Union Square business closures impacting holiday spirit in SF

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We are now a little over a week away from the unofficial lighting of San Francisco's Union Square Christmas Tree and while there is excitement, there is also noticeable change this year for shoppers, as some well-known stores have closed shop.

The Christmas lights at Macy's are up, on, and lighting San Francisco's Union Square.

"It just feels good right now," says Kazuko Morgan of the commercial real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield.

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And while the feeling among many shoppers and ice skaters is a good one, there is concern over stores that are empty and closed.

"Walking up Powell we saw a lot of businesses closed, like one of our favorite stores near Union Square," says Francis Agbayani. Agbayani came to Union Square to get pictures by the Christmas Tree, ice skate, and feel the holiday crowds. Only problem is the Christmas tree isn't lit until next week and the crowds aren't quite there.

"Sometimes I like coming out with a lot of people," says Agbayani.

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Wednesday along Post Street near Stockton there were at least five empty storefronts within a block of each other. The nearby DSW shoe store is also closed. The manager at the Golden Gate Tap Room tells us that while business is coming back, it won't be anywhere close to normal for them until the Sir Francis Drake Hotel reopens. You can see that right now, it is boarded up.

But that's not to say that visitors aren't coming. A group of women we met opted to come to San Francisco for their "College Girls Reunion" from 1985. While they're loving the sights, and the extra security around Union Square is obvious, their tour guide did warn them.

"He was surprised that we were in a couple areas he said previously he would have said it's a safe area; now there have been a couple incidents with shootings," says Nathalie Kelley of Pennsylvania.

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Still though Morgan says good things are happening in Union Square.

"There are some new stores and expansions as we know Bottega is under construction, they are doing an expansion. We have a few more tenants that are going to be expanding."

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