October 12, 2017 @ 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
Loft space, 3rd floor, South Orange Performing Arts Center
S. Orange

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

  • Date and time: Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
  • Location: Loft space, 3rd floor, South Orange Performing Arts Center, One SOPAC Way, S. Orange, N.J.
  • Parking: Free
  • Registration: Now open! Register now for the early-bird discount. Downtown New Jersey members get an additional discount and will receive a promotional code that they may enter when they register. (Not sure if you’re a member? Contact Michele Glassburg at New Jersey Future.)
    • Register before Sept. 11, 2017: $75 (members), $100 (non-members)
    • Register after Sept. 11, 2017: $100 (members), $125 (non-members)
  • Sponsor the conference! Sponsorship is an affordable way to receive enhanced exposure to a targeted group of dedicated professionals working to make New Jersey downtowns better. For more information on sponsorship opportunities and benefits, download the sponsorship information packet.


  • 8:30 am: Registration and networking/light breakfast
  • 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 (invited)
    • 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)
    • 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: One-hour walking tour of downtown South Orange


About Downtown New Jersey

Downtown New Jersey is an organization of individuals, businesses, government agencies, and local and regional organizations that are passionate about downtowns. Count on us as your resource for anything regarding the vitality of our downtowns in New Jersey! To learn more about membership and its benefits, visit our Membership area.