Downtown has challenges, but we can come together and lead a summer of recovery for one of our most critical neighborhoods. There are a lot of encouraging signs to be grateful for. We are one of the few major cities to add population during the pandemic, and we continue to lead the nation in ‘brain gain’, adding tech jobs to our economy faster than any other city in the nation. This in turn has led to a massive resurgence of demand for office space, eclipsing pre-pandemic levels and exceeding peer cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles. Only in Washington DC is there more market demand to set up shop.
Of course, we know the Downtown neighborhood continues to have very real and challenging struggles. Hundreds of units of emergency shelter have yet to come online, leaving hundreds of Downtown residents experiencing homelessness with no place to go. While Downtown has seen 260 new businesses open during the pandemic, we have seen 483 permanently shutter their doors.
This is why Welcome Back Week matters. As places of congregate work, public performances, stylish bars and restaurants, and hotels packed with tourists, downtowns across America, including ours, were slammed by COVID-19. The power to boost Downtown rests with all of us, and starts with these great community gatherings. Together, we can show Downtown we are united to build it back stronger than ever.