DTSM’s annual report includes several data points about parking, sales and residents. Courtesy image.

Safer-at-home orders and the monthslong pandemic has affected retailers throughout the Westside, but Downtown Santa Monica Inc., released a report last week that details a wealth of data and encapsulates how DTSM will continue to make improvements to the services it offers.

“Fiscal Year 2019/2020 began with so much promise as a diverse coalition of Downtown Santa Monica champions united around a monumental vision of reimagining and reinvesting in our beloved Third Street Promenade, the ever beating heart of our seaside community,” CEO Kathleen Rawson said in the report, where she discussed how it was truly inspiring to cooperate with others in the goal to create a downtown that’s enjoyable for all for decades to come. “So much passion and focus were directed towards Promenade 3.0… Then the world as we knew it was turned upside down when we experienced an incomprehensible global pandemic.”

“The coronavirus confined us in our homes and altered the way we live, work, communicate and take care of one another,” Rawson added. “In places like ours, designed for people to socialize and conduct business, the virus shook us to our core and created an uncertain future… It closed our businesses, effectively stopped social interaction and programming, put many aspects of Promenade 3.0 on hold,” and forced the dramatic restructuring of city departments and functions.

This year’s annual report seeks to provide greater detail into the work that DTSM performed during the most recent fiscal year, Rawson said, and it features a stark theme: “Promenade 3.0 to COVID-19.”

“Though it was not the year we were all hoping for,” Rawson said, “this report still serves as a source of pride, inspiration and reflection and helps us dedicate ourselves anew to our mission to serve the residents, property owners, merchants and those who visit us every year, no matter what the circumstance.”

A Look at the Numbers

Despite a 1.5% decrease in total taxable sales since last year, DTSM was still able to claim $5.2 million in assets during the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which is nearly $1 million more than it reported last year. However, there were 28% fewer pedestrian impressions on the Third Street Promenade this year than in the year prior, which could mean trouble for retailers.

There were nearly 90,000 pedestrian impressions on an average weekend in pre-COVID times, while 63,300 pedestrians traveled through the area on an average weekday before safer-at-home orders were instituted. Since COVID began to spread though, only 16,500 pedestrian impressions occur on an average day, according to the report, which states DTSM is closely tracking pedestrian impressions to gauge consumer behavior, “and to have a better sense of how many people feel comfortable using outdoor public space.”

Like the number of pedestrians visiting the Promenade, the average nightly room rate dropped (17% this fiscal year) as did the average occupancy rate of hotels, which decreased 23% from last year as well.

Staff stayed busy though as they wrote 52,030 total public space violations and removed more than 196,000 stickers or graffiti tags. DTSM’s command center also reported 2,215 calls for service in the last fiscal year and said they provided 1,627 safety escorts to visitors in need.

“With retail vacancies increasing and consumer habits changing, it is more imperative than ever to provide guests with more to see and do,” the report states, before describing how officials will attempt to address the situation in the near future. To read all 25 pages of the report, visit dtsmannualreport.com/#home.

brennon@smdp.com