The Newest Trends in Downtown: From Experienced-Based Retail to the Reinvention of White Elephants


  • 9:00 am: Welcome: Robert Goldsmith Esq., President, Downtown New Jersey
  • 9:15 am: Keynote: Hon. Sheena Collum, President, Township of South Orange Village
  • 9:30 am: Morning panel I: Experience-based Retail — Options for Business Districts What can’t you buy online? An experience! The retail environment has been shifting rapidly in recent years. As online platforms continue to chip away at brick-and- mortar retail sales, business owners are finding new ways to get shoppers offline and into stores by offering customers more experiences rather than just selling things. This panel will address how retail innovators are increasingly making shopping an event, giving them an edge in today’s market by providing the one thing shoppers can’t get online: an experience.
    • Krzystztof Sadlej (moderator)
    • Kathleen Jordan, Principal/Retail Lead, Gensler, New York
    • Andrew Katz, The Prusik Group
    • Ben G. Torrei, Managing Partner, BGT Enterprises, The Brunswick Center, Jersey City
  • 10:45 am: Networking break
  • 11:00 am: Morning panel II: White Elephant Redevelopment in Downtown According to wikipedia, a white elephant is “a possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness.” Have one of those in your downtown? You’re not alone. This panel will address techniques and challenges to redeveloping large vacant buildings in business districts, and will highlight success stories like the Hahne & Co. building in Newark and South Orange Village Hall.
    • Courtenay Mercer (moderator), Director, Preservation New Jersey
    • Hon. Sheena Collum, President, Township of South Orange Village
    • Jonathan Cortell, L&M Development Partners, Inc., Hahne & Co., Newark
    • Jason Pierson, President, Pierson Commercial
  • 12:30 pm: Lunch and Downtown Excellence Awards Presentation
  • 2:30 pm: Walking tour of downtown South Orange


Be Seen Grafix Signs & More • Commercial District Services • Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission • Direct Development • Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy • Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP • Landmark Developers • Meridia/Capodagli • MyDowntown Mobile • Rileighs Outdoor Decor • Suasion Communications Group

Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard on making the Downtown New Jersey conference a success! Enjoy this slideshow of some of the photos the conference and the awards luncheon. The full album is available on Downtown New Jersey’s Facebook page. (Note: This is a new Facebook page, so please give it a Like if you haven’t already!)

DNJ Events