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Hope emerges that downtown San Jose economic rebound is underway

Screenshot 2023-10-24 092447

Hope emerges that downtown San Jose economic rebound is underway
New study sees upswing in activity in San Jose’s urban heart


SAN JOSE — Despite persistently high office vacancy rates, new research suggests downtown San Jose has actually posted one of the nation’s strongest rebounds from coronavirus-spawned economic maladies, offering hope the city’s urban core can escape a “doom-loop” scenario.

The report from University of Toronto researchers measured mobile phone activity in urban cores across North America to determine how downtown districts are faring post-pandemic.

Downtown San Jose is now experiencing 96% of the visits to the city’s urban core that occurred in 2019, the final year before state and local government agencies imposed wide-ranging business shutdowns, according to the report.

That’s the third-highest activity level in the 66 downtown districts in North America the researchers studied, trailing only the 103% activity level for Las Vegas and the 97% mark posted in downtown El Paso, Texas, according to the University of Toronto academics.

“San Jose is not just recovering from the pandemic, we are rising up and reaffirming our commitment to solving the problems that all big cities face,” San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan said in comments emailed to this news organization.

The new research does not specify what exactly people are doing downtown but the findings dovetail with what Alex Stettinski, chief executive officer of the San Jose Downtown Association, is seeing.