Downtown Rebounds - Cal Berkeley research relased

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SamSpade
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Downtown Rebounds - Cal Berkeley research relased

Post by SamSpade »

Portland, San Francisco struggling to rebound
This is via reporting in Willamette Week, which has kind of a libertarian bend, not as "liberal" as some alt weeklies.
...using cellphone GPS data to see how many people are returning to businesses, bars, restaurants, and other attractions in 62 downtowns around the county as the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs.

In the latest period, March through May of this year, Portland came in 60th, with a recovery value of 41% compared with pre-pandemic activity. Only San Francisco (31%) and Cleveland, Ohio (36%) fared worse. Salt Lake City topped the list in terms of people returning to downtown at 155%.

Berkeley researchers get the data from a company called SafeGraph Inc., which tracks 18 million smartphones in North America and reports visits by people carrying those phones to businesses, offices, shops, restaurants, parks, community facilities and stadiums.
“Either way, a lively debate is emerging about whether the pandemic will lead to a full-blown, 1970s-style urban crisis or more of the adaptive bounce back we saw in many downtowns after the Great Recession,” they (unattributed researchers) said.
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Re: Downtown Rebounds - Cal Berkeley research relased

Post by storewanderer »

The cities that are a mess are turning people away. It is very simple. A "mess" can come from various forms. A city like Cleveland, how much does it have to offer in the first place? What industries does it have?

San Francisco and Portland are just a mess of crime. Why would anyone go there if they didn't have to (and seek out any possible alternative to having to go there)? I don't even recognize Portland, it is unbelievable what has happened to the core of Portland. San Francisco had been sliding for a long time, the problems have just overtaken additional blocks/areas that they previously did not completely overtake.

Salt Lake City has done very well for itself with its downtown, it has much more to offer now than 20 years ago, and is quite nice in my opinion. I do wonder how much traffic there is LDS-connected and how the closure and re-opening of their various facilities has impacted the traffic there.

Vancouver, BC also is quite low on the recovery list. I wonder what has happened there to keep it from recovering. That was a very nice city, pre-COVID anyway. Completely safe and clean.

It also looks like if I had to make one broad statement, I would say, cities with a high number of finance related jobs are not recovering.
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Re: Downtown Rebounds - Cal Berkeley research relased

Post by buckguy »

Downtown Cleveland is getting a new HQ building for Sherwin-Williams and has a sizable, growing financial services sector including the HQs for Ernst & Young and Key Bank. They also have a new medical merchandise mart (health care is a huge sector but largely concentrated near Case Western Reserve)and greatly expanded convention center---I would imagine that the loss of convention is a big factor. It also has many conversions of commercial buildings to residential. The rock hall of fame and science center are downtown but big draws from outside the city like the art museum are elsewhere.

If you look at the study data: https://www.downtownrecovery.com/dashbo ... nking.html, most of the places where downtowns are doing well on this measure are places where downtown was pretty dead to begin with (e.g., El Paso) so the metric isn't very meaningful or else they rely heavily on leisure travel (e.g., Vegas) which had bounced back by last Spring. The convention trade was only starting to bounce back in the Spring and that effects a lot of places on the list, like Atlanta, which have large convention facilities but don't draw leisure travelers from outside their region and have a limited number of attractions downtown (World of Coke and the Aquarium in Atlanta's case). The Spring draws a lot of people to DC (cherry blossoms, school trips, the beginning of internship season) but the conference/convention business was only starting to revive, hence, its rather middling performance. Some places like Denver or Minneapolis have cultural attractions downtown which are big local draws, while other places like Cleveland or Kanas City have them somewhere else. Data are only meaningful in context.
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Re: Downtown Rebounds - Cal Berkeley research relased

Post by ClownLoach »

storewanderer wrote: August 16th, 2022, 9:48 pm The cities that are a mess are turning people away. It is very simple. A "mess" can come from various forms. A city like Cleveland, how much does it have to offer in the first place? What industries does it have?

San Francisco and Portland are just a mess of crime. Why would anyone go there if they didn't have to (and seek out any possible alternative to having to go there)? I don't even recognize Portland, it is unbelievable what has happened to the core of Portland. San Francisco had been sliding for a long time, the problems have just overtaken additional blocks/areas that they previously did not completely overtake.

Salt Lake City has done very well for itself with its downtown, it has much more to offer now than 20 years ago, and is quite nice in my opinion. I do wonder how much traffic there is LDS-connected and how the closure and re-opening of their various facilities has impacted the traffic there.

Vancouver, BC also is quite low on the recovery list. I wonder what has happened there to keep it from recovering. That was a very nice city, pre-COVID anyway. Completely safe and clean.

It also looks like if I had to make one broad statement, I would say, cities with a high number of finance related jobs are not recovering.
Portland makes San Francisco look like America's Safest City. Every freeway embankment and cloverleaf is filled with tent cities. Sometimes there are even RVs and vans precariously parked on the top of the embankments with tents around them - one mudslide from tumbling down onto I-5.

Vancouver has been experiencing drastic inflation for a decade or more - in the mid 2010s it was already impossible to find any home for less than $1M and most were in the $2M or more range even for a condo in a high rise. I suspect that the percentage of household income spent on housing is the highest in all of Canada which leaves little to be spent on dining and entertainment. It's a beautiful, futuristic, clean city but I agree that the streets are empty at night and it's been about 5 years since I last visited so I'm sure it's worse now. Vancouver was "ground zero" for the invasion of speculative foreign real estate investors. Now they are levying heavy taxes on foreign investors who do not intend to take up residence in the homes they're buying, but this isn't yet forcing them to sell the homes. Many of these homes were in massive high rise complexes (with a remarkable resemblance to Shanghai and Hong Kong) and they were bought to sit empty. The current US Federal Reserve strategy of increasing interest rates is going to drive these foreign investors back to US Real Estate fast - China continues to lower their interest rates which means that they are giving free loans which get used to buy up property here.
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Re: Downtown Rebounds - Cal Berkeley research relased

Post by storewanderer »

ClownLoach wrote: August 18th, 2022, 12:10 pm

Portland makes San Francisco look like America's Safest City. Every freeway embankment and cloverleaf is filled with tent cities. Sometimes there are even RVs and vans precariously parked on the top of the embankments with tents around them - one mudslide from tumbling down onto I-5.

Vancouver has been experiencing drastic inflation for a decade or more - in the mid 2010s it was already impossible to find any home for less than $1M and most were in the $2M or more range even for a condo in a high rise. I suspect that the percentage of household income spent on housing is the highest in all of Canada which leaves little to be spent on dining and entertainment. It's a beautiful, futuristic, clean city but I agree that the streets are empty at night and it's been about 5 years since I last visited so I'm sure it's worse now. Vancouver was "ground zero" for the invasion of speculative foreign real estate investors. Now they are levying heavy taxes on foreign investors who do not intend to take up residence in the homes they're buying, but this isn't yet forcing them to sell the homes. Many of these homes were in massive high rise complexes (with a remarkable resemblance to Shanghai and Hong Kong) and they were bought to sit empty. The current US Federal Reserve strategy of increasing interest rates is going to drive these foreign investors back to US Real Estate fast - China continues to lower their interest rates which means that they are giving free loans which get used to buy up property here.
I have to partially disagree. The situation around Union Square in San Francisco is just as bad as Portland but there are different issues in each that are occurring and the problem in the two places is not exactly the same. The difference, I suppose, is that the core issues are confined into a relatively small area of relatively small (in square miles) San Francisco. Whereas in larger Portland it goes on for miles and miles. There are pockets of issues like this in most large cities anyway, and some medium ones as well.

But trying to stay on the retail topic, I also do not see retailers in Portland taking anything close to the measures they are taking in San Francisco with regards to theft issues. Yes retailers in Portland are taking some action, things are being locked up (but not entire aisles), etc., but it is nothing like San Francisco as far as retail theft goes. Yet.
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