Recovery in Chicago’s Loop continued into January, undeterred by Omicron

Despite small drops from December, metrics show strong increases over January 2021

Chicago /
Feb.February 15, 2022 05:14 PM
(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

Chicago’s Loop neighborhood is continuing its slow recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the omicron variant caused cases to spike last month, data released today by the Chicago Loop Alliance shows it didn’t prevent people from returning to the neighborhood. Office occupancy, pedestrian activity and Metra ridership all showed positive year-over-year results in January, though some metrics showed slight declines from December, possibly due to the end of the holiday season.

Michael Edwards, Loop Alliance president and CEO, attributed the recovery to return to work policies and entertainment and art attractions bringing people downtown.

“Despite predictions that the downtown recovery would be stifled by Omicron, Chicago Loop Alliance has seen a consistent maintenance of metrics for key industries like transportation, office, and pedestrian activity,” he said. “This data is bolstered by accounts of office workers beginning their transition back to the workplace.”

The Loop neighborhood, at the heart of the city’s central business district, has been one of the areas most adversely impacted by the coronavirus, due to a high number of office towers and a high density of people. Chicago’s office market crashed in 2021 and recently, owners of Loop office buildings have started defaulting on their properties.

Pedestrian activity and office occupancy rates in January nearly doubled over the year prior. While pedestrian activity on State Street dipped by just over 2 percent from December, rates nearly doubled over January 2021. Data shows a strong recovery after a steep drop in pedestrian activity the first week of the year, likely due to the end of the holiday season. Office occupancy grew by over 13 percent from a December low. While office occupancy hasn’t returned to where it was in November, the January occupancy rate of 27.5 percent shows strong progress over the 14.5 percent rate in January 2021.

Metra and Chicago Transit Authority ridership also showed strong numbers. While Metra ridership dropped slightly from December’s pandemic peaks, January ridership is up by more than 100 percent over last year. CTA ridership increased steadily week-over-week through the month.

Metra Chief of Staff Janice R. Thomas said the recovery “was slowed in January by the rise of the Omicron variant, which affected worker and leisure travel downtown, but Metra ridership continues to trend upward, and we expect continued positive growth as workers return to work and restrictions are eased.”





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    A photo illustration of Cook County (iStock)
    Cook County friendlier to homeownership than other markets
    Cook County friendlier to homeownership than other markets
    Bears George McCaskey with Soldier Field
    Minor league baseball complex aired for new Chicago Bears stadium
    Minor league baseball complex aired for new Chicago Bears stadium
    The John Buck Company's chairman and CEO John A. Buck II in front of a rendering of the planned two-tower office building project at 655 West Madison Street (The John Buck Company, Juan Gabriel Moreno Architects, iStock)
    John Buck shifts to two-tower plan for West Loop project
    John Buck shifts to two-tower plan for West Loop project
    1134 Taylorsport Lane (Redfin, JS Eckert)
    Life’s a beach at these five Chicago-area lakeside homes
    Life’s a beach at these five Chicago-area lakeside homes
    311 W Walton Street (LoopNet)
    River North office building triples in value since 2014
    River North office building triples in value since 2014
    Tishman Speyer's Rob Speyer with 850 West Washington Boulevard
    Tishman Speyer scraps plan for office tower near Fulton Market
    Tishman Speyer scraps plan for office tower near Fulton Market
    Onni Group’s Duncan Wlodarczak with 700 West Chicago Avenue (LinkedIn, Google Maps, iStock)
    Onni buys Goose Island site near casino site for $45M
    Onni buys Goose Island site near casino site for $45M
    Citadel's Ken Griffin (Citadel, iStock)
    Miami nabs another big name as Citadel’s Griffin shifts HQ
    Miami nabs another big name as Citadel’s Griffin shifts HQ
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...