District of Columbia Office of Planning
Plans for emerging areas of Washington’s Center City have called for development of major green spaces to create a sense of place, improve the area’s livability, provide environmental benefits and enhance development potentials. Public/private partnerships present an important opportunity for external funding. Based on observation and anecdotal feedback from local brokers, it seems clear that a well-designed and well-maintained urban park can add significant value to surrounding office buildings. What was needed was statistically valid, empirical evidence as to the existence and size of the value premium. PES evaluated the impact of urban parks on commercial property values and/or rents, compiling an extensive database and using regression analysis to try to discern the existence of a rent or property value premium for office space proximate to one of four Central DC parks: Dupont Circle; Farragut Square; McPherson Square; and Franklin Square Park. In addition to this analysis, PES evaluated the potential to support concession alternatives for targeted Center City parks and prepared case studies of food concession activity in urban parks around the country. The review of comparable jurisdictions and park concession arrangements highlighted the differences among commercial lease arrangements.