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DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE LEADS IN RECOVERY RATES OF LARGEST U.S. CITIES SINCE 2020
Nashville, Tenn. – A study assessing the downtown recovery rates of 25 of the U.S.’s largest cities since the disruptions of 2020 placed Nashville in the #1 slot with a 100% overall recovery rate. “Downtowns Rebound: The Data Driven Path to Recovery” was presented at the International Downtown Association (IDA) 69th Annual Conference in Chicago and released to the public on October 10, 2023 by Center City District in Philadelphia. The findings are based on the comparisons of resident, worker, and visitor populations in the downtown areas in Q2 of 2019 and Q2 of 2023. The 26 rankings are from the 25 largest cities (New York has two entries for both Lower and Midtown Manhattan) and based on the aggregate of these three populations.
Downtown Nashville is the study’s standout star at a 100% recovery with only one other city above 90%. The list of the 26 large downtowns ranged widely in the results, with San Francisco and Washington, D.C. at 69% and an average of 79% across all 26.
“Here at the Nashville Downtown Partnership, we’re constantly crunching data, it’s what drives so much of what we work on day-to-day in the downtown neighborhood,” says Tom Turner, President and CEO. “I have a lot of reasons to think that downtown Nashville is #1, but it’s certainly nice for it to be verified and reinforced in the company of so many great American cities. Our property owners and businesses, along with Metro government, the Convention & Visitors Corp, Chamber, and so many others work together to build a clean, safe, active and attractive downtown.”
The Partnership staff independently verified the findings using the same anonymized cellphone data tool as the study, Placer.ai, to conform the study boundaries for a 100% match of the city’s definition of downtown. Nashville’s 100% return rate was corroborated with this review and repeated when looking at newly available Q3 data (2019 and 2023).
What a center city requires to “recover” from 2020 is different from city to city: each has a unique live-work-play mix, and each experienced a different degree of public health mandates, social unrest, and crime. While it’s noted that Nashville’s recovery is buoyed in part by a high representation of visitors, it is not at the expense of residential/commercial real estate or other quality of life factors for locals. This is supported by other reports the Partnership publishes regularly to track metrics like vacancy rates: the commercial real estate vacancy rate of 13% is less than peer downtowns in Austin, Charlotte and Indianapolis, retail vacancy rates have been below 4% for five years, and residential vacancy rates have a 5-year streak at 10% or less, even with the delivery of record numbers of new homes.
"All of our cities have had to work extremely hard to bring back vitality and jobs to our downtowns” says Paul R. Levy, President and CEO of Center City District in Philadelphia. “Out of the 26 largest downtowns we looked at across the United States, Nashville should be really proud to rank No. 1 in recovery when comparing the total number of workers, residents and visitors downtown in 2023 to the number there in 2019.”
The 54-page “Downtowns Rebound” report is available at centercityphila.org/downtownsreport.
Regular reporting from the Nashville Downtown Partnership can be found at nashvilledowntown.com/resources/reports-publications.
About Nashville Downtown Partnership:
Organized in 1994, the Nashville Downtown Partnership is a private-sector nonprofit corporation and membership organization whose core purpose is “to make Downtown Nashville the compelling urban center in the Southeast in which to LIVE, WORK, PLAY and INVEST.” For more information, visit nashvilledowntown.com.