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INDIANAPOLIS–Downtown Indianapolis is facing some challenges with homelessness and crime. But, leaders with Downtown Indy, Inc., and Mayor Joe Hogsett believe downtown is making a comeback after riots and the pandemic.

In the State of Downtown speech Thursday, the mayor pointed out that convention business is good.

“Just this week, 30,000 firefighters from all over the world, where are they? Downtown,” he said, speaking of the Fire Dept. Instructors Conference. Hogsett also pointed out that Indy was able to host the entire NCAA men’s basketball tournament last year.

A few stats provided by Downtown Indy, which is a public-private partnership, show that downtown is doing better in some ways than it was before the pandemic, with 72 ground-level businesses and restaurants having opened in the past year. Office vacancies are at 18.1 percent, which is less than the 20 percent vacancy rate in 2016. It peaked in 2019, with a vacancy rate of 14 percent.

Apartment occupancy is at 96.7 percent, which Sherry Seiwart, CEO of Downtown Indy, says shows that people want to live and work downtown.

“We are still an affordable city. I would say our average rent to live downtown is around $1400 a month, but if you also work downtown, you don’t have that commute, you don’t have to own a car,” she told WISH TV.

While panhandling and homelessness are still visible problems, with some people who work downtown having encounters that sometimes require police intervention, the mayor promises more growth and improvement.

“Mark my words. The best is yet to come,” he said.