Providence City Survey, June 2000

Brown Policy Reports

"Assessing the Providence Place Mall"

by Darrell West and Marion Orr
June, 2000

Taubman Center for Public Policy
67 George Street
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912-1977
(401) 863-2201

Table of Contents:

  • Executive Summary
  • Background on the Mall
  • Employment
  • Sales Tax Revenues
  • Comparison of Shopping Visits
  • Demographics of Mall Visitors
  • Uses of Mall
  • The Mall and Transportation
  • Evaluations of Mall
  • View of Tax Incentives
  • Mall Impact on Traffic, Economy, and Spirit
  • The Mall and Downtown Revitalization
  • Mall Impact on Shopping
  • Notes
  • Survey Questions and Answers

Executive Summary

This study examines the current status of the Providence Place Mall. Born in controversy and opened in August, 1999, the mall is the most expensive development project in the history of Rhode Island. Costing around $500 million and featuring 165 stores, restaurants, and kiosks, the mall represents a novel experiment in urban redevelopment. It tests the proposition that downtown retailing can work in the 21st century and that malls can be an engine of economic development and urban revitalization.

In this Brown Policy Report by the Taubman Center for Public Policy, we examine sales tax and employment figures for the mall. Our goal is to assess how well the mall is doing and whether the mall is delivering on its stated promises to create jobs and tax dollars, and to provide quality shopping, dining, and entertainment for the Southern New England area.

In addition, between May 6 and 9, 2000, we interviewed via telephone a random sample of 329 Providence adults to see if they had gone to the mall, how they evaluated mall shopping, dining, entertainment, architecture, and parking, and how they thought the mall had affected traffic congestion, the Rhode Island economy, and the Rhode Island spirit.

We also looked at how the mall has affected shopping habits, whether it has made city residents more likely to visit other downtown stores and restaurants, to shop out of state, or to shop outside of Providence. And to determine how the rise of the Internet is affecting mall shopping, we compared shopping in bricks and mortar establishments to shopping on the Internet. Overall, this survey had a margin of error of approximately plus or minus 6 percentage points. It was conducted at the John Hazen White, Sr. Public Opinion Laboratory and was broadly representative of the city of Providence.

Among the more important results of this policy report are the following:

1) the mall has created a large number of jobs, but the figure has lagged those forecast by mall supporters in part because of delays in completing the project

2) sales tax revenues for the state are running behind early projections, although the mall general manager predicts tax revenue targets will be met by the end of this year

3) the mall has been successful at attracting shoppers, although its clientele tends to be younger and has family incomes under $50,000

4) twelve percent report they have shopped on the Internet at least once a month over the past six months

5) city residents use the mall more for shopping than entertainment or dining

6) eighty-eight percent of frequent mall visitors drive to the mall, while 12 percent take mass transit

7) sixty-one percent give the mall excellent or good ratings overall

8) the mall's architecture receives the most favorable ratings, while the cost of parking receives the least favorable marks

9) more residents (nearly half) say the mall was a good than not so good investment on the part of state and city officials

10) thirty-nine percent believe the mall has made traffic congestion within the city worse

11) a majority feel the mall has added either some or a lot of benefit to the Rhode Island economy

12) two-thirds feel the mall has improved the state's sense of spirit

13) one-quarter say the mall has led them to visit other downtown stores and one-third claim it has encouraged them to dine at other downtown restaurants

14) twenty-three percent say the mall has made them less likely to shop out-of-state, while 20 percent believe it has made them less likely to shop outside of Providence within Rhode Island

Background on the Mall

From its beginning in the mid-1980s, the mall represented a controversial experiment in public/private partnership between developers and Rhode Island taxpayers. Designed to create jobs, tax dollars, and retail shopping in an odd-shaped parcel of land spanning an Amtrak railroad line and the Woonasquatucket River, the original development package negotiated by then Governor Bruce Sundlun called for the state to donate 7 acres of land housing the University of Rhode Island College of Continuing Education and jointly with the City of Providence to pay for a $94.5 million parking garage. Overall, the public costs of the $340 million project was estimated at $120 million.

Interviewed early in 1994 by a newspaper reporter, House Finance Committee Chairman Antonio Pires stated, "there is a great deal of concern among members of the committee and our colleagues in the General Assembly about the financing of this project."(1) With the exception of the AFL-CIO and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, many outside groups were not very sympathetic to the public investment. One citizen speaking at a Statehouse hearing on the mall complained that the shopping center would become "just another Rhode Island fiasco."(2) The Boston Globe editorial division won a Pulitzer Prize for criticizing the development potential of a downtown mall in Providence.(3)

Yet despite these objections, mall supporters persevered. Joseph Paolino, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Economic Development praised the job creation that would be brought about by the mall. "It's important to explain the project to the people, to talk about the 2,400 jobs that are going to be created, to talk about the 3,000 construction jobs, to talk about the $220 million in private investment," he noted.(4) Newly-elected Governor Lincoln Almond moved in 1995 to renegotiate the deal, which he had opposed in his 1994 campaign. Rather than build the 5,000 car parking garage, Almond changed the agreement so that developer Dan Lugosch would privately finance construction, but in return the state would let him retain the first $6 million in sales tax receipts each year for 20 years and the city of Providence would waive $4.5 million in property taxes each year for 20 years.

A 1995 report conducted by HSG/Gould Associates of Washington and commissioned by Almond predicted that the mall "would create 2,840 jobs in the year 2000, with as many as 1,590 of those new to the state." The mall was expected to produce "$228.5 million in sales" by 2000, with somewhere between "40 and 56 percent of that money would be new to the state." Major malls within the state, including Garden City Center, Warwick Mall, and Rhode Island Mall, would lose "9 to 12 percent of their projected sales by 2000". (5) A Brown University survey that Fall found that 66 percent of Rhode Island voters opposed the renegotiated mall proposal, 25 percent favored it, and 9 percent were undecided. Ten percent indicated the shopping mall would benefit the state economy a lot, 25 percent felt some, 58 percent believed not very much, and 7 percent were unsure.

In November, 1995, the House passed the tax rebate plan by 67 to 33, but reduced the size of the parking garage from 5,000 to 4,500 cars and cut the sales tax component from $120 to $72 million over 20 years (the developer retained the first $3.68 million per year for first five years and $3.57 million during each of the following 15 years).(6) The Senate followed suit with a 36 to 13 vote in favor of the tax package for the 1.25 million square foot project as did the Providence City Council on an 11 to 2 vote approving $136 million in property tax relief over 30 years.

As the site moved into preparation for construction, Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci predicted the 13-acre mall would bring "3,000 construction jobs and 2,800 permanent jobs" to Providence.(7) Developer Lugosch told the Capital Center Commission that he remained committed to an upscale shopping center. "This mall is geared toward the high-income shopper within a 40-mile radius," he said.(8) By Spring, 2000, it was predicted that the mall would attract at least 15 million shoppers a year.(9)

Employment

The mall was designed to achieve a number of different objectives: build a retailing, dining, and entertainment destination, provide much-needed jobs to a state with a history of higher than average unemployment rates, and bring tax dollars into state coffers in return for the public investment.

Indeed, one key argument behind the $208 million in tax relief for the Providence Place Mall was economic development. If built, according to proponents, the mall would generate both jobs and new sales tax revenues for the state of Rhode Island. Based on current figures, a large number of jobs has been created but not at the 2,400 figure suggested by Economic Development Director Paolino in 1994, the 2,840 number estimated by Gould in 1995 and the 2,800 figure suggested by Mayor Cianci in 1996. Based on a Providence Journal story in February, 2000, the mall employs "about 2,000" workers. In May, 2000, it was predicted by mall general manager Joseph Koechel that "several hundred jobs will be created within the next few months."(10) This would bring mall jobs up to 2,300 to 2,400 jobs, but still place it below the Gould/Cianci projections.

Estimates for the hiring of construction workers also lagged early forecasts. Whereas 3,000 workers were expected to be hired, the actual figure was "about 1,650", according to the Providence Journal. This number was 45 percent below the projections.(11)

In terms of diversity of hires, the project did achieve some of its hiring goals for minority but not female employees during the construction phase. Whereas developers had set a goal of 10 percent minority hiring, minority workers actually comprised 12 percent of the work force. But women made up only 2 percent of the construction workforce, compared to the goal of 10 percent.(12) So in short, the mall has provided several thousand new jobs, but not at the level anticipated by vocal proponents.

Sales Tax Revenues

Sales tax revenues for the mall currently are running behind early projections. A June, 1999 Gould study commissioned by the developer forecast that in 2000, the mall would generate $10.5 million in sales tax revenues. By 2002, the report predicted the mall would produce $379 million sales a year, taxable sales of $182 a year, and $11.7 million in sales tax going to the state. Less than half (48 percent) of total sales at the mall fall under the sales tax because Rhode Island exempts clothing, movie tickets, medications, and packaged grocery items. The 1999 Gould forecast for sales tax dollars flowing into state coffers was twice that of Gould's 1995 study, when it was assumed the state would get $6.8 million in sales tax a year.(13)

Table 1: Sales Tax Revenues from Providence Place Mall (August, 1999-April, 2000)

August/September $296,608 January $541,247
October $242,137 February $770,993
November $608,623 March $530,457
December $836,085 April $713,613
1999 Subtotal $1,983,453 2000 Subtotal $2,556,310
August-April total $4,539,763

Sources: 1999 Revenue Numbers are from the Feb. 8,2000 Providence Journal, while the 2000 Numbers are from the State Budget Office

As shown in Table 1, sales tax receipts for the nine month period running from August, 1999 through the end of April, 2000 total $4,539,763. August through December, 1999 sales tax revenues totaled $1,983,453, while the January through April, 2000 receipts came in at $2,556,310. Gould's 1999 report had anticipated monthly sales tax receipts averaging $875,000 with the mall fully open and occupied. With the mall not fully occupied, it is understandable that actual sales tax revenues came in under projected forecasts. Delays in the opening of Lord and Taylor department store as well as some other stores have kept sales tax receipts below the $875,000 average monthly figure that Gould had estimated. It remains to be seen whether the target of $10.5 million for calendar year 2000 will be met.

At the time of the 1999 holiday season, when December numbers showed consumers had spent $11 million in taxable expenditures for that month alone, Providence Place Mall General Manager Joseph Koeschel said, "I think we had a very successful holiday season." Yet since holiday sales comprise a substantial part of the annual receipts of any retail outlet, Providence Place revenues are going to have to increase considerably beyond current levels to meet its opening year target.(14) When asked recently about his evaluation of current sales tax revenues, Koeschel forecast that the $10.5 million target set in the 1999 Gould report would be met.(15)

Comparison of Shopping Visits

In addition to examining job and sales tax figures, we conducted a public opinion survey of Providence residents to see how people in the capital city feel about the mall, how they are using it compared to other shopping venues, and whether it is serving as a vehicle for urban revitalization. Of the 329 citizens interviewed, 41 percent said they had visited the Providence Place Mall at least once a month over the past six months (see Table 2). This compares to 72 percent who say they have shopped once a month in Providence, 64 percent who say they have shopped in Rhode Island outside of Providence, 40 percent who indicated they had shopped out of state, and 12 percent who said they had shopped on the Internet at least once a month over the past six months.

Table 2: Comparison of Shopping Visits in Past Six Months

Internet Out of State Outside Prov. Inside Prov. PP Mall
Never 72% 32% 14% 11% 27%
Once Every Few Months 13% 26% 19% 15% 30%
Once a Month 8% 19% 25% 15% 19%
Every Other Week 2% 10% 20% 21% 14%
Once a Week 2% 11% 19% 36% 8%
No Answer 3% 2% 3% 2% 2%

These figures suggest that the mall has been successful at attracting shoppers. Mall marketing director Leslie DaCosta reports that the mall has made major progress at becoming a "destination center." Through radio, magazine, and newspaper ads as well as an alliance with WJAR-TV and its "Talk Back to 10" segment, the mall is "on track" to its current goal of "16 million" visitors a year.(16)

Over the longer run, the mall hopes to reduce the extent to which Rhode Islanders shop out of state, attract tourists and out-of-state shoppers to the mall, and survive the growing threat of Internet sales to traditional "bricks and mortar" establishments. University of Rhode Island economist Leonard Lardaro argues that in a few years, Internet sales will total 5 percent of retail sales.(17) Already, 12 percent of Providence residents report they have shopped the Internet on a regular basis, which suggests Internet website shopping has the potential to grow as more area residents become connected to e-commerce.

Mall General Manager Joseph Koeschel downplayed the threat posed by Internet sales. Asked about the growing competition from the Internet, he said, "on websites, people will browse, but they like the feel and touch of a mall."(18)

Demographics of Mall Visitors

Developers publicly have touted the mall as an upscale project that would offer retail and entertainment options not available elsewhere within the state and that the mall would attract a more upscale clientele of shoppers. There is no question but that the mix of stores and entertainment at the mall meets expectations. Between Nordstroms, the IMAX theater (which opens in June), Eddie Bauer, Brooks Brothers, and a variety of specialized boutiques, shoppers have a wider array of options than previously has been available within Rhode Island.

The second aspect of upscale, i.e., attracting more affluent shoppers, has been more of a mixed pattern. To see what kind of demographic clientele the mall is attracting, we looked at the characteristics of those individuals who said they were frequent mall visitors, defined as those visiting the mall at least once a month over the past six months.

As shown on Table 3, the mall is attracting a younger clientele than the population as a whole. For example, while 21 percent of the city of Providence is 55 years or older, only 11 percent of frequent mall visitors are over 55. Conversely, 36 percent of the city is between 18 and 34, while 57 percent of mall visitors fall within that age range.

Sex Age Race Income
Male 47% under 18 2% White 55% 0-15K 10%
Female 53% 18-24 36% Non-White 42% 15-30K 20%
25-34 21% No answer 3% 30-50K 29%
35-44 18% 50-75K 12%
45-54 12% 75-100K 5%
55-64 5% 100-125K 7%
65+ 6% 125 or more 6%
No answer 11%

Frequent mall visitors also tend to be more minority than the population as a whole. According to Census figures, Providence is 70 percent white and 30 percent non-white. Among frequent mall visitors, 55 percent are white, 42 percent are non-white, and 3 percent didn't answer.

Finally, an analysis of the income levels of mall-goers reveals that a majority (59 percent) have family incomes of $50,000 or less. At the upper end of income levels, 13 percent of frequent mall shoppers report that they make at least $100,000. Another 17 percent report they make between $50,000 and 100,000. Only 30 percent of frequent shoppers say they make over $50,000, which suggests the vision of upscale shoppers has not been fully realized.

Uses of Mall

Providence residents cite shopping as their primary use of the mall (see Table 4). Seventy-four percent say shopping is their major reason for going to the mall, followed by 17 percent who cite entertainment, and 9 percent who say they go for food. In part, these numbers reflect the current mix of the mall. The Hoyt Cinemas featuring 16 screens opened in the last month and the IMAX theater opens this month. There are many more shopping than entertainment or food options.

Table 4: Uses of Mall for Those Going to Mall

Primary Use Time of Visit
Shopping 74% Morning 12%
Food 9% Lunchtime 4%
Entertainment 17% Afternoon 27%
Evening 25%
Weekend 32%

Mall General Manager Joseph Koeschel explained that "we don't have all the spaces in the food court filled yet. Right now, only six of the 10 spaces are filled." The remainder should be completed by the end of 2000, he predicted.(19)

In terms of time of visits, weekends remain the most popular time to go (32 percent), followed by weekday afternoons (27 percent) and weekday evenings (25 percent). Both mornings (12 percent) and lunchtime (4 percent) remain under-utilized times for mall visits.

The Mall and Transportation

With traffic becoming a bigger problem within the city of Providence, we decided to ask how visitors reached the mall. Cars remain the dominant means of transportation to the mall (see Table 5). Of those who say they have gone to the mall, 88 percent drove there. Thirty-four percent drove with a family member, 31 percent drove by themselves, and 23 percent went with a friend. Twelve percent indicated they went to the mall through mass transit such as a bus or trolley.

Table 5: Transportation to Mall of Those Going to Mall

Drive by Self 31%
Drive with Family Member 34%
Drive with Friend 23%
Mass Transit 12%

The heavy reliance on cars clearly contributes to traffic congestion in the area. According to state traffic estimates, the number of cars on the roads around Providence has increased 50 percent over the past decade. The section of I-95 running from the State House to the Providence Place Mall already was averaging 234,1000 cars a day before the mall was built. This number is higher than Boston's famed Central Artery.(20) In general, Rhode Islanders are not very likely to rely upon mass transit. A 1998 University of Rhode Island state survey found that only 3 percent of Rhode Islanders say they take mass transit daily.(21)

Evaluations of Mall

For a mall that started under controversial circumstances, current opinions are quite upbeat about the project. Sixty-one percent of Providence residents give the mall excellent or good ratings overall (see Table 6). Seventeen percent rate the mall only fair or poor, and 22 percent expressed no opinion about the mall. These are very good ratings for a mall that has been open for less than a year.

However, Providence dwellers distinguish different aspects of the mall. Their highest ratings are reserved for how mall architecture fits into the downtown area, with 69 percent giving the architecture excellent or good ratings, and 23 percent say it is only fair or poor. This is followed by 56 percent who rate the mall positively as a place to shop, 40 percent who give it high marks as an entertainment center, and 39 percent who rate it positively as a place to eat.

Least popular with city residents is the cost of parking, which led one state legislator to introduce a bill removing the parking fee. When asked how they rated the cost of parking facilities at the Providence Place Mall, only 17 percent gave it excellent or good ratings in terms of parking, while 50 percent rate it only fair or poor. Public complaints about parking forced the mall during the Christmas holiday season to declare a free parking holiday. Mall marketing director Leslie DaCosta defended the parking situation saying the cost was "nominal" compared to Boston and predicted that eventually Rhode Islanders would get used to paying for parking at the downtown mall.

Table 6: Evaluations of Mall

Excellent Good Only Fair Poor No Answer
Overall 24% 37% 14% 3% 22%
Place to Shop 19% 37% 12% 2% 30%
Place to Eat 15% 24% 10% 4% 47%
Entertainment Center 13% 2&% 8% 3% 49%
Architecture 29% 40% 15% 8% 8%
Parking 3% 14% 15% 35% 33%

View of Tax Incentives

The public subsidy for the mall was unpopular when it was being negotiated in 1995. At that time, 66 percent of statewide voters indicated they opposed construction of the new shopping mall if the state let developers keep the first $6 million in annual sales tax revenues over a 20 year period. Only 25 percent were in favor of the proposal.

Now that the project is built and the General Assembly scaled back the size of the state contribution, voters are more positive about the use of tax incentives. When asked "as an encouragement to build the mall, its developers were given some tax incentives. Now that the mall is built, do you think these incentives were a good or not so good investment by state and local officials?" As shown in Table 7, 46 percent felt it was a good investment, 26 percent believed it was a not so good investment, and 27 percent had no opinion.

Table 7: View of Tax Incentives

Good Investment 47%
Not so Good Investment 26%
No Answer 27%

Given the intensity of prior feeling about the public investment, this is a remarkable turnaround in citizen opinion. As people learn more about the mall and get a chance to see how the investment has turned out, they may become even more positive in their judgments about the use of tax incentives to build public/private projects.

Mall Impact on Traffic, Economy, and Spirit

The biggest question marks about the mall are its impact on the city and state. Mall supporters predicted the mall would be a tremendous boon to the state economy and the revitalization of Providence. To test these ideas, we asked several questions about how the mall has affected different aspects of contemporary life. In terms of traffic, 39 percent report the mall has made traffic congestion within the city worse, 38 percent feel congestion is about the same, 3 percent indicate it has made congestion better, and 20 percent were unsure (see Table 8).

Twenty-seven percent believe the mall has benefited the Rhode Island economy a lot, 28 percent think it has some, 15 percent say not very much, and 30 percent had no opinion. These numbers are up compared to a statewide poll we conducted five years ago. In 1995, our survey found that 10 percent believed the proposed mall were benefit the Rhode Island economy a lot, 25 percent felt it would help some, 58 percent believed it would not help the economy very much, and 7 percent didn't know.

To see how the mall has affected the public mood, we asked if people thought it has improved the state's sense of spirit. Thirty-two percent believed the mall improved spirit a lot, 34 percent said some, 17 percent felt not very much, and 17 percent were unsure.

Table 8: Mall Impact

Traffic Congestion Benefit RI Economy Improve RI Spirit
Made Worse 39% A lot 27% A lot 32%
About the Same 38% Some 28% Some 34%
Made Better 3% Not very much 15% Not very much 17%
No Answer 20% No Answer 30% No Answer 17%

The Mall and Downtown Revitalization

Another goal of the downtown mall according to proponents was to help revitalize downtown Providence. There are a couple of ways in which the mall could spur activity outside Providence Place. One would be to lead shoppers to consider other stores in the downtown area as places where they could shop. A second would be to encourage them to dine at downtown restaurants after they had shopped at the mall.

In order to determine what people who visited the mall did, we asked when they went to the mall, whether they also visited other stores and restaurants outside the mall in the downtown area. Twenty-three percent said shopping at the mall spurred them to visit other downtown stores and 33 percent indicated the mall led them to dine at other downtown restaurants (see Table 9).

Table 9: Mall and Downtown Revitalization

Spurs Visits to other Downtown Stores
Spurs Visits to Downtown Restaurants
Yes
23% Yes 33%
No
52% No 41%
No Answer
25% No Answer 26%

These results suggest the mall is helping to spur other downtown activities outside the mall, exactly as its proponents predicted it would. Since the mall still is in its infancy, it is premature to offer a definitive judgment about these secondary development activities, but the early signs are quite promising.

Mall Impact on Shopping

The last thing we assess is the mall's impact on shopping patterns. Early proponents predicted the mall would lead to the best of all possible outcomes. It would reduce the tendency of city residents to shop out of state, without robbing established shopping malls of their clientele, which would have negative repercussions on state tax revenues. At worse, the 1995 Gould report anticipated, malls such as Garden City Center, Warwick Mall, and Rhode Island Mall would lose no more than 9 to 12 percent of their projected sales by 2000.

In order to gauge the impact of the mall on shopping habits, we asked whether it made them less likely to shop out-of-state or shop outside of Providence within Rhode Island. As shown in Table 10, 23 percent said the mall made them less likely to shop out-of-state and 20 percent said the mall made them less likely to shop outside of Providence within Rhode Island. This suggests a good news/bad news scenario in which the mall has succeeded in stemming the tide of Providence shoppers across state lines, but that it also is reducing shopping at other malls around the state outside of Providence.

Table 10: Mall Impact on Shopping

Out of State Shopping Shopping Outside of Providence
Less Likely 23% Less Likely 20%
No Effect 55% No Effect 52%
More Likely 6% More Likely 6%
No Answer 16% No Answer 22%

Notes

  1. John Castellucci, "Legislators Are Wary of Subsidy for Providence Place Mall," Providence Journal, February 9, 1994, p. 5D.
  2. David Brussat, "The Case for Providence Place," Providence Journal, February 24, 1994, p. 13A.
  3. Ariel Sabar, ""It's Opening Day," Providence Journal, August 20, 1999, p. 1A.
  4. John Castellucci, "Legislators Are Wary of Subsidy for Providence Place Mall," Providence Journal, February 9, 1994, p. 5D.
  5. William Donovan, "Study: Mall Would Cut into R.I. Sales," Providence Journal, June 1, 1995, p. 1A.
  6. Scott MacKay and William Donovan, "Mall Deal Passes Easily," Providence Journal, November 2, 1995, p. 1A.
  7. Susan Diesenhouse, "Providence, R.I., is Getting a $375 Million Shopping Mall after Nine Years of Planning," New York Times, January 17, 1996, p. D19.
  8. Lynn Arditi, "Lugosch Vows `Upscale Mall,'" Providence Journal, December 12, 1997, p. 1F.
  9. Nora Lockwood Tooher, "Opening of the Mall," Providence Journal, August 15, 1999, p. 1M.
  10. Nora Lockwood Tooher, "Mall Sales on Track, Report Shows," Providence Journal, February 8, 2000 and Nora Lockwood Tooher, "Almost All Wrapped Up," Providence Journal, May 12, 2000, p. E1. Also telephone interview with Leslie DaCosta, May 23, 2000.
  11. Nora Lockwood Tooher, "Opening of the Mall," Providence Journal, August 15, 1999, p. 1M.
  12. Timothy Barmann, "Report Says Mall Fell Short in Hiring Goals," Providence Journal, January 3, 2000, p. 1B.
  13. Nora Lockwood Tooher, "Mall Sales on Track, Report Shows," Providence Journal, February 8, 2000.
  14. Nora Lockwood Tooher, "Mall Sales on Track, Report Shows," Providence Journal, February 8, 2000.
  15. Telephone interview, May 31, 2000.
  16. Personal interview, May 10, 2000.
  17. Leonard Lardaro, "Holiday Shopping: The New Players," Providence Journal, December 15, 1999, p. 6B.
  18. Telephone interview, May 31, 2000.
  19. Telephone interview, May 31, 2000.
  20. Associated Press State & Local Wire, "More Cars, Traffic, in Rhode Island than Ever Before," October 27, 1999.

Survey Questions and Answers

How satisfied are you with the overall quality of life in Providence? 33% very satisfied, 51% somewhat satisfied, 15% not very satisfied, 1% don't know or no answer

Compared to five years ago, would you say downtown Providence looks: 78% better off, 8% about the same, 6% worse off, 8% don't know or no answer

Generally speaking, would you say things in Providence are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track? 68% right direction, 20% wrong track, 12% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the job Buddy Cianci is doing as Mayor? 22% excellent, 45% good, 17% only fair, 8% poor, 8%don't know or no answer

How many times in the past 6 months have you gone shopping on the Internet? 72% never, 13% once every few months, 8% once a month, 2% once every other week, 2% once every week, 3% don't know or no answer

How many times in the past 6 months have you gone shopping out of state? 32% never, 26% once every few months, 19% once a month, 10% once every other week,11% once every week, 2% don't know or no answer

How many times in the past 6 months have you gone shopping in Rhode Island other than Providence? 14% never, 19% once every few months, 25% once a month, 20% once every other week, 19% once every week, 3% don't know or no answer

How many times in the past 6 months have you gone shopping in Providence? 11% never, 15% once every few months, 15% once a month, 21% once every other week 36% once every week, 2% don't know or no answer

How many times in the past 6 months have you gone to the Providence Place Mall? 27% never, 30% once every few months, 19% once a month, 14% once every other week 8% once every week, 2% don't know or no answer

When you go to the Mall, do you primarily go for: 74% shopping, 9% food, 17% entertainment

When you go to the Mall, do you generally go: 12% in the morning during the week, 4% around lunchtime, 27% in the afternoon, 25% in the evening, 32% only on weekends

When you go to the Mall, do you generally: 31% drive there by yourself, 34% drive there with a family member, 23% drive there with a friend or non-family member, 12% go there on mass transit such as a bus or trolley

Overall, how would you evaluate Providence Place Mall? 24% excellent, 37% good, 14% only fair, 3% poor, 22% don't know or no answer

How would you evaluate the following aspects of the Providence Place Mall:

a) as a place to shop? 19% excellent, 37% good, 12% only fair, 2% poor, 30% don't know or no answer

b) as a place to eat? 15% excellent, 24% good, 10% only fair, 4% poor, 47% don't know or no answer

c) as an entertainment center? 13% excellent, 27% good, 8% only fair, 3% poor, 49% don't know or no answer

How does the architecture of the Providence Place Mall fit into the downtown area? 29% excellent, 40% good, 15% only fair, 8% poor, 8% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the cost of parking facilities at the Providence Place Mall? 3% excellent, 14% good, 15% only fair, 35% poor, 33% don't know or no answer

Do you think the Providence Place Mall has made traffic congestion within the city: 39% worse, 38% about the same, 3% better, 20% don't know or no answer

When you go to the Providence Place Mall, do you also visit stores outside the Mall in the downtown area? 23% yes, 52% no, 25% don't know or no answer

When you go to the Providence Place Mall, do you also visit restaurants outside the Mall in the downtown area? 33% yes, 41% no, 26% don't know or no answer

Has the Providence Place Mall made you: 23% less likely to go shopping out of state, 55% had no effect, 6% more likely to go shopping out of state, 16% don't know or no answer

Has the Providence Place Mall made you: 20% less likely to go shopping in Rhode Island outside of Providence 52% had no effect, 6% more likely to go shopping in Rhode Island outside of Providence, 22% don't know or no answer

How much do you think Providence Place Mall has benefited the Rhode Island economy? 27% a lot, 28% some, 15% not very much, 30% don't know or no answer

How much do you think Providence Place Mall has improved the sense of spirit in Rhode Island? 32% a lot, 34% some, 17% not very much, 17% don't know or no answer

As an encouragement to build the mall, its developers were given some tax incentives. Now that the mall is built, do you think these incentives were a: 47% good, 26% not so good investment by state and local officials, 27% don't know or no answer

Darrell M. West and Marion Orr