Since January, 2003
 (a random before-and-after moment)
March 3, 2011
May 29, 2016
8th at Virginia, Looking West (see more)

While I was on the roof of F1rst earlier this week, the view to the west was striking. Immediately north of Nats Park, with the long-forlorn block of Half Street between the Center Field Gate and the Metro station running down the middle of the frame, my camera spied:
* The first piles being driven for JBG's West Half residential and retail project;
* Some evidence of initial activity at Monument Valley, where Jair Lynch's 1250 Half Street residential and retail project is set to finally fill in the hole that has existed on the east side of Half Street since 2007; and
* Shoring/sheeting/excavation underway on the southern part of Monument's combination project of the new headquarters for the National Association of Broadcasters and a residential building at 10 Van Street (here's a closer shot).
Here's what West Half, 1250 Half, and the NAB HQ will look like when they are finished, perhaps in very late 2018 or probably 2019:
These three projects join the other buildings that complete the N Street lineup across from the ballpark--JBG's under construction apartment building at 1221 Van (at the upper left of the above photo) and the Hampton Inn that's been open at 1st and N since late 2015.
What this means is that we will now move from nine years' worth of complaining about how nothing has been built directly north of Nats Park to two years of complaining about construction noise and ickiness, leading into the inevitable future complaining about how these new buildings with all of the retail people have complained about not having end up ruining what views remained of the Capitol dome from inside the ballpark.
And these are not the only projects just getting started. Piles have also been driven for the DC Housing Authority's latest Capper Hope VI mixed-income apartment building at 3rd and L, and digging is well underway for the new apartment building at the old McDonald's site at 2 I St., which I don't actually have a recent photo of and so one from February will have to do. I suck. Plus, digging sloooowly continues at the Yards Parcel O apartment/condo dual project.
On the bright side, we're about to have a long-watched hole finally graduate to above-ground construction, as Skanska's 99 M office building is at last reaching street level.
With the completions in 2016 and early 2017 of eight apartment buildings, and with eight more buildings looking to join them in the next two years, the neighborhood now has what can not-so-charitably be called a "glut" of new apartments, as Bisnow reported last week in its story on how the city is seeing a record number of residential units deliver in the second quarter of 2017. (I should of course give you hard numbers of total units, but see my earlier comment about my current state.)
However, if you are looking for a place to live in Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards, having multiple buildings vying for your business is certainly good news for you.
Comments (38)
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RMP says: (4/13/17 9:56 AM)
Great update, JD!

The Bower website still says "Sales Begin Spring 2017". What are the Vegas odds on that actually happening? They still had the physical "Sales 2016" sign up well into 2017.

As for the glut of units, I can report that several neighbors have told me they were offered a lease renewal with no increase in rent, or even a cash incentive not to leave (possibly to compete with the free month incentives if you pack up and move down the street to another building). Not that rents are cheap to begin with, but it seems like there's finally some pressure keeping them at least flat.

jdc says: (4/13/17 10:17 AM)
Excited to see so much development move to Half St. corridor vs the prior focus around DOT HQ.

malatesta says: (4/13/17 12:11 PM)
@RMP this fits with some increased competition along non-rent dimensions (Park Chelsea is offering free parking, several apartments are waiving fees, f1rst is outright offering cash bonuses)

I know I intend to negotiate for no rent increase when renewal time comes

RMP says: (4/13/17 12:54 PM)
I'm not following the opening dates of these buildings very closely, but on my bike ride home last night it looked like Insignia and One Hill South already have residents. It was harder to tell with F1rst. There were some lights on but I couldn't tell if anyone was home.

CJBabyDaddy says: (4/13/17 4:22 PM)
Ahem. RMP. Psst. RMP. ~Cough~ Bower sales ~ cough~ in June ~ cough~ What? I didn't say anything.

BLT says: (4/13/17 4:52 PM)
It is exciting to see Half St buzzing with so much activity. It looks like they finally finished taking down that grey fence that has been on the east side of the street for the past several years. What an eyesore that was!

MalS says: (4/14/17 9:15 AM)
This is a very insightful post JD - not only are you so right about the fascinating changes and the varying pace of change, you are absolutely on target with the likely complaining that comes with each phase!

It's great to see some of the fill-in effect really get going, although we who frequent the area may regret losing some of the interesting empty spaces (lumber shed I mean you).

JD says: (4/14/17 9:46 AM)
New nighttime rendering of West Half:

Jaybird says: (4/14/17 3:56 PM)
All those stars on JD's map followed by all the baseball stars there in 2018!

CJBabyDaddy says: (4/15/17 11:42 AM)
Saw some folks poking around yesterday -- April 14 -- inside the Boilermaker spot that housed Hugh & Crye. When they came out, I inquired about their intentions. One of them indicated that the spot was being examined as the next home for the Steadfast pop-up operation which had formerly been in the Arris at 4th & Tingey.

RMP says: (4/15/17 8:00 PM)
Is West Half still a combo condo/rental project? The official website only mentions rental apartments. I hope they didn't nix the condo plans.

JNB says: (4/15/17 9:22 PM)

202_cyclist says: (4/16/17 8:21 AM)
If there are going to be tests of the Capitol Police emergency broadcast system on the weekends, at least braodcast 80s dance party or the Nationals games instead.

jdc says: (4/17/17 6:35 AM)
Did Huge & Crye close its neighborhood location?

Shogungts says: (4/17/17 9:58 AM)
jdc says: (4/17/17 6:35 AM)
Did Huge & Crye close its neighborhood location?

I was in there about 2 weeks ago and they told me they were moving as they needed a bigger store. I think they said they were looking to go back to Georgetown and get a bigger location.. I guess they aren't quite big enough to have a separate storefront and warehouse, but also would have liked a place with a little more clothing shopping foot traffic.

Section314 says: (4/17/17 6:01 PM)
Let's make the record very clear, JD does NOT suck!

I'll try to give you the hard numbers as close as possible, while giving all deference to JD's comments above.

Last 8 to open: One Hill South (383 units), Insignia on M (324), F1rst (325), ORE 82 (227), Park Chelsea (430), Dock79 (305), Arris (327), Bixby (195). Grand total of 2,516 or thereabouts.

Currently under construction: 2 I ST - McDonalds (355 units), Agora - Whole Foods (334), Ten Van (172), 1221 Van Street (291), West Half at 1241 Half Street (437), Joule at 1250 Half Street (432), 299 L ST SE (179), Bower/Parcel O Apartments (138 condos/191 apartments). Grand total of 2,529 or thereabouts.

Hope this helps even as I worry about the lashes from JD's red pencil correcting any mistakes I may have inadvertently made!

malatesta says: (4/17/17 7:25 PM)
So, doing some real rough calculations:

the 2011-2015 ACS estimate for census tract 72 (approx Near Ballpark Southeast Navy Yard Riverfront) is 4,584. Take that as a baseline for now.

Let's assume 1.5 people per unit, 10% vacancy rates in equilibrium. When everything that's currently built is in equilibrium, that add 1.5*0.9*2516 = 3396 new residents added to baseline. So once everything fills up, we'll be at 7980.

Once everything in pipeline is in equilibrium, that adds another 1.5*0.9*2529, which brings us above 10,000, to 11,395.

What's the estimate for when everything is fully built up? 15k? 20k?

jdc says: (4/18/17 9:48 AM)
Ten Van only has 172 units? Mighty small.

walt says: (4/18/17 11:37 AM)
Can someone point me to recent stats about how many current and planned units are rental vs. owned?

For you renters out long do you plan to live in the neighborhood?

I'm just trying to get a handle of how invested people are in schools, neighborhood amenities, safety, and long-term focus.

202_cyclist says: (4/18/17 2:37 PM)
Expect delays on the Green line this weekend.

Metro Plans Full Scale Response Drill at Navy Yard Station Sunday

knavyard says: (4/18/17 2:38 PM)
I rent, and would like to stay in the area for as long as possible. But I'd also like to buy in the pretty near future, so that could push me out of the 'hood. I wish the developers would start balancing out the rental vs. condos numbers.

Westnorth says: (4/18/17 2:54 PM)
H&C's website now directs visitors to the old Georgetown location (across from the cat cafe). However, the retail-associate job listing says that there are shops in both locations.

smitty2k1 says: (4/19/17 8:21 AM)
Just got an email from hugh and crye that says they have their warehouse/fulfillment center in NE (Langdon) and are keeping their Georgetown showroom open until they open their first retail store later this fall (did not disclose if that would be in DC)

dude says: (4/19/17 8:40 AM)
Just wanted to say sorry to the Nats fan that lives across South Cap from the ballpark that you'll seemingly no longer be able to keep your Nats flag out there thanks to your neighbors...

RMP says: (4/19/17 8:47 AM)
@walt it's honestly hard to see how people can be invested in the long-term if the neighborhood winds up being 90% rentals with very limited (and expensive) ownership opportunities when the build out is complete. The turnover in a lot of the buildings is already incredibly high (or at least what I would consider incredibly high). People who want to buy and stick around for the long-term will eventually run out of patience if the developers keep switching all of the projects over to rental apartments.

A lot of us have been complaining about this for years to anyone who will listen and it's been mostly for naught.

SWag says: (4/19/17 9:52 AM)
Hugh and Crye is confusing af. Do they sell stuff or what?!? I would much rather have n'hood servicing retail that actually does something. A dress shirt warehouse? no thanks...

walt says: (4/19/17 10:02 AM)
To Renters:
knavyyard & RMP -- that's the feeling I get too. Everyone wishes there were more ownership units available and there seems to be a market for where are they?

conngs0 says: (4/19/17 10:48 AM)
Re: rentals vs. ownership, I'd be interested to hear from someone with some industry expertise on the topic of the market analysis a developer uses to determine whether to go with a rental vs. condo building, including whether there is an ideal ratio communities and zoning boards should seek to achieve. Although I'm inclined to agree that it feels like the development is skewing further towards rentals than ideal, I really have no idea. On the bright side, JD's handy project directory does indicate that there are quite a few condo developments in progress or in the pipeline - link

Re: long-term commitment to the neighborhood: it's worth noting that there's already been enough long-term commitment in the neighborhood to reopen Van Ness Elementary. Moreover, the parent association is (anecdotally) quite proactive when it comes to ensuring that the school functions in a high quality manner. So even without the incoming additional ownership opportunities, there exists considerable long term interest/investment in the neighborhood. And even if you dismiss renters as not being as committed to the quality of the neighborhood as owners (an arguable point), you still have to acknowledge that the developers/administrators of the rental buildings are totally invested in the long term health of the neighborhood because they prefer to keep charging such high rents! The same logic applies to the local businesses. I tend to agree it's good to maximize the amount of skin all residents have in the game, but it's not folks will treat the neighborhood as their first dorm room....

SWag says: (4/19/17 11:05 AM)
basically apartments are more profitable to developers, and competition is stiff among developers. building condos at this point is almost doing the neighborhood a favor...

jdc says: (4/19/17 11:07 AM)
GGW has covered the flag bruhaha link

Spider57 says: (4/19/17 12:08 PM)
You can always convert a rental building to condos if there's another real estate bubble. Converting a condo building to rentals I would assume would be much more difficult.

RMP says: (4/19/17 1:55 PM)
JD was wonderful enough to post this spreadsheet of units counts last July link and it sounds like the 200 from JBG Half need to now be moved to the rental column?

I get that developers are just chasing the money and can't really argue with that. But it doesn't make it any less frustrating for folks who are actually trying to put down long term roots in the neighborhood. I can tolerate renting for maybe a few more years, but at some point will need to move on.

jdc says: (4/19/17 2:33 PM)
The only thing I'll point out is that I am sure the opposite is true, that there are neighborhoods where nothing exists but places you have to buy and that there are people who would prefer the ability to rent and be flexible...I guess the counter to that point is that in those places there exists the ability to sublet from the owner....

NavyYardNittany says: (4/19/17 9:39 PM)
It's more complex than "developers chasing money". Apartments aren't *necessarily* more profitable than condos, but consider the factors in play here:

- DC has a highly transient population, and that's particularly true in this neighborhood with strong military and political presence. Many condo buildings are 40-50% renters, not owner-residents

- The purchase price of property is driven up by high demand in a new, hot area in one of the more expensive cities in the country, driving condo costs up even more

- Many DC residents are younger and have not owned previously; they have the discretionary income to rent a nice place, particularly when sharing with a roommate or two, but not the savings for a down-payment on a much more expensive condo. I rent a two bedroom in one of the newer buildings in the neighborhood with a great view of the Capitol. My rent is high, but affordable for me. This building was originally designed as condos and converted to rentals. There's no way I would be able to afford to live here if it were a condo. Would have sold for close to a million or more.

Lots of factors in this. What people seem to be saying is not just "I want more ownership opportunities", but "I want more affordable ownership opportunities". In which case DC isn't exactly the place to look.

SWag says: (4/20/17 9:19 AM)
I don't imagine the developers are worried about the condos selling. A large chunk of those condos in the Yards will sell before the building is complete.

JD says: (4/20/17 10:11 AM)
(I'm out of pocket, but am reading along, and you guys are doing just fine without me :-) )

Shogungts says: (4/20/17 1:33 PM)
@SWAG re: H&C

I like Hugh & Crye and think their approach to sizing is novel and welcomed -instead of S, M, L or neck sizes, they price by height (short, average, tall) combined with body type (skinny, slim, athletic, broad). Once you know what size you are, their stuff is great, but...

That was an odd location for them. It's not a place that would get a lot of men's clothing retail shopping and if you are going to use it primarily as a warehouse to fulfill online orders, why not do that somewhere cheaper. Which is apparently the same conclusion they came to opening a warehouse location and keeping a retail location in Gtown.

conngs0 says: (4/20/17 1:55 PM)
Thanks, JD. I hope that your out-of-pocket status is a consequence of doing something enjoyable and relaxing!

I agree with NavyYardNittany that the question for the developer of whether to go with a condo, rental, commercial, etc. building is a complicated one. But either way the developer is approaching the matter from the perspective of self interest. Sometimes that's tied to the long-term health of the community but not always.

It's also complicated from the standpoint of the zoning commission, the ANC, etc., who are ostensibly supposed to prioritize the long-term health of the neighborhood. But even then these entities have to take into consideration short-term goals of spurring development of some sort. So I'm not per se opposed to allowing developers to change their projects from condos to rentals (or vice versa), but I am interested in learning about what the zoning commission takes into consideration when they approve such requests.

On Hugh & Crye, maybe they just couldn't hang in there long enough for the man salon to open up and give them some business?

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