When 36 year old artist Michael Townsend heard a Christmastime advertisement claiming how great it would be to live at the mall, he took it seriously and along with seven other artists built a 750 sq. ft. apartment in the parking garage as part of a project studying "mall life". To keep the dwelling hidden from sight, they built it out of cinderblocks and even included a non-descript utility door for an entrance. The inside was fully furnished with a sectional sofa, love seat, T.V., Playstation, a hutch full of china; almost everything but running water which they used the mall bathrooms for, having future ambitions to implement a full kitchen and bathroom by Christmas, 2007. He claimed to have lived there up to 3 weeks at a time on and off for the last 4 years.
Recently, Townsend’s plans were dashed when he tried to show his apartment to a visiting artist friend from Hong Kong, only to open the door and find 3 mall security guards waiting for him inside. Mall spokesman Dante Bellini commented, "What he did was an illicit, illegal act. He was charged with breaking and entering. It’s something that we truly discourage."
Townsend was sentenced to probation and was not to be allowed on the mall premises again. A video news broadcast showing his "apartment" can be seen here, and a "homegrown" YouTube video here.
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