us otherwise. We will not make your email public.

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