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Downtown Cleveland Alliance: Study shows city is making progress in recovery from COVID-19 pandemic

In its "Recovery Report," the DCA highlights key numbers that they believe indicates downtown Cleveland's recovery is "well underway."

CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above video is from a previously published, unrelated video

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA) has released its first "Recovery Report" to track the progress the city is making as it bounces back from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The report focuses on key metrics which the DCA believes shows that the city's recovery is well underway. Some of the highlights of the report include:

  • Foot Traffic in downtown Cleveland saw a 99.2% increase in September 2021 compared to the previous year (p.2). Additionally, three of downtown’s major retail hubs have seen significant increases in visitor activity, either returning to or exceeding pre-pandemic levels. 
  • Transit ridership steadily increased with 1.4 million rides reported in August 2021, a 17% increase from August 2020. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport saw 4.5 million passengers in August 2021, already exceeding the 2020 year-end total of 4.1 million. 
  • According to a DCA survey, 90% of downtown Cleveland employers have returned to the office, either full-time or a hybrid model. 93% of respondents plan to continue to add employees back to the office in the coming months. 
  • Unemployment in Cuyahoga County dropped to 5.8% (after peaking in April 2020 at 22.4%), on pace with peer counties across the Midwest. Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 10.7% in August 2021 (compared to 2020) showing strong growth. 
  • While there have been 26 permanent closures, 35 new shops and restaurants have opened downtown for a net gain of 9 new businesses.
  • The DCA says downtown Cleveland is a national leader of converting vacant office space into mixed-use and residential. To-date in 2021, more than 63% of sublease space added during the pandemic has been leased.
  • Downtown hotel occupancy increased by 23% from 2020, and as of September 2021, downtown Cleveland showed a 45% improvement in weekly visits compared to September 2020

“With workers and visitors returning to the urban core, Downtown is resurgent and poised for continued growth, development, and investment,” said Michael Deemer, President and CEO of DCA. “As we look ahead, collaborating with key partners remains essential, as we further shape Downtown Cleveland to be a connected, thriving and resilient place to live, work, play and visit.”

You can read the DCA's full Recovery Report by clicking here.

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