As office workers continue to stay home during the pandemic, cities that were in the middle of bustling downtown comebacks are feeling a lot of uncertainty.
Places like Detroit were seeing big downtown growth before the coronavirus hit. Now the revitalizations have been stalled, and experts say it's likely to take the once-struggling cities longer to come back than those with established commercial and residential markets.
The pain has spilled over to Detroit's outskirts, to nearby Dearborn, which is home to the headquarters of Ford Motor Co.
The automaker has roughly 18,000 U.S. white-collar employees who can work from home, and Ford says they won't return until at least next July. Many will stay home, at least part of the time.
"Based on the success that we've had working from home, we don't see a need to rush back. So, we believe we won't back before 2021," said Dave Dubensky, the CEO of Ford Land, Ford's real estate arm.
The upheaval has worried Lou Weinstein, who for three decades has owned Mati's Deli a few blocks from Ford's campus. He lost 35% of his business in March when Ford let most white-collar workers stay home. Like others, he's getting by on business from the neighborhood and has concerns the Ford workers may not return.
"I am worried, yes. But I'm hopeful," Weinstein said.