Center City calls for bringing employees back to downtown Philly

These consequences include the loss of building maintenance, cleaning and security jobs that provide living wages for many of the city’s residents. Levy said only about half of the pre-pandemic office workforce has returned to downtown, meaning fewer restaurant jobs are needed to feed the workforce, among others.

Some have worried about the city’s safety since the pandemic. Police Captain Colleen Billups of the 9th Precinct, which includes downtown, said a visible police presence downtown is working to allay those fears and people are complimenting the officers.

“Just in the last week I’ve had a couple of letters and they seem to be coming in larger numbers thanking my cops for what they’ve done, and they’re simple things, helping me find my car, finding out it was towed, or how to file a report, and they take the time to write these letters, which is amazing.

Billups believes downtown is safe and will only be better in the future.

The report and accompanying survey indicate that fear of COVID is the main reason people are not coming back to town.

Levy pointed to new partnerships with the Philadelphia police and the addition of CCD bike patrols to help make downtown safer. He said hybrid workers will always be the future, but flexibility and expanding equity and inclusion will help improve downtown.

The full report is available on the Center City District website.