COVID impact: Will San Francisco’s commercial real estate market go back to normal?

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – In San Francisco, there are signs that the coronavirus pandemic may be easing, but what will it take to attract workers back to the city and reinvigorate the commercial real estate market.  

Since the pandemic started just over a year ago, the number of workers commuting into San Francisco has plummeted.  

Many San Francisco-based companies, like Salesforce, have said that their employees can work from home permanently if they so choose.

As the number of coronavirus cases in San Francisco continues to drop and restrictions are eased, how many workers will return to the city and what will that mean for the commercial real estate market downtown?

“That is the million-dollar question,” Rodney Fong said. 

Rodney Fong is the President CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.  

He says that in order to reinvigorate the market San Francisco must attract employers and employees back by confronting crime and cleanliness problems and working to get small businesses back into the many empty storefronts across the city.

“We need to step on the gas. These vacant spaces, whether they are cool little spaces in North Beach, their creative entrepreneur to open a flower stand. A flower stand would be so welcoming in San Francisco. We want to stimulate that kind of creativity. Encourage people to open businesses. Take chances on certain things and give them as many tools as possible to do that,” Fong said. 

He also says it’s important to attract visitors back to the city. Before the pandemic, 25.8 million people would visit San Francisco every year pumping huge amounts of money into the local economy.  

He says the key to getting them back is dealing with the pandemic and embracing what makes San Francisco great.

“I think for San Francisco I’m long term bullish,” Fong said. 

“We have to make sure that we put emphasis on the culture the arts and all the things that make San Francisco unique and the business community will follow.

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