Joint Development is the real estate development program in which WMATA collaborates with developers to build housing, office, retail, and other amenities on WMATA property, typically through ground lease. These development projects maximize its TOD program by directly linking transit customers to destinations and services throughout the Greater Washington Area.
WMATA's first joint development project was in 1975 and its portfolio has since grown into the nation's most active program with 55 projects completed or under construction at 30 stations, totaling more than 31 million square feet of mixed-use development. There are an additional 40 stations with remaining potential that could support more than 23 million square feet of new development.
In 2022, WMATA published a 10-Year Strategic Plan for Joint Development that prioritizes stations based on their: (i) Market Readiness, (ii) Infrastructure Costs, and (iii) Development Potential. It also establishes a goal to complete 20 new joint development agreements by 2032 and identifies strategies to support that achievement. This framework will help to accelerate partnerships and the delivery of joint development by offering properties through ground lease or sale, which can be found in Projects & Solicitations.
All joint development activities are managed in accordance with FTA guidelines, as well as with WMATA's Joint Development Policies (published April 2018). The key principles that guide joint development for Metro include:
- Maintaining or growing transit ridership and enhancing customer safety and/or access
- Maintaining or enhancing Metro's ability to operate transit services
- Increasing farebox revenue, real estate proceeds, and other sources of revenue
- Mitigating financial risk to Metro
- Encouraging high-quality design that connects to the surrounding neighborhoods and communities
- Supporting or enhancing local economic development goals
WMATA's Joint Development Program Guidelines (published May 2020) and Station Area Planning Guidelines (published October 2020) walk through the process and criteria by which joint development projects are offered, evaluated, and approved. FTA's Joint Development Circular C 7050.1B (amended August 2020) provides further guidance on how FTA-funded real property can be used for joint development, which includes most of WMATA's property.