Downtown Alliance’s year in review is not pretty

Lest something about this spring weather left you feeling hopeful, here’s the Downtown Alliance with its report on real estate activity during the pandemic. As we know from walking the streets here, it is not a welcome sight. Keep in mind their catchment area is Murray and south, so most of what you see here in this roundup of businesses lost is in addition.

The biggest news to me was to see an actual number on the residential population of the district. Using data collected for them by, the alliance shows it was down by 40 percent as of August, and compared to January 2020. This confirms stories some folks have told me about BPC, that the buildings are largely dark in the evenings.

Employee visits to the district were at a low of 10 percent in April. The second half of the year brought that figure up to 23 percent, compared to 2019. Commercial leasing was down nearly 70 percent from 2019 levels and lower than leasing levels seen following the 2008/2009 global financial crisis. Office vacancies, compounded by a sharp rise in sublet spaces, hit a 20-year high.

More than 160 retail businesses, or 12 percent of the total, permanently closed, ranging from institutional department stores to restaurants to small businesses like nail salons, dry cleaners and coffee shops. Approximately 140 eateries began offering outdoor dining. The district had a total of 1130 shops, restaurants, bars and services as of March 30, 2020.

Three hotels (out of 37 in their district) permanently closed, while others are continually evaluating their operating status and available inventory. NYC & Co. reports that tourism is down by one third, and does not expect the number to be restored to its 2019 stats — 66 million visits — until 2025.

Median rents fell below $3,300 — 18 percent below 2019 and a first since 2011 — as the residential population shifted. The median price for coops and condos fell 21 percent in the last quarter, though it was up year over year by 32 percent to $1.6 million.


  • Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza and Peck Slip Park are near completion.
  • New bicycle infrastructure was rolled out, including a new dedicated bike lane on Broadway and an announcement to convert a vehicular lane of the Brooklyn Bridge to bicycle-only use.
  • The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center topped out

1 Comment

  1. I live in northern BPC and most of the buildings are fairly full these days, after a period of massive turnover during the summer. I can’t speak for southern BPC, but my guess would be the bulk of the leaving residents were the young workers in FiDi “cheap” conversion rental buildings who saved money going home during the pandemic