Almost half of the stores in downtown San Francisco have shuttered and fled the city since 2019 amid rising crime and homelessness.
Two hundred three storefronts were open in Union Square in 2019; now, that number stands at 107, according to the San Francisco Standard.
Many residents are describing downtown San Fransisco as a “ghost town.”
The 22 San Francisco Stores that have shuttered in the past 18 months included Old Navy, Whole Foods, AT&T, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
In May, Nordstroms announced it would be shuttering two of its flagship store, citing changing dynamics of downtown San Francisco” which influenced the decision to vacate over 375,000 square feet of retail space.
One of the many apparent reasons businesses are fleeing the city is the spike in drug overdoses and violent crime.
Last month, 66 people died of fatal drug overdoses in San Francisco, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
A man died of an overdose inside the Whole Foods bathroom months before it closed.
Mothers Against Drug Addiction & Deaths put up a billboard in Union Square that reads, “Famous the world over for our brains, beauty, and now, dirt-cheap fentanyl,” according to The New York Post.
Westfield Mall also announced it would stop making payments on its mortgage.
“San Francisco Centre generated $455 million in sales in 2019, before the pandemic,” the Daily Mail reported. “Last year, sales were down about a third to $298 million.”
Two of San Francisco’s largest hotels are following Westfield Mall’s move and ending mortgage payments.
The New York Post reported:
Park Hotels & Resorts CEO Thomas Baltimore predicted a “clouded and elongated” recovery in San Francisco while revealing plans to remove the hotels from its portfolio amid record office vacancy —44.7% of pre-pandemic levels, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday — and public safety concerns.
Last year, The Mail reported on a San Francisco tech entrepreneur who shared startling scenes of the deserted downtown, with the previously bustling streets void of people and eerily quiet.
Michelle Tandler, a founder of professional development firm Growth Path, posted the images to her Twitter account and says she now fears for the future of the City by the Bay.
“Historically, these streets were bustling with office workers,” she wrote.
“Now, they are virtually empty.”