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The year 2020 started like others in the previous decade, with record investment and growth levels, the buzz of new hotels and hotspots opening and a flurry of activity to prepare for the SXSW Conference & Festivals. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly shifted us all into a new reality.

While the pandemic has impacted every resident and area of Austin, downtown has faced unique challenges. Downtown is the center of the city’s live music and entertainment scene, and is home to the greatest concentration of hotels in the city. However, the much-anticipated “light at the end of the tunnel” burns brightly for Austin and downtown. The elements that make downtown a prime destination are still firmly in place, resilient and ready for post-pandemic life.

Setting an Economic Baseline for Post-Pandemic Life

  • Downtown area consumer spending dropped as much as 54% and has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Downtown saw as much as a 74% decrease in daily pedestrian traffic.
  • There are 23 buildings currently under construction downtown and another 32 planned.
  • Over 1.5 million square feet of Class A office space will deliver downtown in 2021, breaking all previous annual records.
  • Two apartment projects in the Rainey District continue to move forward despite the pandemic and will bring more than 600 units to the growing district.

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