Landlords add coworking spaces to drive more people to America’s malls
Mall operators have been struggling to replace big name anchor stores that have closed over the past few years throughout the country, whether due to underperformance or chainwide bankruptcy. One of the latest tactics is by filling the vacancies with coworking spaces.
Mall owner Macerich has partnered with coworking company Industrious at a mall in Scottsdale, AZ to fill a former Barney’s with shared office spaces, according to CNBC.
The multi-property deal is reportedly the first of its kind, but with the coworking model predicted to grow 25 percent yearly through 2023, there will likely be plenty of companies like Industrious, WeWork and Regus looking for spaces in which to expand. Industrious currently has around 50 locations nationwide. Macerich owns more than 50 malls across the country, according to its website.
Shared office spaces have grown in popularity as they allow urban entrepreneurs, freelancers and other employees that work remotely to have a place to go other than coffee shops and other spaces open to the general public.
Retailers and tech companies have been getting more hip to the model. J.Crew and LinkedIn, for instance, recently collaborated with shared workspace giant WeWork on a series of discussions about entrepreneurship.
Shared office spaces have also been making moves into retail on their own. WeWork announced last month that it was launching WeMRKT, a shop dedicated to selling products created by users of the WeWork workspace.
Coworking spaces aren’t the only non-traditional mall tenants replacing major department stores and other big boxes.
Last year, for example, Southdale Center Mall in Minnesota announced that it would fill a spot occupied by J.C. Penney with a three-story health and fitness center set to open in 2019. Other malls have placed grocers such as Wegmans and Whole Foods 365 in their vacated anchor spaces.
And the discussion, as reported recently on PYMNTS, has even extended to malls adding apartments or hotels as a new type of anchor that brings a built-in clientele to the rest of the mall’s stores.
- Shopping mall owners fill empty stores with offices as coworking companies branch out – CNBC
- Find a property – Macerich
- Can fitness centers save malls? – RetailWire
- Will grocery stores become the new mall anchors? – RetailWire
- WeWork doubles down on member-based retailing – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do coworking spaces offer malls a good solution for both filling available space and situating resident shoppers? Should malls consider retooling their retail mix to better suit the people using coworking spaces and, if so, how?