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Before the rise of COVID-19, stay-at-home orders and the temporary closure of businesses across the state, downtown Austin’s small storefront businesses and nightlife economy were thriving. Storefront businesses operating downtown enjoyed access to a growing daytime and nighttime population as the number of occupied residential units, office space and hotel rooms continued to expand annually. As stay-at-home orders went into effect and consumer demand slowed, small and local businesses that occupy downtown’s storefront spaces were dramatically impacted.

The Downtown Austin Alliance monitors the operating statuses of these businesses to better understand the impact and their contribution to the overall health and vibrancy of downtown. Downtown Austin has over 680 storefront businesses in the following sectors: drinks and entertainment, food places, retail goods and retail services. As a snapshot of downtown’s recovery, this report will reflect on past conditions and highlight the results of our most recent inventory of downtown storefront businesses.

Key Findings

  • More than 85% of downtown’s storefront businesses are operating, representing the largest percentage since the start of the pandemic two years ago.

    71 new businesses have opened downtown since February 2020.

    The total number of retail goods and services businesses dropped by 18% since February 2020. Downtown has 45 fewer retail businesses available for local shopping.

    125 businesses have permanently closed in downtown since February 2020.

    Overall pedestrian activity in downtown continues to increase where visitor activity is at 95% of pre-pandemic levels and employee activity is at 62%.

Click here to download a PDF of the report.

Roadmap to Recovery

The Roadmap to Recovery and Resilience envisions a better, more resilient downtown by tackling challenges head on while laying out transformative plans including a new neighborhood with parks, public spaces and transit access on Lady Bird Lake.

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COVID-19 Economic Impact

While the long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic not yet known, we have seen significant economic impacts on our city and our downtown. With a focus on response and recovery, we actively measured and monitored the effects of the pandemic on downtown Austin.

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Our team conducts primary research on downtown-related issues and compiles and analyzes third-party research to make data-driven decisions as we work together to shape our future.

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What We Do

Our dedicated team created the downtown that Austin's future generations deserve through special projects, daily programs and collaborations that enable us to bolster the things that work, change the things that don’t and serve our membership.

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