Bring More Retail Downtown with a Collective

Bringing more retail downtown may require an unconventional path. In St. Louis, MO, that path saw the downtown organization develop a retail collective.

When a developer purchased a significant amount of property downtown, the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis stepped up to advocate for a larger retail presence.

“We were concerned we would miss an opportunity to establish retail downtown because of the number of non-shopping businesses going in. I decided we had to find a way to at least get some new retail downtown, and do it in a way that addressed a lot of the concerns that retailers have — affordability, ease of operation, and quality co-tenancy,” says Kevin Farrell, senior director of economic and housing development for Downtown St. Louis.

The solution is a hybrid collective/incubator. But, Farrell says, “This is an incubator, not necessarily for startup retailers, but for retailers who want to be downtown.”

The store is operated by a manager and staff, so individual retailers simply provide products. “The idea was to limit risk for the retailers,” says Farrell.

The full article appeared in our print edition. To always get the full story, read Downtown Idea Exchange.

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