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ARLINGTON PROPERTY OWNERS TAKE STEPS TO ESTABLISH AN EXPANDED BID AS A VEHICLE TO FOSTER A COLLECTIVE VISION FOR DYNAMIC AND COHESIVE URBAN DISTRICT
Crystal City BID Unveils Strategic Plan Outlining the Organization’s Objectives and Initiatives to Support the Area’s Transformation
Crystal City, Va. – May 1, 2019 – Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) President and Executive Director Tracy Sayegh Gabriel today announced that the organization has taken its first official steps to expand its geographic boundaries to encompass interconnected portions of Pentagon City and Potomac Yard. The proposal to expand is the result of the Strategic Plan that the BID released today. The strategic planning process, which engaged about 3,000 stakeholders, was initiated by the BID in April 2018 to determine objectives for the organization as it aims to establish a new collective vision for the area.
After securing unanimous approval from its Board of Directors and overwhelming support from local property owners, the public-private partnership has submitted its formal expanded BID proposal to Arlington County for ultimate approval by the Arlington County Board.
The BID is asking the County Board to approve an extension of its current boundaries to the west to incorporate the majority of Pentagon City and to the south to encompass the entire Arlington section of Potomac Yard. This would represent a nearly 70 percent increase in the BID’s geographic area. In addition to achieving a long-standing goal of uniting the three distinct yet interconnected neighborhoods, an expanded BID would take responsibility for shaping and promoting the area’s identity as a vibrant, nationally-recognized urban center.
“While the notion of expanding the BID dates back to 2013, there has never been a better or more appropriate time to pursue this important milestone,” Gabriel said. “The neighborhoods of Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard are poised for a period of massive and sustained public and private sector investment. By expanding the BID and establishing our Strategic Plan initiatives, we can help steer that growth in ways that unlock the area’s full potential and enhance the quality of life for those who live, work and visit here on a daily basis.”
In addition to calling for expansion of BID boundaries, the Strategic Plan outlines the BID’s focus on its six core service areas. They include: building an identity for the interconnected neighborhoods as one of the region’s most dynamic and inviting urban centers; improving and beautifying the public realm through high-quality architecture, advancing innovative urban design, signature parks and public spaces; fostering new opportunities for arts, culture and entertainment; increasing connectivity to create one of the region’s most transit-accessible, convenient and easy to navigate urban districts; growing the economy by building on market strengths and cultivating innovation; and balancing this growth with new community assets and inclusive policies to create a sustainable, resilient and amenity-rich environment. These focus areas strengthen the BID’s ability to support the district’s transformation into a vibrant urban center and build on the momentum that is underway.
In November 2018, Amazon announced that it will create at least 25,000 new jobs and develop a four-million-square-foot headquarters campus within Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard. Amazon’s commitment will likely accelerate previously-approved plans for an additional 17 million square feet of residential, office and retail development throughout the district. In addition, the Commonwealth of Virginia and Arlington County have committed billions in funding to improve the area’s schools, mass transit, commuter rail, roads, airport, open spaces and other vital infrastructure, including a pedestrian bridge linking Crystal City and Reagan National Airport.
“While Amazon’s commitment to Arlington has generated significant attention to the region and is helping to accelerate a number of long-held plans, the district’s transformation was already well underway prior to the HQ2 search,” said Glenda MacMullin, Chair of the Crystal City Business Improvement District and Chief Operating and Chief Financial Officer at Consumer Technology Association. “Our goal with the expanded BID is to capitalize on this renewed interest and ensure that the billions of dollars in public and private investments are accomplished in a comprehensive and sustainable way.”
Added Nora Dweck-McMullen, Co-Chair of the Area-Wide Coordinating Committee and Chief Operating Officer of Dweck Properties, “By creating a singular downtown district with a strong and unified voice, the BID will be better positioned to market the district to investors, businesses, residents, nonprofits and other organizations seeking a high-profile, dynamic urban experience. The BID also will build a culture of inclusion and further strengthen the overall community through events and partnerships across each sector.”
If approved, the BID would better represent the interests of the largest walkable downtown in the Commonwealth of Virginia which encompasses over 12 million square feet of office space, more than 15,000 residential units, nearly 5,900 hotel rooms and approximately 475 retail storefronts and restaurants. The size and scale of the area rivals such central business districts as downtown Austin and Indianapolis.
Property owners representing 82.4 percent of taxable parcels and 83.9 percent of the total assessed value of all commercial property (including commercial apartments) within the expanded boundaries have already signed petitions in support of the expansion effort.
The BID would be governed by a Board of Directors of up to 26 people representing a wide range of perspectives pertinent to the community. They would include representatives from each district and incorporate key stakeholders from the office, residential, technology, hotel, retail, cultural, non-profit and civic sectors. According to its business plan, the BID anticipates an increase in its annual budget from $2.7 million currently to $4.3 million once the expanded area of assessments takes effect in June 2020.
For more information on the Crystal City BID and to view the Strategic Plan, please visit www.crystalcity.org/strategicplan.
About the Crystal City Business Improvement District
The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is a public-private partnership established to promote the vibrant Crystal City business, retail, restaurant and residential community. As Virginia’s largest downtown, the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard - Arlington area consists of more than 12 million square feet of office space in a mixed-use, walkable urban center that includes more than 32,000 residents, over 5,800 hotel rooms, and nearly 500 restaurants and shops. More than $227 million in public infrastructure investment and over $4 billion of private projects are in the pipeline over the next five years. The BID is supporting the exciting transformation of Crystal City through placemaking, public art, transportation, economic development, events, and marketing/promotion. For more information, visit www.crystalcity.org.