Downtown BID News - Momentum Awardees, parking solutions, Ford's Theatre closes and more...

Monday, June 4, 2007

By DowntownDC

Downtown BID News - Momentum Awardees, parking solutions, Ford's Theatre closes and more...

Downtown BID News - Momentum Awardees, parking solutions, Ford's Theatre closes and more...

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June 2007

MEETINGS AND MORE

DC Chamber and WBJ help businesses prepare for global marketplace June 6

Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington reviews the economic impact of nonprofit arts June 11

Parking solutions discussed at BID breakfast June 14

BID BIZ

BID Momentum Awards Luncheon June 21

BID begins warm weather spruce up

Summer Hospitality Aides hit the streets

DEVELOPMENT DOINGS

BID area hotels see record occupancy

DOWNTOWN DISH

Rammy winners take center stage June 17

Washington Flyer reviews Downtown eateries

AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Ford's Theatre closes for renovations

The Willard wins prestigious video award

TRANSPORTATION TALK

Spread the word about goDCgo.com and win

July 4 Metrorail changes announced

DDOT pays commuters to bypass Douglass Memorial Bridge 

9th Street Tunnel closes June 8-11

NEWS YOU CAN USE

DC Chamber seeks help in placing summer interns


MEETINGS AND MORE

Wednesday, June 6, 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
DC Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Business Journal
2007 Business Summit
Renaissance Washington DC Hotel
999 9th Street

Prepare to enter the global marketplace at the 2007 Business Summit. Join Anthony Lewis, president of Verizon Washington, DC, and DC Chamber of Commerce chair for this "State of the Business Report." Exchange ideas and explore new business partnerships with breakfast speaker Sheila Johnson Newman, co-founder, BET, president/owner, Washington Mystics and CEO, Salamander Inn; luncheon moderator Alex Orfinger, publisher, Washington Business Journal; and others. The cost is $125 for members (includes breakfast, workshop and luncheon) and $200 for non-members. For the luncheon only, the cost is $75 for members and $125 for non-members. Pre-register online at www.dcchamber.org.

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Monday, June 11, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington
Arts & Economic Prosperity III: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences in Greater Washington
Canadian Embassy
501 Pennsylvania Avenue

Join the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments as they release an economic impact study of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations. This report, which details the data collected from 268 arts and culture organizations in Greater Washington, will be distributed to all attendees. To RSVP, e-mail staff@cultural-alliance.org by June 6. Name, organization, e-mail and phone number must be included. A photo ID will be necessary for entry into the Embassy.

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Thursday, June 14, 8:30 am - 10:00 am
Downtown Business Improvement District
Parking Breakfast Discussion 
Downtown Business Improvement District
1250 H Street, Suite 1000

How do you increase parking availability without creating more parking spaces? Join the Downtown BID for a continental breakfast and discussion on taking a market-based approach to pricing for on-street parking. Also learn about experiences from other cities that have taken a similar approach. To RSVP, e-mail vanessa@downtowndc.org.

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BID BIZ

The Moment You've Waited For
Don't miss one of Downtown DC's most anticipated events. The Downtown BID will host the 2007 Momentum Awards Luncheon on Thursday, June 21, at Noon. The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill (400 New Jersey Avenue NW). Register online at www.downtowndc.org/rsvp.  

This exciting networking event will feature guest speakers Nicholas Goldsborough, managing director, Harman Center for the Arts; and Peter Prichard, president of the Newseum. Come celebrate the neighborhood's exciting revitalization as we honor outstanding individual and organizational achievement at the Momentum Awards ceremony. This year's awardees are: 

Downtown Citizen - Hervé Houdré
Hervé Houdré is a true visionary, Downtown champion and one of the most respected hoteliers in the U.S. and abroad.  As the general manager of the Willard InterContinental Hotel, he has worked tirelessly to educate employees, guests and the community around him on the importance of economic and environmental responsibility. His commitment to restoring the Willard hotel to its original grandeur shows his dedication to building a strong legacy for the historic hotel in years to come.  Houdré is a community activist and supporter of the arts, serving on the Board of Directors for the Downtown BID and the Christmas Pageant of Peace.  His passion for helping others, his focus on excellence and his holistic approach to preserving the Downtown landscape serve as a model for others to follow.

Public Sector  - District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Traffic Services Administration (TSA)
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Traffic Services Administration (TSA) collaborated with the Downtown and Golden Triangle BIDs to make Downtown surface transportation more reliable for transit, commercial vehicles and motorists. Focusing on the busy K Street corridor, new curbside regulations and signage reduced the need for double parking.  Multi-space parking meters helped remove clutter caused by individual meters and commercial loading zones were incorporated into the new metering system to encourage turnover in these spaces. The K Street initiative demonstrates the true value of team effort between DDOT and business improvement districts.
 
Private Sector  - Akridge and Douglas Development
The 900 block of F Street has reemerged with the help of two key developers leading the way. Carroll Square, the $65-million boutique building developed by Akridge at 975 F Street, adds 158,000 square feet of trophy-class office space, 15,000 square feet of retail, 5,000 square feet of arts space and 103 underground parking spaces to Downtown's thriving marketplace. The Atlantic Building at 950 F Street is a 281,000-square foot, $120-million project by Douglas Development with 25,000 square feet of available retail space.  These two projects are helping infuse the 900 block of F Street with new life. 

Landmark Project  - Thomson Elementary School
From the street, Thomson Elementary School's exterior maintains its historic character. Yet, the architectural features of the new physical improvements are evidence of the school's $20-million renovation and 35,000-square foot addition at 1200 L Street. The DC Public School System's investment in the renovated classrooms and facilities provide a welcoming and attractive place in which to learn and play, while delivering new spaces for enhanced educational opportunities. 

Landmark Project - National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian American Art Museum
The National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, known collectively as the Donald W. Reynolds Center, re-opened in July 2006 after a $283-million renovation. Both museums are located in the magnificently restored, 382,000-square-foot Patent Office Building (8th and F Streets). The building's design highlights include a new courtyard and glass roof designed by Sir Norman Foster.  As the cultural centerpiece of Downtown, the new Reynolds Center reconnects the eastern and western blocks of F Street.
   
Program - Capital Fringe Festival
The inaugural Capital Fringe Festival made a lasting impression upon the Downtown arts scene in July 2006, with more than 400 performances featured throughout Downtown involving 1000 artists and ensembles in 18 venues. Created to provide an outlet for DC area fringe artists, the Festival also introduced 40 world-premiere productions with more than 100 sold-out performances.  This annual event is primed to bring many more new artists and arts patrons to Downtown in the future.

Downtown Detail - Perseus Realty
As part of the redevelopment of 1101 Vermont Avenue, the beautiful sound grove and light stream installation is an inviting, interactive public art space that engages and awes pedestrians, creating a sense of place within the new Midtown area. 

Downtown Detail - Bobby Van's Grill
Bobby Van's second DC location includes a raised staircase entrance, adding architectural flair and a graceful beauty to the well-trafficked corner at 12th Street and New York Avenue.

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Spring Into Action
With Downtown's ongoing development surge comes daily construction and pedestrian traffic that takes a toll on trees and plants that also call Downtown home. Through partnerships developed with the DC Urban Forestry Administration and the Casey Tree Foundation, area property managers and Downtown SAMs are educated in tree preservation and participate in tree plantings throughout the neighborhood each spring.

Because trees play such a vital role in the health, beauty and sustainability of the Downtown community, SAMs can be seen watering and caring for the more than 2,500 Downtown trees weekly. Every year, as warm weather arrives in Washington, Downtown SAMs go about the business of refreshing the landscape with new flowers and hanging flower baskets as the BID continues its efforts to maintain a clean and attractive urban landscape.

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Aides to the Rescue
Since 2003, the Downtown BID has employed college students each summer to work as Hospitality Aides.  Once again, the BID is supporting the DC Summer Youth Program by hiring eight students, ages 18-21. The students, all DC residents attending colleges along the east coast, are engaged in a one-week training program focusing on visitor service, communication skills and information on Downtown DC attractions and services. Throughout the summer, you can expect to see the Hospitality Aides staffing our mobile information carts near Metro stations and in busy pedestrian areas -- welcoming visitors and helping them enjoy all that Downtown has to offer. For more information, contact Eileen Andary, director of Administration, at Eileen@downtowndc.org.

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DEVELOPMENT DOINGS

Downtown Hotels Welcome Guests Galore
Downtown BID hotel performance is off to a great start in the first quarter of 2007, after a flat performance in 2006. According to Smith Travel Research, the BID's 24 operating hotels (with 8,853 rooms) reported record results for the first quarter for all categories of performance (occupancy, average daily rate, revenue per available room and total room revenue).  The $124 million of room revenues is a 13% gain over first quarter 2006.  This strong performance benefits DC's budget directly in increased hotel sales tax revenues, generating $18 million in taxes for the city ($5.5 million of which is earmarked for the Convention Center) -- an increase of $2.2 million over the first quarter of last year.  In addition, hotel guests spent a good deal of money in Downtown BID restaurants and stores, and visited the many Downtown cultural venues.

First Quarter  Occupancy Average Daily Room Rate    RevPar (a)   Room Revenues (millions) 
2007 73.3% $212.82  $155.97  $124.3
2006  65.6 202.36 132.79  109.83
2005 72.2  195.10  140.79 117.3
2004 70.5  169.53 119.49 100.2
2003 67.2  157.35 105.70 85.2
2002 66.6 154.33 102.78 82.3
2001 73.1 179.18 131.02 104.9

Strong hotel financial performance also leads to higher hotel valuations for its owners.  An example of the impact of higher valuations for owners and the District can be seen in the recent purchase of the Washington Hilton (though not in the Downtown BID) for $290 million (or $259,000 per room) and the new owner's plans to invest $100 million into the hotel (or $89,000 per room).  This transaction will generate a one-time tax payment to the city of $8.4 million for deed transfers and recordation taxes as well as an estimated $7.2 million per year in commercial real estate property taxes.

(a) Revenue Per Available Room may be calculated in two ways: (i) by dividing room revenue by rooms available, or (ii) by multiplying the occupancy rate by average daily room rate.
Source: Smith Travel Researchs

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DOWNTOWN DISH

Dine with Downtown Winners
The city's top chefs and restaurants will be announced at the 25th annual RAMMY Awards on Sunday, June 17th, at the Marriott Wardman Park. Hosted by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), Downtown finalists include: PS 7's and Rasika for New Restaurant of the Year; Corduroy for Informal Dining Restaurant of the Year; Apolonario Flores, cook, Chef Geoff's and Jennifer Roe, maitre d', DC Coast for Restaurant Employee of the Year; (P.J.) Kern, Charlie Palmer Steak and Christine de Clerfay; The Oceanaire Seafood Room, for Restaurant Manager of the Year; Oya and Zaytinya for Hottest Bar Scene of the Year; and Bistro Bis, Charlie Palmer Steak, Georgia Brown's and Oceanaire for Power Spot of the Year. 

Tickets are $200 for RAMW members and $250 for non-RAMW members. For more information and a complete list of nominees, call 202.331.5990 or visit www.ramw.org. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Education Foundation's scholarship program.

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Culinary Conversations
Washington Flyer food critic David Hagedorn recently assembled fellow food writers Phyllis Richman, former food critic for the Washington Post; Nycci Nellis, publisher of thelistareyouonit.com; Meaghan Wolff, former food critic for the Washington Post; and Melissa McCart, author of counterintelligenceblog.com to join him for dinner and conversation at two new Downtown hot spots. Il Mulino NY (1110 Vermont Avenue), the popular New York Italian eatery that recently landed in DC was full of action, bustle and deemed a great place to people-watch. The knowledgeable staff can rattle off a list of appetizers and offer personal recommendations and the décor is, according to Richman, "Like a Hollywood set of New York's Little Italy." The cozy and personal setting at Oyamel (401 7th Street) offers aesthetically pleasing and tasty food that doesn't overwhelm the senses.  Margaritas, braised short ribs and the corn tamal with Chihuahua cheese were the clear favorites.  Also featured on the menu -- Grasshopper tacos, which are flying out of the kitchen.  For more information or reservations, visit www.ilmulino.com or www.oyamel.com.

 
Wine and Dine
Former tax attorney and now restaurant owner Mark Kuller sat down with Washington Flyer magazine to discuss his new wine bar/bistro, Proof (701 8th Street), in the May/June issue. The wine-centric restaurant features a "rustic chic" décor straight from SoHo with a push-button Enomatic serving system imported from Italy. The avid wine collector visited wine bars and restaurants across the U.S. looking for the best elements to be incorporated into his new venture and will house a substantial portion of his personal collection with more than 4,000 bottles of wine at the restaurant. Chef Haidar Karoum of Asia Nora will head the kitchen, which will feature American cuisine with Mediterranean influences. 

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AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Renovating History
The historic Ford's Theatre (511 10th Street) will be closed to the public through November 2007 due to renovations and upgrades. No performances or tours will be held during this time. The theater will re-open in November 2007 with a production of the Charles Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol." For more information, visit www.fordstheatre.org.

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Premiere Award for Premier Hotel
The Pegasus Award for video production excellence has been awarded to The Willard InterContinental Hotel (1401 Pennsylvania Avenue) and Auteur Productions, Inc. for "Willard 2006 - A Hotel's Legacy, A Nation's History." The premiere video competition honoring non-broadcast video professionals bestowed the Award of Honor in the corporate communications category to the hotel and production team for their effort, which chronicles the 20th Anniversary of the 1986 re-opening of the hotel -- saved from demolition after closing in 1968. For more information, call 202.628.9100 or visit www.washington.interconti.com.

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TRANSPORTATION TALK

Tell a Friend
goDCgo.com would like to reward you for spreading good news. Visit www.goDCgo.com and click on the "Tell a Friend" function to enter the competition to win a new Breezer Zig7 bicycle. (Unfold it in seconds and you're on your way. Then, put it back in the bag and take it with you on Metro).  The bike that rides big and folds small will invigorate you. Hurry, you have only until June 8 to qualify for the prize drawing.

Also visit goDCgo.com to take a quick two-minute survey and share your thoughts.  The web tool with all the transportation information you need to make getting around greater Downtown DC easy wants to know what you think. goDCgo.com's interactive map allows you to plot your Downtown DC points of interest and find carsharing, transit, car parking and bike facilities that are available to help you plan your trip. The survey will be available until June 8.

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Plan Ahead for Fireworks
Start making your July 4th plans early. The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has announced major changes in Metrorail service this summer to better assist tourists and commuters on their way to celebrations throughout the city. A foldout color map and brochure illustrating service changes as well as station closings, street closings, security checkpoints, additional restrictions, special free shuttle bus services and more will be available throughout the Metrorail/Metrobus system in late June. For more information, visit www.wmata.com.

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Dollars for Detours
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) wants to make sure summer repairs to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (also referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge) do not get in the way of commuters traveling into Downtown DC. By implementing a new "Bridge Bucks" program, commuters will receive $50 per month towards transit fares and vanpool fees while scheduled renovations take place. DDOT wants to encourage ridesharing and use of public transit as an alternative during these delays. "Our goal is to keep commuters moving smoothly and safely as we undertake these much-needed improvements to the Douglass Bridge," said Emeka Moneme, director of DDOT. 

During July and August, DDOT will begin lowering the northernmost portion of the bridge in order to create a new roadway with intersections to South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue, as well as improved pedestrian and bicycle access. All lanes on the bridge will be closed during this time. Remaining bridge repair work will be completed in April 2008.

Through new public outreach efforts that include radio ads, highway message signs listing bridge closings and detours placed throughout the region, commuters will stay informed of new details. To apply for DDOT Bridge Bucks or for more information, visit www.ddot.dc.gov or call the DDOT Bridge Bucks Team at 866.922.8257. For information on real-time traffic conditions near the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, visit www.trafficland.com or www.traffic.com.

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New Roads for Downtown Gateway
Due to resurfacing work by DDOT, the 9th Street Tunnel will be closed to all traffic from 7:30 pm on Friday, June 8 to 5:00 am on Monday, June 11.  Motorists are advised to use the following detours: 7th Street to L'Enfant, SW Waterfront and I-395 N/B or 14th and 15th Streets to I-395 S/B. Please visit www.ddot.dc.gov for more information.

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NEWS YOU CAN USE

Making Connections
The DC Chamber of Commerce is seeking area businesses for help with DC's 2007 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). The Chamber is committed to placing 400 DC students (ages 17-21) in summer jobs by pairing the DC business community with motivated student employees for a six-week internship program beginning June 25. Participating businesses are asked to contribute a $1,300 deductible donation to sponsor each intern. For more information, contact Margaret Singleton at 202.638.7336 or msingleton@dcchamber.org.

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