Celebrating 10 Years of Transformation and Change

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Since 1997, the Downtown DC BID has been focused on improving Downtown DC’s economic growth and image, providing premier business services to enhance the public environment, promote business development and market the area to investors.  As a result, the city is enjoying an incredible renaissance in and around the Downtown area.
“The new Downtown has arrived,” said Richard H. Bradley, executive director of the Downtown DC BID.  “When we began, Downtown was considered “dull, dirty and dangerous. Once we rolled out our safety, hospitality and maintenance services, characterized by red and white uniformed personnel known as SAMs, Downtown DC quickly became known for being “clean, safe and friendly.”  Today, the area has become the commercial, cultural and entertainment center of the region. We’re now looking toward the ‘next’ Downtown, which will move the needle further to become a vibrant, inviting and smart destination.”

On Tuesday, November 13, the Downtown BID celebrated with an anniversary event held at the new Harman Center for the Performing Arts, 610 F Street NW.  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 the legislation that created the BID.  Mayor Adrian Fenty delivered remarks at the event. 

Improvements in the Downtown BID area during the past decade have been staggering:

  • A total of $8.2 billion has been invested in 119 completed projects within BID boundaries, including 16.9 million square feet of new and renovated office space and 3,308 residential units.
  • Area employment has grown from 120,000 jobs in 1996 to 177,000 jobs in 2006, raising its share of total employment in the city from 20% to 26%.
  • Downtown visitors have more than doubled during the past decade, from 4.4 million annual visitors in 1997 to more than 9 million visitors in 2006, at Downtown attractions such as the Verizon Center, International Spy Museum, Gallery Place Cinema and the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Today, the BID area generates approximately $740 million a year in local taxes -–more than double the amount a decade ago.  These revenues have provided a significant contribution to the DC government’s rising fiscal fortunes.

“Downtown has become the cultural and economic heart of the region, a premier urban gathering place and the center of America’s capital city,“ said Matt Klein, president of Akridge and chairman of the Downtown DC BID Board of Directors. “This anniversary is as much about our past as it is about our future.  The kind of public/private partnerships we’ve been able to forge in Downtown have catalyzed and set the standard for redevelopment citywide.”

Since the Downtown BID was formed, six other BIDs have been established, including the Golden Triangle, Georgetown, Capitol Hill, Adams-Morgan, NoMa and, most recently, the Capitol Riverfront area around the new Washington Nationals' baseball stadium.  As the largest and oldest BID in the city, the Downtown BID will continue delivering the high level of services that the Downtown community has come to expect, helping to transform Downtown DC into a cutting-edge model of green business practices and continuing to maximize Downtown’s economic, social and cultural value for the city through new branding.

As part of the 10th anniversary celebration, the BID will inaugurate a white paper series designed to foster dialogue about critical issues relating to Downtown’s economic, social and physical development.  The first of these “leadership papers” is entitled “Downtown: The Economic and Fiscal Engine of the District of Columbia.”  Drawing on a number of reports commissioned by the BID on job growth, office development and fiscal impacts, the report draws attention to Downtown’s role in providing increased tax revenues to enable the DC government to meet basic needs in the neighborhoods.  The report is available at www.downtowndc.org/economicengine.