Downtown Vancouver seeing pandemic recovery, BIA says

While the past few years have been tough for many sectors of the economy — nationally, provincially, and locally — things are beginning to look up, according to one Business Improvement Agency in B.C.

The latest State of Downtown Vancouver report decodes statistics measuring everything from the average salary of those who live in the neighbourhood to property development and transit use.

Some are up, and some are down. But the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Area’s (DVBIA) Jane Talbot says recovery from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is underway.

Talbot explains it’s the hotel industry that is leading the way.

“The hotel occupancy rates are just about back to where they were pre-pandemic,” she told CityNews Wednesday.

Talbot also says the number of people coming into downtown has been growing steadily since it fell off a cliff a few years ago.

And despite a lot of people still working from home, she says the office vacancy rate in downtown has dropped since its peak.

But, Talbot explains that the loss of Nordstrom from the Pacific Centre on Granville Street and Hastings Street is still hurting the area.

“Although Nordstrom was struggling across Canada, their downtown Vancouver location was outperforming other flagship stores in the United States, so it was definitely a loss to the district,” she explained.

Talbot says more is possible especially if city council goes ahead with its plans to revitalize the downtown with its plans to extend what it calls the “nighttime economy.”

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