On February 1, 2021, Jill Rowe was quoted in Retail Dive on how the pandemic has altered the retail landscape. According to the article, the pandemic may have reshaped consumer habits, including where they shop and even live, for the longer term. The outbreak and its changes to daily life may be reversing a decade of migration into cities and ushering in a work-from-home practice that could last even after social distancing is no longer required.
City centers have been eerily quiet for nearly a year now, as both office workers and tourists stay away, and it's unclear when or to what extent they'll come back. Some experts expect higher-income consumers to move to the suburbs and low-cost markets. Others are not so sure that cities will lose their appeal and believe the emptying out may be a massive opportunity for other people.
That's true for retailers as well. More rational rents are opening up city centers to new tenants, according to Rowe, who represents real estate brokers, owners, and commercial tenants. "Here in San Francisco, it used to be impossible to get any space downtown, and now people are snatching up better locations at better rents," she said by phone. "There's been sort of a leveling of the market and opportunities are being seized."
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