“A New Economic Engine Emerges from Georgia Ave/Petworth to Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront”

From the Capitol Riverfront BID:

Over the past decade, increasingly affluent young professionals and their employers have chosen to move into communities around Metro’s Green Line Corridor stations, a shift that remains below the radar of many real estate and economic observers, a new study released today reveals. The study, Greenprint of Growth: A Decade of Population Growth, Job Creation and Investment Along DC’s Green Line Corridor, sheds new light on the extent of changes taking place along the Green Line Corridor and their role in the District’s and regional economy.

“This study debunks conventional thinking about the neighborhoods along the Green Line. We knew anecdotally that change has been occurring along the corridor but we didn’t have the hard data to underscore what we were seeing until today. The results are dramatic, and demonstrate that the Green Line Corridor, and neighborhoods along that corridor such as the Capitol Riverfront, have caught up to and in some cases surpassed the traditional development corridors of NW DC along the Red Line and Northern Virginia’s Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor. The Green Line has become a desirable location and an economic engine for the District and the region creating a new spine of development that connects the city,” said Michael Stevens, Executive Director of The Capital Riverfront Business Improvement District, which commissioned the study.

The study was executed by RCLCO, a widely respected real estate advisory firm. Among the study’s findings:

The Green Line Corridor communities captured more young and affluent households in the 2000’s than the NW DC Red Line or the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor.
Compared to the 1990’s, the Green Line Corridor captured nearly ten times as many young households in the 2000s.
The Green Line Corridor captured 32 percent—nearly one third—of all growth in 18-to-34-year-old households in the District during the last decade.
The study reveals new household incomes of new residents along the Green Line Corridor are as much as 50 percent higher than estimated by conventional data sources.
Stations along the Green Line Corridor are a magnet for high-paying private sector jobs. in the region, and are outcompeting areas in Northwest D.C. and Arlington County.

· Green Line Corridor station neighborhoods are the future: new development projected within a quarter-mile of the Green Line Corridor study area could generate $2.32 billion in additional tax revenue and 19,000 permanent jobs over the next 20 years.

The study affirms that the Green Line Corridor is out in front of the District’s overall growth curve and can continue this growth into the next decade and beyond. The connection to the Green Line Corridor and its aforementioned competitive advantages, combined with its ample development capacity, position the Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard as a “receiving zone” for this development energy. Specifically, the analysis conducted suggests that the Capitol Riverfront—given its Green Line access at the Navy Yard Station and its significant amount of development capacity—is among the most competitive locations in the region for households, companies, and retailers.

“We are witnessing the re-urbanizing of America. Younger households – those between 18 and 34 years old – are an important driver of this trend. In the D.C. region specifically, especially during the last decade, a large proportion of affluent, young professionals—along with their employers—moved into neighborhoods not only in urban neighborhoods or in the District itself, but specifically proximate to Green Line corridor. It’s a trend that can be expected to become even stronger in the future. The findings of this study suggest that the Capitol Riverfront and other Green Line Corridor neighborhoods have established themselves as economic engines over the past decade and are ripe for future investment,” said Shyam Kannan, a principal at RCLCO (Robert Charles Lesser & Co., LLC), who conducted the study.

Read the executive summary below:


28 Comment

  • Attention, WMATA: This is why we need trains more frequently than every seven minutes on the Green Line!

    • Yes! A lot of us work on the Green Line too.

    • Outside of emergency heart surgery – when does 7 minutes really make a difference? Seven minutes between trains actually seems pretty damn good! (And I live on the green line.)

      • When I used to take the Green Line to work, 7 minutes could make the difference between catching the shuttle or having to wait 25 minutes for the next one. Same with catching the bus on the way home. On a cold windy day like this those 25 minutes can feel like hours.

        My girlfriend takes the Green Line to work, and it can take her anywhere from 20 minutes to 40 depending on the Green Line timing. So it must be more than 7 minutes sometimes during rush hour.

    • I agree with Anonymous and Victoria. 5-7 minutes is reasonable. On the other hand, 15, 20 even 25 minute waits–which is often the case on weekends on any given line–is entirely unreasonable.

  • This may be a silly question… but why are “young” residents so desirable? Or more desirable than children, middle-aged, or elderly residents? I can see that those marketing specific products may hope to see more people of a particular age demographic, but it seems narrow-minded to assume that communities are automatically improved by stacking them full of 20-somethings.

    • disposable income

    • I thought the conventional wisdom was that youngish residents generate more revenue for the city tax base than they use in city services.

    • Hmmmm. It sounds like you’re saying that the District needed and wanted and was ripe for development along the Green Line before the affluent young professionals showed up. That’s crazy talk! We all know DC’s only worth investment where the yuppies live!

    • Children & elderly suck up more city services = more money. Not making a judgment – I think they are a vital part of a vibrant city – but they do cost way more than 20-30 singletons.

    • My wife and I (who fall into the young professional class) I think demonstrate this. We both make decent money working full time, hence paying decent income taxes, and we love going to local restaurants and bars.

      We don’t spend any money on diapers at Costco either. Also, we don’t have kids, hence we are paying taxes, but not using the schools. Happy to help BTW! 🙂

    • I think the question Petworthness raised is very valid and most of the replies here are missing the point. Sure, mature adults who have grown out of bar hopping and who have kids might (arguably) cost more to cities. But they are indeed vital to a strong community. They provide social fabric in a much different way than young 20 something’s and early 30 something’s do because their priorities are much different. Because they are not mere temp residents who are only here long enough to pump up their resumes and make a few power contacts, they can be viewed as more of a long term investment to the community, as opposed to mere spending machines the youngsters tend to represent. Because they are more invested in their communities and are probably more likely to be politically active at the community level, their presence helps ensure resources are adequately distributed to things like schools, churches, and infrastructure (and the politicians are more likely to recognize this and realize they actually need to serve them, rather than line their own pockets and stack up their political capital for later use). When these (and many other) things are proportionately attended to, other things like crime and the social ills that help to produce it, will most likely be less. And this is why the assertion that families are more costly is arguable. Because when you have to spend fewer resources on dealing with social ills and crime, you have more resources for other, less messy things that benefit all.

  • Bought in 99’… It was the only area the bank would allow me to get a home loan in besides SE. Lucky me. >:/

    • Exactly! What you can afford is where you end up! We bought back in 2005 and there was this magic ring of neighborhoods stretching from Brightwood in the north down through Petworth, Columbia Heights and Shaw and then east to the H st. Corridor and south to “eastern” Capitol Hill.

      This whole belt is mostly made up of homes in the $300k – $400k range and represent mortgages that equal the price of a 2 bedroom rental west of 16th street (about $2000/month).

      Areas farther north & east of this belt are cheaper, but preceived to be either more dangerous or far away from the hip, city center.

  • actually, check out slide 10 in the study… new household income along the Green Line over the past 10 years is relatively VERY high, a pretty big jump over previous decades.

  • The green line was initially built to serve the poorer areas of the city. But the accessibility created by the metro opened it up to those who wouldn’t have normally considered it. Now that the initial pioneers have set up shop there, it makes it ok for others to come in as well. The fact of the matter is they moved there because it was cheap to do so, now as they experience greater success, the area benefits. I predict, however, soon it too will be overrun by chain stores and the like and wind up like every other place in DC that sees this type of change in the make up of it’s community.

    Not to say that that’s either bad or good, just that it’s fairly predictable around here.

    • ” soon it too will be overrun by chain stores and the like and wind up like every other place in DC that sees this type of change in the make up of it’s community.”

      Such as… Logan Circle? Mt. Pleasant? U Street?

      I can’t think of a single neighborhood in DC that gentrified and ended up overrun by chain stores. Oh wait, there’s a Whole Foods in Logan Circle. I guess that ruined it for everyone?

      What on earth are you talking about? Chinatown perhaps? That was never residential in the first place.

      Actually, DC has been remarkably fortunate in the way it’s developed. Compare any formerly-crappy neighborhood in DC to, say, anywhere between Rosslyn and Ballston. Most neighborhoods in DC still have most of their original charm. NOVA looks nothing like it did 20 years ago. (Not that it was charming then, either, but it’s hideously sterile now…)

      • i was referring to places like Columbia Heights and Gallery Place… Potbelly’s, Starbucks, Subway, Chipotle, etc. Not to mention Sala Thai, Alero, etc. And for the record, Chinatown was residential before the development. One thing I can appreciate about the redevelopment in DC is the fact that many areas do indeed keep a good deal of their charm, but please let’s not act like there’s not a lot of chain restaurants that come with it.

        • chinatown was full of porno stores and surface parking lots before the redevelopments. what the heck are you talking about? you should see aerial photos from the 80s, it’s pretty amazing how desolate it was.

          • I don’t new to see arial photos from the 80s I’ve lived here since the 70s. The area was residential. There were tons of seedy stores further down towards F street, but H St up to NY Ave was definitely residential. Honestly I can’t even believe I’m having this convo. Why do you people think it was called Chinatown? Did it never occur to you that there was a large Asian population in that area? Or do you think the city just named it that to be trendy? you guys are ridiculous.

    • Dc Native – I’ve lived here since the 80’s (sorry you beat me here), and it has been 40 years since those neighborhoods the residential ideals you allude to.

      • I definitely didn’t intend for it to be a contest I was just refuting the “omg are you serious? Chinatown was never residential” sentiment. Yes it has been awhile since it was a thriving community but the fact remains that even amongst all those porno stores there were still people living there. I don’t remember when the Wah Luck House was closed but people held on as long as they could.
        My only point in my original post was that these neighborhoods seem to follow the same path: gritty and undesirable to people in search of affordable housing to rebirth to commercialization to chain stores.
        Sorry if it came across as anything other than that.

  • While I agree with what they are doing here, I think a couple of points need to be kept in mind.

    1. The “corridor” of .25 mile radius is an extremely small area.
    2. Young people who prefer not to drive will pay a premium for that accessibility, and will find the jobs that allow them to do so.

    I would be interested to see what the numbers look like if the areas were expanded slightly.

    But don’t get me wrong, I live and work on Green Line and think the ideas presented in the report are great.

  • Very interesting report. I moved to Mount Vernon Square (Green Line) from Woodley Park (Red Line) in 2005. This report certainly confirms what I see in my neighborhood. The former used-car wasteland along New York Avenue approaching I-395 is full of new construction, and the amenities in the neighborhood have improved dramatically. I think the neighborhood’s proximity to Downtown will become even more of a draw in the future as transportation gets ever more expensive.

  • We moved to Petworth because it was one place the houses were still affordable and close to the Metro!

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