Message from the President, Rena Masten Leddy
It was a bit of a tough start to 2022 due to the latest COVID-19 variant and let’s face it, maybe we were a bit bummed that Betty White didn’t make it to her 100th birthday. There is also increasing crime, homelessness, mental illness, and drug addiction, but I don’t think we need to be stuck with a sense of hopelessness.
We are all reading the news that the peak of the variant is on the downslope. Tests and over-the-counter meds are on the way and possibly as early as the second quarter of this year we will be living somewhat normal lives. So, while some of our local and state governments may be slow to respond to the current challenges of our cities and towns, there are signs from the private sector that the places we manage, market and love are beginning to heal and revive.
Take this for example:
• In Los Angeles, Adidas and Forever 21 have moved their corporate headquarters to the LA Fashion District, taking almost 300,000 square feet of space in a newly renovated 2-million square foot office complex and everyone’s favorite chef, Jose Andres, is choosing to open a DTLA restaurant.
• In San Francisco, Twitter is leasing entire floors of space in mid-Market and Sephora has moved its North American headquarters to 200,000 square feet in the Salesforce Tower downtown.
• In San Jose, Google is moving forward with a downtown campus that is 80 acres of land, and includes 7.3 million square feet of office space, 20,000 workers, and thousands of housing units.
So, I don’t think downtowns are dead nor is our work over. Cities and town centers have been around for many years. They continue to evolve and reinvent themselves and we get to have a seat at the table. I think this year will be only the beginning.
One exciting thing to look forward to is the West Coast Urban District Forum (WCUDF). We had to cancel the 2020 & 2021 WCUDF, but we are moving forward with planning an in-person conference for 2022. Stay tuned.
Lastly, on behalf of the CDA board of directors, thank you to Steve Snider. Steve has been a kind and impassioned leader for CDA. We are so grateful to him for his time and energy. We are looking forward to his continued tenure on the board and his role as Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee Chair. Personally, thank you to Steve for warmly welcoming me to the Bay Area.
Rena Masten Leddy, CDA President
Urban Place Consulting Group