Streetsense, in partnership with HdL, was engaged to develop a comprehensive economic development strategic plan for the City of Palo Alto, CA, with an emphasis on the City’s downtown and local commercial districts, which were heavily impacted by COVID. The City, known as the birthplace of Silicon Valley and home to some of the leading global tech companies, has experienced a major decline in daytime foot traffic. Work-from-Anywhere resulted in the sustained loss of downtown office workers and a decline in international business travel—all impacting local business activity.
The diagnostic assessment included an evaluation of the city’s key commercial districts, including interviews with key stakeholders, an analysis of the retail, tourism and hospitality industries, and an assessment of the regulatory framework as it relates to ground floor business activity. The retail analysis focused on the impact of remote work on downtown’s ability to support retail, identifying the future retail demand opportunity downtown and how it compares with the existing retail supply. Additional analysis of the tax base was conducted by HdL.
Final recommendations include an emphasis on developing sustainable economic development delivery mechanisms to support commercial district marketing and branding, streamlining regulatory and permitting requirements, and supporting investments in the public and private realms to improve district conditions.
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