Help me relocate from Brooklyn, NY to Providence, RI.
April 9, 2011 5:56 AM   Subscribe

Looking for reputable landlords and/or a good apartment broker in Providence, RI.

My partner and I, our baby (not yet born, will be 2 months) and two cats are relocating from Brooklyn, NY to Providence, RI in August. We won't have much time to search for apartments between my due date (in June) and August when we need to relocate. I've done some searching on craigslist, padmapper, housingmaps, etc., but think we might be better off obtaining recommendations of reputable landlords and /or a good apartment broker because we will have very little time to visit Providence and search for places ourselves. Anyone out there know the area and have advice along these lines? Here are some of our specs:

*We want to live in a walkable neighborhood close to RISD where my partner will be attending graduate school this fall. We plan to get a car but this may take some time.
*I've read that the East side, Federal Hill and Chalkstone are nice places to live. Are there other areas we should consider?
*We must have laundry in the building and hopefully a dishwasher too.
*Size-wise we are looking for a large 1 bdrm or small 2 bdrm and hope to spend $800-1100. Does this sound feasible?
posted by grubstake to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
 
Former Providence resident here. All the locations you listed are pretty nice places to live. East Side will be most convenient to RISD and probably best for a car-free lifestyle.

I lived in several places on the east side with different levels of quality, and I think $800-1100 is totally doable for what you are looking for. I never paid more than $725 including utilities for a really nice, large studio close to RISD, and the landlord of that place was totally on top of her shit. I think she also owned several buildings, so she may be a good person to talk to.

Me-mail me if you want her information or any more thoughts on where to live.
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 6:11 AM on April 9, 2011


I live in the Wayland Square area (where Wayland crosses Angell and Waterman Sts), perhaps a mile east of RISD, and it is pretty livable at the upper end of your range. It has the advantage of several grocery stores and pharmacies within a short walk, plus some coffee shops and so on. I live without a car, and it is pretty easy to do here.

South of Waterman you will find more "bulk student housing," which varies in quality from pretty good to sketchy-looking. It is further from things like groceries, but at least slightly cheaper. If you head north along Hope St, there are plenty of places to live, but it will be further from RISD and the various services are more spread out.

The West Side is generally cheaper, but a lack of groceries makes it more difficult without a car.

I have used Bilodeau as an apartment finder (401) 831-5995. They have been generally easy to deal with, and fairly quick on repairs. If you feel like memailing me, I would be glad to tell you more.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:21 AM on April 9, 2011


RISD is situated next to Brown on the border of the east side and downtown, which are probably the two most expensive areas to live in Providence in terms of what you get for your money. The east side is a nice place to live, but I think the only real 'walkable' neighborhood would be Wayland Sq, which has access to both Whole Foods and Eastside Marketplace within a 10 minute walk. But Wayland Sq is probably the most expensive place to live on the East Side, with the exception of the Blackstone Bvd neighborhood up the road.

Federal Hill and Chalkstone Ave are ok, but they're not the nicest places to live, especially when you compare them to the east side. Most of Chalkstone is pretty far from downtown, and the part that's closer to downtown is in the Smith Hill neighborhood, which isn't really that walking friendly for groceries, although I think they might have an Aldi around there now.

I've lived in providence for over 10 years, and lived in almost every neighborhood at one point or another except south providence. My favorite neighborhood is the one I'm living in now, which is West Broadway/Armory District.. Its on the west side next to federal hill and about a 10 min bike or bus ride to RISD. It's a neighborhood with beautiful old Victorian houses situated around the Dexter St Armory Park, and its got a pricerite about a 10 min walk away on valley st. My awesome land lady has told me that there is a community co-op grocery store that's going to be moving in this summer on Westminster St, and there is a farmers market every Thursday from May to October in the Armory park.

As for price comparisons, I live in a 110 year old Victorian house with 11 ft ceilings and 1700 sq feet of space for a shade under 1100 a month. On the east side near hope st (Howell st) I paid 950 a month for a 900 sq foot apartment with pretty much zero amenities.

If you're interested in more info send me a mifi mail, and I still have a few old landlord contacts on the east side. My current land lady owns a few places in the armory that she's always looking to rent in the summer when the students start to leave.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:11 AM on April 9, 2011


Also, the Armory District was recently voted one of the best places to live in Providence.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:26 AM on April 9, 2011


I have used Bilodeau and Armory Revival Co and have been pleased with both. It seems like Bilodeau focuses on the East Side (near RISD) while Armory is only on the West Side. Love the West Side (cheaper, trendier, great restaurants) but the comment about no groceries is very true. And on the West Side, each street can be reallllly different, so you would need to really check out each location for yourself. The last place I lived in pvd was West Broadway/Armory neighborhood. I really wouldn't consider it with children. Although it is on it's way up, it can be a bit rough, especially at night. You might want to check out Hope St area on the East Side. Its on a main bus line right to downtown and its a beautiful safe neighborhood with plenty of shops, restaurants, banks, drug stores, etc. all in walking distance.
posted by ps_im_awesome at 10:46 AM on April 9, 2011


I think the armory itself is pretty safe, and my wife feels ok walking around it at night, but it is bordered by Cranston st and the wiggen village projects & Briggs Manor projects, which are not so great areas.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:41 AM on April 9, 2011


This is really helpful. Thanks so much! We've added the Armory to our list of areas to check out. Here in Brooklyn "up and coming" describes just about every neighborhood we've lived in so it might feel like home... and thanks for the more detailed breakdown of the East Side too! We'll be sure to look into Wayland Square and the Hope Street areas.
posted by grubstake at 5:47 AM on April 10, 2011


One thing about Providence is that the projects are often verrry close up against the cool and /or gentrifying neighborhoods -- and those latter areas can be pretty small. Yes, part of the coolness (in any city) is the edge, but in PRV some of the cool areas are barely a few streets.

Great city, though: it reminds me a lot of St. Paul, MN.

Me, I work downcity but I live in the 'burbs.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:38 AM on April 11, 2011


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