Monument Realty's vision of Half Street, looking south from M Street. (image courtesy Monument Realty) Monument Realty Ballpark District Projects

In 2004 and 2005, Monument Realty spent upwards of $45 million to purchase a number of properties on the two blocks just north of Nationals Park. The central part of their development, called Monument Half Street, runs along the eastern side of Half Street; its first component, a 275,000-sq-ft office building at 55 M Street, opened in early 2009. The second portion of this first phase, with hotel and residential offerings, however, is on hold. Monument also owns a number of lots on South Capitol between N and M.

Links:
Monument Half Street Official Web Site | DDOT Signs Lease at 55 M (10/18/10)
WMATA Presentation Slides on Navy Yard Station Upgrade (3/07)
Monument Half Street/Navy Yard Metro Expansion Groundbreaking (01/07, DC16 Video)
JD's Monument Ballpark District News Items & Additional Links
 


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JDLand Blog Posts on this Project
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Deal Struck for a Homewood Suites Hotel at 50 M Street
Feb 26, 2014 5:55 PM
According to the Washington Business Journal, the empty lot on the northeast corner of Half and M is now slated to become a 195-room Homewood Suites Hotel, with a deal having been reached between Hilton and the development group that bought the lot last year.
Back in the pre-ballpark pre-land rush days, a Sunoco station sat on this lot, known as 50 M Street, until 2006, and then the site was bought by Monument Realty in 2007.
The WBJ article says construction could begin on the 11-story building, one block north of Nationals Park, late this year or in 2015, with an opening in 2016. The hotel will have a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom suites, and about 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, which will come in handy with its location directly across the street from the west entrance to the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station.
This hotel would join the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L and the just-getting-started Hampton Inn at 1st and N that is expected to open next year. There is also expected to be another hotel as part of the Ballpark Square development just a few feet north of the Hampton Inn on 1st Street south of M.
Note that this deal does not affect the red brick warehouse just to the north of the empty 50 M lot--that building is owned by the feds and is being salivated over by residents who dream of creating the Half Street Market there.

JBG Picks Up South Capitol and N Lots from Monument
Dec 22, 2013 6:17 PM
DC property records report that JBG has purchased the former Monument Realty parcels on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N, just north of Nats Parking Lot B.
The property records on this week's sale show the buyer as "1244 South Capitol Residential, LLC," which may be a hint at what JBG has in mind for the site. Bisnow, in quoting JBG's Matt Kelly, says "the firm is 'a probably a year or two from starting anything' at the newly purchased site, and that it could be developed for any number of uses." Bisnow also says JBG paid $17 million for the site.
The main parcel was once home to a BP/Amoco gas station, and five other parcels were undeveloped as well (except for the cutest little yellow building on South Capitol that disappeared about seven years ago).
Monument and its investment partners (including Lehman Brothers) paid about $10 million for the six lots in multiple transactions in 2005 and 2006, and in 2008 began some initial bureaucratic moves on plans for a residential building that went nowhere. In late 2010, they went to the Zoning Commission with a request to review new plans for a 12-story office building, but that review didn't move forward until mid-2013, and is in fact scheduled to have its final vote in early January. In the meantime, about a year ago Lehman Brothers took full ownership of the site (since it had been the lender on the original loan).
JBG has just one other property in Near Southeast, but it's a big one: the 1.1 million-square-foot US Department of Transportation headquarters at New Jersey and M, which began construction in 2004 and opened in 2007.
Thanks to many purchases in the Great Ballpark District Land Rush of 2004-06, Monument at one time controlled quite a few properties in the blocks just north of the ballpark. And while the company still owns the old Domino's site on the southeast corner of South Capitol and M, as well as the infamous Half Street hole in the ground, the other properties have since fallen off their inventory, including the recently sold 55 M office building. The company's 50 M site, on the northwest corner of Half and M, was also returned to Lehman Brothers a year ago, and then sold this past May for $13 million to a team mulling a hotel. And at one point Monument had owned the land along N where the southern end of the Fairgrounds now stands, but sold it to Akridge in 2008 during all the fallout of the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage.

55 M Street Sold to Hines Global REIT
Dec 11, 2013 2:41 PM
It's been announced that 55 M Street, the 265,000-square-foot office building at Half and M on top of the Navy Yard Metro station just north of Nationals Park, has been sold by Monument Realty (and its investment partners Lehman Brothers and McFarlane Partners) to Hines Global REIT, for an as-yet undisclosed amount.
Open since 2009, 55 M has 89 percent of its space currently leased, with tenants including the District Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration. The ground-floor retail spaces remain empty except for Bank of America on the building's northeast corner, but perhaps now that the sale has been completed, some movement on the other spaces may be seen.
The building was to be the first phase of Monument's Half Street development when construction began on it in 2007, but the Great Economic Difficulties of the late 00's stopped the subsequent phases in their tracks, leaving only the large hole that was dug for them at the same time 55 M was being built. Monument still has on the boards its Half Street plans for a 200-room hotel and 350 units of residential, though with no announced timeline.

Bank of America Branch Opens at 55 M Today
Jul 23, 2012 12:14 PM
Readers are reporting that, on schedule, the new Bank of America branch in the ground floor of 55 M Street opened today. The BoA web site also now lists it as well, though it doesn't include the lobby hours yet. It's still called the "Waterfront" branch, since this is technically a move of the branch that was at 4th and M SW for many years, in the old Waterside Mall/new Waterfront development.
This is also the first retail tenant in 55 M, the building right on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station.
If I were a good blogger, I'd run over there and get a photo, but, given that this is the fourth bank to open in the neighborhood, my Financial Services Excitement Meter is not exactly exploding off the charts. (UPDATE: But the Twitterverse comes through and makes up for my malaise.)
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Bank of America Branch at 55 M Coming July 23?
Jun 21, 2012 5:59 PM
A reader reports that a sign has been posted on the ATM at the Bank of America branch/trailer at 4th and M, SW, alerting users that the location will be closing on July 20, reopening in Southeast on July 23.
We already knew that BoA is coming to 55 M Street, the building on top of the Half Street entrance to the Navy Yard-NotYetBallpark Metro station, and so now there would indeed seem to be an actual date attached to the arrival. A permit application was submitted to DCRA last week for a Bank of America sign at 55 M, in case a flyer on a machine isn't quite official enough.
When it opens, it will join Capital One (ex-Chevy Chase), Wells Fargo (ex-Wachovia), and PNC SunTrust in blanketing Near Southeast with banking options. (Wherefore art thou, Citibank?)
UPDATE: Oh, I guess there's already a Navy Yard BoA branch. So, all you "Navy Yard residents", feel free to try to use that one. {tee-hee}
UPDATE II: Oops, wrong bank with orange-based color scheme. Fixed PNC to SunTrust. And, also, it looks like Navy Yard-NotYetBallpark has become Navy Yard-Ballpark, at least on the WMATA web site.
UPDATE III: The sign at the SW branch, for those who want visual proof.
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Tuesday Tidbits: Best Evaluated by Volume, Not Weight
Mar 13, 2012 9:19 AM
So many Tweets recently, such small items. Let's see how short I can keep them:
* Justin's Cafe is looking to have a block party on Saturday, April 14 (when the Nats and the Reds play at 4:05 pm), and ANC 6D has supported the request to close 1st Street between K and L. (Thanks to SWill for, once again, picking up my slack.) Still probably some bureaucratic hoops to jump through before all is confirmed. This was moved from Opening Day so it would be on a weekend, Will says,
* Looks like DPW's trucks have departed a couple weeks earlier than expected from the agency's longtime home at New Jersey and K, although all the lights may not be turned out just yet. Demolition is in the cards, though some environmental abatement has to happen first.
* New striping and bike lanes were installed Monday on I Street SE between South Capitol and New Jersey.
* Start starving yourself now to prepare for the Red Porch's eight-pound "StrasBurger."
* Photographic evidence of fences down at the old Bullpen, clearing the way for Fairgrounds.
* Only four houses left for sale at Capitol Quarter.
* Bank of America is now building out its new space in the ground floor of 55 M south of the Metro entrance, informed sources say. (They're closing their Southwest location in June.)
* Could DC United be setting up shop just a few blocks up Potomac Avenue from Nationals Park?
* Near Southeast gets off relatively easy in this Sunday's National Marathon Street Closure Sweepstakes (just South Capitol south of L, and the Douglass Bridge).
Anything else going on these days? Besides that sandwich shop opening?
UPDATE: Let's add the elephant parade! Starting tonight at 8 pm, on the southern edge of Garfield Park at the train tracks where Virginia crosses under New Jersey, says WTOP.
UPDATE II: And, from the Hill is Home, a Q&A with ANC commissioner David Garber.
UPDATE III: I sent a lackey down to Potbelly to get a few opening-day shots. Hope he's not expecting to get reimbursed for his lunch.

Old Domino's Building at South Capitol and M Demolished
Feb 16, 2012 2:53 PM
Not exactly stop-the-presses news, but I would be shirking my fiduciary duties if I didn't make note of the fact that the all-black building on the southeast corner of South Capitol and M was demolished on Wednesday.
This building was a Domino's Pizza until it closed on Jan. 28, 2008. The lot has been owned by Monument Realty since August 2005, and Monument also owns most of the other lots along that block of South Capitol except for the self storage business. There are no current plans for any development on the site, so expectations should be that its main function will be as a parking lot for the foreseeable future.
And, it's now building #167 in my Demolished Buildings Gallery.

Bank of America Negotiating for 55 M Retail Space
Dec 20, 2011 12:07 PM
It looks like Monument Realty's office building at 55 M Street may be close to getting its first retail tenant, as they have confirmed to me that they are in negotiations with Bank of America for a branch office in one of 55 M's ground-floor spaces, on top of the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, just north of Nationals Park.
BoA is apparently leaving its swank construction-trailer digs at 4th and M SW this spring, and so is on the hunt for a new close-by home. Some workers at that branch have apparently told patrons that they are definitely moving to 55 M in June, but for now we'll go with Monument's statement that things are still in the negotiating phase.
If it comes to pass, BoA would be the fourth bank to open a branch in the neighborhood. (My own bank not being among them, alas.)
Comments (1)

Tidbits: Some SoCap Bridge $, Half Street 'Thinking', DPW, More
Nov 21, 2011 9:32 AM
I've tried over the past few months to clampdown on runaway Tidbits posts, but these are some pretty small tidbits, so I think I'll let them through:
* Douglass Bridge: The Feds have "freed up" $68 million from previously appropriate funds to allow DC to start buying up right-of-way land for the new South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge. NBC4 quotes DDOT chief Terry Bellamy as saying "If I had my way and we had the money, we could possibly see a new bridge in about six to seven years." But, considering they're looking for $800 million for not just the bridge itself but all the associated improvements to South Capitol Street and its interchanges with I-395 and I-295, getting the rest of the money might be a little trickier.
* Half Street: According to the Post, Monument Realty and investment partner Victor MacFarlane "are now thinking about when to begin" developing the rest of their Half Street project. The southern portion of Monument's side of Half Street (the east side--you know, where the big hole in the ground is) was originally designed with both a hotel and a residential building. And there's still no word from Akridge on a start date for their side of Half Street (the Bullpen side).
* DPW Move: While the timeline for getting DPW into their new home on Okie St. NE and out of their New Jersey and K site has slipped (shocker!), things are still moving forward, and I'm hearing that they should be moved early in 2012. But this delay is not as yet impacting William C. Smith's plans for a new apartment building just to the north--various permits have recently been approved, and WCS expects to start some deep infrastructure work, along with some clearing and grading along New Jersey Avenue north of I, sometime in December. (But WCS needs DPW out before too long because a smidge of DPW land crosses what will eventually be the new I Street and onto the WCS property.)
* Wha?: Is it just me, or does this article seem like it was written in 2009? It's a bit odd to trot out version 83 of the "there's no food in Near Southeast" story when there are leases signed for at least 10 new eateries to open in the next 12 months: Lot 38 Espresso at the old Little Red Building site (Any Minute Now!), Potbelly and Kruba Thai in the Foundry Lofts by spring, the Park Tavern at Canal Park by summer, and six choices at the Boilermaker Shops by the end of 2012. Not to mention probably another couple places in the Lumber Shed, perhaps a big one at 100 M, and a Harris Teeter in 2013. But I still predict that, when the slew of What's Happening Around Nationals Park stories come pouring out in advance of Opening Day 2012, the focus will still be on the lack of movement along Half Street (see Tidbit #1).
* New Bridge: Don't forget the dedication ceremony for the Yards/Teague bridge on Tuesday at 1:30 pm on the Yards Park side of the bridge. In addition to the mayor and DC Water chief George Hawkins, the organizers are also expecting Eleanor Holmes Norton, Naval District Washington Commandant Rear Admiral Patrick Lorge, USDOT deputy secretary John Porcari--and the Racing Presidents!

Thursday Tidbits: Bike to Work, New Tweeters, Crawfest, 55 M
May 19, 2011 12:26 PM
A roundup:
* Friday is Bike to Work Day, with the Yards Park being one of the morning "pit stops," from 7 to 9 am. If you're interested in joining in the fun, you need to register.
* The Canal Park folks have recently begun using their Twitter account, CanalParkDC. An update on the park's progress was tweeted on Wednesday, though it probably wasn't what park fans want to read: "Rain delays, water in our excavation preventing pouring foundations. Very frustrating!"
* The Navy Yard has created a Twitter feed for its portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk, to alert people to planned closings. This is in addition to the web page they've set up for hours and information about the riverwalk.
(I've added both of these feeds to my Near Southeast Businesses/Organizations Twitter list, which displays all the latest tweets in real time on the JDLand home page, for those of you who have remained blissfully outside of the Twitter vortex.)
* Louisiana State Society is having its Crawfest at the Yards Park on Sunday (May 22), with 4200 pounds of boiled crawfish, 150 pounds of jambalaya, sausage, corn, and potatoes, Abita beer, Louisiana music, and more. Society members get in for $45 per person, while non-members can pay $55 to attend. (Tickets for children 12 and under are $15.)
* DDOT says that its move out of the Reeves Center to Monument Realty's office building at 55 M is almost complete.
* Speaking of 55 M, it was named "Best Urban Office over 150,000 SF" at the NAIOP Maryland/DC 9th Annual Awards of Excellence.

Monument Officially Announces FAA Lease at 55 M
Feb 17, 2011 3:19 PM
This was referenced in the flurry of stories on the company a few weeks ago, but Monument Realty has now officially announced that they have signed a 10-year 50,000-square-foot lease with the Federal Aviation Administration at 55 M Street, the building on top of the Navy Yard Metro station just north of Nationals Park. With this lease, DDOT's 150,000-square-foot lease signed last fall, and two other smaller tenants, the 275,000-square-foot building is now 85 percent leased, with only three smaller office suites remaining (as well as all of the building's ground-floor retail space).
The press release says that the FAA is expected to move into their new spaces on the 8th and 9th floors in April, and that DDOT is expected to complete its move to the fourth through seventh floors during the second quarter of the year.
As for the rest of the Monument Half Street project, which as designed includes a 200-room hotel and 332 residential units and plenty of ground-floor retail to the south of 55 M, the press release quotes executive vice president Douglas Olson as saying that they are"actively working to move forward with Monument's next phase of Half Street."

Monument Realty: Back from the Brink? (FAA Lease at 55 M, But No Half Street Movement)
Jan 28, 2011 4:04 PM
Both the Washington Post and the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) came out with stories this week chronicling the rise and fall and now re-rise of Monument Realty. They both describe Monument's high-flying ways during the real estate bubble of the early 2000s with "high-risk, high-return deals and an aggressive, cowboylike approach to development that rubbed the old guard the wrong way," followed by their near dissolution thanks to the collapse of their backer, Lehman Brothers. But thanks to some new deals around the region with different financing partners, Monument appears to be rebounding.
There's not been an announcement from Monument that I've seen, but the WBJ article says that Monument has signed the Federal Aviation Administration to a 55,000-square-foot lease at 55 M Street, which I believe would bring the building to about 90 percent leased. (At the time Monument announced their deal to lease 150,000 square feet to DDOT, they said the 275,000-square-foot building's office space was 70 percent leased.)
However, in detailing what it says are $500 million in new Monument projects around the Metro area leveraged from a $10 million deal with Atlas Capital Group, WBJ makes no mention of any intentions for construction to get underway on Monument's remaining Half Street plans just north of Nationals Park. The well-known hole in the ground, dug in 2007 when 55 M was built, is eventually supposed to be 330 residential units and a 200-room hotel, which you can see a rendering of on my project page or on Monument's Half Street web site. Monument also owns all of the land on the east side of South Capitol between M and N except for the self storage building, as well as the 50 M street lot on the northeast corner of Half and M.

Barry Releases Hold on DDOT Move to 55 M
Jul 28, 2010 8:26 PM
From City Paper's Housing Complex blog: "The Department of Real Estate Services tells me that Councilmember Marion Barry has dropped his disapproval resolution on the District Department of Transportation's move to 55 M Street SE, which momentarily put the whole thing in limbo. That means the move can go forward as planned, without having to wait until reconsideration by the Council in September."

Barry Files Disapproval Notice on DDOT 55 M Move
Jul 22, 2010 2:21 PM
Yesterday I posted about how the city council had until close of business to decide whether or not to slow down DDOT's planned move to 55 M Street, SE--and now I'm hearing that Marion Barry has filed a "disapproval notice" that does delay the DDOT move. (Apparently he did the same thing with the contract for the new headquarters for the Department of Employment Services.) There will now probably be some behind-the-scenes wrangling to convince Barry to withdraw his disapproval--once/if he does, the contract would then be considered immediately approved, and the move can proceed.

DDOT's Move to 55 M Still in the Works
Jul 21, 2010 10:15 AM
WBJ updates its story from a few months ago to basically say, yes, DDOT is still planning to move to 55 M Street, Monument Realty's building on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard station. The city council has until close of business today (Wednesday) to decide if it wants to hold up the plans, and apparently the council's budget office is taking a close look at the lease, since it will cost DDOT about $6.9 million per year over 10 years to consolidate all of its workers in Near Southeast, compared to the $3.1 million it's paying now to lease space in multiple buildings.
With USDOT just two blocks to the east, M Street SE would turn into Transportation Row if DDOT does indeed come to 55 M.

DDOT Rumored to be Moving to 55 M Street
May 7, 2010 9:42 AM
Oh, I've wanted to post this rumor for so long (and have hinted at it on Twitter) but never could bring myself to pull the trigger when I couldn't get anything out of Monument or DDOT or any first-level source. But, here's WBJ going where I wouldn't (subscribers only): "[The District Department of Transportation] has signed a letter of intent and is close to a deal on a 10-year lease for 150,000 square feet in Monument Realty's Half Street building at 55 M St. SE, according to sources." Neither Monument nor DDOT would confirm to WBJ either, with DDOT spokesman John LIsle quoted as saying, "We are hoping to move this year. It may be ambitious, but that is our goal."
Originally DDOT was going to move to the Anacostia Gateway project, but that was cancelled a few months ago. WBJ says that, between DDOT's space and existing tenant Sayres and Associates (who apparently will be adding another 10,000 square feet to their lease), 55 M will be about two-thirds leased.

Forest City, Monument Looking at HUD Money
Apr 23, 2010 12:54 PM
From today's Washington Business Journal, for subscribers only right now, "Capitol Riverfront builders turn to HUD in hard times," which talks about Forest City's previously reported dealings with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to back bonds for the affordable housing component of the stalled Foundry Lofts project. Forest City's Ramsey Meiser is quoted as saying, "We are at a stage now where we are going back and forth. We have submitted paperwork. They have replied with questions. Hopefully, we will be back on track no later than this summer." (This is a little different than some recent breathless reporting that said that the project "could" restart this month.) It would then take about a year to finish the 170-unit apartment building that will also have ground-floor retail space.
WBJ also says that Monument Realty is "mulling" Section 220 FHA mortgage insurance to help get the residential part of their Half Street project restarted. But the 220 option, which has been used elsewhere in DC (Yale Steam Laundry and Rhode Island Station), doesn't sound real close--"Monument Realty has not yet applied for the Section 220 program but says it has been investigating the possibility since last summer. Russell Hines, the company's president, said the program's per-unit cost limit is a challenge," although there is federal legislation pending that would increase the per-unit statute.
(And, one correction for WBJ--this sentence could use a little love: "The Forest City and Monument Realty housing projects are just a portion of a four-building development planned at Half Street." The Foundry Lofts building, part of the Yards, is four blocks away from Half Street. UPDATE: It's been corrected.)

Capitol Riverfront BID Annual Meeting Summary
Dec 18, 2009 2:37 PM
The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District held its annual meeting and luncheon on Thursday, on the ninth floor of 55 M Street. Stan Kasten of the Nationals opened the festivities with some brief but energetic remarks about how excited the Nationals are about the neighborhood's continuing development. He was followed by Tommy Wells, who is equally enthusastic about the neighborhood as a prime example of a "liveable, walkable community," saying that people are increasingly choosing "five-minute living." But, he added that if this area ends up looking like every other neighborhood, "then we've failed."
After making presentations and awards to the BID's Clean and Safe team members, BID executive director Michael Stevens presented his State of the Capitol Riverfront report, chock full of statistics, including my perennial favorite, the number of bags of trash collected during 2009 (7,526!). The BID estimates there are now about 2,500 residents in the area, with another 500 expected to arrive in 2010. He also spent some time comparing the size and scope of the plans for "the Front" to other waterfront redevelopment projects such as Battery Park City in New York and Mission Bay in San Francisco, and of course detailing the many ways the BID works to publicize and advocate for the neighborhood.
Stevens was followed by Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution, who discussed "The Structural Shift in Building." This area and DC as a whole, he said, are the model for the sort of development that cities want to emulate going forward, as he described the pendulum swing from the suburban model of the second half of the 20th century to the new "walkable urbanism," being driven mainly by the Millennial generation, empty-nested retirees, and the growth in the percentage of child-free households.
Leinberger's presentation slides are definitely worth paging through, and folks who are big fans of public transportation will especially appreciate his feeling that the slogan going forward should be "The Green Line is the New Red Line," since the biggest opportunities for development around transportation hubs exist near those stations, and that the BID should actually consider expanding its consulting and other offerings to the smaller emerging neighborhoods along the Green Line that need those types of services. (Perhaps this is what Michael Stevens was alluding to in his report, where a Green Line Research Project was mentioned. And, by the way, next year will mark the 20-year anniversary of the opening of the Navy Yard metro station.)
Finally, BID chairman Eric Siegel announced that the BID is planning an environmental summit in May 2010 (perhaps at Nationals Park), to focus on the cleanup of the Anacostia River and other environmental issues with the many public and private stakeholders along the river.

Yards Gets LEED Gold; Buzzard Point Planning; Other Links (Parking, DOT HQ, Lower 8th, Jeff Neal)
Nov 24, 2009 9:42 PM
* The Yards has been designated a LEED Gold Certified Neighborhood Development Plan, based on the 42-acre project's stage two design plan, which "integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design." Read Forest City's press release, or learn more about the LEED for Neighborhood Development program.
* Southwest...The Little Quadrant With the Really Long Blog Name (hey, we kid because we love) gives a full report on the meetings last week to create a plan for Buzzard Point. The American Planning Association has posted its press release summarizing the sessions, saying that "Buzzard Point is a distinct area and should build on its strong existing residential character" and that any future plans should "[a]void using a cookie-cutter approach to redeveloping the neighborhood; the type of redevelopment taking place east of South Capitol Street is not what should occur west of South Capitol Street." (Yikes, now there's going to be a rumble in the South Capitol Street median.)
* Michael Perkins is not the person you want to be unable to find a parking space. Speaking of which, here's the second part of GGW's report on last week's Ward 6 Performance Parking public meeting.
* The US Department of Transportation HQ on M Street has been named a winner of the Phoenix Award, which "honors excellence in brownfield redevelopment" and honors companies and individuals who have worked "to solve critical environmental and community challenges when transforming formerly used real estate into productive new uses."
* Voice of the Hill reports on the latest Lower 8th Street visioning sessions: "Barracks Row Main Street executive director James Dalpee suggested that a Columbia Heights-style model, with several big anchor stores, might be what's needed to spur retail in the area," though "while they are dreaming big dreams, planners also have to contend with a number of potential obstacles. They include CSX's plans to tear up Virginia Avenue from 2nd to 11th streets for up to three years to make room for a double-stack train tunnel; the Marine Barracks master plan, which is set to be unveiled soon; and the 11th Street Bridges expansion project."
* WBJ's Breaking Ground blog points to a video by the Huffington Post's investigative unit on "Commercial Real Estate: the Next Hole in the Economy," which "stars" Jeff Neal of Monument Realty talking about the buying "binge" his company went on to snap up lots around the ballpark site in 2004 and 2005. (Though I think it's funny to see WBJ getting a bit snippy about news organizations "discovering holes in the ground" after they did, since I'd be willing to wager that they weren't the first to report on those sites, anyway.) WBJ also says that Neal is developing a reality TV show. Also be sure to check out the comments on the YouTube video for the sort of level-headed, reasoned discourse that we've all become accustomed to on the interwebs.

Monument Gets its First Tenant at 55 M
Oct 20, 2009 3:42 PM
From WBJ, the news that government contractor Sayres and Associates has signed a seven-year deal to lease 20,000 square feet at 55 M Street, Monument Realty's office building on top of the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M. Sayres currently is at Maritime Plaza, and is expected to move into 55 M in April of next year. This is the first tenant for 55 M; with the Bureau of Land Management moving in across the street at Lerner's 20 M next year, all of the office buildings in Near Southeast completed since 2007 will have lease deals (100 M was nearly 40 percent leased when it opened at the end of 2008).
Monument is still looking for financing to complete the south end of the block, where they have been planning to build a hotel and two residential buildings.
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More posts: Monument/Half St.

Streetcar Meetings; Corus/Starwood Deal; ANC 6D; Seniors H1N1 Shots
Oct 15, 2009 10:23 AM
If you can wait an extra minute or to before going back to bed and pulling the covers over you until this cold rain is over, here's a few (very) small items:
* DDOT sent out a press release late Wednesday announcing a series of public meetings to "engage residents and businesses in the implementation of improvements proposed for the transit system for the city, including streetcars", the first phase of which should eventually run across the 11th Street Bridges from Anacostia to H Street NE. They haven't posted the release on their own web site yet, but Streetcars for DC has it (UPDATE: it's now posted at DDOT, and amended slightly). The closest meeting to Near Southeast is the first one, Oct. 22 from 7 to 8:30 pm at J.O. Wilson Elementary, 660 K St., NE. For more information, visit DDOT's Streetcar pages.
And, via BeyondDC, the WBJ is reporting that the H Street portion of the first phase will be completed first, thanks to lobbying by Tommy Wells. Wells is also working to overturn the longtime ban on overhead wires in parts of the city that include H Street, according to the article. But no timeline for the start of construction has been mentioned. (UPDATE 2: In a tweet, DDOT says this: "Our official target date is still late 2012 for Anacostia, but we are working to accelerate that line as well as H/Benning.")
Unfortunately, DDOT's current site doesn't include the early studies for the project, but Richard Layman ferreted out the web archive version of the site, where you can see the line down M Street SE and SW was one of the possible additional lines at this time. Will there be one in the next phase of plans?
* It may not seem like the sale of Corus Bank's portfolio of distressed construction loans to a group led by Starwood Capital Group would be of much interest, but included in that portfolio are the construction loans for both Velocity Condos and Monument's 55 M Street office building. This shouldn't have much of an impact on Velocity, but could help 55 M in its quest to lease space, as potential tenants see more certainty surrounding the building's financing.
* ANC 6D's October monthly meeting is Monday, Oct. 19, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's, 6th and M streets, SW. No agenda released as of yet (which is why I cry when I see other ANCs that post their agendas well over a week [sometimes two] before their meetings).
* Tommy Wells has arranged for free seasonal flu shots (not H1N1) to be given to senior citizens in Southwest and near Southeast on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 9 am to noon at the Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street, SW. The shots will be free for seniors with Medicare Part B as their primary insurance, or $30 otherwise.
* (ADDED) I linked to a story about this idea a few weeks back, but here's a detailed post from TSArchitect (cross-posted at GGW) on "McMillan Two," which would radically remake the Anacostia Waterfront by filling in much of the river to narrow it to a width of about 500 feet, the same as the Seine in central Paris.

100 M Under Contract?; Rent the Ballpark; Monument Half Street Update
Sep 1, 2009 11:00 AM
* GlobeSt.com says that the 100 M Street office building built by Opus East--and now owned by its bank after Opus went into Chapter 7 liquidation--is under contract to be sold for $80 million to Mayfield Gentry. Gentry has been pursuing the purchase since late last year. GlobeSt: "If events play out as expected, 100 M St., SE will fit nicely into the story line emerging for the District's real estate community: namely, that buildings in the city limits are still holding their value and attracting investor interest--so much so that the growing levels of distressed real estate are not likely to impact the District to any great degree."
And two quick links that I Tweeted on Friday but forgot to post here (oops):
* Want to rent out the ballpark or a portion thereof for a shindig? The NationalsEvents.com web site is now launched, with details on packages, rates, and more. (I needed this when I was trying to put together my high school reunion last year.)
* WBJ's Breaking Ground blog posted on the status of Monument's Half Street project, talking about "the hole" ("'The hole. Yes, the hole,' sighed Russell Hines") and the 55 M office building completed earlier this year which "is still empty but has experienced 'a distinct change in the level of activity' over the past two months, with a few seriously interested tenants." They're looking for ways to find financing to start construction on the residential and hotel portion on the south end of the block, but aren't finding any outlets yet; but because the site is owned outright between the equity partners (Monument, the shell of Lehman Brothers, and MacFarlane Partners), "no construction lender or mortgage holder is going to demand the keys" to the site.

Capitol Quarter Ribbon Cutting Tomorrow; A Few Late-Summer Not-Really-News Links
Aug 25, 2009 1:16 PM
* A reminder that tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 am the DC Housing Authority is holding an official ribbon cutting and grand opening at Capitol Quarter, Fourth and L, with the mayor expected to be in attendance. If the sun is out, I may use this as the motivation to finally get some updated photos of the construction, with the framing in block three (north of K between Fourth and Fifth) now well underway.
* The Post reports on how the many new apartment buildings in the area are aggressively competing for tenants, with the new buildings in Near Southeast apparently leading the way: "The ones around Nationals Park, for instance, collectively have offered the deepest concessions since Delta started tracking rents 18 years ago. Some of those projects gave away the equivalent of four months' rent in concessions, which helps explain why effective rents in the District plunged 7.8 percent in June compared with a year ago. Without the ballpark area, rents fell 4 percent."
* From the BID's newsletter last week: "Mark your calendars for September 19th for the FRONT Door Home Tour & Canal Park Picnic from 10 am - 2 pm. The FRONT Door Tour will feature a variety of unique residents' homes and highlight the Capitol Riverfront as a new residential neighborhood in DC. The event will include a community picnic at the future site of Canal Park (located at intersection of M St., SE and 2nd St., SE) with food, music, and lawn games. The FRONT Door Tour will be free and open to the public. More information to come soon."
And, two items about off-topic projects by Near Southeast developers:
* Monument Realty announced yesterday that its long-planned renovation of Potomac Place Tower on Fourth Street in SW is now going to move forward. From their press release: "Monument Realty acquired the Potomac Place project in 2001 and in 2005 completed construction of a new, 302-unit condominium adjacent to the existing Potomac Place Tower, which was built in 1959. In 2003, Potomac Place Tower was designated a historic landmark by the District of Columbia and in 2005 the residents of Potomac Place Tower elected to convert the property to a condominium. Monument Realty's longstanding history and commitment to the project gave the new lender the confidence to retain its services for the completion of Potomac Place Tower."
* Forest City Washington has been selected by the government of Puerto Rico as the program manager for the redevelopment of a 100-acre portion of San Juan's waterfront district. Residential, hotel, office, retail, public parks, and a marina--sound familiar? (I don't think I mentioned that a few weeks ago the District selected Forest City as an advisor for the redevelopment of Poplar Point.)

MSG Looking for Entertainment Venue Space
Aug 13, 2009 10:37 AM
From WBJ, a few days ago: "Madison Square Garden LP, owner of the famed New York City arena that bears its name, is looking to open a major entertainment venue in the District. The sports, entertainment and media company began contacting the office of Valerie Santos, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, and major landowners in early summer[...] According to sources close to the company, MSG would open a venue of a 6,000 seats or more, requiring up to 100,000 square feet near shopping and public transit." The head of the Washington DC Economic Partnership apparently made presentations to MSG "on sites near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and in the area around Nationals Park."
In this Breaking Ground blog post today, Jonathan O'Connell tries to guess where MSG might be looking, and includes the Yards and Half Street (either the Monument or Akridge sides) as possibilities. And this NewsChannel 8 report interviews Michael Stevens from the BID about it all.

55 M Street Awarded LEED Gold Status
Jul 29, 2009 7:49 PM
Monument Realty just passed along word that 55 M Street, the 275,000-sq-ft office building at Half and M that was home to Artomatic 2009, has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the US Green Building Council. A quote from Monument's head, Michael Darby: "This is a great accomplishment for us. We expected to earn LEED Silver certification at 55 M, so to be awarded Gold is a true testament to the hard work that all the team members put into this project."
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More posts: Monument/Half St.

Tough Times for Opus East and Monument Realty
Jun 19, 2009 9:05 AM
Two pieces from today's Washington Business Journal, both for subscribers only, tell of difficulties for two of Near Southeast's developers:
* Opus East, which birthed 100 M and the under construction 1015 Half, is "teetering on the verge of bankruptcy" because the "U.S. General Services Administration has refused to pay the developer for 'even one penny' of the more than $35 million the company has invested in erecting a new federal building in College Park." Its parent company, Opus Corp., is exploring bankruptcy or restructuring for Opus East and Opus West--two other Opus companies went into Chapter 11 this spring. The article also says that Opus East's deal with MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors of Detroit to buy 100 M fell through in May; but 1015 Half is, for now, "continuing in full swing."
* And Monument Realty is having trouble, though not on Half Street--"At the end of May, at least three contractors filed suit in D.C. Superior Court to enforce more than $1.3 million in mechanic's liens the contractors filed against the last of three condominium buildings Monument is building at Potomac Place Tower near the Southwest waterfront. [...] At least one of the contractors is asking the court for a forced sale, if necessary, to collect amounts due."

Dreary Thursday Links Roundup
Jun 18, 2009 9:42 AM
* The news about perhaps paying for the convention center by taking money from various in-the-pipeline projects around the city has generated a lot of comment, not only here but in the form of a letter from Monty Hoffman of PN Hoffman to Chairman Gray in which he said that moving funds away from the planned redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront "would be a horrific business, legal, and community tragedy for the city." And SWDC Blog is reporting this morning that Kwame Brown says the list in the original WBJ article was of all tax-increment-financing plans approved by the City Council, which might be a wider list than just projects from which funds could be diverted.
* Roll Call has a piece on the "slow-to-develop" Capitol Riverfront neighborhood: "Today, visitors to the stadium emerge from the Metro onto an almost empty street flanked by tall fences. Billions of dollars of real estate is planned for the area, but for now, it only offers a few half-empty buildings and the occasional fast-food restaurant." But there is this as well: "The buildings aren't all empty. BID estimates that about 1,600 people live in the area, leasing about half of the available apartments. Office buildings hold about 35,000 workers; Opus East, for example, has leased 50 percent of the units for its new building at 100 M St. SE." (Full disclosure: I'm quoted a few times.)
* On the flip side, a just-released CBRE report on the impact of the federal stimulus package on the DC and Baltimore region says: "The commercial real estate industry has begun to see an impact from the transportation-related stimulus activities. Government contractors are actively touring office buildings in the Capitol Riverfront submarket of Washington, DC, home to the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Transportation, for new growth related to stimulus-funded contracts. These tours are noteworthy as the submarket has seen limited interest over the first six months of the year as a result of the national and local economic recessions." We're also still waiting to hear which federal agency might be about to lease 100,000-sq-ft of space at 20 M, and whether Booz Allen Hamilton is taking 30,000 sq ft at 55 M or elsewhere in the neighborhood.
* And, if you saw a boat full of partying real estate professionals cruising up the Anacostia on Tuesday, it was the Urban Land Institute Washington's annual boat tour, which took the Odyssey from the Southwest Waterfront up to the Yards and then back toward Rosslyn and Georgetown.
* The news of the day gave the Republicans some trouble in the bullpen at last night's Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park. And the GOP's woes in Washington continued, with the Democrats winning the game for the first time in eight years, 15-10.
* I forgot to post this last week: M.L. Clark Real Estate, which negotiated the deal for the city to sublet 225 Virginia Avenue, is going out of business, says WBJ, with its two brokers moving to Cassidy & Pinkard.
* A reminder that this Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm is the Third Annual Ward 6 Family Day.

Tenants Coming to 20 M and 55 M?
Jun 5, 2009 12:17 PM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only), news that two as-yet-unoccupied office buildings in Near Southeast may be close to securing tenants. WBJ says that Monument Realty is "in discussions" with Booz Allen Hamilton to lease more than 30,000 square feet of space at 55 M (currently home to Artomatic), though Booz is apparently also looking at Lerner's 20 M across the street and the under-construction 1015 Half a block to the north.
The article also says that an "undisclosed federal agency is on the cusp of announcing" a 100,000-sq-ft lease at 20 M. I have heard murmurings of some outfit moving to 20 M--if someone wants to whisper in my ear who it is, I'm listening!

Quick Pics from Artomatic Sneak Preview
May 29, 2009 3:02 PM
Hard to believe, after the weeks of buildup, that the opening of Artomatic is going to turn out to be the *second* most exciting event in Near Southeast today, but it should still be noted that it did indeed open its doors at noon today, running for hours and hours between now and July 5. You can get all the specifics at the Artomatic web site, and I'm sure many local blogs and media outlets will give it coverage far beyond what my left-brain-ness is capable of providing, but I did take a few photos at the kick-off this morning that might whet your appetite to go give it a visit. And these shots were from just one of the eight floors' worth of offerings, so there's plenty that I plan to go back to see. (I also took a few photos of the surrounding skyline, since this was my first visit inside Monument's 55 M.)

Upcoming Events, Updates, and Whatnot
May 27, 2009 4:22 PM
* Tomorrow (Thursday, May 28) at 10:30 am is the groundbreaking ceremony for the Park at the Yards, the first phase of which is scheduled to be completed next spring. The mayor is supposed to be in attendance--I may have to create a Shovel-Wielding Fenty photo gallery, since I now have quite a few of those shots.
* Friday (May 29) at noon is the opening of Artomatic at 55 M Street. I'm giving everyone advance warning that I am hopelessly left-brained, so I won't really even be trying to cover it much beyond wandering through to get the flavor. It runs until July 5, so everyone has plenty of time to get there and check it out. (You can see some of the installations already through the windows.) See my calendar for the specific days and hours (it's closed Mondays and Tuesdays).
* An extremely helpful commenter in this thread has explained why some of the flyovers and ramps are missing from the new Skanska/Facchina schematic of the new 11th Street Bridges design that I linked to: "[It] does not show all the ramp connections in the FEIS design because the District could only find $260 million to fund the project, and the FEIS design is estimated to cost $360 million. The District asked for proposals to build as much of the project as possible for the availible $260 mill, and the schematic shows how much the winning bidder Skanska/Facchina proposed to build. It is a lane-mile more than the next best proposal. The District's plan is to build the rest when they can secure funding (maybe sooner than later.)"
* While not mentioning Near Southeast specifically, this Post article from yesterday talks about the very tough office-space market in DC and surroundings: "'Unless they're already in the ground, they're not starting,' said Steven A. Levin, managing director at Spaulding & Slye. 'Any development project needing a loan over $25 million requires multiple lenders, and the guarantees are onerous. The amount of money you can borrow is also reduced.' [...] Dennis K. Moyer, a commercial real estate lawyer with Goulston & Storrs, said some of his clients are reviewing their existing loans and wondering whether they'll be paid, even on properties that are doing well. 'The next wave that comes is likely the workouts, foreclosures and restructurings,' he said."


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