Since January, 2003
 Sliding from Before to After

The apartment projects F1rst and the as-yet-unnamed building at 909 Half aren't even waiting to be topped out before starting to put their faces on:
There's also now plenty of windows on the Homewood Suites at 50 M, where there is clearly No Time To Lose if they are going to make that October 2016 opening date on the signage. And I bet there will be some windows on Insignia on M before too much longer.
I've also posted updated photos of Agora, ORE 82, the Bixby, and Dock 79, in addition to new shots at the links above.
And there's lots of Slider updates, too, a few of which are previewed below.
Comments (30)
 More About F1rst Residential/Hotel Home


jdc says: (4/20/16 8:13 AM)
Seeing Homewood Suite's progress every day has somewhat blinded me to its progress. But I only see Insignia on M every few weeks, and man that thing is moving fast now. It's also become clear just how hulking its presence will be. I sort of like how Half St. will have tiered buildings, which will make Half very inviting going towards ballpark.

MJM says: (4/20/16 9:21 AM)
Those windows at 909 are something else. Seems a bit odd to have all windows - hope they invest in some blinds.

SWag says: (4/20/16 9:50 AM)
I've heard complaints that the Navy Yard feels unusually boxy and has no character. Every building is virtually the same. Thoughts?

JES says: (4/20/16 10:01 AM)
Certainly it's boxy; that was to be expected with the height limits. developers will naturally try to squeeze as much square footage onto every lot, which leads to boxy buildings. But as for everything looking the same, I don't really understand that viewpoint. Does Velocity look like Parc Riverside? Do either of them look super glassy like 909 Half? Does anything in the whole neighborhood look like Arris? Makes no sense to me.

JES says: (4/20/16 10:03 AM)
@MJM, yeah, the exterior of that building looks more like a glassy office building than a residential building. Odd choice, but some people like a ton of natural light, so I'm sure it'll still fill up.

@JD, we still don't have any idea how much retail square footage 909 will have, do we?

GoNavy says: (4/20/16 10:04 AM)
So the Bixby's land is still owned by the DCHA correct? Is there going to be a salary cap for the residents there or is the leasing process just going to be normal? I guess I am unclear on what mixed-income means.

JD says: (4/20/16 10:37 AM)
Mixed income means some market-rate units, no income cap on those, then some affordable units that you have to qualify for based on your income or lack thereof.

JNB says: (4/20/16 11:46 AM)
Everything is a box because developers are using the density that they are given. IE FAR. With land costs and construction costs as high as they are and the height limits in place it leaves little room for architects to have the imagination that they have in other cities. When you go through a PUD you have a little more room to play around with the shape.

jdc says: (4/20/16 11:50 AM)
I generally think that the buildings here do tend to stick our from one another in terms of their cladding. Some have lots of glass, some have more brick or other opaque cladding. And some are square, some are more rectangular, etc, based on the parcels and street configuration. Overall, I think it's pretty visually interesting and only going to be more interesting once Half St. and 1st are finished. Those two corridors are really going to make things pop.

SWag says: (4/20/16 11:53 AM)
I want to go on record as saying - I for one freaking love the Navy Yard, but to play devil's advocate - sure we all know WHY developers build boxy buildings, but does that change the fact that ALL of Navy Yard is pretty much big, max story, square buildings with a little brick here, a little glass there. Does the neighborhood seem to be missing a "soul" per say? Is it somewhere you can see yourself long term, or is it only cool if you're a millennial?

CJBabyDaddy says: (4/20/16 12:16 PM)
What, pray tell (pun intended), defines a neighborhood's "soul"? And who gets to judge whether that "soul" is inevitably going to neighborhood heaven or hell? Do we judge a neighborhood's "soul" at birth? What if a neighborhood never accepts JDLand as its Lord and Savior, but spends its entire existence doing good deeds?

MarkinDC says: (4/20/16 12:31 PM)
I agree with SWag. Walk around other parts of DC (except maybe NOMA) and you'll see a healthy mix of co-ops, store fronts, row houses, un-imposing apartment buildings, etc with office buildings mixed in at the right scale. Navy Yard, as much as I love to call it home, is beginning to feel like a bunch of massive boxes with little to no creativity - kind of feeling like Clarendon.

JD says: (4/20/16 12:39 PM)
As I've mentioned before, this would have been a discussion to have before 160+ buildings were demolished.

jdc says: (4/20/16 1:56 PM)
Menu for top of the yards: link

SWag says: (4/20/16 2:25 PM)
@JD - I don't think it's too late to step back and add some character. Now who would be willing to give up their share of the pie to make it happen is another question.

DCisforLovers says: (4/20/16 3:04 PM)
My 2 cents is that I feel that the Navy Yard is really like no other legitimate "big name" neighborhood in DC (NoMa probably being closest as it becomes more modern), being as it has always been much different than other more established areas of the city. This place used to be an absolute DUMP. I believe they attempted to maintain as much "original" character as they could with the renovation of the Boilermaker shops and the Lumber Shed and I hope with the old historic DC Water building and the old Navy Yard building next to Harris Teeter. Everything else was dilapidated row homes and bus depots, which deserved to be demolished. Nothing fancy like the historic row homes/buildings of Georgetown or Downtown existed around here. With an extremely modern marvel (literally) of a Ballpark built, it only makes sense to follow suit with a more modern feel to the buildings around it. I personally love it.

202_cyclist says: (4/20/16 3:14 PM)
I don't know--- I don't think the neighborhood is too boxy (i.e. Clarendon or NOMA). The Arris building is certainly unique, as is Park Chelsea with its deco architecture and sandstone color. JBG's residential building on Half Street is going to be great architecture and the DC Water headquarters will be nice modern, distinct, building. Add in the EYA rowhouses and I think the neighborhood has a good amount of variation.

Edna says: (4/21/16 8:53 AM)
Clarendon boxy? Huh? I don't see that at all.

conngs0 says: (4/21/16 10:03 AM)
This has been an interesting discussion to follow inasmuch as I can see the rationale for many conflicting opinions (i.e. too boxy vs. plenty of architectural diversity).

I can stand in certain parts of the neighborhood (e.g. 1st and L) and think that there are too many buildings of similar size (I guess my taste isn't sophisticated enough to be amazed by different facades, brick color, architectural nuances like fancy trellises, etc.).

However, one doesn't have to walk more than a couple of blocks to find completely different perspectives that includes townhouses, parks, the Anacostia River (with the Navy Yard, and now a marina along with a number of waterfront restaurants), etc.

There's also a time element to the equation. The neighborhood has a totally different feel on game days. Some might say that it's sleepy on days when the Nats aren't playing, but I personally enjoy the alternation between the tranquil atmosphere and the infusion of energy (I guess I could do without the Taylor Swift concerts at Nats Park, but even then I suppose the one night per year of screaming eleven year olds helps me appreciation the tranquility of those other nights even more!).

Lastly, the neighborhood isn't even finished yet. Wasn't it only last year that it surpassed the 50 percent mark for completed projects? So given all that, I don't expect a core identity to be established for quite some time. Regardless, I find it to be a very exciting place to be and am very grateful for the opportunity to live here.

JES says: (4/21/16 10:08 AM)
The other thing regarding "boxy" stuff is that while architecture is nice, what "makes" a neighborhood pleasant is what people can see and interact with on the street level. From that perspective, we're doing quite well, given that almost every new building going up is going to have at least one retail bay. We also have one thing that no other DC neighborhood does (the ballpark and the atmosphere that comes with it as conngs0 mentions above), and one thing that very few do (an extensive waterfront). "Boxy" architecture aside, those two things will go a long way towards making the neighborhood feel unique even if some feel the architecture is too bland.

JES says: (4/21/16 10:10 AM)
I totally overused the double quotes in that post. And for that, I apologize :-)

SWag says: (4/21/16 10:31 AM)
Again, just for discussion's sake - I will say, the Navy Yard could really benefit from small-scale, infill development. 15 unit buildings, more single or two story retail buildings, smaller buildings all together, etc. It seems like every building is mixed-use and mammoth (I would also say boxy, but I guess I get that).

JES says: (4/21/16 12:06 PM)
SWag, I don't really disagree. But, with land values so high, I'm just trying to explain why it won't ever happen, at least north of M and west of Canal Park. The Yards itself does have some smaller structures (i.e., boilermaker, lumber shed, future park retail pavilions, eventual movie theater won't be 14 stories either I don't think), but like JD said earlier, that ship sailed back during the "land rush" after the ballpark announcement. Nothing to do now but accept it.

jdc says: (4/21/16 12:35 PM)
I'd say the height is actually pretty limited to a few corridors. The entire townhouse segment is 'short', the new community center and school are 'short', the area around Yards Park is 'short' and low density, and there are still other segments that will be filled in (new building housing the winery) that won't be 10+ stories.

walt says: (4/21/16 2:48 PM)
Good points all around. Another block that could have been a massive behemoth, but that is turning out to be really nice looking for a giant residential apartment building, is the Bixby. They gave up some square footage to gain a really nice looking building that fits in with the neighborhood and from the outside, could pass for rowhouses.

JD says: (4/24/16 9:24 PM)
I've been out of town for a few days, but I'm back now. As for when that will translate into new content here, well, we'll see. :)

202_cyclist says: (4/25/16 1:40 PM)
Any update for when the Brig will open? It looks like it could be finished any day now. They missed a great weekend for drinking good beer this past weekend.

Also, what is the Nats magic number to win the NL East? That was quite a game yesterday!

JD says: (4/25/16 1:44 PM)
I haven't heard anything on the Brig one way or the other, though at this point it may be dependent on final city inspections, and, well....

conngs0 says: (4/25/16 3:37 PM)
202, the Nats have been super fun to watch this month, but I'm going to wait to see how they handle their May schedule before allowing myself to be too giddy about a possible NL East title.

However, I'm sticking with my 91-71 (with NL East title!) prediction. Maybe I'll have to revise that upwards if the Nats have a .500 record in May and enter June in good health though!

Westnorth says: (5/9/16 10:51 PM)
Anyplace that develops all at once will look pretty uniform, and especially a high-rise area in DC. There are only so many ways of designing a big and wide box, especially if it's all architects from the same general era working with the same materials. A compounding factor: most of the parcel sizes in Near SE are large (with a few great exceptions, like Lot 38!). The buildings were old warehouses on lots of land, and the economics of building here mean that most everything has to be a high-rise, and a relatively wide high-rise at that.

Neighborhoods that have more architectural character usually have not just a wider variety of buildings, but more buildings in general -- they have smaller parcel sizes, and were built in several waves over centuries. In DC, though, the practice is that once a neighborhood is built, it's soon frozen in time through historic designation. (You think it's just Georgetown or Capitol Hill, but no, even Eckington and Southwest could soon be historic districts!) Then, a different part of town is torn down, built up all at once, and the process repeats itself.

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Project Directory
Thompson Hotel ('20)
West Half ('19)
Novel South Capitol ('19)
Yards/Guild Apts. ('19)
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District Winery ('17)
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F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
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Park Chelsea ('16)
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225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
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400 M ('07)
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