Half of the retailers have fled the drug-ravaged city of San Francisco

Frustrated with rising crime and fewer shoppers on the ever-busier city streets, major retailers are leaving their broken hearts in downtown San Francisco.

At least 22 big-name businesses have closed or announced plans to move from the area around San Francisco’s Union Square by January 2022, including trendy retailers like Anthropologie, Banana Republic and Crate & Barrel as well as the investment firm that owns two of the city’s. Biggest Hotel.

Since 2019, 47% of businesses in the area have closed, San Francisco Standard,

Some 203 retailers were operating in and around Union Square pre-Covid; By May, only 107 remained.

The commercial chaos will continue in the coming weeks with brands like AT&T, Nordstrom, Cocoa Republic and Old Navy closing more stores As soon as July 1st.

The most significant casualty – Westfield San Francisco Center – happened last week as the mall’s operator cited “challenging” conditions in downtownIncluding sagging sales and occupancy rates to make up for its dwindling escapes.


Map showing the 22 businesses closed in the downtown area of ​​San Francisco
In the past 18 months, 22 major retailers and hoteliers have fled San Francisco’s downtown.

Westfield San Francisco Center
San Francisco’s commercial real estate woes are worsening as Westfield moves out of its iconic Union Square mall, where sales have plunged 35% since 2019.
Getty Images

Westfield stopped making payments on its $558 million loan for the 1.2 million-square-foot Market Street retail hub and began transferring control this month, as previously As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle,

The mall’s exit is the latest in a series of setbacks to the shopping district, where Nordstrom will close two stores this summer — an anchor at the mall as well as a Nordstrom Rack across the street — about 400 job cuts,


San Francisco’s lone Crate & Barrel, at 55 Stockton Street in Union Square, to close in March 2022. It was then replaced by a Cocoa Republic store – which is closing next month.
David G McIntyre

Nordstrom executives announced last month, Blaming the “worsening situation” in San Francisco.

Westfield’s parent company, Paris-based Unibel-Rodamco-Westfield, said the closure demonstrated an “unsafe situation for customers, retailers and employees”.

Some 77% of San Francisco residents believe the city is on the wrong track and just 30% said they feel safe in the city at night. According to a May survey sponsored by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce,


Store closing sign at Nordstrom Rack in Downtown San Francisco
Both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack are packing the store.
David G McIntyre

Elsewhere in the area, the owner of two of the city’s largest hotels — the 1,921-room Hilton San Francisco Union Square and the 1,024-unit Parc 55 — announced plans last week To stop making mortgage payments.

Park Hotels & Resorts CEO Thomas Baltimore predicts a “cloudy and protracted” recovery in San Francisco, revealing plans to remove hotels from its portfolio amid record office vacancy 44.7% of pre-pandemic levels, the The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday — and public safety concerns.

Cinemark Century San Francisco, Westfield Mall’s movie theater, closes after the final June 15 screening of “Transformers: Rise of the Beast.” The closure comes amid a “comprehensive review of local business conditions,” according to an email from the company. sfgate reported,

Some seasoned analysts predict that the ongoing business chaos in the city may be just beginning.

Ken Woods, founder and president of Asset Preservation Advisors, said his team of municipal bond managers is retreating from San Francisco.

“We are somewhat looking at an emperor without clothes,” Woods told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday


Whole Foods Market closed in San Francisco
A Whole Foods location closed in April after just 14 months of operation.
Getty Images

Store closed sign in Whole Foods window
The San Francisco Standard reported that the grocery store was closed after syringes and pipes were found in the bathroom.
David G McIntyre

And the city is dealing with several “open-air” drug markets, including those in the Tenderloin District.

Mothers Against Drug Addiction and Deaths put up a giant billboard Union Square last year read: “Famous the world over for our brains, beauty and now, dirt-cheap fentanyl.”

Deadly drug overdoses are currently on pace to kill a record 800 in the city, The San Francisco Standard reported on Tuesday.


Westfield San Francisco Center Mall
Westfield has stopped making loan payments on its San Francisco Center mall.
David G McIntyre

Overall crime near the San Francisco Center Mall has increased slightly so far in 2023 compared to last year. Police statistics show, The reported number of major felonies in the Tenderloin increased by 1.4%, while burglaries increased by 5.6%.

Saks Off 5th Downtown has implemented a one-in, one-out system to better patrol for burglars, according to daily mailWhile the Folsom Street Target location has rows and rows of merchandise under lock and key,


Billboard showing the Golden Gate Bridge reading: World famous for our brains, beauty and now, cheap-cheap fentanyl
Mothers Against Drug Addiction and Deaths put up this billboard in Union Square.
@ABCLiz/Twitter

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the exit from the mall — where dozens of retailers including Godiva Chocolatier, Clarks, K Jewelers, Hugo Boss and Tiffany & Co. have already packed it — was not a surprise. Its parent company last year revealed plans to sell all of its malls in the United States.

Stores at the mall are still open as police officers patrol the facility in coordination with Westfield security staff.


Entrance to the Park 55 Hotel in downtown San Francisco
Parc 55 is one of two luxury Hilton hotels that will be leaving the area.
David G McIntyre

A Whole Foods Market in downtown San Francisco snap off in April after being open for a little over a year. Widespread drug use and increased crime near the 64,000-square-foot store in the mid-market section of the city led to its closure after syringes and pipes were found in bathrooms. The San Francisco Standard reported,

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