Startup incubator network 1776 is teaming up with real estate trust PREIT to bring an incubator to the Cherry Hill Mall, and the idea might (rightfully) have you scratching your head…at first.
Startups incubators typically work their way into offices buildings or commercials mixed-use hubs — spaces that have traditionally signaled “work.” That 1776 will make a new home for itself at one of the region’s busiest shopping destinations, speaks to the effort’s plan for unique programming and elevates PREIT’s push to continue upending our idea of what makes a mall.
The partnership represents the first time PREIT will house an incubator space and the first time 1776 will settle down at a mall, occupying 11,000 square feet inside the 1.3 million square foot South Jersey location. 1776 currently has 10 campuses from New York to Washington D.C., while PREIT operates more than 20 million square feet of retail space across the country.
And since the incubator will be surrounded by fashion and retail destinations like Nordstrom, Apple, Zara and The LEGO Store, the incubator will double down on the theme. 1776 says the location will focus on retail and e-commerce incubation initiatives and will be home to corporate and startup members in the retail and e-commerce industry.
The proximity will give startups the opportunity to closely interact with both retail partners and customers and a convenient space to display their products and services to the public and potential partners.
According to PREIT, its pursuit to create a varied tenant mix has allowed it to fill more than 20 percent of space across its portfolio with dining and entertainment. The company is also striking up deals with health and fitness tenants.
1776 has not yet released information about the startups that will work out of the new incubator space. The hub is slated to open in November.