Washington DC — The Foggy Bottom Association is partnering with the Washington Circle Business Association, The George Washington University and The Penzance Companies (owners of the Watergate office buildings and other properties) to encourage and promote greater involvement by stakeholders in the long-term retail development of the Foggy Bottom and West End areas. The goal of this multi-party initiative is to give the FBA and the neighborhood a stronger and more public voice in the retail development of the community, sitting at the table with the parties that drive much of its development.
By signing a five-year Memorandum of Understanding, each group agrees to work together to do several things on behalf of the neighborhood. They will conduct research related to neighborhood retail, conduct workshops and conferences to support neighborhood retailers and work to include public and private stakeholders in collaborative dialogue about the neighborhood’s retail needs.
“This initiative benefits the neighborhood in many ways”, comments Gregory Snyder, FBA board member. “First, it provides the FBA with the opportunity to learn from retailers what factors influence a decision to locate in a neighborhood. With that information, we can more effectively recruit retailers that our community wants such as a full-service grocery, moderately priced restaurants and other services that meet residents’ day-to-day needs.”
“Second, the FBA will collaborate with other stakeholders on public improvements to the neighborhood that will benefit both residents and retailers, such as better connections to the Potomac River and Georgetown and improved signage. Third, the work will help the FBA ‘get ahead of the curve’ in filling retail empty or soon-to-be empty retail spaces in Foggy Bottom and the West End. The FBA will work with others in recruiting retailers instead of having those decisions made wholly without any FBA involvement.”
This initiative has already begun to have positive results. Members that are landlords in the area have discussed referring retail brokers to building owners with vacant space within the area. Additionally, the parties have discussed dialoguing with a GW professor in the School of Business who is conducting research on creating attractive, walkable and livable urban communities.
The Foggy Bottom Association (FBA), founded in 1959, is a neighborhood-centered non-profit association serving the community in Foggy Bottom and the West End in the District of Columbia. The mission of the FBA is to further the civic, cultural, social and economic welfare of the Foggy Bottom and West End community; preserve and enhance the residential character of the community; and promote historic preservation in the area. The Washington Circle Business Association (WCBA) is a non-profit association of business operating in Foggy Bottom and West End. The WCBA’s mission is to advance and promote the development of businesses and to facilitate relationships and strategic partnerships to enhance Foggy Bottom and the West End community. The George Washington University (GW), is an institute of higher learning in Foggy Bottom, and has faculty and students who regularly engage in areas related to neighborhood-based economic development. GW owns educational and commercial buildings in Foggy Bottom, much of which contains street level retail spaces. The Penzance Companies own and manage retail and commercial space in the Foggy Bottom and West End community, including the Watergate office buildings and retail mall area.