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(Above) Pedestrians at State & Randolph in the Chicago Loop. Photo by Scott Teresi. (Click on image to view larger version.)

24-Apr-24 – Pedestrian activity in the Chicago Loop in the first three months of 2024 approached, and in some cases exceeded, pre-pandemic levels.

According to Chicago Loop Alliance, the Loop is showing signs of actual “bustling.”

The number of people walking along State Street – residents, workers, and visitors – was higher than it was last year and 94 percent of what it was in the first quarter of 2019. It was slightly lower, 91 percent, if you only count Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., but 107 percent if you only count pedestrian activity on the weekend.

In its quarterly State of the Loop report, CLA says State Street in the first quarter of 2024 averaged 1.5 million pedestrians per week, a seven percent increase over the first quarter of 2023.

Michael Edwards

What the Loop could use now is more investors, says CLA, “to bet big on our district.”

“Chicagoans and visitors still love our great street and continue to return in record numbers, but we have to give them a reason to stay,” said Michael Edwards (left), President/CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance.

Edwards says increases in pedestrian activity, number of visitors, and spending by Loop residents have inspired companies to invest in the Loop, such as JPMorgan Chase announcing renovations to Chase Tower and AmTrust Realty announcing renovations to the lobby and street-level exterior at One East Wacker Drive.

There is still a 30 percent retail vacancy rate in the Loop, according to CLA.

Office occupancy, representing on-site workers, is still low, averaging 56 percent of pre-pandemic levels, but above a ten-city national average.

Hotel occupancy in the Loop was up in the first quarter, to 89 percent of 2019 levels. And visits to cultural institutions, such as Lyric Opera of Chicago, increased 24 percent from the first quarter of 2023.