DC Mayor Muriel Bowser Urges Biden To End Federal Remote Work or Turn Over Government Buildings For Affordable Housing

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser Urges Biden To End Federal Remote Work or Turn Over Government Buildings For Affordable Housing

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser calls on President Joe Biden to help resolve her city’s rise in vacant office space and lack of affordable housing.

According to ABC News, Mayor Bowser urges Biden to end “work-from-home telework policies” for federal government workers or release vacant government buildings over to a new initiative to “move 100,000 new residents into the city.”

Today, the federal government is responsible for one-third of properties owned or leased in Washington and a quarter of the city’s jobs before the pandemic.

Mayor Bowser, who was recently sworn in for her historic third term as the first Black woman mayor to serve three consecutive four-year terms, took over eight years ago with a commitment to end homelessness.

However, since the rise of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mayor’s office needs more help promoting affordable housing while offering new opportunities to convert vacant and underutilized office spaces into new buildings for residential and retail use.

“We need decisive action by the White House to either get most federal workers back to the office, most of the time, or to realign their vast property holdings for use by the local government, by nonprofits, by businesses and by any user willing to revitalize it,” Bowser said, per the news outlet.

The Mayor’s office reported that the Central Business District is currently made up of 92% commercial space, with only 8% allocated to residential. In response, Bowser says the nation’s capital will “add 15,000 residents over the next five years and 87,000 more before it’s all said and done.” She also seeks to boost a rise in new residential conversion projects through her Housing in Downtown Abatement Program.

In December, in an announcement to promote a reimagined downtown, Bowser celebrated the conversion of the old Vanguard building that previously headquartered the Peace Corps since 1965. The building will house the Elle Apartments and is expected to bring 163 residential units when it opens in May 2024.

D.C., which has over 20 million square feet of vacant office space, is hoping to see a brighter future with the help of Biden and Bowser’s ambitious conversion program.

“We have seen how mixed-use communities are more resilient in the face of adversity, Mayor Bowser said in a press release. By converting vacant offices into homes, we can put these spaces back to productive use, add much-needed housing, and create a vibrant downtown where people live, work, and play.”