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JD's State of the Hood, January 2007


Introduction

When development is moving as fast as it is in Near Southeast, it can be good to step back for a moment and summarize exactly where we're at. And since January always brings the anniversary of the launch of this site (live since 2003!), it's as good a time as any.

I think 2006 will be looked on as a pivotal "Out With the Old, In With the New" moment for Near Southeast. While previous years saw much discussion and long-range planning highlighting the possibilities that Near Southeast presented, and while other projects had arrived on the scene in 2001 and 2003, this was the year that saw delivery of the neighborhood's first new non-office projects and the beginnings of much more to come. In addition, the near-completion of the Capper/Carollsburg demolition brought to a close the old run-down public housing component of the neighborhood, while the excited reaction to the first offerings of townhouses in its mixed-income replacement, Capitol Quarter, showed that there is plenty of interest in moving to what only a few years ago was a moribund area of the city.

But while a number of projects moved forward in 2006, the 800-pound gorilla of them is of course the new Nationals baseball stadium, covering 21 acres along South Capitol Street. The wrangling throughout much of 2006 over how to handle the 1,225 required parking spaces on the site (which was ultimately "resolved" with plans for nondescript parking garages guaranteed to be completed by Opening Day 2008) caused no small amount of angst about the project, but by year's end, with the eastern edge of the upper deck already far enough along to see the first concrete forms for the seats put in place, excitement about what's to come seemed to finally overshadow the political back-and-forth that characterized the early months of the stadium project.

The rest of 2006 was filled with stories of ANC 6D's fights over alley closings, public meetings about the design of Canal Park, plans for the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station, worries about additional stadium parking, and mini crime waves that, while far and away fewer incidents what Near Southeast used to see only a few short years ago, reminded everyone that it's still a neighborhood in, uh, transition.

But with the stadium continuing to progress, and projects in the rest of the neighborhood moving forward, there's no doubt that Near Southeast 12 months from now will be even more different than it is now compared with 12 months ago. And that's saying something.


Projects Delivered in 2006


Courtyard by Marriott/Capitol Hill Tower
In March, Near Southeast got its first hotel, as Marriott's 300-room Courtyard opened at New Jersey and L, one block from the Navy Yard Metro station. Capitol Hill Tower, the Courtyard's sister building next door, opened a few months later, offering 340 co-ops plus an indoor pool, an exercise room, and an interior courtyard. By the end of 2006, approximately 60% of the units had been purchased.

    


Capper Seniors #1
At the very end of 2006, the Hope VI redevelopment of Capper/Carrollsburg saw its first completion as Capper Seniors #1 opened its doors at 5th and Virginia, offering 160 units to low-income senior citizens, most of them to be relocated from the old Capper Seniors at 7th and M.


 


Projects Started in 2006


New Nationals Ballpark -- A 41,000-seat glass-and-concrete stadium designed by HOK Sport, its construction has raced along (on time and on budget!) since its groundbreaking in early May, and it has already begun to change the skyline of Near Southeast and the Anacostia Waterfront. Plans are for the exterior construction to be finished by late summer 2007, leaving enough time for the field's grass to grow before Opening Day 2008.



100 M Street
Construction on Opus East's 240,000-sq-ft office building with ground-floor retail got underway in the fall of 2006 on the northeast corner of 1st and M streets. Delivery is expected in late 2008.


Onyx on First
Being built concurrently with 100 M next door, Onyx is a 14-story, 260-unit condo tower on the southeast corner of 1st and L. Developed by Faison and Canyon-Johnson, it expects to open in fall 2008.


70/100 I Street
Residential behemoth JPI is building two residential towers on I Street between Half and 1st, overlooking the fabulous Southeast Freeway. Construction began in Fall 2006, and the two buildings, with more than 670 units, are expected to open in mid-2008.



2006 Departures

If you take some time to wander through my Demolished Buildings page, you'll see that more than 65 Near Southeast buildings met the wrecking ball in 2006, mostly at Capper/Carrollsburg and within the footprint of the stadium.

Many of these buildings were no longer occupied, but others were home to familiar businesses that are now gone, such as the gay bars that lined O Street (Ziegfield's, Secrets, Heat, Follies, Club Washington), plus other well-known neighborhood landmarks (the On Luck Cafeteria at 1st and M, the Washington Sculpture Center on Half Street, and the Alfred Richards home at 21 N Street--the stadium-related demolition that caused the greatest gnashing of teeth).

Other businesses that closed their doors in 2006 include all of the other nightclubs in Near Southeast: Nation in July, followed by Wet, Edge, and Club 55 in September, and then rounding out the year with the Nexus Gold Club, which bowed out with a farewell sendoff on the last night of 2006. Additionally, the Good N Plenty takeout across from the stadium site closed, as did the car-repair and taxi businesses along the west side of 1st Street between K and L.



On the Horizon in 2007

If 2006 was the opening of the floodgates, 2007 may be the deluge. Nine projects are scheduled to get under way, encompassing more than 1,200 new residential units and 1.5 million sq ft of office space; and the delivery of the new US Department of Transportation headquarters in spring 2007 will, in one swoop, add 1.35 million sq ft of office space and 7,000 employees to Near Southeast.

To be sure, the softening of the housing market and the potential overbuilding of DC-area Class A office space could mean that some developments currently slated for a 2007 start might get temporarily shelved--or does being in the spiffy new neighborhood next to the spiffy new stadium trump real estate economics?

By summer 2007 the stadium will look all but complete from the outside, as Clark/Hunt/Smoot turns its focus inside the ballpark to get it ready for its April 2008 opening. Just to the north, Monument Realty will be digging a block-long hole along Half Street between M and N, trying to get as much of its mixed-use project's underground parking and first-floor retail completed (as well as the Navy Yard Metro station's expansion) before Opening Day 2008. A few blocks to the east, construction on the first Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhomes will be underway. And there'll be the start of construction of some sort at The Yards in 2007, though as of now we don't quite know what (residential and retail would be the best bet).

Summer of 2007 is also supposed to bring the demolition of the South Capitol Street viaduct, remaking the Frederick Douglass Bridge exit ramp so that it reaches street level at Potomac Avenue instead of O Street (so that the sparkly new stadium doesn't have an ugly decaying bridge rubbing up against its west side). And the Navy Yard Metro station will spend 2007 getting upgraded, expanding its capacity to 15,000 riders an hour.

As I look at what's coming, my own hope for 2007 is that my stamina--and my camera--hold up.


Planned Deliveries in 2007


US Department of Transportation
Albeit a few months behind schedule, the new 1.35-million-sq-ft DOT HQ should finally open its doors in spring 2007 to its 7,000 employees, although it remains to be seen exactly when the additional retail offerings (kiosks along M Street and restaurants in the red-brick Old Electric Substation at its southwest corner) will actually come on line. Increased traffic and decreased on-street parking in Near Southeast will no doubt reflect DOT's arrival almost immediately.
    


Capper Building #2
The wraparound addition to the Carroll Apartments at 4th and M will bring 140 new units to the building for low-income seniors, and should be completed in spring 2007.

    


20 M Street
Already cursed by some baseball fans for blocking the view of the US Capitol Dome from many of the seats in the ballpark, Lerner Enterprises' 20 M Street office building is scheduled to open in Spring 2007, offering 190,000 sq ft of office space, four floors of underground parking, and ground-floor retail. As of this writing, no tenants have been announced.


Getting Started in 2007


Monument Realty's Half Street Projects -- Monument spent 2004 and 2005 snapping up as much land north of the stadium as it could, and early in 2007 it will start the first Ballpark District project, running along Half Street between M and N and offering 275,000 sq ft of office space, a 200-room W Aloft Hotel, a 350-unit residential tower, and 50,000 sq ft of retail. And they'll be overseeing the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station, too. It's possible that the 700 underground parking spaces and some of the retail may be completed in time for use by stadium-goers in 2008.


The Yards/Southeast Federal Center -- Forest City Washington's 40-acre site on the banks of the Anacostia will eventually offer 1.8 million sq ft of office space, 2,800 residential units, over 200,000 sq ft of retail, and a 5.5-acre waterfront park; in 2007, it's expected that work will begin on at least one residential project, with delivery in 2009. Perhaps they'll do some work on the park, too.


Capitol Quarter -- The meat of the Capper/Carrollsburg public housing project's revitalization will finally get off the drawing board when construction begins in 2007 on the first of the 210 townhouse units, offered by EYA. Approximately 40 units (both workforce-rate and market-rate) have already been snapped up, and more will be offered throughout 2007. Construction will start between 4th and 5th streets south of K, and work counterclockwise around the site before being completed in probably 2010.
 


909 New Jersey Avenue
JPI adds another Near Southeast project to its portfolio, with this 238-unit residential tower on the block between K and I, formerly home to the Nexus Gold Club and less than a half-mile from the US Capitol. Delivery could come in late 2008.

    


1325 South Capitol Street
Camden Development taunts me by launching a 244-unit residential project that's technically in Southwest but that I feel compelled to cover since it's directly across the street from the stadium. Construction expected to begin in mid-2007, with delivery possibly in late 2008.


Canal Park -- Even if work doesn't actually begin in 2007 on this three-block long park along 2nd Street between I and M, the city hopes to have the school buses removed from the site by mid-2007, which in and of itself counts for plenty of urban-beautification points. But hopes are to have the park ready by spring 2008. The park, designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd., will include water features, plenty of open space, and an amphitheater and seating area near M Street.
 


250 M Street
The "sister" building to 1100 New Jersey Avenue (its neighbor across Canal Park), this office building by William C. Smith will total 200,000 sq ft, with an additional 13,000 sq ft ground-floor retail. Construction is slated to begin in early 2007; delivery is currently expected in Q4 2008.

    


1111 New Jersey Avenue
Donohoe is planning to begin construction on this 146,000-sq-ft office building next to the Navy Yard Metro station in mid-2007, with delivery in 2008.

    


1015 Half Street
Reading the tea leaves on this 440,000-sq-ft Potomac Investment Properties office building would seem to indicate a 2007 start, but this is still just a guess, no firm date has been announced.


Anything Else?

It's possible that some other projects not listed here might kick into gear in 2007--ones to watch include Lerner's 320,000-sq-ft 1000 South Capitol Street office building, the Cohen Companies' 800,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on the Square 699N block bounded by K, L, Half, and 1st, and Willco Construction's 515,000-sq-ft office/residential/retail project planned for 1st Street between M and N.

The protracted negotiations for the WASA land across 1st Street from the stadium and the WMATA bus depot at Half and M could also finally get resolved in 2007. And if it's to be ready by Opening Day 2008, the planned 40,000-sq-ft 1st Street Plaza where 1st Street ends at the Anacostia River would need to get started in 2007 (I wouldn't bet on it, though).

In summary? 2007 could be quite a ride.



To see the latest on these projects and others in the months and years to come,
visit my Project Directory for quick info on what's coming and what's here.
Also, for figures on what's been built and started in Near Southeast since 2001,
see Development Since 2001, By the Numbers.




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