The proposed Old Town Business-Business Improvement Service District is committed to tackling long-standing problems in Old Town. Evidence of how the BISD would find and implement solutions are as follows:
During the discovery phase of this proposal, Old Town Business identified several solutions to Old Town’s parking problem. In 2023, Old Town Business launched a pilot program to provide parking for 75 retail employees in underused commercial office garages. Thus far, this program has successfully removed cars from the street while also creating new revenues for building and garage owners. Once it becomes a fully funded organization, the OTB-BISD aims to further grow this program by engaging an experienced outside consultant to develop a plan to expand this pilot to the larger BISD area. The program has the potential to add 1000+ spaces which employees, visitors, and residents could access using Spot Hero or other new technologies. Addressing this problem is even more pressing with the proposed Arena project in National Landing. Offering parking at Upper King St would increase revenues for property and garage owners in Old Town rather than Crystal City (where developers are directing parking now) and mitigate potential traffic congestion for the area. With just two metro stops from King Street to the Arena, it makes sense to have a BISD that can capitalize on this opportunity.
Upper King St
In addition to finding solutions for parking, during the discovery phase Old Town Business brought together property owners and economic development professionals to consider solutions to revitalize Upper King St. Currently, this area lacks a clear identity, retailers, restaurants, or other important economic draws which makes it difficult to lease office space and to develop residential projects. Ideas generated at the Old Town Business-sponsored event included applying for an Urban Land Institute TAP study to look at placemaking, zoning, and tax rates; creating an inviting, social media-worthy gateway to Old Town directing them to the start of a bustling commercial district; potential Sunday antique market in the Metro Kiss & Ride space to anchor activities and complement Saturday’s Farmer’s Market; and activation such as a Summer beer garden in the elevated plaza on Diagonal Road. All of which are impactful projects that would attract people, generate sales (and property) taxes, and help fill empty office and retail space if there was an OTB-BISD to make them happen.