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CSX's monthly "Coffee with Chuck" was this morning, and while I didn't attend, that isn't stopping me from glomming onto the presentation slides that have already been posted on the official VirginiaAvenueTunnel.com web site.
Contained therein were three slides that I think will be of particular interest: the latest schedules for expected street closures and lane reductions as well as when the various intersections with Virginia Avenue will be temporarily closed to install decking.
(I'm also including CSX's graphic of what the be-decked intersections will look like.)
If you aren't bothering to click to enlarge (for shame!), here's some highlights:
* Expect the section of Virginia Avenue between 3rd and 4th to be completely closed in early October.
* The work to begin creating the temporary decking on the cross streets will begin first at 11th Street, with 8-10 weeks of reduced lanes starting next month. (A shame this didn't happen during all of that OTHER work along the same stretch of 11th....)
* It appears that the intersection at 4th and Virginia won't have a complete closure during its decking, but will see 3-4 weeks of reduced lanes beginning in October.
* The intersections with 3rd, 5th/6th (man, I hate that intersection), and 7th will be the ones that will have up to two weeks of complete closures while the decking is installed, with another few weeks of reduced lanes, but this schedule indicates those won't happen before spring of 2016.
In other Tunnel Disruption Alerts, CSX sent out word earlier today that there will be interruptions to Comcast Services on Aug. 6 and 7 while the company performs "cable splicing," though the alert indicates that this will primarily impact very nearby residences and businesses south of the freeway.
CSX's next quarterly open house is scheduled for Aug. 13, plus you can have Coffee with Chuck on Aug. 19, Sept. 30, and Oct. 21.
 

There had been hopes (and rumors) that the old Team Store space at Half and N Streets at Nats Park would become a restaurant of some sort, but the team is now marketing the spot as "Centerfield Social," where for a $100 a person with a minimum of 100 guests you can "book Nationals Park's newest pregame gathering spot right inside the gates."
Reserving the space also apparently gets you an "all-inclusive food and beverage package, including beer and wine, starting 2 hours before game time," along with "Infield Box seating close to the action."
(Though I imagine if someday some restaurant operator somewhere reallyreallyreally wanted that space....)
 

My dad always says that "almost only counts in horseshoes," but I won't let that deter me from a few Almost Tidbits:
* SCARLET OAK, ALMOST: With this tweet earlier today, Scarlet Oak let it be known that it is close to opening, with a soft opening expected "next weekend" and a "grand opening soon to follow." The modern American restaurant and bar on the northwest corner of New Jersey and K comes from the same folks who brought you Southern Hospitality in Adams Morgan.
* DUE SOUTH, ALMOST: HillNow quotes a Forest City prediction that Bo Blair's Due South southern restaurant will "likely" open in the Lumber Shed in August. We Shall See.
* BDUBS CONSTRUCTION, ALMOST: A little birdie tells me that the Buffalo Wild Wings folks have said that the hope is to have its new Half Street location open by October (let's see, what else happens in October?), and that construction should start within the next few weeks.
* ANOTHER COFFEE SHOP, ALMOST: The official Yards twitter account lamented last week's loss of Buzz Bakery, but then added, "Fear not coffee aficiandos! We have a new coffee shop in the works." My understanding is that an announcement should be made in the coming weeks (along with perhaps some other retail announcements).
 

The news that so many people have been waiting for just crossed the transom, with a press release from Forest City announcing that a lease has at last been signed with Showplace Icon Theaters and that construction on the planned 16-screen, 1,500-seat "premium cinema complex" on DC Water land just east of Nats Park is "expected to begin in early 2016 with opening projected for early 2018."
From the release: "Each theater in the new Showplace Icon at The Yards will feature wall-to-wall screens and premium sound, deluxe leather recliner seats and reserved seating. The facility will also have exclusive VIP levels with adults-only access and tables for enjoying food and beverages inside the auditoriums. The theatre's Lobby Lounge will feature a full bar, along with a tasty menu of appetizers, small plates, snacks and desserts for enjoying before, during or after the show." The theater will also have its own 320-space parking garage.
Word of Forest City's plans for a movie theater first leaked out in the spring of 2013, but it wasn't until just a few months ago that the deal to take control of this portion of the DC Water site was locked down. Though note that the press release also says that "the theatre construction start is dependent upon DC Water’s timetable for vacating that portion of the property."
There are also plans for two residential buildings along 1st Street, though no timeline for those has been announced.
(PS: deep in the release, it mentions that the Due South restaurant at the Lumber Shed is expected to open "this summer." No date for Nicoletta, though. It also says that the PN Hoffman condo building and Forest City's apartment building immediately to its south on the current trapeze school lot are expected to break ground in early 2016.)
 

Not much to pass along other than to quote the announcement just sent out:
"For our friends in DC, the last day of operations for our Yards location will be tomorrow, Friday, July 17. As our neighborhood has grown and developed, we have always tried to meet the desires of our community, and have found that our guests would benefit from more programming and offerings from our adjoining brewery & restaurant, Bluejacket and The Arsenal. They'll be transforming the space into a bottle shop & tasting room in the coming weeks."
Buzz was first announced as coming to the Boilermaker Shops in June 2011, then opened in the fall of 2013, not long after Bluejacket and the Arsenal debuted.
 

Just reported by City Paper, and not a complete surprise to anyone who's watched the space remain untouched for many months, is the news that the Navy Yard Oyster Company appears to be pulling out of the Lumber Shed at the Yards.
The restaurant was to be a venture by owners of Beuchert's Saloon and Sonoma, a duo who also opened Stanton & Greene on Capitol Hill earlier this year.
The official quote from Forest City is that "We have a signed lease in place with Navy Yard Oyster Co. but are currently in discussions with the tenant, at their request, as to whether they intend to continue," but City Paper quotes Michael Stevens of the BID as saying that the owners "have pulled out of their lease."
The restaurant was slated to go in the space between Agua 301 and Osteria Morini on the Shed's south side, facing the Anacostia River.
 

The holes in the ground have been surveyed, so now it's time to catch up on the latest neighborhood façade action, starting at 4th and Tingey, where Forest City's Arris apartment building at the Yards is now starting to get the floor-to-ceiling glass panels that will surround the building's top six floors. The photo on the left, from Tingey Street, shows how the glass reflects the sky and clouds when caught at the proper angle; the photo at right, from Water Street, shows them as being a little less opaque. Either way, the glass makes for a substantial contrast with the brick of the building's lower floors.
Speaking of brick, up at 7th and L the Lofts at Capitol Quarter mixed-income apartment project is just starting to get its masonry on--though that's an awful lot of square footage to cover, as you look at that loooooong wall stretching west from 7th Street.
While the beer garden coming to 8th and L known as the Brig will win no awards for its speed of construction, progress is evident (below left), with light fixtures now in place along the roof line. Over at 5th and K the Community Center continues to move closer to looking like its renderings.
And thanks to everyone who stopped to say hi while I was roaming around on Sunday, though I can't imagine how people guessed that the old lady standing in the street taking pictures of construction was me.
 

With Florida Rock/Dock 79 having graduated from the lineup, the neighborhood now has "only" six holes in the ground, representing five residential projects and two hotels.
Photographic evidence obtained through cyclone fences shows that 800 New Jersey (at right), aka the building that's going to have a Whole Foods in the ground floor, is currently looking like it will be the next development to arrive at ground level, now a little over a year after excavation began.
The other five sites have at least partially gotten to the lowest part of their excavations, and cranes have sprouted at four of them.
From left, in order of time spent shoring and sheeting and excavating: 1111 New Jersey, 801 New Jersey, 909 Half, the Homewood Suites at 50 M, and the Residence Inn/F1rst hotel/residential project at 1st and M:
Which one will make it to ground level next? (Please, no wagering.)
 

It's still relatively early in the process, but let's take a look at the changes that have already been put in place thanks to the start of construction on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
The closure of Virginia between 4th and 5th Streets, SE (seen here) has probably had the greatest impact so far, preventing vehicles from taking Virginia toward 8th Street (and its outbound ramp to I-695) unless one goes south on 4th to K, then north on 5th.
According to CSX, there will be increased prep work at this location this week, and it could see the start of drilling for steel and concrete pilings as early as the week of July 20.
Immediately to the south, the stockade fences are going up in front of the nearby townhomes, and the little stub of I Street has been closed east of 4th and east of the alley that runs between the townhouses and St. Paul's (see below left, click to enlarge). The I Street "hook" into Virginia Avenue will not reopen--the pocket park in this location will be reconfigured and enlarged once construction is finished.
Some moving of dirt has actually begun, as you see above in the shot of Virginia Avenue east of 2nd, alongside the stretch of road that was closed a few weeks ago.
The initial cutting down of trees along Virginia is particularly noticeable west of 3rd, as shown in this comparison of a 2007 photo and one from today (more before-and-afters of this intersection here):
According to the latest updates from CSX, parking will be restricted this week on Virginia between 3rd and 4th to allow for more cutting down of trees. And it's expected that perhaps as early as next week Virginia Avenue will be closed between 8th and 9th. (The numbered cross streets remain open.)
One other closure worth photographing is the underpass just to the south of Garfield Park, where skateboarders can still congregate (yay?), but is now closed to any attempts to get completely south of the freeway.
CSX is holding another one of its "Coffee with Chuck" events on Thursday, July 23 from 7:30 to 9 am at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St., SE, in case you'd like to hear the latest updates and ask questions of the chief project engineer. (RSVPs requested.) Slides from the June ChucKlatch have been posted as well.
There's also now the option to receive updates on the project via SMS, should you wish.
The Virginia Avenue Tunnel official web site has more, and I've started getting my own Virginia Avenue Tunnel page prepped for the expected onslaught of before-and-afters
 
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