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Downtown Austin Alliance reveals 2022 State of Downtown economic impact report

·5 min read

Austin now an '18-hour city'; Downtown housing and office markets
surpass pre-pandemic levels with 22 current or planned
major commercial construction projects

AUSTIN, Texas, June 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Downtown Austin Alliance (Downtown Alliance) revealed the 2022 State of Downtown report findings at its Future of Downtown event today at Waterloo Park. The report presents data on a range of economic indicators that impact downtown Austin and has been produced and shared by the Downtown Austin Alliance annually since 2019.

"Downtown Austin is growing and evolving, and as stewards of downtown, we are committed not only to the economic and cultural prosperity of our neighborhood, but also to bringing the community's vision for a vibrant, resilient and inclusive downtown to life," Dewitt Peart, president and CEO of the Downtown Austin Alliance, said. "Given the recent influx of residents and businesses into our region, the State of Downtown report is essential to understanding the direction our downtown is headed. It also informs strategies for preserving our unique character and maintaining a welcoming, dynamic downtown for years to come."

The report indicates that Austin has emerged as an 18-hour destination city, as opposed to the 12- or 8-hour city it has been in the past. The report highlights the number of employees working downtown, real estate activity, retail and nightlife, and more elements that make downtown a day-to-night hub of activity. While downtown makes up only 0.5% of Austin's land area, it accounts for:

  • 13,648 residents

  • 9,447 residential units

  • 5.1 million unique visitors annually

  • 106,500 downtown employees downtown

Additionally, downtown Austin's housing and office markets have rebounded at an exponential pace. Leasing activity returned to pre-pandemic levels with downtown Austin leading the nation in sublease space absorbed. In the last decade, at least 4,000 residential units were added to the downtown area—more than any other area its size in the city. Additionally, 11 office projects are currently under construction, and 11 more have been proposed or are in planning.

The State of Downtown report also included results from a city-wide community survey conducted to determine how Austinites feel about their downtown. An overwhelming number of respondents, 79%, 'strongly agree' or 'agree' that a thriving and vibrant downtown is essential to Austin's success. Similarly, 74% of respondents rated downtown as an 'excellent' or 'good' place for live music but gave lower ratings to its affordability, safety during nighttime hours, and as a place to live. The downtown issues that are most important to Austinites to be addressed over the next two years are homelessness, traffic congestion, public safety, affordability and parking.

Looking to the future, the report also touches on monumental projects and opportunities that will impact and shape downtown, including Project Connect and capping and stitching I-35 in the central corridor, among other major investments.

Other findings of note from the report include:

  • Austin is the first among the top 50 largest metros for new residents.

  • Downtown employers draw talent from the entire Central Texas region. Half of downtown's 106,000 employees live outside the city limits.

  • Total downtown employment has recovered, although unevenly across industries. Most of the growth is reflected in professional, scientific and technical service jobs, while accommodation and food service employment has recovered only 29% of jobs lost.

  • Downtown businesses are capitalizing on the rebound for consumer demand. 60 new businesses have opened downtown since the pandemic began.

  • Downtown is poised to add 1,015 hotel rooms in the coming years, or 7.5% of current inventory.

The Future of Downtown event also featured a panel of downtown experts and neighborhood leaders, including Caitlyn Ryan, senior vice president of Stream Realty; Annick Beaudet, mobility officer for the City of Austin; and Jen Weaver, founding principal architect of Weaver Buildings. The panel was moderated by Jim Ritts, CEO of Paramount Theatre, and included conversations on elements important to establishing downtown as an 18-hour "live, work, play" city.

The event included activations and expos demonstrating current and future technologies, infrastructure and planning projects highlighting the things that transform downtown Austin. Participants had the opportunity to design the streets of the future in an augmented reality session, listen to DJ Chorizo Funk from the interactive art piece Passion Flower, watch Aaron Darling create a mural during the event, enjoy live music by San Gabriel and learn first-hand about the many transformative projects currently changing the downtown skyline.

This signature event returned for the first time since it premiered in 2019 when the inaugural State of Downtown report was unveiled, along with the creation of the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation. The full 2022 report can be viewed online.

For more information on the work of the Downtown Alliance and its Foundation, please visit www.downtownaustin.com/foundation.

About the Downtown Austin Alliance

The Downtown Austin Alliance (Downtown Alliance) works with key downtown stakeholders—property owners, residents, business owners, community organizations and government officials—to advance our collective vision for the future of downtown Austin. The Downtown Alliance is engaged in dozens of projects and issues that contribute to the safety, cleanliness, and appeal of downtown Austin to residents, employees and visitors. As a full-time advocate for downtown, the Downtown Alliance protects and promotes Austin's downtown through full-time advocacy, strategic initiatives and thoughtful planning. For more information, please visit www.downtownaustin.com.

Media Contacts: ECPR
Rebecca de Haro or Danielle Kaigler
512.779.5601 or 617.840.1689
daa@echristianpr.com

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View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/downtown-austin-alliance-reveals-2022-state-of-downtown-economic-impact-report-301559596.html

SOURCE Downtown Austin Alliance