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 (a random before-and-after moment)
May 20, 2006
October 19, 2014
3rd at I, Looking Southwest (see more)

What a gorgeous morning. A morning perfect for taking photos. Perfect for taking photos along the Anacostia riverfront. At a park that's less than two weeks from opening. And so here's a gallery of Yards Park photos, with construction work still very much in evidence but with the site looking in pretty good shape. At more than 5.5 acres, there's a lot of park to photograph, so I left a lot of good shots on the cutting room floor, but hopefully this gallery will give you a good idea of what you'll see when the park has its Grand Opening Weekend Sept. 10-12.
One other piece of news to pass along--I was told today that it's expected that work will begin on the Boilermaker Shops rehab by the end of this year. As with the Foundry Lofts (which is getting restarted now), work on that much-anticipated retail space will take a year or so. (If you need a Yards primer, see my project page.)
Comments (23)
   
 
 More About Yards Park

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JoeNDC says: (8/27/10 3:44 PM)
Wow JD! The pictures are awsome. Thanks for taking us on a little journey. What a great park. I can't wait for the Foundry Lofts, the Boiler Maker Shop and all the rest of the master plan to come together. I am so excited to be a part of the hood and equally happy that you continue to be our defacto go to gal on everything concerning the Near Southeast.


F says: (8/27/10 3:57 PM)
Fellow JDLanders,

There has been repeated discussion here in the past regarding the lack of retail and restaurants coming to Near SE, aside from the banks and liquor stores. It seems as though some of the commercial real estate has taken a turn for the better and some projects are starting to see life again (Boilermaker Shops, Loft Foundary, 1015 Half St, etc.). In an effort to help the process of bringing retail into the neighborhood I am providing some links to the CONTACT US page of some restaurants and other establishments (below)which some of you may think would fit well into Near SE. I have no vested interest in any of these establishments. I thought that if there were at least some grass roots requests from residents in Near SE for these establishments to come here, then they may at least look into it. I think many people still don't believe there are actual residents in this neighborhood. This is just my idea and does not represent an endorsement by JD Land or anyone else.

Recommend a short communication such as:  I am a resident of a growing residential and commercial neighborhood in Near Southeast Washington DC. Our neighborhood has seen great development in the past two years with the addition of a Nationals Stadium, the Department of Transportation headquarters and additions of both commercial and residential buildings and communities. I believe that __________ would find a very welcome and appreciative population if you were to establish a presence in near Southeast Washington DC.

Suggested establishments:

Au Bon Pain - link
California Pizza Kitchen - link
Clydes - link
Cosi - link (click Talk to US)
Haagen Dazs - link
Harris Teeter -link
Johnny Rockets - link
Legal Seafood - link
Mortons - link
McCormick and Schmicks - link
Outback Steakhouse - link
Panera - link
Ruths Chris Steakhouse - link
Whole Foods - link


kp says: (8/27/10 6:09 PM)
These are fantastic photos, JD! What a great addition this park will be for the neighborhood and the city.


jill says: (8/27/10 8:30 PM)
Great photos!!! Thanks so much for sharing them. So happy to see the dog park area - thanks for including that!


Mark says: (8/27/10 8:43 PM)
F - good idea, I'm going to start sharing my thoughts with these retailers on why they should open a branch in Natstown tonight.


md says: (8/28/10 8:44 AM)
F and Mark

i would have to disagree about the links, as i feel mega-chains like these are what ruined areas like chinatown, dupont, georgetown, and give dc that generic feeling; areas like 14th st NW, with church key, st ex, furniture row, are what we should strive for here. it would be great to see smaller independent businesses in our retail space, like justin's cafe, and less cosi's and outback's.


NatsTown says: (8/28/10 8:58 AM)
Great Photos! Your deidcated effort is very much evident and appreciated!

now, more cowbell... I mean... more dogpark!


SWill says: (8/28/10 6:25 PM)
Wow, what a great looking park...I can't wait to see it in person!


Sophiamonster says: (8/29/10 11:02 AM)
Does anyone know if we'll be able to visit the park before its grand opening? Yes, I am that impatient.


Sophiamonster says: (8/29/10 11:02 AM)
Does anyone know if we'll be able to visit the park before its grand opening? Yes, I am that impatient.


steve ferlofer says: (8/29/10 11:16 AM)
Does anyone have any thoughts regarding the outlook of our neighborhood relative to the upcoming mayoral election? I don't know Grey's stance on Near SE (I know he is a big advocate of H Street trolley system). And, I know Fenty is a big supporter of Near SE.

I don't mean to get all political, just wondering what people are thinking; and, if the outcome of the election will have a positive or negative impact on the community based on who wins.

Steve


JD says: (8/29/10 12:06 PM)
Sophia--the official dedication/ribbon cutting for the park is scheduled for Sept. 7, four days before the "grand opening," so I imagine it might be possible to visit after that. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if some of the boardwalk at the far eastern end (near the Navy Yard) is walled off for a while even after the grand opening, because I'm not sure they're going to get that part done by the opening.

But since the Navy doesn't seem to yet be making any moves toward opening up its part of the riverwalk, having that far eastern part of the Yards Park unavailable for a few extra weeks probably isn't a huge deal.


Andrew in DC says: (8/30/10 9:52 AM)
md,

I agree with you on some of the links - cosi, CPK..

While I'd love to see one-off, unique places like Justin's, the question I have is how much space is really available for them to develop in? Most of the big blocks are held by Akridge, Monument, etc who have these grand plans to develop these huge areas... whenever they get around to it. A source with unknown access to the information tells me that 909 is trying to charge an arm and a leg for their space. So where does that leave us?

I think a lot of those listed - M&S, Morton's, HT/WF/any grocery store, Legal Seafood - would make a nice contribution to the area without inundating us with "chain" stores *and* those places would have the clout to get the developers moving again.

my .02


Khan says: (8/30/10 10:44 AM)
@F
I hope we don't get one of those boring chain store restaurants.

Au Bon Pain - I can live with this
California Pizza Kitchen - Ewww
Clydes - Boring
Cosi - I can live with this
Haagen Dazs - fine
Harris Teeter - NO...
Johnny Rockets - No
Legal Seafood - Boring
Mortons - over-rated boring steak shit place
McCormick and Schmicks - No
Outback Steakhouse - Hell no
Panera - Yes, yes, yes
Ruths Chris Steakhouse - I get it, you like steak..but no
Whole Foods - Can't wait..

@md..good suggestion. I rather see my neighborhood to be like 14th street than boring the same all neighborhood filled with mediocre chain restaurants.


Ben says: (8/30/10 11:29 AM)
I'm reminded of a saying involving beggars and choosers.

While opinions will differ on what types of establishments one would prefer, I think we can all agree that no one benefits from scores of empty retail spaces. If you don't like the establishments suggested by F, then by all means feel free to contact other establishments you would prefer (and post the contact information on JDLand for other like-minded individuals).

Objectively speaking, in today's commercial finance market, the kind of establishments F notes are probably among the few that could get funding to open a new location in our area. Justin's certainly benefited from the owner's previous experience in the DC area (which I think I read about on this site), and is likely the exception and not the rule when it comes to the ability of non-chain establishments to get financing for operations in our hood at this point in time. While Legal Seafoods might not be your bag, attracting an establishment like that and making it a success is likely the only way to convince lenders that our area could support the more unique establishments that some crave.


LM says: (8/30/10 12:26 PM)
Ben's comments are right on point.


F says: (8/30/10 5:46 PM)
Appreciate the discussion around the links provided and I certainly respect the views presented. Also, Khan is 100% correct  Im an avid steak-lover.

As mentioned before Im not endorsing any specific establishment and also would not want our neighborhood to adopt a strip shopping mall atmosphere. While 8th St was able to establish itself with independent, private businesses Im not sure that model would be feasible for Near SE due to high barriers of entry alluded to by Ben.

My personal view is that there is room for some of the aforementioned places (or others like them) to act as anchors for some of the larger retail spaces which will become available (the long empty restaurant space in the bottom of CHT comes to mind). Smaller retail spaces which may be available in places the Boilermaker Shops (akin to Faneuil hall in Boston) could be home to cafes and shops which md mentions.

In any case, my original assertion is that there needs to be grassroots efforts to write to potential establishment owners and encourage them to look at Near SE and seriously consider establishing a retail presence here.


JoeNDC says: (8/30/10 6:01 PM)
Ben- Well written. I agree with your position. Eventually, our little slice of heaven will have plenty of retail space available. The operative word that we should all be cognizant of is "eventually." More pressing is the here and now. It will take a behemoth with their deep pockets to open a new location in this economy, if at all. The goal of course is to lure any company brave enough to invest in our hood with the parallel goal of attracting others to do the same... sooner rather than later. While some may feel that the big guys are too bland and offer little in the way of a cool vibe; they do have the affect of saying that a development/neighborhood has arrived. I for one hope that the hood will have a well balanced mix of the more unique establishments, as well as established and well known ones.


MJM says: (8/31/10 7:03 AM)
First of all there needs to be more 'prime' spots for retail and right now there isn't really anything here except 909, few spots on M and the two spots in the Yards but we need more people living here (which is probably the biggest hurdle - this is a brand new developing area that empties after 5pm). 909 is "away" from the high traffic area. K St Plaza will have retail but is just a plan. One of the M St places is gonna have a restaurant soon. And that leaves the Yards and Half Street has the other places and even if they started construction on those big projects its probably 18 months away from seeing anything.

Take a look at the Boilermaker plans:
link

Park Pavilion:
link

Its gonna take time but we need more people living here and 'prime' locations for retail. 2013 is probably when we will see some places to eat/shop around here.


C says: (8/31/10 7:36 AM)
construction of canal park has begun - ceremony plus real construction - it's unbelievable


JW says: (8/31/10 10:32 AM)
I thought there was a restriction in place at the Yards that would not permit national chains. Local chains and other new establishments would be allowed. Maybe there's a way to override this if there aren't enough local establishments interested.


H Street Landlord says: (9/1/10 10:09 PM)
I disagree that only large or chain businesses can open in this economy. Look at H St. NE where (independent) businesses are opening all the time.


JD says: (9/1/10 10:12 PM)
The difference with H Street NE establishments--and even with some 14th Street NW ones--is that they are in older, small-scale buildings that large developers did not spend tens/hundreds of millions of dollars when buying the land and building the building. Unless a developer is feeling generous, the rents in the retail spaces in Near Southeast are probably going to be pretty high.

Though Akridge has said that their intent is to look for smaller-scale tenants (with more neighborhood service-type operations) for the retail spaces on the "back side" of their Half Street project, facing Van Street.

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