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I keep trying to ignore any of the angst surrounding the acquisition of the land for the new baseball stadium, but I can't--so I'll just be really slow about it, instead! The Post reported on Saturday that a third lawsuit has been filed by landowners at the stadium site seeking to prevent the city from seizing their properties. The article also says that bids for the properties will now begin going out to owners in mid-August, with hopes that the city will control all 14 acres by the end of the year. But the Washington Times reported on Monday that some of the groups bidding to buy the Nats are skeptical that the city will be able to get all its ducks in a row in time for a March, 2008 opening of the new stadium. Quote: "There's just so much to do down there. There's no way it's done for Opening Day 2008," another Nationals bidder said. "You have land acquisition issues, environmental remediation issues, political issues, design issues. It's going to be great when it's done, but these projects are always so complex that it's shortsighted to simply assume it will be done [in 2008]."
More posts: Nationals Park

I was a bit late with my June progress photos, so I'm mixing things up by posting my July photos earlier than I might have; new images are on available on the DOT, Capitol Hill Tower, Washington Canal Park, and M Street pages. These were taken last week when I accompanied a group from the National Building Museum's Investigating Where We Live summer program around Near Southeast, making the poor kids tolerate my incessant blathering about What This Area Will Eventually Look Like.


The National Capital Planning Commission has announced the agenda for its August 4 meeting--included is a request for approval of the text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overview District for the baseball stadium area that was given first approval by the DC Zoning Commission on July 11. The wording of the request for the text amendment: ".... to define 'Ballpark' and Ballpark Area,' to allow a ballpark in Square 702, 703, 704, 705 and 706 and on Reservation 247, between South Capitol Street, 1st Street, N Street, and Potomac Place, SE, Washington, D.C., and to establish a Zoning Commission review and approval process and design guidelines for a ballpark and associated uses." Also on the agenda are two items pertaining to the coming redevelopment of Capper / Carrollsburg: the "dedication of land to establish 2nd and 3rd Places, SE, and to reopen and dedicate a portion of L Street, SE, in Squares 767, 768, 798, 799 and Reservations 17-B, 17-C and 17-D, between I, M, 3rd, and 4th Streets, SE"; plus proposing the closure of "public alleys in Squares 798, 799 and 824, between I, K, 3rd and 4th Streets, SE." This step happens before the requests for closures go to the DC City Council (per DC Code 9-202.02).


Capitol Hill Tower at New Jersey and L SE has what I think is its first ad in Saturday's Post Real Estate section, and has also launched a real web site, now announcing "brand new homes from the high $200s." The amenities list includes an indoor pool, fitness center, concierge, garage parking, pre-wiring for high-speed internet, and ground-floor retail. A priority preview list signup is available as well. The building and is scheduled to be finished in early 2006 (not that you'd know this from the web site); I don't know when move-in dates for the 340+ residences would begin. UPDATE: The residences will be co-ops, not condos. Also, all 340+ units will be market-rate, the affordable housing units originally touted have been removed. (Blah!)

More posts: Capitol Hill Tower

In news that proves I know way too much about the most minute details of Near Southeast, I can report that the overgrown parking lot at 2nd Street between I and K Street just south of the former Post plant has gotten somewhat of a facelift within the past few weeks, with most of the weeds and growth embedded in the fences removed, and the trash in the lot cleaned up. This block will eventually be the northernmost portion of Washington Canal Park, and while I'd like to believe that the cleanup is tied to some sort of movement on the park, I won't really be optimistic until the DC school buses are removed from the other two blocks of the park. Besides, there are still supposed to be public meetings and whatnot before a final design is unveiled; but it sure would be nice if those three blocks were cleared out in the meantime, wouldn't it?

More posts: Canal Park

I've been told by staffers that the relocation of all residents of Capper/Carrollsburg is now complete, and the remaining seven blocks of buildings are empty. I don't know of any date yet for demolition of these buildings; the structures between 4th and 5th Street stood empty for at least a year before they were demolished (and the apartment building at 5th and Virginia was empty for more than four years!).

More posts: Capper

Metro is planning to make changes to the Navy Yard subway entrance at Half and M to better accommodate riders going to games at the new baseball stadium. Currently able to handle 5,000 riders an hour, the west entrance will be modified to serve 15,000 riders an hour; plans include extending the mezzanine to add one staircase and one escalator, increasing the number of Farecard gates and machines, adding a kiosk, and adding new elevators. According to The Post, Metro is also planning to expand bus service to the area.


The DC Office of Zoning had its second hearing on the proposed baseball stadium amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay District last night, July 11. (I swear I checked the agenda within the past few days and it wasn't there, otherwise I would have told you! Honest!) According to a very helpful lady at DCOZ, the proposed amendment was approved with only minor modifications ("wording clarifications"); what happens now is that the revised text will appear in the DC Register (perhaps in the July 22 edition). Thirty days are allowed for comment, with the Zoning Board then acting on final approval after that (perhaps at the September 12th meeting). Note that this is just the zoning for the area--the proposed stadium itself will also have to come before the Zoning Board for hearings and approval. I would point you to the Capitol Gateway Overlay District laws in the full DC Municipal Regulations, but Chapter 16/Capitol Gateway Overlay District is mysteriously not listed in the Zoning Table of Contents!

More posts: Nationals Park, zoning

Monument Realty continues to buy up property in the area surrounding the new baseball stadium land, according to Friday's Post. The DC Real Property Sales Database indicates that Monument nows own 1242-1260 Half Street, 50-68 N Street, and 1236 South Capitol Street, and The Post mentioned contracts for other parcels on the north side of the unit block of N. They have assembled half of the 8-acre parcel they covet for a huge office/residential/retail complex just north of the stadium. WMATA (Metro) owns 3 of the additional acres (at Half and M), and had asked developers for proposals for the land in early May, but withdrew the offer on request of the Office of Planning, who are working on the Master Plan for the area (now not expected to be delivered until the end of the summer, wah!). The article says that the John Akridge Cos. (developers of Gallery Place) is also pursuing deals in the area (but I think it's looking in Southwest, down by Buzzard's Point).


From Tuesday's Washington Times, "Half St. Citizens Continue to Fight Ballpark Bullies," about the landowners within the footprint of the planned new Nationals stadium.

More posts: Nationals Park

It's site update day! I've posted new photos on the following pages: DOT HQ, Capitol Hill Tower, Nationals Stadium, and M Street. And because I don't always put the latest photos at the top of these pages, I'm now including a   icon with the pictures to help you pick out the fresh content. Also, as I threatened a few days back, I've created a page for the 20 M Street SE office building project. Not exactly a barn-burner of a page at this point, since I can only post so many pictures of an empty lot without going crazy, but it's a start.


So, your city finally gets a Major League Baseball team after years of waiting, your city council approves a publicly funded new stadium, and your Supreme Court even helps out with a favorable ruling on eminent domain. This means the hard part is over, right? Yes, except for little decisions like whether the stands should face the Capitol or the Anacostia Waterfront. Nothing's ever easy, is it?

More posts: Nationals Park

Lerner Enterprises announced today that construction will begin this summer on 20 M Street, a 10-story 190,000 sq ft office building, with completion scheduled for Summer, 2007. The property, designed to be "Green" and which will also have retail on its first floor, is on the northwest corner of the Half and M intersection (currently a parking lot), diagonally across from the Navy Yard Metro station and one block north of the new Nationals stadium site. No tenants have been announced. Whiting-Turner will be the general contractor. You can see a few photos on my M Street page, and I guess before long I'll be creating a 20 M page!

More posts: 20 M

The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling allowing local governments to seize properties via eminent domain for private development will give the District leverage in its quest to aquire the 14 acres of land needed for the new Nationals stadium, though most likely some landowners will still attempt to use the courts to prevent the seizures. The article also says that the city expects to begin making financial offers to stadium-area landowners in late July, with owners having 30 to 45 days to negotiate with the city; after that, the land will be seized, and a court will decide the sale price.

More posts: Nationals Park

The DC Office of Planning has posted the presentation materials and public comments from the May 24 South Capitol Street Corridor and Baseball Master Plan Public Meeting. Also TBD is the date for proposed action by the DC Zoning Commission on the Baseball Overlay, which was presented at the June 2 meeting. The Zoning Commission agenda page says: The record will remain open until June 30th for some specific requests. It is anticipated this matter will be considered for proposed action at the July meeting.

More posts: Nationals Park, zoning

"DC Gay Clubs Are Losing Turf", from today's Post, chronicles the numerous gay clubs that have operated in Near Southeast for a number of years, and what their fate may be as they are forced to move out because of the arrival of the Nationals stadium.

More posts: Nationals Park

Eakin-Youngentob has announced that pre-construction sales at its Capper/Carrollsburg mixed-income project will begin in Spring 2006. Eventually the project will include 1,562 rental & ownership units, including 707 public housing units, 525 affordable rental units, 330 market rate homes, and 855 additional moderate/market rate units.

More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

I've continued holding to my petulant decision to ignore all stories on the battles over the financing of the new Nationals stadium, but alas, sometimes rash actions have their consequences, such as my missing this little tidbit at the end of today's Post story, "Cropp Still Hopeful of Private Financing": "And Major League Baseball agreed to drop a requirement that the city pay significant damages if the opening of the stadium, scheduled for March 2008, is delayed by a year or two." I sure wish someone had taken me up on my $1 bet as to whether the stadium will debut on schedule! In other end-of-article tidbits, a Washington Times piece on the National Building Museum gala honoring Forest City Enterprises mentions that HOK Sport expects to debut the design of the new stadium in August.

More posts: Nationals Park

The GSA and Forest City Enterprises have at last signed their development agreement, and yesterday Forest City was handled a symbolic key to the 44 acres of the Southeast Federal Center, the first time the feds have ever allowed private development on government land.  Plans are to turn this area on the Anacostia waterfront over the next five years into a "vibrant new neighborhood destination with up to 1.8 million square feet of office space, 2,700 residential units, 250,000 square feet of retail and a five-acre waterfront park with a promenade along the Anacostia River, as well as other public amenities." Construction is currently slated to start in 2007. You can also read a recent Forest City feature about the project for more details (it's three pages long, don't miss the links at the top of the page).

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More posts: The Yards

Thursday's Post reports that the District Department of Transportation is soliciting proposals for a commuter ferry service along the Potomac and the Anacostia. The ferry could serve points along the Anacostia River to the Navy Yard (which could also serve the new baseball stadium) then out to the Potomac, stopping by Bolling Air Force Base, the Mall (perhaps near the FDR Memorial) and Washington Harbor in Georgetown, planners said. Suburban docking points could include Old Town Alexandria and the new National Harbor development in Prince George's County. A ferry dock at the Navy Yard also could serve the new baseball stadium in Southeast Washington. Initially DDOT is offering $500,000 for an 18-month pilot program to gauge interest.
More posts: proccess
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