Chart of the week: Mixed-use neighborhoods have not been spared from a rising office vacancy rate 

June 14, 2024
  • Daniel Burge

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, mixed-use neighborhoods in D.C. were more economically resilient than office-heavy neighborhoods.[1]

As the chart above shows, office-heavy neighborhoods have consistently posted a higher annual office vacancy rate than mixed-use ones. Moreover, unlike office-heavy neighborhoods, mixed-use neighborhoods did not experience a substantial increase in their annual office vacancy rate between 2019 and 2020.

In recent years, mixed-used neighborhoods seem to have lost their advantage in securing new leases. Since 2021, the vacancy rate of mixed-use neighborhoods has increased at a similar or slightly faster pace than the rate of office-heavy ones.  Not only does this trend suggest that the problem of office vacancies is spreading beyond downtown D.C., the trend also invites questions about what the best neighborhood model is for the city’s future. 

[1] This piece borrows its classification scheme from Bailey McConnell, “Is mixed-use the future of downtown D.C.?,” D.C. Policy Center, November 23, 2021, Neighborhoods classified as “mixed-use” include “Southwest, Capitol Hill, Georgetown, West End, NoMa, and Capitol Riverfront.” The two neighborhoods classified as “office-heavy” are the “Central Business District (CBD) and East End.” The CoStar data used in this piece was downloaded in late May of 2024.


Daniel Burge

Director of the Alice M. Rivlin Initiative for Economic Policy & Competitiveness
D.C. Policy Center

Daniel Burge is the Director of the Alice M. Rivlin Initiative for Economic Policy & Competitiveness. Before joining the team at the D.C. Policy Center in late October of 2023, Daniel worked at the Center for Washington Area Studies at George Washington University. He performed data analysis for a report on mortgage market trends in the Capital Region and co-authored a policy brief on property tax lien sales. Daniel has published work in The Washington Post and Greater Greater Washington. He received his BA from the University of Puget Sound, his PhD in American history from Boston University, and his MPP (Master of Public Policy) from George Washington University.

You can reach Daniel at