Downtown Works is passionate about downtowns. With a focus on retail, we are skilled in all phases of consulting for large urban markets, smaller business-improvement districts and private developers. Our team’s broad experience extends to strategies and concepts in close collaboration with developers, civic groups, urban planners and design professionals.
Following a decade of retail leasing experience, Margaret McCauley, founder and principal of Downtown Works, began working on urban retail in Philadelphia and Manhattan. In Philadelphia, deals she and her then partner, Betsy Rodgers, completed in the late 80s to mid-90s were marked by rents of $25-35/s.f.—today rents in these same locations are more than $125/s.f. This increase in value resulted from garnering landlord buy-in for their role in the revitalization and putting the appropriate retail mix for the market in place. With strong prospects being brought their way, property owners sealed deals with store and restaurant operators, providing incentives that paid off in the form of quality long-term tenants and increased property values. For seven years Rodgers and McCauley were retained as consultants for Manhattan’s Grand Central, Bryant Park and 34th Street partnerships. Results in these districts led to their being hired in the mid-90s to complete the merchandising and re-leasing of Times Square. When they began, rents in the area were just above $100/s.f.—today they are upwards of $1,000/s.f.
Recruiting people bring plans to life
In 2001, Downtown Works conceived and launched a recruitment program to further support the ongoing success of its retail strategies. We began identifying and training—in leasing, relationship building, deal making parameters, prospecting skills, retention activities, mitigation of deals that harm a retail district—retail recruiters who thoughtfully and tenaciously implement the retail strategies and merchandise mix plans we develop. The recruiters build relationships with property owners, cultivating their support for the retail plan, and serve as matchmakers between them and qualified shop and restaurant prospects.
To date we’ve trained nearly thirty recruiters who are working in places such as Philadelphia, Nashville, Tacoma, Austin, Iowa City, and Seattle, keeping the pipeline of prospects for their downtowns or projects filled and catalyzing deals. To a person, the recruiters are active members of their communities; they are immersed and invested in their city’s culture, history and future, and committed to improving the place they call home. Each year we convene the recruiters in a different U.S. city for educational workshops, providing them the opportunity to network while learning from a city’s unique challenges and opportunities. A number of our clients retain us on annual basis to support recruiters in their efforts.
Retail is a critical component of a healthy urban district, contributing significantly to economic development and helping make downtown a gathering place. Consulting firm downtown works conducts retail market analyses, creates strategies, and develops merchandise mix plans for commercial districts and mixed-use projects; we guide our clients in the launch of recruitment programs and ensure their successful implementation.
assess enabling environment
analyze trade area, demographics and psychographics
assess existing operators
develop merchandise mix plans
create leasing plans
determine prospecting strategies
build stakeholder relationships
identify and train recruiters, offer ongoing support and continuing education
shape incentive programs
conduct branding/merchandising workshops for existing & new operators
work one-on-one on branding & merchandising with operators
east coast office
8238 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118
west coast office
521 Stadium Place S. Suite 2316
Seattle, WA 98104