While downtown SF struggles post-pandemic, data shows other parts of city are thriving

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Thursday, June 15, 2023
Data shows parts of SF thriving while downtown struggles
Although many businesses have been struggling in downtown SF, sales tax collection data paints a different story for other parts of the city.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Just days after Westfield said they plan to give up their San Francisco mall amid declining sales downtown, Cinemark announced they will permanently close their movie theater inside the mall on Thursday. There are no movie showings scheduled for Friday or beyond.

Cinemark says this decision came from a comprehensive review of local business conditions.

Although many businesses have been struggling in downtown San Francisco, sales tax collection data paints a different story for other parts of the city -- which are now doing better than ever.

Sales tax collection data shows District 6, meaning Downtown San Francisco, SoMa and Mission Bay, still has not recovered from the pandemic, producing around $7 million less than in 2019.

And it's a similar story in District 3 for Union Square, Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, producing just under $6 million less than 2019.

RELATED: Cinemark theater closing at SF Westfield after mall's management transfer, company confirms

But in District 2, including Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow and Marina, their sales tax is now generating more than they did before the pandemic.

"So more foot traffic, more people are coming out so yeah. I think we're moving in the right direction," said Antonio Solano, manager of Tacobar in Pacific Heights.

Solano says he believes his neighborhood's overall safety and street cleanliness may have something to do with it.

"Certainly you see maybe a little bit better with the crime, the cleanliness. That probably has a little bit of an impact on our business. People want to feel secure, safe," Solano said. "Continue to do our job, good service, good quality of food and maintain our streets clean. We're doing our part."

"I think the neighborhoods are doing much better than the rest of the city like downtown, SoMa and South Beach area," said Berk Kinalalar, owner of Troya Restaurant.

RELATED: San Francisco ranks last among 63 cities in downtown recovery, data shows

While Kinalalar -- also in Pacific Heights -- says his second location in SoMa didn't survive the pandemic, his location off of Fillmore Street did.

"I feel grateful that I'm here," he said.

And he credits the neighborhood's feeling of safety, along with fewer vacant storefronts, for bringing customers back.

"Creating a safe environment for people to come in, I think that should be the number one priority for cities, if we want people to come into the city and bring their family and kids to the city, they're not going to come unless they feel safe," he said.

To review the sales tax collection data for other neighborhoods in San Francisco, click here.

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