Square 743N seen from New Jersey and M, with two of its three construction projects underway.
Square 743N

Square 0743N, which is home to the eastern entrance to the Navy Yard metro station, is currently home to new office building 100 M (completed in late 2008) and the Onyx on First apartment building, which opened in 2009. In late 2013 Donohoe announced that its 1111 New Jersey Ave. project would convert from a planned 220,000-sq-ft office building to a 324-unit residential building. Construction could begin in 2014, though it will require the demolition of the St. Matthew's Baptist Church at New Jersey and L.

Links:
100 M Office Retail: SunTrust, Gordon Biersch (April 2013)
Onyx: Official Web Site; Nov. 19 Grand Opening Party
1111 New Jersey Ave. (Donohoe)
Architects: WDG (100 M, 1111 NJ); Esocoff & Associates (1100 First)
Zoning Case 06-03, CG Overlay District Review (approved 5/25/06)
JD's 1st Street Projects News Items & Additional Links


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Photos: Much Catching Up to Do in the Name of Progress
Feb 23, 2014 3:53 PM
Finally, the weather and the calendar cooperated, and I spent Saturday taking a slew of photos around the neighborhood. To whit:
* HAMPTON INN: I can report that dirt is indeed being moved (if not necessary removed) from the site of the Hampton Inn on the northwest corner of 1st and N. This is the L-shaped hotel that will wrap around a planned two-story retail building right on the corner (which is not yet under construction). But, in case you weren't around pre-2008 and want to know what this hotel is "displacing," I give to you a peek at the hotel's N Street and 1st Street frontages in their previous lives:
* YARDS/PARCEL N: Men in hard hats operating heavy equipment are now found on most of the block where Forest City's next residential project is planned, south of Tingey and west of 4th. The new photos aren't really all that interesting other than as another tick on the historical timeline, so how about a shot of what the Parcel N lot looked like in 2004 (right), before any of the work on The Yards began.
* PARC/PARK: Toll Brothers's River Parc apartment building at 1st and K is almost topped out (below left). A couple blocks away, WC Smith's Park Chelsea has reached the halfway point of its vertical construction (below right).
* ST. MATTHEWS: While all sorts of newness is erupting around the neighborhood, there is one farewell worth noting, as St. Matthew's Baptist Church as New Jersey and L has left the neighborhood that had been its home since 1905 and the building that had been its home since 1972. Compare how it looked in 2006 (left) to today (right):
This site is part of the footprint for Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey apartment building, and with a raze permit application filed, this corner will probably be emptied before too many months go by. The church has found temporary quarters in Ft. Washington as it looks for a new permanent home.

Tuesday Tidbits: Flaky and Distracted
Feb 11, 2014 9:17 AM
A looming snowstorm will always divert my attention, but before the flakes fly, here's a few tidbits:
* I was not there, but the developers of the Florida Rock site apparently told Monday's ANC 6D meeting that they are looking at a June start of construction for the project's first phase, a 350-unit residential building. However, no building permit applications have been filed yet, with one reason being the need for some curb cut approvals, which the ANC voted to support. So, We Shall See.
* SWill reports that a developer is in the planning stages for a 260-unit apartment building on South Capitol Street across from Nationals Park, just north of the Camden building that opened last year. There are older rowhomes on the north end of the block, some or all of which could be incorporated into the project in some way. However, this is technically outside of my boundaries, so other than snapping photos of what will come, I'll be leaving this to Will to cover.
* I feel like I've already mentioned this, but in case I haven't, a raze permit has been filed for St. Matthew's Baptist Church on the southwest corner of New Jersey and L, to make way for Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey residential project. UPDATE: And commenter Alan below adds the tidbit that the church's message board out front now says "Looking for our perfect home."
* Washingtonian had very good things to say about Osteria Morini, while the Post's Tom Sietsema waxes saltily on Agua 301.

1111 New Jersey to Go Residential, Start in 2014
Dec 20, 2013 10:50 AM
WBJ reported on Thursday that Donohoe has made its decision to switch the long-planned 1111 New Jersey office development to a 13-story, 324-unit residential building with 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 213 underground parking spaces. It will be called the "Gallery at Capitol Riverfront."
Further, the construction contract has already been "awarded" (to, ahem, Donohoe Construction), and WBJ quotes a company official as saying the project will begin in the first quarter of 2014, with delivery in 2016.
The site, which is above the New Jersey Avenue portion of the Navy Yard-Ballpark subway station, also includes the land upon which sits the St. Matthews Baptist Church at New Jersey and L (seen at right), which Donohoe has apparently acquired. As you can see in the rendering, the building will sit right next to but will not contain the Metro station entrance (the way 55 M Street contains the west entrance at Half Street).
Donohoe bought most of the project's property back in 2005, then purchased the rest from WMATA.
If they do intend to get underway next year, that brings the total of new residential units expected in the neighborhood over the next two years to nearly 1,900, with Twelve12, River Parc, and the Park Chelsea already out of the ground and Yards/Parcel N, 800 New Jersey and now this Donohoe project in the lineup to start in 2014.
I think I might have to buy a new camera.

Biersch Gearing Up; Photos (Of Course)
Mar 28, 2013 2:00 PM
I was lucky enough to get invited one of the dry runs that Gordon Biersch is holding over the next few days to prepare the staff for their April 1 opening (because, with 40,000 Nats fans descending on the neighborhood, Biersch might get a bit of business). And they allowed me to take a pile of photos. I'll include the money shot here:
See all the pictures here.
There's one more day of test seatings on Friday, and then a VIP reception on Saturday.
It's a pretty dang big space. Definitely a completely new experience in the neighborhood!

Gordon Biersch Planning Opening Day Opening
Feb 28, 2013 9:59 PM
The Post's Going Out Guide is reporting that the Gordon Biersch at 1st and M is planning for an April 1 opening, which just happens to be the Nationals' 2013 Opening Day as well.
GoG says the restaurant will open at 11 am seven days a week, with happy hour from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The bar will stay open open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and midnight the rest of the week. (Food looks to be available until 10 pm Sunday-Monday, 11 pm Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, and midnight Friday-Saturday.)
The restaurant will have 226 seats inside, along with another 88 on the planned outdoor patio (they have applied for the required public space permit, but it's not approved yet). Might be a bit crowded on game days, but it will be interesting to see what kind of crowds it draws the rest of the time, especially from outside the neighborhood.
The location is now on the Gordon Biersch web site, too. And the head brewer has popped up on Twitter.
(The next question: will Biersch end up opening before the Park Tavern, which is now apparently delayed again?)

Retail, Restaurant, and Recreation News (New and Old)
Feb 11, 2013 11:40 AM
A hail of bullets on various retail, restaurant, and recreation-type items, some of which are relatively new, but some of which decidedly aren't:
* The boxing and fitness club DCBFIT opened last week in the ground floor of Capitol Hill Tower, at the corner of New Jersey and L SE. While their web site makes me tired and sore just looking at it, I'm sure there are plenty of folks who will find this offering intriguing.
* Gordon Biersch, coming soon to 1st and M, has "Now Hiring" signs up: go to Work4GB.com.
* Also hiring, according to commenter JT who passed along the Craigslist link, is the Park Tavern at Canal Park. The Hill is Home says that it's opening "very soon," even saying "around the 20th of February," but We Shall See.
* Nando's Peri-Peri now has signage up at the Boilermaker Shops--it's a little more than halfway down Tingey between 3rd and 4th, closer to the Bluejacket end of the building. It's supposed to be opening this spring.
* The Navy Yard portion of the Riverwalk was supposed to reopen today--anyone give it a shot yet? And, if so, is there any actual trail once you go out the east gate? As I showed a couple of weeks ago, the old asphalt had been ripped up as part of the 11th Street Bridges work, though of course it will be back at some point.
* Maybe now is finally a good time to mention the opening of petcare store Wagtime Too at 900 M Street, where it has been for a number of weeks now, offering boarding, daycare, grooming and "cool stuff." And I actually have taken a photo of it.
* Apparently the Quizno's at 8th and Potomac closed permanently back in December. And Chicken Tortilla at 8th and L was closed when I walked by a few weeks ago, though I don't know the story on that.
UPDATE: Yes, the Riverwalk is apparently open. And I meant to also mention that Kruba Thai and Sushi's web site is now up and running.

Sneaking a Quick Peek Inside the Gordon Biersch Space
Feb 2, 2013 5:33 PM
When wandering by the Gordon Biersch space earlier today, I managed to sneak a peek inside:
I also caught some more fermenters arriving, plus some signage (click to embiggen):
The sign kind of says it all, right? "Early April" -- will they manage to make Opening Day?
Seems hard to believe this is actually coming. There is also a public space permit application in the window for unenclosed sidewalk seating, so you can look forward to dining al fresco at 1st and M while hordes of Nationals fans traipse past in the summer.
(I also added these photos, and a few others, to my 100 M page, which I kind of hadn't really looked at since the building opened in 2008.)

WBJ: Gordon Biersch Confirmed for 100 M
Oct 31, 2012 6:01 PM
The Washington Business Journal confirms today what I've been chasing and rumoring for just over a year now, that brewery/restaurant Gordon Biersch is indeed coming to 100 M, the office building on the northeast corner of 1st and M, SE, one block north of Nationals Park.
No timetable was announced, but you'd think Opening Day 2013 would certainly be a goal. (Then again, we once thought that Opening Day 2012 would be a goal.)
The building permit application I saw a few weeks ago that I assumed was Biersch indicated the restaurant will have up to 236 seats indoors, and 94 outdoors.

Restaurant Permit Application at 100 M; Gordon Biersch, Finally?
Aug 31, 2012 10:38 AM
A building permit application has been filed with DCRA for an "interior alteration for new restaurant" at 100 M Street, one block north of Nationals Park at the corner of 1st and M SE.
The application information as seen online doesn't give any specifics of the applicant, but I wouldn't be surprised that this is at last the signal that brewery/restaurant Gordon Biersch is indeed coming to this corner ground-floor retail space in the 220,000-square-foot office building, as was first rumored last October.
I know absolutely nothing more than this, and perhaps now the hounds will now be released to get something confirmed. But no matter what tenant ends up in there, a restaurant in that space will be most welcomed by residents and fans.
(I'm guessing a by-the-playoffs timeline might be a bit aggressive, though.)
UPDATE: Meant to include that the application mentions 236 seats indoors, and 94 outdoors. And remember, this is still just an application, it's not approved yet.

Tuesday Tidbits: More Post-Vacation Catching Up to Do
Aug 21, 2012 10:25 AM
Here's a few more items that came across the transom while I was on my annual Hiding Out in Wyoming and Montana trip:
* Residents of Onyx have filed paperwork with the city under the Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act and are investigating options to buy the building themselves, after news came a few weeks back that the building is under contract to be sold for $82.5 million. If the city accepts the filing, the tenants' group would then have 120 days to come up with a competing offer. See the tenants' press release for why the group is pursuing this, including its hope that buying the building, which opened in 2009, will "reverse problems which plagued the area for years - poor housing conditions, rent increases, and attempts by developers to force residents out of the District." (If they succeed, I guess I'll have to stop using my standard joke about tenants looking in the sofa cushions for millions of dollars in spare change to buy their buildings.)
* DC Water has leased 16,450 square feet of office space on the 7th floor of 80 M Street through 2019 (GlobeSt.com). With or without telescopes for spying on the Main Pumping Station a few blocks to the south?
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is having an Urban Design Framework Plan prepared, to "examine the quality of the public realm in the BID and develop strategies for a comprehensive framework and public investment plan in the right-of-way." They've also commissioned a Retail Analysis Study "that will provide forecasts on future retail demand and absorption possibilities." Because if there's one thing a neighborhood can never have enough of, it's studies and analyses. (BID newsletter)
* The Earth Conservation Corps is offering "bird of prey demonstrations" on Friday nights through Sept. 28 at Diamond Teague Park, from 5:30-7:30pm. (via e-mail, no link!)
* Another rumination on Near Southeast's development timeline, at GGWash. As I've said many times--of course things were happening in Near Southeast before the ballpark (I wouldn't have started this blog in 2003 otherwise). But to not recognize that the ballpark sped up *plans* considerably is to not have watched the 18-month landrush in 2004 and 2005 after the ballpark's location was announced, when so many little lots between 1st and South Capitol south of the freeway were snapped up by the big guns. And to say that the ballpark didn't drive development right after it opened is to neglect the worldwide financial market near-collapse, and the years needed to recover from that. But I bet there's a lot of retailers and developers looking at the Nats this year and rueing that they didn't make their move already.
* So, in line with all that, check out nine years ago today, windshield edition.
* Cat with Natitude, Guga edition. (I don't think I'll tell him about the bird of prey demonstrations.)

Donohoe Seeking a Residential Option for 1111 NJ Plans
Jun 27, 2012 10:44 AM
A press release from Donohoe posted on the Capitol Riverfront BID web site says that the development company is designing a 13-story, 310-unit apartment building on its 1111 New Jersey site, on top of the east entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, and will be acquiring the St. Matthew's Baptist Church next door (seen in the photo at right).
An additional zoning approval is being sought in lieu of an outright change to the existing approvals for the long-planned 200,000-square-foot office building on the site, "to maintain flexibility as we evaluate options . . . for both office and residential uses."
The building, designed by WDG Architecture, would have a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom units, and approximately 9,000 square feet of retail, "almost" the same amount as the office building. There's an early rendering of what the new building could look like on the BID page. UPDATE: Donohoe passed along the image at left.
Donohoe bought the most of the site's land back in 2005, then purchased the remaining portion from WMATA. St. Matthew's has been close to being sold before, when Ruben Companies had a deal back in 2007 that never materialized. And Donohoe had been in discussions about acquiring the site before Ruben. What the acquisition of the church would mean if the office building is built is not clear (would the office building grow in size?).
If the apartment building does happen, it will be in line with other developers seeing the neighborhood as much more of a residential opportunity than when plans to revitalize the area first started being formulated. That and the fact that office leases are not very easy to come by these days.
Needless to say, no timeline at the present, beyond a trip through Zoning Land.

Onyx on First Apartment Building Under Contract for $82.25M
Jun 23, 2012 5:27 PM
Hot on the heels of the sales (completed and pending) of JPI's three "Capitol Yards" buildings, there's another notice in another lobby that a neighborhood apartment building is under contract to be sold. This time it's Onyx on First, the 266-unit apartment building on the southeast corner of 1st and L, which was developed by Faison with an assist from Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund and opened in late 2008.
The sale price is listed on the form as $82.25 million, with the buyer being ERP Operating Limited Partnership, which is the operating partnership of Equity Residential, owner of a slew of DC-area buildings including 425 Mass and 2400 M, as well as a huge slate of properties around the country. (As an aside, the company was started by Sam Zell, a name that certainly has resonance for folks in the newspaper biz.)
Onyx went on the market more than a year ago, but that initial offering didn't result in a buyer so it was re-offered later last year. The notice to tenants specified that there are only 11 units currently unoccupied.
As we all learned during the JPI sales, it's required by DC law that residential buildings of more than five units under contract to be sold be offered to residents to purchase. (Insert here my standard joke about looking in the sofa cushions for $82 million in spare change.)
JPI's Axiom and 909 buildings were sold for around $95 million each, with the the Jefferson's contract price/purchase price for tenants listed at about $165 million.
Onyx's next-door neighbor, the office building 100 M, was put up for sale in March. (Which is apparently just now news to WBJ, though I had heard rumors that it had been taken off the market after that original offering, so maybe this is a new push.)

100 M Office Building Up for Sale
Mar 2, 2012 10:48 AM
I'm hearing that 100 M Street, the 220,000-square-foot office building on the northeast corner of 1st and M, is up for sale. This is the building that was completed in late 2008 by Opus East, then spent some time in limbo during Opus's Chapter 7 liquidation. It was picked up in foreclosure for $57 million in fall 2010 by Northwood Investors.
I know little about this other than the fact it's on the market and being marketed by CBRE, so I don't know if this is a sale of just the building, like last time, given that the land is owned separately.
Anticipating the next question, there's been no news lately of a deal to rent the corner retail space, despite rumors last year that restaurant/brewery Gordon Biersch was interested.
The building's next door neighbor, the Onyx on First apartment building, was put on the blocks twice last year, but so far there's no indication of a deal. A couple blocks to the north, the neighborhood's three apartment buildings developed by JPI are under contract to be sold. And Opus East's other office development in Near Southeast, 1015 Half Street, is apparently being bought by Prudential Real Estate Investors after construction was completed by the Douglas Wilson Companies.
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A Few Oh-Yeah-I-Meant-to-Mention-That Tidbits
Jan 9, 2012 9:52 AM
* 1015 Half Buyer: On Friday the Post debuted a "What's Going On With....?" feature at their new Where We Live Real Estate blog (reminds me of my old "What's the Deal With...?" days), and the first item was on the empty office building at 1015 Half Street. One tidbit not mentioned there, or at JDLand before now, is that apparently Prudential Real Estate Investors is buying the building, with the deal supposed to be closing this month, according to Bisnow. Bisnow says that the deal was always for Prudential to buy out Bank of America's stake in the building when it was finished, even back when it was Opus East doing the developing, not current receiver Douglas Wilson Companies.
* Onyx Sale: The Onyx on First apartment building never sold when it first went on the block back in March, and a second offering apparently closed in December. Perhaps there will be news soon.
* Navy Yard Riverwalk Closure: It was announced on Twitter last week that the Navy Yard Riverwalk will be closed from Jan. 5 to Jan. 17 to install fences around the piers. (What? You thought I meant the entire Riverwalk and not just the portion controlled by the Navy Yard? Why ever would you have thought that?)
* Winter Classic Rumoring: I guess if you haven't been following along for the past couple of years, the notion of an NHL Winter Classic in DC and at Nationals Park could be news to you, but at this point there's nothing new actually being reported, since no official announcement has been made.

Gordon Biersch to 100 M? and BID Surveys/Planting Day
Oct 20, 2011 8:19 PM
My post on Wednesday about the rumors of a not-quite-yet-signed tenant for the ground-floor restaurant space at 100 M Street SE shook loose quite a few mouths, and it is unanimous amongst those gabbers that the newcomer in negotiations is Gordon Biersch, the brewery/restaurant that already has a location at 9th and F Streets NW, not too far from the Verizon Center. With 100 M being within sight of Nationals Park, it would seem a plausible destination, assuming the final papers get signed (which does not appear to be imminent). It'll be interesting to see their timeline, especially vis-a-vis the baseball season (getting it done by Opening Day, 5 1/2 months from now, would seem to be a bit optimistic, I think?).
On a 100 percent unrelated note (I really do hate teeny tiny posts, so felt the need to combine these), the Capitol Riverfront BID's latest newsletter is out, and they're asking for respondents for their annual "online perception surveys" for both the BID itself and for the Yards Park.
But don't you dare click on either of those survey links if you haven't yet filled out my readership survey--my feelings will be terribly hurt! (Argh! I'm snakebitten with the dang survey. This link was a bad one until about 9 am on Friday. Sorry! Please try again!)
The BID also is co-hosting a Community Planting Day on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 9 am to noon, along with the US Green Building Council National Capital Region. They're going to plant thousands of daffodil bulbs throughout the neighborhood.
The rest of the newsletter is here.

Rumors of A Pending Tenant for 100 M Restaurant Space
Oct 19, 2011 6:30 PM
Word is starting to bounce around that a tenant is close to being signed for the prime restaurant space in the ground floor of 100 M Street SE, on the northeast corner of 1st and M, one block north of Nationals Park.
As to who the tenant may be, I don't have confirmation, but rumors are mentioning a "semi-chain type place." (I'm trying to find out more, but since recent surveys indicate that 93 percent of all JDLand readers are interested in retail/restaurant news, I'm just going to go with what I've got.)
The location is advertised as 8,500 square feet, and I don't know if this rumored lease is for the entire space (though I imagine it is). One way or another, it will probably be a level of food and dining experience that's a step up from the last eating establishment on that corner, the old On Luck Cafeteria that was demolished five years ago.
I hope it goes without saying that as soon as I know more, I'll pass it along. And please remember that this is all still rumor territory, so until there's an official announcement, don't be skipping meals waiting for the new offering to arrive.
UPDATE: The rumor mill is strong that the not-yet-signed tenant is Gordon Biersch. But there's no official confirmation of that. But I've heard it from enough different places since yesterday to pass it along.

Roundup: Boilermaker Shops, WMATA Land Sale, Ward 6 At-Large Candidate Forum, Water Taxi News
Apr 18, 2011 11:37 AM
Catching up after a quick trip to Florida:
* A few readers have mentioned some work underway around the Boilermaker Shops at The Yards, but I'll burst the bubbles and note that it's not a sign of formal construction getting started on the 46,000-square-foot retail space. Forest City is taking care of some remediation on behalf of GSA, involving the paint inside the building along with some potentially tainted soil around the outside.
On the same subject, there was a tidbit in the April Hill Rag on page 85 (hat tip reader J) in an article about Barracks Row restaurateur Xavier Cervera, who runs Lola's, Molly Malone's, the Chesapeake Room, and some other new ventures on the way: "And there's even more in his culinary sights: along the Southeast waterfront near Nationals Park, Cervera has leased half of the glass-and-steel Boilermaker building (1100 New Jersey Ave. SE) for a classy, 450 seat sports bar." (Ay-yi-yi on that really incorrect address!)
I asked Forest City about the report, and received this response: "Forest City Washington expects to announce soon a number of great restaurant and retail venues that will be located at The Yards. Upon completion of these leases we will commence redevelopment construction of the Boilermaker Building. At this point, we are not able to specifically respond to the inaccuracies in the Hill Rag piece. These inaccuracies will become evident when we make our official announcement." Hmmm.
In the meantime, you can see renderings and photos (outside *and* inside!) on my Boilermakers Shops page.
* After having a contract for more than three years, WMATA and Donohoe have finally completed the $3 million sale of 5,165 square feet of land at New Jersey and M where the east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station sits. This allows Donohoe to build its planned 220,000-square-foot 1111 New Jersey office building, as soon as they find tenants. (The building won't sit directly on top of the entrance, as 55 M does with the west entrance of the station, but is pretty close, as you can see in the rendering on my project page.)
* And, in other land transactions in the 100 block of M, the longtime owners of the tiny 1,500-sq-ft sliver of land between 100 M and the alley have sold the property for Northwood Investors, the new owners of 100 M. (The property records say the price was $250,000, which, if accurate, would seem to a good deal less than what they might have been offered back when Opus East was acquiring the property to build 100 M.)
* On Tuesday, April 19 (tomorrow!), there's a Ward 6 Candidates Forum with the large field of candidates for the open at-large seat on the city council (you didn't know there's an election on April 26? You're not alone). It's in the North Hall at Eastern Market from 6:30 to 8 pm, and being hosted by the Ward 6 Democrats (but it's labeled a non-partisan event, so there will be no endorsement vote). You can submit a question for the candidates, whether you're attending or not.
* American River Taxi is getting some press as it gets its service underway between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Diamond Teague Park across from the stadium (though Saturday's rains and the subsequent flooding along the Potomac have put a crimp in their schedule over the past few days). WTOP and the The Hoya have posted articles in the past few days.

Onyx on First Apartment Building Up for Sale
Mar 8, 2011 5:49 PM
With an instruction to residents to Please Don't Panic, I'll pass along the news that Onyx on First, the 266-unit apartment building at 1100 1st St. SE, is up for sale. With a brochure touting "Excellent Transportation Infrastructure, Phenomenal Employment Opportunities," and "Shopping and Entertainment Options Abound," the sellers look to be trying to get in on what is clearly a rebounding multifamily market in DC.
Apparently there's no price set for the sale, and with a building that's 92 percent occupied with what looks like pretty high average rent numbers, I imagine investors will be taking a close look. The eventual sale (should there be one) could also be an interesting barometer of how "the markets" view the neighborhood. Proposals are due April 14.
The building, originally planned to be condos but converted to apartments during the construction phase, was developed by Faison and the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund and completed in 2009. It was built the same time as its neighbor 100 M, the office building that recently bought for $57 million in a foreclosure sale. Onyx is on the same block as the New Jersey Avenue entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, two blocks north of Nationals Park, and one block west of the Courtyard by Marriott that is being bought for $68 million. And, of course, just across the street from the Market Deli.
You can see my Onyx project page for photos and more information.

11th Street Bridges Status Update; Other Catching Up
Nov 1, 2010 9:52 AM
I'm now back after a week wandering the Midwest again, this time spending a few days in Chicago and then going up to Milwaukee, where touring time was cut short thanks to that epic windstorm (but at least I got to see the Historic Third Ward and the Milwaukee Public Market). Lots of photos of streetscapes and buildings are here, if you feel like looking at some non-Near Southeast images for a change.
To catch up....
* Dr. Gridlock gave an update on the progress of the 11th Street Bridges project, which is now more than 25 percent complete. A pretty showy part of the construction will be starting soon, "when steel girders arrive for the new bridge spans. They will be trucked out onto the old bridges and lowered onto barges in the river below." The story gives this timeline: in spring 2011, the new alignment of southbound 295 opens; in fall '11, the freeway bridges (the upstream ones) will open; in winter 2012/13 the local (downstream) bridge between Anacostia and Near Southeast will open, with the entire project expected to be completed in summer 2013. (If the alignments and uses of the new bridges aren't clear to you, check my 11th Street Bridges project page for more detail.)
There's also some new lane restrictions that started last week and will run through Nov. 23: the left lane of 11th Street SE from M to N is closed, and N Street SE between 11th and 12th is closed overnight Tuesdays through Fridays. There are other restrictions and closures as well on 295 and the SE Freeway.
* The Post's Capital Business weekly has more information today on the foreclosure sale of 100 M, including this part that is probably of most interest to residents: "Although thousands of fans pour out of the Metro station nearby for baseball games, the Opus bankruptcy has prevented retailers -- other than a SunTrust bank branch -- from occupying ground-level storefronts. Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, said he hoped that with new ownership, that would change. The retail broker for 100 M St., he said, 'has had some tenants that were interested in that property, but he couldn't sign any leases because it was in bankruptcy.' "
* It wasn't exactly a shocker that Greater Greater Washington endorsed David Garber for ANC 6D07 commissioner. Along the same lines, there's a good piece by Housing Complex this morning on the dysfunctional aspects of the ANCs, with some ideas on how to fix them. Having been tortured by sitting through many ANC meetings for more than five years now, I can certainly vouch for a lot of the issues mentioned. Perhaps there needs to be a Rally to Restore ANC Sanity.
* If you've wanted to know about Ann of Ann's Beauty Supply and Wigs Co. at 125 L St., SE, People's District recently profiled her. (Except I think they either mistranscribed the date of her shop opening, or this interview was done when her store was still in the old Waterside Mall in Southwest, because her store opened on L Street SE in 2005, not 1995.)
* American River Taxi, which is working to begin boat service between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Diamond Teague Park, is hiring deckhands and captains. No word on when they'll get underway.
* Work has started in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey for the new Harry's Wine and Spirits. Alas, their timeline for opening has slipped (as all construction timelines do), and the owners now have their fingers crossed that they will be open by Christmas.

100 M Bought for $57 Million in Foreclosure Sale
Oct 28, 2010 7:03 PM
I wasn't able to attend* today's foreclosure sale of 100 M Street, but word filtered to me early this afternoon that the 220,000-square-foot office building was picked up for a cool $57 million by Northwood Investors, a real estate investment management firm based in New York City. I've been told (and I'm trying to confirm) that Northwood had bought the original loan/note from Bank of America, and then had the high bid today against one other bidder, whose identity I don't know.
This appears to be Northwood's first foray into the DC market, and the rumor is that they plan to hold 100 M and get it leased up. Perhaps the DC biz media will have more on this sale in coming days....
As I wrote about previously, this sale was for the building itself and not the land, since 100 M's developers (Opus East) never bought the land and instead paid rent to the owners. You can read more about the building's history here; it opened in late 2008 and is currently about 43 percent leased.
[*My exile from blogging is coming to an end soon, I promise--though there really hasn't been much going on this week that I feel like I've missed completely, since I have managed to tweet from time to time.]

Some More Details on the 100 M Foreclosure
Oct 4, 2010 6:52 AM
While normal people have spent their weekend recreating and taking it easy, I've been trying to find out more about the just-announced foreclosure sale of 100 M, the 220,000-square-foot office building that has been tied up in Opus East's Chapter 7 liquidation.
My big question was about why this is being billed as a sale of a "60-Year Leasehold Interest," and what I've found out is that Opus never owned the land, but instead had entered into a lease with and paid rent to the landowners. (Who are the people behind "Square 743 Inc"? I'd love for someone to tell me!) When Opus's operations went south, their lender (Bank of America) stopped funding the construction loan, so contractors stopped being paid, liens were filed, bankruptcy case got ugly, etc. etc.; basically, it's been a mess.
BoA is now washing its hands of it all, and is looking to get back some amount of the $58 million currently owed on the construction loan. (The land ownership is not being foreclosed on.) I've heard that BoA contracted with CB Richard Ellis earlier this year to sell the loan, and there's speculation that BoA may have a deal with an investor already, even though the Notice of Foreclosure Sale still lists BoA as the holder of the note. This would be similar to the way JPI's empty lot at 23 I Street changed hands a year ago, with SunTrust Bank selling the note to Ruben Companies, who then instituted foreclosure proceedings and took ownership of the property when no bidders came forward.
However, while the word "foreclosure" usually conjures up feelings of doom and gloom, for 100 M this should be a step up from Opus's liquidation. Instead of continuing to be tied up with companies and lenders and courts who have no interest or wherewithal to spend the money needed to clean up the mess and to market and lease the building's office and retail spaces, there may now be at least one investor--and maybe others, if the foreclosure sale brings bidders--who feels that the building is worth taking a gamble on now for a return on investment later. (Though it's worth noting that there is not a similar feeling of optimism about any new office projects in the area any time soon, with on-spec construction still completely DOA.)
We shall see how it all shakes out.
The auction is scheduled for Oct. 28 at noon, so this building can be yours for a mere $5 million deposit and an all-cash winning bid. It's currently 43 percent leased.

100 M Street SE Headed for the Auction Block
Oct 1, 2010 5:30 PM
[Great--big news at 5 pm on Friday. Hope somebody actually reads this] On Sept. 21, a notice of foreclosure sale was filed for 100 M Street SE, the 220,000-square-foot office building built by Opus East and completed in late 2008. A few months later, Opus became the biggest Near Southeast casualty of the recession, filing for Chapter 7 liquidation and leaving their 440,000-square-foot office project at 1015 Half St. unfinished. While 1015 Half was soon picked up by the Douglas Wilson Companies and is now being completed, 100 M has remained at sea, despite a rumor a year ago (quickly shot down) that Mayfield Gentry was buying it for $80 million.
The 100 M auction is scheduled for Oct. 28 at noon; I admit to being pretty clueless on foreclosures and auctions and CRE minutiae, so I don't know if the fact that it is technically an auction of a "60-Year Leasehold Interest" in the building has any significance to us lay folks. I imagine the business press will have more on this story.
According to the auctioneers, 100 M is currently 43 percent leased.
(And, by the way, the blue sky in the above image is not faked. I've never ever seen as electric blue a sky as I did the morning I took that photo.)
[hat tip to reader J]

WMATA Extending Deadline for Donohoe Land Purchase
Sep 29, 2010 3:25 PM
At tomorrow's WMATA board meetings, it's expected that Metro will approve a one-year extension to the 2007 agreement with the Donohoe Companies to purchase the 5,600 square feet of land that makes up the east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station. Donohoe is intending to combine the WMATA land with the 16,400 square feet it owns just to the north (the grassy knoll and parking lot where the Capitol Riverfront Markets have been held this year) to build 1111 New Jersey Avenue, a 220,000-square-foot office building.
But, according to the WMATA documents: "Given the weak economy, it has not been possible to obtain financing to construct the building. A one year extension of the closing date to December 2011 will allow time to respond to evolving market conditions and preserve the contract for both parties." I wrote back in 2007 that WMATA would be receiving $2.3 million for the property, "plus an unnamed additional payment if the approved project is larger 206,000 square feet."
It's not anticipated that the station entrance would need to be closed during construction of the new building, As you can see from the rendering, the escalators and canopy would remain outside of the new building's footprint.

Tiny Followups For Yesterday's ANC/Yards Park Posts
Aug 19, 2010 12:10 PM
Guess I should have been lazy (er, lazier than usual) and waited 24 hours on each of my posts yesterday, because there's small tidbits to add on both:
* While the Yards Park "official opening weekend" is set for Sept. 10-12, invitations have now begun landing in mailboxes for a ribbon cutting/dedication ceremony on Sept. 7.
* There is now at least one challenger to ANC 6D07 incumbent Bob Siegel--according to the DCBOEE, Capitol Quarter resident Bruce DarConte has filed his paperwork to run. And I'm hearing rumors of at least one more resident planning to jump into the race as well.
In other non-followup news, eagle-eyed readers might notice in my DC permit feeds an approved public space/excavation permit for its planned 1111 New Jersey office building site. But don't read too much into it--there's still no announced plans to start construction anytime soon.
UPDATE: Oh, and a PS: The Top Chef DC episode filmed at Nats Park back in the spring is coming up next week (Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 10 pm, on Bravo). It appears to be a stadium-food challenge, with the "chestestants cheftestants" cooking and serving in the various food bays along the concourse.

1111 New Jersey Not Starting Soon
Apr 13, 2010 8:06 PM
A reader who might have seen this got in touch today about a document on the Donohoe web site saying that their planned 200,000-sq-ft office building at 1111 New Jersey was about to start construction. Being well aware of the current state of the commercial real estate market, and also knowing that not a single building permit for the project has even been filed, I took the unheard of step of actually contacting Donohoe, who replied that the document was in error, and while they are hoping to see "positive signs" over the next year to eighteen months, they're not forseeing a start on the building until after 2011.

Construction Starting Again at 1015 Half
Oct 3, 2009 11:47 AM
I'm hearing that the Douglas Wilson Companies--a San Diego developer specializing in "distressed properties and crisis management" that was appointed in late July as receiver for both 1015 Half Street and 100 M--is getting construction moving again at 1015 Half (along with "aggressively" marketing and leasing of the building). Also, a "disposition strategy" for 100 M is expected to be in place later this month. This appears to be Wilson's first foray into the DC market, though the company also has branches in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, and San Francisco. This San Diego Business Journal profile of Wilson and his company gives a bit more info not only on the organization but on the role of a receiver in dealing with distressed properties. The two buildings hit the skids when Opus East collapsed and liquidated.
UPDATE: Here's the press release.

Foreclosure Notices for JPI's 23 I Street Lots, and Nine Potomac Ave./9th St. Parcels Owned by ICP
Sep 22, 2009 10:28 AM
On Sept. 10 a Notice of Foreclosure Sale was filed for the two now-vacant parcels of land on the southwest corner of Half and I streets where the Wendy's used to stand. (Note that this doesn't include the adjoining Exxon land.) The lots, totalling about 47,000 square feet, were bought in July of 2007 by JPI for $28.6 million, with the intent of building 23 I Street, the fourth of JPI's "Capitol Yards" residential buildings (along with 70/100 I and 909 New Jersey). JPI owes $25.1 million on the loan, which came due on Aug. 1 and which is held by Ruben Companies, owners of 1100 South Capitol Street and 1101 across the street. The foreclosure sale is scheduled for Oct. 13.
JPI East pretty much fell apart over the past two years, with its principals taking what was left and forming a new company in June with bigwigs at Akridge; stories at the time mentioned their continued stake in 70/100/909, but said nothing about 23 I.
Another, smaller commercial foreclosure is happening further east, where nine parcels owned by ICP Partners along Potomac Avenue between Eighth and Ninth (including the brown boarded-up apartment building at Ninth and its parking lot) received a notice of foreclosure on Sept. 4, with a debt of $2.3 million on the properties. ICP tried hard earlier this year to drum up interest in these lots plus the gray building at Eighth and Potomac that houses Quiznos (which is not part of this foreclosure), after a previous sale attempt in 2008 went nowhere. ICP paid $9 million for all 10 properties in 2006; this foreclosure sale is scheduled for Oct. 6. (The properties are also on the city's September Tax Sale list.)
Whether the properties will actually go on the block, or if deals will be struck or lawsuits filed in advance of the sale dates, remains to be seen, but foreclosures are about to be a big part of the commercial real estate landscape throughout the US. (Spend a few days reading Calculated Risk if you want some insights into the predicted onslaught.)
As for the neighborhood's other "distressed" properties, Opus East's 100 M and 1015 Half office buildings are part of the company's liquidation proceedings, with rumors flying but no news of new owners yet. And the empty lot in the 1000 block of Seventh Street (across from the Marines), where a developer had been planning an apartment building, was sold in late July for $400,000 after a foreclosure; it had been purchased along with the two townhouses alongside it for $1.25 million in 2004. One townhouse was subsequently sold, the other was foreclosed on as well, though so far no evidence of a sale has turned up.

WBJ Shoots Down 100 M Sale Rumor
Sep 3, 2009 9:33 PM
WBJ's Breaking Ground blog reports tonight that the GlobeSt.com story I posted yesterday about Opus's 100 M office building being under contract to MayfieldGentry is "false information." They quote a "source close to the deal" as saying "The building is not under contract with anyone -- it's in bankruptcy court. There is no offer on it." Who will be right?
Comments (1)
More posts: 100 M, Square 743N

100 M Under Contract?; Rent the Ballpark; Monument Half Street Update
Sep 1, 2009 11:00 AM
* GlobeSt.com says that the 100 M Street office building built by Opus East--and now owned by its bank after Opus went into Chapter 7 liquidation--is under contract to be sold for $80 million to Mayfield Gentry. Gentry has been pursuing the purchase since late last year. GlobeSt: "If events play out as expected, 100 M St., SE will fit nicely into the story line emerging for the District's real estate community: namely, that buildings in the city limits are still holding their value and attracting investor interest--so much so that the growing levels of distressed real estate are not likely to impact the District to any great degree."
And two quick links that I Tweeted on Friday but forgot to post here (oops):
* Want to rent out the ballpark or a portion thereof for a shindig? The NationalsEvents.com web site is now launched, with details on packages, rates, and more. (I needed this when I was trying to put together my high school reunion last year.)
* WBJ's Breaking Ground blog posted on the status of Monument's Half Street project, talking about "the hole" ("'The hole. Yes, the hole,' sighed Russell Hines") and the 55 M office building completed earlier this year which "is still empty but has experienced 'a distinct change in the level of activity' over the past two months, with a few seriously interested tenants." They're looking for ways to find financing to start construction on the residential and hotel portion on the south end of the block, but aren't finding any outlets yet; but because the site is owned outright between the equity partners (Monument, the shell of Lehman Brothers, and MacFarlane Partners), "no construction lender or mortgage holder is going to demand the keys" to the site.

Opus East Files for Chapter 7 Liquidation
Jul 1, 2009 6:55 PM
Opus East, the development company whose portfolio includes the already completed 100 M and under construction 1015 Half office buildings, filed on Wednesday for Chapter 7 liquidation, according to the Washington Business Journal. The article mentions the falling through of Opus's deal to sell 100 M to MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors earlier this year as part of the company's woes, and the building is part of the bankruptcy filing and liquidation. The 1015 Half Street project, expected to finish late this year or early next year, is presumably part of it as well. No tenants for the 440,000-sq-ft office building have been announced.


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