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A raze permit has been approved, fences have gone up, and the two-story building at 37 L Street SE that has been home to the Empire and DC Flyer cab companies for a number of years is apparently in its final hours/days/weeks.
The site was purchased last year by DBT Development for $6.7 million, with plans for an eleven-story 74-unit building that apparently will be condos. DBT was also the developer of the condo building at 1350 Maryland Ave., NE.
I had hoped to get some renderings, but decided to stop waiting and get this post up, in case people wonder why fences are now in place.
It is a small site--less than 8,000 square feet--and does not include the WMATA Navy Yard Metro station "chiller" operations immediately to its east, on the corner of Half and L, though that site is also expected to be a residential building, by MRP Realty, if that project is still happening.
It will be interesting to see if it is demolished before October 24, which will be the 40th anniversary of the Cinema Follies fire, when a ground-floor explosion and the resulting flames blocked the exit from the 50-seat x-rated gay movie theater on the second floor, killing nine people with thick toxic smoke.
 

After a four-year hiatus to complete some additional studies, the Environmental Assessment to improve the desolate stretch of road between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle known as Southeast Blvd. is now back underway, with a public meeting scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 16, at Chamberlain Elementary School at 1345 Potomac Ave., SE, with an open house beginning at 10 am and presentations starting at 10:30.
Officially, this EA "will evaluate conversion of the existing facility into an urban boulevard consistent with the expected multimodal travel demand and the character of the adjacent neighborhood." On the spiffy new web site for the EA, project elements listed include:
* Reconfiguring Southeast Blvd. upwards to match the elevation of L Street SE;
* Adding sidewalks, bicycle facilities, trees, parking, and "green infrastructure";
* Taking the "surplus transportation right-of-way" and converting it to other uses, such as parks;
* Extending 13th, 14th, and 15th Streets SE so that they connect to Southeast Blvd.;
* Adding pedestrian and bicycle links to the Anacostia waterfront (which includes getting across the train tracks that run along the boulevard's southern side);
* Reconfiguring Barney Circle; and
* Building an "under-deck bus transit support facility with bus access via 11th Street SE and/or Barney Circle." (I bet they say this one really quickly and quietly.)
I cannot bear to rehash many years' worth of meetings and designs here, but I would point interested readers to my post from early 2016 about the DDOT Southeast Blvd. Feasibility Study. If I may plagiarize myself: "And what does the feasibility study say? DDOT's report determines that changing the current Southeast Blvd. from the limited-access quick route between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle to a street with connections to its north and south and development along the footprint is feasible, but the transformation 'would be neither inexpensive nor quick'."
I also wrote about the Office of Planning's Southeast Blvd. Planning Study, which had as its purpose "not to identify a single 'preferred alternative,' but rather to develop concepts that respond to the planning goals and objectives for the District and the community, which could be advanced through further study." Those concepts looked like this:
And so now we continue onto the Environmental Assessment. See my SE Blvd page for more history (including the demolition of the old freeway and DDOT's quickie reinstallation of a new road), or just scroll down through my previous posts on it, if you dare.
 

Some pronouncements that have been muchly anticipated:
* Taylor Gourmet opens tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 23, on 1st St. SE between M and N, at 11 am.
* District Winery opens on Aug. 30. And its restaurant is apparently named Ana, as in Anacostia. (WTOP)
(This is short, because I saw the sun disappear yesterday, and am still out of pocket.)
 

As was first reported on Twitter by loyal JDLand reader @Minnesota_Nicer, a scribbled sign went up on the door of Il Parco at Canal Park last week saying that the restaurant was "closed for renovations," a message met with some level of skepticism. A more imposing sign has since arrived, and I have confirmed with WC Smith that the restaurant is indeed closed, and the space's relationship with restaurateur Xavier Cervera is now over.
The hunt is now on for what Brad Fennell of WC Smith called an "operator who will fully embrace the park and all of its potential," and meetings with interested parties are apparently already underway.
Il Parco opened in early 2016 as a retool/replacement for the Park Tavern, which opened in April 2013. Neither restaurant ever seemed to capture the fancy of residents, office workers, or Nats fans, and it will be interesting to see what might come into that location next and how a new operator will approach the space and its surroundings.
 

I don't get truly surprised too often anymore after 13-plus years in this gig, but when I clicked the link for this Washington Post article, "DC Unveils Plans for New Frederick Douglass Bridge," I most certainly did not expect to see a completely new design of the bridge that has been on the boards to be replaced for well over a decade.
Gone is the arched bascule design that was chosen many moons ago, replaced with a showier look using three sets of parallel arches. (I will await more detailed renderings before assuming that the bridge has the same multi-use paths on each side of the bridge as the previous design did, though the Post article says there is at least one.)
The plans for building the new bridge immediately south of and parallel to the old bridge have not changed, and there will still be large traffic ovals on both ends.
A $441 million design-build contract has been awarded to a joint venture of Archer Western Construction and Granite Construction Company, and AECOM is the lead designer. This phase also includes the reconstruction of the interchange of Interstate 295 and the Suitland Parkway.
The Post article says that the new bridge is "projected to open in 2021."
Here's a few more graphics purloined from the Post piece--hopefully DDOT will post their video of the design soon and I'll add the link.
It'll take me a little while to update my South Capitol Street Bridge project page, but in the meanwhile it's a nice trip down memory lane and includes more information (current as of the last time the city announced information about the project) about the ovals and whatnot.
And my South Capitol Street project page explains how this bridge and the interchange project are the first of a multiphase plan to rework much of South Capitol from the Southeast Freeway to the Suitland Park.
UPDATE: There is a new URL for an official web site for the project, newfrederickdouglassbridge.com. You can see the rendering video by scrolling down a touch or clicking on "Gallery." There's a lot of additional drawings, including these two from above, which show the traffic ovals and also do show multi-use paths on both sides of the bridge. See also the siteplan to get your bearings about the new bridge and ovals and 295 interchange.
Also, the project web site says that construction is expected to begin in "winter 2017."
 

The siren song of a stunningly clear and breezy Saturday in August was of course irresistible to me, and I walked more than nine miles over four hours to grab a whole lot of pictures from a whole lot of locations. Here's some highlights. Click to enlarge, as always.
It turns out having a public roof space at a central location in the neighborhood is going to be veeeeery handy for me, as it allowed me to grab a great shot of the DC Water Headquarters construction that shows exactly how the new steel is wrapping around the existing O Street Pumping Station. It also allowed me to check on the progress of the excavations at 1250 Half, West Half, and the One M/10 Van combo project in a single shot.
Then there's the Any Minute Now retail offerings, with the Juice Laundry telling Instagram followers that they really are coming soon (really!), and representatives of the new Taylor Gourmet on 1st Street telling nearby office tenants that they expect to open on Aug. 23. We shall see!
Meanwhile, exterior work seems to be starting to wrap up at the 1221 Van residential building just north of the ballpark (and note all that retail space on the first two floors), while the 99 M office building is celebrating its topping out later this month. And while the neighborhood waits with baited breath to see exactly when the Whole Foods build-out will begin at Agora, there are now nice new sidewalks on the stretch of H Street SE that is in the process of materializing.
Finally, there are holes in the ground that now show evidence of the start of vertical construction, so these might be my final downward peeks into the two residential projects at the Yards Parcel O on 4th Street, the large residential project at 2 I Street, and the mixed-income Capper Hope VI apartment building at 3rd and L.
And, finally, while I have no intention of adding the new DC United soccer stadium to my lineup, I was surprised to see how visible it is from just within the JDLand boundaries at South Capitol and Potomac. So, here.
But this is just a very small sample. If you want to see a whole lot more of the shots I took, here's 333 of them. Or follow any of the above links, or click on the projects on the map at the upper right of any JDLand page to see the latest for those projects under construction.
 

Enough tidbits in the hopper to actually go less than a week between posts. Yay!
* 816 POTOMAC: Developers of the empty lot on the northwest corner of 9th and Potomac, SE have gotten an initial green light from the Historic Preservation Review Board for a four-story residential building with below-grade parking. This project will also incorporate an existing historic building at 819 L (sort of visible here), which will remain separate from the new building. Here is a video showing what the project would look like, and a screengrab from it of the proposed building is at right. No word on timing, and this does not include the existing old apartment building next door at 812 Potomac.
* 99 M TENANT: The under-construction office building at the corner of 1st and M has signed its first tenant, with Pyxera Global taking 17,000 square feet on the fourth floor. As I mentioned a few posts ago, Skanska said recently that some tenant announcements would be in the offing, and this would appear to be one of them. (Bisnow)
* POP-UP BBQ: If you've noticed the picnic tables on the northwest corner of 1st and N, where the F1rst sales trailer was, it's the home of a Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company pop-up offering on Nats game days, from now through the end of the season (and post-season). Service off of the "full food truck menu." including beer and wine, will start 90 minutes before gametime, through the first 30 minutes after first patch.
* MORE PROGRESS: On my way to and from the ballpark this weekend, I took a few smudgy cellphone photos of progress, showing the new DC Water HQ, District Winery, and (water-filled) holes in the ground at Parc Riverside II and West Half (forgot to go across the street to Lynch Half), and evidence of previously tidbitted items about the warehouse at 49 L Street and the A1 Garage site. Maybe I'll get out with the real camera this weekend for a full update, weather and energies permitting.
One that I didn't take was the view southward from M Street between 1st and New Jersey--I have to admit I was not expecting the DC Water HQ to be so visible from the north.
 

Some brief items while I continue to be more or less on sabbatical:
* 1ST AND K SLIVER? Urban Turf reports that the owner of garage on the northeast corner of 1st and K has finally sold his lot, and a developer is planning a 12-story 34-unit residential building. Urban Turf has a rendering, but I prefer looking back to December 2004, right after the garage building was rehabbed and opened as A1 Tires. JPI attempted to buy the site back when planning 909 New Jersey, but the owner was, shall we say, not interested. (The expletives still ring in my ear from when I asked him about it a decade ago.)
* YARDS PARK KIOSKS: With the return finally of the approved building permits feed, I was able to report in the comments a few days ago that the construction visible in the kiosks along the boardwalk at the Yards Park were for ventures from the owners of Lumber Shed tenants Due South and Osteria Morini (along with what I believe is office space for the marina). I posted last year about the possibility of "Due South Dockside," but Eater has now reported that the Morini kiosk is not going to be the long-ago announced pizza joint Nicoletta, but a "summer sister spot" for Morini that could open late this summer. "Details about the offshoot are limited, but expect a bar serving draft beer and wine, as well as a pared-down menu of what’s available at the flagship restaurant. That includes made-to-order salads, the New York-transplant’s iconic meatballs, and simple desserts," Eater says.
* FED WAREHOUSE: Another twist in the long-running saga of the warehouse at 49 L Street: There is now a sign up announcing that the site is up for sale, and a commenter found the GSA listing.There was talk a few years back of this building being traded to the city, but that apparently is not coming to pass. (Nor apparently did the city choose it as the site of a homeless shelter.) And once upon a time a group of residents wanted it to become the Half Street Market.
* ROSE PT: The BID Newsletter reports that Rose Physical Therapy Group is now open in the ground floor of 1015 Half Street.
* ROOFING: The first "roof cap" on the rebuilt original Virginia Avenue Tunnel was pored last week, in the 200 block of Virginia Avenue. It seems odd to say these words, but the project is expected to be completed next year. (Time flies.)
* YOU'RE AN ALL STAR: The preparations and publicity for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game at Nats Park are now underway, with the unveiling of the logo and also information on how one might actually procure tickets.
 

To prove (to myself) that I am not completely out of commission, I attended this morning's Bisnow event focusing on current goings-on development-wise in the Capitol Riverfront.
Here are a few bullet points of the development-type items I found of most interest:
* Dock 79 is 92 percent leased, and MRP Realty expects to begin construction on the residential building next door (71 Potomac) late this year or early next year--and that it is expected to have a lot more 2-bedroom units than Dock 79. I was also told that All-Purpose will probably open in the fall, and Dacha in the spring--and also that the planned small additional storefront for All-Purpose fronting Potomac Avenue has fallen by the wayside.
* One Hill South is 60 percent leased, and the developers have just begun design meetings for the project's second phase, another 300ish-unit building fronting South Capitol Street. That could get underway in a year or so.
* As the attendees were taking their seats at Arena Stage, a splashy video was played for the 25 M Street office building project planned by Brandywine REIT and Akridge. I can't link directly, but go to the (new to me) official web site at 25mst.com and scroll down to click on Property Video. Janet Davis of Brandywine did say that this building will not get underway until it's about 50 percent leased.
* Skanska's 99 M office building at 1st and M is expected to top out in about a month or so. Skanska's EVP Mark Carroll said that they expect to announce their first signed tenants soon, and that they are "not typical tenants." Both Carroll and Davis agreed that there has been a clear uptick in interest in Capitol Riverfront office space in the past six months or so.
* District Winery is crossing its fingers for a September opening. (Perhaps even earlier than September, but best not to get ahead of the permitting process.) Owner Brian Leventhal was on the Yards panel, and told the story of branching out from the original operations in Brooklyn without having any specific location in mind, and how once they narrowed to DC, everything about the lot at the Yards "was perfect, [so] we didn't consider any other space." (He also has moved to DC from Brooklyn, and said that living at the Yards is "like living in a resort.")
* 1221 Van is expected to begin move-ins later this year, and leasing should start in the relative near future.
* Forest City's Debbie Ratner Salzberg talked about how the Yards came to be, and said that "the minute Bluejacket opened [in 2013], we were on the map."
* And we definitely appear to be referring to the blocks immediately north of Nats Park as the "Ballpark District" once again.
* It was only mentioned in passing, but I should still officially note here that Cosmopolitan Nail Salon is now open in Arris at the Yards.
 

I am not in a proper blogging situation and getting terribly behind, so need to get a fresh thread up for the commenters who are doing such a great job keeping the conversation going. The headline basically says it all, but I guess I have to type SOMETHING more:
* Roti is now open in the ground floor of F1rst, on 1st Street SE between M and N.
* Unfortunately, one block away, on Half Street, Chix has already closed, not even a year after opening. (Their third location on 11th Street has closed as well, leaving just the original one on 14th, and their online presence has gone quiet, so something must be amiss.)
Enjoy the conversation below!
 
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