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As expected, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission has chosen HOK Sport (along with Devrouax & Purnell Architects/Planners of DC) as the architects for the new Nationals baseball stadium. They promise a design that will "change the paradigm of ballparks" and will be "iconic and truly distinctive to Washington, D.C." There are no designs or drawings as yet. For more details, read articles in the Post ("Architects Promise Visionary Ballpark") and WashTimes ("Ballpark Will be 'Iconic'"). Also, on March 29, the DC CFO released a revised cost analysis for the entire stadium project, pegging it at $581 million (read Post story for more info).

More posts: Nationals Park
 

The Voice of the Hill newspaper has a featurette on my Near Southeast web site in its April issue, "'Near Southeast' Revitalization, Archived and Digitized." You can see the entire issue as a PDF, but I hope they don't mind my snagging the single page for display here. I think the writer did a good job unearthing my point of view and motivations....

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Today's DC Extra in the Post has a big story on the plans to revitalize South Capitol Street, "On the Brink of a Major League Makeover." No breaking news in it, except that "initial street improvements -- such as replacing the concrete Jersey barrier median with crosswalks at N, O and P streets, upgrading lights, and widening sidewalks -- will begin this spring or summer, using some of the $30 million in federal funds already allocated to the project." 
More posts: South Capitol St.
 

The National Capital Planning Commission's South Capitol Street Task Force is holding a public meeting on Wednesday, March 30 at 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm at 401 9th St. NW, Suite 500 to discuss its vision for transforming South Capitol Street. To attend, RSVP to 202-482-7296 or southcapitol@ncpc.gov .

More posts: South Capitol St.
 

Note the addition of an RSS feed to this site. It's a homebrew, so I hope it doesn't crash your newsreader, but now you can catch the latest Near Southeast news with the latest technology...

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How to finance the new Nationals baseball stadium is the story of the day:
· DC Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi released his Alternative Financing Plans for Baseball Stadium Final Report (or you can read "District Skeptical On Financing Deals" [WashPost, 3/16/05]). The CFO has certified two of the eight proposals for private financing for the stadium--the plans by Deutsche Bank and The Gates Group. (See also a Dec. 18 Post story detailing the Gates Group proposal.) Gandhi and the mayor's office will work together to meet a 15-day deadline to determine which of the three plans (the two newly certified private plans plus the original public financing plan) offers the least expensive way to finance the stadium. (The Herbert S. Miller plan to create a "baseball village", which had received much publicity, was not approved.)
· And, according to the Washington Times, "by the end of this week Gandhi also is expected to issue a report re-evaluating the projected costs for land acquisition, environmental remediation and infrastructure development for the new stadium. If the estimated cost, previously pegged by Mr. Gandhi at $115 million, exceeds $165 million, D.C. officials must search for a less expensive site. " So, that will be fun.
· Finally, The WashTimes also says that a recommendation for the new stadium's architect should arrive later this week, with a formal ratification by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission early next week.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Next week should bring two milestones in the drive to put the Nationals' new stadium in Near Southeast: the expected decision on an architect, as well as CFO Natwar Gandhi's final evaluation of the 8 proposals for private funding of the stadium project. The Post has had articles in the past two days on each: Marc Fisher's column "Grand Plan For Ballpark Raises Stakes" about developer Herbert S. Miller's plan to "build a baseball village -- an urban center with 750 apartments, plus restaurants, clubs, small shops, hotels and a few big-box retailers". Today, David Nakamura writes "Stadium Architects Fear More of the Same," about the feelings that architectural firm HOK Sport, which has designed 10 of the last 14 stadiums built for Major League Baseball, has been given the inside track on the project, with the need for speed perhaps trumping the desire for "a modern and memorable design." (JD editorial note: I have to admit that I like the Camden Yards/retro-brick stadium look, and I'm not sure how much DC really needs to be on the stadium design forefront, with a "soaring glass and steel" architecture. But we'll see what is put forward.)

More posts: Nationals Park
 

The National Capital Planning Commission has released its New Vision for South Capitol Street, a beautiful brochure giving more details on how they foresee the redevelopment of South Capitol Street into a grand boulevard, from a new Frederick Douglass Bridge northward to Virginia Avenue. As always, visions and realities are two very different things, but there is strong backing from the federal government (mainly in the persona of Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer), and now with the baseball stadium poised to be built along South Capitol, the interest in making this street into a showcase approach to the Capitol is considerably heightened. But don't look for any of it to happen next week, there's a 10- to 15-year timeline on it all....

 

The DC Sports and Entertainment Commission has been interviewing architects for the construction of the new Nationals Stadium. Eight firms entered bids, and three finalists (HOK Sport, HKS Inc., and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) are being interviewed today and tomorrow. The winner will be selected in about a week. See Ballpark Design Bids Cut to Three (Washington Times).

More posts: Nationals Park
 

In addition to trying to decide on the design of the new baseball stadium, DC officials also are now evaluating the eight private financing schemes that have been submitted. Today's Post ("'Big Boxes' Part of Stadium Pitch") details developer Herbert S. Miller's proposal of "developing the land surrounding the planned ballpark in Southeast with the large-scale retailers [like Wal-Mart or Costco], a variety of smaller stores and restaurants, 450 loft apartments, 780,000 square feet of office space and a 250-room hotel." This would be accomplished by having the city acquire all of the land south of M, north of Potomac Avenue, east of South Capitol Street, and west of First Street and giving it to him. The city's chief financial officer has until March 15 to decide whether any of the private financing proposals are feasible. Miller is the developer behind the new Gallery Place as well as Potomac Mills.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

Good piece in Sunday's Post ("DC Seeks 'Signature' Ballpark") on what DC is looking for in the design of the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium. Proposals are due by February 15, and the city plans to choose a chief architect for the project by Feb. 28. If you want to know more specifics, you can plow through the Request for Proposals.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

I note here that on Jan. 21 a building permit was approved for the new Capper Seniors project, described as a $17.3 million 160-unit apartment building for seniors at 900 5th Street, SE, and fences have now gone up around its lot at 5th and Virginia. Could they finally be about to start construction?

 

Big news! Real Estate company Eakin Youngentob has added the Capper/ Carrollsburg redevelopment project to its web site, marked as "Coming in 2006." Not much information there, but you can add yourself to the preview list to get first crack at the market-rate for-sale homes in the project. (I don't know exactly how the market-rate versus affordable units will be doled out, nor do I know how the public housing units fit into all of this; I'm sure more information will become available, and I'll bring it to you as I find out. Read my own Capper/ Carrollsburg Revitalization page for background and details.) The first offerings would be in the area of Capper/Carrollsburg that has just been demolished, between 4th and 5th and Virginia and M. The project will move slowly westward, to 2nd Street/Canal Park, over the next few years.

Don't know when construction would start, don't know when homes would be available, don't know nuthin' except that you probably shouldn't pack your bags just yet. :-) But this is a big deal that the project is now being advertised, and another great step forward for Near Southeast.

More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Demolition at Capper/Carrollsburg has moved over to the block bounded by 2nd, 3rd, L, and M streets, the last location of demolishment in this first phase. My guess is that this spot is being cleared to help pave the way for the construction of an office building at 250 M Street, although I have no news on a timetable for that. (250 M will not actually take up that entire block, it should be noted--it will front M Street, with its footprint being pretty much the parking lot that's currently there.) The 4th/5th Street demolition is in the clean-up phase (taking away the piles and smoothing the lots). And within the past few days fence stakes have appeared around the Capper buildings in the 4th/I/3rd/K block. I don't think demolition will begin there anytime soon, but those buildings are probably now cleared of tenants, and so can now be fenced off.

More posts: 250 M, Capper
 

Happy 2nd Anniversary to the "Near Southeast" web site! Today's Washington Post had a nice article (registration required) about Andrew Altman and the newly created Anacostia Waterfront Development Corporation, which of course will be a huge driving force in the future of Near Southeast. And, in gastronomic news, "Five Guys Soon" is now scraped into a window on the ground floor of the 2nd Street side of 1100 New Jersey Avenue. Burgers for everyone!

 

The baseball angst of the past week appears to have been resolved, and the council voted today to amend the stadium financing bill in a way deemed to be acceptable by Major League Baseball. As for the winner of the Most Unintentionally Hilarious Statement, that would be Linda Cropp of course, saying that she's not expecting any surprises but "you never know till the last vote is taken." Gee, what experience has she had with expected votes being scuttled at the last minute?

I'll note here that of course private financing is a better solution for DC, but I just wish it hadn't had to be done in such a typical DC fashion. Let's put it this way--Tony Williams would never have gotten MLB to bring the team to DC without pledging public financing, so all the griping about his "rolling over for MLB" is a bit misguided. It's all part of the kabuki theater of government--MLB had him over a barrel, so he had to get them into an agreement, then once he did, there was then leverage for the city to tweak. Not much leverage, granted (this is MLB after all), but enough. It would have been nice if there had been a grand plan for all of this instead of making DC look like a bunch of doofuses, but in this case I'll take the ends even while detesting the means.

Now, let's start talking about exactly how likely it is that there will be a new stadium ready for play in April, 2008! (You know me, I'm an optimist.)

More posts: Nationals Park
 

Mayor Williams has chosen Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd of Seattle, Washington as the winner of the Canal Park Design Competition. They envision "trees, grass, plants, a splash pool, aquatic garden and fountain. Officials say runoff from area buildings will be filtered and recycled and used in the water features." Read the mayor's press release for more information.

More posts: Canal Park
 

On Friday 12/3 Major League Baseball owners approved the move of the Montreal Expos to DC, provided DC meets the terms agreed to by MLB and Mayor Williams back in September. On Tuesday 11/30 the DC city council approved the "first reading" of the stadium financing bill 6-4 (with 3 voting "present", the wusses), with a few amendments. The final vote has been scheduled for Dec. 14. I'm too tired of all of it to go into the specifics--The Post's Nationals page will give you all the details.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

The four design teams picked as finalists for the Canal Park design competition will present their proposals and answer questions beginning at 5:30 pm Wednesday (today) Nov. 17, in the auditorium at Van Ness Elementary School, at 5th and M streets SE. Also, drawings of each proposal will be on display during business hours at the Arthur Capper Community Center, at Fifth and K streets SE, through Friday. A jury will rank the entries and recommend a finalist to Mayor Williams. A winner should be announced within weeks.

More posts: Canal Park
 

News continues to pick up:
· Linda Cropp appears to be backpedaling, and now says she supports the Mayor's baseball stadium financing plan but wants to "explore" private financing options.
· Demolition continues at Capper/Carrollsburg between 4th and 5th Streets. The section south of L is about 70% demolished, and work began today on the section north of L Street. A worker told me that the demolition phase is expected to last about 90 days, and will also include demolishing the buildings on the southwest corner of 3rd and L. (I presume this is to help clear the way for construction of 250 M Street, but I don't know for sure.)
· A Lerner Enterprises new press release included a tidbit that construction of 20 M Street SE will start in Spring, 2005. There didn't seem to be any hint of it in a recent WBJ article on the area, so I'm a bit skeptical, but we'll see. Maybe the pending arrival of the baseball stadium has jump-started their market.
More posts: 20 M, Capper, Nationals Park
 
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