The administration of Mayor Vince Gray is planning to establish a “technology corridor” stretching from 7th Street and New York Avenue NW to Georgia Avenue and Kansas Avenue NW as part of a new “Digital DC” initiative.
The plan, first reported by the Washington Business Journal, includes a venture fund to provide training and resources to early-stage D.C. entrepreneurs and “the establishment of a technology corridor (7th St NW/New York Ave NW to Georgia Ave NW/Kansas Ave NW) to establish a pipeline and clustered ecosystem of tech talent near the District’s existing tech hub within Gallery Place/Chinatown,” according to an email obtained by the paper.
Gray will announce the details of the program next Wednesday at the WeWork space in the former Wonderbread factory in Shaw.
The establishment of a tech corridor along 7th Street and Georgia Avenue is perhaps surprising given recent events in the city’s tech sector. In 2012, the Gray administration worked to amend tax incentives for the city’s tech firms so that they applied citywide, rather than just in certain targeted areas of the city. Additionally, the 7th-Georgia corridor is not the epicenter of recent D.C. tech developments: the tech hub 1776 opened last year on 15th Street NW, for instance, and Microsoft and other tech companies are expected to set up shop on the St. Elizabeths campus, near Congress Heights. The tech firm most associated with 7th Street, given its office at 7th and New York, is LivingSocial, which has suffered from layoffs and declining revenue in recent years.
On Wednesday, we should have a better explanation of why this particular corridor was chosen, and what support it will receive.