New Jersey Avenue at M Street, from May 2003 through December 2006. (play again)
Department of Transportation Headquarters

1.35 million sq ft on 11 acres, housing 7,000 workers
Staff Move-ins Begin April, 2007
Developer: JBG Cos.; General Contractors: Clark Construction, Miller & Long
Architects: Michael Graves/DMJM; Interior Design: Ai
Will include a 68,000-square-foot vegetated roof

Links:
Jan. 2004 Zoning Board Approval of DOT HQ PUD
WBJ Story Describing the Project (2/16/04)
Clark Construction Picked as DOT Gen. Contractor (7/23/03)
JBG's Southeast site picked for DOT HQ (7/16/01)

JD's DOT HQ News Items & Additional Links


            JD's Photos            DOT HQ News Items            

JDLand Blog Posts on this Project
(Get All Latest Near Southeast News via RSS, E-Mail)

 

Hill Country 'Working On' Possible Outdoor Venue at USDOT
May 20, 2013 2:18 PM
WashBizJournal reports today (and it's verified in my building permit feed) that Hill Country, esteemed purveyor of slabs of meat, is looking at the possibility of a pop-up "outdoor venue with tents, food and beverage sales and live music" on Tingey Plaza behind the US Department of Transportation HQ, at New Jersey and Tingey.
But this isn't a done deal--WBJ quotes Hill Country reps as saying that they've started the permitting process but "we don't have a deal yet that would allow us to proceed with that opportunity." Getting all the moving parts together could take a while, as WBJ says the restaurant found with the similar pop-up it recently launched on the lawn of the National Building Museum.
If this happens, it could join the Fairgrounds at Half and M and possibly the "Riverfront at the Ball Park" site at Florida Rock as temporary outdoor offerings catering mainly to Nats Park attendees. And Rocklands BBQ has set up shop on gamedays at 1st and N, and is in the process of getting a liquor license.
The Tingey Plaza site is owned by JBG Cos., the developers of the USDOT building, which was completed in 2007.
As for the empty historic red brick building on the southeastern corner of the plaza, it was slated to be a retail/food court of sorts back when the plans for DOT were unveiled, but so far....

Thursday Tidbits: Post-Independence-Day Haze Edition
Jul 5, 2012 9:41 AM
Clearing out the tidbit hopper:
* Capitol Riverfront and NoMa/H Street are "the District's hottest (read: largest price increases) rental markets," sayeth Delta Associates, with rents having grown by 10.3 percent and 9.0 percent, respectively. (via the Examiner)
* I waited too long to post the tidbit that "rumors are swirling that JBG Companies' plan to sell the 1.35 million square foot Southeast Federal Center have stalled, fueling speculation that the home to the Department of Transportation will be recapitalized," so I have to point you to the Google cache version of the Citybiz post. It's also probably too late to ding both them and originator Real Estate Finance Intelligence for equating the 11-acre DOT HQ site with the entire 55-acre Southeast Federal Center, 44 acres of which is now The Yards.
* I waited even longer to tell you that the Camden South Capitol apartment building across from Nats Park topped off its construction in early June. It's expected to begin leasing in about a year. (SWTLQTC)
* Hey, look, reserved "Nationals Park Parking"! Your choices being the lot nestled next to the Douglass Bridge at 1620 South Capitol or the underground parking lot at 4th and M SW. There's plenty of other choices that are standard cash lots, along with the Nationals' lots. (via WaPo)
* The Fairgrounds is advertising a "First Annual DC Funky Fresh Foodie Fest" on August 25 from 1 to 9 pm. Four live bands, 10 food trucks, the "DC Karaoke Invitational," and more. Unlike its sibling Truckeroo, however, this won't be free, with limited early-bird tickets starting at $42, which includes drinks (the number of drinks depends on whether you buy a regular or premium admission ticket).

Vote for Summer Movies, and Yards Park Events Gearing Up
Mar 7, 2011 2:55 PM
With "Academy Award Movies" having been the winning theme for the Capitol Riverfront BID's 2011 summer outdoor movie series, the BID is now asking people to vote on which Academy Award movies should be screened. The series starts on May 26, and will once again be on Tingey Plaza, at New Jersey and Tingey just behind the USDOT building. (Last year's screening location, the Canal Park footprint, will be unavailable this summer because the locusts have arrived, dogs and cats are sleeping together, and it appears that construction is about to get underway.)
While the movie series isn't being held at the Yards Park (just a smidge to the north of it) the BID is working on an ever-growing list of events that will keep the park hopping through the year:
* Kicking off the slate, there will be a Family Fun Day on April 2 from 11 am to 4 pm, in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. According to the press release, activities at the free event will include sake tasting and a Japanese beer garden by Mie N Yu, lantern making, sushi from Nooshi Sushi, a moonbounce, and more. (Then everyone can take a leisurely walk down M Street to the Southwest Waterfront for the Fireworks Festival, which actually starts at 1 pm and runs until the fireworks kick off at 8:30 pm.) This is also the day of the first Saturday home game of the year at Nationals Park, just two blocks to the west, starting at 1:05 pm against the Braves.
* Sensorium, the "culinary and sensory experience" announced a while back, starts its multi-week run on April 12.
* The previously mentioned DC Music Fest on May 7 has now announced its lineup.
* While the summer movies will be on Thursday nights, the park will also host a free summer concert series on Friday nights from 6 to 8 pm, kicking off on May 13 and running through August 19. This will be in addition the the lunchtime concert series that the BID has run for the past three years, and is expected to feature music ranging from jazz and blues to rock and reggae. (If you're a food provider and you want to serve at the concerts, here's the RFP.)
* July 9 will see MetroDash, the "country's premier obstacle race series," which includes obstacles such as tire flips, rope swings, 15-foot cargo net climbs, wall jumps, monkey bars, the "strongman shuffle." You can sign up here (if you dare), though the web site doesn't seem to be responding right now.
There are also plenty of private events already on the park's calendar, so if you were thinking about throwing your own shindig there, you won't be alone.
UPDATE, 3/20: According to their web site, the May 7 DC Music Fest has been cancelled, "due to lack of funding and sponsorships."

Democrats Looking to Name USDOT for Rep. Oberstar
Dec 9, 2010 10:31 AM
This morning WBJ's Michael Niebauer tweeted news about a bill introduced in the House of Representatives on Wednesday to name the US Department of Transportation headquarters on M Street, SE, for retiring Minnesota Democrat Jim Oberstar, who is described on his own web site thusly: "In the 34 years he has served in Congress, Jim has become known as the body’s leading expert on transportation policy. From 1989 through 1995, he chaired the Subcommittee on Aviation, passing important legislation that has led to better maintenance and safer aircraft. Later, as the ranking democrat of the full Transportation Committee, he worked in a bipartisan manner to take the Highway Trust Fund off budget to ensure that gas taxes are used to fix roads and bridges and not to make the budget deficit look smaller."
The bill has 45 co-sponsors, including DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who led the push to get USDOT to move to what was then known as the Southeast Federal Center nearly a decade ago. The building, which houses 7,000 federal workers in 1.35 million square feet on 11 acres, opened in spring, 2007.
Knowledgeable Hill observers (*cough*brother*cough*) say that the bill is likely to get through the Democratic-controlled House, but as with everything in Congress-land these days, who knows what might happen when it hits the Senate.

Transportation Secretary LaHood Meets with DC Officials About Pedestrian Safety Near USDOT
Aug 6, 2010 4:43 PM
(h/t to reader JL) US transportation secretary Ray LaHood just posted on his "Fast Lane Blog" an entry about the recent accidents on M Street, SE near the USDOT headquarters that have resulted in one DOT employee being killed and another being seriously injured after being hit by dump trucks. He writes that he is "really, really worried about our employees' safety," and that he met today with DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier, DDOT's director Gabe Klein, and staff from both agencies to talk about ways to prevent future pedestrian injuries.
He writes: "We agreed to work on a plan that attempts to solve this problem from a variety of angles. Some ideas under consideration include: Extended crossing-guard hours; Stepped-up pedestrian and vehicle enforcement; Pedestrian training and education; Speed trailers (the roadside digital signs that display a driver's speed); Prohibiting "right turn on red" in the Southeast Federal Center area."
But, he also reminds everyone that "the quickest way I can think of to prevent more accidents like these is for employees and visitors walking to and from our building to, please, stay alert." As he says, "[W]hether you're a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or a driver, having the right-of-way does not guarantee your safety."
Judging by the comment thread in my post about Wednesday's incident, there's a lot of concern about pedestrian safety in Near Southeast, not just on M Street but on most of the other streets, as well.

Pedestrian Struck at First and M; Driver to be Charged
Aug 4, 2010 4:39 PM
Those who don't follow my Twitter feed may not be aware that a pedestrian was struck by a dump truck at First and M streets, SE, today, necessitating a helicopter landing at Canal Park in order to transport the female victim to Washington Hospital Center. According to WTOP, she was in a crosswalk, and charges are pending against the truck driver. The victim has not been identified, but a tweet from a reader indicated that she is a USDOT employee. ABC 7 says that her injuries are not as serious as initially thought. I'll update this post with additional news as it comes along.
This is the second serious incident involving a pedestrian being struck on M Street this year--on April 29, 42-year-old Amy Polk of Takoma Park was killed near First and M.
UPDATE, 8/13: TBD reports that the truck driver in this incident was not be cited.

Capital Bikeshare Coming to Near Southeast
Aug 4, 2010 1:15 PM
I'm catching up on a few items now that I'm more or less back to full speed, and one of them is DDOT's new Capital Bikeshare program that set the DC blogosphere on fire a week or so ago. One thousand bikes spread across 100 stations will be arriving in September, allowing users to borrow a bike for round trips or one-way journeys.
In the initial rollout, Near Southeast will have one station, right in front of the Starbucks in the USDOT building at New Jersey and M, which I'm guessing will make transportation secretary Ray LaHood happy. (It's marked properly on the official map, but ignore notations calling the location "400 M Street, SE." I've confirmed with DDOT that the Starbucks location is the correct one, and they'll be giving it the proper designation of 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE soon.) The next closest location is at 8th and I, just north of the freeway on Barracks Row. There will also be one just north of the new Southwest Safeway, at 4th and I, SW.
DDOT also says they'll be looking to add an additional bikeshare station at Nationals Park next spring, in time for the 2011 season.
[Rare personal aside: I'm really looking forward to this new project, because I'm not really interested in riding my bike *to* work, but I'll like having bike stations within three blocks that will allow me to ride home when the appropriate mood, weather, and clothing strike simultaneously.]
You can follow the launch via @BikeShare on Twitter.

Summer with the BID: Movies and Music
May 14, 2010 11:06 AM
The BID has released its Summer Outdoor Movie lineup, with the theme for this year being "Ultimate Underdogs." It kicks off June 3 with Hoosiers, then runs most Thursdays through August 5, with Forrest Gump, Finding Nemo, The Karate Kid, To Kill a Mockingbird, Star Wars (I'm so there), Slumdog Millionaire, Cool Runnings, Happy Gilmore, and Rocky. They'll be held on the Canal Park site at Second and M, with the movies starting at 8:45 pm but with activities (including big-screen Wii beforehand). The Sauca food truck will be in attendance, and the weekly Farmers Market at New Jersey and M will also be open to buy goodies.
Also getting underway is the Lunchtime Concert series, starting on May 19 and running every Wednesday through August 25. They'll be from noon to 2 pm on the plaza behind USDOT.
Here's the full BID newsletter from whence this info came.

Upcoming Events (Market, Leukemia Fundraising)
May 5, 2010 7:30 AM
For your calendars:
* Thursday (May 6) is the first Capitol Riverfront Farmers Market of 2010, running from 3 pm to 7 pm through November on the northwest corner of New Jersey and M, adjacent to the Navy Yard Metro station entrance. More than 10 local farmers and vendors will sell produce, baked goods, prepared foods, and more. The first 50 customers to attend the farmers market on Thursday will be given a $5 off coupon for any purchase at the market.
* Alas, I missed the kickoff of the USDOT farmers' market, which started today (oops) and will be held every Tuesday from 10 am to 2 pm on the pedestrian plaza between the two buildings, at Third and M.
And, here are two events that I'm passing along on behalf of Lisa Pagano, the Nationals' manager of communications, who has been very good to JDLand over the years. She is running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year award, and is trying to raise $75,000 by June 12 (more info here and here), with two fundraising events being held in Near Southeast over the next week or so:
* A Cornhole Tournament is being held at the Bullpen on Wednesday, May 12, with the party starting at 6 pm and the tournament itself at 7 pm. There will be live music and raffle items in addition to the tournament. Admission is $5 for the event and $20 for teams of two entering the tournament (with one free beer per player!). More info can be found on Facebook.
* Buy a $22 Scoreboard Pavilion seat for the May 20 Nats vs. Mets game, and $8 of the ticket price will go directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For more information, and to purchase tickets online, visit nationals.com/mwoy.

Rounding Up Recent Links
Mar 8, 2010 2:32 PM
A few articles I've recently pointed to from my Twitter feed that might be of interest but aren't necessarily "news":
* The Examiner says the city spent $115,000 to house snow plow drivers at the Courtyard on New Jersey Avenue during the record February snowstorms--what we always refer to as the "trash transfer station" is also the city's snow plow yard, and so the drivers were being put up close by. (Lots of money was spent at McDonald's, too, presumably the one within walking distance on I Street.)
* The Nats' Stan Kasten speaks to the DC Sports Bog on the rumors of the NHL Winter Classic coming to town. ("I think it's a fun rumor, it's a fascinating rumor, [but] I really do think you're jumping a little bit ahead.... I think it would be great for our city, and great for our ballpark, and together we'd do a hell of a job.")
* In Senate testimony, US DOT secretary Ray LaHood used "the area around the ballpark" as an example of "livability" during a sharp exchange with Sen. Kit Bond. You can see the video here (skip to the 92-minute mark), or read the story about LaHood's testimony on Streetsblog.
* Three Nats games -- April 3, 7, and 8 -- have been deemed "official events" in the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (via the Nats)
* The ANC 6D meeting tonight is at the Courtyard in Near SE, but SWDC Blog posted photos of the commission's new digs in the about-to-open Waterfront development.
* WashCycle thinks that the 10-block temporary tunnel CSX says it will build on Virginia Avenue when reconstructing the existing tunnel ought to be kept for bike/pedestrian use ("lighting would have to be a must", they say).

Yards Gets LEED Gold; Buzzard Point Planning; Other Links (Parking, DOT HQ, Lower 8th, Jeff Neal)
Nov 24, 2009 9:42 PM
* The Yards has been designated a LEED Gold Certified Neighborhood Development Plan, based on the 42-acre project's stage two design plan, which "integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design." Read Forest City's press release, or learn more about the LEED for Neighborhood Development program.
* Southwest...The Little Quadrant With the Really Long Blog Name (hey, we kid because we love) gives a full report on the meetings last week to create a plan for Buzzard Point. The American Planning Association has posted its press release summarizing the sessions, saying that "Buzzard Point is a distinct area and should build on its strong existing residential character" and that any future plans should "[a]void using a cookie-cutter approach to redeveloping the neighborhood; the type of redevelopment taking place east of South Capitol Street is not what should occur west of South Capitol Street." (Yikes, now there's going to be a rumble in the South Capitol Street median.)
* Michael Perkins is not the person you want to be unable to find a parking space. Speaking of which, here's the second part of GGW's report on last week's Ward 6 Performance Parking public meeting.
* The US Department of Transportation HQ on M Street has been named a winner of the Phoenix Award, which "honors excellence in brownfield redevelopment" and honors companies and individuals who have worked "to solve critical environmental and community challenges when transforming formerly used real estate into productive new uses."
* Voice of the Hill reports on the latest Lower 8th Street visioning sessions: "Barracks Row Main Street executive director James Dalpee suggested that a Columbia Heights-style model, with several big anchor stores, might be what's needed to spur retail in the area," though "while they are dreaming big dreams, planners also have to contend with a number of potential obstacles. They include CSX's plans to tear up Virginia Avenue from 2nd to 11th streets for up to three years to make room for a double-stack train tunnel; the Marine Barracks master plan, which is set to be unveiled soon; and the 11th Street Bridges expansion project."
* WBJ's Breaking Ground blog points to a video by the Huffington Post's investigative unit on "Commercial Real Estate: the Next Hole in the Economy," which "stars" Jeff Neal of Monument Realty talking about the buying "binge" his company went on to snap up lots around the ballpark site in 2004 and 2005. (Though I think it's funny to see WBJ getting a bit snippy about news organizations "discovering holes in the ground" after they did, since I'd be willing to wager that they weren't the first to report on those sites, anyway.) WBJ also says that Neal is developing a reality TV show. Also be sure to check out the comments on the YouTube video for the sort of level-headed, reasoned discourse that we've all become accustomed to on the interwebs.

Updates on Yards Park Funding Hearing and Third Street Gas Smell/Underpass Parking Restrictions
Jun 25, 2009 11:24 AM
A few follow-ups from a recent entry:
* The Committee on Finance and Revenue held its hearing on Tuesday morning on B18-0299, the "Waterfront Park at the Yards Funding Act of 2009," which will create a fund to maintain and "program" the park from a special assessment on development at the Yards, plus sales tax revenues at the park's retail venues for five years, and proceeds from any "naming rights." The hearing wasn't exactly a barnburner--there were three three-minute statements by Jamison Weinbaum of the Office of the Deputy Mayor, Alex Nyhan of Forest City, and Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID--Nyhan described the funding set-up as "taxing ourselves extra," and also mentioned that an $2 million for getting the park started has been secured from the USDOT PILOT funding.
Jack Evans really only had one question: how much will it cost the city? Weinbaum explained that the sales taxes from the retail pavilions that would normally go into the city's general fund will for five years go into this new maintenance fund, but since there is no income from the park's property now, there will be no net loss to the city, and then will be a gain after five years. Evans said that he likes this model of having the private sector taking care of the park (even though the park will be city-owned when it's completed).
If you want to see the testimonies and questions, watch the streaming video (you can skip ahead to the 1:09:00 mark, since it was a long hearing).
* The Twitter box at the top of my home page was out of commission on Tuesday, so those of you who don't suscribe to my Tweets either directly or on Facebook missed out on the flurry of updates about the natural gas smell at Third and Virginia. Reader MB (who had already called Washington Gas four times) talked to a cop who was parked at the intersection Tuesday morning, who called in the smell, and before long fire trucks had arrived, followed by Washington Gas. The southern part of the intersection was closed until nearly 9:30 that night, with two pretty deep holes dug and all sorts of work done. MB reports this morning that the smell appears to be gone (I didn't notice it when driving through this morning, unlike on Monday).
* Speaking of that stretch of Third Street, the new No Parking during rush hour signs have now been posted on both sides of Third Street beneath the SE Freeway. If you drive north out of Near Southeast during afternoon rush, let me know if traffic appears to be flowing better.

Summer Outdoor Movies Start Thursday
Jun 2, 2009 1:32 PM
The BID's Thursday night outdoor summer movie series is starting this week (June 4), and like last year it's being held on the plaza at New Jersey and Tingey (behind USDOT). It's a "Best of the 80s" theme, and they're starting with Back to the Future. The rest of the lineup: The Princess Bride, Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Caddyshack, The Breakfast Club, E.T., Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, and Big. There are also giveaways and other activities--check the flyer for more information. The movies are free and begin at sundown, and food and drinks are available from the On the Fly food carts.

Friday Tidbits: BID Newsletter, ANC Agenda
May 8, 2009 10:38 AM
Between it being Friday and the sun finally being out, I bet everyone's feeling a bit better today. Maybe even Biking to Work! So, a few tidbits:
* The latest Capitol Riverfront BID newsletter is out, with a few items of note. First off, there's a new "branding" campaign going on--"Be Out Front." Look for signs promoting "Front Yard," "Front Office," "Front Door," "Store Front," etc. And they'll soon be launching an equally rebranded web site.
Also, the current estimated population within the BID is 1,584 residents; the newsletter says that there are now more than 2,000 residential units, more than half of which are leased/sold and occupied.
The newsletter also gives the Bullpen's official opening date as May 15, and also mentions that the weekly Tuesday farmer's market at USDOT is now underway, and that the weekly Wednesday lunchtime concerts start on May 20.
* The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is out (hopefully it'll show up online before the meeting itself), and the only Near Southeast item is a presentation by Michael Stevens of the BID--kind of a BID 101 tutorial for the ANC commissioners. Otherwise, it's voting on marathons, bus stops, after-school programs, and also an announcement of a "Southwest Night" at Ft. McNair on July 1. The meeting is at 6th and M streets, SW, at 7 pm. (Maybe next month it'll finally move to the new digs at the new 1D police station at the former Bowen Elementary.)
* The Examiner reports that the 2010 federal budget includes $15 million for "Southeast Federal Center remediation." There's certainly been piles of environmental cleanup there over the years (not surprising when it used to be blocks and blocks of munitions factories).
* EYA has spiffed up its web site a bit--their Capitol Quarter page is worth a visit if you haven't checked it out before.

Memory Lane: April 2004 and 2005
Apr 5, 2009 11:06 AM
Without quite so much new stuff to look at these days, I'm going to do some digging into the Photo Archive, to look at the changes that have come to the neighborhood with a slightly different approach than I usually use, highlighting photos that have tended to disappear from easy view because of the way the archive works. Today it's a survey of what the selected spots looked like in April 2004 and 2005, when construction was underway at Capitol Hill Tower and the US DOT HQ. The Star Market at Second and L (now just called the "little red building") was standing all alone in April 2004 as digging was just beginning on the CHT site, and the profile of M Street was so very different without USDOT looming. There's also some photos from throughout Capper, which was beginning to be emptied out but hadn't become completely boarded up yet.
Remember to click on the beneath any photo to see all the images I've posted of that angle, both before and after these 2004 and 2005 images.

The $6 Billion Neighborhood (Better, Stronger, Faster)
Mar 15, 2009 10:38 PM
It certainly doesn't feel like it's the case, so you might be surprised to find out that the District of Columbia thinks that Near Southeast is worth about $1.5 billion more than it was a year ago, at least in terms of the latest tax assessments now available. With a total assessment last year of around $4.5 billion for the blocks bounded by the SE Freeway, South Capitol Street, and the Anacostia River (to just west of the Sousa Bridge), this bump up edges the neighborhood's "worth" to just over $6 billion.
A chunk of that change is coming from the first official assessment of Nationals Park, valued at $999,982,800 (geez, Mr. Tax Assessor, just round it to $1 billion and be done with it), a rise of nearly $650 million from the assessed value of just the land last year. Blocks that saw projects get completed in 2008 (70/100 I, 100 M and Onyx, and 55 M) got hefty bumps in their valuations, while other spots (20 M, the Capper blocks, USDOT, Maritime Plaza) saw their assessments go down.
I created a report comparing 2008 and 2009's numbers overall and by block, though I wouldn't swear to the exactness of each number down to the penny (but they're probably close enough).
As for the trend of the overall valuation of Near Southeast over the past nine years, it's still *up*:
2001: $221,096,652
2002: $428,312,487
2003: $640,209,280
2004: $771,006,345
2005: $894,123,520
2006: $1,781,481,650
2007: $2,539,618,280
2008: $4,467,137,880
2009: $6,004,334,490
UPDATE: Here's a link to a map of the square numbers, in case a bit more visual assistance would be helpful.

More Info on DC Inaugural Gala, River Restrictions, and Recently Twittered Items (and a Manifesto!)
Jan 11, 2009 4:55 PM
* Last week I posted about the "DC Inaugural Gala" scheduled for Monday, Jan. 19 at the US DOT HQ at New Jersey and M. I didn't have much information, but a little more has come down the pike. It will be featuring the O'Jays and Salsa "king" Johnny Pacheco, as well as local artists Brian Lanier, Familiar Faces, Tommy Bryant and the Giants of Sound, and Nuera.
Mayor Fenty, Council Chairman Gray, and DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton are scheduled to attend, and it's being billed as the first (outside) event ever held at US DOT. Also, according to the press release, "The hundreds of guests in attendance also will be able to visit small intimate parties in special 'neighborhood rooms' that will be decorated by residents to make local people feel at home and give visitors a taste of District of Columbia communities."
Ticket prices have been, um, revised to $144 per person, along with higher-priced tickets with additional bells and whistles. Tickets can be purchased online at DCPresidentialGala.com (though as of Sunday afternoon it still lists the previous higher price for single tickets).
And, FYI, my employer doesn't let me go to inaugural balls other than on official business, so everyone be sure to tell me all about the parties, and think about me while I stay home cleaning the house and cursing my wicked stepmother and stepsisters.
* The Coast Guard has released the specifics of the security on the Anacostia and Potomac rivers surrounding the inauguration. On Jan. 18 and 19, recreational boaters will not be allowed in the security zone (which, for the Anacostia, is from Route 50 down to the Potomac), and those moored within the zone must not move without authorization. From 11 pm Jan. 19 until early Jan. 21, all vessel movements (recreational and commercial) will be prohibited.
And now, rehashing the other Twitter updates of the past few days:
* Tommy Wells has posted the list of Ward 6 establishments that have applied to stay open during the Inauguration extended hours. None of the hundreds of Near Southeast restaurants and bars are on the list (unless you want to count the Capitol Skyline Hotel at South Capitol and I, SW), but a number of Southwest Waterfront, Barracks Row, and Pennsylvania Avenue joints are on the list.
* It's a shame that Diamond Teague Park isn't done yet, because it could have gotten into the Inauguration Water Taxi biz--the Post's Inauguration Watch blog reported on Friday that there will be water taxi service from Alexandria to 600 Water Street, SW (Pier 4). $90 round-trip, $50 one-way. More info starting Monday at InauguralWaterTaxi.com, which just redirects to the Potomac Riverboat Company's web site. (They're the ones gunning for Teague service, when the docks are ready.)
* The comments on my new Douglass Bridge design post from Friday veered off unexpectedly into my posting a bit of a manifesto in response to the people who from time to time admonish me or implore me to lead some sort of "movement" of one kind or another for or against some project in Near Southeast. If you find my bland just-the-facts recitations of the latest news items aggravating or bewildering, this might help explain a bit.
And it also reveals why I leapt off the fence for the first time and expressed a design preference against the cable stayed swing that so many people wanted: on the arched bascule bridge (as well as the retractile and stayed bascule designs), there will be pedestrian/bike paths on both sides of the bridge, while the cable stayed swing design would only have one path, smack in the center of the bridge, slightly elevated but still surrounded by six lanes of high-speed traffic. To me, if I'm going to cross a grand promenade bridge by foot or bike from one liveable, walkable community to another (someday!), I'd rather be able to stop and gaze out at the waterfront and the shorelines instead of white-knuckling across it as fast as possible to get away from the cars whizzing by me on both sides.
Now I shall return to keeping my preferences to myself!

DC Presidential Inaugural Gala To Be at USDOT on Jan. 19
Jan 5, 2009 3:44 PM
There's now a second inaugural shindig scheduled for the neighborhood, with the Post reporting on a "DC Presidential Inaugural Gala" to be held at the US DOT HQ at New Jersey and M on January 19 from 8 pm to midnight. It's being run by the "District of Columbia Presidential Inaugural Committee" (I don't yet know whether it's an official city entity or not; sure sounds like it, but I haven't yet confirmed). This is not Mayor Fenty's official ball (at the DC Armory) or the council's official ball (at the Wilson Building). Still trying to find out more.
Tickets are a mere $244.51 per person, says the Post. More when I get it. This is the night after the Capitol Riverfront Gala being thrown at 70 I Street. No actual inauguration-night balls for Near Southeast yet, though. Here's a comprehensive list of all the galas, balls, and other festivities planned throughout the four-day extravaganza.

President Bush at USDOT on Tuesday
Nov 17, 2008 5:42 PM
Be prepared that on Tuesday (Nov. 18), President Bush will be visiting the US Department of Transporation headquarters on M Street. Given that no parking will be allowed at DOT until noon on Tuesday because of security concerns, be prepared for an onslaught of extra transit passengers at the Navy Yard Metro station and on the bus lines, and extra cars in the daily lots around the neighborhood. No doubt there will also be some traffic disruptions as the president arrives and leaves, too.

DOT HQ Accessibility Issues, Baseball Academy News, and A Downtown Ballpark in the Era of $4 Gas
Jun 25, 2008 2:55 PM
Three items for your perusal this afternoon:
* The Post's Al Kamen reports on the accessibility problems at the US DOT HQ: "Agency officials say the building -- the first entirely designed and constructed for a federal agency since 9/11 -- was built with guidance from disability experts and help from the U.S. Access Board and the General Services Administration. But dozens of employees with disabilities began to have problems -- some caused by security precautions -- as soon as the 6,000 workers moved in last summer. There were several safety issues, such as fire alarms without blinking lights for the hearing-impaired, and there were doors that required too much strength to open. Employees were especially frustrated by cafeteria tray slides that are so high that employees who use wheelchairs cannot reach their food, a violation of standards and a constant annoyance." DOT issued some "guidelines" that didn't exactly soothe the ruffled feathers.
* Yesterday the Nationals Dream Foundation unveiled the renderings for their planned baseball academy at Fort Dupont Park in Ward 7. As described by MLB.com, "Slated as a 16,000 square foot facility with three fields on 10 acres, the academy will be a year-round youth development program committed to helping youth with the skills necessary to succeed in life, and to become responsible, productive citizens in their community." The Nationals have put up $3.5 million, and the city has committed $3 million, and so the foundation is looking for corporate sponsorships to fund the rest of the $10 million price tag for the project, which is looking to emulate the Harlem RBI academy in New York. I was interested to hear in the presentation that the academy would not only groom baseball players, but teach groundskeeping, broadcasting, scouting, coaching, and other parts of the whole baseball experience. On hand for yesterday's announcement were Nats Dimitri Young, Elijah Dukes, Lastings Milledge, and Willie Harris, who you can see in this embarrassingly poor-quality photo.
* This passage from a New York Times piece on how the cost of fuel is changing the way America thinks about its "exurbs" is one that caught my eye: "Coors Field, the intimate, brick-fronted baseball stadium for the Colorado Rockies, has transformed the surrounding area from a desolate skid row into fashionable Lower Downtown, a neighborhood of restaurants and microbreweries in restored warehouses. Along the Platte River, new condos set on a park strip offer an arresting tableau of glass, steel, and futuristic geometry, attracting throngs of buyers at rising prices. 'This is a city where it's fun to be in the center,' said Tim Burleigh, 56, who sold his house in the suburbs and now walks to Rockies games from his downtown condo. To Denver's mayor, John W. Hickenlooper, $4 gasoline offers a useful incentive for such plans. 'It can be an accelerator,' he said[....] 'It's not going to be the dagger in the heart of suburban sprawl, but there's a certain inclination, a certain momentum back toward downtown.' "

A Gorgeous Day - A Good Time For Rooftop Photos
Jun 24, 2008 2:48 PM
Are you stuck inside, maybe not even near a window (like me), on this gorgeous summer day? Then take a few minutes to run through this new batch of photos from up high at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE, showing views east across the Cappers and west across New Jersey Avenue (both down toward the ballpark and up toward the Capitol), displayed alongside the 2006 "befores" from the same angles. If somehow the differences between "old" and "new" Near Southeast haven't quite been apparent to you before now, this batch of photos should finally take care of it--remember, it's a mere 27 months between the oldest and newest shots.
And, if you've got some time, you should really look at the complete lineup of images from these locations, taken approximately every three months since early 2007, to watch the progression of old buildings disappearing and new ones popping up.
As a special added bonus, you can also see proof that the USDOT's vaunted green roof is indeed green.

Wednesday Lunchtime Concert Series Launches
May 27, 2008 10:25 PM
Starting Wednesday May 28, the Capitol Riverfront BID and US DOT developer JBG are launching a 10-week lunchtime concert series, to be held every Wednesday at noon on the Southwest Plaza behind DOT at New Jersey and Tingey. Quoting from the press release: "Capitol Riverfront Concerts is a ten week summer concert series with lively and diverse musical artists, performing everything from original pop to Latin Jazz, R&B, bluegrass, Caribbean and more. Bring your lunch or enjoy a special outdoor grill menu provided by the U.S. DOT cafeteria."
Folks desperate for outdoor recreation space in the neighborhood might note this line from the release: "The concerts are part of a growing number of programs that you will see in the Capitol Riverfront as several new parks begin to open next spring 2009." (There could indeed be three parks opening in some capacity next year, if previously announced [or hinted at] timelines hold: Canal Park, the waterfront park at The Yards, and Diamond Teague Park.)
Here's the flyer with the lineup of performers, and a map if you can't quite figure out where the plaza is. I've also added the schedule of performances to my own Near Southeast Upcoming Events Calendar.

DOT Farmers' Market Resumes May 6
May 5, 2008 10:07 AM
From the folks at the Capitol Riverfront BID, word that the Farmers' Market is returning for its second year, starting May 6 (tomorrow!) and running through Nov. 18, from 10 am to 2 pm each Tuesday. They've moved the location slightly--it's now at Third and M Street, SE, on the pedestrian plaza between the two US DOT buildings.

DOT Curb Cuts Not ADA Compliant; Positive Nature Rally; Douglass Bridge Ceremony Coverage
Mar 18, 2008 9:06 AM
* The Examiner writes about the Washington Area Bicyclists Association's look last week at the crosswalks and curbs at the US Department of Transportation HQ, which WABA says are not ADA compliant: "An inspection of the area Friday found security bollards blocking curb ramps, bus shelters with virtually no sidewalk access, and multispace parking meters inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. Also, several crosswalks at non-signalized intersections feed into curbs with no access ramp[.]" DDOT says that the crosswalk at Second and M is not supposed to be used anymore (since there is a fully compliant crosswalk just to the west at New Jersey Avenue) and will be sending crews to take away the crosswalk marks.
* City Paper continues its saturation coverage of the Positive Nature youth program at 1017 New Jersey with video from Saturday's rally. The organization is trying to stave off eviction thanks to the huge increase in its property taxes.
* WAMU has posted the audio of its piece on last week's rededication of the Douglass Bridge. The city's Cable 16 channel should be adding it to its lineup soon. You can watch the press conference on the new on-street parking regulations near the ballpark in the meantime.

Why No Nats Parking at USDOT, and Additional Ballpark-Related Items
Mar 12, 2008 11:39 PM
Here's either a late-night or early-morning update, depending on your sleep schedule:
* Marc Fisher of the Post takes a deep (and infuriated) look at why Nats fans (even just government employees with security clearances) can't park in the 1,060-space garage at the US Department of Transporation headquarters one block from the ballpark. "So how did a simple request to use empty parking spaces at night, after Transportation workers have gone home, turn into -- excuse the expression -- a federal case? A report by Transportation's inspector general makes it clear that the feds were desperate to find a way to reject the Nationals' proposal." UPDATE: Marc's blog includes a link to the inspector general's report.
* Boswell talks ticket prices.
* The WashTimes describes police plans to step up patrols during Nats games: "[O]fficers with the department's Special Operations Division would be deployed on foot, on bicycles, in cars and on Segways to at least 39 'static posts' around the ballpark to direct traffic and assist in crowd control. Additionally, he said, 10 beats -- staffed by either one or two officers -- will patrol, mostly on foot, the neighborhoods surrounding the stadium, looking out for auto thefts or other property crimes in the hours before and after games."
* The 55 M web cam doesn't show it real clearly, but Metro's signature red tile flooring is being installed in the new west entrance of the Navy Yard station at Half and M.
* There's also new stoplights (not yet activated) installed at Half and M. Which is good news for pedestrians, including neighborhood bloggers who have come perilously close to meeting their maker trying to cross that very intersection.
* A large new sign at Third and I announces that the parking lot now under construction there is Nationals Parking Lot T (in the orange zone). And while the asphalt hasn't been pored at this lot or its sibling to the south, the lightposts erected in the center of each lot are now operational, adding a bit of extra light to Third Street after dark.
* Wednesday night's public meeting on the ballpark traffic management and curbside parking plan heard many of the concerns that have been raised at previous events (visitor passes, stadiumgoers being directed to use the Maine Avenue exit from the SW Freeway, commuters and residents wondering how they'll get *out* of the stadium area on game nights, and more). Representatives of DDOT spoke what is now the official city and team mantra, along the lines of: "We've tried our best to come up with a system, and we'll be watching it closely to see what works and what doesn't, and we'll make changes to it as we need to. We're asking for patience. But there will be congestion, and there will be problems, and there will be *change.*" Which is a message that doesn't always go over very well. After the group Q&A, city and team officials answered one-on-one questions. (The somewhat striking view of the ballpark at dusk from the 10th floor of 20 M was probably not on the minds of most of these meeting-goers.) Oh, and a DPW official made it very clear: cars parked illegally on the new enhanced RPP streets will be towed.

Starbucks Opening Monday? Yes. And Free Coffee on Friday
Sep 27, 2007 4:31 PM
Caffeine-deprived correspondents are writing in to tell me they're hearing that the Starbucks at the corner of New Jersey and M (at the DOT HQ) is set to open on Monday (Oct. 1). The rumor mill adds that it will be open seven days a week.
UPDATE: I've now had it confirmed that Monday is indeed the opening day for Starbucks. And hours will be 6 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday, and 7 am to 7 pm Saturday and Sunday.
UPDATE II: Via the BID, there's also apparently a "Friends and Family Extravaganza" at the new Starbucks on Friday (Sept. 28) from 1:00 to 6:00 pm. "Free Food and Coffee/Community Networking Opportunities/Special Offers."

New Photos and News
Aug 27, 2007 7:19 PM
After a week of days that were either overcast and drizzly or ridiculously hot and humid, today's sunny-and-warm profile gave me no choice but to venture out for a reconaissance mission. My report:
The masses of workers and the well-positioned fences make it nearly impossible to take photos of the current state of South Capitol Street, but I have added a decent photo to my Douglass Bridge makeover page showing the new South Capitol and Potomac intersection, which appears very close to being ready for traffic. Streetlights are in place, curbs have been built, paving has begun, and the historic globe streetlamps are installed all along the length of the bridge.
I also snuck a peek into the huge hole where Monument Realty's Half Street project is underway, and from N Street you can see what appears to be vertical construction is already underway at the bottom of the hole. It's along the M Street portion of the site, which will be home to the 55 M Street office building, which itself will contain the expanded entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. Because that Metro work must be completed by Opening Day 2008, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that they're already pouring concrete and working upward, eight months into construction. The office building itself and the rest of the Half Street Phase I won't be completed until 2009.
And I unexpectedly found Demolished Building entry #138, as the beige garage that has long sat on the northeast side of the Half and I Street intersection bit the dust today, which I'm sure JPI is happy to see, given that 70/100 I Street is growing like a weed right next door.
Speaking of 70/100 I, it got updated photos today, along with Onyx on First and 100 M Street. You can look at those project pages (and their accompanying expanded archives), or you can browse this page showing all photos I've posted from today, which includes a few new shots of Capper Building #2, which I believe is just minutes from opening. And I even finally added a photo of the "Starbucks Coming Soon" sign out in front of the DOT HQ, for the caffeine-deprived.

Starbucks Coming Soon to DOT
Jul 14, 2007 3:41 PM
It's been rumored for ages, and even as of a few days ago I couldn't get confirmation, but reader Dave says we now have a "Starbucks Coming Soon" sign in the window of the little glassed-in annex on the DOT headquarters's northwestern corner, at New Jersey and M. I don't know when they plan on opening. But, fear not, pricey hot caffeinated beverages will be in your grasp before too long!

Commercial Real Estate News in Near Southeast
Jun 22, 2007 1:03 PM
Today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal has an article summing up what's going on right now with various commercial projects around Near Southeast. (The online article is for subscribers only for the first 30 days; sorry.) Here are the new items:
* William C. Smith is planning to hold off breaking ground on its 200,000-sq-ft building at 250 M Street until it pre-leases at least 30% of the building.
* Opus East has leased 80,000 sq ft at 100 M Street (33% of the building) to government contractor Parsons Corp.
* Lerner's 20 M Street does not as yet have any office tenants.
* It also mentions that Opus East is planning to build the 440,000-sq-ft office building at 1015 Half Street (the old Nation site) on spec; but it should be noted that Opus hasn't yet officially announced its purchase of this property or its plans.
(The article also summarizes what's going on at Florida Rock, using some source materials that are hard to find anywhere other than here at JDLand. Note to reporters and other professionals using my site: yup, lots of stuff is posted here, and it's all free, but be a grownup and say where you found it.)
In addition, there's an ad in the print edition giving us our first peek at the Shalom Baranes design for 1100 South Capitol Street, Ruben Companies's planned 350,000 sq ft office building on the southeast corner of South Capitol and L. There's currently no timeline for development of this project.
The print edition also has a piece written by GSA about the US Department of Transportation completing its move to its new headquarters at New Jersey and M. It describes the HQ's interiors and exteriors, and mentions that this project is the largest lease ever executed in DC.

Brass Moving to DOT; Blackberrying the Building
Jun 21, 2007 11:00 PM
Friday's In the Loop column in the Post reports that Friday is moving day for the muckety mucks at the US Department of Transportation, heading to their new digs on M Street. Says Al Kamen: "Good thing there was a shakedown period [with lower-level staff move-ins having gone on first over the past few months]. Seems the mid-level staff have reported toilets with little pressure and sinks where the water blasted out. (Unclear which is worse.) Some folks apparently got locked in their own offices. But the biggest problem in the two buildings, one eight stories and the other nine, is that cellphones and BlackBerrys didn't work. This was because the structures were built according to post-Sept. 11 government specs, with extra-thick walls and windows. So the buildings are being rewired -- work's almost done, we were told -- so they are almost a virtual cellphone tower and the reception quality will be superb."


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