AT&T closing San Francisco flagship store on Powell Street

AT&T is the latest retailer to announce they are vacating a prime real estate location in San Francisco near Union Square

The telecommunications giant on Thursday said they will close their flagship store located at 1 Powell Street near Market Street on August 1. 

The company said that customer shopping habits are changing and that retail employees will be offered jobs at once of their locations in San Francisco. 

The reasoning behind the closure may sound like a broken record by now. The Powell Street area has already lost several major retailers, including Old Navy, H&M, and Uniqlo. 

The need and concern for downtown San Francisco to reinvent itself in the wake of rampant vacant storefronts has been well documented. 

This spring, the city launched a ‘Vacant to Vibrant’ program through a nonprofit organization that seeks to transform some of these vacant spaces. 

Earlier this week, when the owners of the Westfield Centre said they were ending operation of the mall, Mayor London Breed issued a statement that touched on how reinventing downtown could include educational institutions or that leaders should consider creative ways to introduce new types of businesses and experiences. 

The suggestion that there should be more conversions to housing units in the downtown area has also recently gained momentum.  

Legislation was passed this week by the Board of Supervisors as part of Mayor Breed's Roadmap to Downtown San Francisco's Future. This latest development supports the vision of a mixed-use downtown and removes barriers to converting office and commercial buildings into housing. 

"Working together with President Peskin and the Board, we are creating more opportunities to fill empty storefronts and underutilized buildings, whether that’s by creating much needed housing or trying out new ideas for businesses and event spaces that will invite people back Downtown. We need to make the process easier for getting our buildings active and full," Breed wrote in a statement this week. 

Although downtown zoning already allows for housing, the new legislation slashes red tape and according to the mayor's office, "could unlock thousands of new housing units over time." 

The building at 1 Powell St. previously housed a Forever 21 location before they closed shop in 2015.