Windsor hatches plan for a deserted downtown

As cities across Canada grapple with high office vacancy rates, Windsor has rolled out a $3.2 million plan to lure people back into its desolate business district.

Driving the news: Canada’s southernmost city will increase spending on policing and social services in its downtown core, a direct response to both businesses and locals that have overwhelmingly pointed to a lack of safety as the major reason for avoiding downtown. 

Why it matters: People won't return to office districts until they’re safe, and businesses won’t come until there’s foot traffic. Tackling the people part of the equation first could be the key to getting more businesses to set up shop in struggling downtown cores like Windsor’s. 

  • Across the river from Windsor, investments into making Detroit’s streets safer and building up real estate have coincided with people and businesses returning to downtown.

Big picture: And don’t forget the rise in remote work, which has increased vacancies, decreased demand for prime locations, and impacted businesses that were once reliant on office workers in most major Canadian cities — especially in Calgary and Montréal.—LA