2013 Momentum Awardees Embrace the Experience

Thursday, December 12, 2013

By DowntownDC

and Enjoy a Bourbon Donut or Two…

DowntownDC leaders gathered last night for a festive celebration of the BID’s 2013 Momentum Awards. The red carpet unfurled up the steps of the graceful Carnegie Library, where awardees and guests glowed with excitement – and glow bracelets – to honor the people, places, and projects that helped create that remarkable urban experience this year. Attendees from Madame Tussaud’s included a friendly SAM in his signature red jacket, as well as Jackie O and JFK. Livelier guests packed the halls and enjoyed mini golf brought by the National Building Museum, a sneak peek into a reconstructed guest room from the award-winning Hotel Monaco, and delicious food and drink including a tower of donuts donated by Poste.

Not your average donuts, by the way. Bourbon duck-fat donuts.

Does a donut eater need to be 21 or over? “Well, we do get a little heavy-handed with the bourbon in the kitchen,” laughed Betsy Denton, pastry chef at Poste.

Hundreds of business owners, developers, city officials, partner organizations and residents came together to salute the Momentum Award visionaries. Several lucky raffle winners received gift cards for the Downtown Holiday Market, on now through December 23. Many fans of the market nominated it for the first People’s Choice Favorite Urban Experience Momentum Award, but Communications Director Karyn Le Blanc deferred on behalf of the BID, saying we couldn’t really give the award to ourselves. Even though we also love the Downtown Holiday Market! Congratulations to the winning Newseum, where the fun new Anchorman exhibit offers a must-see for museum visitors this season.

After the program, guests mingled and made subtle moves past that donut tower for one more bourbon bite. Near the dessert station, Hotel Monaco’s General Manager Ed Virtue stood proudly holding his star-shaped award. “Our employees get a kick out of this,” he noted, adding that the sustainability improvements not only make environmental and economic sense, but create a better guest experience, too. “This award will be displayed in our trophy case,” he added.

Virtue is honored to accept the award and glad to be a part of the continuing DowntownDC renaissance. “When I started at the Hotel Monaco seven years ago, the area was a completely different place,” he recalled. “The transformation has been unbelievable. It’s more and more neighborhoody. We love the downtown neighborhood, and we’re proud to be really smack dab in the middle of it all.”

The 2013 Momentum Award honorees:

Downtown Person-of-the-Year – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) serves as a constant champion for Downtown revitalization, working tirelessly to bridge the interests of public and private institutions to improve her hometown. After receiving the award, Congresswoman Norton spoke with gratitude to the dedicated partners including the BID, who continue to “pull the oars of change” in the District to make DowntownDC worthy of its status as a world-class destination in the nation’s capital.

Vision Award – Cesar Vergara

In a special Momentum Award category this year, DowntownDC recognized Vergara for his exceptional work designing the newly emerging look for DC transit, transforming the commuting environment and helping to create a sense of place. He created the design for the new red DC taxis, as well as the Circulator buses. His work inspired the design for the Capital Bikeshare system as well.

Public Sector – U.S. General Services Administration

General Services Administration (GSA) continues the massive modernization project for the Herbert C. Hoover Building, a national historic landmark and home to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Plans put environmental sustainability at the forefront, and include pedestrian-friendly upgrades for a more inviting streetscape.

Private Sector – Hotel Monaco

Designated a showcase project in the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, the historic hotel building underwent $1.8 million in energy efficiency upgrades. The changes led to annual energy savings of 21 percent and annual cost savings approaching 40 percent. General Manager Ed Virtue lives the sustainability message, biking 30 miles to work and even leading cycle tours for hotel guests with loaner bikes available for their use.

Program/Partnership – George Washington University’s Cheney Cardiovascular Institute

By donating seven automated external defibrillators (AED) to the DowntownDC BID, George Washington University’s Cheney Cardiovascular Institute helped promote the safety of Downtown workers, visitors and residents who might experience sudden cardiac arrest, the nation’s leading cause of death. 

The generous donation was made to the BID’s Publically Accessible AED Program, contingent on our Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance employees (SAMs) taking a CPR course and learning how to use the AEDs.

District Department of the Environment (DDOE) – Smarter Business Challenge

The District’s Department of the Environment (DDOE) piloted the successful DC Smarter Business Challenge, in collaboration with the DowntownDC BID’s ecoDistrict. The program helps Downtown businesses and buildings identify and implement smart sustainability measures in areas such as waste reduction, energy efficiency, transit access, water management, procurement, and other matters where business sense and sustainability priorities intersect.

Landmark Development Project – Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies

At the light-filled new space housing Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, students connect working and learning in the heart of Downtown. Offering full-time and part-time flexible enrollment options, evening classes, supportive academic services and top educators, “Georgetown Downtown” brings to life a re-imagined educational experience.

Downtown Detail – Zaytinya’s sidewalk café refresh

Zaytinya’s new canopies arch gracefully over the outdoor seating area, connecting the sidewalk experience to the building’s glass-walled façade. An inviting spot to dine and drink day or night, the softly lit space surrounded by birch trees further enhances this attractive eatery and enlivens the Downtown streetscape.

Downtown Experience – Martin Luther King, Jr. Library – Digital Commons

The fab tech lab opened its doors to the public this year on the ground floor of the light-filled Martin Luther King Jr. Library. The free programs and state-of-the-art computers are popular with both novices and pros. Spiffy extras like glass-walled conference rooms, smart boards, a 3D printer, and a book printing press are complemented by smart, friendly staff ready to help visitors experience the wonder of it all. The Dream Lab’s start-up incubator services complete the rosy picture for the digital-forward future of DC’s biggest library.