Skip to main content

Union Square Statement – March 8, 2024

Union Square Statement

“Change is often sudden and uncomfortable before that change yields something new and positive,” said Marisa Rodriguez, CEO of the Union Square Alliance. “Union Square, and the entire downtown, is at an inflection point. That is exactly why I feel humbled to be part of the solution. We all need to do our part to preserve our historic, legacy businesses as much as possible and that includes shoppers who need to visit if they want their favorite businesses to stay.

The reasons behind these closings are multifaceted — major retail shifts, street safety challenges, changing foot traffic, and new work patterns post-pandemic — but so too are our solutions. It will take time for all of the plans we have been working on with our city partners over the last year and a half to bear fruit beyond the progress we’ve already made.

Zoning changes, the recently announced plans to upgrade Powell Street, the increased police and security presence and our ongoing clean and safe campaign all combine to make downtown and Union Square visibly more full and popular than it was a year ago. Our aggressive work to program the Square with new traditions like this week’s Tulip Day, this past Holiday Season’s Winter Walk, and our ongoing music series are all popular and generate much needed foot traffic. Also, there truly is a ‘bar boom’ and restaurant renaissance around the Square.

However, much more needs to be done, and the media has a role to play. Presenting a clear and balanced picture of what is actually happening on the ground is critical. Obviously, a store closing is news, but sensational stories don’t help. Frankly, there is as much good, forward looking, optimistic news as there is bad.”