Downtown BID News - Downtown leadership paper, Homeless outreach, development reports available and more...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

By DowntownDC

December 2007


Leadership paper series sparks national and local media coverage

Los Angeles Times article examines DC’s economic growth

Downtown’s homeless efforts receive national and international attention

BID marks 10 years at anniversary event

BID salutes 10-year employees

Downtown Holiday Market opens December 7

SAMs in the spotlight

Downtown Neighborhood Survey extended
through December 7

Help for the homeless during the cold weather season


1Q and 2Q development reports

On the Fly Ecovending® cart opens

Michael Romeo opens second bar Downtown


The Willard wins distinguished environmental award

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s managing director
steps down

Verizon Center celebrates 10th anniversary

DC Fringe Festival applications due December 31


Bensons Jewelers reopens in new Downtown space

BID partners with DDOT to assist with pedestrian safety

DDOT expands transportation news services


Tree planting season begins

London Times directs travelers towards Downtown DC

Government buildings receive green roofs


Leading the Way
The Downtown BID has begun publishing a series of reports designed to foster dialogue about critical issues facing Downtown’s economic, social and physical development. The first of these “leadership papers,” entitled “Downtown: The Economic and Fiscal Engine of the District of Columbia,” spawned substantial coverage in the Washington Post and on WJLA-TV and NewsChannel 8. Click here to read a copy of the Washington Post feature, “Downtown Is Enjoying Renaissance, Report Finds.” To view a copy of the WJLA-TV feature,“D.C.'s Resurgence Results in Big Dollars,” click here.

Drawing on a number of studies commissioned by the BID on job growth, office development and fiscal impacts, the report draws attention to Downtown’s importance in the marketplace, and consequently, its importance to the city’s fiscal health and economic stability. In fiscal year 2007, Downtown contributed $624 million in net fiscal impact to the city − an amount equal to 58% of the local public school budget. As a result, the city is enjoying a vibrant, revitalized Downtown and increased development in the area provides the tax revenues to enable DC government to meet the basic needs in the city.
Highlights from the report include:

  • Downtown job growth has outpaced that of the rest of the city by adding approximately 57,000 jobs from 1996 through 2006. Jobs in the BID area increased more than four times that of the city as a hole and double that of the region. 
  • Annually, Downtown DC has added 11 million square feet (SF) of new office space since 2000, accounting for 58% of the city’s 19.2 million SF increase in privately owned office space during the same period. This growth has provided substantial financial returns to office developers and higher real property taxes to DC government.
  • The increase in employment and commercial development has had a positive impact on the city’s fiscal performance such that Downtown is able to provide the tax base to enable Mayor Adrian Fenty and the City Council to fix the public school system and provide more affordable housing. 

“The goose is tired,” said Richard H. Bradley, Downtown DC BID executive director. “DC has continued to grow its office market and prosper in the face of regional competition because of Downtown’s many cultural, entertainment and transportation amenities and its proximate location to important government and business offices and institutions, but Downtown needs the city’s support to sustain this momentum.”

The BID plans to issue future leadership papers on topics such as infrastructure investment, social services and green building initiatives. A copy of the current report is available at

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Feeding the Frenzy
Adding to the media focus on Downtown DC, a recent article in the Los Angeles Times highlighted Downtown DC’s significant growth and tranformation into a vibrant destination for residents, visitors and workers alike. To view the complete article, entitled “No end in sight with D.C.’s makeover boom,” click here.

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Homeward Bound
Yet another media hit in recent weeks looked at Pathways to Housing DC, a non-profit organization providing housing and voluntary services to homeless individuals with mental illnesses. On Thanksgiving Day, CBS Evening News reported on Pathways to Housing’s efforts and the results for a chronically homeless woman in Downtown DC. Click here to view a copy of the special report.

The Downtown BID is partnering with Pathways to Housing to implement the “housing first” model locally, which focuses on ending homelessness by moving homeless persons off the streets and into affordable housing and providing them with supportive services to help them remained housed. “The cure for homelessness is housing,” said Chet Grey, director of Homeless Services for the BID. “Using this model means the Downtown homeless population will have access to housing immediately, which was not possible in the past.”

The collaboration has enabled the BID to provide clinical services and housing to many of Downtown’s chronically homeless with good results - the BID has successfully moved a total of 22 people off the streets into apartments in the past six months. Through ongoing partnerships with the DC Housing Authority and the Department of Mental Health, the BID is able to help place people in apartments and assist in their aftercare. Pathways to Housing also helps manage the BID’s street outreach, case management and social work programs.

The Associated Press and BBC News also featured stories on people benefiting from the homeless services provided by Pathways to Housing. To view a copy of the Associated Press story, click here . To view a copy of the BBC News story, click here .

For more information, visit  or

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For the Record Books
The Downtown BID celebrated 10 years of transformation and change to the Downtown landscape in November with an anniversary celebration held in the new Harman Center for the Performing Arts. The event recognized key contributors and Downtown champions, such as Mayor Anthony Williams, former Mayor and Councilmember Marion Barry, Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2) and former Councilmember Charlene Drew Jarvis, all of whom were instrumental in drafting legislation to create the BID. Mayor Adrian Fenty was also present and delivered remarks at the event. 

Noted historian and Cultural Tourism Founder Kathryn S. Smith reflected on Downtown's remarkable past with a presentation that called to mind the inspiring new stories being written today. “Downtown is once again a place where the city comes together,” she said.  She reminded the audience of the many historic national figures that once walked Downtown's streets - Walt Whitman, Daniel Webster, Clara Barton, Harriet Beecher Stowe and President Abraham Lincoln.

Michael Kahn, artistic director for the Shakespeare Theatre Company and Harman Center for the Performing Arts said of Downtown, “It is the place to be” when delivering his reflections on why the Company chose to move Downtown to the Lansburgh Theatre 15 years ago. “This is an amazing time to be in Washington, especially Downtown Washington,” said Kahn who was followed by a performance from members of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting who performed a scene from Julius Caesar, which the Company will present in the spring at Harman Hall. 

Local real estate executive Mark Mallus, of CB Richard Ellis, contributed a photo exhibit of pre-development days in Downtown.  

In his closing remarks, Matt Klein, president of Akridge and chairman of the Downtown DC BID Board of Directors outlined BID initiatives for the future, including creating and sustaining the public/private partnerships essential to continued success. Such partnerships will allow the BID to find new ways to improve the public environment Downtown, including parks and thoroughfares; actively serve the Downtown homeless population with innovative programs; implement new initiatives to mitigate traffic congestion; and help lead Downtown’s sustainability efforts through new green initiatives. 

Although the BID remains committed to its foundational principals of a “clean, safe and friendly” Downtown, the 10th anniversary was an opportunity to launch new branding that promotes the Downtown and BID services as vibrant, inviting and smart. A brief video highlighted the key aspects of this repositioning, such as Downtown’s unique position as the cultural and economic heart of the city. With a new look and voice for Downtown, the BID will embrace a new set of values and attributes to help shape and sustain Downtown DC’s future.

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Dedicated Service
As the Downtown BID marks 10 years of service to the Downtown community, a special thanks goes to 14 dedicated staff members celebrating their 10th anniversary with the organization:
Downtown SAM Supervisors Jared Briscoe, Blanca Ramirez and Jose Vega; Safety/Hospitality SAMs Troy Brown, Alyce Easterling and Ron Lloyd; and Maintenance SAMs Jose Canales, Manual Loza and Sarvelio Rodas-Oajaca; as well as Chief Financial Officer Bertha A. Gaymon, Director of Environmental Services Hiram K. Brewton, Information Systems Manager Dennis McCarthy, Executive Assistant DeLores M. Dickens and Executive Director Richard H. Bradley.

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holiday market  logo whiteA Jolly Good Time
At the 2007 Downtown Holiday Market, Downtown shoppers can satisfy their gift-giving needs and find a little something for everyone. The third annual market produced by the Downtown BID and Diverse Markets Management kicks off Friday, December 7, and will run through Sunday, December 23, and promises to be a unique shopping experience filled with delectable treats, festive atmosphere and live musical entertainment. More than 40 local exhibitors and artisans will be on hand selling a diverse array of high-quality goods and gift items. The Market will be open daily from Noon to 8:00 pm on the F Street sidewalk between 7th and 8th Streets, in front of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture.12-07Crowd-Shot.jpg

On opening day, enjoy free hot beverages from exhibitors Market Cafe and Adam's Apple from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm and pose with wax celebrities from Madame Tussauds (1025 F Street) wax museum. A drawing will be held at 6:30 pm for a free pass to Madame Tussauds or win one of two $100 Downtown Holiday Market shopping sprees. Leave a business card at the Downtown SAM information kiosk to win. Opening weekend entertainment includes DC-based musicians, such as Bemsha Jazz and Madison Glorious Sounds; traditional Hawaiian Christmas songs and dance from the Halau Hula O Ke Aneunue Punahele hula school students; and an a cappella showcase featuring a cappella groups from local universities. Click here to view the full list of Market entertainers.

Downtown Holiday Market media partners include: WAMU, The Washington Examiner and WASH FM. Pick up a copy of the Market Guide in The Washington Examiner on Thursday, December 6, or visit to purchase gift certificates and view a complete listing of exhibitors and performances. Complete information is available at, or call 202.638.3232.

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12-07 Julio_Mendez.jpgHead of the Class
Julio Mendez is the October Maintenance SAM of the Month. Though he’s only been with the BID since April 2006, this is the second time Julio has been honored with this award. Julio was born in 12-07 Denise_Macklin.jpgEl Salvador, but has lived in the U.S. for the past 11 years. Julio is a big soccer fan and enjoys watching a good game. He has proven to be a most diligent worker and an asset to the SAM operation. 

Denise Macklin, who joined the BID in February 2006, is the October Safety Hospitality SAM of the Month. Denise has lived in Washington, DC, her entire life and is the proud parent of three adult children and “Mr. T,” her recently adopted puppy. She enjoys her role as a SAM and likes being assigned to the high traffic areas where she is most likely to meet and greet many Downtown faces. 
Congratulations Julio and Denise. Keep up the good work.

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Survey Extension
The Downtown BID, the Downtown Neighborhood Association and The Downtowner have extended the deadline for the Downtown Neighborhood Survey. Downtown residents and workers now have until Friday, December 7, to take the survey and help support retail attraction in Downtown. Currently, 691 residents and workers have completed surveys. There are approximately 8,000 residents living Downtown whose voices can make all the difference to a retailer’s decision about whether to locate here.

Take the survey at and become eligible to win a weekend stay for two and dinner for four in Downtown DC. Local restaurants are participating by offering additional prizes. Also, for each completed survey, BB&T will donate $1 to Catholic Charities’ Downtown homeless services program.

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Cold Weather Help
The Downtown BID’s outreach team is on the street everyday assisting homeless people who are facing extreme weather conditions. People in need of help during these cold winter months can notify a Downtown SAM or call the city’s Hypothermia Hotline at 800.535.7252 for assistance.

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1st Quarter and 2nd Quarter Updates
The 2007 1st and 2nd Quarter Development Activity Reports highlighting development, construction and future Downtown projects are now available online.  If you wish to obtain a copy of these reports, please visit

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Green on the Go
12-07onthefly.jpgOn The Fly is a new Ecovending® service open at the southwest corner of 8th and H Streets, making Downtown home to the city’s first green prototype vending stand called the SmartKart.  The owners have taken an American made, zero-emission plug-in vehicle and adapted it for vending natural, organic, eco-friendly and chemical-free food to the public. The Downtown cart features fresh Mexican tacos, Julia’s Empanadas, natural and organic drinks and snacks weekdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. More carts are opening soon and will feature foods from Downtown eateries, such as Teaism (400 8th Street). For more information, call 202.251.8222 or visit

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Double the Fun
Michael Romeo, owner of Fur Nightclub in Northeast and Lotus Lounge (1420 K Street), plans to open his second Downtown bar. Taboo (1413 K Street), scheduled to open later this month, will feature 1980s and 1990s rock music.

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Green Standards Bring Green Awards
The Willard InterContinental Hotel (1401 Pennsylvania Avenue) received the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA) Environmental Award for Hospitality Sustainable Development. Led by General Manager Hervé Houdré, the hotel was honored for its sustainability agenda entitled, "Willard InterContinental - The Next 100 Years." The holistic plan, based on the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) of economic viability, social responsibility and environmental protection, consists of interwoven sustainable projects designed for a luxurious urban hospitality experience that is in harmony with social and ecological consciousness. The hotel also was recognized for implementing other sustainability projects, such as converting to energy and cost saving compact florescent bulbs, rehabilitating Pershing Park located across from the hotel, saving water where proceeds go to cleaning the Anacostia River and the Chesapeake Bay, as well as many other activities. For more information, visit

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12-07Goldsborough.jpgEvery Goodbye Ain’t Gone
Managing Director Nicholas T. Goldsborough will leave the Shakespeare Theatre Company (450 7th Street) this month to start his own consulting firm, which will offer a range of services to both non-profit and arts-related organizations located in the DC area and on the West Coast.

Since joining the Company in 2002, Goldsborough took the lead on constructing and funding the new $89 million Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street), which opened on schedule and on budget in October 2007. Michael Kahn, the Company’s artistic director said of Goldsborough, “It is through his dedication that Sidney Harman Hall has turned out to be such a great success and asset, not only to the Shakespeare Theatre Company, but to the city as well.” The Company opened the 2007-2008 season in the Harman Center for the Arts, which now consists of the new 775-seat Sidney Harman Hall and the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre.

“Working at the Shakespeare Theatre Company has been the highlight of my career,” Goldsborough said. Goldsborough has been heavily involved with the DC community, serving on the Downtown BID Board of Directors, the Penn Quarter Board of Directors and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington Board of Directors. Upon his departure, Goldsborough will join the Company’s National Council, a group of prominent corporate leaders, arts patrons, theatre artists and educators from across the country who play a major role in helping the Shakespeare Theatre Company broaden its reach nationally and internationally. For more information, visit

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12-07verizon1Action Packed for 10 Years
Over the past decade, the Verizon Center (601 F Street) has hosted some of the biggest names in sports, music and entertainment and attracted more than 24 million patrons to the arena and to the Downtown area. The arena recently celebrated 10 triumphant years with video tributes and a special half-time program during the Washington Wizards game last weekend.

The arena generates $76 million in taxes for the city, set the stage for Downtown’s development boom and has served as one of the catalysts for the area’s revitalization. Such an achievement, along with Pollin’s many civic contributions to the DC community, led Mayor Adrian Fenty to declare December 3 as “Abe Pollin Day” and named F Street between 6th and 7th Streets “Abe Pollin Way.”

As part of its year long celebration, the organization completed renovations to the arena and also rolled out a new website and marketing campaign with ads and billboards featuring community leaders and residents describing their favorite Verizon Center memories. For more information, visit

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Gearing Up for Fringe
Applications are being accepted for the 3rd annual DC Fringe Festival, which will be held July 10-27, 2008. For 18 days, DC area fringe artists will convene Downtown and throughout the city to perform a variety non-traditional theater, dance, music, language and art works in unique and unusual spaces. Applications will be accepted on first-come, first-served bases through Monday, December 31. The application fee is $45. Established theatres or arts organizations that will produce Fringe out of their own venue can also download participation/marketing forms beginning Monday, December 17.  For more information, or to download an application, visit

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12-07bensons.jpgThe Jewel of F Street
After spending more than 68 years on the second floor of the International Building at 1319 F Street, the Downtown DC fixture, Bensons Jewelers, has reopened in a new street level location at 1331 F Street. The landmark jewelry store will maintain its focus on classic diamonds and gemstones, as well as provide in-house jewelry and watch repair, but will also devote its attention to newer, fashionable jewelry lines as well. For more information, call 202.628.1838 or visit

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Street Smarts
The Downtown BID will partner with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) this month to help raise awareness of pedestrian safety and help prevent pedestrian fatalities. This year, there have been 25 pedestrian fatalities in DC, up from 17 in 2006. With dark winter months and increased holiday crowds upon us, the BID will help communicate the importance of motorists minding traffic signals and pedestrians looking both ways before crossing the street. Downtown Safety/Hospitality SAMs will be equipped with information on pedestrian safety awareness and will also distribute safety tip sheets for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists in English and Spanish throughout the month of December. DDOT will place traffic control officers at the BID’s busiest intersection of 7th and H Streets to help ease traffic congestion and help with pedestrian safety. Additional MPD officers may be deployed to help enforce traffic violators. For more information, visit

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Open E-mails Lead to Closed Roads
DDOT doesn’t want to leave residents out in the cold this winter. Residents who sign up for their new “DDOT News” e-mail alerts will have information on roadway construction, bridge and street closings, bicycle trail work, special events and other transportation news items e-mailed directly to them. 

DDOT Director Emeka Moneme wants to encourage drivers to become “active” motorists by planning ahead, which will ultimately help reduce congestion on city streets. Visit to sign up for the news alerts.


12-07street-trees.jpgA Tree Grows in DC
Trees play such a vital role in the health and beauty of a city. In order to maintain DC’s “green infrastructure,” DDOT is kicking off its annual tree-planting season by planting more than 4,900 street trees throughout the city over the next four months in all eight wards.

The city currently oversees approximately 140,000 city street trees. The new trees, based on requests made by residents to the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center before July 15, 2007, will be managed by the 11 arborist staffed by DDOT's Urban Forestry Administration (UFA). They will oversee planting, inspection, pruning, tree care, resident outreach and other tree-related functions in all eight wards. Additionally, approximately 1,400 trees that died as a result of this summer’s extreme drought will also be replaced. Species of trees being planted include: Willow Oak, Katsura, Dawn Redwood, Kwanzaa Cherry, Sugar Maple, Cucumber Magnolia and Accolade Elm trees.

Through partnerships established with Casey Trees, the Earth Conservation Corps and Trees for Georgetown, UFA will also plant an additional 320 trees in the city. DDOT hopes to establish a city with a full population of street trees and encourage residents to act as stewards of these trees by watering them and helping the city maintain them. Residents will begin receiving informational cards, watering instructions and a brochure of services and schedules on their doors in blocks where trees are planted. For more information, visit

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DC = Downtown Chic
Does “DC” stand for “Downtown Chic?”  According to the London Times, an explosion of hip bars, restaurants and shops have turned Downtown DC into a hip, new urban travel destination. With the steady decline of the dollar, Londoners are traveling to U.S. shopping destinations outside of New York City to take in the sights and find shopping bargains both at a fraction of the cost.

Several Downtown establishments made the grade for foreign visitors, including Park at 14th (920 14th Street), the new restaurant and nightclub from Marc Barnes and Dirk van Stockum; Café Atlantico (405 8th Street); the historic Old Ebbitt Grill (675 15th Street); and Hotel Monaco (700 F Street). To view a copy of the article, click here.

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Covered in Green
Two of the city’s largest government buildings, One Judiciary Square (441 4th Street NW) and the Franklin D. Reeves Center (2000 14th Street NW), will receive green roofs to help reduce storm water run-off into the Anacostia River, energy consumption in both buildings and global warming. The new roofs also provide job-training opportunities for area youths through DC Greenworks, a local non-profit organization that will train more than a dozen young adults in green roofing in order to install the roofs on the government buildings.

“These roofs are a symbol that the District of Columbia is committed to being the greenest and most environmentally sustainable major city in the country,” said Mayor Fenty. These two green roofs, which measure a total of 12,000 square feet, are the first in the city’s plans to make all government buildings as green as possible as the mayor and his staff continue focusing on achieving the highest possible LEED standards while also providing new job opportunities for the city’s youth. For more information, visit

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The Downtown Business Improvement District is a private, nonprofit organization that provides safety, hospitality, sanitation, homeless, economic development, transportation, streetscape and marketing services. The BID promotes Downtown DC as a premier commercial, cultural and residential destination.