Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

More to come as the news stories come out, but I'll break the news here that the council passed 10-3 the resolution today to override the Zoning Commission's rule preventing the construction of aboveground garages on the stadium site. (In other words, they voted to approve aboveground garages.) Barry, Catania, and Schwartz were the dissenters. There was much discussion about whether because of language in the original agreement that after Sept. 1, 2007, the city will have to ask the Lerners for permission to develop the parking garage site on the north side of the stadium that the city will be doomed to never having development because the Lerners would never allow construction in that spot that would disrupt the ballpark experience. But the councilmembers who voted yes seem to feel that at some point in the future there is still the ability to tear down the aboveground garages and develop the land, which will only continue to escalate in value. One teeny item that creeped out of the debate that may be how they're getting this under the cost cap--Jack Evans mentioned that aboveground garages are now being planned for the 300 south side parking spaces, which Clark Construction says can be done for $1.6 million. If this is true, that they're now dispensing with the idea of a grand southern-side plaza (where hardly anyone will be arriving from anyway) then they should have just put 10-story garages right there and had all the parking on the south side. I imagine this is still not a finished discussion.... More to come. UPDATE: Here's the Post story, with a quote from Adrian Fenty that shows perhaps folks are starting to get the message that these two blocks are not the end-all be-all of Ballpark District development: "The land in question on the stadium site is a small percentage of the area around the stadium that is already being developed." UPDATE II: A little late on my part, but here's the WashTimes piece, with an explanation as to why the south side garages can be done so cheaply: "Sports commission officials said the city was able to save money because the Nationals relaxed their requirement for 300 spaces at the south side of the stadium. The stadium construction team, led by Clark Construction of Bethesda, said it can build the parking more inexpensively now with only 130 space at the south." And here's Tim Lemke's Q&A on the entire garages brouhaha, for those smart souls who haven't been paying attention. UPDATE III: If you're into self torture, this council session is available via on-demand streaming video.
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