Editor’s Note: This story was originally reported for our content partner, GlobeSt.com.
CHERRY HILL, NJ (SBN)—Your father’s shopping mall is adding a new wrinkle: temporary office space attractive to millennial workers with dreams of developing successful startup retail enterprises.
PREIT and flexible workspace company 1776 have opened 1776’s newest campus, a startup incubator and Founders’ Market at Cherry Hill Mall, providing space and supporting innovation and collaboration for the local retail and startup communities.
“As the needs of the consumer evolve, PREIT continues to capture opportunities to deliver a differentiated retail experience and support a community of innovation within our mall walls,” says Joseph F. Coradino, CEO of PREIT. “Through our partnership with 1776, we look forward to cultivating an environment of creative and critical thinking forging a new path in the retail evolution.”
It’s the first time PREIT has included a coworking space in one of its malls, and the first mall location for 1776.
“It’s the changes to the retail mall, it’s dining, it’s entertainment, it’s fitness, it’s replacing anchors with higher quality retailers, and with 1776, we’re bringing in the millennials,” says Coradino. “This will be primarily populated with millennials who are looking to grow businesses out of here.”
“It was important for us to have a location in New Jersey,” says Jennifer Maher, CEO of 1776. “There was a huge swell of entrepreneurs that we thought we could serve. Providing a mall location allows us to provide a really unique concept to our product-space companies that are consumer facing, so we could put a retail shop inside of our work space. They not only have conference room space, work space, event space. They actually have a place to sell products, test products, get consumer feedback and have real-time data on how their products will perform.”
You can watch a video news report on the new 1776 coworking space in the player below. If you don’t see a player, you can click here to watch the video.
The location, on the second floor of the mall near Forever 21 and Nordstrom’s, will focus on startups, small businesses, retail and e-commerce incubation initiatives, revolutionizing the mall model.
As the shopping experience continues to evolve, PREIT says Cherry Hill Mall now offers the opportunity for 1776 members to immerse themselves in a productive retail environment with real-time interaction with live customers, shoppers and retailers as they explore products and concepts to maximize their business.
In addition to 1776’s trademark flexible workspace, the location includes a Founders’ Market, a curated retail shop featuring artisans and makers from within the 1776 community. Unique gifts and items are rotated regularly as new independent retailers are introduced into the 1776 network.
The 1776 spaces occupy more than 11,000 square feet equipped for the local member community. Together, PREIT and 1776 will bring access, programming and innovation to entrepreneurs in a new environment to drive collaborative and creative thinking. The addition of this unique tenant concept inside the 1.3 million square foot mall reinforces PREIT’s commitment to redefining the mall model and to the value it creates for the community.
The Cherry Hill location can accommodate about 250 members representing 100 to 150 companies. In an exciting move, existing 1776 member, Simply Good Jars, is relocating to the new location, and attributes the network to helping to build its business of selling salad-based meals in jars from a refrigerated vending kiosk.
“We couldn’t be more excited for our 1776 Cherry Hill Mall campus to be open,” says Maher. “The real-world exposure to test their products that they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to is a huge benefit to partnering with PREIT on this new endeavor. Our curated members in the retail vertical will have unique amenities available to them to further their business ideas and scale it into market.”
Cherry Hill Mall is located in South Jersey, about eight miles from Center City Philadelphia. The mall offers a variety of national retailers, including Nordstrom’s, Apple, Zara, Hugo Boss, and The LEGO Store, as well as an array of dining options that includes The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Grand Lux Cafe and Maggiano’s, among others.