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(Above) Daley Plaza on July 7, 2022. Photo by Vashon Jordan Jr. Click on image to view larger version.

18-Jul-22 – Lower COVID-19 positivity rates, lifting of international testing requirements, opening of new hotels, and the beginning of the summer travel season have given hotels in the Loop their highest occupancy rates since the pandemic began.

Chicago Loop Alliance says the recovery of hotels in the Loop, last measured in June, “shows great promise,” with hotel occupancy at 86.4 percent of what it was in 2019.

One of the new hotels is The LaSalle Chicago, a 232-room hotel on South LaSalle Street. General Manager Stefan Gruvberger, who is also on the CLA board of directors, says the timing of the hotel opening, in late June, was “great.”

Stefan Gruvberger

“With the demand for corporate group travel continuing to grow and a steadfast demand for leisure travel, we foresee a positive trend in bookings as conferences and festivals return to Chicago this summer,” said Gruvberger (left).

CLA’s June report on downtown activity tracks a variety of recovery indicators, such as pedestrian activity, parking volumes, and COVID-19 positivity rates.

Pedestrian activity in the Loop in June was 80 percent of 2019 levels, according to the report. Along State Street in particular, between Wacker Drive and Ida B. Wells Drive, CLA says it counts more than one million pedestrians each week.

Office occupancy, says CLA, is rising steadily toward 50 percent of 2019 levels. CTA ridership, last measured in May, was 55 percent of normal, and Metra ridership in May was 30 percent.

“As data for July becomes available in key industries like transportation and hotels, there is an expectation that recovery rates will improve dramatically with upcoming events, including Sundays on State and Lollapalooza,” says the alliance, a membership organization that creates and manages programs to attract people to the Loop and accelerate its economic recovery.

Michael Edwards, President/CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance, says the Loop is “thriving again” and “remains in a strong position for a successful recovery centered around a live, work, and play model.”

 More info: Summer tourists and office workers propel the Loop’s economy forward