(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) Brian Kenner hosted the fifth annual March Madness, a special preview of new and upcoming development projects that will provide more quality affordable housing, support for small businesses and job opportunities for all District residents. The event included special guests U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) highlighting the federal Opportunity Zones program, which can be leveraged to support economic growth and inclusive development in underserved communities.
“We are using every tool in our toolbox to create economic opportunities for residents and small business owners across all eight wards. Through the Opportunity Zones program and the development projects we introduced today, we’re doing more to meet the needs of DC residents right now and preparing for our collective future,” said Mayor Bowser. “These projects are about much more than just putting up buildings, they’re about ensuring that every neighborhood has an opportunity to rise and every Washingtonian an opportunity to thrive and prosper.”
“Opportunity zones give us a way to fight poverty all across America,” said Senator Scott. “As someone who grew up in a distressed neighborhood, I understand the value and importance of creating new opportunities to help others maximize their potential. With 25 designated zones located in Washington, D.C., this city is full of opportunity and I look forward to seeing the prosperity in these areas.”
“Senator Scott and I served in the House together and I appreciate his work in the Senate on Opportunity Zones,” said Congresswoman Norton. “Working together, we ensured that the District of Columbia was covered under his Opportunity Zone legislation, which helps channel significant investment toward low-income neighborhoods. Using these investments where they are most needed is critical to revitalize the District’s neighborhoods.”
A recent study by Yardi Matrix found that the District of Columbia is the most attractive opportunity zone investment area on the East Coast and the third most attractive in the country. The Administration identified 25 zones, with most East of the Anacostia River. During March Madness, Mayor Bowser announced three new initiatives to help leverage the program.
- The OZ Community Corp., which will enable community organizations and small businesses to tap into pro bono advice from lawyers and other experts.
- An online Opportunity Zone marketplace that anyone – project sponsors, fund managers, investors and community members – can access and where projects can be submitted online.
- A commitment of $24 million to projects that support affordable housing, workforce development, and the growth of small businesses.
For more information about Washington, DC’s Opportunity Zones, visit oppzones.dc.gov
Mayor Bowser also announced the recipients of the Dream Grants, a program administered by the Department of Small and Local Business Development that supports microbusinesses owned and operated by residents in Wards 7 and 8. For fiscal years 2018 and 2019, 34 grantees were awarded a total of $300,000.
Deputy Mayor Kenner revealed more than a dozen projects soon to be available to Washington, DC’s development and construction community as well as the release of the next round of funding for the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, which supports job creation in high unemployment areas in DC.
“Our goal each year with March Madness is to bring jobs and development to the areas that need it most, and to think creatively on how to best develop land for DC residents,” said Deputy Mayor Kenner. “I look forward to continuing to work with residents, agency partners, local and small businesses, and the development community to ensure these future developments deliver for DC residents and neighborhoods.”
DMPED announced two upcoming development opportunities: Engine 22 at 5760 Georgia Ave. NW, in Ward 4 and Fletcher-Johnson, 4650 Benning Rd. SE, in Ward 7. Additionally, DMPED announced plans to gain insight on the potential redevelopment of Poplar Point and the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center on U St. NW.
- Poplar Point Plan, in collaboration with the Office of Planning (OP), will engage the community to incorporate culture, history, environmental restoration and resilience into an equitable development blueprint that respects the interests of longtime residents while balancing the needs of a growing city
- Reimagining Reeves Study, in collaboration with the Department of General Services and OP to learn how potential redevelopment can respond equitably to residential, commercial, civic and social needs of the surrounding neighborhood near the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Director Polly Donaldson announced an upcoming solicitation for 199 Chesapeake St. SW, in Ward 8, as well as auction opportunities for several properties from the Property Acquisition and Disposition Division (PADD). Additionally, DHCD announced its next round of its consolidated Request for Proposals for affordable housing projects will be released on June 28, 2019.
The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Delano Hunter announced four solicitation opportunities. They include:
- Therapeutic Recreation Center at 3030 G St. SE, in Ward 7
- Congress Heights Recreation Center at 611 Alabama Ave. SE, in Ward 8
- Anacostia Recreation Center at Ketcham at 1919 15th St. SE, in Ward 8
- Theodore Hagans Cultural Center / Fort Lincoln Park Improvements at 3201 Fort Lincoln Rd. NE, in Ward 5
The Department of General Services (DGS) Director Keith Anderson announced three opportunities. They include:
- Thaddeus Stevens School Modernization at 1050 21st St. NW, in Ward 2
- Franklin Square Park, located between 13th St. and 14th St. between I St. and K St. NW, Northwest in Downtown Washington. DGS seeks to transform five acres of green space into an active, flexible and sustainable historic urban park
- Goods and services contracts (various)
To learn more about March Madness, visit dmped.dc.gov.