Greater Greater Washington

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Photo by baseballoogie on Flickr.
Nats Park neighborhood on the upswing: As the Nationals are poised to contend this year, the Navy Yard neighborhood around the ballpark is starting to show results. The stadium also has not been a drain on city finances, with a special business tax bringing in more than expected and the team drawing 85% of its fans from outside DC. (Post)

Chaos to blame?: The chaotic nature of the Gray campaign could have allowed a shadow campaign to use unreported funds to help fuel the effort. Gray's management style also mean he might not have been aware of any wrongdoing. (Examiner)

Showdown at the border: Arlington eventually wants to use streetcars between the Pentagon City and Braddock Road Metros, but Alexandria thinks its too expensive and prefers buses. If the two sides cannot agree, then passangers may one day have to switch from an Arlington streetcar to an Alexandria bus. (WAMU)

Urban renewal now old: Two modernist residential buildings in Southwest DC have been submitted for historic designation. Both buildings were built as part of the urban renewal that demolished much of the existing neighborhood. (City Paper)

Privatization a mistake?: While privatizing infrastructure can bring in a windfall to governments and get some projects built sooner, it also has its problems. The deals are often complicated and may sometimes prevent competing infrastructure like a rail line from getting built. (Post)

Fast becomes slow: San Francisco is trying to speed up its Muni light rail lines that, thanks to traffic, are slower than a century ago. Even some lines that use underground tunnels have not matched their times from decades ago. (NYT, Ben Ross)

Density good for revenue: High density gives cities potential to make earn a great deal of tax revenue. It also has the advantage of being cheaper to maintain than low density sprawl. (The Atlantic Cities)

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Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  

Comments

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1. The nats drawing 85% of their fans from outside the District is not good news.

2. Would development in the Waterfront/Riverfront area have occured without a ballpark?

3. Cities realizing there is more tax revenue from development seems like one of the best argument FOR anti-density NIMBYs.

by charlie on Apr 2, 2012 8:36 am • linkreport

1. Why not? I would love to see a more precise breakdown of sales, but what is bad about that?

2. Yes, but not as fast and probably with a different mix of uses.

3. How so? I realize that NIMBY opposition often shows complete disregard to logic (and therefore will often oppose anything), but I don't follow your reasoning.

by Alex B. on Apr 2, 2012 8:54 am • linkreport

@AlexB; I'd agree from a budget persepctive, having nats fans come into the city is a plus. But those fans aren't adding much value to the area -- you can see all the great bars on half street -- and it goes ot my point that the area would have developed on its own.

The NIMBY problem is an artifact of cities relying on one tax -- property. I'd be very suspicious when developers and the city officals gang up to force density. Sounds a bit like communist china, really. Multiple revenue streams (which most cities are deprieved of -- income, property, sales tax) help balance that.

by charlie on Apr 2, 2012 9:02 am • linkreport

I think I would change the line in the Gray recap to "Gray's management style also means he would have had plausible deniability of any wrongdoing." And let's be honest, not being aware of stuff like that isn't a "management style," it's flat out negligence. And that's even if we assume that he wasn't aware of it which, frankly, is laughable.

by Joe on Apr 2, 2012 9:13 am • linkreport

1. Also consider that the out of DC fans are likely people from NOVA or MD. Which is part of the Nat's core fanbase. Same goes for all of the DC teams. Sports are the only reason suburbanites come into the city.

2. No idea,

3. I think it just plays into fears about the city is just out to maximize profit the wishes of the current residents be damned. But in that post story it profiles one lady who fought hard against the stadium and has come around once she's seen the effects (besides the fundamental issue of the money the city paid for the stadium).

by Canaan on Apr 2, 2012 9:17 am • linkreport

Isn't there some other train that runs between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City metros?

by Tim on Apr 2, 2012 9:18 am • linkreport

I agree with Alex B. If 85% of attendance is from Maryland, Virginia and out of town tourists, that is a de facto commuter tax which is bringing "fresh" money into city coffers.

by Andrew on Apr 2, 2012 9:20 am • linkreport

The NIMBY problem is an artifact of cities relying on one tax -- property.

They do? http://cfo.dc.gov/cfo/lib/cfo/budget/fy2013/FY2013_Revenue.pdf

That mix is about the same as MoCo - 30% property, 30% income, 40% other. Of course I guess if you include the federal payments to DC as "property" then that changes the mix, but the idea that cities still don't get income tax revenue is outdated.

by MLD on Apr 2, 2012 9:26 am • linkreport

@MLD; DC is unique in terms of the taxing power.

I'm sure Arlington would love to tax income.

by charlie on Apr 2, 2012 9:33 am • linkreport

I'd be very suspicious when developers and the city officals gang up to force density partner to improve revenue. Sounds a bit like communist china american capitalism, really.

There, I fixed it for you.

Seriously, there's no "forcing density" going on. Democratically elected officials may "allow" density if they believe it's in the best interest of their re-election prospects but whether the private market actually builds that density is entirely up to them.

That's some twisted logic about the Nats. It would be like complaining that Boeing and Apple are bad for America because most of their revenue comes from selling products to other countries.

by Falls Church on Apr 2, 2012 9:35 am • linkreport

@FallsChurch; funny, all I read about here is corrupt DC politicians.

What does Chris Zimmerman do for a day job, anyway?

by charlie on Apr 2, 2012 9:39 am • linkreport

DC is unique in terms of the taxing power. I'm sure Arlington would love to tax income.

The state taxes income and then gives most of that money back to Arlington in the form of services and to a lesser extent, cash. While it's indirect, Arlington relies very significantly on income tax revenue.

What makes DC unique is that it is like both a state (which typically taxes income) and a city (which typically taxes property). Of course, many counties (like in MD) also tax income.

by Falls Church on Apr 2, 2012 9:43 am • linkreport

@charlie

I'm sure Arlington would love to tax income.

DC is indeed unique, but it's also a 'state.' Arlington is not a state. And if you want to fault their taxing paradigm, focus your ire at Richmond, not Arlington.

But those fans aren't adding much value to the area -- you can see all the great bars on half street -- and it goes ot my point that the area would have developed on its own.

Where would those great bars have gone? The buildings that no longer exist?

There's going to be a ton of retail opening up down there in the next year or so. Considering the impact the recession had on commercial real estate and on financing for someone wanting to open a bar or restaurant, the fact that you don't see anything yet is a blip due to inconvenient timing, not some proof that the ballpark hasn't worked as a catalyst and attractor for the area.

Yes, it would've developed eventually. But look at the buildings there before - they're banal office-only structures. The ballpark has a) sped things up, and b) shifted the focus to a more mixed use environment.

And if it would've developed on its own - so what? DC got a baseball team out of it. Having 85% of the visitors dropping some dollars into your coffers doesn't hurt, either.

I'd be very suspicious when developers and the city officals gang up to force density. Sounds a bit like communist china, really. Multiple revenue streams (which most cities are deprieved of -- income, property, sales tax) help balance that.

DC is the most balanced in terms of revenue streams, yet it's still encouraging high density development. Dense development enhances all of those other revenue streams, too. Not sure what your point is there.

As for the NIMBY angle, who is 'forcing' density here? What does that even mean? This kind of nebulous fearmongering is precisely the problem. As Falls Church notes, no one would build density if there wasn't a market for it.

by Alex B. on Apr 2, 2012 9:49 am • linkreport

The Braddock Road--Pentagon City streetcar corridor probably has both the residential and commercial density to support it. But with the transit hub being placed in the old Potomac Yards - e.g. alongside CSX and Metro - it would bypass one of the most lucrative neighborhoods in the area, Del Ray.

Also, how does Arlington propose to route streetcars through Crystal City? Anything around the edges would be a net loss.

What exactly is this streetcar intended to do?

by Jack Love on Apr 2, 2012 9:49 am • linkreport

funny, all I read about here is corrupt DC politicians.

We'll find out shortly whether all that corruption helps out their re-election prospects. Of course, there's a large contingent of folks in the city who don't think they are corrupt at all.

Note, I didn't say that politicians work in the best interest of their constituents, I said they work in the best interest of their re-election prospects. For better or worse, that's democracy (and emphatically not communism).

by Falls Church on Apr 2, 2012 10:02 am • linkreport

Re: SF transit. Thank god DC is going to build an expensive streetcar system that will also sit in traffic and be much slower than any system in the past.

What this story from SF says is that cities need more dedicated transit lanes, not shiny streetcars.

by norb on Apr 2, 2012 10:11 am • linkreport

@Jack: http://www.ccpytransit.com/

It should be noted that Alexandria has had funding for a Corridor A (i.e. Crystal City-Potomac Yard) streetcar conversion in their 10-year CIP for a couple years now. Last year, they had money for the conversion beginning in FY 2020. This year's proposed 10-year CIP moves that to the right, to FY 2022.

by Froggie on Apr 2, 2012 10:29 am • linkreport

Another thing SF transit has in common with WMATA is that both are constantly hurting for money, and yet when money becomes available, union wages and pensions come first, and maintenance and capital improvement projects have to get in line and wait. This, while service continues to deteriorate.

Every bond issue in SF is "the last one," and will "really fix the system," etc; etc;

And yet the system is demonstrably slower and nothing ever seems to change.

by Mike on Apr 2, 2012 10:36 am • linkreport

The ball park area would not have developed on its own, atleast not in the next 25-30 years.

Lest we not forget how much money and time the city had to spend buying up empty car lots, blocks of abandoned buildings and strip clubs to assemble enough area for the ballpark and its associated development.

That area went completely untouched by the regions largest real estate boom in history. It wasn't until the city decided to put a stadium there that private money took notice.

by Anon on Apr 2, 2012 10:54 am • linkreport

. The reason the nats drawing out of town fans is good, is cause one of the knocks on subsidies to to sports venues is that the extra revenue they generate is all diverted from other entertainment locals would have spent on - if nats park is getting folks from Philly, thats mostly not the case (I think the case for suburbanites is more complex, and I sympathize with folks who would rather the team were winning)

b. The issue isnt so much property tax vs income tax - local income tax would incentivizes govts to support densification, and gentrification (though would have somewhat different incentives on specific projects) as it is the funding of education through local taxes, period. This force jurisdictions to zone for revenue, and in some cases to zone against school children. At times this has led to profoundly bad zoning decisions - suburbs zoning for tower in the park hirises nowhere near transit, over zoning for office parks, etc. In recent times its had the positive effect of leading to support for increased density that might otherwise not have taken place - though depending on your views of "polycentrism" the attempts by far flung suburban counties to add their mini TODs (see what Loudoun is doing at the end of the Silver Line) may or may not be a good thing. Overall, my sense is that local funding of education, besides being a grave source of social inequality, is a mixed blessing as far as development patterns.

c. I cannot believe Arlington and Alexandria can't work something out. as froggie says, Alexandria does seem to envision a street car eventually, and Arlington is onboard with the transitway starting only with buses. The question seems to be whether the switch to streetcars is made within the next 5 years, or a few years later. That seems amenable to negotiation.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 2, 2012 11:12 am • linkreport

@Matt
Well, Muni is rather better than it was back 10 years ago when it was a byword for inefficiency and the horrors of public transit. The problems the agency faces are no different than those faced by any other agency: not enough money, inefficient use of money, and entrenched interests within and without the agency who are resistant to change.

I wouldn't mind some of their "wave" bus shelters, though.

by OctaviusIII on Apr 2, 2012 11:20 am • linkreport

No time to read Fisher's long article on Nats Park, but he's been a pretty blatant booster of the project from the beginning so I wouldn't be surprised if he carry picked data.

The question was never only a question of whether the ballpark could succeed within the narrow terms the boosters set out for it: namely that it could produce enough tax revenue to pay the loans and would correlate with increased development. That has mostly occured. The other question is whether that economic activity was simply sapped from other areas and concentrated in one place.

But that said, looking around DC, I'm not sure what neighborhood is suffering from less economic activity due to the stadium. It seems more likely that the ballpark is draining economic activity away from the suburbs. I remember at least one economist on WAMU making this point when the stadium was being developed. If a stadium is squarely in the middle of a large single jurisdiction, it probably only takes activity away from some other part of that jurisdiction. Put it near other jurisdictions and the host jurisdiction could reap a net benefit. The fact that so many fans are from MD and VA would support that analysis.

by TM on Apr 2, 2012 11:51 am • linkreport

The ball park area would not have developed on its own, atleast not in the next 25-30 years.
Lest we not forget how much money and time the city had to spend buying up empty car lots, blocks of abandoned buildings and strip clubs to assemble enough area for the ballpark and its associated development.

Absolutely correct. If anyone thinks all the city did was plop down a baseball stadium and walk away, you need to do your research. Would the area have developed eventually? Sure. But "eventually" is more on the 30+ year timeline than what we're seeing now.

As for the development taking away from the rest of DC, this seems unlikely to me as DC isn't really building enough housing to keep up with demand.

by MLD on Apr 2, 2012 11:56 am • linkreport

1. The Nats drawing 85% of their fans is good news for the District government and taxpayers -- though, the team would probably like to make bigger inroads among District residents...

I think this is also pretty instructive with respect to DC United's efforts to build a stadium. Half their fan base is in Northern Virginia, and another quarter or more from Maryland. Losing the team would be a lost opportunity for the city to bring in revenue from 'day tourists' -- repeat business that would an unequivocal good for the city.

Those who oppose any civic spending for sports teams note that entertainment dollars just get shifted around. For city leaders, though, this news suggests that's not true with respect to city coffers, because the stadiums bring in money from outside the city...money which might otherwise be spent on restaurants and movies in the suburbs -- or far-flung vacations.

2. Frankly, I don't think there would be much development in the Waterfront/Riverfront area without a ballpark? It created an impetus -- a belief that the neighborhood would take off. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Without the stadium? Likely not.

3. The last argument is ridiculous. It's a city. Anti-density NIMBYs have good arguments in suburban and rural areas. In a city? Sure, there may be limits -- a point at which density becomes overwhelming and a net negative, but it's hard to argue that DC wouldn't be a better, richer and more vibrant city with a more developed core.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Apr 2, 2012 12:00 pm • linkreport

@TM, good points. I would also add, rather than saying "has the ballpark managed to not be a net drain on the city," (a very low bar), how about "are there other options that would have given us a better return," because clearly there are many. And I've not seen anyone explaining why it would take 25 or 30+ years to develop the SE Waterfront area without the baseball stadium. It sounds more like speculation to justify a decision they support.

by Joe on Apr 2, 2012 12:13 pm • linkreport

@Joe -- I thought I did explain it. The prospect of the stadium and, ultimately, the edifice itself, really was the impetus for the redevelopment of the neighborhood. There would have been no reason for development dollars to head into that neighborhood. The NoMa/Mt. Vernon Sq./Convention Center sector is the only other cognate I can see, in terms of an area that went from parking lots to high-level development in a short span of time. The Northwest area benefited Shakespeare Theater, Chinatown, etc. Even with all that, it took the coming together of considerable city efforts and a sports stadium -- the new Convention Center, Verizon Center, and the tax abatements that the city offered for development along Mass. Ave. All of that came together to generate the momentum -- the self-fulfilling prophecy that this was a great place for developers to come.

The Navy Yard had no such framework to build off. There were no attractions, there was no attractive commerce, the location was way off any beaten path. There was, in short, ho expectation that this would be a valuable piece of real estate -- no good reason to direct development dollars there. The stadium provided the impetus -- the belief that large-scale investments would pay off. Without that, we might have seen some small-scale investments, and eventually some critical mass might have been reached such that developers would have taken interest. It would have taken decades, if ever.

I would have thought this was obvious, but, since you ask, here's my attempt at explaining it.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Apr 2, 2012 12:38 pm • linkreport

As for the property tax vs. income tax thing -- that's got this question exactly backwards. The study shows that the Nats Park is generating income in the city...income that would not be there but for the park. It's a center of real estate development, but it's also a center of the economic activity that will follow along with that development...which was always the hope for backers of the plan.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Apr 2, 2012 12:43 pm • linkreport

@Anon "That area went completely untouched by the regions largest real estate boom in history. It wasn't until the city decided to put a stadium there that private money took notice.

Yeah, and now we have acres upon acres devoted to a single use mainly enjoyed by non-DCers (was it 85% I read above?), where before we had one of the primest entertainment districts on the east coast ... Granted, I guess the guys who put baseball before all else, probably didn't see the value in what was there before ...

by Lance on Apr 2, 2012 12:54 pm • linkreport

Near SE is multi use - baseball, hirise residential, townhouse residential, offices, waterfront park, and soon significant retail.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 2, 2012 1:11 pm • linkreport

@Lance - Near the Navy Yard was in no way a "prime entertainment district on the east coast." I can't recall its assortment of stripperies and old bars ever making any positive news or acquiring any acclaim outside of DC. Regardless of your opinion on a baseball stadium being the means of developing the area, development itself was a big time boon for that part of the district; it was chock full of empty, dilapidated spaces.

by worthing on Apr 2, 2012 1:31 pm • linkreport

DC = 15-20% of the metro area population. 85% of Nats fans from outside DC. Seems about right. I would imagine that other major league teams also draw central city vs. suburbs in rough proportion the central city's share of the regional population. Nats = horrible team in the tradition of both Senators' teams. They're lucky to have any fans, regardless where they come from.

Arlington & taxes...go to Costco and check-out all the DC tags in the lot. Check-out Pentagon City lots of Metro shoppers from DC. Is that unfair?

by Rich on Apr 2, 2012 1:33 pm • linkreport

"where before we had one of the primest entertainment districts on the east coast "

-----------------------------------

April Fools is just the one day.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Apr 2, 2012 1:40 pm • linkreport

That and replacing one type of entertainment with another doesn't really seem like a big loss. I'm not a prude who wants to ban strip clubs but I do welcome another neighborhood where I'm not embarassed to visit with my mom.

by Canaan on Apr 2, 2012 1:42 pm • linkreport

Left out of the article was the impact on moving a large number of jobs from Virginia to the Navy Yard. That led to some overflow office space which the Navy is renting and also brought offices of the defense contractors. It's hard to say, but one could argue that at least some of the new office buildings would have come to that area even without the stadium. Navy business alone was enough to build the Maritime Plaza buildings before baseball for example.

by dcdriver on Apr 2, 2012 1:54 pm • linkreport

I'm not entirely sure how I follow that "your property values will rise" is a problem. The quintessential NIMBY complaint (okay, besides "change is bad") is that "it will hurt my property values." The fundamental problem is that humans are loss-averse and would forgo a large gain in order to avoid a small loss.

One wrinkle: creating dense new neighborhoods, like Capitol Riverfront or NoMa, that displace relatively few residents can absorb some of the demand for new housing units that might otherwise have pushed prices up in established neighborhoods and caused displacement. It's a win-win: the city gets the tax revenue from new development, and longtime residents get to stay in their neighborhoods. Perhaps people moving to the Hill area have chosen the riverfront instead of buying houses further east.

Speaking of taxes, many cities in the US, not just DC, are just as reliant on sales as property taxes. Some states, like California, have very low property taxes; others, like Illinois, have low income taxes; the net result is that a lot of sales tax revenue goes to cities.

And just for the record, I think the current count is up to 13 new restaurants slated to open in and around the Yards this year, plus whatever foodservice arrives as part of the Fairgrounds on Half Street. Residential absorption has been strong, too (EYA just sold out its townhouses, Foundry Lofts is already mostly rented out in just a few months); it sure seems like people are opting into (not being forced into) high density.

by Payton on Apr 2, 2012 3:15 pm • linkreport

The redevelopment of Capper Carrollsburg was put on the boards in 2001 (Hope VI grant), three years before the ballpark was decided on.

The US Department of Transportation picked M St. SE as its new HQ location in 2001.

GSA (and Congress) created the public-private partnership to redevelop the old Southeast Federal Center into what is now becoming "The Yards" in 2000.

NAVSEA moved from Crystal City to the Navy Yard in 2001, generating the construction of 80 M, 300 M, 1100 New Jersey, and Maritime Plaza's two buildings as locations for contractors, all finished before 2004.

If people want to believe that nothing was happening in Near Southeast until the stadium was announced, they're welcome to, but they're also wrong. The stadium *sped up* the development, but the city was already very much keying in on the area, with things like the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. There was no way that a neighborhood one mile from the US Capitol was going to remain undeveloped for much longer.

(I started blogging about the area in January 2003, before there was even a hint that the Expos might come to DC. And I had plenty to write about and photograph during the 19 months between when I started and when the stadium deal was announced in Sept. 2004.)

by JD on Apr 2, 2012 3:33 pm • linkreport

"The stadium also has not been a drain on city finances,"

Well, except for those couple of years where the billionaire owner refused to pay the rent he owed to DC. Wonder if that ever got settled? (google has nothing)

by Kolohe on Apr 2, 2012 9:01 pm • linkreport

@JD: those developments are pretty far from the stadium. The Navy Yard is a mile away, and the projects it spawned, such as Maritime plaza and 300 M St, would have had negligible effect on what happened on S. Cap. BTW those military developments are strictly daytime office worker places that are completely dead after 6 PM, and they add little to the evening street life. The liquor stores and gay strip clubs that were replaced were in fact viable businesses with good and reliable customers. Meanwhile, would the other heavy industrial users that detract from the area, such as the cement plant, have been pulled down? Without the stadium, I don't think so.

Upscale development of run-down areas (H Street, NoMa) are the exceptions that prove the rule. The neighborhood would have stayed the same, just like how most other seedy parts of DC have stayed the same.

by goldfish on Apr 2, 2012 11:56 pm • linkreport

I think your distances are off, goldfish. The Navy Yard isn't a half mile away.

by selxic on Apr 3, 2012 8:06 am • linkreport

@selxic: check google maps. It shows 0.9 mi between the Navy Yard and the Stadium. I have hoofed it; it is at least a 20 minute walk at a good pace.

by goldfish on Apr 3, 2012 8:13 am • linkreport

I had used google, goldfish. I see you probably used the walking directions though. That is why we see such a discrepancy. Using Google walking directions it is .5 miles to the Nats Park from 300 M St..

by selxic on Apr 3, 2012 9:33 am • linkreport

Seems clear that east of NJ avenue would have redeveloped on about the same schedule anyway. Navsea, USDOT, their contractors, Carrolsburg. SE fed center, maybe delayed a couple of years (Foundry Lofts in 2013 instead of 2011?) Pressure to redevelop west of NJ delayed, but mounting.

DC pols arguing that S Cap Street is ideal place for Redskins?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 3, 2012 9:40 am • linkreport

Exactly JD.

The area was in a prime location WOTR, near built out (and expensive Capitol Hill), a mile from the US Capitol. Not rocket science that it would've quickly gentrified.

What really upsets me is that all of our businesses were taxed to pay for the stadium and that the team got such a sweetheart deal. That is ridiculous.

by H Street Landlord on Apr 3, 2012 12:09 pm • linkreport

So this is where all that traffic was coming from.

by BaseballOogie on Apr 3, 2012 10:21 pm • linkreport

The stadium also has not been a drain on city finances, with a special business tax bringing in more than expected

Groan. That's ridiculous. The businesses who are being taxed sure think it's a drain. It's not like that is a tax on baseball. It's a tax on over 1800 DC businesses. The fact that it is bringing in more than expected only means that the tax was set too high. It has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF BASEBALL. We could be spending that money on roads or schools or lap dances for firefighters or anything at all - or not taxing DC businesses - but instead we have to use it to pay for the stadium.

So, that is a drain.

2. Would development in the Waterfront/Riverfront area have occured without a ballpark?

Yes. With very few differences.

The ballpark has a) sped things up, and b) shifted the focus to a more mixed use environment.

I don't think either of those statements can be supported.

so what? DC got a baseball team out of it. Having 85% of the visitors dropping some dollars into your coffers doesn't hurt, either.

At what price? Even if there is a benefit, is it worth the cost?

Lest we not forget how much money and time the city had to spend buying up empty car lots, blocks of abandoned buildings and strip clubs to assemble enough area for the ballpark and its associated development.

Actually it bought up functioning businesses and homes where people lived and kicked them out. So, it destroyed a lot of businesses and jobs.

That area went completely untouched by the regions largest real estate boom in history.

Almost all the development in near SE was started before the baseball stadium site was announced.

If Nats Stadium was the main catalyst, we'd expect to see development start in the areas adjacent to it and radiate away over the years. But we've seen the opposite. Here we are, over 7 years after the site was selected, and not one of the parcels next to it have been developed. Meanwhile development has continued east and north of the stadium and radiated towards it. Those parcels have been built out, and only now are developers turning their attention to the area next to the baseball stadium. Does that sound like a catalyst to you?

If anyone thinks all the city did was plop down a baseball stadium and walk away, you need to do your research.

I have.

But no they didn't just plop down a $1B stadium and walk away. They expanded the Metro station and rebuilt roads etc... So they spent a lot of money. And we don't have much to show for it. I can't help but think that if we had spent that money in some other manner we'd have an even better area down there.

The study shows that the Nats Park is generating income in the city...income that would not be there but for the park.

I don't think you're reading that correctly.

Left out of the article was the impact on moving a large number of jobs from Virginia to the Navy Yard.

Bingo. Also, the green line wasn't completed south of there until 2000. And the area is just the next natural place for development to go.

Let's look at 6 areas that went through a massive redevelopment from 1997-2007: Gallery Place, Near SE, U Street, Barracks Row, Columbia Heights and Rosslyn-Ballston. If you were to study the pattern of development in those areas over that time period, they would look very similar if not identical. In one there was a stadium built in 1997 and in another in 2007, but these areas all look largely the same. Near SE might be different solely because it had such a small amount of usable building stock and was largely unpopulated, so it is moving a bit slower.

So, that Post article was just awful. What can you expect from the Post Sports page though.

The evidence they present that it was a success is that one resident claims that it reduced crime ($1B can do amazing things), Florida Rock is gone (Hoorah! Less business! And something that was planned prior to baseball), riverwalk (pre-baseball), The Yards (pre-baseball), more people living in the area (in homes planned pre-baseball), Velocity Condos, a claim by some developers that the stadium made development possible (but they don't name names or properties), and increased property taxes (which likely would have happened anyway, plus we'd be taxing the land on the baseball footprint).

On the downside, attendance is lower than expected, half street is still a hole in the ground, across the street in SW there has been almost no development and in fact there is an open air drug market, and sales taxes at the stadium have lagged behind estimates.

Also, right after the stadium was announced, there was this bidding war to buy up a few pieces of property near the stadium. People paid too much and many of those properties were foreclosed on or went bankrupt. One could make an argument that all the legal troubles associated with that slowed, rather than sped up, development.

A couple of better headline might be:

NEar SE development continues despite baseball stadium

Or

Baseball stadium but one part of Near SE transformation (and the only one that cost taxpayers $1B).

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 11:09 pm • linkreport

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