The Impact of Business Improvement Districts in DC
June 7, 2016
Business improvement districts are playing a transformative role in economic and placemaking efforts throughout Washington, D.C. Drawing on the work of the Golden Triangle BID and the Capital Riverfront BID, which represent the downtown office core and a new emerging neighborhood, this panel discussion focused on how BIDs are working to manage growth and change in established and emerging areas and how they are evolving and adapting to meet the changes of the neighborhoods that they serve.
The panel also discussed how D.C.’s 10 BIDs are different, and the inherent flexibility and nimbleness of BIDS as an economic development and planning strategy.
The panel presentation was followed by a 30–40 minute walking tour of the Golden Triangle, which highlighted streetscape improvements, public art, and BID programming.
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David Suls, AICPDavid Suls, AICP, is the director of planning and economic development for the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, a neighborhood that spans 43 blocks of Washington, D.C.'s central business district extending from the White House to Dupont Circle. In this role, Suls manages the BID's economic development program and leads the BID's involvement in public space planning and improvements, advising on parks, streetscape, public art and transportation projects. As a city planner for Takoma Park in Maryland, Suls was involved in planning for the Takoma Langley Sector Plan and Purple Line, created the city's Safe Routes to School program and led small business development, including assisting in the creation of the first farmer's market in the country to provide a match for federal nutrition programs such a WIC and SNAP. Suls has also consulted on planning projects for local governments throughout the UK and for the private and nonprofit sectors in Rhode Island. Suls is an AICP certified planner and received a master's degree in urban uesign from the University College London's Bartlett School of Architecture.
Michael Stevens, AICPMichael Stevens is the president of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District (BID) in the SE waterfront area of Washington, D.C. — the city’s fastest growing mixed-use urban neighborhood. Stevens has been involved in the economic development, urban planning, and downtown/neighborhood development fields for the majority of his 38-year career. He has participated in numerous downtown redevelopment efforts for cities such as Wichita, Kansas; Lubbock and San Antonio, Texas; Dallas; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Washington, D.C. He has also served on planning advisory panels for the Urban Land Institute and the International Downtown Association for a variety of cities. His career has included positions at public sector planning agencies, nonprofit entities, and private planning firms. He holds a master’s degree in urban planning/urban design from Virginia Tech and a BA in urban sociology from Millsaps College.
Natalie AveryNatalie Avery is the executive director of the DC BID Council, the association of Washington, D.C.'s 10 Business Improvement Districts. From 2008–2010, she ran the MidCity Business Association, where she primarily focused on small business advocacy and neighborhood marketing. Over the last 10 years, she has done research and consulting work for a range of to community and youth development clients, including the Urban Institute, Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Responsible Hospitality Institute. She has written for D.C. blog Greater Greater Washington.