Macerich Partners, one of the nation’s largest shopping-mall owners, has a new idea to help fill centers left with empty spaces because of retail disruption in the past few years.

It has signed a deal with co-working firm Industrious to put shared-office centers in its properties across the U.S. The first will be in Scottsdale Fashion Square in the Dallas area.

“Our relationship represents a bold step that combines our vision for the future of the workplace with Macerich’s vision for the future of the retail experience,” Industrious CEO Jamie Hodari said when he announced the deal.

Industrious is one of a half-dozen or so co-working companies that have been growing fast in the past couple of years. So far, big co-working companies have been gobbling up space mostly in office buildings.

But with shopping-center owners trying to backfill spots left behind by merchant contractions, shared office companies are being targeted for more storefront deals.

Commercial-property firm JLL recently took inventory of more than 1 million square feet of existing or proposed co-working locations in retail space around the country.

The square footage of shared-office shopping-center tenants is expected to more than triple in the next few years.

Most of the new co-working space is in malls or in urban retail districts.

“The current retail market is pushing landlords to find new ways to invigorate their space with alternative tenants, including co-working spaces,” Holly Rome, director of retail leasing for JLL, said in the report.

“Setting up a co-working space in a retail property provides workers a fun-yet-functional space with great accessibility, ample parking and value-added amenities like personal services, shopping and food options,” she said. “On the flip side, these tenants bring in daily traffic and have a stable master lease that’s typically five to 10 years.”

The average retail-based co-working center is about 16,400 square feet — slightly larger than a typical mall tenant, according to JLL.

Macerich’s properties include Southridge Mall in Des Moines.