It is no secret that development of commercial real estate in Washington has grown dramatically in the past several years. With about 46 million square feet of privately owned office space, Washington ranks third in the nation in the downtown office building market. The 10 private office buildings currently being built downtown represent a 6 percent increase, or 2.7 million square feet of new office space. And office developments bring more retail space. Just five mixed-use developments to be completed or under construction by next year between the White House and 10th Street will add 247,000 square feet of retail space. This is concrete evidence of real reinvestment in our old downtown.
The public sector has been instrumental in stimulating the local economic climate for these private investments by building the Metrorail system and the Convention Center, by building new public buildings and renovating older ones, by encouraging redevelopment of key urban renewal sites, and by supporting development along Pennsylvania Avenue. Generally, private sector investors go first to areas where the return on capital is the most attractive. That is not to say that the business community does not invest in projects with high risks to meet social or human needs. I have felt over the years that people in my business -- banking and finance -- should invest not only for profit, but also in the growth and prosperity of the community in which we work. This attitude does not stem from altruism or social consciousness; it is only good business to support the stability of a community upon which we are dependent.
Thus, developers have invested in downtown Washington with increasing confidence, and we now enter a time when we must also encourage investment in arts activities, hotels, restaurants, housing and the other enterprises that will contribute to a healthy, well-rounded downtown.
Washington does not serve just its residents, as do many cities its size. As the nation's capital, it accommodates the federal government and tourists from all over the country; moreover, it is the international monetary headquarters of the world. Thousands of international workers live here and thousands of international visitors come here each year. Our downtown must be able to attract people who in the past years have visited only specific areas to the south and west. Tourists as well as city and regional residents must be drawn by activities -- restaurants, theaters, hotels, street fairs, interesting shops and pleasant places for strolling.
It is toward these ends that the community planning effort for revitalization will be directed. The climate exists for the community, private business and the government to rebuild a stable, attractive, functional downtown.