Downtown Worcester’s Office Occupancy in 2008: What do the data show?

Office occupancy rates are a key indicator of a downtown area’s economic vitality. This is certainly the case in Worcester, where downtown currently provides about 30% of the city’s commercial tax base, and about 9% of its overall annual tax levy. Typically, areas with high office occupancy rates also have strong business and retail economies, while low or declining occupancy rates may signal business and retail flight and an ensuing weakening of a downtown core. For many decades now, the suburbs and “exurbs” have outpaced central cities in terms of both job and population growth, to the detriment of many of our nation’s once vital cores.