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June report on downtown activity shows highest levels for all metrics since before pandemic

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Posted  2 months ago

Press contact: Jessica Cabe | PR and Communications Manager, Chicago Loop Alliance jessica@chicagoloopalliance.com | 815-713-8909

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@loopchicago     @ChicagoLoopAlliance    @ChiLoopAlliance     @Chicago-Loop-Alliance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | July 13, 2021

CHICAGO—Since July 2020, Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) has released monthly reports on downtown activity using a variety of data sources to track operations during COVID-19, and today released its June report. View the full June report here. Some highlights include:

  • At 31 percent of normal, Chicagoland’s office human occupancy remains at pace with the nation. Loop office buildings are reopening amenity floors and loosening mask and distancing guidelines. Employees are returning to work in Chicagoland at similar rates to the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., metro areas, and Chicagoland is outperforming the New York and Bay Area regions.
  • The Loop’s pedestrian data saw its highest week-to-week increase since the start of the pandemic at the end of June, with impressions reaching 58 percent of normal levels. State Street is poised to reach 1 million pedestrian impressions per week for July.
  • Digital parking bookings reached their highest rate since the start of the pandemic, at 110 percent of 2019 levels. These bookings indicate one-off visits to the Loop moreso than commuter traffic. Parking garage operations increased in June as well, though, and reached 59 percent of normal.
  • As the CTA confirms its numbers, CLA is reporting initial ridership figures from the RTA-managed COVID-19 Transit Dashboard. Ridership reached about 45 percent of normal.
  • Hotel occupancy steadily increased over June, standing at 42 percent for the Loop. However, recent self-reported figures for early July note that major Loop hotels are operating at or near capacity, especially over the July Fourth weekend.
  • Chicago Loop Alliance made the decision to discontinue its monthly stakeholder survey due to decreasing response rates as more people return downtown to work, and all metrics trend toward normal levels.
  • Additionally, CLA’s source for Loop office data decided to no longer track human occupancy information, as they expect office occupancy to continue trending toward normal levels. Beginning in June, these reports utilize a new dataset for office human occupancy, which tracks all of Chicagoland rather than the Loop specifically. That said, the Chicago Loop's office human occupancy levels have aligned very closely with Chicagoland's throughout the pandemic.

“Not only are we seeing a rise in all the usual metrics we track, but we’re also seeing increased vehicle traffic on State and Michigan in the Loop, and O’Hare and Midway airports are reporting great improvements to their passenger numbers,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “We’re hearing anecdotally from hotel operators that they pretty much hit capacity over the July Fourth weekend, and pedestrian impressions are on track to hit 1 million per week in July. Pedestrian data near the Art Institute of Chicago has been promising already, likely due to their great Monet and Obama Portraits exhibits. And we expect Sundays on State to have a huge impact on Loop activity moving forward.”

For those Loop workers who continue to return downtown, Chicago Loop Alliance has created a Back to Work Toolkit that can be found at LoopChicago.com/BackToWork. The toolkit includes insider tips for working downtown in the Loop for those who never left, as well as those who are returning for the first time. Find useful information on how to safely get downtown; what’s new in the Loop; what the Loop looks like these days; lunch and happy hour spots; and more.

Despite the rainy weather, Chicago Loop Alliance hosted its first Sundays on State event on July 11, with seven more Sundays to go in the series through Sept. 12 (no events on Aug. 1 or 15). Sundays on State sees Chicago’s most iconic street, State Street, closed to traffic from Lake to Madison for a free, interactive block party featuring art, culture, active recreation, shopping, food, drinks and local attractions. Learn more and sign up to attend at LoopChicago.com/SundaysOnState.

Chicago Loop Alliance invites people to share their experiences downtown on social media using #BackInTheLoop.

June Loop report Page 1

June 2021 Page 2 v2

About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA)’s mission is to create, manage and promote positive and inclusive programs that attract people to the Loop and accelerate economic recovery. CLA is a membership organization as well as the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, and the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation produces public art projects and events. For more information, please visit here.

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