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Capital Business
Posted at 12:01 AM ET, 01/12/2012

Add it up: Development along Metro’s Green Line might surprise, property owners say

The area around Nationals Park — branded and managed by the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District — has in a few years’ time transformed from a lonely district of after-hours clubs and warehouses to a place where 3,300 people live, 35,000 people work and thousands more visit in the summer to watch the Nationals play.

New retail, in the form of a Harris Teeter grocery store and a slew of restaurants, is under construction as part of the $2 billion Yards development.

But in a region increasingly focused on public transit, the Capitol Riverfront area suffers from a bout of inferiority regarding the color of the line serving its Metro station: green.

NoMa, a competing area, has red, which means Union Station, downtown, Dupont Circle and Bethesda. The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor has orange, and has created such a successful string of mixed-use neighborhoods that the Environmental Protection Agency gave Arlington County a national smart growth award for it.

Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront BID, has long suggested that the area is slighted by investors because of its Metro color. So the BID commissioned a study by Robert Charles Lesser & Co. to show how impressive not only its area is, but all the neighborhoods along the Green Line up to the Georgia Avenue-Petworth stop. You can read the executive summary (PDF) here . The BID will present the full version at its annual meeting Thursday.

Early in the introduction, the study points to the attention that has been heaped on the red and orange lines.

“Regional real estate and economic observers have long pointed to property located along Metro’s Red Line in Northwest Washington and the Rosslyn-Ballston (R-B) Orange Line Corridor in Northern Virginia as successful investment and development corridors,” it reads.

The study counts how many college educated workers have relocated to neighborhoods including Penn Quarter, Shaw, U Street and Columbia Heights in recent years; Green Line stations added 3,466 18-34-year-old households in the 2000s, a similar number as Rosslyn-Ballston.

Maybe now Green Line residents and workers (myself included) can puff out their chests a little.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

By  |  12:01 AM ET, 01/12/2012

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