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The task force put together by Tommy Wells to propose new boundaries for all of Ward 6's Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and their Single Member Districts will be coming to ANC 6D on Thursday night (July 28), for a "listening meeting" at 6:30 pm in the DCRA Hearing Room (E200) at 1100 4th St. SW.
Now posted on their blog is a series of questions that task force chair Joe Engler is asking to "account for the 'sense' of where residents associate their daily living." Among the questions:
* "Do the residents living around the baseball stadium believe their community "core" is located in: (a) Barracks Row, (b) Waterfront Mall, (c) both, and/or (d) neither?" (There is also a poll widget on the site where you can vote on this question.)
* "Is the freeway the proper east-west dividing line? For example, is there an opportunity to create SMD that use the Third, Fourth, Sixth and Eighth streets tunnels to "connect" the residents on both sides of the freeway?"
* "Should large residential buildings or complexes be dispersed among multiple SMDs?"
* "While needing to build SMDs with a population of 2,000 residents - are there any creative ways to account for the hidden census? Either those people that are now living in ANC 6D (around the baseball stadium for example) that were not there at the time of the census. Or those empty buildings or pending constructions that will drive a significant increase in density over the next few years?"
The last question is an interesting one, given that the census numbers come from April 1, 2010, and certainly another couple hundred residents have moved in since then. And with phase 2 of the Capitol Quarter townhouses moving along, the Yards' Foundry Lofts building about to start leasing, and likely construction of new residential buildings at 401 M, 880 New Jersey, Florida Rock, and along Half Street within the next five years, any SMDs drawn in Near Southeast based on 2010 numbers are going to balloon well past the target population size of between 1,900 and 2,100 residents. At the kick-off task force meeting a few weeks back, attendees were told that the 2,000-plus-or-minus-five-percent is not a legislated requirement, but is a goal, and that the task force can choose to have non-conforming SMD sizes if they feel it is necessary. But it was also clear that some of the task force members consider non-conforming SMDs a no-no, especially if they're used to take into account populations not reflected in the census numbers
As for the "core community" question, a new map suggested by ANC 6A02 commissioner Drew Ronneberg (but not endorsed by the task force) shows all of Near Southeast in a new ANC 6B, pairing the neighborhood with Barracks Row as its "core." Southwest would then be on its own in 6D, west of South Capitol Street.
You can use my interactive Ward 6 map to play with the numbers, especially if you want to see how keeping all of Near Southeast in 6D is a pretty tough nut to crack if the 1,900-2,100 population targets are inviolate. But then the question becomes whether the neighborhood gets split between 6D and 6B, or moved completely to 6B.
Somewhere far down the road, of course, Near Southeast when built out could be its own ANC, but in the meantime the realities of the numbers mean that it has to be grouped with either a large number of Southwest SMDs or a large number of southern Capitol Hill SMDs. Which one do you think makes more sense?
The meeting will run for 90 minutes, with time alloted for public input by ANC chairs/commissioners, community and neighborhood organizations, business and merchant associations, residents, and business owners; there will be a sign-in sheet for those wishing to speak. Written statements and comments will also be accepted at the meeting, or by e-mail for up to three days after the meeting (ward6rd@gmail.com).
The task force is scheduled to propose its first draft of new boundaries at a public meeting on Aug. 8, then forwarding the official draft to the ANCs on Aug. 18. The final draft would then go to Tommy Wells on Sept. 26.
Or, if you don't want anything to do with an ANC "listening meeting" Thursday evening, you can go on Tommy Wells's South Capitol Street Bike Ride, scheduled for exactly the same time as the redistricting session. Representatives from DDOT, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and Black Women Bike will be joining community members from Ward 6 and Ward 8 to discuss issues that affect pedestrians and cyclists on both sides of the river, focusing on improvements that can be had in the design of the future Douglass Bridge, which already calls for far wider sidewalks than the current bridge.
Either way, you'll probably still be able to make the showing of West Side Story at Tingey Plaza at 8:45 pm. Stay cool, boy!
 

Michael Stevens, the executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, has sent a letter to the mayor, the city council, the WMATA board and other city officials, formally requesting that the Navy Yard station on Metro's Green Line be renamed " Capitol Riverfront/" (aka Curly W, for Nationals Park).
With Metro letting it be known this week that any new station names will have to be 19 characters or less thanks to the transit agency's decision to begin enforcing their own naming rules again, the BID's earlier desire to add their name and the Nationals' logo to the existing station name would not be allowed. Therefore, in order to get Capitol Riverfront added, the BID feels that "Navy Yard" can be, well, shipped out to sea.
Stevens' letter says that "the name Navy Yard station has served this area well for approximately 20 years and was very descriptive 20 years ago when the federal government owned the majority of the land up to the metro station." But the letter also says that Navy Yard "no longer accurately describes the neighborhood and destinations served" by the station.
The letter goes on to describe the changing demographics of the area since the station opened in 1991, makes mention of the fact that Capitol Riverfront is "an established office submarket recognized and named by Co-Star," and notes that "the entrance to the Navy Yard is located at 6th St., SE and M St., SE, which is approximately a half mile away and a twelve minute walk from the metro."
In explaining how the name change meets WMATA's stated principle that a new name incorporate "customer input," the letter describes the "coalition of public and private stakeholders [who] conducted a study and provided input that led to the development of the Capitol Riverfront name for the neighborhood," back in 2007.
DC and the other jurisdictions are supposed to come up with any new station names by September in order to make the new June 2012 map that Metro will be preparing to coincide with the plans to realign the Yellow and Blue lines; the Examiner wrote earlier this week about the plans to shorten 11 of the more lengthy station names.
Greater Greater Washington also wrote recently on the plans to shorten names, and in describing the focus groups that WMATA conducted on current and proposed station names, said: "The participants did like two potential station name changes: 'Smithsonian-National Mall' and adding some information about the Nationals to Navy Yard, whether a curly W logo or the words 'Ballpark' or 'Nationals.' They didn't like also adding 'Capitol Riverfront,' the name of the BID."
The Navy Yard was established in 1799; from World War I until 1963, the Navy Yard's acreage included the land south of M and east of 1st, in what then became the Southeast Federal Center and is now The Yards. The neighborhood directly around the Navy Yard has also been known as "Navy Yard," with "the near Southeast" starting to be used in 1960s if the Washington Post's archives are an accurate guide. (I have always avoided the "Navy Yard" moniker for the neighborhood so as not to have to spend every day of my life saying "No, not in the Navy Yard, near the Navy Yard.")
 

* It's not as slick and ultra-cool as SOME online redistricting tools, but with huge thanks to Cody Rice for getting the data in order, I've built a rudimentary Ward 6 Census Block Population Map. Right now it's mainly just for clicking on a bunch of blocks and having the populations tallied for you (and you can then have a URL to send to someone showing just those blocks). I will be continuing to tinker with it, so we'll see what additional options I add in. It's a bit of a beast, so be prepared for slow loading.
The Ward 6 Task Force on Redistricting has now set up a blog, and has started its "listening sessions" in each ANC. They'll be having their ANC 6D meeting on July 28 at 6:30 pm in the DCRA Hearing Room at 1100 4th St., SW. The ANC 6B meeting (which may also be of interest to folks south of the freeway, given the realities of the numbers) is on Aug. 1 at 6:30 pm at St. Coletta's School, 1901 Independence Ave., SE.
* For those wondering about the lack of progress on the Little Red Building version 2.0 (the former Star Market on the northwest corner of 2nd and L, next to the Courtyard by Marriott), the new building permits finally came through last week, and the owner tells me that construction should be starting again soon. He says the new Lot 38 Espresso should be open in three months, though he hopes it's sooner.
* DDOT posted a way cool set of photos from the construction of the 11th Street Bridges back in 1963-1964. For some reason, a series of photos first showing what an area looked like before construction, then documenting the construction itself, speak to me....
* The BID reports on the Dalai Lama's visit to the Yards Park last weekend.
 

A press release that went out on the wires on Friday has announced that a joint venture is being structured between Patriot Transportation Holdings (through its subsidiary Florida Rock Properties) and MidAtlantic Realty Partners, LLC, to develop the first phase of RiverFront on the Anacostia, just across the street from Nationals Park.
And, in an even more interesting tidbit, the release says that the companies are going to request a modification to the existing Florida Rock PUD to make the first phase an apartment building, rather than the planned office building. They expect that construction could start in the spring of 2013, with leasing to start in the fall of 2014. This portion of the site is the eastern end, directly across from the ballpark's Grand Staircase, closest to Diamond Teague Park and the planned expanded public plaza that will be adjacent to Teague.
It would be after the PUD modification is received that the joint venture would actually be formalized, and the current Letter of Intent "contemplates no commitments or obligations between the parties with respect to Phases II, III and IV of the Master Development Plan." MidAtlantic is apparently investing $4.5 million and receiving a 30 percent interest in the venture.
This of course will be huge news to everyone who looks out from the baseball stadium at the concrete plant just to the south, and probably is a more complete explanation for the filing of the raze permit earlier this year. In late 2009 this first phase of the project was given a two-year extension of the zoning order that had originally called for construction to begin by the middle of this year. FRP's representatives cited the difficulties of getting financing to get work underway in their request.
If you're just joining us, the Florida Rock site took about a decade to wind through the zoning process, with all sorts of changes along the way (especially when a major league baseball stadium was suddenly plunked down just across the street).
The design that was approved in 2008 calls for 1.1 million square feet of development on the 5.8-acre site, which would include a 75-foot-wide promenade along the river that would be part of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Originally there were going to be two office buildings, one residential building, and one hotel, along with 84,000 square feet of retail and a number of large open public spaces, but we'll have to see as the new zoning request comes through how those numbers are going to change.
My Florida Rock project page has a slew of renderings and details on the development's design as it was approved.
UPDATE: WBJ says that the new first-phase apartment building would have about 200 units.
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All sorts of little items that you mostly already know about if you follow JDLand on Twitter or Facebook. But I'll start with some new items at the top:
* Still no word from Akridge about when they may get underway with their 700,000-square-foot mixed-use project on Half Street just north of Nationals Park (where the Bullpen and its beergarden sibling Das currently reside), but I will note that in May they filed for building permits for two nine-story and one eleven-story building on the site, matching their announced plans. The permits haven't been approved yet, and once they are they are good for one year, but can then be renewed.
* William C. Smith told me a few weeks ago that they expect to be doing some infrastructure work on their Square 737 site this fall (sewer, water, etc) before starting on their 430-unit apartment building there next spring, and I hear that the bidding process for that site work is now underway. (This also means to not get *too* excited when you see dirt getting moved there late this year.) And, speaking of 880 New Jersey, ANC 6D voted 7-0 on Monday night to support WC Smith's request for a circular driveway, a new curb cut on 2nd Street to access underground parking, and the general public space plan.
* Tonight (Thursday) is the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park, Republicans vs. Democrats. The $10 tickets might be worth it just to see if there are any bench-clearing brawls.
* Friday (July 15) is the second Truckeroo food truck festival, along Half Street by the Bullpens. It runs from 11 am to 11 pm.
* The speculation is underway about the venues for upcoming baseball All-Star Games, with the previous conventional wisdom about Nationals Park being in line for perhaps the 2015 event taking some hits, with the lack of development progress around the ballpark being cited as a prime reason.
* If you're all fired up to game out the new ANC/SMD districts, here's all the data you might want, from the Office of Planning. And remember that the ANC 6D redistricting "listening" session with the Ward 6 task force is on July 28 at 6:30 pm. There wasn't really much news out of the initial public meeting on Monday night, other than that while the 2,000-plus-or-minus-100 population levels per single member district aren't a legal requirement, there's still clearly a desire to have SMDs be as similar in size as possible. And, also, that an SMD can't be looked at in terms of how its size has changed (or will change) since the census data as of April 1, 2010 was recorded.
* I'm going to go ahead and post this now, but check back later today (or look for a Twitter heads up) for more Market Deli demolition photos, which I will wander down to get at some point.
UPDATE: A moment of silence, please, as the Market Deli has now been added to the Demolished Buildings Gallery, as building number 161 and 162 that have been torn down since I started photographing the neighborhood. And the three garages on the north end of the block are in their final hours, with demolition underway on the southernmost one.
 

With raze permits for the old structures along 1st Street SE between K and L finally approved in mid-June, the days were truly numbered for the Market Deli and its neighbors, and today the demolition got underway, with most of the rear section of the Deli's structure knocked in. Fences are up all around the 1st Street structures, which are all owned by Akridge, and with this initial wrecking underway I imagine it won't be long until the five buildings are added to my Demolished Buildings Gallery, as entries 161 through 165.
There's a few more images here, showing that the demolition isn't quite so obvious from 1st Street (yet). Also, hopefully the folks who have been tending to the cats living in the abandoned building can report in as to their fate. (I heard a rumor that some kittens were removed today, but would defer to an update from anyone with more knowledge. UPDATE: In the comments of another post, reader jenniferp says that five very young kittens were indeed captured this morning, but there are several more still on the loose.) And, if you haven't been following along on the tale of the Market Deli for the past few years, here's some enlightenment.
And, because it would have been silly to wander down there in the ghastly heat and humidity and walk past a whole lot of spots where I needed to take updated photos, you can see the latest progress at 225 Virginia (aka 200 I Street) and the second phase of Capitol Quarter, where framing is being completed on the last portion of its first block, along Fourth Street.
 

Ah, the lazy days of summer, when Washington all but shuts down so that its citizens can try to keep cool and take a bit of a break from politics--except this year, when July and August will be filled with a slew of public meetings as the redistricting process that was so much fun at the ward level now filters down to the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
Tommy Wells posted this afternoon the first details on the process for Ward 6, announcing (somewhat belatedly) that the first meeting of the task force will be on Monday, July 11 at 6:30 pm at Miner Elementary School (601 15th St. NE), which unfortunately overlaps with the ANC 6D July business meeting at 7 pm. (Which meeting do you guys want me at? All that's on the 6D agenda for Near SE is a public space permit for the new apartment building at 880 New Jersey, which could possibly bring additional details from what I posted recently on the project, but which I think probably won't.)
There will then be "community listening" meetings in each of the ANCs, with 6D's scheduled for Thursday, July 28 at 6:30 pm, and 6B's on Monday, Aug. 1 at 6:30 pm. Then there will be meetings on the first draft of the new boundaries, which is scheduled to be sent to the ANCs on Tuesday, Aug. 18. The task force will then make the rounds of the September ANC business meetings, submitting a final draft to Tommy Wells by Sept. 26, which he then will submit to the council by the required Sept. 30 deadline.
The task force (which isn't yet finalized) includes lots of familiar Ward 6 names (including Near SE resident Tyler Merkeley), and is chaired by former ANC 6A chair Joe Fengler. The current list of names, along with the laying out of the process, is available in this memo from Tommy Wells.
As I wrote last week, The vast majority of Near Southeast has up to now been in one Single Member District (6D07), but with SMDs needing to have populations between 1,900 and 2,100 and Near Southeast counted at 2,794 in the 2010 census, it's going to be split: the question is just how, and where. The quick-and-dirty map I posted of the numbers shows that the area west of 2nd Street has a population of 2,054, making it a perfect size for an SMD, but the rest of the population is not enough for a second SMD that is 100 percent south of the freeway, so there's going to have to be an SMD either crossing the freeway or crossing South Capitol Street. We shall see!
 

In a wonderfully short hearing on Thursday night, the Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to approve Forest City Washington's request for an amendment to the current Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlay to allow the company to temporarily move its offices to the second floor of the historic Lumber Shed building at the Yards Park.
The company made the request because, while there has been "great interest" from potential retail tenants for the first floor of the building, the second floor has not as yet been as enticing, and filling the ground-floor spaces alone is not enough to get construction financing secured. Because Forest City is "anxious" to get the building started, their move to occupy the second floor can settle the financing issues and finalize deals with interested tenants, which means that construction on the 34,000-square-foot building could begin this year and be open by early 2013.
There had been some concerns at the setdown hearing back in April about the "temporary" request being for a period of 20 years, but Forest City's representatives emphasized (as they also did to the ANC in April) that their intent is to be in the Lumber Shed only until there is office space elsewhere in the Yards to which they can move. Alex Nyhan of Forest City explained that getting retail uses into the second floor is currently "challenging" because the building is "by itself" at the Yards (without much built out around it), which is exacerbated by the fact that it's a somewhat seasonal destination. But Forest City feels that once the other projects in the first phases of the Yards are built out, there will be a demand for the second floor, plus "the onus is on us" to make the Yards into a location where second-floor retail not only at the Lumber Shed but in other Yards buildings is attractive to tenants.
The discussion seemed to satisfy the zoning commissioners, and with the Office of Planning in support of the change and no voices in opposition, the unanimous vote came quickly.
Nyhan also gave the commission a quick update on the status of the other first-phase Yards projects, to help illustrate that "after many years of planning" things are starting to move:
* The Foundry Lofts 170-unit apartment building will begin pre-leasing in August, and will open in October;
* The Boilermaker Shops retail space has announced five restaurant tenants, and will begin construction this month, opening in Fall 2012;
* And 401 M Street, home to a planned Harris Teeter and 200ish-unit apartment building, is expected to start construction this fall.
If you want to give up 30 minutes of your time to check out the proceedings yourself, the hearing should be available for on-demand viewing sometime on Friday. My post from the ANC deliberations on the request also has more information.
 

Deeds have been recorded this afternoon indicating that the Ruben Companies has bought the two empty Exxon lots on South Capitol Street, at I Street SE and K Street SW.
The purchase of the 35,000-square-foot lot at South Capitol and I gives Ruben control of the entire block known as Square 697N; the company picked up the other 47,000 sq ft of the block back in 2009 after developer JPI defaulted on its loan for what was then the site of a Wendy's restaurant.
The other lot Ruben bought from Exxon, just south of the Capitol Skyline Hotel at South Capitol and K streets SW, is about 31,000 square feet and also gives the company control of that entire block, known as Square 648, after Ruben bought the other two lots in 2005 and 2007.
This now makes four sizeable sites that Ruben owns on this three-block stretch of South Capitol Street, since the company also owns 1100 South Capitol St. SE and 1101 South Capitol St. SW across the street, both of which are being marketed as office buildings.
The South Capitol and I Exxon closed down back in 2006, when the station's operator pleaded guilty to fradulently double-billing government contractors more than $120,000.
I don't know any more specifics about the sales at this point, and it's unlikely any buildings will be immediately sprouting on either site. But it is yet another bit of commercial development news that would seem to indicate that the worst of the downswing is past.
 

With July 4 being nice enough to fall on a Monday this year, the three-day holiday weekend is particularly chock full of events, with plenty of goings-on in Near Southeast. Here's a rundown. (Though, judging by how sparsely populated my office already is, just on Wednesday, I'm not sure how many people are left in town to read this.) And, for neighborhood residents, even if none of these events are on your dance card, you still might want to be prepared for heavier than normal crowds wandering around.
* For a headstart on the weekend, there's two events on Thursday, June 30. Ryan Zimmerman will host his 2nd annual "Night at the Park" fundraiser for his zIMS Foundation, which raises money for Multiple Sclerosis. It starts at 6 pm, and tickets are still available. Country star Rodney Atkins will be performing, as will David Blaine (for the VIP ticketholders). More details at the official web site.
* A few blocks away, in what could be considered a bit of counterprogramming, the Capitol Riverfront BID's Outdoor Movie Series will be showing "Shakespeare in Love," starting at 8:45 pm at Tingey Plaza behind USDOT.
* On Friday, the weekly Yards Park concert series continues, with rhythm and blues by the group Special Occasion rhythm and blues band Framewerk [my boo-boo, sorry], from 6 to 8 pm.
* The weekend at Nationals Park will be a busy one, starting with Saturday's doubleheader against the Pirates, the first of the Nats' upcoming 11-game homestand leading into the All-Star brealk. The first game (which won't be broadcast on TV, by the way), is at 3:35 pm, with the second game starting at 7:05 pm or later. The $2 tickets are sold out, but tickets bought for Saturday get you in to both games. And, bang zoom, there will be fireworks after the second game, "presented by Marvel Studios' new motion picture Captain America: First Avenger." (Might be interesting to wander to the Yards Park to watch from there, to see if it's a good vantage point.)
Sunday's 1:35 pm Pirates game is also "Nickelodeon Day" at the ballpark, with all sorts of family-friendly activities featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.
And, on Monday, July 4, the Nats will be hosting the Cubs at 1:05 pm, which will probably be a hot ticket. There's a series of special ticket offers for this "Patriotic Series" game.
See this Nats press release for additional details on all the promotions and festivities.
* Meanwhile, on both Sunday and Monday, the National FreedomFest concert will be in full swing at the Yards Park, from 2 pm to 9 pm on Sunday and 1 pm to 9 pm on Monday. The organizers say there will be more than 40 bands and DJs on five stages, along with food vendors, craft vendors, and more. Tickets start at $25, and are available via the web site, along with more information about the lineup and other details.
(Note that the concert and the baseball, running at the same time, may make finding spaces in the neighborhood surface parking lots a bit tougher than usual.)
I was going to include some other upcoming events in this post, but nobody's reading this anyway, so I'll save those for another time.
As always, if you want continuing updates on these sorts of events, my Near Southeast Businesses/Organizations Twitter list, which are also displayed in a box on the JDLand homepage, will give you all the news and late-breaking tidbits.
 

After all the big news of late, downshifting into a Tidbits post doesn't really seem like much fun, and of course if you're following me on Twitter or Facebook (or checking out the Twitter box on the JDLand home page every so often), you've already been alerted to many of these. But, onward:
* If you're wondering how the ANC redistricting process will work (especially since the ward version was so much fun!), here's the official memo on the procedures going forward. As in previous years, ANC single member districts will have populations between 1,900 and 2,100 residents. Census Tract 72, which covers all of Near Southeast and so includes all of ANC 6D07 plus the small number of houses from 7th Street east to 11th that are in ANC 6B04, was counted at 2,794 residents in the 2010 census.
The Office of Planning has the census-block-by-census-block numbers, but, ahem, I don't actually know which blocks are which, though if I had to guess by looking at the numbers and how the blocks are organized, I'd say that 6D07 probably came in at 2,743 and south-of-the-freeway 6B04 at 51. Ish. (Perhaps an ANC version of the GGW Redistricting Game isn't far off!) It isn't enough to split 6D07 into two single member districts, but it also can't stay as is. The question will also loom large as to whether new boundaries will split the neighborhood even more between ANC 6B (Capitol Hill) and 6D (Southwest), or move it all into one or the other. UPDATE: Thanks to IMGoph in the comments, I got a look at the map, and it appears the actual residential split is 2,767 to 27. Read my comment for details. I'll make a map at some point.
UPDATE 2: And here's a quick and dirty map, showing block by block what the census folks recorded the neighborhood's residential population at, as of April 1, 2010. As I mention in the comments, the residential buildings west of 2nd Street SE add up to 2,054 residents, perfectly within the numeric requirements for an SMD. But how SMDs will actually be divvied up is anyone's guess right now, beyond the fact that there's no way the vast bulk of Near Southeast will continue to be in just one SMD.
Council members are supposed to appoint their ward task force members by Friday, with progress reports due on Aug. 1 and Sept. 1. The entire process has to be completed by the end of 2011.
* The Hill is Home has posted the first of a two-part look at the history of the Washington Canal, which used to run along where Canal Park is under construction. (Speaking of which, I grabbed a quick cellphone shot from above the park last week showing the work on the southern block, where the foundation for the pavilion is being built.)
* Housing Complex writes about the deal finally being finalized for Greenspace to move into the empty retail spaces in the 1st Street facade of Nationals Park, creating a "12,000-square-foot center for green building and design." This has been in the works for nearly two years, but even though there was a "launch" of the space on Tuesday (which I didn't hear about until people at the event started live-tweeting it), Housing Complex says that the project won't come to fruition until Greenspace "is able to raise another $600,000 in cash and in-kind contributions, adding up to the $2 million necessary to build out what's currently a blank shell." Perhaps someday, when Florida Rock is built out to the south and later Yards phases along 1st Street are completed, the "real" retail envisioned for this portion of the ballpark will come to pass. Here's the press release on the Greenspace project.
* Madison Marquette, owner of the Blue Castle at 770 M St. SE, has now apparently completed a joint venture deal with local landowners ICP Group for all ICP's various properties on the east side of 8th Street south of the freeway, including the gray building at 8th and Potomac that houses Quizno's and the other properties along the 800 block of Potomac, and others. No news as to what might be done on those blocks, though if the new Marine Barracks site search ever crops back up, a group owning all of the land on Squares 929 and 930 could conceivably submit a proposal for a public-private partnership.
Coming later today, an equally bulleted post highlighting the slew of upcoming events in the neighborhood, both for this holiday weekend and beyond.
 

A press release went out this morning with the news that so many residents and office workers have been waiting for: the initial list of restaurants that will be opening at the Yards, along with confirmation that Harris Teeter is coming to the building at 401 M Street.
At the Foundry Lofts apartment building currently heading toward completion, there will be a Potbelly, plus Kruba Thai and Sushi, from the operators of Teak Wood Thai and Sushi, Regent Thai, and Galae Thai and Sushi. Both are expected to open in the first quarter of 2012. (Pre-leasing of the residential units is expected to begin in August, with move-ins starting in October.)
The Boilermaker Shops, the 1919-era building nestled between the Foundry Lofts and the US Department of Transportation, will have a number of different offerings:
* There will be Buzz Bakery, a full-service bakery, coffee shop, and "dessert lounge," plus an as-yet-unnamed craft brewery, both operated by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the people behind the Evening Star Cafe, Vermilion, Rustico, Tallula, EatBar, Columbia Firehouse, Birch and Barley, and ChurchKey.
* Austin Grill Express, a "casual, funky Tex-Mex restaurant drawing on the experience of Austin Grill to deliver a unique menu and environment."
* BRB ("be right burger").
* Huey's 24/7 Diner, a "classic diner experience." (But will it actually be open 24/7?)
It's expected that Huey's, Austin Grill, and BRB will open in the fall of 2012, with the others in "late 2012."
And, at the 401 M Street residential building (the only one of the three buildings that is 100 percent new construction), a Harris Teeter will be coming to the ground floor, which has been rumored for a number of years but is now finally confirmed. The press release says it will open in 2013, though for that to be the case, they need to start work on the building pretty much, um, now.
More as I get it, and you can read the official press release for additional details. For more on each project, see my Foundry Lofts, Boilermaker Shops, 401 M, and main Yards project pages, or see the official Yards web site. Especially don't miss the photos from the interior of the Boilermaker Shops, which is a space very much unlike anything else in DC.
UPDATE, June 2012: Because this post is linked to in so many places, it's necessary to update that in late June 2012 it was revealed that Austin Grill Express and BRB would not be coming to the Boilermaker Shops after all. However, Willie's Brew and Que sportsbar had been announced as another tenant in late 2011.
 

A few items on the events agenda for this weekend that might be of interest. (And the Green Line is the only subway line that *won't* be having track work this weekend, so you might as well take advantage). The lineup:
* You can actually start your weekend tonight (Thursday), with E.T. as the offering in the Summer Outdoor Movie Series. It's at Tingey Plaza (behind USDOT, at New Jersey and Tingey), starting at either 8:45 pm or sundown (can't ever quite figure out what "8:45 pm/sundown" signifies--whichever comes last?).
* Friday night has the weekly free Yards Park concert, from 6 to 8 pm. This week's act is Jimi Smooth, for your Motown listening pleasure. There will also be BBQ and other food options.
* On Saturday (June 25), Tommy Wells is hosting his annual Ward 6 Family Day, bringing it to the Yards Park for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, and will have free food, live music, and all sorts of activities (including "arts and crafts projects to build boats to race in the water park"). There will also be a Diaper Drive (no, really), accepting both unopened and open packs of diapers. There's more information on Tommy's web site.
* If you want to add some additional community service to your Saturday, either before or after Family Day you can head to Nationals Park for the first of their two summer blood drives. The drive is from 8 am to 4:30 pm in the conference center, and "in exchange for their generous donation, those who donate blood will receive two tickets to a future Nationals game and a limited edition Adam LaRoche t-shirt." Appointments are required: Interested donors should call 1-866-BLOODSAVES (256-6372) or visit inova.org/donateblood, click 'schedule an appointment', then 'donate blood' and enter sponsor code 7665. (The next drive will be on August 27.) Read the Nats press release for more info.
* And the Yards Park events actually spill over into Monday, when at 10 am Mayor Gray will be giving an "update on his job creation and economic development agenda" at the Lumber Shed. (Probably no music or dancing at this one.)
 

With the DC apartment market continuing to perform strongly (perhaps even too strongly), and with Near Southeast's existing rental buildings continuing to be successful in attracting tenants, it would seem to follow that developers who have been long planning new residential projects in the neighborhood would be making moves to get their projects underway. And that's what's happening with William C. Smith & Co., which has been working on the initial plans for a 13-story, 430-unit apartment building at 880 New Jersey Ave. SE, just south of the freeway on the southwest corner of their Square 737 site that they've owned since 1999.
WCS isn't ready yet to release renderings of the building, though they did show me an early design by Esocoff and Associates (who also designed Onyx and who are working on Akridge's Half Street residential building), showing a brick/masonry structure with a lot of "articulation" (i.e., not a big flat box) and with double-height windows. Some anticipated amenities include an indoor pool as part of its fitness center (which could also have spinning and yoga rooms), in addition to the now-all-but-standard rooftop pool, and a bicycle entrance to a sizeable storage room separate from the three levels of underground parking. There will also be an interior courtyard that the building wraps around.
One amenity that this building won't have is a Whole Foods Grocery store, after that plan collapsed earlier this spring. There will be a small amount of "convenience" retail (1,500 square feet), on the southeast corner of the building.
There are a couple of items that need to happen before construction can get underway, starting with the move of the Department of Public Works out of their site at New Jersey and K to a new location on Okie Street in Northeast, the construction of which can now proceed thanks to the council passing last week emergency technical legislation allowing a portion of Capper PILOT monies to be used for off-site construction (though another bill still has to pass to actually allocate the funds). Then the DC Housing Authority needs to demolish the trash transfer building (a raze application permit having been filed last week), at which point WC Smith will purchase the portion of the trash transfer site that juts across and north of the I Street footprint, as seen at right; the Smith site is on the right side of the photo.
It is hoped that DPW will relocate by early fall and that DCHA will get the site cleared by the end of 2011; WCS is targeting April 2012 for the start of construction on the building itself, with the project expected to take 24 months. (It should be mentioned here that this is not the apartment building planned for the trash transfer site itself; that will be a Capper mixed-income building, with no current start date announced.)
WCS will also be building the new stretch of I Street that will run between 2nd Street and New Jersey Avenue, as well as punching H Street through to New Jersey on the north end of Square 737. (And no, this won't drive out the horse stables nestled under the freeway just north of H.) They are expecting that the new block of I Street will have two travel lanes, two bike lanes, and two parking lanes. And this stretch of New Jersey Avenue will get the wide landscaped sidewalks that are seen in front of the other new developments on the street.
This is the first phase of Smith's plans for Square 737, seen at left from above, back in 2008. While originally the plan had been for two residential buildings and two office buildings, the current realities of both markets have the company looking toward filling the block with apartments, totalling around 1,200 units in four buildings. (And note that the entire four-building project is "matter of right," so there will be no zoning reviews or PUDs.) They are anticipating greater amounts of retail in the two buildings that will front 2nd Street, near Canal Park and across from 225 Virginia.
If you want to see more photos of Square 737 and get additional background, check my project page and previous posts. And, given that Smith's representatives say that they are "very excited to get started" on the development, hopefully renderings of 880 New Jersey and additional details will be available in the next few months.
While this will be William C. Smith's first apartment project in Near Southeast, they have been committed to the neighborhood for a number of years, having constructed 1100 New Jersey Avenue in 2004 (which is where their offices are). They have also been a big player in the creation of Canal Park, and are part of the Capper PUD team as the developers of the planned 250 M Street office building.
 

Just arrived this morning is a copy of the raze permit application for 900 New Jersey Avenue SE, far better known as the trash transfer site, where the city's Department of Public Works has operated out of for many years. The block is part of the footprint of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment, and is slated to eventually become a 320-ish-unit mixed-income apartment building.
Its demolition will allow for the construction of I Street between 2nd and New Jersey, which also paves the way for William C. Smith to be able to start on its planned residential project just to the north at 800 New Jersey.
The DC Housing Authority will be handling the demolition, which won't happen until a new DPW home is constructed in Northeast, though they are hoping that the move happens before the leaves start to fall. And then there will need to be environmental abatements on the site, which has had trash-related operations on it for a long long time.
And apparently ANC 6D07 commissioner David Garber won't be trying to landmark the smokestack after all. (Read this comments thread for the background on that.)
 

I wandered down to Nationals Park last night to take in the atmosphere of not only the four new eateries, but also the return of Ryan Zimmerman. It was a healthy crowd (26,700+), and only about half of them seemed to be in line at Shake Shack and the other new food concessions (though by later in the game, the non-Shake Shack options had no lines).
I took another slew of photos (since the original batch from Monday's preview event proved to be pretty popular) mainly trying to get shots of these new "iconic" ballpark features from various angles, along with a few other shots of interest. As you can see in the shot at right, you can look at Blue Smoke and Box Frites with the Yards Park "iconic" pedestrian bridge and Navy Yard riverwalk directly behind, or with an east-of-the-river vista. I also grabbed a view of the progress on the bridge between Diamond Teague Park and Yards Park, my first shots of Das Bullpen, and both the sunset and the moonrise. And they would have all been even better if I had brought the official JDLand DSLR camera and not my less-than-fabulous point-and-shoot. Browse the gallery, and then mock me for leaving in the top of the 7th inning.
Other recently tweeted tidbits:
* The Yards' new Facebook page now includes a 2 1/2-minute virtual tour of what the neighborhood will look like when it's all built out. To see what it looks like now (and what it looked like a few years back), wander through my Yards project page.
* On Sunday morning a group of volunteers descended on the empty lot just east of the Velocity condo building to turn it into a demonstration rain garden. It's a project of the DC chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and is being funded by REI and the Cohen Companies (developers of the block), among others. They are having a meeting at Velocity on June 20 at 6 pm to discuss the project, and there will be another work day on the site on Saturday, June 25. The project's blog has photos and a lot of details; it's officially named the David Stemper Memorial Rain Garden, in honor of a Surfrider volunteer who passed away in 2010.
* The BID says that the next Truckeroo food truck festival at Half and M SE will be on Friday, July 15.
* Last week CSX sent a letter out to residents who live near Virginia Avenue introducing the plans to rehab the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. (It was probably quite useful for people who don't read JDLand!)
 

On Monday night the Nationals unveiled for an invitation crowd the four new concession options brought to Nationals Park by the Union Square Hospitality Group. Shake Shack (which has already taken Dupont Circle by storm), El Verano Taqueria, Blue Smoke Barbecue, and Box Frites are side-by-side along the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk in Center Field, and will be open 2 1/2 hours before every game. (There will also be $5 "happy hour" beer specials on the Scoreboard Walk, starting 2 1/2 hours before every game for the rest of the season.)
The area behind the scoreboard has also been "refreshed," with new furniture, plants, trees, herbs (really!), and synthetic turf to give a "backyard" feel. There are also 14 "shade sails" now erected over the area to help keep fans waiting in line for the new eats from falling over in the heat; the sails are supposed to reduce ambient temps by up to 20 degrees, and also provide UV ray protection of up to nearly 94 percent.
The Nationals are hoping that this revamped spot becomes an "iconic" area at the ballpark, with COO Andy Feffer explaining that the stadium already has "cool clubs," but they are private and not open to everyone as these will be. As for whether they will be able to handle what could be quite a crush of hungry foodie fans, Feffer said "We shall see," while noting that since the USHG folks have existing operations at Citi Field in New York, "if anybody's prepared, these guys are."
And, is there a chance that these four stands could ever open to the public on non-gamedays? Feffer says they've talked about it, and that it's a possibility down the road, when the area's worker-and-resident population expands further.
I took a slew of pictures of the food and signage (two of my favorite photo subjects, even surpassing shots of buildings!). The eateries will open to fans on Tuesday at 4:30, before the 7:05 Nats-Cardinals game. (As always, 400 $5 tickets are available at the box office on game day.) The photo gallery also includes photos of the menus if the suspense is too much to bear.
UPDATE: The Post's Dan Steinberg has more on the new offerings.
 

While the number of photos I took while in Spain and Italy should have been enough to tide me over for quite a while in the camera department, the guilt at not having taken Hood photos since APRIL (!) shoved me out the door on hot and hazy Sunday morning (ick) for a walk around the major activity zone between 2nd and 4th Streets.
The re-dressing of 225 Virginia/200 I/Old Post Plant/Old Star Plant continues, with most of the north face now sporting the building's new look; some windows have even been installed on the east front, facing 3rd Street. It's expected that the exterior work will be done by early 2012, with tenants from three city agencies starting to move in about a year from now. My 225 Virginia project page has a guided tour of the project, or you can take the virtual walk-around-the-block for a bigger batch of before-and-after photos to watch the building's transformation from Big White Monolith to 21st century office building.
In the meantime, work is speeding along at Capitol Quarter, where the block bounded by 3rd, 4th, I, and K (bisected by the soon-to-be-birthed 3rd Place) has construction in all phases, from the nearly completed houses at 3rd and I to the new framing at 4th and I, and foundations now poured at 4th and K. And, as briefly mentioned a few days ago, the trailer that housed the original sales center at 4th and L is now gone. If you just want the short version of Capitol Quarter's second-phase transformation, check out my Capitol Quarter project page, otherwise you can take the virtual walk around the blocks now under construction for a boatload of before-and-afters.
I also took some photos of the northern perimeter of Canal Park, but pictures of fences and digging equipment are never terribly exciting.
As always, remember that the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon on any page gets you to the full batch of photos I've taken at any location. Or, if you're interested in only a certain location, you can use my Photo Archive map to get right to it. The entire set of 178 photos I posted today can be seen all at once, too, if you're so inclined.
(And, as an aside, let me send my huzzahs to Microsoft for getting fixed in IE9 whatever it was in IE8 that would cause the browser to stop displaying local hard drive images after a certain amount of page loads, causing me to having to restart the dang thing eight or nine times during each photo archiving stint. [It's pretty much the only thing I still use IE for.])
 

Just out from the Foundry Lofts Facebook page, a note saying "Mark your calendars Foundry Lofts fans! Pre-leasing starts August 15th, and we'll be opening this October!"
This is the old Pattern Joiner Shop on the southeast corner of 3rd and Tingey in the Yards, behind the US Department of Transportation building and just north of the Yards Park. Work to transform the 1918 structure into a 170-unit apartment building first began in 2008, but stalled later that year because of funding issues; work then re-started last August when new financing for the affordable housing units in the building was secured.
The building will also have ground-floor retail, with announcements on tenants expected "soon."
My Foundry Lofts page has plenty of additional information, as well as before-and-during photos.
UPDATE: With a hat tip to reader mikescorpio in a different JDLand comment thread, here's the prices that the Foundry Lofts Facebook Info page list: "1-Bedrooms from $2,100s, 2-Bedrooms from $2,700s, Penthouses from $3,400s. Apartments Available October 15, 2011, Penthouses Available December 15, 2011."
 

I'm back in DC, having spent 11 wonderful days in Madrid, Barcelona, and cruising across the Mediterranean to Pisa, Florence, Rome, the coast south of Naples, and Mallorca. Needless to say, while I checked in on the news back home from time to time and tweeted an item or two if the timing was right, I wasn't following developments closely, and I'm pretty out of the blogging groove at this point. So I'm going to start back slowly with some easy items.
* Redistricting: The city council voted Tuesday to approve a redistricting map that, as expected, keeps Near Southeast in Ward 6. This continues to make Marion Barry extremely unhappy, and the Examiner reports that he'll be "asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to open a Justice Department review of proposed new D.C. ward boundaries because, Barry says, they violate residents' civil rights." There's still a final vote to be had on the plan, probably on June 21. As for the last-minute changes that ended up keeping much of Ward 6 intact (moving Reservation 13 to Ward 7 instead of other areas), you can read Tommy Wells's blog for more details.
* Riverwalk: The Navy Yard announced last week that its portion of the riverwalk along the Anacostia River, running from the 11th Street Bridges to the Yards Park, will now be open from 5:30 am until "official sunset," seven days a week and including holidays; though there will still be closures as needed, which are announced on the Navy Yard Riverwalk Twitter feed. (I admit that I got a bit of a kick passing along this news via Twitter while riding on a train north of Rome.)
* DPW Move: The council passed emergency technical legislation on Tuesday that allows Capper PILOT funds to be used to build a new location for DPW operations in Northeast, which means that they should be moving from the 2nd and K site this fall (before "leaf season").
* Ward 6 Family Day: Tommy Wells's yearly event for Ward 6 residents will be held on Saturday, June 25, and will be at the Yards Park for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, with "free food, live music, games and activities for the whole family as well as raffles featuring gift certificates from local businesses and sporting memorabilia from the Wizards, DC United and Washington Nationals."
* ANC 6D has its next meeting on Monday, June 13, at 7 pm at Arena Stage. The agenda is light on Near Southeast items, with only a resolution by David Garber about Near Southeast bike stations and requests by Cornercopia and Harry's Reserve to be exempted from the ban on the sale of "singles."
* Food Truck Festival: Bo Blair, the owner of the Bullpens and the organizer of Truckeroo on June 3, said in an e-mail that the event was a "massive, incredible success," with somewhere between 17,000 and 18,000 attendees and "zero problems." The next date for the event will be announced soon.
* Construction and Destruction: Construction has stalled on the Little Red Building v2.0 at 2nd and L, which ANC commissioner Garber says is a "building permit issue that is in process of being resolved - construction should start back 'soon.'" Meanwhile, the "re-dressing" of 225 Virginia is well underway, with the new exterior walls being hung on the north side of the building. And if it hasn't already happened, the trailer that was the original sales office for Capitol Quarter is being torn down, since construction of townhouses is now underway on that block. (Photos to come, at some point.)
* The Yards on Facebook/Twitter: I kind of stumbled across these (never saw any announcement about them), but the Yards now has an official Facebook page (which is available on Twitter, too) along with a separate one for the Foundry Lofts (its Twitter account is protected, though).
UPDATE: And, since this just came across Twitter: Dan Steinberg reports that Shake Shack and the other new Nats Park restaurants will open next Tuesday, the beginning of the homestand vs. the Cardinals.
 
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