WASHINGTON, D.C.—The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) on Friday released its 2016 State of Downtown Report, which includes comprehensive data, statistics and analysis that showed mixed performance but many positive trends for DowntownDC over the past year.
“On the winning side, our hotels and conventions did extremely well,” said BID Executive Director Neil O. Albert at Friday morning’s State of Downtown forum, held at the Newseum, which sponsored the event along with Carr Workplaces. “For the third year in a row, hotels were the strongest sector of our economy.”
A total of 2.7 million people attended 220 events at the Verizon Center last year. “We’re very proud of the role we play,” said Randall Boe, executive vice president and general counsel for Monumental Sports & Entertainment and chairman of the BID’s board of directors.
In addition to the continued boost from conventions, strong attendance at the Verizon Center, a growing number of destination shopping stores and restaurants, and millions of visitors to DowntownDC’s cultural and entertainment destination, Albert also noted that many challenges still exist for DowntownDC.
Referring to Metro, Albert said, “It is perhaps one of our most significant challenges to the growth and success of the city. Metro is the lifeblood of DowntownDC.”
“Metro’s all of you. Metro is us,” said Ward 2 District of Columbia Councilmember Jack Evans, who also delivered remarks at Friday’s event. “Metro is more than a transportation vehicle. It is the economy of this region and we really need to make it work,” Evans said.
Additional challenges identified by Albert included the overall office market, traffic and congestion, the limited number of residential units and homelessness.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at the forum acknowledged the BID for driving the economic engine of Washington and thanked the BID’s red and black uniformed ambassadors, “who make it easier and cleaner and more enjoyable to be in our downtown.”
“Our team is poised and ready to work with all of our partners to make sure that the things that help make downtown come alive will continue to make downtown come alive,” Bowser said. She also highlighted the importance of Franklin Park, a National Park Service park in DowntownDC which the BID and the city are working with NPS to redesign.
Key DowntownDC stakeholders discussed the report in detail at Friday’s forum, as part of a panel moderated by Karen Goff, staff reporter for the Washington Business Journal.
President and CEO of Destination DC Elliott Ferguson noted the importance of office conversion into mixed use space as an opportunity to bring more residents to downtown and attract more visitors. “We need a 24-hour destination if we want to be considered a first tier city,” Ferguson said.
Additional panelists who participated Friday were Akridge President and CEO Matthew Klein, D.C. City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Director of Ford’s Theatre Paul Tetreault, and Chris Wisner, assistant commissioner for the U.S. General Services Administration Public Building Service Office of Leasing.
2016 State of Downtown Report Quick Facts: As of April 2017, the DowntownDC BID had 2.3 million square feet (SF) under construction valued at $1.4 billion. Five large projects were under construction as of April 2017: The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, Capitol Crossing, the new headquarters for Fannie Mae, CityCenterDC’s Conrad Hotel and D.C.’s addition to the Moultrie Courthouse. DowntownDC added 1,000 jobs in 2016 for a total of 188,000 jobs and continued to have the largest share (24%) of D.C. total employment with 782,000 jobs. DowntownDC Class A asking rents of $64 per SF were the third highest in the nation. DowntownDC museums drew more than 4 million attendees and theatre-goers totaled 592,000. The Verizon Center drew 2.7 million attendees. DowntownDC’s $770 million in hotel revenue was 41% of the city’s $1.9 billion in hotel revenue. http://www.downtowndc.org/state-of-downtown-2016