On April 5, 2023, D.C. Policy Center Executive Director Yesim Sayin was quoted by DCist:
For Yesim Sayin Taylor, the director of the D.C. Policy Center, some type of government incentives — whether tax breaks, grants, or some other public offerings — will be needed to speed up the process of converting downtown office buildings to residential use. “It would take a ten-year recovery and turn it into a five-year recovery,” she said.
But Taylor says that D.C. isn’t yet thinking big enough about how to best get it done quickly enough to avoid the prolonged pain of having a desolate downtown. In Calgary, Canada, the local government is investing public funds to help convert almost a dozen office buildings to residential and other uses; so far the biggest single infusion of public funding has been $15 million for a single building. D.C. doesn’t have that type of money to spend, but Taylor says one idea she’s been toying with is an independent economic development corporation to marshal resources to transform downtown D.C.
“The two elements of an economic development corporation is that it has some independence in its vision of how to redevelop a place, and it has some assets that it can lean on. So we do not have money right now, but we can maybe negotiate for assets,” she said, citing the aging FBI headquarters building on Pennsylvania Avenue as a possible asset the federal government to hand over to a new economic development corporation as a development opportunity.