What happens to downtown Los Angeles matters to the rest of us. With 40 million square feet and more than 300,00 workers, downtown Los Angeles is a global corporate center. LA is also one of the global creative centers, with 35% of the city’s creative class working downtown. The Arts District subarea has been one of the country’s most exciting places and is home to companies like Spotify.
That’s why it’s disheartening to read that despite an impressive come-back in tourism and hospitality and office use at 63% of pre-pandemic levels, the people who live and work there think that drugs, crime, and homelessness are getting worse. A survey published in February by the downtown BID found that while two-thirds of people who live or work there “love” downtown LA, a fast-increasing number feel the city is not making progress on those key issues. Compared to last year’s survey, 45% more said there had been no progress on violent crime or homelessness, and 20 to 30% more said there had been no progress on cleanliness. Those aren’t totals but increases in the lack of confidence.
Using statistics in the report, I calculate that while the overall office visitation rate may be 63%, the rate for big companies is probably only 35 to 40%. Given that those big companies account for a huge share of the office market there, and that many of their employees are commuters fearful of drugs and crime, getting the office visitation rate up over 75% is going to take some noticeable improvements on the street.