Free Retail Space in the Concourse

Nudging Up Customer Service: Long-Term Solution

Problem, Classification, and Idea

One of the most prominent problems facing the underground concourse area is the lack of activity throughout the area. Not only does this contribute linearly to the lack of use, but it also contributes exponentially through the form of a pseudo-network effect (more people will be inclined to spend time in the concourse area as more people spend time there). As such, it is quite difficult to attract the initial user base to the area without some galvanizing factor. Luckily, the concourse overhaul project provides the perfect opportunity to attract new users to the area. In order to ensure that the plan doesn’t falter (with a sharp increase in users, only to be followed by an increasing decline in usage), one must ensure that attractions are placed in the concourse to make the area a destination in and of itself. The best option for this plan would involve the use of free retail space, as the offering would bring businesses down to the area and the businesses would precisely bring customers down to the concourses.


In order to ensure that the free retail space is given to those who would actually draw customers, it would be important to analyze businesses for potential market appeal prior to the subleasing of any space. Consumer tests can only account for so much of this testing; a large portion of the appeal will be entirely indeterminable until the installation within the concourse area. One method of increasing patronage, drawing appeal, and ensuring businesses could be sustainable in attractiveness, involves the use of a high-publicity “shop event” wherein various merchants would be allowed to establish tents all throughout the concourse. Consumers would then be able to rate the locations based on their perceptions and SEPTA could monitor the number of persons traveling to each establishment. Based upon these figures, the most popular attractions/shops/restaurants would be invited to establish a semi-permanent location in the concourse with absolutely free rent for a specific period of time, followed by a nominal rental fee to maintain their underground establishment.

Next Steps

  • Speak to Legal team to determine provisions in contract which may or may not block this from happening.
  • Ask Real Estate if this is doable from a leasing standpoint.
  • Meet with Rich Burnfield regarding the financials of this.