- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation has voted to approve a $20 million renovation project at the Providence Place mall that will bring additional parking and streetscape changes.

The mall’s owner, General Growth Properties, decided to convert the first two floors of the former J.C. Penney store into 150 parking spaces after failing to find a tenant for the space. The store closed last summer, and officials say its third floor will remain available for smaller retail use.

The Commerce Corporation owns Providence Place’s land and leases it to General Growth Properties under a long-term arrangement. Commerce President Darin Early says the renovations are being made to combat “stress in the mid-sized retail box marketplace” by hopefully attracting more visitors.

Additional upgrades include repairs and enhancements along Hayes and Francis streets.

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