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While much of my time on Opening Day each year is spent racing around getting pictures of the festivities, it's equally important to me as the first time after a multi-month lull that I can go to the various viewpoints on the upper deck and get updated photographs of how the ballpark's immediate surroundings have changed.
On the ballpark's western side, overlooking South Capitol Street, there's now the Camden South Capitol apartment building rising out of the ground, more than four years after the lot was cleared in preparation for construction. While technically this new 244-unit building is outside of my boundaries, I've taken enough photos of the western side of South Capitol Street over the years to maintain a pseudo-project page, where you can get the basics on the development and some before-and-afters but where I'm not going overboard in documenting the building's arrival. The photos above were taken from the ballpark's northwest viewing platform, and you can see the other images I've taken from that perch since my first visit there in September 2007.
If you want some additional views to the west, I have a series of before-and-afters from the small opening at O Street near the elevators, including these looking straight out O:
Meanwhile, on the ballpark's south side, there's two changes since last summer worth getting photos of: the completed Riverwalk bridge between Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park, and the clearing of the Florida Rock site. And, since my 2007 "before" shots are from the time that Potomac Avenue and First Street were being reconstructed, and long before the waterfront started getting spiffed up, the transformation is pretty striking, though you can tell that I had my wide-angle lens in 2007 but had to settle for stitched-together images this time:
You can browse my many variations of these before-and-after Anacostia River views, both to the southeast and to the southwest. And, note at the top of these pages the links to other "on high" photographs from various rooftops around the neighborhood.
(PS: Apologies for the site's extended outage on Thursday--a botched move by my hosting company to upgrade the hardware of my shared server resulted in what to you was a nearly seven-hour outage but to me was the equivalent of a couple of ice ages.)
 

The Marine Corps will be getting the wheels moving again in what has been a stalled quest to build a new barracks and associated support space, putting the word out Wednesday via the project web site and a newsletter that it will be using the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process "to continue the dialogue with the community of stakeholders" going forward. However, it's also now clear that "federal land acquisition will be unavoidable as a result of recent unforeseen changes in policy and a less favorable funding outlook."
In other words, the potential for a public-private development partnership as discussed in the 2010 series of public meetings is falling by the wayside, and the federal government will have to own the land that the new barracks is built on. (Though the Marines say they "will continue to investigate opportunities to collaborate with the District of Columbia to minimize impacts to the local tax base and pursue all viable options[.]")
During 2010, the site selection process had narrowed the slate down to three potential locations: the site of the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters/MBW Annex at 7th and Virginia, the former Exxon site at 11th and M on Square 976, and "Squares 929/930," the two blocks bounded by 8th, Virginia, 9th, and Potomac controlled by multiple landowners, including a joint venture between Madison Marquette and ICP Partners. Wednesday's newsletter, posted by the Washington Business Journal, says that squares 929, 930, and 976 will be analyzed in the environmental impact statement, but that the Annex site is now ruled out for the required 100,000 square feet of housing, though it could be used for the needed 60,000 square feet of "support space."
However, given that there's also mention of analysis of "any additional sites that are identified within 2,000 feet of the MBW Main Post at 8th and I," one wonders if some of the sites ruled out in the original CIMP process might come back to the table, such as the old Capper Seniors site at 7th and M ("Square 882") that the Marines coveted so much given its location just to the south of the Annex, even though the DC Housing Authority officially requested in May 2010 that the Marines stop looking at it. The Virginia Avenue Park would also fall within that 2,000-foot perimeter, but the park's devotees mobilized pretty successfully two years ago when the Marines initially eyed their turf, as did the parents at Tyler Elementary when its playing field was on the original site list.
The Marines do say they are still committed to many aspects of the original CIMP, including working "collaboratively with the community and stakeholders" (and the city), and also to the concept of "[r]educed security standoff distances for the urban environment."
Expect a formal announcement in "late summer" of the NEPA process.
If you haven't been following along (or weren't around in 2010), this site search has all come to pass because Building 20, the fortress just north of the freeway at 8th St. SE, suffers from "serious antiterrorism/force protection and quality of life deficiencies," with reuse of the site ruled out because of the expanded "standoff distances" now required in this War on Terror era. It's those new-era requirements, though, that have many in the area concerned about what sort of negative impacts a new barracks could have on its surroundings. Feel free to browse back through my many posts on the process for more details.
 

Diverse Markets Management, the company which was overseeing the "market" portion of the new Fairgrounds shipping container market and events space on Half Street, alerted its vendors and other exhibitors via e-mail that "[a]fter much deliberation, DMM has concluded it must drop out of this project, effective immediately."
In the e-mail, DMM executive director Michael Berman said he was sorry that the plans didn't work out, having had "high hopes for the venue," but: "Taking a hard look at the site, I believe it cannot support retail, vending, artists or farmers as we had imagined that it might. I think the space is well designed to serve alcohol products and that the stage, sound, and food trucks compliment that use, but the vending and retail aspect does not fit in at all, without a complete redesign, which is not envisioned."
In what is probably related news, the Fairgrounds web site now says that it will be open "daily" (i.e., operating on non-game days in addition to game days) beginning May 4. The food, drink, and entertainment portions of Fairgrounds's operations were not being handled by DMM and presumably will be continuing. I've reached out to Fairgrounds developer Bo Blair to find out whether another vendor will be brought in to try to revive the market aspect of Fairgrounds' plans, and will update with any information I get.
UPDATE: Describing the Fairgrounds team as "disappointed" that DMM pulled out after only five days of business, Bo Blair had this to say via e-mail:
"From the beginning of the Fairgrounds concept, we all were very aware that the retail aspect was going to be a difficult task. Unfortunately, DMM was not the right fit. We are fully committed to moving forward quickly with a host of other vendors, artists, real estate brokers, and entrepeneurs who see the incredible potential to create something unique and interesting on the site. We did not go out and spend over $350,000 and waste an incredible amount of time and effort to have the containers sit empty. We will fill them soon. The other aspects of Fairgrounds, such as the food trucks, The Bullpen, games, and live music have been very well received. We have many events planned for the summer and will be open daily starting May 4th. We look forward to new ideas and concepts to fill the container stores as soon as possible and are excited for the great season ahead."
 

I didn't really intend to go completely off-grid for a long weekend, but a road trip to and from north Florida didn't leave me much time or energy for blogging. What did I miss?
* I assume everyone's heard by now that Bruce Springsteen will be playing at Nats Park on Sept. 14. Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 27 at 10 am at tickets.com. (If I'm not showing appropriate enthusiasm, I apologize, but Springsteen just hasn't ever really done it for me. I think I was permanently scarred by everyone around me going so crazy for him when I was in college, during the whole Born in the USA era. I just hid in my room and listened to R.E.M., and U2, and the Smiths, and Squeeze, and Elvis Costello, and....)
* The Nats' current homestand continues for the rest of the week, with tonight being the first $2 Ticket Tuesday of the season. Then there's Neighborhood Night on Thursday, April 19, followed by the season's first Pups in the Park game at 1:05 pm Saturday, April 21, and Kids Opening Day at 1:35 pm Sunday, April 22.
* If you're not availing yourself of tonight's $2 Ticket Tuesday, perhaps you might want to check out the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce's session on real estate development in and around Capitol Hill, which will be focusing on the areas east of South Capitol and south of East Capitol, which includes Near Southeast. Tommy Wells is scheduled to be part of the lineup. It's from 7 to 9 pm at the Meader Theater (NCC's new home) at 535 8th St., SE.
* Saturday, April 21 is Lantern Making Family Day at the Yards Park, as part of the lineup of events as the Cherry Blossom Festival comes to a close. There are two sessions, at 10 am and noon, followed by a parade/procession through the park.
* It's a bit outside my boundaries, but residents and others may be interested to know that the new Anacostia Riverwalk Trail Bridge crossing the railroad tracks just north of Pennsylvania Avenue will be opening on April 24.
And, some non-event tidbits:
* Square 696, the block bounded by I, K, Half, and First owned by DRI and Jamestown and originally branded as "The Plaza on K," is apparently being relaunched as "Congressional Square," though that doesn't seem to have filtered down to any web sites just yet. It's still an 825,000-square-foot office and retail project.
* On Opening Day, I noticed a lot of cars parked in the fenced-off lot on the southeast corner of 1st and M SE that belongs to the former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building. I asked Forest City about it, and they said that they will offer parking in that lot for certain games where big crowds are expected, but aren't planning to make it available for daily use.
* In the 700 block of Virginia Avenue, the Miles Glass building and the auto repair shop next door are no more, but at least they are now permanently enshrined as entries #168 and #169 in the Demolished Buildings Gallery. A parking lot is expected to be built for temporary use, while the National Community Church works on its plans for a larger events space on the site.
 

It was a little more difficult than it looked like it would be (and had a bit of a crazy finish), but the Nats got a win for their sold-out 2012 Home Opener, winning 3-2 in the 10th thanks to a wild pitch.
It's not hard in this world of social media to find photos from Opening Day, but that doesn't mean I can pass up the opportunity to post my own, for those of you who weren't there (or even if you were).
I have two galleries for you browse through: my shots from around the stadium (both looking inside and looking out), along with images from the opening ceremonies. (I leave the photos of the game itself to others.) And now I think I shall take a bit of a breather!
UPDATE: Shoot, meant to include links to my previous Opening Day galleries (and more), if folks wanted some memories....
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More posts: photos, Nationals Park
 

I know, it seems like the returning Nats were just welcomed home last week, but that was for an exhibition! The 2012 regular season is now underway, and the first-place (really!) Nationals will play their first home game Thursday at 1:05 pm against the Cincinnati Reds, with the gates opening at 10:30 am to help handle the expected sellout crowd. And the game isn't a one-off: the team will play at home every day through Sunday, April 22, with series against the Astros and the Marlins following the four games against the Reds.
JDLand's new Visiting Nats Park page has a whole lot of links about the stadium and the neighborhood, but here are the main ones in bullet-point form, in case you can't bear to click through:
* Getting There: Figure out where to park (and learn why "I'll just find a space on the street" probably isn't going to work). Or take Metro. Or the Circulator. Or a water taxi. Or a bike. (Dr. Gridlock has his annual "how to get to the ballpark" column as well.) My Live Transit Info page might also be worth bookmarking, to see when the next bus or train is coming, or if there's a Bikeshare bike close by to snag. (And, if you're a resident, remember that you may have to use the Navy Yard station's New Jersey Avenue entrance if you're coming home as the game is ending.)
* What's New in the Hood: See what's changed around the neighborhood and what's now on the boards since last season. Stuff is happening.
* Wander Around a Bit: Talk a walk on the Anacostia Riverwalk, now with a handy bridge not far from the 1st Base Gate that takes you directly to the Yards Park and the Navy Yard. And, while you're wandering--or even when you're in your seat--check out my mobile web app that uses your phone's GPS to show you what your location looked like not too many years ago.
* Food and Drink Outside the Ballpark: See the area's food options, current and future (including a new Potbelly Sandwich Works at 3rd and Tingey). And learn about why there's all those shipping containers on Half Street where the Bullpen(s) used to be, and what the Fairgrounds' plans are for Opening Day.
* Food and Drink Inside the Ballpark: Figure out which new dishes you're going to try. There's also an "Eat for the Cycle" promotion at Shake Shack/Box Frites/Blue Smoke/El Verano Taqueria, if the StrasBurger isn't enough for you. And here's the team web site's list of concessions, if you want to plan your attack in advance.
There will be pre-game ceremonies paying tribute to the US military, including a flyover by the 113th Wing fighter jets. There's also an Opening Day Curly W Cap for the first 20,000 fans to enter the ballpark, and there will be additional festivities on N Street.
The rest of the first weekend of baseball at home has other events planned, including "Opening Night" on Friday the 13th (eek!), Stephen Strasburg Bobblehead Night on the 14th (plus Justin's Cafe's block party over on 1st Street), and Jackie Robinson Day on the 15th. Here's the full lineup of promotions and giveaways.
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

This morning I got a quick tour of the inside of the new Fairgrounds space just north of Nationals Park this morning, where the work is buzzing along to get the area ready for Thursday's Nats home opener at 1:05 pm. I talked with Bo Blair of Georgetown Events, and these are the tidbits he passed along:
* The Fairgrounds will open by 11:30 am, with about two-thirds of the footprint being used.
* There will be 10 to 12 food trucks on site.
* Three bands will play throughout the day.
* Ten or so vendors will be set up within the containers on the north end of the block.
Blair expects to keep the larger area of the site open through Sunday (since there are games each day), at which point probably only the main area on the north end of the block (the old Das Bullpen) will be open daily until crowds pick up as the weather (and the team?) improves.
If you haven't been following along, check out my post about the new venture from when it first came to light back in February. The north end is expected to be open daily through the end of the baseball season, while the larger area will open up for bigger events (such as Truckeroo, and the DC Challenge on April 28).
In the meantime, check out the photos, while keeping in mind that it's still kind of messy, and the overcast skies weren't exactly conducive to images that "pop."
UPDATE: The lineup of food trucks: @bbqbusdc @bigcheesetruck @curbsidecupcake @DCEmpanadas @TaKorean @LobstertruckDC @TheFicelle @gofishtruckdc @Sinplicity1 @Dougthefooddude and @surfsidetruckdc. And Fairgrounds's Facebook page says these will be among the vendors: "[B]aseball inspired painters, photography, cool clothes, even baby clothes, crafts from around the world, handmade jewelry, soaps, and great produce, popcorn and pickles! in the farm stand by Half Street."
 

Because of a need to burn off some calories before digging into my "Reeseter's Bunny" (milk chocolate-coated peanut butter bunny, which the label says is four servings [ha!] at 180 calories per), I did my usual wanderings this morning to grab updated photos around, Capper, 200 I, Canal Park, and the Boilermaker Shops. Alas, I did not hide any Easter eggs in any of these shots, nor did I find any.
The framing and Tyvek-ing is underway on 3rd Street south of L, in the shadow of the 300 M Street office building, as Capitol Quarter continues its march toward completion. I also took a lot of photos of other CQ Phase II blocks, so spend some time in the Capitol Quarter Phase 2 Expanded Photo Archive (and scroll down a bit) to hop through the many (many!) before-and-afters.
Then there's the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, where some work was being done even on Easter Sunday. The walling off the interior space for the different tenants has begun, with the studs visible--and some drywall has even gone in on the mezzanine level, as seen at right, in a view from 4th Street, through what will be the Bluejacket space.
The work is on-going at Canal Park, but continues to not be terribly exciting from a photographic standpoint, unless you're wowed by images of new curbs. But the Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive can take you for a walk around the park's perimeter to see the current views, if you don't see it every day. (I also like my barbed wire shot [above right], the result of desperation after being without photos from the east side of 2nd and L for a very long time now. But, no, I didn't jump the fence.)
I also enjoyed being watched very closely by a USDOT security guard with a clipboard as I took photos of the park's progress from the south side of M Street. "What are you taking photos of?" she finally asked, trying to sound stern. "Stuff," I replied, as I smiled and kept walking.
There's also updated shots from 225 Virginia/200 I (seen at right), with the landscaping now starting to go in.
If you want to see today's entire batch (213 of 'em), here they are, remembering to click the fun little Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see the entire range of photos for a certain location. If you want even more new-ish pictures, here's photos I took around 1st and Half Streets on Tuesday, to get the Fairgrounds exterior into the official archive.
Now I need to go find that peanut butter bunny. I think I earned it.
 

From a press release just sent to me:
"Beginning on Apr. 12, 2012 gates at the east and west end of the waterfront promenade (Riverwalk) at the Washington Navy Yard (WNY), will open for unlimited public access.
"The gates at both ends of the WNY Riverwalk will remain open for public access from dusk to dawn and will be open as a thoroughfare to facilitate access to the WNY and neighboring areas after sunset. There will be no loitering allowed between the hours of sunset and sunrise and the Riverwalk may close, without notice, to support WNY operations. [...]
"The Display Ship Barry, located along the WNY Riverwalk, will be open to the public with access directly from the Riverwalk during normal operating hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday."
The release also quotes Naval Support Activity Washington commanding officer Cmdr. David Varner as saying that this is "supporting the community's desire to have a walkable riverfront."
The Navy Yard's portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail runs from just next to the 11th Street Bridges down to the Yards Park.
(Note that April 12 is also the day of the Nats' home opener.)
UPDATE: For those who haven't been following along, I should note that it was last year that the Navy Yard first opened their promenade to limited public access, first just from 8 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday, then starting at 5:30 am, then to seven days a week until "official sunset."
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More posts: Navy Yard, riverwalk
 

Before everyone disappears down the Nats Opening Day/Masters/Caps rabbit holes (myself included!), here's some links to items that might be of interest.
First, a few new entries in the What's New Around the Ballpark? lineup:
* On Tap Magazine surveys the neighborhood with "The Hidden Gem That is the Capitol Riverfront." (Another jewelry metaphor to go with the Post's "Diamond in the Rough" piece from Sunday.)
* WJLA wandered around looking at the ballpark environs.
* The Post's Going Out Gurus blog checked out the Fairgrounds' sneak peek on Tuesday. (Though what's the deal with the photos that look like they were taken through a veil? Will this Instagram obsession never ebb?)
* WTOP runs down the options for arriving at the ballpark by water taxi. (American River Taxi, by the way, says that they are almost sold out for the April 12 home opener.)
Some other items:
* Two reports from MLB.com on the Wounded Warrior Amputee charity softball classic, played Tuesday after the Nats-Red Sox exhibition. The Warriors pounded their celebrity challengers 17-4.
* "DC Modern Luxury" magazine's Men's issue picks the Foundry Lofts as one of the city's "Best Bachelor Buildings." Go here, then click on the Best Bachelor Buildings subhed to get to page 62, then look at the bottom of the page. (As an aside, the write-up sounds even better if you imagine it being spoken by Stefon.)
* Or, if you like your tidbits a bit less glossy, Multihousing News has "Foundry Lofts Blazes Trail on DC Riverfront."
* Bluejacket gets a big write-up and cover photo in Beer Advocate magazine, though we don't get to read it online. You'll just have to make do with the Sept. 2011 batch of photos from inside the Boilermaker Shops the brewery has put up on their Facebook page.
* Nineteen "experts" have picked the Nationals to make the playoffs this year. No pressure!
* The 11th Street Recreation Bridge meeting happened while I was out of town, but here's Greater Greater Washington's write-up of it. But, before the meeting, WCP's Alex Baca posted four thoughts about the concept, with some items of concern worth noting (though "it is a cool idea!" is the first bullet point).
 

You may or may not be aware that this week the National Archives posted online the 3.8 million pages that made up the 1940 census. They aren't yet searchable by name, but they are browsable by "enumeration district." This means that if you don't mind waiting for huge images to load, you can in essence wander from street to street and find out all manner of information about the people who lived there 72 years ago.
Since I've had a little bit of experience with census digging (I did a lot of my family's geneaology back in the early 2000s, before I began some other project that soon sucked up all my free time), I took a few minutes and found the links to the five enumeration districts that cover Near Southeast, along with the map that shows their locations.
So, if you live in Capitol Quarter, ED 204 covers you (from 2nd to 5th and Virginia to M). ED 203 goes east from 5th to 11th, while ED 205 includes all the blocks between 2nd and South Capitol north of M, for you Velocity/Onyx/CHT/Capitol Yards folks. ED 206 goes from M to the Waterfront and over to what's now the WASA site, while ED 207 covers the Navy Yard, which at that time ran from New Jersey Avenue to 11th. (It's actually funny how those boundaries from 72 years ago do a pretty good job of reflecting how the neighborhood's various sub-areas are still seen today.)
This was more than 10 years before the Cappers were built, but the neighborhood wasn't exactly a rich enclave. Plus, not many houses that were standing in 1940 remain in existence today, so only a few people will get the fun of seeing who actually lived in their house back then. But I thought one or two people might enjoy wandering through the many pages to get a feel for the people who lived in Near Southeast as World War II was looming. (You'll probably want to use the Questions Asked page to guide you across the columns. Note that the street name is written vertically in the first column, with the house number next. And the pages don't always perfectly follow the grid, so you may need to page through much of the ED to find the spot you're looking for. Plus, the image display is really cruddy right now, so using the option to download an entire ED and then browsing with the image viewer on your own computer might be preferable.)
Please post in the comments anything interesting you find--you'll make an old lady historian very happy.
(And I guess I might have to dig up the same information for earlier censuses. Not tonight.)
PS: If you don't live in one of these EDs, you can wander through the city map to find yours.
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More posts: census, Rearview Mirror
 

The shipping container market known as Fairgrounds is having its soft opening today in concert with the 3:05 pm Nats-Red Sox exhibition game, with food trucks available for not only for Nats fans but for residents and office workers, from 11 am to 8 pm at Half and M streets, SE. Red Hook Lobster Pound, DC Empanadas, Curbside Cupcakes, Tasty Kabob, and Big Cheese will all be on site.
The "official" opening is planned for April 12, the day of the Nats home opener. I'm guessing that's when the market will actually open.
UPDATE: I visited the site about an hour ago, and they were still working hard, and the food trucks weren't on site yet. It looks like they'll open up the interior up at the Das Bullpen end of the street, but as I predicted, this is really just a chance to sell some food and drinks. The market portion of the project isn't anywhere in evidence yet.
But at least I took a bunch of photos of the perimeter for you to peek at!
 

The fifth year of baseball at Nats Park gets underway Tuesday (April 3), with an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox at 3:05 pm, followed immediately by the 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Amputee Celebrity Softball Classic.
Tickets for the Nats game also are good for the softball game, and a portion of the proceeds from tickets purchased here will go to the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. Celebrity participants include Mayor Gray, Jack Evans, Mike Isabella, Bryan Voltaggio, David Gregory, Darrell Green, Johnny Holliday, Luke Russert, and all other manner of local TV and radio personalitiies.
(Plus, the first 20,000 fans get a 2012 Schedule Magnet!)
If you're coming to the ballpark area for the first time since last season (or longer), be sure to check out my Visiting Nats Park page for information not only on getting to the ballpark, but on the various changes taking place nearby, as well as guides to some places that you need to check out, like the Yards Park and the Anacostia Riverwalk (easily accessible right across from the 1st Base Gate). The weather looks like it's going to be lovely.
If you're a resident, watch for some crowds and additional traffic, and of course beware of roving bands of marauders with Massachusetts accents.
The Nats' 2012 season officially begins on Thursday in Chicago versus the Cubs--they'll arrive back in Washington for their home opener on April 12, against the Cincinnati Reds. (If you're wanting to know when the team will be at the ballpark throughout the next six months, see my Events Calendar, where only the home games are entered.)
LATE UPDATE: A tweet says that the Fairgrounds is going to open tomorrow. I know nothing beyond that. (Though the market management site says "Opening April 12." Maybe they're both right.)
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

[I'm just back from a week in Florida (hence the spring training pics), and today I'm celebrating the ultimate April Fool's joke (getting married in Vegas 12 years ago today!), so I'm going to ease back into the blogging thing.]
The Washington Post has a big A1 piece today by Marc Fisher looking at the area around Nationals Park, as well as the performance of the team and ballpark from an economic standpoint, in the four years since the ballpark opened.
For people who follow the neighborhood closely (i.e., JDLand readers), there's probably no new nuggets of information, but it's good as a "reset" piece if perhaps you haven't followed every twist and turn since the Nationals first came to DC in 2004.
There's also some additional detail and points of view from across the South Capitol DMZ, which of course I don't generally write about here. [Though, ugh, "Capitol Street"?]
Nats blogger William Yurasko does a good job breaking out the article's bullet points, if you want the Cliffs Notes version of the piece (since I'm not providing one!). But this part of the article probably stood out the most to me:
"The worries that [council member Jim] Graham, former mayor Adrian Fenty and other opponents shared about the ballpark becoming a financial dead weight seem to have been for naught.
"In the past three years, the ballpark fee, a tax levied on the city's 1,800 largest businesses, has brought in $85 million, double what the city had projected. Sales taxes at the stadium have lagged behind estimates because of lower attendance, but the city's overall take has been so strong that millions in excess collections have been used to balance the D.C. budget. The gusher of tax dollars will allow the District to pay off the 30-year stadium bonds as much as 12 years early, which will let the city scrap the business tax sooner than planned[.]"
If you want to know more about what's changed just within the past few months around the stadium, my new Visiting Nats Park page has a "What's New" rundown, along with much more information and photos from the stadium's construction and big events. Or you can click on the map at above right on the home page (or visit my full project map) to dig in more deeply to what's happened not only since the ballpark opened but going back to 2003.
[Full disclosure: while I worked on the big map graphic that accompanies the article, I had zero to do with the article itself--though I think my web site helped out!]
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

It's a real milestone in the redevelopment of Near Southeast to report that the entire stock of townhouses for sale at Capitol Quarter has now sold out.
The first reservations for units were taken in October 2006 (remember the people camping out?), construction began in summer 2008, Phase 1 finished construction and Phase 2 reservations began in 2010, and now, with construction underway on the last group of houses on L between 3rd and 4th, the finish line for the project is not far away.
The development has been the third phase of the Hope VI redevelopment of the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing project, replacing the old housing with nearly seven blocks of brightly painted rowhouses, containing not only 130ish market-rate townhouses (a few of which have broken the $1 million barrier) but also 90ish special workforce-rate houses for smaller incomes, in addition to nearly 90 subsidized rental units.
Those units, combined with the 300 built at Capper Seniors #1 and 400 M Street, mean that more than half of the 700 units in the old Capper have now been replaced. The rest are slated to come in five mixed-income apartment buildings, located on the west side of 3rd Street, on L Street south of the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, and on the DPW/trash transfer station site at New Jersey and K. No timelines have been announced for any of the remaining buildings, but you can see on my main Capper page a map with estimated unit counts for each.
I've taken a lot (a LOT) of photos of the Capper footprint since 2003: my Capitol Quarter Phase 2 and Phase 1 pages give a good overview, or you can just pick a spot along 3rd, 4th, or 5th Streets in my Photo Archive and take a look.
 

I had an opportunity on Monday to make a trip to Viera for my first-ever Spring Training game, to see the Nationals beat the Houston Astros, 7-4. While sitting in the warm Florida sun for a few hours watching baseball was the top priority, I did arrive with camera in hand, and so couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a bunch of pictures of the Nats' other stadium.
So, here are two photo galleries that might be of interest: looking around Space Coast Stadium, and action photos from the Nats-Astros game.
The Nats will be back at their real ballpark one week from today, for an exhibition game on April 3 against the Boston Red Sox. The home opener is now just a smidge over two weeks away, on April 12 against the Cincinnati Reds.
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I'm going to be a bit scarce this week, so here's few events-related tidbits to keep the home page from having the equivalent of electronic tumbleweeds blowing across it:
* Don't forget that the public meeting about the possible recreational re-use of the old outbound 11th Street Bridge span is on Wednesday, March 28, at 6:30 pm.
* Justin's Cafe has now posted the information on its April 14 block party, both on Facebook and its new JustinsCafeEvents.com web site. It will run from 11 am to 9 pm, offering a line-up of local craft brews (including "beer trucks" from Port City Brewery and DC Brau), and 106.7 The Fan FM will be broadcasting from there. "All ages welcomed, 21 and over to drink." Money is also being raised for free youth baseball and softball programs through the DC Grays and S.M.A.R.T. Camps and Clinics. (The Nats play the Reds at 4:05 pm that day.)
* On April 1 (well, April 2, technically), the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator bus starts its summer hours, running from 6 am to 9 pm weekdays and 7 am to 9 pm Saturdays, with extended service on Nationals game days.
* The Southwester reports that there's a Neighborhood Night at Nationals Park on Thursday, April 19. "The team will honor the vibrant spirit of the neighborhood by featuring local residents in various pregame activities, including throwing out the first pitch, delivering the lineup card and greeting the players as they take their positions on the field." Near Southeast and Southwest residents can also get discounted tickets to games throughout the season, but I'll make you follow the link to find out about that!
* The Earth Conservations Corps will be leading volunteers in a cleanup of the wetlands at Diamond Teague Park on April 21, from 9 am to noon, as part of the Anacostia Watershed Society's Earth Day events. (They do want volunteers to register/RSVP in order to participate.)
* A bit farther down the pike, the Kennedy Center is presenting "Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America," a week-long festival showcasing all manner of free performances and events from May 6-12. One of the May 6 kick-off events will be from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Nationals Park and the Fairgrounds (old Bullpen) on Half Street, and the closing event on May 12 from noon to 6 pm will be at the Yards Park.
 

With Pictures:
* Shipping containers have been arriving at the Fairgrounds (Bullpen) site. (They say there's going to be a "preview" event on March 30--looks like a lot of work to do in eight days. But the real opening is supposed to be in time for the Nats' season opener on April 12.)
* Greenery is arriving at 200 I/225 Virginia, and the sidewalks are done. Apparently the fences will be moved back sometime next week to keep the building perimeter secure but to allow the sidewalks to be used. (In other words, the "street sidewalk" will finally disappear.) There should also be repaving and crosswalk striping around the site coming in early April.
Without Pictures:
* Framing is racing along on the stretch of Capitol Quarter townhomes on 3rd south of L.
* Curbs are going in on 2nd Place next to Canal Park and the pavilion.
* The cherry trees in the Center Field Plaza at Nats Park are budding, but don't look on the verge of popping yet. Perhaps they can hold on until April 3.
Elsewhere:
* Mark Batterson says the demolition of the Miles Glass building and the garage next door on Virginia Avenue will happen next week.
* Yesterday we were talking about the possibility of a little BOOM, but here's what might happen 'round these parts if there's a really BIG BOOM.
* The Post writes about the neighborhood as part of the big Mega RealEstate focus on walkable communities, and keys in on the fact that the area has a number of different names. (For the record, it's not like I made up "Near Southeast"--I was just following the city's lead.) Within a few hours, though, Greater Greater Washington may have solved the problem by pointing us to the area's late-19th-century moniker: "Bloodfield." Wouldn't that work great for ballpark headlines? ("Phillies Dismembered at Bloodfield.")
Anything else folks are seeing?
 

When a "suspicious package" alert went out on Twitter this morning about the 1200 block of 4th St. SE and 400 block of Tingey being closed, my Spidey sense tingled a bit, given the recent speculation in comment threads that the halt in digging at the planned 1212 4th St. apartment building/Teeter project at the Yards was because of an "UXO" (unexploded ordnance).
One reader sent me both videos and a series of iPhone photos showing the activity, but it was DCIst that got the money shot: a photo clearly showing a big ole' UXO (oh, heck, let's have fun and call it a bomb). This site is of course part of the old Navy Yard footprint, where all manner of exploding items were manufactured for many years.
Since no one's reported any big BOOMs in the intervening time, the clean-up must have proceeded according to plan. The question is, will there be any more surprises once digging resumes?
UPDATE: Here's WJLA's report on the day's festivities, and then DCist unearthed these two videos of the gun factory from 1952.
UPDATE II: While we're all enjoying being a bit flip about all of this, it is of course a serious business to be doing this excavation with such items laying around. Forest City tells me that the work is being done in accordance with guidelines from the Army's Explosive Ordnance Division, and that indeed over the past several weeks sitework has needed to be stopped temporarily because of the unearthing of "munitions debris." Each time, the police department's bomb squad is called in, who then determine whether the EOD folks from Ft. Belvoir should be called in, as they were today.
Forest City also says that it's anticipated that most buried artifacts and debris are found within the first 10 to 15 feet of soil when excavation, so once they get past that level, they expect the finds will trail off. And, it's not just munitions being found--foundations of several homes that were on site prior to the lot being used by the Navy have been found, as well as a Civil War-era cannon.
But the company does want to emphasize that "public safety and the safety of the site workers are paramount for Forest City, so we will continue to strictly abide by the established practices and involve the qualified technicians whenever and as soon as necessary." This includes having a former Navy munitions expert on site at all times as a "spotter," and using a two-part method when excavating, scooping the dirt from the hole in small quantities and spreading it out to be looked at and cleared before it's then scooped into a truck for removal from the site.
Whether this will impact the timeline for 1212 4th's construction depends on how many stoppages there end up being.
 

Do you know what's two weeks from today? The Nationals' first home game of 2012, an exhibition against the Boston Red Sox. And the home opener is a mere three weeks and two days away, when the Nats play the Cincinnati Reds on April 12.
This means a lot of people will be returning to the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards neighborhood for the first time since last summer, or might even be venturing in for the first time ever thanks to the buzz around the team's potential. So I've created a new page: Visiting Nationals Park, which brings together links and information both about the ballpark itself and what's available and interesting outside the stadium.
It includes a What's New and Notable Since Last Season page, as well as a Google Map showing the nearby food and drink options (both currently open and the ones announced to be on the way). And there's links to my new Anacostia Riverwalk page and Yards Park and Navy Yard pages for people looking for things to do (that don't involve food!) before or after the games.
As for the ballpark itself, there's my map of official and "cash" parking lots, a "Getting There" guide, and of course all of my photos of the stadium's construction and milestones.
I'm sure it'll be updated with more items as Opening Day approaches, but I figured I'd go ahead and get it out there now (especially to help everyone in the media getting ready to write their annual What Is/Isn't Happening Near Nats Park pieces!).
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