let Providence guide him
June 20, 2012 12:05 PM   Subscribe

A friend is moving to Providence, RI - where should he live? Where can he find reliable apartment listings, or well-situated, reasonably priced apartment complexes? What else does he need to know?

He'll be in the city next week to start looking and hopefully sign a lease. He'll be working at Brown, but doesn't seem particularly committed to living near it.
posted by gerryblog to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Update: I showed him this thread and he expressed more interest in living near Brown than I thought.
posted by gerryblog at 12:12 PM on June 20, 2012

Depends on how much he's willing to shell out. The East Side is where he wants to be - it's cheaper up north by Pawtucket, and very much do-able by bike, if you don't mind the occasional hill climb. There's a little oasis of fine dining and shopping on Hope Street between Rochambeau and the town line. Providence is a smalllll city, and the East Side is a teeny little city in a small city, albeit one with big hills. Public transport is terrible, but workable.

Apartment complexes aren't all that common in the city - he will likely find an apartment in a wooden "three decker" - a three story apartment house, generally one apartment per floor. These are sometimes called tenements, and it's not a negative term locally. The quality of these will vary wildly from one to the next, a fridge and stove is usually included. Get an in-person look at a few in the same price range.

Craigslist is a good bet - look for listings with photos, and work with a real estate agent if you can.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:54 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

He should probably check the Brown (or even RISD) Housing office for his best leads. I left Providence in 2001 but most of the people I knew who came to the city to teach or otherwise work at the area colleges found their apartments via the campus housing offices. Often the prices were somewhat lower for great places as compared to not-so great places listed, on, say craigslist because the people listing places with the housing office usually desired dealing with tenants who were also part of the university community in a professional capacity more than they desired an extra few hundred dollars a month in rent. I'll resist discussing the ethics/mindset/rationales for this, but that's where I'd look first, if I were him.
posted by stagewhisper at 12:55 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I own a house outside of town, but I hear that the PVD rental market has really gotten tight in the past few years between the high unemployment, high foreclosures, and lots of privatization during the boom/bubble.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:28 PM on June 20, 2012

I lived in PVD for six years and had no problems finding a place via Craigslist.

The East Side near Brown is vastly more expensive than the West Side of town, but it's also a bit safer and within walking distance of his work as opposed to biking/driving distance. I lived without a car for four of my six years in PVD, so yes, it can be done, but RIPTA is less than reliable and it takes an hour to get places that take ten minutes by car.

If he's willing to have a bit of a commute (by PVD standards this means "between six minutes by car and half an hour depending on traffic/number of pedestrians that decide to jump in front of the car"), I'd really recommend the Armory District on the West Side. I lived there for three years before joining my now-husband at his place downtown and I loved the hell out of it. Not necessarily the *safest* neighborhood, but very livable - rents are reasonable, the houses are almost all old quirky Victorians, quiet, plenty going on within walking distance.

If he really wants to be within walking distance of Brown, I'd recommend the Wayland Square area around Waterman/Angell streets.
posted by sonika at 1:53 PM on June 20, 2012

Here's the link to Brown's Off-Campus Housing Listing (mentioned above) which sometimes has good listings, but they do charge a fee to list, so it doesn't have the volume of, say, Craigslist. Usually these are landlords who appreciate having responsible tenants like graduate students.

Walk around and look for 'for rent' signs in the Wayland Square and Fox Point areas.

Look at the many flyers for apartments at the Coffee Exchange.

IMO, don't even bother with apartment complexes. Mostly more expensive, really boring, and/or not in great locations.
posted by beyond_pink at 2:42 PM on June 20, 2012

I'm in the Armory now and pretty much love it. But I think your friend will prefer the East side / proximity to Brown over the joys of West side living. I nth the Fox Point and Wayland Square area recommendations.
posted by safetyfork at 6:36 PM on June 20, 2012

I lived in Fox Point for a year and a half until just last summer and I'd recommend it. Cheap, nice area which counts as being right next to Brown and RISD to everyone who isn't a student living on campus. Walking around and Craigslist should be plenty.

If your friend doesn't have a car but cooks, make sure to use Peapod. I'd also recommend Munroe Dairy, though that's a more specialized interest.

Do you have information on his age / budget? That can change a lot of things.
posted by 23 at 8:52 PM on June 20, 2012

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