Monday, November 23, 2009

D.C. Metro station a catalyst for economic development

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Five years ago Nov. 23, Metro, the District of Columbia and the New York Avenue partners opened the New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U Metrorail station on the Red Line. Since its opening, ridership has climbed at the station each year and the station has become a catalyst for economic development. 


At the time of its opening, the New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U Metrorail station was heralded as a unique public-private partnership that would expand economic development and prosperity to the NoMa and Capitol Hill North portion of Northeast Washington. 

With the station's opening, economic development has grown as local and federal agencies, the hospitality industry and small businesses have opened their doors within a short distance of the New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U Metrorail station. In the last five years, five million square feet of new office, hotel, housing and retail has been constructed around the New York Avenue Metrorail station. Current and future NoMa tenants include the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire Arms, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the General Services Administration, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the District of Columbia Government, NPR and Sirius XM Radio. A Courtyard by Marriott hotel opened its doors just steps from the train station, and a Hilton Garden Inn opens in 2011. More than 750 residential units will open in 2010. 


As economic development has flourished in the New York Avenue area, ridership at the neighborhood's Metrorail station has also increased. In its first year, the average monthly ridership at the station was 55,863 riders. Now as the station celebrates its fifth anniversary, the average monthly ridership at the station through Oct. 2009 is 121,298 riders.

The opening of the station has resulted in $1.5-billion of private development within walking distance of the station, with a total of 20 million square feet planned, according to Liz Price, president of the NoMa Business Improvement District. "The New York Avenue Metrorail Station was really the catalyst for the revitalization under way," Price said. "In the last five years, we have seen this neighborhood transform into a mixed-use, transit-oriented area, and we are looking forward to the opening of nearly 800 residential units and the Harris Teeter grocery store by fall 2010. The changes are just beginning."



The cost of the New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U Metrorail station was $109.9 million, made possible through a public-private partnership where private landowners created a special taxing district of the land around the station. Landowners agreed to be assessed a "Metro Benefit Assessment Fee" based on the value of their property that generated a $25-million private sector contribution to station development. The District of Columbia contributed $59.9 million and the federal government provided $25 million for the project.

The New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U Metrorail station was Metro's first station to be built between two operating stations while concurrently maintaining passenger service. The station included many firsts, such as the use of the design/build project delivery that reduced the project schedule to half the typical delivery time, the integration of the Arts-In-Transit public art program into a station design and the construction of a bicycle trail as part of the station to improve bicycle and pedestrian links. The station also incorporated several revisions to the standard designs of Metro's older stations including civil/architectural enhancements, as well as systems improvements. Metro worked closely with stakeholders to better integrate the station into the neighborhood and the adjacent development sites.

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