Rapid Growth Downtown Contributes to DC's Fiscal Health

Monday, November 26, 2007
November 27, 2007
CONTACT:  Kibibi P. Bonner


Business Improvement District’s New Leadership Paper Examines
Downtown’s Role in Strengthening Local Economy

(Washington, DC) − 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. So says a new white paper published by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID). This series of reports is 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,” which draws attention to Downtown’s importance in the marketplace, and consequently, its importance to the city’s fiscal health and economic stability.

“Downtown is the economic engine of the city,” 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.” 

Drawing on a number of commissioned studies on job growth, office development, fiscal impacts and public investment, the report highlights Downtown’s role in transforming and improving the city’s image by spurring new commercial office, retail and residential development and by providing increased tax revenues to enable the DC government to meet the basic needs in the city.

Highlights from the report:

  • 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. 

Since 1997, the BID has been focused on improving Downtown’s economic growth and image.  For the city to continue the current economic momentum in Downtown and expand it to emerging areas north and south — such as NoMa, Mount Vernon Triangle and Capitol Riverfront — issues such as taxation, infrastructure and quality of life will need to be monitored closely.  The BID expects to issue leadership papers on these topics in the future.  A copy of the current report is available at http://www.downtowndc.org/economicengine

About the Downtown DC Business Improvement District

The Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID) is a private, non-profit organization that provides safety, hospitality, maintenance and beautification, homeless, economic development, transportation, streetscape and marketing services to Washington’s center city.  Property owners agree to tax themselves to provide services to the Downtown BID area, which covers 140 blocks from Massachusetts Avenue on the north to the National Mall on the south, from Louisiana Avenue on the east to the White House on the west.  For more information, visit www.downtowndc.org/.