A downtown management organization in Crystal City, VA, is most likely to cover a larger area in the region following a public hearing in late September.
The County Board is expected to authorize a September 21st public hearing to discuss the Crystal City Business Improvement District’s (BID) boundaries, feasibility, pros, and cons. The 240-acre area is likely to expand as a result since significant property owners are backing the proposal but how far that expansion will push its boundaries remains a question.
Currently, Crystal City BID is generally bounded by the George Washington Memorial Parkway to the East; South Eads Street to the West; I-395 to the North and Potomac Yard – Arlington to the South. It could be redrawn to augment Pentagon City in the North and the Arlington portion of Potomac Yard in the South. If approved, the largest expansion, however, would happen towards the West. A Crystal City BID says an expanded service area would encompass about 12 million square feet of office space, 5,900 hotel rooms as well as 475 storefronts and restaurants.
Founded in 2006 as a public-private partnership with Arlington County to promote business, retail, restaurant and residential community in the prosperous region, Crystal City BID is actually a non-profit organization and runs a budget of some $2.6 million from additional taxes paid by property owners. That would be increased to some $4.25 million in the first year with additional taxes to be collected if the proposed expansion is approved in its entirety.
There are many similar downtown management organizations throughout the greater Washington area and across the U.S. at which property and business owners elect a board of directors mostly among themselves. Their goal is to make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development, and promotion of their commercial districts by addressing challenges that cannot be solved unilaterally. Tenants and other individuals with an interest in the trajectory and success of those organizations and their regions can also sit on the boards as members.
JBG Smith and Dweck Properties, two of the largest property owners that have a combined property of more than $3 billion in the existing district and another $1.7 billion worth of properties in the proposed expansion area, support the plan for Crystal City BID. Several other big property owners including Brookfield, Invesco Real Estate, the Meridian Group, and Clarion Partners have also announced their willingness to pay additional taxes for the general good of their commercial district.