The ten largest US central business districts

Central business districts serve as a magnet for economic growth and employment. The following is an overview of the top 10 largest CBDs in the country.

7. Detroit

Covering an area of 1.4 square miles and containing 27 million square feet of commercial real estate, Detroit has the second largest CBD in the Midwest. The city’s central business district experienced significant growth during the early 2000s, when it began to expand north of the I-75. Approximately 95,000 people work in Detroit’s CBD, which has a permanent population of just over 5,000 people. The largest industry sectors are automotive, logistics, information technology, defense, banking, insurance, entertainment, retail, and manufacturing.

8. Seattle

Seattle’s central business district is characterized by its fast-growing residential population and lower-than-average vacancy rates. Total inventory for office and retail properties is approximately 56 million square feet, although the largest retail cluster is located around Westlake and the waterfront. It is estimated that 20 per cent of all Seattle jobs (140,000) are based in the CBD. Permanent population is approximately 7,600 people, and major industries include government, real estate, tourism, finance, retail, transportation, and utilities.

9. San Francisco

Despite its relatively small size (0.5 square miles), San Francisco’s CBD is home to all of the city’s Fortune 500 companies and to some of California’s most successful tech startups. Nearly 9 per cent of the 90 million square feet of commercial space that exist in the CBD are occupied by tech companies, which compete in importance and turnover figures with sectors like finance, tourism, pharma, and transportation.

10. Houston

Houston’s CBD occupies an area of 1.8 miles and is subdivided into 10 smaller districts, although the vast majority of office stock is located in the historic center (near Market Square), the Civic Center (home to numerous government offices), and the Skyline district. The CBD is the place of work of more than 150,000 people and home to over 3,000 businesses.