Downtown Renaissance May Be Doomed After Latest Looting: Columnist

By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Residents and businesses in downtown Chicago are thinking about the future in the wake of Monday’s looting.

United Airlines is moving its dispatching operations out of the Willis Tower to a backup facility in Elk Grove Village because downtown street closures are disrupting access to their headquarters on Wacker Drive.

Crain's Chicago Business also reports that Macy's is considering reducing its presence in Water Tower Place in order to focus on the flagship store on State Street.

Bob Reed, business columnist with Chicago Magazine, told the Noon Business Hour Friday that two bouts of looting and the ongoing economic fallout from COVID-19 could endanger the so-called downtown renaissance.

"It took decades to get to this point and to turn the city's core central business district around,” Reed said. “But it wouldn't take decades to knock it back down if you can't get on top of these problems as well as the complications from the pandemic.”

Reed notes that business leaders publicly have said “the city has to crack down and get its act together in terms of stopping this kind of activity.”

A number of aldermen and elected officials have said that businesses will only rebuild and stay here if they feel safe.