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Community Ballpark Meeting Tidbits
Nov 11, 2005 10:38 AM
I attended the Community Ballpark Meeting on Nov. 2; it was hosted by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, which led to grumbling from the audience that the many DC government agencies who also have a hand in the stadium and surrounding development weren't in attendance. The one real piece of news (to me, anyway) was that the orientation of the ballpark has been decided on, and it's north-northeast, as you can see in the schematic contained in the handout. There are supposed to be public meetings in December to discuss the architecture, which I guess means that the design of the stadium will be unveiled at some point before then (hee hee). They are planning for zoning hearings in January, and now list April 2006 as the groundbreaking date. UPDATE: I've now scanned the 17-page agenda/handout (PDF), which has a lot of bullet points addressing economic opportunities, neighborhood "protection" (i.e., noise, lighting), transportation systems (traffic, parking, Metro), and community activities being undertaken (none of which at the moment are actually in the stadium neighborhood, which brought about much audience angst). UPDATE II (11/11): The Nov. 10 Voice of the Hill has (on page 3) a story on the meeting, detailing the somewhat fractious question and answer session.
More posts: Nationals Park

New Page for East M Street Area
Nov 8, 2005 6:38 PM
I've added a new page for the East M Street Area, that triangle of land east of the 11th Street Bridges and south of the Southeast Freeway that makes up the very eastern portion of Near Southeast. The Maritime Plaza development is the most obvious occupant of this area, but rowers and the like have staked a claim to this site's water access as well. The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's plans should bring welcome changes to this stretch in the years to come. (The addition of this area to the main map on my home page is not particularly elegant, but I couldn't shrink the map any farther!) I've also renamed the former East End page, giving it its proper designation "8th Street Historic District." (Both these monikers come from the Near Southeast Urban Design Framework, which is worth a look if you've never seen it or haven't looked at it in a while, to see what the city had in mind back in 2003 for this neck of the woods--you know, before anyone was talking about a stadium!!)

Maritime Plaza Sold (Again)
Nov 8, 2005 2:03 PM

Not quite two years after spending $92 million to purchase the Maritime Plaza I & II (just east of the 11th Street Bridges), The Bernstein Companies has sold the two buildings for $115 million to Investcorp and Brinkman Associates. Buildings I & II, which contain 345,000 sq ft of office space, are part of the 12-acre Maritime Plaza Park, which will ultimately offer 800,000 sf of office space and a 250-room hotel. No timeline on the development of the rest of the project, which is being handled by Lincoln Property Company.

The Earth Conservation Corps on the Early Show
Nov 5, 2005 8:35 AM
A nice piece on CBS's The Early Show about Bob Nixon, the founder of the Earth Conservation Corps, which works with at-risk kids from the community to clean up the Anacostia River.

No Lease Agreement Yet
Nov 5, 2005 8:19 AM

The AP reports that the Post reports (don't you love that?) that there's still no deal on the lease agreement on the new baseball stadium, and that the two sides will continue to talk next week. Sticking points include terms of rent payments and development rights outside the stadium.

More posts: Nationals Park

Tony and the Cadillac
Nov 3, 2005 12:59 PM
A fun quote from Mayor Tony in the Examiner's piece on the possible stadium cost overruns ("Mayor promises Nats stadium will cost D.C. less than $535M"): "People aren't going to be sitting on folding chairs or rugs, but it's going to come in under $535 [million]."
More posts: Nationals Park

Lease Agreement Today? And Soccer Stadium News
Nov 3, 2005 9:40 AM
This morning's Washington Times reports that DC and Major League Baseball officials are to meet today to finalize the lease agreement on the new baseball stadium. Other notes: DCSEC officials downplay the Cadillac-vs-Buick talk of scaling back the stadium design; and DCSEC is to meet with HOK Sport on Monday morning to review ballpark designs (with briefings for city officials and the council in the pipeline before the designs are released publicly). This is outside of my purview, but I get asked about it a lot so I'll mention it although I won't be following it--the article says that DCSEC has received Marion Barry's support to build a new soccer stadium at Poplar Point, which is just across the Anacostia River from Near Southeast. From the article: " Barry, who has long opposed the construction of a facility for D.C. United east of the Anacostia River, changed his position after reviewing plans that included the construction of affordable housing and neighborhood-serving retail, commission members said.  [...] Officials hope the new soccer stadium can open around the same time as the new ballpark, but the city must first wait for a transfer of the land from the federal government. Legislation to approve the transfer awaits action by Congress."
More posts: Nationals Park

Today's Stadium News Tidbits
Nov 2, 2005 7:06 PM
Reading the Associated Press so you don't have to.... In "Mayor Williams Hopes To Firm Up Ballpark Lease; Avoid Overrun Costs," Mr. Bowtie says that he hopes the lease agreement on the new ballpark is firmed up this week, and that the new owners (whoever they are) may be called on to add some of the "bells and whistles" needed to make the ballpark "special" (you know, a Cadillac and not a Buick). And in "City Pushes Job Opportunities with Stadium Construction," there's (very) brief coverage of the Ballpark Business and Economic Opportunity Conference that was held today at the Convention Center.
More posts: Nationals Park

Stadium Cutbacks Considered - Don't Panic
Nov 1, 2005 10:38 PM

Wednesday's Post brings us "Stadium Cutbacks Considered", which states that "the rising price of construction materials has significantly increased the projected cost of the District's baseball stadium complex, prompting officials to begin discussing what to eliminate from the project[....] [P]otential cutbacks could come from features inside or outside the ballpark, such as reducing the size of concourses, suites and other amenities or moving parking above ground and reducing the number of retail stores at the site." While this sounds disconcerting, I think a simple solution has probably already been arrived at, if not announced--to no longer include the land immediately south of N Street, which was always considered to be "amenity space," as part of the stadium construction, and instead let the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation handle that land's development as part of the Ballpark District. And this is hinted at in the Post piece: "Sports commission officials said last week that plans for underground parking, retail shops on the stadium site and some plazas outside the park might be eliminated. Those features are not considered core items by Major League Baseball, but they have been sought by the city to help generate more revenue from a ballpark entertainment district along the Anacostia in near Southeast that would feature restaurants and retail. [...] If necessary, features not contained in the agreement will be eliminated or paid for in other ways, such as by private developers." In fact, a schematic drawing of the stadium site included in a handout at the DCSEC's public ballpark meeting this evening show those areas as blacked out. I would imagine that private developers would be quite happy to get the opportunity to build on the stadium site, and the city would get the on-site retail and entertainment venues it wants without having to foot the bill....

Stadium Financing Moves Forward
Nov 1, 2005 4:46 PM
By a 10-2 vote, the DC council approved the necessary "technical" amendments to the financing bill for the new baseball stadium. Tony's happy. UPDATE: Here's the AP's report on the vote, and NBC4's, which includes a fun additional tidbit about a bill in Congress demanding the federal government sell land to DC instead of giving it away, and that would include the sliver of a triangle at the intersection of 1st, P, and Potomac, which is on the stadium footprint. But it sounds like it won't be an issue, that a separate bill backed by Pres. Bush and Rep. Tom Davis would transfer the land.
More posts: Nationals Park

Latest Council Doings on Baseball
Nov 1, 2005 2:23 PM
Tuesday's Washington Times summarizes the latest goings-on in DC Council-land with respect to the new baseball stadium:Linda Cropp says that the necessary changes have been made to the ballpark financing agreement to satisfy bond raters (these changes will be voted on today by the council, then a second time per council rules at their Dec. 1 session). The article also says that MLB officials will be meeting with city officials this week to work on the stadium lease agreement, which MLB hopes to have in place before announcing the team's new owner--although Vincent Orange has introduced legislation to be voted on this week which would require MLB to select an owner before the lease agreement is in place. Then there's that whole Orange-Cropp lawsuit thing
More posts: Nationals Park

DC Resident Resource Center: Baseball
Nov 1, 2005 11:18 AM
It's amazing the things you stumble onto sometimes. I just found on the DC Government web site a page called Washington Nationals: Excitement, Opportunity, and Revitalized Neighborhoods, with links to other pages on the dc.gov site about the stadium and its related economic development. (Of course, most of the links are ones you can get from here, but a resource is a resource!)
More posts: staddis, Nationals Park

Nov 1, 2005 9:23 AM
There will be a Community Update meeting about the new baseball stadium on Nov. 1 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Southeastern University. (I found out about this from an ad in November's Southwester--the ad is from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, so you'd think that they'd mention the meeting somewhere on their own web site, which I check religiously, but alas, there's no mention of it there as yet.) [bumped up as a reminder]
More posts: Nationals Park

Nov 1, 2005 12:14 AM
There will be a DC Ballpark Business and Economic Opportunity Conference on Wednesday, Nov. 2, to "bring together contractors and subcontractors with public, private, and non-profit organizations that have responsibility for LSDBE business development, apprenticeship programs, and employment of District residents for a day-long conference on subcontracting and apprenticeship opportunities associated with construction of the new baseball stadium."  Also on Wednesday, Nov. 2., a WASA public meeting on their river cleanup efforts, Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street, SE, 7:00-8:15 pm. Remember to look at my Upcoming Events Calendar to see what's on the Near Southeast agenda.... 
More posts: Nationals Park

Orange Files Suit Against Cropp on Stadium Tiff
Oct 31, 2005 1:20 PM
The Associated Press is reporting that council member Vincent Orange has filed suit in DC Superior Court against council chair Linda Cropp, alleging that she overstepped her authority when she called off a roundtable meeting Orange had scheduled for today on the new baseball stadium ownership issue.  Wheeee!! UPDATE: Here's more, from the Washington Business Journal.
More posts: Nationals Park

Anacostia Community Boathouse Association Receives Grant
Oct 31, 2005 1:04 PM

The Anacostia Community Boathouse Association has received $300,000 from DDOT to turn a building between the spans of the 11th Street Bridge into a community center, reports the November Hill Rag.The center will "will serve as an information center and rest stop along the Anacostia Riverwalk trail, provide meeting areas for use by DDOT and other community groups, and provide much-needed facilities to hundreds of rowing and paddlesport enthusiasts who now use the river regularly." If you haven't seen the flurry of boating activity that launches onto the Anacostia from this spot, get yourself to the foot of 11th Street and take a peek.

New Photos
Oct 29, 2005 5:01 PM
It's Photo Updates day, and I've added a pile of them--look for the   icon to see my latest photos on these pages: DOT HQ, Capper Seniors, Capitol Hill Tower, Canal Park, 20 M Street, East End, M Street, Marine B.E.Q., and New Jersey Avenue, and even one if you dig enough on South Capitol Street. Whew!

New Restaurant on 8th
Oct 29, 2005 4:28 PM
If you haven't seen it yet, Chicken Tortilla has opened at 8th and L (see photo on my East End page), serving charbroiled rotisserie chicken. It's open M-F 10-7, and 11-4 on Saturdays.
More posts: 8th Street

New Page for New Capper Community Center
Oct 28, 2005 11:12 PM

New page alert! I've added a page on the New Capper Community Center that will be built at 5th and K Streets, with some great renderings of the design of the new building (thanks go to architects Torti Gallas CHK for passing them along). The 28,500 sq ft facility will include daycare for 66 children, a rec center, a computer lab, a gym, a game room, and meeting/classrooms. This building is included in the vote on Capper/Carrollsburg planned by ANC 6D on Nov. 14 as well as the zoning hearing on Dec. 19.

WashTimes Citizen Forum on Stadium
Oct 27, 2005 10:58 AM
Today I attended a Citizen's Forum discussing the new baseball stadium and waterfront development put on by the Washington Times--panelists were Linda Cropp, Sharon Ambrose, Stephen Green (Director of Development in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development), Bob Peck of the DC Board of Trade, Barbara Lang of the DC Chamber of Commerce, and Franklin Haney, who is one of the bidders on both the Nationals and the "master developer" slot for the Ballpark District. No real news coming out of it--Linda Cropp reiterated that she will be bringing technical amendments on Nov. 1 to the stadium financing plan to fix some issues, which will prevent the financing from be reopened. There wasn't much time for questions from the citizens portion of the forum, but those who did speak (who were mostly ANC commissioners) pressed the panel on issues regarding minority businesses getting part of the stadium/development pie, affordable housing, relocation of residents and businesses in the stadium footprint, and more. The WashTimes says it will publish a transcript of the forum within the next week or so. UPDATE: Here is the WashTimes's article (not the transcript): "Cropp Vows Ballpark on Anacostia".
More posts: staddis, Nationals Park
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