November 2022 — Updated to include more recent information and the work completed since the inception of the plan in late 2021.
The NoMa BID: NoMa’s Champion & Steward
NoMa Business Improvement District strives to be both a vocal champion and an effective steward of the NoMa neighborhood on behalf of all of its businesses, employees, residents, visitors, and the city as a whole.
In our role as cheerleader, we promote NoMa, attracting attention and business activity. We host our own events and sponsor the events of others. We create and celebrate public art. And we connect visitors, workers, and residents to experiences and opportunities they can enjoy.
Our stewardship of the neighborhood is evident in the work of our Ambassador Operations team, cleaning and beautifying the streets and public spaces. And behind the scenes, our staff is coordinating and communicating, building relationships and engaging stakeholders to create long-lasting investments and commitments to what NoMa can become.
Supporting & Growing NoMa Businesses
The NoMa BID provides a vital layer of support for the businesses within Greater NoMa. We know that a thriving business community runs on diversity—diversity of ideas, of sectors, of sizes, and of target markets. We work hard to connect businesses to the people who live and work in NoMa, and to cultivate a physical and cultural environment where everyone can flourish.
We connect NoMa’s businesses with advice, guidance and promotional support, we conduct and analyze research, and perhaps most impressively, we build and maintain dazzling public spaces. We’re always on the lookout for new ideas and approaches to serving businesses and their employees, and we create adaptive communication channels for owners, tenants, managers, and workers to connect with us and provide feedback.
Cultivating Community & Identity
NoMa has experienced dramatic change since the NoMa – Gallaudet University Metro Station was built in 2004. Its identity continues to develop as a growing volume of new residents, businesses, institutions, and public space improvements make their mark.
When residents, employees, and visitors of these parts think about NoMa, they don’t think of lines on a map, but instead think of a growing and vibrant neighborhood that provides convenient access to the rest of DC and the region. When employers think about NoMa, they see an affordable and accessible alternative to downtown.
Throughout the input phase of this plan, we heard from employees, residents, and stakeholders that community & identity represented a next frontier for NoMa, but conversely that the BID could not directly create them. Instead, the strategy we’ve embraced is to create the spaces, experiences, and opportunities that will help community and identity develop, grow, and flourish.
Our Successes & Assets
NoMa’s success is evident in everything from the large number of cranes dotting the skyline to the thriving businesses that line the streets and fill the office towers. As this plan kicks off, the neighborhood is in the middle of another construction boom, continuing to attract large volumes of private investment. Currently (Summer 2021), the NoMa BID comprises 12.6 million square feet of office space, 5,922 multifamily residential units, 622 hotel rooms, and 425,000 square feet of retail. When the buildings currently being built are completed, all of these numbers will have increased, some quite dramatically:
Public investment in NoMa has been just as foundational to the neighborhood’s success. The NoMa Parks Foundation is wrapping up its execution of the District of Columbia’s $50 million investment in NoMa for the creation of public park spaces. And tens of millions more will be applied to projects such as the reconfiguration of the intersection at New York and Florida Avenues NE to calm traffic and create stunning new public plaza and green spaces, the replacement of the H Street Bridge, the addition of bike lanes on Florida Avenue NE and K Street NE, and new Bus Priority measures on H Street NW.
But NoMa’s oldest and best asset remains the same: location, location, location. As the business focus and cultural attention of the city shift eastward, NoMa is perfectly positioned to become a new hub of DC life.
The Ground Floor: NoMa’s Retail
As retail-heavy districts around the world suffered from the effects of the pandemic, a growing residential population in NoMa continued to support neighborhood businesses even as offices emptied out. NoMa’s retail establishments pivoted swiftly to meet the changing needs of the neighborhood, and while some closed temporarily, most have since reopened their doors and resumed normal operations. Meanwhile, retail vacancy is around 12 percent, and interest in the neighborhood remains high. By several metrics, NoMa is on the cusp of a retail boom, with ten new establishments opening in 2021, and more than 240,000 square feet of retail space now under construction (a 57% increase in supply). As you’ll see below, we will adapt our retail strategy for NoMa to make the most of these opportunities, and we are excited about what the future holds in this space.
The NoMa Lifestyle: Residential
Living in NoMa is ideal for anyone interested in being a part of the culture and vibrancy of the District of Columbia. Our location can’t be beat, and that, along with our relative affordability, is the main draw for current and prospective residents alike. The NoMa BID added about 1,600 multifamily residential units over the past few years (a 37% increase), including the NoMa BID’s first condo buildings. Construction in this sector continues at a rapid pace, and at a scale that will reshape the neighborhood over the next several years. As of this writing, 3,500 multifamily housing units are under construction within the NoMa BID. Upon completion, this would constitute a 58% increase in the supply of NoMa’s multifamily residential stock and include additional homeownership opportunities. All told, more than 12,200 people now live in NoMa / Union Market today, with roughly twice that expected by the end of Fiscal Year 2026.
Staying Power: NoMa’s Offices
NoMa’s office market is strong and balanced. Vacancy numbers have been stronger compared to that of the rest of the District of Columbia, hovering around 6% since early 2019, while District-wide vacancies increased to above 12%. The key to our office resiliency is reliable long-term office tenants, such as federal government agencies, landmark anchor office tenants like National Public Radio, and a healthy mix of residential, retail, and hotel offerings that support the office market.
NoMa’s Parks & Public Spaces
Five years ago, we laid out an ambitious public spaces agenda that built on the 2012 Public Realm Design Plan and we committed to delivering outstanding public spaces. Since then, the NoMa Parks Foundation (NPF) has used its $50 million grant from the District of Columbia to create dazzling, inviting green spaces throughout the neighborhood and has invested in establishing outdoor recreational space in a rapidly developing and formerly parks-starved community.
Today, NoMa’s public spaces are varied, unique, and establish the neighborhood as a place where everyone is welcome to spend some time. And more public spaces are on the way in NoMa.
Explore highlights of the current and future parks, plazas, and arts in the map below.
Morse Street Plaza
N Street Metro Plaza
Union Square Plaza
G Place Plaza
The Chicken & The Egg
Composition for the Axemen
Supreme BBQ/Aunteaboba (West Wall)
Metropolitan Branch Trail (East Wall)
PEPCO (West, North, & East Walls)
1300 First (North Wall)
37 New York (West Wall)
33 New York (East Wall)
AVA NoMa (West Wall)
Kerr Conway (East Wall)
15K (North Wall)
Alethia Tanner Park
The Lawn at Banner Lane
There is even more to the NoMa neighborhood beyond the BID’s boundaries. Today, the NoMa cultural footprint extends farther than our founders could have imagined. This concept of what comprises Greater NoMa is fluid, of course, and context-dependent, but there were some consistent ideas of what was included:
- Dense and relatively new mixed-use development in the BID and parts of Union Market
- Stable single-family residences east of the BID and in Eckington
- High-density affordable housing immediately west of North Capitol Street
- Diverse, popular retail offerings mixed with warehouses and wholesalers at the core of Union Market.
Since 2016, the Union Market area has grown into an incredible destination on NoMa’s doorstep, with about two million square feet of mixed-use development, including more than 1,900 residential units and about 220,000 square feet of office space. The residential projects were the first large scale multifamily developments to deliver, illustrating a notable shift from the primarily retail and warehouse uses that had characterized the area. With new properties also came new vibrant and unique retail tenants and restaurants. Up to three million additional square feet could deliver in the next five years, with continued focus on residential projects.
The built environment on the west side of North Capitol Street is also changing. Historically, affordable housing projects such as Sursum Corda, Tyler House, and Sibley Plaza have characterized the area. However, Sursum Corda is currently being replaced by a project that will include an even larger volume of affordable units, in addition to 900 new market rate units. This redevelopment, in addition to MRP’s Northwest One project (both currently under construction), promise at least two million square feet of residential development with a relatively high proportion of affordable housing units.
NoMa sits at the center of a web of growing and exciting neighborhoods. To the east, H Street NE is a rapidly developing, transit-oriented, and retail-dense corridor that is only a 15-minute walk from the core of NoMa, with DC’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood only a few blocks to the south. Northeast lies thriving Union Market, and beyond that, the trendy industrial triangle of Ivy City. The more downtown-like Mt. Vernon Triangle lies due west, while Truxton Circle and Shaw extend northwest. Northward, neighborhoods like Eckington, Brookland, and Brentwood connect to NoMa via the Metropolitan Branch Trail, a critical biking and walking corridor that brings walkers, joggers, and bicyclists through our streets every day.