Chicago Retail Market Report
Brightened Outlook Emerges;
Core Recovery Underway as Foot Traffic Climbs
Downtown shows resilience as workers return. Despite initial concerns, Chicago's urban core managed well as a whole throughout the health crisis. In March, vacancy in the city stood below the 2019 measure, led by the Gold Coast submarket where availability was more than 200 basis points below the pre-pandemic norm. Retail vacancy in the Fulton Market-West Loop and Logan Square-Irving Park areas is also below their 2019 levels after a demand surge to start this year. At the same time, some central areas are still recovering. River North, The Loop and North Michigan Avenue struggled without the bustling work week crowd. These areas are likely to see sharp improvements by year-end, however, given CBD foot traffic is at its highest volume since before the health crisis. The return of leasing in the lagging locales has already led to River North recording a year-over-year 210-basis-point drop in local vacancy in March.