With the rise on online retail, traditional malls have been dying a slow death. They’ve been forced to evolve and re-invent themselves or risk becoming yet another abandoned retail wasteland.
At a time when malls are struggling for occupants, and with office space in San Francisco is at a minimum, the Westfield Group set out to solve both problems with an eye on the future, creating Bespoke, a retail and technology community under one roof – more specifically, the fourth floor of a mall in downtown San Francisco.
At Bespoke, you may be looking at a blueprint for the future of retail.
The Mall of the Future
Welcome to Bespoke, 37,000 square feet of co-working, demonstration and event space on the fourth floor of Westfield San Francisco Centre – the city’s flagship shopping center in downtown San Francisco – where entrepreneurs, like Product Hunt, Shoes of Prey, FoyerLive and TwoTap, make their home in a mall along with 200 traditional retailers and restaurants.
Besides the shortage of affordable office space, the Westfield Group, a firm that manages shopping centers worldwide, chose its San Francisco shopping center to open Bespoke because San Francisco has long been considered the hub of innovation and technology.
Bespoke, which opened its doors in late May, is the perfect trifecta of co-working, demo and event spaces where the San Francisco community can work, create, refine, showcase, entertain, play and sell. It’s a place where startups and major brands can come and work together to create ideas and take them immediately to the consumer.
Bespoke’s workspace includes conference rooms facing the mall that also double as pop-up storefronts, where entrepreneurs can test their products on the 20 million annual shoppers. They call it a retail laboratory, where mall-goers can be the test subjects on products before they hit the market, attend fashion shows as well as speaker sessions behind the demo area’s 30-foot digital walls. Another key feature of Bespoke is a 18,000-square-foot event facility.
For just $385 a month, entrepreneurs get access to a shared desk and amenities like nap pods, foosball tables, a bocce ball court and a bouldering wall. Private offices for two people run $1,450 a month. (Although, if you’re thinking of moving your business into Bespoke, you’re in for a wait. All seven private offices were snatched up weeks before Bespoke opened its doors, and there is a waiting list for desks.)
You’ve truly gotta see it to believe it. Check it out online.