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Downtown DC’s Growth Spurt Is Far From Over

The next decade of construction projects is expected to pump more than $5 billion into downtown.

DC is going to look like this for a long time. Photograph by Flickr user Adam Fagen.

The construction cranes and empty lots that are crowding downtown DC won’t be going away anytime soon, according a new report published by the Downtown Business Improvement District. The next decade could bring upward of $5.5 billion in new investment to the city’s core, with new offices and hotels, redeveloped landmarks, and a streetcar line running down K St.

The BID’s “Downtown 2020” page forecasts a future for downtown DC that’s perhaps even more lucrative than the past few years. Some of the projects it features are on the verge of opening, such the massive CityCenterDC complex which will open soon on the site of the parking lot that replaced the old convention center, or the Marriott Marquis hotel across the street from the new convention center.

Other projects the BID features are still a long way from becoming a reality, from Donald Trump’s $200 million renovation of the Old Post Office into a luxury hotel (due early 2016) to the redevelopment of the FBI’s headquarters, a project potentially worth $1 billion when it is awarded. It’s the BID’s role to cheerlead for as much high-end development as possible in DC, but the “Downtown 2020” offers a good interactive glimpse into what the heart of Washington will look like five, 10, or 15 years from now.

The forecasted benefits to the District aren’t bad either, with $177 million in additional tax revenue and more than 27,000 jobs from the featured projects.

The look into the future also hinges on a streetcar line running along K St., Northwest, between 10th and 21st Sts. as a primary trunk in DC’s planned line connecting Union Station to Georgetown. But it’s safe to assume most of the construction projects the BID is featuring will be finished long before trolleys start rolling through downtown. A report issued Monday by the District Department of Transportation gives a 2020 opening date for the K St. line, though as the H St., Northeast, line has shown, it’s best not to take that as a firm estimate.

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