Housing Complex

Anacostia Business Improvement District Almost Off the Ground

The newly taxed properties. (Office of Planning)

It's been in the works for years, and now the Anacostia Business Improvement District—a formal structure that will levy taxes on property owners to make the neighborhood more attractive—is just waiting on its final approval from the city to get started.

The effort got rolling in earnest in 2008, when Councilmember Marion Barry introduced legislation that would enable the BID's establishment, setting the tax at $0.21 per $100 of assessed value for properties along Good Hope Road, Howard Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, and Shannon Place SE. It passed, but the group of landowners and non-profits—including Four Points Development's Stan Voudrie, Doug Jemal, Don Peebles, ARCH Development Corporation, the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation—then had to get signoff from the Internal Revenue Service and submit their application to the Department of Small and Local Business Development, which is the last remaining hurdle.

It's a significant step, because BIDs have been transformative in emerging commercial areas around the city: Downtown, NoMa, and the Capitol Riverfront especially played key roles in making things happen for their little areas. In large part, it comes down to making the neighborhoods feel clean and safe, but BIDs can also band together to help create services. The Circulator bus, for example, was largely a BID-driven effort. It's especially important for Anacostia, where a Main Streets program died a few years ago, but which has perhaps the best chance to capture growth over the next few years.

For a large version of the full map, click here.

Comments

  1. #1

    I'd have a lot more respect for this program if it wasn't branded with Vince Gray's campaign slogan 'One City'.

    Sortof makes it unnecessarily political.

    But beyond that, there is no shortage of jobs for unskilled people in DC.

    We've had a MASSIVE buildout in the city. Countless new restaurants, shops, etc. Huge construction projects, and many more in the pipeline.

    All of these new businesses need unskilled workers. From busboys to waiters to construction labor to maid service, cleaning, landscaping.

    And these new facilities need maid service, landscaping, etc.

    Literally the most new business we've seen in this city in decades.

    Sure, it's not glamorous work. But it's solid work, and can often lead to a better job.

    If you are unskilled in DC and physically able to work but you don't have a job it's likely because you don't want one.

  2. #2

    A very small number of commercial properties there that will be subject to the BID property tax. Probably not a sufficient amount to properly fund the BID. Plus the very likley potential of Marion Barry and his cronies controlling the BID and routing its funds. It will take a new generation of leadership in place in Ward 8 for this BID to make a real difference.

  3. #3

    When are we going to get a BID in Columbia Heights? We certainly have the density and business base for it.

  4. Cap City Records Panhandler
    #4

    Skipper knows what it is.

    UPO used to run a team that was either called the "Green Team" or "Blue Team" that would go around and clear trash cans, sweep the streets, etc. They lost funding sometime in spring/summer of 2010. They were out there. Provided jobs to folks as everyone clamors to repeat talking points.

    The businesses needed to support a BID do not exist in Ana, yet. Entire blocks in the AEDC's proposed BID area are vacant. The non-profits don't pay into this do they?

    Many of the small business down there -- ex. Second Chance Market -- are just getting by. While a BID is good and could help attract future businesses in ANA, this a micro-Ponz get-get a la Rick Perry's assertion on that state of SocSec. Existing businesses get an additional tax to get the BID up and running, investors see the BID, maybe, just maybe they get in Ana, and then the drive up lease costs, etc. driving out those initial small businesses that supported the BID. But, Ana sure does need some help. The coffee shop is bound to close any day now. Uniontown can't carry the entire "revitalization" effort of the commercial district on MLK. Good Hope is another story.

    @Mr. T -- http://www.dcch.org/

  5. Former Cap City Records DJ
    #5

    Skipper knows what it is.

    UPO used to run a team that was either called the "Green Team" or "Blue Team" that would go around and clear trash cans, sweep the streets, etc. They lost funding sometime in spring/summer of 2010. They were out there. Provided jobs to folks as everyone clamors to repeat talking points.

    The businesses needed to support a BID do not exist in Ana, yet. Entire blocks in the AEDC's proposed BID area are vacant. The non-profits don't pay into this do they?

    Many of the small business down there -- ex. Second Chance Market -- are just getting by. While a BID is good and could help attract future businesses in ANA, this a micro-Ponz get-get a la Rick Perry's assertion on that state of SocSec. Existing businesses get an additional tax to get the BID up and running, investors see the BID, maybe, just maybe they get in Ana, and then the drive up lease costs, etc. driving out those initial small businesses that supported the BID. But, Ana sure does need some help. The coffee shop is bound to close any day now. Uniontown can't carry the entire "revitalization" effort of the commercial district on MLK. Good Hope is another story.

    @Mr. T -- http://www.dcch.org/

  6. #6

    Whoops. My post above was meant for another HC posting. Sorry.

  7. Cap City Records Panhandler
    #7

    From sources UPO's "Blue Team" was stopped because the king makers, in their own minds, wanted a cut. So they put a stop to UPO's operation which ran all over Ward 8 -- up MLK, Good Hope Rd., Howard Rd, even over to Wheeler Rd. One of the problems in Ana & Congress Heights is these king makers all want their cut. They line their pockets with city funds delivering average services at best, ensuring the need for continued services. Once again, Skipper from before said it better than I.

  8. #8

    DK about UPO specifically. People been getting their cut from UPO for decades... (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64800-2004May28.html)

    But the Green teams were defunded when DC eliminated earmark type programs for nonprofit organizations as a budget reconciliation move a couple years ago. This affected most nonprofits, not just UPO, not just UPO operating in Anacostia.

  9. #9

    "It's especially important for Anacostia, where a Main Streets program died a few years ago, but which has perhaps the best chance to capture growth over the next few years." Ms. Lydia, I've been trying to get more info on the plight of Anacostia Main Streets for quite some time. It had the same starting point as Marine Barracks, H Street and other Main Streets across the nation. Investigative news on follow the money is never too old to perhaps look into and expose. (wink)

  10. #10

    This will be great for the neighborhood. It will definitely bring in some light....

  11. #11

    MS in Anacostia wasn't about misspending money. There's nothing to investigate. It was about the inability to raise the funds to make a sustainable program, plus lack of critical mass. FWIW, the 8th St. SE Main Street program preceded by at least 4 years the one in Anacostia, and had a lot more organizational, community, and financial capacity.

    So the program, like many of the other main street programs in the city (Brookland, 14th St. Heights) died.

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