It’s time for business and residents to recognize and acknowledge a new reality: The Green Line corridor has emerged as a powerful economic engine for the District and the region. And it’s time for Metro, the city and the private sector to invest more in the area to support this growth trajectory.
The area is booming, part of the re-urbanizing of America.
Over the past decade, the District achieved the highest population growth percentage in the country. In the process, the nation’s capital reversed a long-standing pattern of lost market share to suburban competitors and became a residential destination of choice.
Economic observers typically point to Metro’s Red Line in Northwest Washington and the Rosslyn-Ballston Orange Line corridor in Northern Virginia as the most successful investment and development locations.
But business investors looking for the city’s future hot spot take notice: A study released Thursday by Robert Charles Lesser and Co. and commissioned by the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District points out that, 20 years after its opening, D.C.’s Green Line corridor stations have become an economic engine for the District and the region.
For the most part, this shift in the economic axis has been off the radar. But the line from Petworth/Georgia Avenue to the Navy Yard Metro station/Capitol Riverfront neighborhood has surpassed the Red and Orange lines in population and job creation.
The study, called “GreenPrint of Growth,” reveals the Green Line corridor as a leader in capturing the highly prized demographic of young professionals — and that these 18- to 34-year-old urbanites have incomes at least double what was previously estimated.
High-paying private sector jobs have gravitated toward the Green Line corridor. And where they went, the real estate community followed, with more housing starts in the Green Line corridor over the past 10 years than any other metro corridor in the city.
It’s time for business and residents throughout the District and the region to recognize the potential of the Green Line corridor.
Often overlooked in the past, the corridor offers opportunities to grow the city’s economy. The study estimates that it could bring $3 billion more in tax revenue and tens of thousands more jobs over the next 20 years.
Metro/WMATA needs to continue its investment in the Green Line corridor by adding longer, eight-car trains and running them more frequently to serve the growing ridership along the line — residents, employees and visitors. And there is an opportunity for the city to increase its thoughtful investment in infrastructure — building more parks, road and water improvements — to support growth.
This type of investment will ensure future dividends to the city in terms of increased tax revenues, population growth, job creation and connections to destinations that people desire. The Green Line can support additional development and the public and private sectors can work together to take full advantage of the potential of this area.
This is where the city’s economic future lies. And if this study about the dramatic and surprising changes along the Green Line in the past 10 years is any indication — and we believe it is — the future is already here.
Michael Stevens is executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District.