Over 2 dozen new businesses set to open in downtown, boosting recovery from COVID-19 pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – More than two dozen new businesses are expected to open downtown this year as pandemic recovery efforts continue.

In the Center City District’s latest January report, between March 2020 and December 2021, Center City welcomed 125 new businesses.

So far, 28 new businesses have announced plans to open this year, according to CCD.

“Here’s a simple analogy: if you’re at the beach and it’s low tide, there’s a lot left on the beach and it doesn’t look good initially,” said Paul Levy, president of the Center City District.

Over the past year and a half, the Downtown District reports 195 permanent business closures in the downtown core, in part due to a large number of nationwide closures and workforce reductions.

The closures have also heavily impacted other major cities, including New York, Chicago and Miami in the same way.

“People need to work and they need to have places where they can come and eat,” said customer Ronnie Thomas.

The Walgreens in Broad and Chestnut will close soon at the end of the month.

The AC Moore across the street closed just before the pandemic.

The former banana republic a block away is becoming a bank, helping to bring cash back to the area.

Levy said the tide was turning.

“We’re seeing new people coming in. We’re seeing really strong interest in the city,” Levy said.

The University of the Arts now sits in space that was once a Wawa at Broad and Walnut streets, but a nearby location at Chestnut and 13th streets remains closed.

“They closed my store. This is my Wawa where I go,” former customer Molly Walsh said. “I wish they built something like this with grocery options.”

The recovery is highly dependent on the return of office workers.

Levy said their survey of large companies shows employees will come back.

“80% of them expect to be back in the office. Same amount of office space and expansion,” Levy said. “And we’re about 40% office workers in the city center on average three days a week. We’d really like to come back that close to five days a week and almost 100% because they’re the regular shoppers. .”

Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All rights reserved.