Downtown Alliance Annual Report 2020



Downtown New York City the birthplace of New York, we are a strong resilient community, when the pandemic hit the residents and businesses did what was asked of us and once again stayed the course to rebound. As this remarkable area did from 9/11, Superstorm Sandy 2012, and now the 2020 Pandemic.

The Alliance for Downtown New York puts out their annual year-in-review report which provides data on commercial office, retail, residential, hospitality, and development projects happening in 2020.

Here’s their snapshot.

Commercial Leasing Was Down In 2020

2020 was a historically weak year with 2.25 million sq. ft. of new commercial office leasing activity — down nearly 70% 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. Only 10% of office-occupying workers in Manhattan returned to their desks as of year’s end, with the majority primarily opting to continue working remotely.

Retail Downtown Saw Notable Closures, Outdoor Dining Innovation

Over 160 retail businesses, or 12% of the total, permanently closed, ranging from institutional department stores and buzzing restaurants to a litany of small businesses like nail salons, dry cleaners, and coffee shops. Approximately 140 eateries began offering outdoor dining.

Lower Manhattan’s Hospitality Sector Hit Hard

Three hotels permanently closed, while others are continually evaluating their operating status and available inventory.

Rents Dip With Residential Changes

Median rents fell below $3,300 — 18% below 2019 and a first since 2011 — as the residential population shifted.

Major Projects Make Progress

Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza and Peck Slip Park neared completion. New bicycle infrastructure was rolled out, including a new dedicated bike lane and an announcement to convert a vehicular lane of the Brooklyn Bridge to bicycle-only use.

Downtown Alliance COVID Recovery Dashboard And Resource Page

The Downtown Alliance created a homepage acting as an up-to-date clearinghouse for Lower Manhattan’s COVID recovery date, as well as highlighting our most prominent initiatives supporting local businesses. Our COVID recovery dashboard includes real estate market data across all sectors, as well as metrics related to transportation, population, and pedestrian traffic in the district.

Details here.