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After my post yesterday about the Marines continuing to eye various sites for their new barracks and their interest in Square 882 (site of the old Capper Seniors building and where the DC Housing Authority wants to build a mixed-income apartment building as part of the Capper redevelopment), I've found out that last week the DCHA board voted to authorize an application to HUD for a loan guarantee to build on the site. Also, design documents for the new apartment building are now approved (see earlier renderings from last year's zoning approvals), and other work is in progress to prepare for submittal of building permit applications. There's even a preliminary schedule to begin infrastructure work on the site after the Nationals' season ends and their need for Parking Lot W is over.
Does this mean the notion of the Marines getting the site is finished? Is it a high-stakes game of chicken? Will the guys with guns ultimately take control of the site from the guys with apartments? As always, we shall see.
Comments (18)
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Mark says: (3/20/10 1:03 PM)
If you want to see DCHA transfer the property to the Marines - as I do - please take the time to e-mail DCHA directly and email our ANC Rep Norm Metzger.


Mark says: (3/20/10 1:14 PM)
If you believe, as I do, that bringing the Marines, new Marine families, and the planned Marine museum to our neighborhood would benefit Near SE, I would also recommend e-mailing Mayor Fenty and Councilmember Wells.

MJM says: (3/20/10 2:32 PM)
Commercial/non-govt residence and business is better :)

Mark says: (3/20/10 3:34 PM)
Why? You can't make a blanket assertion without backing it up with something (BTW - the residences will be DCHA - gov't run).

Moreover - when every other entity abandoned Near SE in the recent past the Marines were one of the only organizations that remained loyal to this area. Seems like they are owed a thank you.

CAPT Hill says: (3/20/10 4:00 PM)
I agree with Mark - the Marines, new families - and a new museum will be great for our neighborhood.

If you want to plant the seeds of growth you need the people and the funds to start it. I'm going to contact Wells and Fenty and tell them to support transferring the property to the Marines.

MJM says: (3/20/10 6:12 PM)
DCHA won't bring new families? In the end isn't everything govt run?

Aren't they talking about building barracks? Those don't hold families. Isn't there a Navy Museum in the hood but isn't that behind a fence and because of that not many people go there. So they are gonna build another museum and put it behind a security fence too?

Do you want to live in a hood surrounded by a military base circled with a security fences or in an open residential neighborhood? There is a reason why lower 8th St is the way it is - most military bases bring certain types of business/support - not all but most.

You can be all in favor of it but in the end I can see DCHA winning this fight because there were enough people forced out of this area that they will probably like to see a return to that.

drew stewart says: (3/21/10 1:40 AM)

Dear Dr. Dupree:
I Failed to mention: Get Better at the admin of your site! You used to be the best in the city---but now: not so much. Because you've let the economic turndown give you an excuse to step back and relax.

So get better as an investigative reporter and convert your sophistigated web gossip news rag into
an adjunct WEB RAG!!

F says: (3/21/10 8:53 PM)
I am for the Marines staying and expanding. I think without their presence and community support that Near SE would be in far dire circunstances. They have an active community outreach effort and also provide an added element of security to the neighborhood.

It would be difficult for the Marines to build a barracks elesewhere since they already have a significant footprint in SE. A mixed income apartment building could be built elsewhere.

DC Government needs to show that they are pro-military and pro-(US) government.

Mark says: (3/22/10 12:15 PM)

First you attack the Marines' plans as "gov't run" - then you defend DCHA - so it's ok to have DCHA housing but not Marine housing? what's your angle?

They are planning to build barracks - which hold young men and women of the highest caliber AND they are planning to build FAMILY HOUSING.

As for the museum there is a Navy museum on the Navy Yard - this would be a Marine museum. (FYI, the Navy and the Marines are different).

As for your aspersions about lower 8th - exactly how long have you been in near SE? The Marines have been here since the 18th century - and they never left. There weren't many institutions that stayed during the rough years - the Marines and the Navy are about it. They are the anchors (pun intended) for our community - they were here when no one else with sufficient resources remained - and as F says - it's time that DC steps up to the plate, helps the Marines out and demonstrates that DC is pro-military.

Michael says: (3/22/10 2:04 PM)
As I mentioned before, given the modern fortress-like quality of all government installations, and especially security and military sites, I'm not looking forward to any expansion in the neighborhood. It will be an inhospitable, impermeable barrier. This does not benefit me (ie, my property value).

The quality ("high-caliber") of soldiers and sailors is irrelevant to this question. So is some political "idea" that the government of DC should, as a process of economic development, preference a "pro-military and pro-(US) government" position.

In fact, I would suggest the exact opposite. I will readily acknowledge the soldiers and sailors contribute economically to the area, but frequenting bars, restaurants, and other nearby shops. However, the vast majority of them are not tax-paying residents of Washington DC. So, I would suggest that preference be (appropriately) given to the desires of DC residents instead, and their goals and aims for community and local economic development.

MJM says: (3/22/10 2:17 PM)
Mark, if you view it as an attack, sorry its not.

Capital Quarter is then govt too with the interest free loans. big difference between local govt and fed govt.

I'm military as I assume you are - so no need to preach to me about high cailber. This is about building a hood not dependent on the military or surrounded by 9ft high security fences. Fayetnam, I'm sorry, Fayetteville, NC is just now recovering from that image and it is has taken 30 years. They are trying not to be focused on the military (yeah there are good bases such as Coronado, San Diego, maybe Mayport but the majority of military bases don't have the best of areas/business near by - which I'm sure you've seen before).

I don't have to have been here since the 1700s to see that the area around SE was focused on the Navy Yard and the Barracks (a few more issues impacted that area other than the military but certain business cater to the military). Check out the area in front of Quantico and Ft Belvoir - not the best of areas?

The area is improving because of private investment (with some help from the local govt) - stadium, Yards, half St, etc - not the Marines or Navy. I doubt the area would be in dire circumstances with the Marines (maybe 8th St but not the stadium area).

Just saying the area doesn't need to be dependent on military or have a large area of it surrounded by security fences (or closed off museums like the Navy and the different Marine museum - would that be in front of the AT fences or behind it?).

But hopefully the pricing bonds this week ends the 882 debate. Maybe I'll buy some of the bonds - end of my post on that topic.

JD says: (3/22/10 2:19 PM)
Just to weigh in with a clarification--the bonds sale this week is only for Capper infrastructure work, and not specifically for any Square 882 monies.

BBC says: (3/22/10 7:50 PM)
Well, I am a tax paying resident of DC and I want to see the Marines expand in this (my) neighborhood. I don't even mind the big iron fences. Apparently, they are penetrable by young children who want to play soccer on the Marine's field!!! In a couple of years, I hope to have my little girl an me "penetrate" that fence as well ...she can play soccer and I can cheer her on. In fact I imagine that I will spend more time on that field than in an office building where I have no business.

Yes, the young military men and women may make it more economically viable for bars, restaurants, and the like. If milatary familys are also able to move in, these marines might also encourage toy shops, clothing stores, and the like to move into the neighborhood. I support all of this. You cannot compare what surrounds a military base in the suburbs to what might occur here. The population density as well as the price per square foot is completely different.

F says: (3/23/10 9:30 AM)
Lets remember that the Marines are not building a base. Its a barracks...a building. The examples given earlier of sparwling multi-square mile bases does not apply here. I would also be against them building anything like FT Bragg or Quantico in near SE.

The small footprint of a new barracks does not compare to the regional size impact of a new base.

Emily says: (3/24/10 11:14 AM)
I would just like to reiterate, that yes it's Barracks, infrastructure upgrades, and possibly community facilities that are being considered by the USMC. We also shouldn't be putting words in the Marines' mouths and implying that Square 882 is the decision that has been made; yes it looks like a viable option because of its many pros, but it is not the only site being considered at this point.

Finally, with Barracks you get a young group of people who have a steady income and willing to live and acclimate to their neighborhood. With government run housing/mixed use commercial you could get low income families not invested in their surroundings necessarily and only the opportunity for local business to come to the area; and in this economy that's certainly not a given! The neighborhood could thrive or it could go down hill fast with newly installed store fornts that sit empty and vacant.

Michael says: (3/24/10 3:23 PM)
The Marines are not "invested" in the surrounding area, necessarily (likely not), in the same way tax-paying working class resident families are. The soldiers and sailors are not (by in large) residents. They don't pay taxes here. And they live isolated from the community behind their fortifications. I would much rather have working class neighbors and families.

Mixed use (commercial/residential) is exactly what we want coming to the neighborhood. Not a giant fortified facility!

BBC says: (4/1/10 11:08 AM)
The marines are certainly not "isolated ...behind their fortifications." They are excellent neighbors. They open their soccer field to the children in the community. Their fence is an iron picket fence that looks nice and blends in well. Their existing building just north of square 882 is quite attractive. Also, THEY HAVE EARNED MY DEEPEST RESPECT. It is true that most marines pay taxes to their home state instead of DC. But that is really a false argument since DC get boatloads to federal money ...much more per person than any state in this country. All those museums, all those monuments, the botanical garden, the arboretum, hugh subsidies to our subway, all that other money we don't see. We DC residents enjoy a lot of ammenities from the federal government that our city government does not pay for. So, is some defenders to our nation ask for some elbow room in my community, I vote a emphatic YES.

MJM says: (4/3/10 6:22 PM)
BBC - this is not about being good neighbors who open their playing fields - this about building an open 'hood. Do you want L St shut down too like K St is? Really 9 Ft security fences blend in well? When was the last time you shopped at a barracks or visited your local enlisted Marine at his dorm on a Friday night when he/she invited you over for pot-luck and had to pass through security? It is about an OPEN 'hood.

You have to look past what good people the Marines are or all good military bring to areas. And its not about taxes, while I pay property taxes here I don't vote here (which I think is more important).

The military does not bring in new businesses that cater to all walks of life. Go to Fayetteville. Go to Ft Belvoir,. Go to Grand Forks, ND. Go East St Louis. Go to Jacksonville, NC. And tell me what those bases cater too - for all those mobile homes advertising sex approaching Jacksonville, NC I don't think you can argue the military doesn't attract a certain clientele (e.g. Lower 8 St - as I was told has had the Marines since the 1700s - doesn't look like a booming community to me). Or even Ramstein AB (40 Mark Strasse). For every 4 bases I list you will find one good base that doesn't have a run down 'hood bordering the base/post.

My beer for a year offer still stands - look it up on another JD post.

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