Don't call it the Piazza. The mixed-use development that rose up in Northern Liberties in 2009 to great success and has since struggled to retain tenants is going by a new name: The Schmidt's Commons.
It's all part of Kushner Companies' goal to rebrand the development, which it bought from developer Bart Blatstein in 2013. Since then, the Schmidt's Commons has seen a long list of retail and restaurant tenants come and ago, including PYT and King's Oaks.
A recent visit to the actual Piazza at Schmidt's Commons revealed empty tables, and the rare patron walking in and out of the surrounding retail. It's been a common sight over the years, and one that Kushner is hoping to change starting today, with the opening of WeWork at the former Schmidt's Brewery.
"We’re diving into a new phase with commercial folks like WeWork and Landmark [Americana] coming in," says Sean Gavin, Community Manager at The Schmidt’s Commons. "It felt right to transition and dive into this property and revitalize it."
The rebranding campaign involves more than a change in names. Kushner says they've hired an events coordinator for the first time, and have released a new summer lineup for the Piazza at Schmidt's Commons that includes salsa night, a free Philadelphia Orchestra concert, and movie nights.
This is all after Kushner was criticized in recent years for its lack of communication with local neighborhood associations and their own residents—there are 500 apartment units total in the development.
"We’re working with the neighborhood and listening to what our residents want and really implementing events that make sense," says Gavin.
They're also looking to Spruce Street Harbor Park for some design inspiration, and are adding modular furniture to the piazza, as well as more signage along 2nd Street to encourage more people to visit.
"The whole point and purpose is for residents and the community to use it as a live-work-play space," says Gavin. " It’s a new chapter here."