The State of Downtown examines the people, places and businesses that contribute to downtown’s economy and vibrancy
This edition highlights downtown’s continued growth and prosperity in 2019. Although the focus is notable 2019 happenings, we recognize the preliminary economic impacts of COVID-19. Our hope is that this edition highlights downtown’s strengths, celebrates past successes, and provides context that will help the DVBIA map downtown’s road to recovery post-COVID-19.
Downtown’s population and workforce growth continued in 2019. Office vacancy was low mostly due to a fast-growing tech sector and hotel occupancy rates remained high thanks to a strong corporate and leisure travel industry.
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A message from our Board Chair
Board Chair – Downtown Vancouver BIA
As we reflect back on the past year, it’s somewhat challenging to picture a time before COVID-19 transformed our lives. So many aspects of daily life have been altered in response to the virus, and many of our members have certainly faced a substantial economic impact. Although the pandemic has dominated the news cycle and forced significant operational changes to our downtown businesses since early 2020, it’s important to remember that 2019 was a very different story, and the great progress that was made towards building more infrastructure and office space in the downtown core will still remain in place as we enter the recovery phase.
When it comes to our office market and growing tech sector, 2019 was a pivotal year for downtown Vancouver. There are currently plans for over five million square feet of office space to open by 2024, allowing room for tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft to expand in the downtown core. The arrival of all this new office space is expected to create more than 20,000 jobs, attracting even more people to a downtown core already celebrated for its livability, sustainability, and competitiveness.
We believe in the long-term economic and social health of our downtown core, and plan on working together with the City of Vancouver and other stakeholders on economic recovery initiatives that will benefit downtown Vancouver. Benchmarking the unprecedented growth that began in 2019 will allow us to measure the true impact that COVID-19 has made on the downtown core, and will help to paint a picture of how we can go forward with a plan for recovery. The DVBIA remains committed to keeping our downtown safe, accessible, vibrant, and engaging post-COVID-19.