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The George C. Arnold building is a three story, 3500 square foot building located along Washington Street in Downtown Providence. It was constructed in 1923 to the designs of William R. Walker & Son Architects, who designed several other major buildings around the city including the Cranston Street Armory on the West End. It is a brick-sheathed structure, which is typical of low-rise structures built in the area during the years following WWI. At 12.5 feet wide it is notably the narrowest building in the downtown area, which was the result of a street widening project in 1917.

The Arnold building became in danger during the 1990s when the building behind it was torn down and a parking lot was built. When constructed in 1923, the back wall of the Arnold building was built adjacent to the neighboring structure and was not intend to have a stand-alone fourth wall. Additionally, this fourth wall was never finished; when the adjacent building was torn down, it still had exposed wall paper and plaster from the preexisting building which was not waterproofed so further damage was caused to this side of the building. After the back building was demolished, there were fears by local advocates that the George C. Arnold building would follow suit given its lack of utilization.

In September of 2009, a fire damaged the building, leaving it completely vacant. Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of this is that the fire occurred while the owner was in the process of finishing up extensive repairs to the exterior of the building. Few repairs were made immediately following the fire and the building remained vacant, creating a noticeable void in this active section of Washington Street. In this time the building was featured on the MEP list for three years in a row from 2010 to 2012.

SAVED: In 2013, the building was acquired by the Providence Revolving Fund which collaborated with developer-builders Lori Quinn and David Stem to rehabilitate the building. It is currently in use as mixed-use property with two commercial spaces on the street level and three residential units on the upper floors.

    Jason Simonelli says:

    I’m the mid 1970’s my grandfather Louis Simonelli owned the newsstand that sat at the corner of Washington & Matthewson right in front of the smoke shop.

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© 2024 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.