Busy BoCoCa

Smith Hanten

Due to lasting repercussions of pandemic lockdowns/restrictions and office worker exodus, neighborhoods like Wall Street/FiDi continue to suffer poor retail occupancy. However, despite numerous hurdles which are less-than-friendly to small businesses, much of the city, including our own BoCoCa neighborhood, has begun to rebound to pre-pandemic occupancy rates. One of the key factors has been the willingness of property owners, especially the smaller, “Mom-and-Pop” property owners, to be flexible both with existing tenants who have struggled due to the pandemic, and with potential new tenants, who are offered incentives and concessions enough to take a risk and open for business.

We broke down the types of businesses on our primary retail corridors of Smith Street and Court Street into three categories:

  1. Dry Retail – including Clothing/shoe stores, Pharmacies, Gift shops, Jewelry stores.
  2. Service businesses – including Banks, R.E. offices, Medical offices, Salons/Spas, Tutoring.
  3. Food/Beverage – including Bars/Restaurants, Liquor stores, Take-out, Grocery stores and Bodegas/Delis.

From the close of Second Quarter 2021 to the close of Second Quarter 2022, the vacancy rate on Smith Street dropped from 10% to 5%, and the vacancy rate on Court Street dropped from 6% to 4%. The quip “The report of my death was an exaggeration” held true for Mark Twain in 1897, and it holds just as true for the state of retail business in mid-2022 right here in our BoCoCa neighborhood.