News & Research Archive

Downtown San Francisco is Alive

Dec 04, 2012


For years my New York friends would come to San Francisco looking for nightlife only to find quiet downtown streets. While bars, nightclubs and restaurants were in full swing 24/7 in New York, we were going dark in San Francisco before six. All of that is changing now in San Francisco and bigger changes to our way of life downtown are on the way.

My wife and I recently went to the Metreon to see a movie in the afternoon and were stunned by the amount of people going in and out of the recently refurbished mall. Westfield did it right they converted a once poorly conceived shopping center into an absolute winner. Combining the first urban Target store in San Francisco with a variety of trendy, smaller restaurants has uplifted the demand at the movie theatre complex and brought renewed energy and traffic to downtown San Francisco. Even more exciting is that the increase in foot traffic is not limited to the Metreon alone; all of the surrounding restaurants as well as the shopping center across the street were all humming late into the night.

Next up for revitalization is the CityPlace Shopping Center that has long laid dominant as a result of the financial meltdown in 2007. With construction starting soon, this center will come back to life and help to change 5th through 6th on Market Street, the dirtiest of blocks. Further up the block from 7th up to Church Street, there are new mixed-use housing and retail projects under construction or in planning stages. These developments will bring housing to dilapidated areas of the city, allowing Market Street become what it was originally meant to be; a world class major street, not unlike the best streets in Paris and New York.

As a native San Franciscan, I have fond childhood memories of my parents taking me downtown for the day and the exciting experience of seeing thousands of people come together to enjoy the action and vibrancy of San Francisco. Coming from the Sunset District it was like entering another world. However, in the late 60's and early 70's, San Francisco's downtown began to fade and deteriorate, as regional shopping malls became the place to go. The neon signs of old grand theatres and shops were eliminated in favor of a more subdued visual design for our retailers. The next and final blow was the construction of BART and the underground MUNI. With Market Street torn up for years, one business after another failed to survive and the Market Street that we have known for the last 40 years was born.

Today, things are changing for the better and San Francisco's downtown will once again become a mecca for people to come and enjoy. The rate of change only stands to increase and we will soon see our beautiful city returned to its former glory.


Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 27 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

Contact Us

Name must not be empty
Please provide a valid email
Message should not be empty




TCN Worldwide