Tired of paying rent? Then you’ll love this story. An artist named Michael Townsend, 36, noticed an architectural void in a shopping mall garage in Providence, RI. The 750 square foot space was used during the mall’s construction in 1999 to store building materials. However it remained empty and unused after the mall opened.
Then in 2003 Michael heard a Christmas ad for the Providence Place Mall on the radio. The ad implied that the mall had everything you could ever need – to the point where someone could actually live there. So what did Michael and his friends do? They decided to test that theory. They built a cinderblock wall, complete with a door, and sealed off the architectural void in the garage. Then they moved in.
Home, sweet mall?
From 2003 to October 2007, Michael and his friends fixed up their secret hideaway. The apartment eventually had a sectional sofa and love seat, coffee and breakfast tables, a rug, paintings and a Sony Playstation 2. There was no running water — but the mall bathrooms were nearby.
Unfortunately a nosy mall security guard ruined everything. According to Michael’s blog, his “plans to finish the kitchen, install wood flooring, add a second bedroom and replace the outdated cutlery were put on permanent hold” after he was caught leaving the apartment on October 3rd.
Police Major Stephen Campbell says while he’s surprised by what Michael and his friends accomplished, their stunt was still illegal.
Michael has pleaded no contest to a trespassing charge.