The old Washington Star/Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave. is
located just south of the Southeast Freeway, between
2nd and 3rd.
225 Virginia Avenue/200 I Street

First a printing plant for the Washington Star and then Washington Post, the 1959-era building was sold in 1999, with original hopes that it could be converted to a "tech hotel." In 2006, the city entered into a sublease, with plans to house the MPD 1st District Station and other MPD functions there; but after costs to do so were estimated at $100 million, the plans were scuttled. Unable to find a developer to assume the sublease, the city paid $85 million in 2009 to purchase the building outright, partnered with StonebridgeCarras to make it home to the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the Commission on the Arts and Humanities in 2012.

Links:
Renovation Kick-Off Ceremony, 2/15/11
Fenty Gets OK to Buy Warehouse (Examiner, 9/09) | Press Release on Financing (7/10)
District Seeks Offers to 225 Virginia Avenue, SE | OPM Page on 225 Virginia
OPM Announces Cancellation of MPD Move (8/8/07) | ANC 6D Opposes 1D Move (6/11/07)
Police HQ And 1,100 Workers Going to SE (WP, 4/26/07) | Fenty Press Release (12/12/06)
JD's 225 Virginia Avenue News Items


            Overview/JD's Photos            225 Virginia News Items            

JDLand Blog Posts on this Project
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Updated Photos From Under-Construction Projects, Finally
Sep 12, 2012 9:28 AM
Isn't it great that the icky humid cloudy weather of the past few weeks finally broke? Aren't the skies glorious and blue? Does that mean I finally got to get out to take some photos? Why, yes!
First up are new photos from ground level at Canal Park, including the new L Street streetscape and the sculptures:
If you're big on Canal Park, you may also be interested in the many before-and-afters in the Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive, which leads off with the first decent bunch of photos from 2nd Place and L Street since construction started on the park many moons ago and then takes you on a before-and-after walk around the park's perimeter.
And then there's the progress on L Street between 3rd and 4th as the Capitol Quarter townhouse construction continues to wrap up:
I also added a few sunny-day Boilermaker Shop exterior photos and a shot of the hole in the ground at the Twelve12 apartment/Teeter project, because the ones I took on back Gloomy Thursday, when I got to go inside the Boilermaker building, drove me nuts:
External construction has pretty much wrapped up at 200 I/225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/Old Star Plant, especially on the south side of the building, facing Canal Park. There was a ribbon-cutting on Friday for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities gallery in the building's new lobby on I Street, but unfortunately I wasn't able to make the event. Hope to get photos inside before too long. In the meantime, you'll just have to look at the outside, and compare it to the White Monolith that it used to be:
If these all aren't enough for you, you can spend some time in the Photo Archive, where you pick the intersection you want to see and then you can see the entire range of photos I've taken for all angles or just the ones of your choice. You may even end up in the Photo Archive without realizing it, if you click on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon on any of the pages above, which also will give you the full range of photos for that angle. It's pretty much the Near Southeast equivalent of heading down the rabbit hole.

Updated Photos from the Usual Spots (Holiday Edition)
Apr 8, 2012 6:35 PM
Because of a need to burn off some calories before digging into my "Reeseter's Bunny" (milk chocolate-coated peanut butter bunny, which the label says is four servings [ha!] at 180 calories per), I did my usual wanderings this morning to grab updated photos around, Capper, 200 I, Canal Park, and the Boilermaker Shops. Alas, I did not hide any Easter eggs in any of these shots, nor did I find any.
The framing and Tyvek-ing is underway on 3rd Street south of L, in the shadow of the 300 M Street office building, as Capitol Quarter continues its march toward completion. I also took a lot of photos of other CQ Phase II blocks, so spend some time in the Capitol Quarter Phase 2 Expanded Photo Archive (and scroll down a bit) to hop through the many (many!) before-and-afters.
Then there's the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, where some work was being done even on Easter Sunday. The walling off the interior space for the different tenants has begun, with the studs visible--and some drywall has even gone in on the mezzanine level, as seen at right, in a view from 4th Street, through what will be the Bluejacket space.
The work is on-going at Canal Park, but continues to not be terribly exciting from a photographic standpoint, unless you're wowed by images of new curbs. But the Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive can take you for a walk around the park's perimeter to see the current views, if you don't see it every day. (I also like my barbed wire shot [above right], the result of desperation after being without photos from the east side of 2nd and L for a very long time now. But, no, I didn't jump the fence.)
I also enjoyed being watched very closely by a USDOT security guard with a clipboard as I took photos of the park's progress from the south side of M Street. "What are you taking photos of?" she finally asked, trying to sound stern. "Stuff," I replied, as I smiled and kept walking.
There's also updated shots from 225 Virginia/200 I (seen at right), with the landscaping now starting to go in.
If you want to see today's entire batch (213 of 'em), here they are, remembering to click the fun little Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see the entire range of photos for a certain location. If you want even more new-ish pictures, here's photos I took around 1st and Half Streets on Tuesday, to get the Fairgrounds exterior into the official archive.
Now I need to go find that peanut butter bunny. I think I earned it.

Thursday Tidbits: Minutiae from Wandering the Streets (and Twitter)
Mar 22, 2012 3:38 PM
With Pictures:
* Shipping containers have been arriving at the Fairgrounds (Bullpen) site. (They say there's going to be a "preview" event on March 30--looks like a lot of work to do in eight days. But the real opening is supposed to be in time for the Nats' season opener on April 12.)
* Greenery is arriving at 200 I/225 Virginia, and the sidewalks are done. Apparently the fences will be moved back sometime next week to keep the building perimeter secure but to allow the sidewalks to be used. (In other words, the "street sidewalk" will finally disappear.) There should also be repaving and crosswalk striping around the site coming in early April.
Without Pictures:
* Framing is racing along on the stretch of Capitol Quarter townhomes on 3rd south of L.
* Curbs are going in on 2nd Place next to Canal Park and the pavilion.
* The cherry trees in the Center Field Plaza at Nats Park are budding, but don't look on the verge of popping yet. Perhaps they can hold on until April 3.
Elsewhere:
* Mark Batterson says the demolition of the Miles Glass building and the garage next door on Virginia Avenue will happen next week.
* Yesterday we were talking about the possibility of a little BOOM, but here's what might happen 'round these parts if there's a really BIG BOOM.
* The Post writes about the neighborhood as part of the big Mega RealEstate focus on walkable communities, and keys in on the fact that the area has a number of different names. (For the record, it's not like I made up "Near Southeast"--I was just following the city's lead.) Within a few hours, though, Greater Greater Washington may have solved the problem by pointing us to the area's late-19th-century moniker: "Bloodfield." Wouldn't that work great for ballpark headlines? ("Phillies Dismembered at Bloodfield.")
Anything else folks are seeing?

Photos from All Over, Feb. 2012 Edition
Feb 27, 2012 11:34 AM
Take a gorgeous Sunday, add an obsessive-compulsive need to document all the change underway, and what do you get? Nearly eight miles of walking and a shameful number of new photos.
The Foundry Lofts building is all but done, with only the retail spaces left to be built out, so I took a bunch of "after" photos that will probably last for a while. But that new Potbelly sign sure stands out! I also pressed my nose against the glass to peek inside the sandwich shop's space--it sure doesn't look far from opening.
Embarrassingly, I haven't had a camera in hand on the Navy Yard's portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk since 2004. (I'm always worried they're going to toss me in the brig as a security threat, especially after a run-in a few years back where I was chased down by both a gate sentry and the DC police after taking photos of the Hull Street gate from across M Street.) But I pushed forward yesterday and got a bunch of new shots that I've added to my Navy Yard page, taking care to demonstrate to the many security cameras that I was photographing the river and not the installation. (Don't miss the especially cool before-and-after of the gate to the Yards Park.)
I will probably be creating a separate Riverwalk page before too long, but not today.
Along 11th Street at N and M, photos are more notable for what's not there anymore, as the demolition of the embankment for the old outbound RFK ramp is done, and the path of the new ramp from M Street for traffic headed to the outbound 11th Street Bridges freeway traffic becomes more obvious. Also see this picture of the work on the 11th Street Local bridge, showing the demolition of part of the old outbound bridge approach, which has to be done before the new local bridge can hook up with 11th Street. (You can see it as well in my O Street before-and-afters, if you figure out what to look for.) Check my 11th Street Bridges photo page for more images.
Then there's Canal Park, where I mainly took some new photos of the pavilion under construction near M Street, since photos of digging and ground work don't quite rise to the level of "interesting." I also hit most of the angles for the Boilermaker Shops, as well as for Capitol Quarter Phase II, where the security guard expressed concern about my actions (I need a laminated Photography Approved card or something). And I wandered the 225 Virginia/200 I perimeter.
If you're a glutton for punishment, you can browse the 267 pictures from this trek that are now in my Photo Archive, using the links to see before-and-afters.

Tuesday Lack-of-Tidbits Post: Yards Park Kudos, 200 I Progress
Jan 24, 2012 9:52 AM
I guess I'm not unhappy that there's not much to pass along right now, given the firehose of content sprayed from these parts last week. So, while we all wait to find out whether Prince Fielder is going to be a new neighbor, here's the best I can come up with:
* The Atlantic Cities writes a paean to the Yards and the Yards Park, noting that Washington "is finally getting a green waterfront to be proud of," after years and years of poor waterfront access throughout the city for residents.
UPDATE: I'll toss this in, since I'm short on content: a writer at the Hill is Home is bummed that the Lumber Shed is going to be enclosed for retail space (and Forest City's offices upstairs), and is taking a poll to find out who does or doesn't agree.
* Exterior work continues to wrap up at 225 Virginia/200 I, with the new parking deck at 3rd and I mostly completed. Visitors to the building will park on the deck's upper level, via an entrance on 3rd just south of Virginia, while staff will enter the deck's lower level on I Street; there is also employee parking in the building's basement. I imagine traffic on 3rd is going to get even more interesting when the building opens to three city agencies later this year.

A Slew of Shots Snapped on a Sunny Saturday Sojourn
Dec 4, 2011 5:24 PM
Yes, it's time for another batch of updated construction photos. This is a tough stretch of year to take these--the sun never gets very high in the sky, so anything facing due south is about impossible to get without glare. And, for places like Canal Park, it's hard to even get some locations out of the shadows long enough to get a photo that you can decipher. But you can see (below left, and on the project page) a couple of shots of the progress on the park's pavilion where the Park Tavern restaurant will be housed, along with plenty of shots vaguely showing the other ongoing ground-level work. Meanwhile, at Capitol Quarter (below right), they continue to just zip right along, with framing now well underway on the north side of L and around up 4th, and prep work for foundations continuing in the project's final block, on the south side of L.
In the Renovation/Rehabilitation portion of the tour, we have a few updated images of the Boilermaker Shops (above left), another building that's tough to shoot in winter, even more so when there's not much of it other than steel beams at the moment (though they have recently been painted white). Meanwhile, 225 Virginia/200 I is coming pretty close to the end of its exterior renovations, though work inside will continue in preparation for the arrival of three DC agencies later this year.
There isn't much new to see of Lot 38 Espresso (aka the Little Red Building 2.0, above left), which the grapevine says is now shooting for a mid-December opening. (But, really, at this point, it opens when it opens--the last batch of permits and approvals is always slow going, and I bet the owner wants it open even more than you do.) I also took a bunch of shots of the former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building at 1st and M (above right), not because there's been any changes to it, but because I really enjoyed finally being able to aim a camera at it without having guards reaching for their guns. (Nyaah! Nyaah! Click! Click! Click!)
I came home with 438 new photos (yikes), and you can browse the 180-plus I decided to upload to the online archive here. (Yes, it's true, you don't actually get to see every photo I've ever taken. Which is probably for the best.)
Remember to click the icon to see the entire range of photos for any location, while the project pages linked to above are your best bet if you're looking for paired before-and-afters and/or narrated tours.
And, in case you didn't see my tweet or my late-night update, the residential/Teeter project at 4th and M got all the dotted i's and crossed t's I mentioned in my initial post, and is officially now considered by Forest Ctiy as "commenced." (I just can't call it 1212 4th Street yet. Doesn't really make the location pop as well as "4th and M.")

Updated Photos: Capitol Quarter Phase II and 225 Virginia/200 I
Oct 23, 2011 2:43 PM
October may be my favorite month for taking photos of Near Southeast--if you can get a bright clear day, the just-starting-to-change trees give a nice additional color pallette, plus the sun still gets high enough in the sky to (mostly) allow for southward-facing photos. It was eight years ago I first found this out, as you can see in this October 2003 gallery--there's still a lot of shots where clearly I hadn't found my routine yet (and you can see my dirty windshield here and there!), but there is still something special about the light in them. And looking at how different things look is kind of cool, too.
There isn't really all that much to take photos of in the neighborhood right now, especially since I did a full set back in September, but I did take a quick walk through Capitol Quarter and over to 225 Virginia/200 I to get updated images:
The old Post Plant monolith ain't quite so monolith-y anymore, is it?
You can browse the expanded photo archives for 225 Virginia and Capitol Quarter Phase 2 for lots and lots of images (with today's shots marked by the icon, as always), or visit the Capitol Quarter and 225 Virginia/200 I project pages for a more "narrated" tour.
There's apparently been some concern by Capitol Quarter residents about the 200 I construction, but representatives of Stonebridge gave an update to them saying that "base building work" (i.e., outside stuff) will be completed in the next four months, which seems pretty much on the schedule announced when work began back in February. Interior work will begin in December, with DC agencies expected to begin moving in around June 2012. But 3rd and I streets will probably be a bit of a mess as utility work and the construction of the single-deck parking garage continue. My post from March on the parking garage configuration may also be of interest, if you haven't been following along, as might all of my 225 Virginia/200 I posts, going back many years....
And, once you're finished wandering through these shots, how about filling out my Reader Survey? (I PROMISE that this link actually works!) It's only going to be up for a few more days....

Demolition of the Market Deli at 1st and L Underway; Other Photos
Jul 11, 2011 3:41 PM
With raze permits for the old structures along 1st Street SE between K and L finally approved in mid-June, the days were truly numbered for the Market Deli and its neighbors, and today the demolition got underway, with most of the rear section of the Deli's structure knocked in. Fences are up all around the 1st Street structures, which are all owned by Akridge, and with this initial wrecking underway I imagine it won't be long until the five buildings are added to my Demolished Buildings Gallery, as entries 161 through 165.
There's a few more images here, showing that the demolition isn't quite so obvious from 1st Street (yet). Also, hopefully the folks who have been tending to the cats living in the abandoned building can report in as to their fate. (I heard a rumor that some kittens were removed today, but would defer to an update from anyone with more knowledge. UPDATE: In the comments of another post, reader jenniferp says that five very young kittens were indeed captured this morning, but there are several more still on the loose.) And, if you haven't been following along on the tale of the Market Deli for the past few years, here's some enlightenment.
And, because it would have been silly to wander down there in the ghastly heat and humidity and walk past a whole lot of spots where I needed to take updated photos, you can see the latest progress at 225 Virginia (aka 200 I Street) and the second phase of Capitol Quarter, where framing is being completed on the last portion of its first block, along Fourth Street.

Photo Update: 225 Virginia's New Clothes, Townhouses A'Poppin'
Jun 12, 2011 2:53 PM
While the number of photos I took while in Spain and Italy should have been enough to tide me over for quite a while in the camera department, the guilt at not having taken Hood photos since APRIL (!) shoved me out the door on hot and hazy Sunday morning (ick) for a walk around the major activity zone between 2nd and 4th Streets.
The re-dressing of 225 Virginia/200 I/Old Post Plant/Old Star Plant continues, with most of the north face now sporting the building's new look; some windows have even been installed on the east front, facing 3rd Street. It's expected that the exterior work will be done by early 2012, with tenants from three city agencies starting to move in about a year from now. My 225 Virginia project page has a guided tour of the project, or you can take the virtual walk-around-the-block for a bigger batch of before-and-after photos to watch the building's transformation from Big White Monolith to 21st century office building.
In the meantime, work is speeding along at Capitol Quarter, where the block bounded by 3rd, 4th, I, and K (bisected by the soon-to-be-birthed 3rd Place) has construction in all phases, from the nearly completed houses at 3rd and I to the new framing at 4th and I, and foundations now poured at 4th and K. And, as briefly mentioned a few days ago, the trailer that housed the original sales center at 4th and L is now gone. If you just want the short version of Capitol Quarter's second-phase transformation, check out my Capitol Quarter project page, otherwise you can take the virtual walk around the blocks now under construction for a boatload of before-and-afters.
I also took some photos of the northern perimeter of Canal Park, but pictures of fences and digging equipment are never terribly exciting.
As always, remember that the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon on any page gets you to the full batch of photos I've taken at any location. Or, if you're interested in only a certain location, you can use my Photo Archive map to get right to it. The entire set of 178 photos I posted today can be seen all at once, too, if you're so inclined.
(And, as an aside, let me send my huzzahs to Microsoft for getting fixed in IE9 whatever it was in IE8 that would cause the browser to stop displaying local hard drive images after a certain amount of page loads, causing me to having to restart the dang thing eight or nine times during each photo archiving stint. [It's pretty much the only thing I still use IE for.])

Back from Across the Pond; Lots of Tidbits While I Recover
Jun 8, 2011 9:09 AM
I'm back in DC, having spent 11 wonderful days in Madrid, Barcelona, and cruising across the Mediterranean to Pisa, Florence, Rome, the coast south of Naples, and Mallorca. Needless to say, while I checked in on the news back home from time to time and tweeted an item or two if the timing was right, I wasn't following developments closely, and I'm pretty out of the blogging groove at this point. So I'm going to start back slowly with some easy items.
* Redistricting: The city council voted Tuesday to approve a redistricting map that, as expected, keeps Near Southeast in Ward 6. This continues to make Marion Barry extremely unhappy, and the Examiner reports that he'll be "asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to open a Justice Department review of proposed new D.C. ward boundaries because, Barry says, they violate residents' civil rights." There's still a final vote to be had on the plan, probably on June 21. As for the last-minute changes that ended up keeping much of Ward 6 intact (moving Reservation 13 to Ward 7 instead of other areas), you can read Tommy Wells's blog for more details.
* Riverwalk: The Navy Yard announced last week that its portion of the riverwalk along the Anacostia River, running from the 11th Street Bridges to the Yards Park, will now be open from 5:30 am until "official sunset," seven days a week and including holidays; though there will still be closures as needed, which are announced on the Navy Yard Riverwalk Twitter feed. (I admit that I got a bit of a kick passing along this news via Twitter while riding on a train north of Rome.)
* DPW Move: The council passed emergency technical legislation on Tuesday that allows Capper PILOT funds to be used to build a new location for DPW operations in Northeast, which means that they should be moving from the 2nd and K site this fall (before "leaf season").
* Ward 6 Family Day: Tommy Wells's yearly event for Ward 6 residents will be held on Saturday, June 25, and will be at the Yards Park for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, with "free food, live music, games and activities for the whole family as well as raffles featuring gift certificates from local businesses and sporting memorabilia from the Wizards, DC United and Washington Nationals."
* ANC 6D has its next meeting on Monday, June 13, at 7 pm at Arena Stage. The agenda is light on Near Southeast items, with only a resolution by David Garber about Near Southeast bike stations and requests by Cornercopia and Harry's Reserve to be exempted from the ban on the sale of "singles."
* Food Truck Festival: Bo Blair, the owner of the Bullpens and the organizer of Truckeroo on June 3, said in an e-mail that the event was a "massive, incredible success," with somewhere between 17,000 and 18,000 attendees and "zero problems." The next date for the event will be announced soon.
* Construction and Destruction: Construction has stalled on the Little Red Building v2.0 at 2nd and L, which ANC commissioner Garber says is a "building permit issue that is in process of being resolved - construction should start back 'soon.'" Meanwhile, the "re-dressing" of 225 Virginia is well underway, with the new exterior walls being hung on the north side of the building. And if it hasn't already happened, the trailer that was the original sales office for Capitol Quarter is being torn down, since construction of townhouses is now underway on that block. (Photos to come, at some point.)
* The Yards on Facebook/Twitter: I kind of stumbled across these (never saw any announcement about them), but the Yards now has an official Facebook page (which is available on Twitter, too) along with a separate one for the Foundry Lofts (its Twitter account is protected, though).
UPDATE: And, since this just came across Twitter: Dan Steinberg reports that Shake Shack and the other new Nats Park restaurants will open next Tuesday, the beginning of the homestand vs. the Cardinals.

Spring Has Sprung Photos: 200 I, Capitol Quarter, Yards Park
Apr 25, 2011 9:18 AM
With the sun finally coming out, it shouldn't be surprising that I took camera in hand on both Saturday evening and Easter Sunday and did some wandering to catch up with the progress at two locations, and to get shots of a few new items I hadn't yet documented.
The old 225 Virginia, on its way to becoming 200 I (boo), is now almost completely disrobed. (I think I'll go with that from now on rather than "deskinned.") It's been such a monolith for so many years that it's strange to see it broken up. You can take a virtual walk around the block to see how the old Star/Post plant looked before along with its current state, and visit my 225 Virginia project page for more info and background. (If you haven't been following along, by this time next year 200 I is expected to be nearly complete, with three DC city agencies on the boards to move there.)
Just to the southwest, work continues on the first block(s) in the second phase of the Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhouse development, with bricking proceeding on the new houses along I Street while framing has made it around and up the new 3rd Place; plus, foundations have now been poured along 4th Street. Here's your walk around the block to be reminded of the old public housing units that stood there for a long time and to compare them with the construction going on now. For more information, see my Capper and Capitol Quarter project pages.
(If you want to see just the new photos taken Sunday, here they are in one batch.)
Meanwhile, down at the Yards Park, the flowers are in bloom, a geodesic dome that looks like the Earth is hosting foodies, and work appears to have begun on the floating bridge that will connect the Yards Park to Diamond Teague Park (right by Nationals Park) later this year. You can see my quick gallery of photos showing these items, along with a picture of the sign laying out the rules for using the Navy Yard portion of the riverwalk (since it was Saturday, I could only stand forlornly at the gate and look eastward), plus the progress on the Foundry Lofts building just to the north of the park. And some shots of the Navy Yard buildings that are adjacent to the park, just because I like being in a spot where I can take photos of them without having guards chase me down the street.

Updated Photos From the Center of the Neighborhood
Mar 20, 2011 10:16 AM
Saturday was a lovely day for taking a couple of walks with camera in hand, and with work underway at locations that couldn't be any closer to my out-of-neighborhood house, I had no excuse to not get some updated photos of 225 Virginia/200 I, Capitol Quarter Phase 2, Canal Park, and the Little Red Building. (It was also nice chatting with the folks who correctly guessed that the oddball standing in the middle of the street taking photos must have been me.)
The showy demolition work is now well underway at 225 Virginia/200 I, and if the few shots and renderings on the project page aren't enough for you, you can do a virtual walk around the block to see which walls and windows are blown out at this point and to compare the current images with their "befores."
No time is being wasted at Capitol Quarter, where framing has now wrapped around from I to 3rd to K Street on the first block of Phase 2. You can take a "walk" around that block, too, if you haven't lately, or wander through the project page, both of which have plenty of images of the old Capper public housing buildings that were on this block for a very long time. I also added to the database some photos of what will eventually be the intersection of 3rd Place and L, once the new street gets built through its second block south of K. If you're big on old Capper photos, there's a few "before" images of L Street buildings in that sent that haven't been displayed on the site before now.
If photographs of fences are your thing, take a "walk" around the Canal Park perimeter, to see many pictures of the "traffic control" now in place in advance of the start of construction on the park (presuming it ever actually comes). Those barriers are going to put a crimp in some of my standard shooting locations for the next year or so, including where I've stood for the past eight years to take photographs of the Little Red Building, which in its new incarnation is now more of a brick red than the beet red it used to be. ANC commissioner Garber posted on Friday that the roof is going in over the next few days, at which point work on the interior can begin, as it slowly progresses toward becoming "Lot 38 Espresso."
Remember that the Click to see all available photos of this location.icon on any page gets you to the full batch of photos I've taken at any location (which, since I'm getting into the eighth year of doing this, can be kind of voluminous in some spots).
(I know that It seems kind of odd to still be posting photos when so many readers now live in the neighborhood, which of course wasn't always the case. But it's my schtick, and so I continue onward! Plus. there are plenty of people interested in Near Southeast who don't wander around every day--or maybe some of the residents don't know what these spots used to look like before....)

Details on 225 Virginia/200 I's Landscaping, Parking Deck
Mar 16, 2011 9:48 AM
(Continuing along with my posts on Monday night's ANC 6D meeting....)
StonebridgeCarras, the folks who are morphing the old Star/Post Plant at 225 Virginia into a new DC government office building at 200 I (I'm still fighting that address) came to ANC 6D looking for support for a public space permit covering the landscaping, paving, sidewalks, and other exterior improvements.
There are a number of large oak trees surrounding the building, and Jane Mahaffie of Stonebridge said that they are "going to great lengths" to save as many of them as possible, although arborists have already determined that two or three of them need to come down. (At least one of those trees, however, will be dried out and reused in the rebuilt structure.) You can see on the graphic at right (see larger version) the larger trees that denote which ones are expected to be saved. Of course, when CSX digs its trench, the trees along Virginia Avenue may not end up being quite so lucky....
The landscaping will not be on too grand of a scale, since the city will be responsible for maintaining it and isn't exactly rolling in dough.
What is also depicted on this drawing that hasn't always been obvious in the renderings of the new 200 I is the parking deck planned for the southEAST corner of the block. It's a one-story deck, with an entrance on 3rd Street for visitors to park on the roof of the deck, and another entrance on I Street for DC government staff to enter and park either on the lower part of the deck or in the basement of the building. (There are upwards of 200 total spaces, if memory serves.)
But, as anyone who has walked north on 3rd Street to the freeway can tell you, there is a considerable rise in the grade of the street, so while the parking deck will look one story tall down at I Street, it will actually be at the same level as the street up closer to Virginia, as you can see in this rendering of what the deck and its "dense buffer plantings" will look like as seen from 3rd Street:
The larger version of the above graphic has additional renderings of the parking deck as seen from 3rd and from I, showing how the designers are attempting to hide the deck as much as possible, especially as time goes on and the plantings mature.
The ANC voted 7-0 to support the public space permit.
If you haven't been following along, 200 I is expected to be home to the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the DC Child and Family Services Agency, and the Commission on Arts and Humanities. Its new entrance will be on I Street, facing Canal Park, and the lobby will include a gallery of artwork that will be open to the public (without having to go through security). There also may be some small "incubator" service retail in the southwest corner of the building. The developers are going for LEED Gold certification, and 50 percent of the new roof will be "green." Exterior construction is expected to be completed by January of 2012, with move-ins expected to happen in late spring of '12. You can see renderings of the lobby and more photos on my 225 Virginia project page.
(And, one more 6D recap to come.)

ANC 6D Agenda: Capper, Day School, Yards, 225 Virginia
Mar 11, 2011 12:37 PM
Very quick post to note that the agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now posted. The bevy of Near Southeast items include:
* An update on the Capper Hope VI redevelopment from the DC Housing Authority;
* The zoning case to allow Capitol Hill Day School to erect temporary structures on the Community Center lot starting in June while their school undergoes renovation;
* A Yards zoning amendment that would allow Forest City to "temporarily" (not more than 20 years) include office space in the second floor of the Lumber Storage Shed at the Yards Park, which would allow FC to move their offices there;
* And an update on "landscaping plans" at 200 I Street (still known in these parts at 225 Virginia Avenue).
There's also a lot of other items more of interest across the way in Southwest, although the items on "Safeway 'Customer Service' Procedures" and some others might be of note to Near Southeast residents as well.
Also, I might point out this item from the agenda, if you haven't noticed it before: "Community Concerns -- ANC6D residents may address the Commission for three (3) minutes, provided they have called the ANC office at 202-554-1795 at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting to supply the topic and request a time slot. (Statements must be submitted in writing for record purposes.) " The Community Concerns slot is now at the very end of meetings, however.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, at 600 M St., SW.

Quick Pictures from 225 Virginia/200 I Ceremony
Feb 15, 2011 12:07 PM
I keep saying I'm never going to take any more photos of politicians at microphones, but who can resist them slinging sledgehammers? This morning there was a brief ceremony officially kicking off the redevelopment of 225 Virginia Avenue, turning what was the old Washington Star building and then Washington Post printing plant into 200 I, a 320,000-square-foot LEED Gold office building housing three city agencies. Here's a slew of photos, not only of the ceremony but also a few images from inside the building, as well as two renderings of what the lobby will look like when it's completed.
Though the sun was out, the assembled guests (and gate-crashers!) probably wished this little shindig had been held yesterday, when it was about 25 degrees warmer. But at least it made for a quick event, which didn't seem to bother anyone too much.
The renovation is expected to be complete and tenants moved in by the second quarter of 2012. The Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Child and Family Services Agency will all be occupying the building, and there may also be some "incubator retail space" on the ground floor's southwest corner. There will also be an art gallery in the new lobby that will open out onto I Street and Canal Park, showcasing works from the Arts and Humanities commission's collection. There will also be 180ish parking spaces on site, some in the building's basement but about 100 of them in a two-level parking deck on the 3rd Street side of the building (where the current surface lot is). And the loading dock will now be just west of 3rd, on Virginia.
The building was bought by the city for $85 million in 2009, and then leased it to StonebridgeCarras in a 20-year lease/leaseback agreement to fund the construction. You can check out my 225 Virginia project page for lots (and lots!) of background on this building, though the page isn't quite up-to-date with today's stuff. Yet.

BID Summer Movie Survey; 225 Virginia Kick-Off
Feb 13, 2011 11:22 PM
Two very small items to start off the week:
* The BID has posted a survey to find out which movies people are interested in seeing during the summer's Outdoor Movie Series, scheduled for Thursday nights beginning May 26. (The movies have moved back to Tingey Plaza behind USDOT, since Canal Park will presumably be under construction.) They're offering two themes to choose between: Summer Vacation Movies and Academy Award Winners.
* StonebridgeCarras has e-mailed invitations to VIPs (a list that doesn't include moi) announcing a "ceremony to celebrate the official beginning of the redevelopment" of the former Post Plant, aka 225 Virginia Avenue, aka 200 I St., SE. It's scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 10:30 am at the corner of 3rd and Virginia, with Mayor Gray and other luminaries expected to be in attendance. Will the Bobcats now parked on site then start punching out the walls from the inside, as was the case when the old Capper Seniors building was demolished? Of course, in the case of the Post Plant, they're only "de-skinning" it, not bringing down the entire building. You can see a rendering of the new building on my project page.

Progress at Harry's and LRB; Other Chilly Photos
Jan 24, 2011 10:52 AM
A Sunday morning checklist: Variably sunny? Check. Temperature 22 degrees? Check. Winds 15-20 mph? Check. Then clearly it was time to walk around taking the photos I forgot to take last week.
Signage is up on both New Jersey Avenue and I Street for Harry's Reserve, the upscale wine and spirits store coming to the ground floor of 909 New Jersey, and a peek inside shows a big space with lots of dark wood cabinets. Don't know if they'll hit their Feb. 1 target date for opening, but they do look like they're in the homestretch.
Meanwhile, the framing is done and exterior walls are starting to go up at Little Red Building v2.0 (or Lot 38 Espresso, which is apparently the new new name), and it's interesting to see that the profile of the new building is pretty similar to the old one--maybe it'll be like an actress of a Certain Age, getting rebuilt from the ground up while trying to not look like she's had any work done. No timeline at this point for when the shop might open. UPDATE: I heard from Lot 38's owner today, saying that he's now looking toward an April opening for the coffee/sandwich shop.
I also took a pretty full series of photos of 225 Virginia (soon to be 200 I), not to document any changes but to get what might be a final set of "before" images, since the word had been that construction was supposed to start in December, and then January. (There are a few piles of construction fencing now on site, but I wouldn't expect work to be truly imminent until that firetruck parked on site at 3rd and I disappears.)
You can browse the entire batch of Sunday's photos, clicking on the icon to pair any shot with its "before" image. There's also last week's new photos, in case you missed them, showing the progress at Capitol Quarter, 1015 Half, and the Foundry Lofts.

A Few Pre-Turkey Day Bullet Points
Nov 23, 2010 1:48 PM
I imagine it'll be pretty quiet around these parts for the rest of the week. So here's a few recently Tweeted items -- and one new one -- to make it look like I haven't completely given up blogging:
* It appears that the owner(s) of multiple lots along the 700 block of L Street (the brown apartment buildings plus the corner lot where the beer garden is headed) has sold half-interest in those properties to "Calle Ocho, LLC" (8th Street, get it?). But note that the empty lot that comes through from the Miles Glass property on the north end of the block and splits these four lots (0013, 0014, 0824, and 0825) is not (as of now?) part of this block of properties.
* EYA and the DC Housing Authority were awarded last week a Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Model of Excellence Award for the first phase of Capitol Quarter. (I just wish that the ULI folks who put out the press release hadn't said that the neighborhood is "The Yards.") The Jack Kemp awards are given to "workforce housing developments that represent outstanding achievements in several areas, including innovative financing, unique construction methodologies, strong public/private partnerships, and replicability to achieve workforce housing affordability."
* Speaking of Capitol Quarter, if you scroll down my homepage to the Building Permits feed, you'll see that the first permits have been approved for Capitol Quarter Phase II houses, for lots on 3rd, I and K.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID's Holiday Market is back for another year, running from Dec. 14-18 on the sidewalk outside of 1100 New Jersey Avenue. "Shop the market for wool sweaters and mittens, homemade soaps, jewelry, antique maps, wreaths and holiday greenery, paintings, and much more!" See the flyer for more details.
* You can check out the BID's latest newsletter for more tidbits, including that work on 225 Virginia/200 I is scheduled to start next month, with occupancy expected in mid-2012. (Just in time to have a big old railroad trench dug in their backyard!) UPDATE: Yes, yes, there's already been a hole punched in the east side of the building, as people have been telling me for a more than week now. I wouldn't quite call that start of construction if nothing much has happened since....
* And, not a news item per se, but some pondering: as part of the need to close what is expected to be a nearly $500 million budget shortfall, Mayor-Almost Vince Gray announced on Monday a freeze on all capital projects that are not yet underway, while a "blue-ribbon panel of experts" reviews which are necessary. There's no specifics on the list of frozen projects reported yet, but I am wondering if Canal Park, which is getting $13.5 million of its $20 million price tag from the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, might be on this list. We shall see....
Enjoy your holidays, everyone!

City to Move 225 Virginia Avenue, So to Speak
Aug 5, 2010 1:31 PM
While wandering around the web site for the city's Department of Real Estate Services, I found out that the deadline has been extended until noon tomorrow for the request for offers to lease data center space at the revamped 225 Virginia Avenue (aka the old Star/Post Plant). They've also posted a Q&A about the RFO that may or may not hold any nuggets of interest.
But what broke my heart is the last sentence of a press release from mid-July touting the financing deal that's allowing construction to begin on the project late this year:
"In related news, the address for 225 Virginia Avenue, SE will change. The new address will be 200 I Street, SE."
Waaaaaaahhhhh! It will always be 225 Virginia to me!
But, looking at the rendering of the redesign, it appears that they're moving the main entrance to the south side of the building, facing Canal Park, hence the I Street designation.

First Rendering of 'Reskinned' 225 Virginia
Jul 19, 2010 3:04 PM
The city's Department of Real Estate Services (formerly OPM) has put out a solicitation to sublease 50,750 square feet of below-grade space at 225 Virginia Avenue as a data center. While that may be terribly interesting to some people, probably the item of greater interest is the rendering on the first page, which is the first glimpse of the "reskinned" building, showing the current gray windowless monolith rebuilt into a more open structure that actually resembles an office building. The rendering is from the building's southwest corner, so the SE Freeway (not shown) would run "behind" the building. You can just barely see Capitol Quarter townhouses at far right, making that Third Street.
The solicitation also says that construction is expected to begin in November of this year and last 15 months, with development being handled by StonebridgeCarras while the city continues to own the land. When completed, three city agencies will occupy the building--the Commission on Arts and Humanities, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer [hence the data center stuff], and the Child and Family Services Agency. If you see people wandering around the site on Tuesday, it's a site tour for parties interested in the data center colocation. Responses to the solicitation are due to the city on July 30.
If you're just joining the story now, feel free to read my past 225 Virginia posts to catch up on the many twists and turns this building has seen over the past few years. (h/t DCMud)

City's Estimated Cost for 225 Virginia: $400 Million
Mar 12, 2010 10:01 AM
From the Examiner, a tally of the costs to the city of first renting and now purchasing the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave., which it says will total $400 million from the original leasing of the building in 2006 through the end of the new 20-year lease with StonebridgeCarras: "The D.C. Council recently approved a 20-year, $174.4 million lease with developer StonebridgeCarras LLC, which will overhaul the property to house three government agencies. From the first rent payment in July 2007 to the end of the StonebridgeCarras deal, the District will have spent more than $274 million to lease, buy, renovate and lease the building again. Operating costs for 345,120 rentable square feet will be in the $6 million-a-year range, adding $120 million to the price tag."
There's no word yet on when renovations to the building will begin. If you want more background on the long and winding road of DC's dance with this building, you can read my archived posts.

Mayor Officially Announces Plans for 225 Virginia
Oct 30, 2009 12:07 PM
This morning the mayor announced the city's plans for the old Washington Star/Post plant at 225 Virginia (I would have gone, but didn't hear about it until after it happened). He confirmed that three city agencies will be moving in--Child and Family Services, Office of the Chief Technology Officer, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. And, according to the press release, the building will include a ground floor public art gallery showcasing DCAH's "vast art collection."
The city is entering into a deal with Stonebridge Carras to redevelop the building, with an expected (and required?) LEED Silver certification. It's expected it will take two years to renovate the building. Back in September it was reported that it would take $85 million to fund the renovations, on top of the $85 million purchase price; today's press release says that the deal with Stonebridge will save the city "more than $60 million over the life of the new 20-year arrangement."
This would seem to bring to a close almost three years of wrangling over exactly how to use the building, after the Williams administration leased the building with little fanfare in late 2006, only to have the original plans to house MPD functions there fall apart, and attempts to sublease the building for development go nowhere, all while the city continued to pay millions of dollars each year in rent. My 225 Virginia page has the background, if you want to relive it all.

City Gets Approval to Buy Post Plant for $85 Million
Sep 23, 2009 9:26 AM
From the Examiner: "The Fenty administration will spend more than $85 million to purchase a vacant warehouse in Southeast that the government has paid more than $15 million to rent while it has stood unused since mid-2007. Authorization to buy 225 Virginia Ave. was included in the fiscal 2010 Budget Support Act, which won the D.C. Council's unanimous approval Tuesday." And, who will be occupying it? "After the buyout, the building is to be turned over to Bethesda-based developer Stonebridge Carras, which will turn it into the headquarters for the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the Commission on the Arts and Humanities." This ends the falderal that's existed around the building since the Williams administration sublet the building in December 2006 with the intention to turn it into the headquarters for the police department. You can browse all my posts about the building if you want to stroll down memory lane.
Also yesterday, the council gave approval to the land transfer from the Feds at Anacostia Park that clears the way for work to begin on the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction project.

Closing the Budget Gap: Ballpark Taxes, 225 Virginia
Jul 27, 2009 10:29 PM
As the mayor and the city council try to figure out how to close a huge FY09 budget gap and work to revise the FY10 budget to deal with expected shortfalls, a few items:
* The Examiner says: "Mayor Adrian Fenty's revised 2010 budget plan shifts $50 million from the Ballpark Revenue Fund to the general fund over the next four years. There it would be used to help bridge shortfalls totaling more than $1 billion through 2013. The move has incensed medium- and large-business owners, who are charged an annual gross receipts tax to augment the ballpark fund -- a pot specifically created to pay off $535 million in stadium bonds." The Chamber of Commerce is pledging to fight the idea.
* And today, the city council met "privately" (with media in attendance) to discuss what it sees as the best approaches to find the money. Mark Segraves of WTOP and Mike DeBonis of City Paper were in the room Tweeting like mad. Here's what they said about the council's discussions of the mayor's idea to spend $160 million to buy and renovate 225 Virginia, to get out from under the $6 million a year lease payments:
@SegravesWTOP: Talk has turned to 225 Virginia Ave, the old Washington Star building near the SE Freeway.
@mikedebonis: Council mulls purchase of 225 Va. Ave. to save on ridiculous rent. Vince Gray says let's look at the numbers.
MD: Lotsa handwringing over 225 Virginia Ave. SE and the astronomical lease thereto. 'Outrageous!' say several.
MS: City pays 12 mil per year in rent. Wells says mayor wants to. Buy building for 85 mil plus another 85 mil in upgrades. It would house CFSA
MS: DC has been paying rent on VA Ave since 2007. Other agencies slated to move there, OCTO and Arts and Humanities
MD: OCFO will have 225 Va. Ave purchase numbers by tomorrow. Evans calcs that $9M rent savings would float a $100M note.

City Would Need to Spend An Additional $85M to Renovate 225 Virginia
Jul 20, 2009 11:28 PM
From the Examiner, in a piece called "Vacant Buildings Costing DC Millions," this tidbit from today's council hearing on the mayor's proposed changes to the city's FY09 and FY10 budgets: "In its amended budget proposal now before the D.C. Council, the administration seeks permission to buy [225 Virginia Ave.] for $85 million, subject to the availability of funding -- a long shot given the city's $150 million 2010 shortfall. Renovating it will cost an additional $85 million, City Administrator Neil Albert told the council Monday." (You can see this part of his testimony at about the 1hr9min mark of this video.)
Quoting again: "The capital improvements, Albert said, 'will increase the value and use of a property that the District actually owns.' The mayor's multi-year search for a firm willing to take over the lease failed. Fenty claims to have twice reached tentative deals with private groups that fell through as the economy collapsed. 'I think it makes sense for us to buy it, but we've wasted roughly $15 million to get to this point,' said at-large Councilman Phil Mendelson. 'The decision to buy should have been made two years ago.'" You can read more about this proposed purchase here, and about today's hearing in this Examiner story. The council will vote on the revised budget on July 31.

Mayor's Revised Budget Includes $85 Million to Purchase 225 Virginia/Post Plant
Jul 18, 2009 6:54 PM
From the Examiner, at the very end of an article about the mayor's amended 2010 budget (which "slashes previously approved earmarks, hikes fees, and eliminates numerous capital projects to close a projected $150 million shortfall"): "And the mayor is seeking council permission to spend $85 million on the outright purchase of 225 Virginia Ave. SE, an empty, 421,000-square-foot warehouse that the city has leased for $546,000 a month since mid-2007. The Fenty administration, having ditched earlier plans to use the building, has failed to find anyone willing to take over the lease, which has now cost the city more than $13 million."
If you want to wander through the budget yourself, it's online. In the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Support Amendment Act in the Nature of a Substitute*, there is on page 44 Subtitle X, "Purchase of 225 Virginia Ave. SE," with this wording, should the council choose to approve it: "[T]he Council approves the exercise by the Mayor of the purchase option contained in the District's sublease dated December 15, 2006 between Washington Telecom Associates, LLC, as sublandlord, and the District of Columbia, as tenant, for the real property located at 225 Virginia Avenue, S.E., known for tax and assessment purposes as Lots 21, 36, 37, and 831 in Square 766 (the "Property"), and the Mayor may enter into a contract to purchase the Property in an amount not to exceed $85 million, exclusive of the costs of settlement, subject to the availability of budgeted and appropriated funds."
Also, in Chapter 2 of the Agency Budget Chapters, on page 442, you'll find this: "Within the past year, the District twice reached tentative agreements with private entities to assign the District's rights and obligations with respect to unoccupied leased property at 225 Virginia Avenue, SE. In large part, due to the dramatic slowdown in real estate markets and, particularly, the scarcity of affordable credit for real estate transactions, the tentative agreements failed to result in the transfer of the District's lease for this building. The District now plans to prepare the building for a public purpose."
Right now I don't know anything more than this--don't know what plans the city has for the buildings, and don't know how excited the council is going to be to spend $85 million on it when cutting jobs and services elsewhere in the city's budget. But maybe there's some sort of accounting sleight of hand that my unbudgetary mind isn't familiar with. (Bonds? PILOT/TIF funds from projects elsewhere in the city? Bake sale?) The current assessed value for the four lots that make up the site is just a smidgen under $84 million.
If you want to stroll through the tales of this building back to the first news of the city's lease, you can read my previous 225 Virginia blog entries, and/or check out my project page with photos and links.

Hearing Tuesday on Yards Park Maintenance Bill; Various Tidbits from Third Street
Jun 22, 2009 2:55 PM
* Tuesday morning at 10 am the council's Committee on Finance and Revenue is conducting hearings on a bunch of bills, including B18-0299, the "Waterfront Park at the Yards Act of 2009," which would "authorize the Mayor to enter into an agreement to provide for the operation and maintenance of a public park on the Anacostia River Waterfront; to establish a Waterfront Park Maintenance Fund into which certain designated revenues, including certain sales tax revenue, shall be deposited; and to impose a special assessment on properties specially benefited by the park." I'm kind of bleary today, and so haven't yet the proposed act terribly closely, but I can report that one of the potential revenue streams mentioned in the bill is the "naming rights" for the park. (Alas, I don't think I have enough change under the sofa cushions to bid on this.) The hearing is at 10 am in room 412 (and should be on DC Cable 13 and live webcast, though tomorrow's schedule isn't posted yet).
* The latest on Cornercopia--reader DT (who is *gunning* for my free sandwich offer) reports speaking today with the man who will be running with the deli, who said that they are awaiting permits, and hope to open in July. Maybe even July 1.
* Reader MB reports having smelled natural gas a number of times recently in the intersection of Third and Virginia, right before you head north under the SE Freeway underpass. I just drove through there a little while ago and smelled it quite strongly inside my car, even with the windows rolled up. She says she's called Washington Gas a number of times, and it seems to get fixed temporarily, but then returns. She left a message with the mayor's office today. So, if you hear a big BOOM, you'll know what happened, and the Powers That Be can't say they weren't warned.
* Reader CA reported last week having seen a big gathering of people outside the Post plant at 225 Virginia--I saw them myself at around 1 pm today, and it appeared to maybe be a group of young folk involved in the DC summer jobs program, but I don't know for sure. I can say they didn't look like a swarm of developers desperate to sublease the property.
* Lastly, a nearby resident has heard from DDOT and Tommy Wells's office that, within the next couple weeks, the two lanes of parking on Third Street underneath the freeway will be marked as No Parking during rush hours. This should allow for a de-facto creation of left turn and thru lanes for the northbound lanes at the light on the north side of the freeway, perhaps allowing thru traffic to get through the light more quickly and to shorten the backup southward down Third.

Dreary Thursday Links Roundup
Jun 18, 2009 9:42 AM
* The news about perhaps paying for the convention center by taking money from various in-the-pipeline projects around the city has generated a lot of comment, not only here but in the form of a letter from Monty Hoffman of PN Hoffman to Chairman Gray in which he said that moving funds away from the planned redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront "would be a horrific business, legal, and community tragedy for the city." And SWDC Blog is reporting this morning that Kwame Brown says the list in the original WBJ article was of all tax-increment-financing plans approved by the City Council, which might be a wider list than just projects from which funds could be diverted.
* Roll Call has a piece on the "slow-to-develop" Capitol Riverfront neighborhood: "Today, visitors to the stadium emerge from the Metro onto an almost empty street flanked by tall fences. Billions of dollars of real estate is planned for the area, but for now, it only offers a few half-empty buildings and the occasional fast-food restaurant." But there is this as well: "The buildings aren't all empty. BID estimates that about 1,600 people live in the area, leasing about half of the available apartments. Office buildings hold about 35,000 workers; Opus East, for example, has leased 50 percent of the units for its new building at 100 M St. SE." (Full disclosure: I'm quoted a few times.)
* On the flip side, a just-released CBRE report on the impact of the federal stimulus package on the DC and Baltimore region says: "The commercial real estate industry has begun to see an impact from the transportation-related stimulus activities. Government contractors are actively touring office buildings in the Capitol Riverfront submarket of Washington, DC, home to the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Transportation, for new growth related to stimulus-funded contracts. These tours are noteworthy as the submarket has seen limited interest over the first six months of the year as a result of the national and local economic recessions." We're also still waiting to hear which federal agency might be about to lease 100,000-sq-ft of space at 20 M, and whether Booz Allen Hamilton is taking 30,000 sq ft at 55 M or elsewhere in the neighborhood.
* And, if you saw a boat full of partying real estate professionals cruising up the Anacostia on Tuesday, it was the Urban Land Institute Washington's annual boat tour, which took the Odyssey from the Southwest Waterfront up to the Yards and then back toward Rosslyn and Georgetown.
* The news of the day gave the Republicans some trouble in the bullpen at last night's Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park. And the GOP's woes in Washington continued, with the Democrats winning the game for the first time in eight years, 15-10.
* I forgot to post this last week: M.L. Clark Real Estate, which negotiated the deal for the city to sublet 225 Virginia Avenue, is going out of business, says WBJ, with its two brokers moving to Cassidy & Pinkard.
* A reminder that this Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm is the Third Annual Ward 6 Family Day.

Fox5 on 225 Virginia; Owen and Reese; Live Chat
May 12, 2009 9:17 AM
A few items:
* On Monday night, Fox5 news ran "Waste of Space?", detailing the nearly $550,000 a month the city pays in rent for 225 Virginia Avenue (aka the old Post plant), now totalling nearly $15 million in payments since the city leased the building in late 2006. (The piece also discussed the other buildings that the city leases.) There wasn't really anything new--Phil Mendelson railed against the deal, and Fox5 did note that Mayor Fenty and Phil Mendelson voted to approve the lease when they were council members. The piece ended with the reporter saying that Fenty had said the city is "on the verge of making a change" and that we'd all hear about it soon. Whether this entails the moving of the Child and Family Services Agency into the building (as WBJ reported recently), or whether the city has found a developer to take over the sublease, we'll just have to wait and see.
If you're just tuning in and want the entire sordid tale, spend a few hours reading my 225 Virginia news archive.
* A couple outlets (including the Post and MASN) reported last week that a romantic comedy by James L. Brooks (director of Terms of Endearment and executive producer of The Simpsons) starring Owen Wilson (as a Nats relief pitcher), Reese Witherspoon, and Paul Rudd will start filming in June, and will include scenes at Nationals Park. Now, about the part of the obsessive-compulsive neighborhood blogger....
* On Friday (May 15) at 12:30 pm, I'll be doing a live chat over at Urban Trekker. So come on over and torment me with some questions, though with the school buses now gone from Canal Park, I'm not sure anyone has anything to ask me anymore. :-)
* There's probably only about three people who'd really find this of interest, but if you'd like a low-bandwidth version of the JDLand home page to use on your phone/PDA (compared to the behemoth that is the "real" home page), you can now bookmark m.jdland.com. The interior pages won't be mobile-ized, but at least this way you can get to the blog entries (and comments) without all the other stuff.

City May Occupy 225 Virginia; Ferry Testing; More
Apr 24, 2009 8:57 AM
Catching up from a few days of slacking:
* Today's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) reports that the city is "considering" using 225 Virginia Ave. (the old Post Plant) as the new home for Child and Family Services, now that they've decided not to move the agency to a new development at Benning Station. The city continues to pay $6 million a year in rent on the 420,000-sq-ft building, though tried a request for proposals last year to see about a sublease or sale of the property (but apparently didn't get much interest). I wonder how much the city would have to spend the rejigger the very warehouse-y building into the 180,000 sq ft of office space needed by CFSA.
* From the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, a story that Prince William County is spending $225,000 to look at passenger ferry service up the Potomac: "It will conduct test boat runs on May 4, 5 and 6 from stops at Prince William marinas at Quantico, Dumfries and Occoquan to Fort Belvoir, Alexandria and the Washington Navy Yard. The test boat will be a catamaran that seats 149." (I assume they'd want to use the dock under construction at Diamond Teague Park, but there's no specifics.)
* On Wednesday evening, the Post reported (though the article is no longer on the web site) that the city had informed Metro--in the middle of a game!--that it would no longer pay the $27,000-an-hour cost of keeping the subway open if games at Nationals Park ran late because of extra innings or rain delays. By the next morning, the city had changed its mind.
* The Douglass Bridge will be closed Sunday (4/26) from 5am to approximately 10am for the monthly swing span test.


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