Someone has lived undiscovered for years in a secret apartment in the mall
A man built a secret apartment in the Providence Place shopping center in Rhode Island and lived there undetected for four years. Here is the story of Michael Townsend and his “luxury apartment” hidden in plain sight.
Construction of the Providence Place Mall took place from 1997 to 1999 and during this time Providence artist Michael Townsend observed its training closely. On his website, Townsend mentions that he enjoys exploring buildings and modifying public spaces. So when he discovered a 750 square foot space during the construction of the mall, his wheels began to spin. It seemed like an accidental part that only existed due to the formation of the designed parts around it.
The power of radio
“During the Christmas season of 2003 and 2004, the radio commercials for Providence Place Mall featured an enthusiastic female voice explaining how great it would be if you (us) could live at the mall,” Townsend explained. “The central theme of the ads was that the mall not only provided a rich shopping experience, but also provided everything one would need to survive and lead a healthy lifestyle.” Townsend took this very literally.
How Townsend did
Roman Mars, host of the narrative podcast 99% invisible, did an episode about this unique story called “The accidental room” and explained how Townsend managed to pull the veil over the mall security’s eyes.
Mars explained that Townsend’s original plan was to only spend a week at the mall, but after revisiting this hidden room four years later and finding it still unused, Townsend and his face decided to make it up. a personal condo.
“The new plan wasn’t just to live in the mall for just a week, it was now just to live in the mall,” Mars said.
NBC News reported that Townsend and his friends built a cinder block wall and some utility door to keep the attic hidden. Inside, it was fully furnished and the “residents” used the bathrooms in the mall.
The end of the game
Townsend intended to finish a kitchen, install hardwood floors, and add a second bedroom, but plans were cut short when mall security guards stormed in.
Townsend insists that “every effort was made out of compassion to better understand the mall and the life of a shopper,” but his art project ultimately resulted in a misdemeanor charge for trespassing.
The judge gave Townsend a slap on the wrist for living at the mall for four years, and for good measure, mall security banned him from the mall for life.
For four years, Townsend and his friends lived rent-free in downtown Providence, hiding in plain sight. He will forever be known as the man behind the Secret Apartment.