Living in DowntownDC is So Much More

Thursday, October 20, 2016

By Rachel Rose Hartman

When the DowntownDC Business Improvement Disrict (BID) was formed in 1997, it was home to just 1,200 residential units. Today, that number has grown to 6,500 as the appeal of living Downtown has increased alongside a growth in restaurants, retail, entertainment and amenities.

Living Downtown affords residents easy access to the region and to work with multiple Metrorail stations, bus service, bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly areas within walking distance. Retail ranging from high-end luxury shopping to discount clothiers, home goods, accessories, electronics and more are all located Downtown in addition to world-renown restaurants. Plus, there are theatre attactions, museums, sporting events and concerts at the Verizon Center and more in Downtown, which shows no sign of stopping its residential growth.

Three years ago, CityCenterDC opened, bringing 458 apartments and 216 condominiums to DowntownDC; and in the coming years, new residential units will open in Capitol Crossing.

The DowntownDC BID serves residents by keeping streets and sidewalks clean and safe, supporting local businesses, shaping city planning and more. But now, the BID is moving to directly serve residents by including them as BID members under new proposed legislation.

“For the first time, the BID plans to offer programs and services directly targeted to residents," said Neil Albert, the executive director of the DowntownDC BID. "This program will enable us to invest new resources into improving residential quality of life and developing new amenties such as dog parks and playgrounds."

As reporter Sara Gilgore recently wrote in the Washington Business Journal, a bill before the D.C. Council would "levy an assessment on multifamily properties—some optional, others not—into the Downtown D.C. BID, a sign that downtown has evolved into more than just a place to work before checking out at 5 p.m."

In addition to creating the legal framework to include residents in its programming and funding structure, the BID has been conducting extensive outreach with residents in Downtown as well as in NoMa, Capitol Riverfront and Mount Vernon Triangle.

Currently, condo and apartment residents in NoMa, Capitol Riverfront and Mount Vernon Triangle pay into their respective BIDs and CIDs (Community Improvement Districts) and benefit from an array of residential amenities and services that have helped those neighborhoods thrive not only as great places in which to invest and work, but as desirable places to live.

"I'm committed to working with stakeholders to make a living and raising a family downtown. Being a resident member of a BID has been key to that effort," said Michelle Martin, Mount Vernon Triangle CID resident. "The $120 a year not only pays for services such as snow shoveling and street cleaning but residential life like the Halloween parades, markets and other residential entertainment." 

The DowntownDC BID’s Residential Inclusion program will enable the BID to design programs and services specifically targeted to residents including dedicating more resources to building a 21st Century Urban park system including playgrounds and dog parks. Other benefits include:

  • Coordination and Advocacy: The BID will work to ensure that residents obtain high-quality municipal services, including well-maintained, functional streetscapes, transportation improvements and will address concerns such as parking and noise abatement.
  • Enhanced Maintenance: The BID will provide new cleaning, security and beautification services targeted directly to residential properties and offer new tools for residents to track and address quality of life issues. 
  • Community Planning: The BID will engage residents to help plan DowntownDC parks and public spaces and bring new amenities to Downtown.
  • Events: The BID will host creative events, building community connections and enhancing the Downtown experience and value.
  • Branding and Marketing: The BID will actively promote DowntownDC as one of the region's premier residential neighborhoods in order to help attract new residents and investment.

For more information on the BID's residential inclusion effort, email residential@downtowndc.org.