Partners Including Citi, Development Corporation of Columbia Heights,
Former Mayor Anthony Williams, NCRC and the Washington, D.C. Economic Partnership Helped Revitalize Once-Blighted Neighborhood
Washington, D.C. (February 20, 2009) – More than 1,200 jobs and 30 new business have been created in Columbia Heights since 2002, the result of a public-private partnership that has helped transform a struggling inner-city community into a thriving neighborhood. And an additional 30,000 square feet of retail development is in the pipeline. These figures were reported by Social Compact, a coalition of business leaders from across the country who are promoting successful business investment in lower-income communities for the benefit of current residents.
The most prominent evidence of the neighborhood’s revitalization is DC USA, the 500,000-square-foot retail complex anchored by leading retailer Target and home of national retailers such as Best Buy, Marshall’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, The Children’s Place, and Payless. DC USA officially opened its doors in March 2008.
DC USA is the result of a public-private partnership that worked to revitalize the community, including Citi, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, then-Mayor Anthony Williams, NCRC, and the Washington, DC Economic Partnership, and has become a shining success story for inner-city development.
In 2006, Citibank helped pave the way for DC USA by providing the $88.6 million construction loan and purchasing $46.9 million of tax-exempt bonds issued by NCRC. Today, a new Citi branch sits proudly across the street from DC USA.
“At Citi, we are strongly committed to supporting community organizations dedicated to revitalizing underserved communities across the country,” said Shamina Singh, deputy director and chief operating officer of Citi Community Relations. “We are proud to support Social Compact and DC USA, which has transformed the Columbia Heights area of Washington, D.C. into a safe and thriving community.”
In 2002, nonprofit community development organization Social Compact released a groundbreaking Neighborhood Market DrillDown analysis revealing that Columbia Heights was home to 51% more people and 34% higher incomes than reported in the 2000 Census, stimulating support for a wide-spread revitalization effort.
“Our data showed that the struggling Columbia Heights community was home to opportunity, and that it could sustain new development,” said John Talmage, president and CEO of Social Compact, a national nonprifit whose mission is to promote investment in underserved neighborhoods. “Thanks to the dedication and commitment of our partners, we’ve been proven right. The neighborhood now boasts new housing, sit-down restaurants, and small business startups. It’s a truly remarkable transformation.”
In a neighborhood devastated by riots in 1968, Columbia Heights’ burned out buildings and high crime statistics not only drove away residents but also kept private development at bay for decades.
“Where there used to be no options for residents in this neighborhood, now Columbia Heights is a shopping destination, stemming the leakage of commerce and jobs from the District,” said Bob Moore, president and CEO of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights.
About Social Compact
Social Compact is a not-for-profit organization that is nationally recognized for breaking down barriers to private investment in inner-city neighborhoods. By applying its cutting-edge methodology across available economic data for underserved communities, Social Compact uncovers overlooked economic indicators and provides detailed analyses that translate into new tools to support community development.
Through this groundbreaking process, Social Compact is able to redefine the business profiles of some of the most investment-neglected but potentially rewarding urban markets. Working with municipalities and private investors, Social Compact is at the vanguard of targeted and catalytic urban development, opening America’s underserved communities to new and life-changing investments.