Washington DC

Coalition for Urban Transitions to Make a Global Case For Sustainable Urban Development

The New Climate Economy, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities have announced the launch of the Coalition for Urban Transitions, an international initiative to make the economic case for better urban development globally.

Coalition for Urban Transitions

Photo – coalitionforurbantransitions.org

The announcement was made by Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo during a breakfast briefing organized by C40 and the Compact of Mayors at the Climate Action Summit in Washington, D.C.

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group connects more than 80 of the world’s greatest cities, representing more than 600 million people and one quarter of the global economy. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, and former NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board.

The New Climate Economy is the flagship project of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. The Ross Center, with a focus on urban sustainability, has more than 200 dedicated experts working in over 50 cities globally to affect sustainable urban change.

Managing urban development better can provide significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions and energy savings. Recent research has found that investing in compact, connected, and efficient cities could generate global energy savings with a current value of $17 trillion by 2050.

Aniruddha Dasgupta, Global Director, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, the managing partner of the Coalition, said in a statement that just investing in sustainable transport offers not only social and environmental advantages but can also deliver savings of as much as $300 billion per year.

“Getting this kind of information – about the clear economic benefits of building better cities – into the hands of decision makers can help set us on a path where each country can start to reap the benefits of an urban dividend,” said Dasgupta.

C40 Chair and Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes noted that the scale of the urbanization challenge is so large that even mayors who know about the economic and wider benefits of sustainable cities can’t do it alone. “We need national-level policy makers and economic planning to complement city-level efforts. That’s where the Coalition for Urban Transitions will play a big role,” said Mayor Paes.

The new Coalition’s work will be overseen and championed by an Urban Leadership Group comprising leading members of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate as well as other prominent individuals as Ambassadors.

Supporting the Coalition will be a Steering Group comprising leaders from a range of research institutions, think tanks, city networks, global organizations and strategic advisory companies. This includes, among others, the OECD, Bloomberg Philanthropies, McKinsey Centre for Business and Environment, the Urban Land Institute, LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and Political Science, PWC, Siemens, and the Global Green Growth Institute.

Find out more about the Coalition for Urban Transitions at www.coalitionforurbantransitions.org.

DC March Madness Development Projects to Foster Economic Opportunity

As part of its annual March Madness effort, the District of Columbia has announced seventeen new projects that are now available to the District’s development community.

March Madness DC

March Madness DC (photo – dc.gov)

Mayor Muriel Bowser joined Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner for DMPED’s March Madness, a pre-solicitation event to announce upcoming community development projects.

March Madness is an annual effort by the District to create more quality affordable housing, support small and local business, and expand job opportunities for DC residents.

Mayor Bowser said in a statement that “The projects announced today will not only create greater transparency and economic opportunity, but give local businesses, residents and communities a chance to share in the District’s progress.”

Deputy Mayor Kenner noted that when he took office nearly a year ago, he pledged to expand affordable housing, create job opportunities for District residents, and bring more retail to District neighborhoods. “These projects further that commitment,” said Deputy Mayor Kenner.

Mayor Bowser and Deputy Mayor Kenner were joined at March Madness by other District agencies to announce development opportunities across all eight wards. For example, the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) announced opportunities for Keene School and PR Harris School. The District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) likewise announced opportunities for Southwest Neighborhood Library, Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

Deputy Mayor Kenner also announced the development teams for the Waterfront Station II, Capitol Vista, and Truxton Circle sites. These Washington DC economic development projects will produce over 200 affordable housing units, create more than 660 jobs, and bring much-needed retail and cultural amenities to the District of Columbia.

The Waterfront Station II project alone will provide more than 400 units of housing, of which 30 percent will be affordable. The project, awarded to the development team of PN Hoffman, will create hundreds of construction and permanent jobs.

The Capitol Vista project was awarded to the development team of Voltron Community Partners, a minority-owned, DC-based partnership that has over 40 years of combined experience in multi-family development and affordable housing. This project will provide more than 200 construction and permanent jobs and generate $8.3 million in tax revenues.

The Truxton Circle project was awarded to the development team of Urban Green, LLC with Flywheel Development. Urban Green will provide a net-zero energy mixed-use project that promotes use of public transit and bicycling. The project will be 100 percent affordable with a ground floor restaurant, a green roof and “living” green wall. Urban Green will also work to incorporate live/work affordable housing units to support the DC arts community.

DC, MD, VA Regional Economic Development Mission to Cuba

The Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC) announced a historic regional exploratory mission to Cuba that will include top state and regional government and economic development leaders from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

DC, MD, VA econdev trip to Cuba

Photo – dmped.dc.gov

The 41-member delegation will be in Cuba February 20-25, and includes DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner; Montgomery County, MD Executive Ike Leggett; and Virginia Secretary of Commerce Maurice Jones.

Secretary Jones said in a statement that this mission is a great opportunity to build relationships that will be the foundation for economic development, tourism and trade opportunities for the region and the Commonwealth of Virginia. “I look forward to collaborating with my partners from Maryland and the District of Columbia to highlight the world-class assets we have,” added Sec. Jones.

In Havana, the delegation is scheduled to meet with Havana Mayor Marta Hernandez Romero, Cuba Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, and Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz. Members of the delegation will also meet with U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis to discuss diplomacy and economic opportunities for regional businesses in Havana.

Mayor Bowser noted that “From China to Cuba – and everywhere in between – these missions are important because they can create jobs for our residents and improve our local economies. I look forward to joining my fellow regional leaders to Cuba as we explore investment opportunities and position ourselves for greater economic success.”

Delegates will tour research hospitals and local clinics to learn about strategies that achieve high health standards with scarce resources. The delegation will also visit primary and secondary schools and the University of Havana to learn about Cuba’s consistently high educational successes.

Montgomery County, Maryland Executive Ike Leggett added that “I look forward to exploring ways that Montgomery County residents and businesses can connect with Cuba and with our regional partners to advance our mutual interests.”

GWHCC CEO Angela Franco added that “We are hopeful this mission will be a start to securing future economic and community benefits for the region, its residents, and its businesses.”

This joint mission from the DC region was preceded by a Virginia economic development trip to Cuba that was led by Governor Terry McAuliffe. During this trip, Gov. McAuliffe had a meeting with Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, who has accepted an invitation to visit Virginia.

Diaz’s ministry MINCEX is the Cuban agency responsible for promoting foreign trade and commercial transactions between Cuban enterprises and business entities in other countries.  The agency develops and proposes policies, conducts trade negotiations with other countries and signs agreements to further economic development.

Other states are likewise making a beeline for Cuba. An exploratory mission from Iowa led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is currently in Cuba. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has just returned from an economic development trip to Cuba during which he met with officials to discuss opportunities for increasing investment and building trade relationships between Texas and Cuba.

DC Leans in on COP21 With Large Onsite Solar Project

Timed to coincide with the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) summit in Paris, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser leaned in to demonstrate the District’s commitment to renewable energy and sustainability by entering into one of the largest municipal onsite solar projects in the United States.

Sustainable DC

Photo – dc.gov

The DC Department of General Services (DGS) has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Nextility Inc. that will boost the city’s total solar generation capacity by 70 percent.

Specifically, the deployment of 11.4 megawatts of solar photovoltaic systems on the roofs and parking lots of 34 District-owned facilities will take effect on immediately.

The solar photovoltaic systems will produce roughly 13,800 MWHs of electricity each year, serving 3.5 percent of the DGS portfolio’s total annual electricity needs and reducing peak summer demand by 15 percent. In buildings that receive solar photovoltaic systems, approximately 20 percent of their electricity consumption will be met by the new onsite solar generation.

Mayor Bowser said in a release that “This Power Purchase Agreement doubles down on my Administration’s commitment to renewable energy and sustainability – using District government assets as staging grounds to capture the sun’s energy and power our building portfolio.”

The project is expected to help DC taxpayers save $25 million over the 20-year term of the PPA. Onsite generation avoids costly distribution and transmission charges on each megawatt hour (MWH) produced, in addition to avoided capacity charges for peak demand reduction.

The project will also spur Washington DC economic development. “Beyond renewable energy and cost savings, this project will elevate the District’s local economy, spur small business development and create jobs,” said Mayor Bowser.

Mark Chambers, Director of Sustainability and Energy at DGS, noted that “The immense scale of this solar acquisition reduces District energy costs, serves as a business model for other city governments to replicate and unequivocally prioritizes investment in the clean energy economy.”

Christopher Weaver, DGS Acting Director, added that “This solar PPA exemplifies the District’s commitment to growing jobs and the economy through sustainable development.”

This onsite solar project by the DC Department of General Services adds to the 20-year wind PPA signed earlier this year by DGS. That PPA is already serving approximately 35 percent of the government’s total electricity needs from a regional wind farm. The project is one of 33 finalists competing to receive a C40 Cities Award to be announced in Paris during COP21.

New Businesses Unveiled at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in DC

Mayor Muriel Bowser and other local authorities in the District of Columbia joined Events DC, the convention and sports authority for the District, to announce six new retail and restaurant tenants that will occupy spaces that have been vacant for years at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Walter E. Washington Convention Center, DC

Walter E. Washington Convention Center, DC (photo -APK like a lollipop)

By filling 100 percent of the available space at the Convention Center’s street-facing retail establishments, Events DC is demonstrating its dedication to the Shaw community, while contributing to Washington DC economic development.

Collectively, the new leases with these businesses represent a 10-year revenue of $7 million for the District.

“The realized potential of the convention center’s retail is yet another sign of DC’s economic vibrancy,” said Mayor Bowser said in a release. “I’m excited to see District-based businesses bring new services to residents and tourists in the Shaw neighborhood.”

The new tenants at the convention center are as follows:

Unconventional Diner – A locally owned and operated high-end diner concept founded by two DC residents and business owners.

Union Kitchen Grocery – A locally inspired corner market that will be expanding the brand’s footprint to the Shaw neighborhood.

Union Kitchen Grocery – This new location will add to their existing location in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Smoked & Stacked – A fast-casual sandwich shop that will showcase in-house brined and smoked pastrami.

Morris – This will be a craft cocktail bar, featuring notable DC-based chef and restauranteur, Spike Mendelsohn, and will be an expansion from their Sheppard concept which had its original location in Dupont Circle.

Urban Athletic Club and Composition ID – A fitness marketplace and health diagnostic center. This new location will add to Urban Athletic Club’s existing locations in both Georgetown and Glover Park.

A Barbershop Concept – This firm will relocate their existing location in the Shaw neighborhood.

These businesses add to the success of the District in attracting projects, as demonstrated by the recent DC economic development mission to China. Mayor Bowser was joined for the at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center announcement by several key business leaders and organizations, including those that joined the Mayor on the China mission.

Max Brown, chairman of the board of Events DC, added that “On behalf of Events DC, we are thrilled to activate and fill the Walter E. Washington Convention Center’s retail spaces with a blend of tenants that will serve the Shaw neighborhood, the rest of Washington, DC and our visitors from across the country and globe.”

DC Awaits Economic Development Benefits From Skyland Center Project After 15 Years

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner announced an agreement with Safeway that paves the way for the Skyland Town Center development.

Skyland Town Center, DC

Skyland Town Center, DC (photo – skylandtowncenter.com)

The $265 million Skyland Town Center will create a high-quality, destination retail town center, including a new urban-format Walmart, neighborhood retailers and restaurants.

This highly-anticipated and catalytic DC economic development project is expected to create 300 construction jobs and another 300 permanent jobs for District residents, along with nearly $65 million in sales and real-property taxes to the District over 10 years.

The Skyland Town Center will be the first pedestrian-oriented mixed-use project in Ward 7 or 8. It will include transportation infrastructure improvements as well as a $5 million community amenities package. The development also includes approximately 450-500 residential units, with nearly 150 of those being affordable housing units. The Skyland Workforce Center will help local residents connect with jobs, both at the site and elsewhere.

Mayor Bowser said in a release that “With this agreement, we will bring much-needed amenities to an area that has long been underserved, put hundreds of District residents to work, and create more pathways to the middle class.”

The origins of the project go back to the late 1980s, when the 18.5-acre site in Southeast Washington, D.C. was declared a Redevelopment Zone. The Skyland Revitalization Task Force was created in 1989. The National Capital Revitalization Corp. was assigned to oversee the development of a new shopping center, and awarded the rights to Rappaport in 2002.

NCRC commenced purchase of the Skyland properties in 2004 after Congress approved legislation authorizing the use of eminent domain. Development oversight was then turned over to the Skyland Development Team (SDT) in 2007, but a restrictive covenant stalled the project once again. The covenant in question prohibits supermarkets in the vicinity of the Safeway directly across the street from the Skyland site.

The Walmart was an integral part of the project, so the Skyland development was once again put on hold pending a deal to get past the covenant issue. The agreement reached now involves a payment of $3.6 million over four years to Safeway, which has in turn agreed to release the covenant on a parcel of the Skyland site.

The District has already invested nearly $60 million in the project over the years for the purposes of acquisition, tenant relocation, property management, and legal fees.

DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner said in the release that after nearly 15 years, the residents of Wards 7 and 8 will soon have access to quality retail they need and deserve.

“This deal now puts us in a position to create greater economic opportunity, and give Ward 7 and 8 residents a chance to share in the prosperity we continue to make in the District,” added Kenner.

DC Considers Economic Development Bill to Retain The Advisory Board Co HQ

The D.C. Council is set to take up new legislation next week that will enable Washington, DC to retain the headquarters of The Advisory Board Company. The District will also benefit from the company’s growth plans, which includes the creation of 1,000 new jobs.

Rendering of 655 New York Avenue development in DC

655 New York Avenue development in DC (rendering – douglasdevelopment.com)

The Washington DC economic development bill, called the “Local Jobs Tax Incentive Act of 2015,” provides a performance-based property tax abatement of up to $6 million per year to The Advisory Board Company for 10 years, adding up to tax incentives of $60 million.

For its part, The Advisory Board Company will agree to remain in the District and hire 1,000 net new DC residents between the time of lease execution and the end of the incentive period in 2030.

The Advisory Board Company (NASDAQ: ABCO) is a research, technology, and consulting firm with 3,400 employees that collaborates with more than 230,000 leaders at 5,200 health care and education member organizations, and is DC’s largest technology company.

The company will be relocating its headquarters to the 655 New York Avenue development. This is a 756,000-square-foot project by Douglas Development which combines existing historic buildings with a sleek new modern mid-rise glass building to offer office and retail space. In fact, they had to move an entire historic building as is in order to preserve it within the new design for the 655 New York Avenue project.

The triangle-shaped block occupies prime real estate near Mt. Vernon Square, adjacent to the Washington Convention Center. The Advisory Board Company is signing a 16-year lease and will be the project’s anchor tenant.

In a release unveiling the economic development legislation to support the company’s headquarters relocation, Mayor Muriel Bowser said that “Keeping an influential company like The Advisory Board Company in Washington, DC is a testament to the attractiveness of our market, our competitive strength, and our laser focus to hire District residents and keep jobs right here in DC.”

Even after factoring in the $60 million in tax incentives, the District expects to receive over $300 million in total net tax revenue over 10 years ($5 in tax revenue for every $1 of incentive). DC secured this project over competition from several other Washington DC metropolitan area governments.

The Advisory Board Company CEO Robert Musslewhite said in the release that “We are grateful for the Mayor’s efforts to make DC a compelling place for technology companies to grow and thrive, and for her work to ensure that we remain a part of this community.”

Apart from the economic impact of DC’s retention of the headquarters and the 1,000 new jobs being created, the project also offers other economic and community development benefits for the District.

Visits by the company’s members bring a large amount of visitor revenue for hotels, restaurants and other tourism businesses in the District. Furthermore, thirty-five percent of tenant improvement construction costs of the new space will go to Certified Business Enterprises.

Advisory Board Company has also signed a strong Community Benefits Agreement under which they will provide training for 250 District residents, and ensure employment for 25 DC Department of Employment Services clients or L.E.A.P. Academy (Learn Earn Advance Prosper) graduates.

US Commerce Dept Partners With Incubators For Startup Global Initiative

The U.S. Department of Commerce is launching a new pilot program called Startup Global that aims to educate startups on how to export their products.

1776 and US Commerce

Photo – 1776.vc

As a start, the Startup Global initiative is being launched in partnership with four incubators in Washington, DC; Cincinnati, OH; Nashville, TN; and Arlington, TX.

As part of the initiative, trade experts from the Dept. of Commerce will be going to the four participating incubators to provide the know-how and technical assistance that entrepreneurs and early-stage companies need to export their goods and services.

The Startup Global initiative was announced by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker at the Kauffman Foundation’s 2015 State of Entrepreneurship Address.

In the address, Sec. Pritzker said that “Startup Global will expand our International Trade Administration’s client base to include startups – a critical part of ensuring that Commerce partners with American firms, whether small businesses, medium-sized enterprises, or large multinationals.”

The DC incubator participating in the program is 1776, a global incubator and seed fund. They will be hosting training sessions, curriculum and seminars with trade experts who will teach startups how to export their products overseas.

1776, founded in 2013 by Donna Harris and Evan Burfield, is especially suited for the Startup Global initiative because its reach and impact already stretches far beyond its base in DC.

They have established partnerships with leading startup incubators around the world through a platform called the Startup Federation. The result is a global entrepreneurial ecosystem and network of incubators, startups and entrepreneurs which transcends geographic boundaries.

1776 members now include the world’s most promising entrepreneurs and young companies who are getting access to the resources they need to scale through this network, regardless of where they are located.

In order to draw this global community closer together, 1776 hosts an annual Challenge Cup competition which engages Startup Federation partners in cities across the world. The competition helps identify and showcase the most promising new startups and connect them to the mentors and resources they need.

Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776, said in a release announcing the partnership that they’re thrilled to partner with the Department of Commerce to help startups realize their products have incredible market opportunities not just at home, but also overseas.

Harris added that at 1776, they have been working to identify the world’s best startups, and help them understand that the solutions they offer change the way millions of people live and do business throughout the world.


The 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit Agenda

The SelectUSA Investment Summit is scheduled to take place March 23-24, 2015 in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

SelectUSA Investment Summit

SelectUSA Investment Summit (photo – commerce.gov)

The inaugural 2013 SelectUSA Investment Summit was judged to be a tremendous success, and not just in terms of attracting attention to the United States as an investment destination.

The SelectUSA Summit started the process of facilitating many U.S. economic development projects by foreign companies that have since led to a spurt in FDI in-flow and job creation.

Building on these results, the second Summit aims to bring together more than 2,500 people from all over the world and every corner of the United States.

More than 1,200 people from 70 international markets have already registered for the event, and it is anticipated that the Summit will be sold out well in advance.

Investors will be able to engage directly with economic development officials from all over the United States on the trade show floor and through online matchmaking.

The SelectUSA Investment Summit agenda includes a wide array of sessions featuring high-profile business and government leaders where you can learn about the most pressing topics that investors have to face.

For starters, the SelectUSA Academy on March 22 will cover the basics of investing for new investors and economic development organizations.

On March 23, following opening remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the plenary session on ‘Investment and the U.S. Economic Resurgence’ will focus on why top investors see U.S. operations as key to building their business.

Following a keynote speech, concurrent sessions will cover topics including locating and integrating supply chains, U.S. tax policy and its implications for foreign investors, and a third session on project finance and incentives that will focus on state, local and commercial financing tools and techniques.

After lunch and a keynote speech, there will be another set of concurrent sessions on training your skilled workforce, America’s new energy economy, and a third session on startup support programs that match entrepreneurs and startups with the technical and financial assistance they need.

Two back-to-back plenary sessions will then focus on America’s innovation advantage and investing in rural America.

On March 24, a plenary session in the morning will highlight case studies of foreign SMEs that have been successful in the U.S., and attendees will also learn about public and private resources available to help SMEs open U.S. operations.

Another set of concurrent sessions will then cover foreign trade zones, protecting intellectual property, and the role of capital markets in global growth. Three more post-lunch concurrent sessions will focus on 21st century work space issues, the U.S. immigration system, and partnerships with universities and colleges.

Two plenary sessions leading up to the end of the Summit will look at innovative approaches to infrastructure investing and how open data is creating opportunities in the United States.

What: 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit

When: March 23-24, 2015

Where: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland

3D-Printed Car Company Local Motors to Open Micro-Factories in Knoxville, TN and National Harbor, MD

Local Motors, creator of the world’s first 3D-printed car, announced plans to open two new micro-factories to be located in Knoxville, TN and National Harbor, MD.

3D printed car Strati from Local Motors

3D printed car Strati from Local Motors (press photo – localmotors.com)

The company’s announcement comes even as they debut the Strati, first in their line of 3D printed cars, at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. Local Motors will 3D print, assemble and debut the car at NAIAS.

Local Motors Co-founder and CEO John B. Rogers, Jr. said in a release announcing the new micro-factory locations that “We paired micro-manufacturing with co-creation to bring vehicles to market at unprecedented speed. We proved that an online community of innovators can change the way vehicles go from designed to driven.”

The company’s co-creation platform allows thousands of community members in over 130 countries to contribute to the vehicle designs, which can then be manufactured at their micro-factory locations.

Local Motors already has two micro-factories – one at their headquarters in Phoenix and one in Las Vegas. They also have a Mobifactory, which is a mobile factory that moves from place to place. They plan to open more than 100 micro-factories around the world in the next 10 years.

A micro-factory is usually located within 100 miles of a major urban center, and creates more than 100 local jobs. It also reduces freight and distribution costs by 97 percent, reduces waste and increases recycling, and speeds delivery time to market.

Each Local Motors micro-factory is typically around 40,000-square-feet, half of which is a lab for co-creation, research, technology, education and free community events. The rest of the space is divided into a retail showroom and a build floor for light assembly of vehicles and products.

The National Harbor, MD micro-factory, just outside Washington, D.C., will be the first Local Motors facility on the east coast. The first fleet of 3D printed cars to be manufactured and sold by the company will roll out from this facility by the end of the year.

The Knoxville micro-factory project is a collaborative project undertaken by the company with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The collaboration with ORNL enabled the company to design, build and print the 3D printed car. The Strati’s design was chosen based on a design contest, with the winning concept submitted by Michele Anoe of Italy.

The micro-factory at Knoxville will focus on rapid commercialization of advanced manufacturing supported by ORNL Manufacturing Demonstration Faculty. The company is also a part of the consortium led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville that was picked to establish the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).

IACMI is a $259 million public-private partnership that includes a $70 million commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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