Downtown Austin on the upswing as tourists return

Downtown Austin Alliance’s storefront survey shows post-pandemic boost

Downtown Austin
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Downtown Austin’s central business district is showing signs of recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic left it struggling.

Residents and out-of-town visitors are injecting some much needed capital back into downtown businesses and property owners’ pockets, the Austin American-Statesman reported, citing the Downtown Austin Allicance’s Storefront Retail Business Report.

More than 680 storefront businesses were considered in a biannual inventory taken by the nonprofit that works with property owners, businesses and community groups in the central business district.

Sixty-three new businesses have opened downtown since the nonprofit’s last count, in February.

The report found that 125 businesses have closed since February 2020, while 71 have opened.

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The majority of downtown’s pedestrian activity comes from visitors, and that traffic has returned to about 95 percent of its pre-pandemic levels, according to the report.

Downtown makes up less than 1 percent of Austin’s total land area. It has more than 13,000 residents, almost 9,500 residential units and more than 100,000 employees. It attracts 5.1 million visitors each year.

Some 4,000 residential units have been built in the downtown area over the past decade, and 11 new office projects are under construction.

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— Victoria Pruitt