Downtown recovery continues to stall / August declared as Trans History Month

It's Thursday, August 26.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

Office occupancy (meaning, employees actually going into work) is at 20% in the San Francisco metro area. BART exits at downtown stops, like Powell and Montgomery, are down more than 80% compared to 2019 levels. 

Meanwhile, 60% fewer passengers are flying out of SFO than before the pandemic. And only six events are scheduled for this year at the city’s largest convention center, Moscone, with one of them, Dreamforce, scaling back to a mere “hundreds” of attendees, Salesforce announced on Thursday

As Here/Say’s Annie Gaus put it, “the once-bustling financial center of San Francisco is nearly as deserted as it’s ever been since the onset of COVID-19.” 

Our struggling downtown, which is generating less than half of the sales tax revenue that it was bringing in before the pandemic, was the center of discussion at a roundtable event on Wednesday that included San Francisco’s chief economist Ted Egan. 

Gaus’ coverage of the event is worth a read. So too is Volume 3 of Egan’s “Status of the Re-Opening” report, which was also released Wednesday. 

From the discussion, the comment from Kazuko Morgan, vice-chair of retail services at Cushman & Wakefield in San Francisco, stood out. 

“I’m a little speechless,” Morgan said, regarding San Francisco’s downtown. “You see on every other block: restaurants closed, coffee shops closed, service retailers closed.” 

Neighborhoods, on the other hand, are a “completely different story,” Morgan said. “If you go to North Beach, the Marina, the Haight—it’s like there’s no pandemic.” 

And with that...onto some more news… 

Quick bits: 

  • 💞 On Tuesday, Mayor London Breed declared August as Transgender History Month, making San Francisco the first major city in the country to do so. “Our transgender community has a rich cultural history in this city and is so important to our diverse identity,” Breed said in a statement. “San Francisco has been and always will be a place where everyone can seek refuge, sanctuary, and safety.” (Bold Italic

  • 🎓 Some 30,000 students at San Francisco State University and 6,500 students at the University of San Francisco returned to campus this week after a year-plus of remote learning. Both schools are requiring that students and staff be vaccinated unless they apply for a health or religious exemption. (Broke-Ass Stuart

  • 🏗 After 13 years of planning, Mayor Breed and local developers broke ground at 921 Howard Street on Thursday for what’s slated to be an 18-story, 100% affordable housing complex with 203-units. “We know we need more housing across our entire City, and I’m thankful for everyone who persevered to move this project forward,” Breed said. (Chronicle

  • 🎒 The San Francisco school board unanimously approved a $2.9 million purchase order on Tuesday to “equip all classrooms with air purifiers,” the Examiner’s Ida Mojadad writes, in a move meant to address the district’s conundrum of needing airflow to combat the spread of Covid, but also needing to close windows when wildfires cause poor air quality. Currently, the district only has 775 air purifiers, or enough to cover 10% of city classrooms. (Examiner

  • 🍕 Fiorella is set to open its third location on Monday, August 30th in the Inner Sunset. The Neapolitan pizza makers will keep their Bay Area-themed wallpaper with the new location but will add a rooftop deck and full bar to their repertoire. (Eater

And finally...

Want to have the best day *ever* in Chinatown? The Chronicle’s Soleil Ho and Tanay Warerkar have some suggestions

They say to start with dim sum at Good Mong Kok. Then, grab lunch at Yilan Bento, dinner at R&G Lounge, and late-night drinks at Moongate Lounge. At each step of the way, Ho and Warerkar have some bonus recommendations as well. 

I’d say, if you’re going to follow this guide, you’re going to need some tea in between. And if that’s the case, consider checking out Red Blossom

That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading y’all and I’ll see you back here tomorrow. Have a great night! - Nick B.

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