According to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, downtown San Francisco won’t return to its pre-pandemic condition.
The coronavirus outbreak sparked a stay-at-home work revolution, turning big cities like downtown San Francisco into havens for abandoned office buildings.
According to CBRE, a commercial real estate services business, “The AP stated that the office vacancy percentages in San Francisco were 24.8% in the first quarter, over five times greater than before the pandemic and well over the normal level of 18.5% for the country’s top cities.”
The three-year exile left San Francisco with vacant businesses and big “going out of business” placards hanging across the windows.
“Well-known stores such as Nordstrom Rack, Uniqlo, and Anthropologie have closed, toiletries like toothpaste and shampoo are locked up inside pharmacies, and establishments like Gucci get robbed by armed robbers in broad daylight.”
The local economy has suffered as a result of fewer people traveling downtown; companies have had to shut their doors as a result of a declining consumer base. Due to the need to accommodate mixed-use areas in some buildings, some of downtown San Francisco’s zoning regulations have to be relaxed.
Benioff encouraged Mayor London Breed to turn some workplaces into homes and recruit extra police since the neighborhood is “never going to return to the way it was.”
“Downtown has to be rebalanced,” according to Benioff.
The owner of the over 20-year-old Westfield San Francisco Centre recently announced that “it was returning the mall to its lender due to falling foot traffic and revenues,” according to the AP. “The same was done by the owner of two enormous hotels, among them a Hilton.”
“San Francisco has emerged as the poster child for what decaying, crime-ridden downtowns ought not to look like. However, in reality, it’s simply one of several American communities whose downtowns are responding to the wake-up call that followed the pandemic: diversify or perish.”