DowntownDC BID Releases 2023 State of Downtown Report at Annual Forum


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 2, 2024 | Media Contact:

The DowntownDC BID’s ‘State of Downtown’ forum brought together Mayor Bowser, D.C. Chief of Police Pamela Smith, Monica Dixon of Monumental Sports and other elected officials and local stakeholders to discuss Downtown’s strengths and opportunities.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 2, 2024) – The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID), today released its 2023 State of Downtown report at the BID’s annual forum attended by local elected officials and community stakeholders. The annual report highlights Downtown D.C.’s economic landscape including strengths to celebrate, challenges to confront, and the need for investment in the city’s economic core through steps outlined in the forthcoming Downtown Action Plan.

“Downtown D.C. currently stands at an inflection point, forced to reconcile its current and future identity within a post-pandemic world. However, the data is clear. As shifts in work habits redefine urban landscapes across the nation, Downtown D.C. must also adapt and evolve into a dynamic, mixed-use environment,” said Gerren Price, President and CEO of DowntownDC BID. “While our economy is growing, it’s doing so at a slower pace than in the past few years. It is up to everyone, from the public to the private sector, to invest in the future of our Downtown. We’re very encouraged by Mayor Boswer’s strategic investments for our district noted in the 2025 budget, and look forward to working together to support the growth and vibrancy of Downtown D.C.”

Highlights of the 2023 State of Downtown report include: 

  • People continue to want to be downtown and experience all that D.C. has to offer with visitation at D.C.’s cultural sites seeing 32.3 million attendees in 2023, up 2.5 million from the average numbers seen pre-pandemic in 2019.
  • Transit is strong with metro ridership up 54% on weekdays and 47% on weekends from 2022. 
  • Downtown D.C. is leading the nation in office-to-residential conversions with 6,000 units complete or in the pipeline. 
  • Commercial office vacancy is at a historical high at 22%, amplifying the need to establish Downtown D.C. as a truly mixed use community.
  • Due to a multi-pronged approach to public safety, crime is down in Downtown D.C. by 42%, exceeding the overall citywide reduction in crime (down by 20%). 
  • University development activity continued to grow in 2023 thanks to Johns Hopkins University’s $570 million investment in the Bloomberg Center in downtown D.C., joining Georgetown University’s “Capitol Campus” with ten buildings across three city locations.
  • Quick-service and casual food and service retail continue to struggle due to a lack of office workers and residents, with closures outpacing openings overall.
  • Luxury retail sales are up 21% from 2019. 
  • Hotel occupancy rates are at 91% of what they were in 2019 and hotel revenue rose above 2019 levels with a higher daily average rate of $274.


Report finds overall Downtown economic recovery is beginning to plateau at 68% of pre-pandemic levels, emphasizing the need for public and private investment outlined in the Downtown Action Plan.


Following the State of Downtown Report, the full Downtown Action Plan will be released in Spring 2024. The Downtown Action Plan executive summary was unveiled in February 2024 and developed by the DowntownDC and Golden Triangle Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), with support provided by the Federal City Council and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED). The plan identifies a set of targeted investments and a detailed roadmap for the reimagination of Downtown D.C. including:

  • $40M to increase the residential population, as well as $45M to attract and retain office tenants. 
  • $20M to support retail users and continued free programming by the DowntownDC BID. 
  • $76 million to accelerate new economic drivers for commercial office vacancy, such as the addition of new housing, universities, innovation and other catalytic projects.
  • Expansion of existing public safety efforts including further investment in the Safe Commercial Corridor Grant program that establishes real time crime centers to stop organized retail theft.


About DowntownDC Business Improvement District

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) was founded in 1997 and is a private nonprofit organization that provides capital improvements, resources, and research that keep the BID area clean, safe, economically and environmentally strong, and accessible. The DowntownDC BID is a catalyst, facilitator, and thought leader in diversifying the economy, promoting public-private partnerships, and enhancing the downtown experience for all. Downtown D.C. encompasses a 140-block area of approximately 520 properties, from Massachusetts Avenue on the north, including the Walter E. Washington Convention Center at Mount Vernon Square, to Constitution Avenue on the south, and from Louisiana Avenue on the east to 16th Street/Black Lives Matter Plaza on the west.