Downtown DC Economy Poised To Rebound After Global Slump


Mon. April 26, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – The Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID) has released its 2009 State of Downtown Report, which shows the year was tough for the city and Downtown, although both performed better than regional competitors and other large American cities and are favored locations for investment and employment.

Downtown’s economic performance was off from recent highs in many areas, with a slight decline in employment and office absorption for the first time in many years. However, several areas of the Downtown economy flourished due to federal government leasing and investment, record hotel revenues, increased investment in green buildings, an influx of new destination restaurants and increased visitor attendance. Strong Downtown BID partnerships established with the federal and DC governments, stakeholders and other businesses since 1997 continue to guide the area’s economic growth and vitality and move it toward recovery.

The report is published annually to update public and private decision-makers on the historical, current and projected performance of the major sectors of the Downtown BID area economy: development, employment, office, residential, hospitality, tourism, culture, entertainment, restaurants, retail and transportation. New this year is data on green buildings.

Some highlights of the 2009 State of Downtown Report :

· $10.6 billion has been invested in BID area development since 1997.
· Downtown BID area employment fell by 1,100 jobs but is expected to increase by 1,500 to 2,000 jobs per year over the next four years.
· Downtown’s office market has Class A rental rates of $61 per square feet, the nation’s second highest, and a Class A    vacancy rate of 10.8%, the nation’s second lowest.
· Downtown BID area accounted for 5,000 of DC’s 28,000 new residents; the Center City for 14,000.
· Downtown BID area hotels had a record annual occupancy rate of 77.1%.
· Downtown BID area visitors increased by 6% to 10.7 million.
· Downtown restaurants continued to grow in number and quality, with a net gain of nine in 2009, leading to a total of 131 destination restaurants.
· Downtown BID daily Metrorail ridership fell 0.9; weekend ridership rose 4.9%.
· The Downtown BID area contributes significantly to DC’s fiscal health—when combined with the Golden Triangle BID, the net fiscal impact is approximately $800 million per year, about equal to the annual DC public and charter school operating budgets.

According to the report, there were no major groundbreakings in the Downtown BID area in 2009 for the first time since 1995. Including the first quarter of 2010, the area has had six consecutive quarters without a major groundbreaking. This is partly because Downtown is virtually built out, forcing development to emerging markets in the Center City and the rest of DC. Only 18 of about 118 surface parking lots or redevelopment sites that existed in 1997 now remain undeveloped, and only five are large sites. Although the Convention Center Headquarters Hotel appears likely to break ground this summer, the groundbreaking for the 2.5 million square feet mixed-use CityCenterDC project has been delayed until late 2010 or early 2011.

To obtain copies of the 2009 State of Downtown Report, contact Caitlin Davis at 202.661.7591 or The report is also available on the Downtown BID’s website at