the Deputy Mayor for Planning
and Economic Development
of the District of Columbia
Mayor Anthony A. Williams
development is fostered by a myriad of interdependent and interwoven
policies and actions on the part of the government, private sector and
community-based organizations. Both collaborative and independent actions
by key stakeholders are required to achieve common objectives. The role of
DUPED is to articulate those common objectives, develop policies and
programs to achieves those objectives, identify the resources that are
required or available for the task, and marshal the support and active
participation of the larger community and other government agencies in
implementing those policies and programs.
The District government's economic development policies and programs have
three principal objectives:
Objective 1: Revitalize Neighborhoods.
This means building and sustaining healthy neighborhoods with a
variety of housing and retail developments. Vibrant, diverse neighborhoods
are engines for economic development. They create and reinforce a virtuous
cycle of expanding economic growth and opportunity for the citizens of
Washington, D.C. Strong neighborhoods are essential to our tax base and
our civic life.
Objective 2: Expand and Diversify the Economy.
This requires attracting new business and industries to
Washington, D.C. as well as retaining our existing businesses and helping
them to expand. It also requires a streamlined regulatory process to
facilitate economic development.
Objective 3: Provide Economic Opportunity for District Residents.
District residents must benefit from the economic expansion
currently underway in the greater metropolitan region, and in particular
from government-supported or controlled projects in the District, such as
the redevelopment of the existing convention center. This includes
opportunities for employment and job training as well as opportunities for
entrepreneurship and procurement.
Achieving fiscal stability is the overall objective; the culmination or
net result of the previous three. Ultimately, we promote economic and
fiscal stability for the District by increasing our tax base. This
requires increasing the number of tax paying residents and businesses that
can help shoulder the financial costs of providing and maintaining a great
city. Clearly, the District government must use tax revenues wisely and
efficiently in addition to seeking to increase those revenues. Moreover,
structural limitations imposed upon the District's economy, such as
the inability to tax property used for Federal and nonprofit uses and
incomes of D.C. workers who live in the surrounding jurisdictions, means
that the Federal government must continue to contribute to financing the
Nation's Capital. Nevertheless, our
provide quality parks, schools, transportation, infrastructure, health
care and public safety is largely dependent upon our local tax base.
In the next section, we will describe in greater detail some of. the
actions that DMPED has or will implement to further the above-described
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Objective 1: Revitalize
Creating and sustaining vibrant, healthy neighborhoods is a primary
objective of our economic development policy. This was also one of the
highest priorities determined by citizens participating in the Mayor's
Neighborhood Action summit. That priority is reflected in the Mayor's
proposed operating and capital budgets and there are several actions that
we are undertaking to advance this objective.
- Implementing a neighborhood housing development strategy.
- Alleviating blight and decay.
- Enhancing the development and revitalization of downtown.
entertainment and culture
- Bringing retail to underserved neighborhoods.
- Using the relocation of government agencies to spur economic
Implementing a Neighborhood Housing Development Strategy
The purpose of the neighborhood housing production strategy, as with
all economic development strategies, is to improve the quality of life for
current residents of the District and to attract new residents. These new
residents will help support additional retail services for all residents,
build a stronger tax base, lessen the individual tax burden, and provide
greater opportunity for the creation of wealth. The District has lost
significant population over the last several decades and there is both the
land area and the infrastructure to accommodate new growth.
Neighborhood revitalization requires a varied approach to housing
development leading to rental and homeownership opportunities affordable
to those with low and moderate incomes as well as market rate
opportunities. These market rate opportunities must compete with similar
product in the suburbs, thus requiring that this economic development
strategy be linked with a neighborhood retail strategy. (Our neighborhood
retail strategy is discussed in Strategic Initiative # 4.
Goals and Objectives
There are several goals and objectives for the neighborhood housing
development strategy. The first and foremost is the creation of new
housing opportunities in the District. It is our expectation that there
can be 10,000 units created over the next five years. This estimate
contemplates 2,000 units introduced in each of the next five years, based
on roughly 1,000 new units and 1,000 rehabilitated units each year. We are
currently well on our way to meeting the goals for this year. While the
availability of new and rehabilitated housing units does not alone ensure
an increase in population, there will be, given other economic development
activities, a concomitant increase in population.
Another significant objective of this initiative is to grow the tax base.
Greater housing opportunities will increase both the real estate tax base
as well as the income tax base. The demand for rental versus homeownership
will vary in different parts of the broader housing market, but meeting
the demand will clearly increase the tax base and reduce the tax burden on
the current base.
The third objective is to create new housing opportunities in a planned
and thoughtful environment in order to meet the needs of current residents
while also creating appropriate opportunities for projected residents. The
planned approach will anticipate and create housing production for
expected and targeted residents. Achieving the goal of increasing the
District's population through the production of housing is facilitated in
a planned environment. The DMPED is undertaking the development of a
comprehensive housing plan that will create a clear context for the
implementation of the housing production goals listed above. This is
important so that the development work achievable in this market
coordinated to ensure the sum is greater than the parts. Without a
comprehensive view in coordination with other development strategies,
our goals will be difficult to attain.
Several strategies are being developed and implemented to
achieve these objectives. The first strategy is to coordinate the
activities of agencies involved in housing production. These agencies are:
the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Department
of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the Housing Authority (HA), the
Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and the Office of Planning (OP). DMPED will
utilize its oversight role to develop clear and coordinated programmatic
goals that guide allocation of District controlled funds, reduce the
processing time for decisions involving fund availability and that insure
the coordinated activity results in measurable outcomes.
The second strategy is to coordinate agencies in order to address the
issue of vacant and abandoned buildings and sites. There are a significant
number of vacant lots and abandoned buildings, and one of the principle
objectives of this strategy will be to reduce the number (approximately
4,000) by a targeted amount. Vacant lots and abandoned buildings detract
from quality of life for current neighborhood residents, are a nuisance,
and inhibit redevelopment and market driven investment. As such, they
represent clear development opportunity.
The third strategy is to create the ability to do site assemblage and
disposition. It is essential that there be a process to do it in a timely
and effective fashion and which can respond to market conditions within a
predictable environment. In the past, the work of land assemblage and
disposition has not been done aggressively in the District. Utilization of
vacant lots and abandoned buildings will require the District government
to not only work with private and nonprofit developers, but will also
require the government itself to have redevelopment ability and capacity.
The fourth strategy is to target the use of available, but underutilized
resources. The District government, including the Housing Authority and
the Board of Education, own a number of vacant and underutilized assets. A
major part of this strategy will entail DMPED working in conjunction with
these agencies on legal, zoning, and financing issues to facilitate the
disposition of their underutilized assets.
There will be a clear focus on the availability and potential of
development adjacent to and near recently developed projects. Working from
points of strength is important, particularly in the more distressed areas
where the market does not drive redevelopment. District resources will be
targeted in both programmatic and geographic areas.
An important part of any economic development strategy is its marketing.
It is important to let the development community know what the goals are
and what strategies are being
attain those goals. Inherent in this marketing effort is recruiting the
private sector to participate in the effort, individually and through
- Procure for
and produce comprehensive housing plan.
Insure the increase the production of new and rehabilitated housing units
through existing DHCD programs including Homeowner Purchase Assistance
Program and Homestead.
- Convene Vacant Building Focus Group.
- Identify and acquire initial group of vacant buildings and sites that can
be acquired and disposed of in six-month period.
- Establish ability to acquire through eminent domain for redevelopment
- Introduction of legislative changes to facilitate disposition process.
Develop clear request for proposal and disposition process.
- Establish adequate resources and staffing for disposition activity.
- Identify additional financing resources including tax credits, tax
abatement, below market financing.
with industry groups, including the nonprofit sector, to articulate the
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Strategic Initiative 2:
Alleviating Blight and Decay
There are a significant number of blighted and deteriorated properties
in the District, and, as is the case in most older cities in the U.S.,
environmental contamination. from past land uses. In addition to being a
negative influence on the surrounding neighborhood, the District has the
legal and moral responsibility to enforce the housing code and to
eliminate dangerous conditions. To permanently strengthen neighborhoods,
the quality of the built and natural environment must be improved and
Goals and Objectives
The two primary objectives to this initiative are to reduce the amount
of vacant and abandoned properties and to reduce the amount of
sub-standard housing. The elimination of blight is an essential component
to neighborhood revitalization and sets the stage for housing and
commercial development. It also is an essential step toward improving the
quality of life for District residents.
The strategies for achieving these goals vary, although they often
involve the same agencies. DUPED will coordinate the activities of
the necessary agencies: Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the
Housing Authority, the Housing Finance Agency Authority, the Office of
Planning and the Corporation Counsel. DMPED will establish a system
involving interagency coordination to assist in administering the housing
code and, in doing so, the repercussions on the community and residents.
Through improved oversight and coordination, we plan on establishing the
capacity to more effectively and fairly administer the District housing
code. The result will be increased and improved housing code enforcement.
In order to eliminate blight, it is necessary to make vacant sites
available for development opportunities. The foundation of this strategy
is site identification and investigation. A Focus Group housed with the
District Housing Finance Agency has been convened for this purpose. (The
activities of the Focus Group are discussed in greater detail in Strategic
Initiative #1, Implementing a Neighborhood Housing Development Strategy.)
This group will identify private and District owned sites and determine
their suitability and availability for development.
Following site identification, the next step in this process will involve
the demolition of vacant and blighted properties. DMPED is committed to
the goal of demolishing 500 such housing units.
To accomplish these goals, it will be necessary for DMPED to identify,
coordinate and marshal available resources. This requires an evaluation of
where resources are lacking. For
number of housing code inspectors will need to be increased. Also, the
District will begin to pursue all legal remedies available to force
landlords to maintain their properties.
It will also be necessary to involve residents in enacting change. DMPED
and affiliated agencies will engage the nonprofit and advocacy communities
in providing a voice for tenants of substandard properties and to assist
the residents in availing themselves of the remedies existing under
District law. It will also be necessary to improve overall communication
and outreach with the community. The Office of Planning, through its
Neighborhood Planners, and DCRA, through its Neighborhood Stabilization
Program will play a critical role in improved communication with the Area
Neighborhood Councils and other groups. Through greater familiarity, the
designated neighborhood planners will be able to identify concerned
constituents and anticipate their concerns.
Contamination from historic uses of urban property is a challenge to
public health and the environment. The mere potential for contamination
can complicate redevelopment, and cleanup costs can be prohibitive,
particularly for smaller projects. In November, 1999, Mayor Williams
kicked off the District's Brownfield Revitalization Initiative, unveiling
a legislative proposal that would expand the District's capacity to
cleanup and restore brownfield properties. DMPED will ensure
implementation of the Brownfield Revitalization Initiative, in
coordination with several affected agencies.
The Department of Health, Environmental Health Administration (EHA), sets
environmental standards and regulates site remediation, and it is the
responsibility of DMPED to support EHA's environmental goals and to ensure
that cost concerns and interagency procedural complications do not hinder
brownfield cleanup and ultimately redevelopment. DMPED's brownfield
redevelopment strategy will advance environmental and redevelopment goals
in tandem to ensure sustainable neighborhood revitalization.
Central elements of DMPED's brownfield strategy include expanding
environmental financing options, setting redevelopment priorities, and
working closely with other responsible agencies to ensure that the
District gets maximum benefit from its investment in brownfield
cleanup-a cleaner environment, stronger neighborhoods, and expanded job
opportunities related to cleanup and redevelopment.
- Establish interagency team to facilitate enforcement actions.
- Demolish properties as needed, including 500 housing units.
- Hire new
inspectors as soon as the budget process allows. Increase the number of
housing code inspectors from 28 to 52. (This is still fewer than 136 inspectors
the District had in 1990.)
- Implement new technology systems that leverage human resources in order to
more efficiently enhance the government's ability to identify and seek
repair to substandard housing.
- Levy civil penalties and/or file criminal charges against delinquent
- Office of Planning, through designated neighborhood planners and
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs through its Neighborhood
Stabilization Program, act as District liaisons with members of the
- Neighborhood planners. initiate dialogue with the community, establish
two-way communication and troubleshoot.
- Solicit involvement of non-profit and advocacy community in triggering and
participating in the enforcement process. Improve cooperation between
District agencies and these groups.
- Coordinate development of a brownfield financing toolkit that will
provide support for cleanup, without subsidizing polluting
activities. Toolkit will include existing resources, new financing options
and efforts to expand federal participation in cleanup.
- Ensure that brownfield cleanup efforts are coordinated with other key
neighborhood revitalization strategies such as the Vacant Building Focus
Group, and neighborhood planning activities and workforce development
programs. Also, coordinate neighborhood revitalization priorities with
EHA's remediation programs.
- Support passage of brownfield legislation that supports both
environmental and redevelopment goals.
- Participate in Interagency Brownfield Taskforce and assist agencies with
streamlined permitting procedures.
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Enhancing the Development and Revitalization of Downtown - Housing
Great cities have a vibrant downtown -- a gathering place that mixes
commercial, retail and residential activity that attracts visitors and
residents 18 hours a day. A lively downtown
is also attractive to potential businesses and residents. Increasing the
supply of housing located in the downtown area is an important element of
creating a living downtown that is active 18 hours a day. Housing also
generates greater tax revenue for the District than office space because
the residential income tax payments and residential sales tax multiplier
outweigh the difference in property taxes and the office sales tax
Goals and Objectives
The District's Comprehensive Plan calls for 5,400 housing units south
of Massachusetts Avenue. The current number of housing units downtown is
1,400. 635 units are planned to be built in the next two years. Current
downtown zoning requirements on the five remaining vacant lots with a
housing overlay require another 655 units. Another 610 units could be
constructed on District-owned property. Thus, the total housing from these
sources is 3,300--short of the Comprehensive Plan goal. The new 1,900
units are estimated to generate annually between $16 million and $21
million in new District tax revenues: between $7 million and $10 million
in income taxes, between $6 million and $7 million in property taxes and
between $3 million and $4 million in sales taxes. At a substantial cost to
the District, another 680 units could be constructed on the five remaining
vacant lots with the housing overlay.
Downtown housing was not built for many years because the financial
returns from the construction of office buildings were substantially
higher in comparison to housing. However, the difference in economics
between office and housing is smaller than it has been for a long time due
to the tight rental market in the District. Thus, the cost of housing
subsidization may be at a relative low point. In fact, in today's market,
developers are willing to build housing on selected downtown sites that
are not well situated for office buildings and are on the fringe of
downtown. But in the center of downtown, the District would need to
subsidize housing development in order to foster its creation on those
sites that are good to prime sites for office buildings, and to meet the
Downtown housing goals stated in the Comprehensive Plan.
The first strategy is to make sure that the current zoning requirements
are maintained and the 655 zoning-required housing units are built. This
strategy would be a departure from the District's past when many housing
requirements were circumvented which is why the District cannot reach the
Comprehensive Plan's goal of 5,400 units. The second strategy calls for
maximizing use of all District-owned downtown land for housing. A third
strategy, and an
strategy, would be the use of financial incentives to induce the
construction of another possible 680 units on the five remaining downtown
vacant lots (these are the lots not yet built on because developers are
waiting for a change in the combined lot procedures).
Potential housing incentives include the following:
- Developers will pay to pass their housing requirements on to a third party
site if the District's "combined lot" procedures are modified to
allow the certificate of occupancy for the office development to be issued
prior to the building of the housing. The payee can then use the combined
lot payment to "subsidize" their housing project. In addition,
the payee must change its deed to reflect the increase in housing
requirements transferred to it by the combined lot process.
- The District can provide property tax abatement and transfer tax
abatement. Such a program would need to be carefully defined to limit the
impact on the District's budget. The abatements would be granted on a
case-by-case basis in order to produce a market return-on-equity given
that the price of land in most parts of downtown is driven by office use.
- Issue the
Downtown Action Plan 2000 by July 31, 2000. The Office of Planning is
spearheading the drafting of the District's Downtown Action Plan,
including a Downtown Housing Plan, with the support of the Office of the
Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
- Revise the
Comprehensive Plan's downtown housing goals to reflect the reality of the
limited supply of empty lots downtown.
- Consider moving
Downtown's unmet housing goals to NOMA-Mt Vernon Square (from 3rd to 7th
streets, NW between Massachusetts and New York Avenues, NW).
- Introduce the following legislation:
- Combined Procedures Changes
- Housing Real Property Tax Abatement Program
- Other Housing Tax Abatement Programs
- Proceed with Requests For Proposals on the following District owned
- Mather Building [Note: this property may be made available for other
- Recorder of Deeds Building
- Department of Employment Services Building
- Strongly consider
housing as part of the redevelopment of the existing Convention Center
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Bringing Retail To Underserved Neighborhoods
The basic purpose of the neighborhood retail strategy is to improve
the quality of life for all residents of the District of Columbia by
making available basic goods and services that are an integral part of a
healthy neighborhood. In this case the quality of life will be improved by
making shopping venues more easily accessible to the public. Expansion of
neighborhood retail also enhances the creation of wealth through job
creation and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Goals and Objectives
There are several objectives of this program. First, we want to be
able to offer convenient retail services to residents in every part of
Washington, D.C. In particular, our goal is to bring two new supermarkets
East of the Anacostia River. Currently, many of our citizens are forced to
leave their neighborhoods, and in fact their city, to purchase needed
goods at reasonable prices. "Leakage" rates for retail
expenditures (i.e. the percentage of expenditures made outside a given
local area) in many District communities are in excess of 75%. Another
objective of this program is to provide critically needed jobs for D.C.
residents. The availability of entry-level retail positions can be the
start of a career path for many of our unemployed. Additional jobs will be
created in the construction field as new facilities are built. If current
brownfields are redeveloped, there is the opportunity for training and job
creation in the environmental industry as well.
Certainly one of the prime objectives is to increase tax revenues for the
city. Development of neighborhood retail centers will add millions of
dollars a year to the city's coffers. As city-owned land is put to
commercial use, property taxes will again be collected. Sales taxes that
currently go to Maryland and Virginia could be captured by the District to
fund better services for its residents. As jobs are provided to residents,
they too become tax paying citizens. The additional incomes to some
families may enable them to move from being renters to becoming
homeowners, and the real estate taxes they pay will again add to the tax
Still another goal of this initiative is the attraction of new residents
to the city. The availability of convenient shopping within the
neighborhood adds considerably to the attractiveness of that community,
and we would anticipate that there would be more interest in locating and
relocating in the District when such amenities are available to residents.
Similarly, current residents will not feel that they have to move in order
to live in a better neighborhood, so retention of current residents will
retail strategy will stimulate growth of the private sector, thereby
helping to diversify the District's economic base and adding the
dimension of sustainability to our overall economic development plans.
Finally, one objective of the neighborhood retail strategy will be to
create opportunities for entrepreneurial endeavors by D.C. residents.
Small business suppliers and complementary retailers will find new markets
being opened up to them.
Strategies In order to attract national retailers to our neighborhoods, we
must first make the industry aware of the tremendous sales volume
potential within the city's neighborhoods. This will require creative and
targeted marketing-by the city. The Office of Planning will be asked to
provide information regarding economic profiles and trending data on
various communities. The Washington D.C. Marketing Center will play a key
role in outreach efforts, using this data to help target specific
The District must take full advantage of existing infrastructure that
could support successful neighborhood retail development, particularly the
Metro system. The ability to attract and service customers without having
to rely as much on costly space for automobiles makes retail development
at and near metro stations a natural.
The District must also create additional infrastructure or enhancements
where needed. The paving of streets, improvement of streetscapes, addition
of lighting, and other features all add to the attractiveness of a site
In order to attract investment in our neighborhoods, we must ensure that
investment incentives such as tax credits are in place and that they are
marketed effectively. Enterprise zones, revenue bonds, neighborhood TIF
districts and other incentive programs should be aggressively marketed at
It is important to bring all possible resources to bear to make this
initiative successful. Hence, we need to coordinate activities with all
agencies that can expedite the plan (e.g. DOES, DCRA, DHCD, DPW).
Developing a focused response by all of these agencies will send the
message that locating in the neighborhoods is fully supported by the D.C.
Because sites of sufficient size are difficult to come by, we should make
D.C.-owned land available where feasible and use eminent domain where
needed to help assemble parcels that will attract retailers. It is
possible that new legislation on this front will be required. Converting
land which is either vacant or not on the tax rolls to productive use
creates a win for the neighborhood residents and for the city as a whole.
A proactive brownfield development program could also return several
unused parcels to productive, revenue-generating use.
initial neighborhood retail development efforts should serve as a
catalyst to further development, thus creating synergies to fuel a
"growth engine". General merchandise stores should be located
near grocers. The addition of specialty stores such as electronics stores,
home improvement centers, office products distributors, toy stores, etc.
can create a dynamic that enhances the viability of all.
specific sites for potential retail development. Begin establishment of
three major retail hubs near public transportation.
Pursue brownfield legislation in order to facilitate use of currently
- Execute the required land assemblage (may require new legislation).
- Identify the specific vehicle that will be used to finance the project.
- Perform a thorough analysis of specific benefits to the affected community
and share this with the community.
- Create facilitated permitting and approval process in agencies and
- Expand marketing efforts.
- Pursue complementary retail development.
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Using The Relocation Of Government Agencies To Spur Economic
Locating municipal centers in targeted neighborhoods will have a
catalytic effect on neighborhood revitalization -- increasing public
safety and attracting retail and other consumer services into the
District's neighborhoods. In the near future, the Mayor will announce the
relocation of over one million square feet of government occupied office
space with retail components into under-invested neighborhoods.
Goals and Objectives
The goal of the Mayor's Government Centers initiative is to replicate
in other neighborhoods throughout the District of Columbia the
revitalizing impact that the construction of the Reeves Center is having
on the U Street corridor. Based on recent analysis, it is projected that
this second major phase of relocating government centers into
neighborhood-commercial districts will generate, at a minimum, the
economic development benefits discussed below.
The relocation of government agencies to various areas of the District
sends a clear and direct message regarding the City's long-term commitment
to revitalizing and maintaining the neighborhood commercial district. It
signals to private investors that neighborhoods are on the upswing and
that their investments will be safe. The centers will promote greater
stability of neighborhood commercial corridors by bringing District
employees and visitors to eat in neighborhood restaurants and shop in
local business establishments. They will also encourage reinvestment by
existing businesses and property owners, attract employee homebuyers who
want to live near their offices, and create a focus for development of new
retail and service establishments to serve neighborhood residents and
The investment resulting from the Government Centers will generate between
600 and 1,300 new permanent jobs as well as between 2,000 and 2,300
person-years of employment during the construction period. In addition,
spin-off jobs should be created by expansion of certain pre-existing
businesses located within close proximity of the new government centers as
well as through new businesses expected to locate near the centers to take
advantage of the service needs of Center employees (e.g., restaurants,
drugstores, etc.). These new jobs in the neighborhoods present an
opportunity for District residents to better compete for and retain jobs
that do not require a lengthy commute.
The new economic activity resulting from the government centers is
expected to generate between to $1.8 and $5.1 million in annual tax
revenues. These revenues will include retail sales taxes, real property
taxes on new private development, personal property taxes paid by new
retail and office-based businesses, and personal income taxes from the
employees of these new private businesses. Not included in this estimate
are the potentially significant increases in property tax revenues
resulting from overall increases in the value of real estate
neighborhood commercial districts and surrounding residential areas.
Additionally, a number of new housing and infill housing opportunities
are presented by the planned locations of several of the Centers.
The Office of Property Management, working with appropriate real
estate development consultants and DMPED staff, will be the lead agency in
implementing this initiative. Optional sites have been identified and
substantial analysis has been undertaken to assess which agencies should
be relocated to targeted neighborhoods. Funds to complete site acquisition
for the centers have been included in the Mayor's capital budget.
Consultation with the agencies involved is on going to ensure that the
proposed relocation will meet their needs and the customers they serve.
site assemblage. Two of the proposed Center sites require parcels that
should be acquired to fully capture their development potential.
- Confirm that all
proposed Center sites can accommodate the agencies and offices being
considered for the relocation. This will require consultation with a
commercial development specialist with expertise in the development of
- Finalize a
Memorandum of Understanding detailing a land swap between the District
government and a private owner in order to maximize the development
potential of one of the planned Government Center sites.
Select a design based on recommended options. Consider instituting a
- Finalize and issue the RFP.
- Mayor to begin rollout of site selections of the Government Centers.
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2: Expand and Diversify the Economy.
The objective of expanding and diversifying the economy is necessary for
the long-term financial stability of the District. It is also important
for job creation and the overall quality of life. DMPED will seek to take
actions to strengthen and diversify the District's revenue base by
establishing a more hospitable business climate for our existing
enterprises and by adopting policies and procedures calculated to attract
and encourage additional industry, trade, and commerce, and increase
- Attracting and retaining businesses.
- Creating a special emphasis on attracting technology.
- Streamlining the regulatory process.
Attracting and Retaining Business
The District must take prompt and decisive actions to strengthen and
diversify its revenue base by establishing a more hospitable business
climate for our existing enterprises and citizens and by adopting policies
and procedures calculated to attract and encourage additional industry,
trade, commerce, and increase resident employment.
Goals and Objectives
DMPED will create and implement an efficient organizational
infrastructure for business attraction and retention efforts. By doing so,
we will fill a void by establishing policies and procedures for providing
timely and complete responses to businesses' assistance requests. In
addition, we will establish methods for proactively reaching out to
businesses we seek to bring to and keep in the District.
DMPED has established a designated Business Attraction and Retention
Team. The members of this team will be assigned various duties and roles
in an organized scheme to address identified objectives. These designated
staff will interface with the business community including private sector
companies seeking to do business in the District as well as associations,
groups and individuals, including, but not limited to business improvement
districts, industry-specific consortia and other business associations.
They will also devise and implement strategies to solicit and direct
private sector involvement in various initiatives of DMPED.
Members of this team will participate in an Intra-governmental Working
Group that will respond to service requests. Through formation of this
Working Group, DMPED will establish a single point of contact for
multi-agency receipt of requests and the delivery of services to
businesses seeking to locate or expand operations in the District.
Components will feature dedicated telephone lines, reception services, and
development and dissemination of an economic development directory that
identifies Economic Development Working Group members and web site
This group will establish direct lines of staff communication and minimize
confusion and duplication of effort. The Working Group will facilitate
better coordination of the city's businesses and neighborhood development
activities by enlisting the assistance of commercial and residential
brokers, community development corporations, entrepreneurs and District
agencies in policy and program planning and execution; and will enhance
programmatic and fiscal efficiencies by combining and maximizing the
ability to leverage limited public resources.
Business Attraction and Retention Team will also create partnerships
with and pursue targeted industries, including: Business /
Professional / Financial / Association Services, Hospitality /
Entertainment / Tourism / Specialty Retail, Universities / Educational /
Research Institutions, Biomedical Research / Health Services, Media /
Publications, Information Technology / Telecommunications. Alliances will
be formed by the DMPED through the establishment of public-private working
groups that will solicit feedback on methods for attracting and retaining
businesses within the targeted industry. These will include issues such as
incentives, environment, workforce, zoning and regulatory requirements.
Pertinent research will be identified and applied and, if necessary,
gathered to support these efforts. The first of these, The Digital Capital
Alliance will serve as a working prototype for development of future
alliances. (For more on the Digital Capital Alliance, refer to Strategic
Members of the team will participate in industry-driven
groups, as well. Examples include economic development focused consortia
created by groups such as the Building Industry Association and the
University, Education and Research Institutions Network. This function
includes participation in trade associations of target industries, such as
the International Council of Shopping Centers and DC Tech.
DMPED staff will plan and coordinate the activities of
the Mayor's Business Roundtable, a major business advisory group launched
by the Mayor. The Roundtable is a public-private partnership with seven
working committees: education, economic development, health and human
services, internal management, public/government relations, public safety
and transportation. The DMPED will chair the economic development
committee. The goals of this committee will be established based on
priorities within our Strategic Plan.
Finally, DMPED will fluid and staff the Marketing
Center, a vehicle created to market the city and attract business. Members
of the Business Attraction and Retention Team will
utilize the Marketing
Center as a resource. Members of the team will work with the Marketing Center to develop materials to market the District and specific
economic development programs. Marketing Center staff will respond with a cohesive
A point person within the Business Attraction and Retention Team will be
assigned to work with DC Business Connections, a program of the Marketing
Center created to improve business retention and promote a more
"user-friendly" city. DC Business Connections links businesses
to the District and government services and solicits input on how we might
help them grow and stay in the District. The point person focused on
business retention will respond to requests received through DC Business
Connections and work to assure the retention of businesses that may be
lost to other jurisdictions.
Create Intra-governmental Working Group.
support staff for Intra-governmental Working Group through the Marketing
Intra-governmental Working Group establishes and disseminates procedures
for responses to business requests, including identification of and
contact information for Group members, contact members.
Establish alliances with targeted industries.
Ongoing participation in established industry groups.
Ongoing coordination of the Mayor's Business Roundtable.
DMPED chairs economic development committee of the Business Roundtable.
Fund and staff Marketing Center.
Marketing Center develops media campaign.
Assign point person to work with DC Business Connections.
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Creating a Special Emphasis on Attracting Technology
Our Nation's Capital is the epicenter of the explosion of
internet-based advances in biomedicine, telecommunications, finance,
education, entertainment and other fields of human endeavor. Despite its
enviable position, however, the District of Columbia today is home to
disproportionately few of the internet service providers, venture
capitalists, software developers, e-business entrepreneurs, and related
enterprises that constitute the intellectual and financial backbone of
this new industry.
Goals and Objectives
By implementing a technology initiative, DMPED will improve
collaboration between representatives of various technology industry
clusters, government, civic and neighborhood stakeholders to address
mutual interests, facility and workforce needs. The result will be growth
in this industry sector with the benefits of attracting the supporting
workforce as residents, increasing the tax base and creating job
opportunities for District residents.
Creation of a technology alliance fits within the overall strategy of
attracting and retaining business. DMPED will target various industry
groups and the technology initiative will serve as a prototype for future
DMPED will form the Digital Capital Alliance. The Alliance is an
informal collaborative of business, civic, academic, and government
leaders formed to identify and help implement public and private
infrastructure development policies and practices needed by the industry
to thrive in the District. The Alliance will also identify and help
eliminate legal, regulatory, financial, logistical, physical and
perceptual impediments to expansion of this industry sector in the
District. Finally, it will promote the competitive advantages offered by
the District to the investors and entrepreneurs of information-based technologies.
With the Digital Capital Alliance, DMPED will convene a series of
seminars, conferences and meetings with specific industry representatives
to apprise them of opportunities offered by the District and to better
understand and respond to particular needs of the respective interests.
Through these sessions, the Alliance will examine selected issues and
identify and recommend responsive actions. Studies, reports and consensus
will form the bases for federal and local legislative reforms, private
agreements and other remedial actions that can be implemented promptly.
Sub-committees will be formed to focus on specific issues. Prospective
committees include Capital Access, Competitive Advantages of our Nation's
Capital, Local Taxation and Regulation and Public-Private Infrastructure.
These committees will work on developing specific projects, such as
identifying seed money for a technology incubator, promotional
materials, regulatory reforms, workforce development and strategies for
improving the infrastructure that will allow technology to flourish
throughout the District.
DMPED will implement strategic reforms that relieve industry tax and
regulatory burdens, consistent with fiscal and public safety limitations. This will include
identifying and neutralizing the impact of specific taxable incidents that account for the
disparity in the District's total tax burden as compared with that of successful technology
centers and with metropolitan area competitors. The plan and underlying legislative and
regulatory reforms must be designed to:
accommodate the capital investment and operating requirements of the
technology industry and target enterprises;
increase the number and variety of technology-related companies within
designated high priority development areas of the District; and
attract specific types of or various technology companies to locations
throughout the District.
Designate staff to coordinate activities and
participate in Digital Capital Alliance.
Convene working sessions; identify issues and develop recommendations.
Create Sub-Committees; identify goals and action plans.
Implement regulatory and tax reforms.
Address capital requirements; identify seed money for incubator program.
Facilitate increased direct communications between District-based
technology companies, venture capital firms, traditional banks,
developers, building owners, facility managers, brokers, architects,
contractors and others involved in building construction, the sale,
purchase, design, and lease of commercial and industrial buildings and
Develop materials to promote the District to the technology industry.
Utilize Marketing Center in this effort.
Obtain industry input on, and cooperation in addressing, District
based technology workforce development needs.
Identify infrastructure requirements to allow technology to flourish
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Streamlining the Regulatory Process
One of the most essential foundations for an expanding economy is a
streamlined and responsive regulatory process. This element is critical to
both existing and prospective businesses as well as residents involved in
building or renovation. Historically, the District has not performed well
in this area Reforms have been identified and significant progress has
been made. However, further work must be done to accomplish and build upon
these initial reforms. The streamlining process will be an ongoing one
that requires continual refinement.
Goals and Objectives
The ultimate goal of streamlining regulations is to facilitate the
construction and renovation process as well as ensure compliance with a
wide array of regulations including but not limited to zoning, public
health and safety. To attract and retain businesses and residents, it is
essential that the regulatory functions promote, rather than hinder,
economic expansion and fair regulatory enforcement. As such, they must be
responsive to their constituency: commercial enterprises and residents.
In order to respond to this constituency, processes should become more
efficient and predictable. This allows planners and builders to carry out
projects on time and within budget. Delays in permitting and licensing can
hinder complex funding arrangements and, ultimately, completion dates.
Moreover, builders and residents should receive consistent feedback
regarding zoning, both from policy makers and inspectors.
The District competes with neighboring jurisdictions seeking to attract
business. Our regulatory process must be as good or better than our
neighbors' if we are serious about economic expansion. Effective reforms
must be implemented quickly in order to sustain the potential growth
resulting from the current economic climate. Constituents are noticing
improvements from reforms that have already been instituted. These
improvements must continue on a consistent basis and grow.
Numerous agencies and commissions participate in this regulatory
process. Primarily, they include functions within the Department of
Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the Zoning Commission and the
Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). However, numerous other agencies perform
critical roles in the process. Among these are the Department of Public
Works (DPW), the DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA), the Department of
Health (DOH), the Office of Planning and the Corporation Counsel.
Utilities, such as PEPCO and Washington Gas, also come into play. To work
effectively, all of these entities must work in concert.
The first step toward streamlining the process is to identify existing
functional burners that
efficiencies. The essential tasks are housed in different agencies with
independent management and reporting structures. Some departments are in
completely separate management "towers" and others, including
the Zoning Commission and the BZA (and the Office of Zoning that supports
them) are independent boards not subject to effective government
management. This functional understanding will serve as the basis for
structural revisions and, or, the identification of ways to work more
efficiently within current structures.
Where possible, the structure should be revised to allow greater
efficiency. For instance, in addition to the Office of Zoning, there is a
zoning function within DCRA. DCRA enforces zoning policies developed by
the Zoning Commission and the BZA. DPW is responsible for steps of the
permitting process (involving public space) that are otherwise handled by
DCRA. Although staff of outside departments involved in the permitting
process, including DPW, are housed there, DCRA does not exert direct
management authority over them. Historic Preservation Review Board staff
are part of DCRA but impact the Office of Planning. Great efficiencies
could be achieved through a reengineered process.
Such re-engineering is ambitious and would be a lengthy process even if a
consensus exists to make immediate changes. Therefore, while structural
changes are considered, negotiated, planned and implemented, methods to
work efficiently within the current system must be adopted. This process
is under way through many inter-agency and intra-agency working groups and
efficiency programs, of which some examples follow. DCRA has implemented
the Development Ambassadors Program to streamline the permitting process
and make it more responsive. The Building and Land Regulation
Administration, which houses the Ambassadors Program, also coordinates an
InterAgency Regulatory Reform group which meets monthly and focuses on
process improvement. The Office of Planning coordinates other working
groups. These proliferating task forces are an effective
"bottom-up" tool for improving the process. Identifying these
groups and their functions, broadening participation to all parties to the
process, and communicating their missions and accomplishments would
maximize their potential. In addition, directors of each agency have
adopted strategic plans that establish goals for improvements and reforms.
Communication is essential to the delivery of quality services and to
improving the efficiency of the current system. The "right hand"
must know what the "left hand" is doing. The various working
groups are a forum for improved communication. However, methods must still
be developed to improve communication between those that develop and those
that enforce zoning policy.
Regulatory processes must also be clearly communicated to the community in
whatever methods possible. Web-sites, industry meetings, community
outreach are all modes currently employed and should be encouraged. This
communication should be a "two way street". Those that depend on
these services are often the best source of input. Numerous studies
focused on reform have been conducted through various public-private
partnerships and their recommendations should continue to be reviewed and
implemented where appropriate.
neighborhood groups should be consulted as processes are refined.
At the end of this process of examination is action. Specific reforms must
be enacted as quickly as possible in order to maximize their potential
impact. Many reforms have already been identified and proposed - some are
complete, others are in the process of being implemented and still others
remain outstanding. These actions should be considered a starting point in
the ongoing process of reform.
of DCRA Executive Assistant for regulatory reform.
- Form comprehensive review committee for zoning reform.
- Identify and eliminate barriers to efficiency.
- Revise structures, merge functions where viable.
- Prepare Mayor's Executive Order to transfer the Office of Public Space,
Permit and Records Division, from DPW to DCRA.
- Review building code to eliminate unnecessary elements.
- Codification of zoning decisions (zoning administrator,
- Implement Automation: expansion of on-line permit process, implement
remote access property inspection dispatch system to building code
inspections (RAPIDS), automate Surveyor's office.
- Improve internal and external communication.
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Objective 3: Provide Economic Opportunity for District Residents.
Strengthening job opportunities for District residents will provide a
foundation for sustained economic well-being for individual residents,
families and the city as a whole. We must do all we can to ensure
efficient and effective government funded employment programs. In
addition, we should use the leverage of government supported incentive
packages to create job and business opportunities for District residents
that District residents benefit from government supported
- job opportunities
Participating in the Workforce Investment Council.
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Ensuring That District Residents Benefit From Government Supported
The District offers financial incentives to businesses to spark
development in targeted geographic areas and to encourage certain types of
projects. Among these are the various tax-exempt bond programs available to
qualifying projects. These incentives include Industrial Revenue Bonds,
General Obligation Bonds, Enterprise Zone Bonds and Tax Incremental
Financing. In return, the entities that benefit from these incentives are
obligated to hire District residents and contract District businesses.
Goals and Objectives
By using its leverage, the District cannot only spur growth, it can
also direct the benefits of economic expansion. In this case, it can
support development and also ensure that economic opportunities are
created for District residents and businesses. The desired result is
expanded job, training and apprenticeship opportunities for District
residents as well as greater procurement opportunities for "local,
small and disadvantaged business enterprises" (LSDBEs). It only makes
sense that these stakeholders benefit from the financial incentives the
District provides to developers and investors to spur growth.
Mechanisms are in place through the statutory guidelines of the
revenue bond programs to ensure the provision of specified employment and
procurement opportunities. Before District approval is granted, applicants
must complete, execute and deliver to the District agreements regarding
the employment of District residents (First Source Employment Agreement)
and the engagement of businesses certified by the Office of Local Business
Development (Memorandum of Understanding). Developers must make best
efforts to see that the hiring, apprenticeship and procurement
requirements are met. However, the requirements are not strict in
recognition that, despite all attempts, qualified candidates may not be
available. Without proper monitoring and enforcement, these mechanisms
will not meet our objectives. A team approach between the DMPED and the
Department of Employment Services (DOES) and the Office of Local Business
Development (OLBD) will ensure greater success.
The DMPED works with developers and businesses seeking to undertake
construction projects in the District. We often provide and explain
information on the development tools available and facilitate the
decision-making process. We promote the use of the bond programs to
attract economic development. In addition, we oversee large projects to
ensure their expeditious progress. This oversight role, requires us to
trouble-shoot a variety of problems and impediments. Part of this role
entails fostering communication between the players regarding the
employment and procurement agreements. We are in a unique position to
identify issues in this area, as they arise, an hopefully identify
solutions in the early stages.
Source Agreement Program assures city residents priority for new jobs
created by municipal financing and development programs. The required
Agreement stipulates that all job openings created are listed with the
Employment Service and 51% of the new hires must be District residents.
DOES acts as an employment service recruiting, referring and placing
qualified employees to the developers, builders and employers. In
addition, they monitor compliance with the regulations. For example,
during the on-going operations of TIF Projects until the TIF bonds are
retired, 51% of all new employees, including tenants, must be District
residents. In addition, DOES works with the general contractor and all
subcontractors to assure that they participate in the District's
apprenticeship and subapprenticeship programs. Although penalties apply on
certain programs for non-compliance, the desired result is successful
fulfillment of the employment goals. (There will be penalties equal to 5%
of the value of unfulfilled worker salaries, except for cases where the
District cannot produce acceptable employees.)
OLDB acts in a similar role as DOES. They certify that businesses qualify
for the LSDBE designation and supply the end-users with lists of these
businesses. They also monitor compliance with the memorandum(s) of
understanding that stipulate use of LSDBEs. During the on-going operations
of the TIF Project, contracts equal to 35% of the dollar amount of all
out-sourced work for the first five years of operation must go to local,
small or disadvantaged companies. The five-year limitation is set-up as the
program is intended to provide LSDBEs with the opportunity to compete;
after five years they should have learned how to compete without a special
program. (The developers will be required to set-up a contracting bid page
on their project web-site, so they can post information regarding
up-coming contracting bids.) Again, there will be penalties equal to 5% of
the value unfulfilled, except for cases where the District cannot produce
an acceptable contractor.
Although many of these programs are relatively new, their utilization has
begun. The necessary mechanisms are in place. For example, the
negotiations on the Gallery Place project are complete, and negotiations
on the Mandarin projects are nearing completion. These are both TIF
- DMPED will
continue to facilitate and "troubleshoot" the use of economic
development tools available through the Revenue Bond Program that result
in employment and procurement opportunities for District residents and
Work with the Department of Employment Services and developers early on in
the planning process to assure that during the construction phase of TIF
Projects, 51 % of all new construction employees will be District
- The Department of Employment Services will monitor compliance with and
results of the First Source Agreement Program and provide technical
assistance, as needed, to those companies that are not in compliance.
- Work with the
Office of Local Business Development and developers early on in the
planning process to assure that during the Construction Phase of TIF
Projects, contracts equaling 35% of the dollar amount of total project
costs less the cost of land must go to local, small or disadvantaged
- The Office of Local Business Development will monitor compliance with
and results of their Contracting Memorandums of Understanding required on
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Participating in the Workforce Investment Council
The Department of Employment Services and other District agencies
manage numerous local and federally funded employment programs. The
Workforce Investment Council (WIC), established through a federal mandate,
provides the mechanism to better coordinate the various programs and
monitor their effectiveness. The result will be improved workforce
development programs for District residents.
Goals and Objectives
Job creation is an essential element of the District's economic
vitality, as evidenced by the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development's
commitment to employ 1,000 residents in unsubsidized, private-sector jobs
this year. As increased employment is critical to the city's economic
development, employment initiatives should support and work in concert
with economic development programs and priorities. The ultimate goal will
be to improve employment opportunities for District residents through a
revitalized workforce development system that maximizes utilization and
coordination of employment services. To do this, the WIC will advise the
- the development, implementation and continuous improvement of
an integrated and effective workforce development system;
- ways to
enhance systems for accountability and measurement of employment system
- increasing private sector participation and public input
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the federal legislation that serves as
the foundation of the WIC, is intended to streamline services, empower job
seekers, provide universal access for employers and job seekers, increase
accountability and allow jurisdictions increased flexibility in providing
workforce development services.
The Office of the Deputy Mayor will work with the WIC to facilitate
the activities of the Department of Employment Services and other agencies
involved in workforce development. In addition to providing staffing to
the WIC, the Deputy Mayor will serve on the Council itself.
Many of the strategies that will be employed are laid out in the statutory
requirements of the federal legislation that provides for the WIC. First
of these is the actual formation of the Workforce Investment-Council and
Youth Council. The WIC consists of executive and legislative branches of
District government as well as higher education, labor, and business
leaders. In recognition of the roles various branches of the District
government play in workforce development and the need to coordinate these
services, the Council will include the directors of the Department of
Employment Services, Department of Human Services, Department of Housing
and Community Development, and the Superintendent of District.
Public Schools. A
majority of the members will represent the business community. The Youth
Council will advise the WIC on youth-oriented workforce development
service delivery issues.
The WIC submits a Workforce Investment Act five-year strategic plan and
WIA youth plan. These plans serve as a blueprint for the delivery of
workforce development services in the District. In addition, each year the
WIC will establish annual priorities within the context of the five-year
The WIC will ensure public access to Council meetings and activities. In
addition, the public has the opportunity to provide input on the workforce
investment plan on an ongoing basis.
Under the five-year plan, the following activities will occur each
- Review and evaluation of all existing workforce development programs.
- Development of an
effective workforce investment organizational structure. This includes
coordination of programs to reduce redundancy and ensure maximum
utilization. In addition, accountability and measurement tools will be
reviewed and developed.
of the WIC's Areas of Opportunity, specific goals to be identified and
developed each year. This year, the identified priorities are:
- The WIC
will develop and implement a plan of action to improve the regional
planning efforts within the greater metropolitan region. Develop and
implement a plan of action to improve labor market information and
identify new performance indicators.
- Develop and implement a plan of
action to foster community involvement, focusing primarily on improving
effective communication -- getting information out to the community and
receiving feedback from the community within a structure that includes
three subgroups: Employers, Service Providers, and Families
- Preparation of
the annual report to the Mayor and Secretary of Labor.