UPDATE: More from Richmond's BizSense:
Byrne said the last two years have been particularly difficult for a variety of recessionary reasons.
“I’ve been through three recessions,” Byrne said. “This is a completely different animal. Everyone is freaked out.”
He said fewer people are working downtown because of job cuts and companies closing or leaving the area. Many who do have jobs are fearful and eat out less, he said.
“You can only go down that road of not making money for so long,” Byrne said.
He said lunch business was down more than 30 percent and the biggest reason is there aren’t as many people on the streets downtown as there used to be.
“The issue for downtown has been that dwindling sales has been an ongoing trend,” Byrne said. “It doesn’t have the infrastructure to move forward during times that are this tough.”