Sacramento Shines in Recent Study of U.S. Downtowns
Downtown Sacramento wields substantial influence in tax revenue, employment and retail activity
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - From driving tax revenue and business activity to spurring smart development and innovative workplaces, downtown Sacramento has the potential to leverage investment for profound lasting benefits according to The Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center Cities study released by the International Downtown Association (IDA) this month.
“This study reinforces what we’ve known for a long time, downtown Sacramento’s impact reaches far beyond its physical footprint,” said Michael Ault, Executive Director of Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “Investing in a strong downtown is crucial for a successful city and region. Our downtown has become an economic and entertainment hub and as a result, a very attractive place to do business, visit and live.”
Produced by IDA in partnership with Stantec’s Urban Places team and 13 place management associations, including Downtown Sacramento Partnership, The Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center Cities study explains the unique contributions, importance and benefits of downtown investment and demonstrates the pivotal role downtowns play in the long-term health of a region.
According to the study, downtown Sacramento is an economic and employment multiplier for the Sacramento region with assessed property values totaling nearly $1 billion per square mile. While only accounting for five percent of the city’s land mass, downtown Sacramento represents a share of the region’s residents, workforce and employers well above its geographic size. By comparison, downtown Sacramento provides a higher than average percent of the city’s property tax revenue, lower than average office vacancy rate and a larger than average share of the citywide employment.
“This report confirms what we’ve known since the Gold Rush; downtown Sacramento is the cultural crossroads for arts, restaurants, and jobs, as well as being our City and region’s economic heart,” said Vice Mayor Steve Hansen of the Sacramento City Council. “We must continue to nurture our opportunities and creative communities that fuel this success."
Additionally, the study found that downtown Sacramento:
- Generates $75 million in property and hotel tax revenue.
- 46 percent of the city’s total property tax revenue.
- 42 percent of the city’s total hotel tax revenues.
- Boasts 39 percent of Sacramento’s employment population, 34 percent of the city’s office space and 18 percent of the city’s knowledge jobs.
- Generates more than double the volume of retail sales per square mile than the city on average.
- $176.5 million in retail sales per square mile compared to the city which generates $81.6 million per square mile.
- 24 percent of the city’s food and beverage establishments are located in downtown.
The Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center Cities is informed by experts and downtown leaders from around the country, encompassing over 100 key data points, 33 guiding benefits and five principles: economy, inclusion, vibrancy, identity and resilience. The project examined 13 U.S. downtowns and center cities and was modeled after the award-winning project, The Value of Investing in Canadian Downtowns (2013).
“This report, and all the great data that underlies it, helps to quantify what we’ve known for decades—that a vibrant downtown disproportionately supports the success of any great city. In terms of economic, social, and cultural vitality, downtowns punch orders of magnitude above their weight,” said Craig Lewis, Principal of Stantec's Urban Places. “Our team is proud to have contributed to this piece of vital research to tell the full story of their importance to city and regional economic performance.”
Among key findings for the average downtown:
- Downtown retail is still a significant presence. On average, downtowns generate nine times more retail sales than their citywide counterparts.
- Downtowns continue to serve as major employment centers. They are also adapting to workplace trends, quickly becoming home to a majority of co-working spaces and a significant share of creative and knowledge jobs.
- Residents aren’t just moving to cities – they are moving to downtowns. Downtown residential growth averaged 20 percent higher than the rest of their cities.
- Downtowns are multi-modal hubs. Downtowns consistently had higher Walk Scores, Bike Scores and Transit Scores than their cities and had higher rates of non-single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) commuters.
Continued Ault, “The research in this study should empower the public and private sectors to work collaboratively at multiple levels to encourage investment and support the continued development of downtown.”
- Downtown Sacramento is defined as the area south of the American River, east of the Sacramento River, north of Broadway and west of 21st Street.