Center City reports signs of economic recovery

District president credits residents, as well as return of visitors, students

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia's Center City District delivered an optimistic appraisal of how stores and restaurants have recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic in its annual retail report.

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Center City is looking more and more like its old self, according to district president Paul Levy — pedestrian traffic is back to 70% of its pre-pandemic level and 67 new enterprises have opened in the last year, with 34 more in the pipeline for spring.

While office workers are not returning in as high numbers as he would like, residents, students and visitors, including convention-goers, are out and about again.

"That's not to minimize the fact that we've got a higher vacancy rate, but that the market trends are picking back up again so I think that's the really good news," said Levy.

"It's easy to say it's not like it was before but [there are] lots of positive signs."

Read the full retail report below.

He said the district is working to attract visitors for the holiday season with entertainment — including strolling musicians — and special promotions. It's also spruced up hard-hit Walnut Street with new planters and holiday decorations.

"Nobody wants to lay down and give up," said Levy. "I think everybody is saying, 'Look, we came out of the '70s and '80s, we came out of financial crises and we need to do it again. We really need to promote the recovery of the city.'"

Featured Image Photo Credit: Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio