When added to the elevated Red Line track that ran through the neighborhood, the NoMA-Gallaudet Station became WMATA's first infill station and provided access to an undeveloped region of the city, whose prime location lacked everything but transit connectivity.
Project Type:Station Project Mode:Heavy Rail Average Weekday Riders:9,050 Length (mi):0.00
Economic Distress:1.52 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):8543 Population Growth Rate (%):-0.19
Employment Growth Rate (%):0.90 Market Size:4,739,999 Airport Travel Distance:15 Topography:4
Region:New England/Mid-Atlantic State:District of Columbia County:Washington, DC
City:Washington Urban/Class Level:Core Local Area:Zip Code 20002 (NE Metro DC)
Impact Area:Within 3/4 mile of station Transportation System:Transit GIS Lat/Long:38.907378 / -77.003030
Initial Study Date:1999 Post Constr. Study Date:2014
Constr. Start Date:2002 Constr. End Date:2004
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): 2004 Planned Cost (YOE $):100,000,000
Actual Cost (YOE $):120,000,000 Actual Cost (curr $):151,200,000
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
Select a region to display the conditions for that region:
NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
|Income (in $M's)||1266.89||0.00||1266.89|
|Output (in $M's)||1797.70||0.00||1797.70|
The NoMa-Gallaudet Metro Station in Washington, DC opened to riders in November 2004. It was the first in-fill station in the Metro subway system and unlocked the growth potential of an area that had been relatively neglected and undeveloped despite its proximity to downtown DC. In the 10 years following it’s opening, an estimated 12,270 new jobs were located in the neighborhood now known as NoMa. The transit improvement itself can account for about 10,000 of these jobs, with the balance explained by supportive land use policy and an active Business Improvement District. Only half of the planned development has been constructed, so this number could double again. There has also been an explosion of residential and retail development since the station’s opening. One of the major factors in the construction of the station occurring was a very supportive coalition of developers that helped to find the station’s construction.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
The NoMa-Gallaudet Station is on Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority’s (Metro) Red Line, which is the oldest in the system. It was built in the middle of a 2-mile stretch of track between Union Station and the Rhode Island Avenue Station. It was originally named the New York Ave – Florida Ave – Gallaudet U Station after the nearest major street crossings. The NoMa neighborhood, whose identity really began developing after the station provided transit access to the surrounding land, is just over a one-mile walk from the U.S. Capital building and neighbors several other growing neighborhoods. The NoMa-Gallaudet may contribute directly to the future growth of the Florida Avenue Market neighborhood.
The NoMa-Gallaudet station is very well connected to the rest of the metro area given its central location in the Metro system. It can be accessed from anywhere in the region where there is Metro access with a single transfer, since the Red Line connects to each of the other lines nearby in the core and with the Green Line and Yellow Line a second time farther north. DC Metro has identified this type of transit connectivity as a major factor in property development. High connectivity in a city with strong transit ridership has likely been a key component of the attractiveness of the NoMa neighborhood to developers.
There is still a significant amount of parking on private property for commuters and residents for a core neighborhood, but the transit access has allowed the street network to maintain a reasonable level of congestion. There are plans in development to further improve the pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in the neighborhood and around the station, as well as improving connectivity to some of the neighborhoods east of the station by providing pedestrian access underneath the Amtrak track embankments.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
Before the station’s opening, the surrounding area was largely surface parking and industrial buildings. Both employment and population in this portion of DC were much lower than geographically similar parts of the city in other locations. Today, the area has been rebuilt with modern office buildings, residential space, and retail. A significant portion of the office space is occupied by federal agencies and non-profits. The residential market in NoMa quickly became one of the most popular in the city.
Metro’s track at the NoMa station parallels the Amtrak lines from Union Station on elevated right-of-way. The station construction project built a new elevated platform in place while maintaining service to the already busy Red Line. When the station was completed, it filled in a 2-mile gap through a section of town, which was not originally provided transit access, since there was not demand for service at the time of the Red Line’s construction.
When the station was first conceived in the late 1990s, development pressure was building to take advantage of the area’s prime location relative to the city’s core. However, without transit access it was unlikely that the road network would be able to provide the mobility necessary to maximize the land’s potential value. The plan leveraged funding from several sources- private, city and federal- to create the city’s first in-fill station and unlock the area’s development potential.
The federal government viewed this transit improvement as a means to sustainable neighborhood development by adding much needed new locations for federal offices in the DC core near other agencies. Identifying sites with this type of potential for office development was a stated goal of the federal government at the time of station planning. The local government saw a great opportunity to increase property values and attract businesses and residents to grow the tax base.
Construction funded by this public-private partnership began in 2002 and the station opened in November 2004. The final contribution of the District of Columbia was $54 million, the federal government contributed $31 million, and the private sector invested $35 million, for a total of $120 million in 2004 dollars.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
Today, there are over 9,000 exits on the average weekday at the NoMa station in an area that previously had no rapid transit access. Metro expects NoMa-Gallaudet to be the system’s fastest growing station moving into the future and projects that the continued build out of the neighborhood could more than double that figure. This ridership is driven by improved access to and from NoMa from elsewhere in the city as well as the local growth of employment and population. As development occurs around stations in other fast growing neighborhoods and the system expands, the well-situated NoMa-Gallaudet station becomes an ever more important part of the value of living or locating a business or organization in the neighborhood.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
Since the completion of the station, more than 3,000 residential units have been added in the station area and 3,000 more are planned to be built by 2019. Many of these units are targeted towards relatively small households of professionals. Prior to the station’s construction, very few people resided in the station area at all. If these households were attracted from addresses outside the District each of these units may provide as much as $5,000 dollars in income tax revenue to the city, as well as, increased sales tax and other spending benefits.
Local government revenues from property and sales tax also benefited enormously. Some of the development or sales that drive these revenues may have also occurred elsewhere in the city in a counterfactual scenario without the NoMa-Gallaudet station. Prior work identifies about $34 million more in property tax and $2.8 million more in hotel tax in 2014 relative to 2006 due to increased property value in the neighborhood. This is the mostly likely type of net new revenue. Sales tax receipts are also estimated to have increased by about $7.3 million
Fewer residential units have been completed in the region than the DC Office of Planning had original envision. It has been office and retail space that have expanded rapidly. Other parts of DC are governed by zoning overlays that require private developers to build a specific target mix of residential (including low-income units) compared to commercial development. These overlays have not governed development in NoMa, and developers have been able to build greater amounts of commercial property. From 2005 to 2015, over 2,300,000 square feet of mostly Class A office space was added in close proximity to the station. There are nearly 140,000 square feet of new retail locations, and over 600 hotel rooms. In total these developments support around 12,270 jobs. They also generate new property, sales, hotel, and other tax revenue for the District.
The total investment in the station area is estimated to be around $1.7 billion for residential, office, retail, and hotel developments. In total, construction in the ten years following the station’s opening has added over 8 million square feet of floor space to the neighborhood. This amount is still expected to double under the currently approved plans.
Since estimates of the number of employees in the neighborhood exceed total daily ridership, people are clearly coming to the neighborhood by other means than the Red Line station at NoMa-Gallaudet. Without the station, however, developers would have been highly unlikely to invest in such high-intensity land uses and many of the jobs, residences, and retail locations, which are being accessed using the road network would not have existed.
In addition to the new transit station, several other efforts and policy changes supported the growth unlocked by the infrastructure improvement. In 2007, the coalition of developers and local organizations, which had worked with the public sector to make the station a reality, reformed their organization as the NoMa Business Improvement District (NoMaBID). NoMaBID has been integral in continuing to market and improve the neighborhood for businesses, residents, and visitors. Both before construction and after the station’s opening, an interested group of developers was important in moving the project forward.
Land use planning was also very supportive of development in the station area. A rezoning of the area shortly before the station opened allowed for a variety of moderate- to high-density mixed-use purposes. Development in NoMa could achieve maximum density levels higher than many parts of the city by utilizing the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) receiving zone status of the area. By preserving lower densities in other portions of the metro area, TDR allows higher densities to be attained in receiving zones. Developers were also afforded relatively high flexibility by limiting the need for major plan review and approval and the area’s lack of inclusionary zoning set asides or aggressive residential share requirements. All of these land use policies allowed developers to quickly unlock the potential of the significant developable land in the location, which was also relatively easy to assemble into larger properties due to the previous land uses.
Improved transit access, supportive land use, and cooperative marketing and provision of amenities have all combine to provide economic development that so far has resulted in over 12,000 jobs. Without the station access, much of the potential provided by the supportive land use would likely not have been realized. Developers would likely not have built to maximum density if provision of parking to car commuters would have been the only way for tenants’ employees to travel to the neighborhood. Consequently, it would be reasonable to attribute as many as 10,000 jobs to the station’s role in development.
NoMA Bisiness Improvement District
District Department of Transportation
Case Study Developed by Economic Development Research Group, Inc.