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Downtown Cleveland Alliance report shows some economic positives amid pandemic

Posted at 12:05 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 12:05:21-05

CLEVELAND — From shutdowns to limiting capacity and trying to get customers to wear face masks, 2020 hasn’t been exactly kind to Cleveland businesses, but a new report shows that things may not be as bad as they seem.

A report from the Downtown Cleveland Alliance said that more than 140 restaurants, grocery stores and pharmacies remain open for business and the occupancy rate for downtown office space is holding strong at about 88%.

“We saw real estate development continue throughout the quarter, over $440 million worth of development,” said Michael Deemer with Downtown Cleveland Alliance. “There’s strong job growth, strong development, strong opportunities for population growth on the other side.”

The worry comes from the hospitality industry, the report showed.

“The hospitality industry in particular is struggling a lot. We’re all staying closer to home, there’s not a lot of business travel, there aren’t a lot of events,” Deemer said.

Hotel occupancy downtown has dipped below 30% compared to about 80% during the same time frame last year, according to the report.

More good news for downtown Cleveland, however, is the continuation of the new Sherwin Williams headquarters in the city as other plans and projects have been stalled.

“They announced that their plan is to take occupancy of a newly constructed million square foot headquarters right in the heart of downtown sometime in 2024,” Deemer said.

Deemer said the strong foundation built in Cleveland has helped the city survive the pandemic so far but understands there are more challenges ahead as additional shutdowns loom over the state of Ohio.