Oct 13, 2023 - News

Mayor Bowser taps new economic development chief

Nina Albert's new job includes increasing foot traffic downtown. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

D.C. has a new economic development chief, and she knows a thing or two about empty office space.

Driving the news: Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday picked Nina Albert to succeed John Falcicchio, the former aide likened to a "shadow mayor" who left amid complaints of sexual harassment.

  • Albert most recently served as commissioner of Public Buildings Service for the General Services Administration, which manages federal properties nationwide — including the FBI building at the center of a fierce relocation debate.
  • She previously oversaw development projects around Metro stations as a vice president at WMATA and worked in D.C. agencies.

Why it matters: The appointment comes at a pivotal time in the city's economy as D.C. tries to turn empty downtown offices into apartments and lure megaprojects like a Commanders stadium at RFK.

⚡️ The big picture: As deputy mayor for economic development, Albert will work with developers and businesses to encourage local investment.

Plus: She will join as the city attempts to incentivize office-to-residential conversions — a process that's proven to be tricky.

  • Some downtown projects have been put on hold.

📣 Flashback: In January, Bowser called on President Biden to either return federal workers to their vacant offices downtown — or turn over the buildings to be repurposed.

Be smart: The feds own or lease a third of D.C.'s office space, according to Bowser.

Between the lines: Biden has stopped short of a three-day in-person work requirement for federal employees.

  • In August, he made his most overt push yet, asking his Cabinet to "aggressively execute" plans for employees to return to their offices this fall.

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