The Economy is Booming, So Why All The Empty Storefronts?

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A shopper carries a shopping bag while walking in the Union Square district on February 27, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By most accounts, the Bay Area economy is humming along. Yet, to even the casual observer, empty storefronts have a strong presence on Bay Area streets, even in desirable neighborhoods. Among the causes, experts say, is the rise in online shopping and landlords holding out for tenants who will pay higher rents. Another culprit is the cost and hassle of doing business in San Francisco, according to Mayor London Breed. She announced a plan Monday to streamline regulations in the hopes of filling vacant stores. Forum looks at the state of retail in the Bay Area and what can be done to keep our neighborhoods hustling and bustling.

Related Links:
With SF's Retail Storefronts Empty, Mayor Pushes for More Flexibility (San Francisco Chronicle)


Joaquín Torres, director, City and County of San Francisco's Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Roland Li, business reporter, San Francisco Chronicle

Sandra Lee Fewer, supervisor, San Francisco's District 1

Julie Taylor, retail real estate broker and executive vice president, Colliers International

Dion Garcia, co-owner, Streamline Cafe and Art Gallery