New NGA Campus Done
Sep 16, 2011 10:59 AM
Clark Construction has delivered the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
campus at Ft. Belvoir, says CityBiz Real Estate
(Not coincidentally, the federally legislated deadline for BRAC moves was yesterday.)
CSX Public Scoping Meeting Write-Up, Boards
Sep 16, 2011 10:20 AM
Greater Greater Washington covers the CSX Public Scoping Meeting
, focusing on how some attendees were surprised to only find informational displays and no presentations from CSX, DDOT, or FHWA. A shame no one made any mention
of that in advance.
ANC 6D Redistricting Recommendations
Sep 16, 2011 8:45 AM
The Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force blog has posted ANC 6D's formal recommendations
on redistricting, approved at Monday's meeting, with the changes I laid out previously
CSX Meeting Reminder; ANC 6D Redistricting, Capper Votes
Sep 13, 2011 9:16 PM
First, a reminder that Wednesday Sept. 14 brings the Public Scoping Meeting
for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. This is a "we want to hear what YOU think!" meeting, so there will be no presentations of actual plans for the construction. It will just be an open house with information on what exists and what needs to be done, and a chance for interested parties to submit their feedback to DDOT and the FHWA. The meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Van Ness Elementary School; you can read more about the meeting
in my post from last month. There's also the official web site
, and this flyer from the newly formed Concerned Citizens of Virginia Avenue
that makes clear their opinion on what's to come. Additional meetings where CSX will finally provide some specifics on their designs and plans should come later this fall.
* Capper Time Extensions:
The commission voted 7-0 to support the request for two-year extensions
on two planned Capper apartment
buildings and the office building planned for 600 M Street
, which is also part of the Capper redevelopment. (I hadn't realized that 600 M was part of this request when I wrote my entry last week
.) This would push the planned start dates for these three projects into the late 2013-early 2014 time frame.
As is usually the case with any Capper issue in front of the commission, Chairman McBee brought up the delayed community center
, which Housing Authority representatives said should get its needed $7.4 million in funding when a new bond issuance happens later this year, and a building permit should be filed for in advance of the July 2012 deadline. As is also most always the case with Capper issues, the commission also wanted statistics and information on the former residents of the project, and whether they are being tracked and worked with. The DCHA reps said that 129 residents have returned to Capper, with another 550 on the waiting list, though some of those have turned down recently completed units for various issues (not wanting a walkup, etc.). This is with about half of the required 707 public housing units already constructed.
This extension was to have been heard by the Zoning Commission on Monday night, but since the ANC had not yet had a chance to weigh in, the applicants agreed with a request to delay action until the Zoning Commission's Sept. 26 meeting. If you want to know more, you can read my entry from last week
(no need to write it all again!).
The ANC proffered an alternate Single Member District map from what the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force has proposed
. It tweaks the proposed boundaries in a way that moves current commissioner David Garber's building and the 70/100 I buildings back into 6D07 (along with the small block in Southwest bordered by South Capitol, M, N, and Carrollsburg Place), while placing Capitol Hill Tower, 909 New Jersey, and Velocity in 6B03, which reaches across South Capitol from Southwest. (The proposed SMDs that cover Near Southeast are in my quickie map at right
.) Commissioner Cara Shockley, whose 6D02 was altered substantially from what the task force had proposed
(it would have covered the portion of Near Southeast now given to 6D03, along with 70/100 I and Onyx, but not CHT), told the commission she was completely opposed to the new boundaries, and had no idea that such a big change was being proposed by the ANC, having been unable to open the attachments with the map images. David Garber took no official position on 6D's map, saying that because his constituents have made clear that they feel Near Southeast belongs in 6B and not 6D he would not be voting. In the end, the ANC supported the resolution offering up the alternate map in a 4-1-2 vote, with Garber and Bob Craycraft abstaining and Shockley voting against.
The task force's next public meeting
is on Sept. 19 to propose the second draft of SMD boundaries, followed by a final meeting to approve their final draft maps on Sept. 22. Tommy Wells will then submit recommendations on boundaries to the city council by Sept. 30. For more on all the redistricting process, see my previous entries
ANC Recap 1: Support for Adding the Curly W to Navy Yard Metro
Sep 13, 2011 11:13 AM
With WMATA looking to tighten up the naming conventions
for Metro stations and also preparing for a new map thanks to the impending service expansion to Tysons Corner and eventually Dulles, the three local jurisdictions have been encouraged to come up with proposals by the end of this month for any station name revisions they may want. This brought Steve Strauss of DDOT to Monday's ANC 6D meeting, to find out whether the community had any feelings about the names of the four stations within the commission's borders, and in particular whether the ANC had any desire to take a second look at two proposed name changes it supported last year in light of WMATA's recommitment
to the notion that station names should be no longer than 19 characters (13 for transfer stations).
Yes, it's time for the Curly W discussion again.
Last December the commission voted to support requests
from both the Capitol Riverfront BID and the Nationals to change the station name to Navy Yard-Capitol Riverfront-
, but that is well above 19 characters (and would be even worse if the Curly W weren't approved and "Nationals Park" were substituted, as called for in the ANC resolution at the time). The discussion on Monday night centered around whether using the logo would set a dangerous precedent, whether it would be confusing in terms of pronouncing the station name, whether it's de facto advertising, and whether riders with vision impairments would or would not be better served by having a logo versus a spelled-out "Ballpark." Commissioner Andy Litsky was also vocal in wanting some assurance that the Nationals would be paying the estimated $100,000 for the changing of the name of a station, and would not try to argue that the city should pay the cost since the stadium is a public building.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nationals told the commission many of the same things he did back in December
: the Curly W is the official logo of a city-owned building, and the team wants the logo to appear on transit signage just as it does on freeway signs around the area. McCarthy also said the team very much wants to promote transit as the best way to get to the stadium, and that having the logo on signs and maps helps to emphasize the connection between Metro and the Nationals year-round. There's also no desire to have any variation of "Nationals Park" in the name, given the possibility that the stadium's naming rights will someday be sold and the name changed.
An initial motion to rename the station Navy Yard-Ballpark
failed on a 3-3 vote; after more discussion, a new motion to support Navy Yard-
if a logo were allowed, and Navy Yard-Ballpark
if not, passed on a 4-2 vote. (Technically, these motions were all about amending the resolution from December, but I'm giving you the blessedly short version.)
I should also note that the Capitol Riverfront BID's recent request
to simply rename the station Capitol Riverfront-
was briefly mentioned at the start of the discussion, but clearly had zero support from the commission or the audience and was never voted on.
The ANC also voted 7-0 to change Waterfront-SEU to Waterfront-Arena Stage. But the resolution acknowledged that the new station name would be 22 characters long, and so a second resolution was passed on a 4-3 vote asking to rename the station as SW Waterfront if Arena Stage does not get added to the name.
There was a brief discussion as to whether there might be interest in adding Banneker Park to the L'Enfant Plaza station, but there was little support, and recognition that the name would be too long anyway.
All requests for changing station names will first go through the city's evaluation procedures
, with the mayor's office then submitting formal recommendations to WMATA.
New Photos: Catching Up on a Lot of Change in a Lot of Spots
Sep 12, 2011 2:32 AM
I took a lot of photos on Sunday, so many that I'm not going to waste time trying to come up with some pithy introduction. What you see below are just a taste of all the new images I posted, so be sure to follow the links for more.
At the Yards
, the Foundry Lofts
(left) are looking close to done, and it's striking to compare it to its Before
shots to see just how well the exterior of the building has been cleaned up. Meanwhile, the Boilermaker Shops
(right) is now defrocked, with work underway to transform it into the 46,000-square-foot retail space that will open about a year from now.
In the Yards Park
, work will start this fall to make the Lumber Shed
into another retail space, and earlier this summer test panels were hung
on one corner of the building (left) to show how currently bare structure will look when it is completely enclosed in glass. And, over on the western edge of the park, the new bridge
that will connect Yards Park to Diamond Teague Park
(and Nationals Park
) is coming along (right), with a number of the signature curved "fence posts" already installed. The bridge is scheduled to open in a few months.
I finally got some not-very-exciting shots of the under-construction pavilion on the south end of Canal Park
(left), along with updating what photos I could of the perimeter (the fencing around 2nd Place in particular puts a cramp in my methodology). This pavilion is where a restaurant is planned, which could be home to the latest Xavier Cervera offering if a deal is finally reached
. The park is expected to open next year. Plus, I captured the temporary home
of the Capitol Hill Day School (right), so that some day many years from now there will be a record of the modular classrooms that stood for nine months or so on the site of the eventual Capper Community Center
at 5th and K.
And change is happening at a ridiculously rapid pace at Capitol Quarter
, so much so that a trip through the Phase 2 Extended Photo Archive
is definitely recommended to see all of the new vistas in comparison to the old Capper
footprint. Less showy but still moving forward is the transformation of 225 Virginia/200 I
, including the beginnings of the work on the parking deck at 3rd and I.
Want to plow through all 213 new images? Have at it
ANC Agendas, Possible Bus Route Change, NCPC Doings, Singles at Harry's, Crime at Capper, and a Rant About Dying Data
Sep 8, 2011 11:02 AM
Apologies for the torrent of words that follows:
* Changes to P1/P2/P6 Buses:
WMATA has come up with a list of proposed changes to bus routes
, and one of them would eliminate the P1 and P2 buses that run along M Street SE during rush hour and would re-route the P6 bus down M Street SE to 4th Street SW, away from its current route that runs along Virginia Avenue and through the southern part of Capitol Hill before heading to Federal Center SW and then across the Mall and into downtown. This could impact the residents of the Capper Seniors building
at 900 5th St., SE, which has an eastbound stop right on its corner. (I'd also note that the planned closure of Virginia Avenue south of the freeway for two-plus years would necessitate a rerouting anyway.) And, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that this rerouting would have an impact on the JDLand household, since we often use this bus (which stops right at our corner) to get to and from downtown. This is not final yet, with public meetings on this and the other proposed changes still to come.
* NCPC Doings:
Last week the National Capital Planning Commission approved by consent
Forest City's plans to temporarily put their offices in the second floor of the Lumber Shed building
at the Yards Park
. NCPC also approved an installation of solar panels at the Navy Yard
, while humminah-hummining that though the commission had said back in 2010 that "no future submittals at the Washington Navy Yard will be considered until an updated master plan is submitted," they decided that "this proposal is a minor one that does not increase the population at the installation, does not include any interior space, will have 'no adverse effect' on historic resources and is comprised of elements that reduce the installation's energy consumption." Plus, the report says the commission staff has been meeting with the Navy and expects a draft document for updating the Navy Yard master plan to be submitted to NCPC by the end of this year.
* Beer! And a Cookout:
In tastier news, the folks at Harry's Reserve tell me they are now approved to sell single beers
, and already are building their inventory of 32-40 oz craft beers, imports, and the like. Meanwhile, the Great Heartland Cookout
is happening on Saturday at the Yards Park, benefitting the Fisher House Foundation, which donates "comfort homes" built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers for families of hospitalized service members. Cookout tickets start at $40.
* Crime At Capper, Before and After:
The Urban Institute has published "Movin' Out: Crime Displacement and HUD's HOPE VI Initiative
" that uses the crime statistics around Capper and other DC rehabilitated public housing communities to show that crime not only remains low in the immediate area after a HOPE VI renovation, but is lower in nearby areas as well. The report is a bit hard to read (I have to admit I gave up pretty quickly), but MetroTrends gives a good summary
. You can also look at the crime statistics I've archived since 2005
to see how crimes in the neighborhood have changed over the years, while keeping in mind that the initial move-outs began at Capper in 2003. (The huge spike in Theft from Autos in 2006 was mostly a result of the neighborhood being empty except for the cars of construction workers, which were then pretty easy pickings during the daytime when they were busy at Nationals Park or the other projects at the time.)
* Waah Waah Waah:
And, speaking of the crime statistics.... I have been downloading those reports from the city's Data Warehouse
on a near-daily basis since they were first made available as XML feeds. I've also been able to get Public Space Permit Applications
and Approved Building Permit Applications
via XML for a number of years, and the many data feeds that were created are something that the city received numerous accolades for during the Fenty administration. However, the Public Space Permits feed now has not been updated since mid-July, and the Building Permits feed hasn't been updated since August 23.
Multiple e-mails to the data warehouse e-mail address have gone unacknowledged (after years of pretty prompt response, even if it was just to say "we know, we're working on it"). The Twitter accounts for both the Data Warehouse
project and for OCTO Labs
are equally moribund. I've let DCRA and DDOT know about the problems with the feeds, since they are the originators of the data, but if these data feeds are going to go to seed it's going to be a real loss for having easy access to this sort of data (even if I'm probably one of the few people who's ever bothered to take advantage). And, if the data isn't dying and is just getting worked on, a little bit of communication would go a long way (like, say, replying to any of my e-mails). Hopefully the crime feeds won't suddenly stop working, since that one certainly gets the most interest of any of them. (My complaints about the loss of depth in the city's web site offerings after the big redesign are for another day.) Just wait until OCTO moves into 225 Virginia next year and I can start picketing out front.
DCHA Files for Time Extension on Two Capper Apartment Projects
Sep 7, 2011 3:06 PM
The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for a time extension to construct the mixed-income apartment buildings
it has planned for the north half of Square 882 (the old Capper Seniors block along L Street between 5th and 7th, seen at right) and the north half of Square 769, between 2nd and 3rd on L just east of Canal Park (below, the building at left, next to the proposed 250 M Street
When the plans for these two buildings were approved by the Zoning Commission in 2009
(see the zoning order
), it was required that building permits be applied for by August of this year, with construction to begin by August of 2012. However, attempts at funding either the Square 882 189-unit building or 171-unit Square 769N building the have not thus far borne any fruit, and so a time extension is needed. Between them, the buildings would have 72 units reserved for households making less than 60 percent of the area median income, and the Square 769 building would also have just over 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The Zoning Commission will hear this request at its meeting on Monday night
; because there is no request to modify any portion of the PUD beyond the time requirement, this will most likely be handled as a consent calendar item. There will also be a presentation on this request and the state of the Capper redevelopment in general at Monday's ANC 6D meeting. (There was also one given at Tuesday night's ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, but I had a baseball game
to watch.) But since the Zoning Commission hearing is at the same time as the 6D meeting, it would seem that there is no anticipated opposition from 6D.
The Office of Planning prepared a short report recommending approval
of the time extension, showing that the requirements for an extension have been met. It also quotes the development team as saying that there have been 75 outreach efforts for financing, all unsuccessful. "The inability to secure financing for residential projects, especially those including affordable units, is not unusual in the current marketplace."
If you want to know more about these two planned apartment projects, and the other three mixed-income buildings planned along the east side of Canal Park and on the DPW/trash transfer site, my Capper Apartments page
has additional background, as do the scads of blog posts
I've written on the various plans. And my main Capper page
has the background on the entire redevelopment project.
Bikeshare Birthday Party, Blocktoberfest, and Other Tidbits
Sep 5, 2011 11:33 PM
First, some events coming to the neighborhood later this month (if anyone can think past the return of Stephen Strasburg, weather permitting, ahem):
* Two days later, on Sept. 24, the park will host Blocktoberfest
, "DC's Largest Oktoberfest Music Festival." I believe there is beer involved. See the web site
for info on tickets, etc.
* In a more professional vein (i.e., probably no live music or moonbounces), the 2nd Annual Anacostia River Business Summit and Expo
is being held at 100 M St. SE on Sept. 20 from 8 am to 12:30 pm. Former mayor Anthony Williams is scheduled to be one of the speakers, and there will be three separate panel discussions. There will also be boat tours given afterwards, though space is limited.
* And I mentioned it in my last tidbits post, but why not pass along again that the next Truckeroo is scheduled for Sept. 30.
Other pieces of this-and-that:
* The city's Office of Motion Picture and Television Development named the Yards Park the "One City Location of the Month for August
," calling it "one of the city's most beloved, yet fairly untapped, attractions." The agency is doing this to promote "cinematically compelling locations that are available to film and television producers."
* The Washington Business Journal reported last week (subscribers only) that Kaplan has abandoned its search for space to open a law school in the DC area. Late last year it had been reported that they had been looking for up to 130,000 square feet of space in Near Southeast. [Full but probably unnecessary disclosure: in my real life I work for the Washington Post newspaper, which is under the same Washington Post Co. umbrella as Kaplan.]
* The Sunday Post Magazine's cover story focuses on the McDonald's
at 2 I St. SE, its staff, and its manager, Raul Reyes, who in 2009 won a Ray Kroc Award as one of the top 1 percent of managers from the 14,000 McDonald's nationwide.
Willie's Brew and Que Coming to Boilermaker Shops; Pizza and a Raw Bar at Canal Park?
Aug 31, 2011 4:31 PM
After a bit of a false start a few months ago
, Forest City is now confirming that Capitol Hill restaurant magnate Xavier Cervera will be opening "Willie's Brew & Que" in the Boilermaker Shops
at The Yards
. On the Yards's just redesigned web site
, Willie's is listed
as opening in Fall 2012, along with the other Boilermaker Shops restaurants previously announced
(Austin Grill Express
, Buzz Bakery
, a craft brewery by the Churchkey folks
, and Huey's 24-7 Diner
In a Going Out Gurus post today about Cervera's purchase of the Hawk 'n' Dove
, Willie's is described as a sports bar, with the "'Cue" in the name referring not to pool but to barbecue that will be smoked on site. Plus, "Cervera promises 'the audio and video system is going to be very cool in there' when the place opens in 2012, including custom-built 12-foot plasma screens." (Note that GoG says it's "Brew & 'Cue", while Forest City's web site says "Brew & Que.")
Look for some new signage on the fences around the Boilermaker within the next few weeks, trumpeting all of the announced restaurants. (And I'll also point out that the web site says
"more to come.")
The Going Out Gurus post
also says that Cervera will be opening a restaurant at Canal Park
, which they say will be LEED-certified
, serving Neopolitan pizzas and featuring a raw bar. I've got a request into the Canal Park folks for confirmation and/or details. The park is expected to open in spring 2012. (UPDATE:
The leasing negotiations for the Canal Park site are apparently not yet finalized, so don't consider this a done deal just yet.)
Tuesday Tidbits: Ballpark Labor Day Weekend Doings and More
Aug 30, 2011 1:05 PM
A whole lot of little stuff:
* The Nationals have a lot of events on tap at the ballpark
for "Grand Slam Labor Day Weekend":
There are still $5 tickets available
for Friday night's game against the Mets, and there will be post-game fireworks as well. (I very strongly suggest heading over to the Yards Park
and getting a spot right on the water for optimum viewing; I watched the last post-game fireworks there a few weeks back, and you are pretty much directly beneath the rockets' red glare.)
Saturday night's game will be preceded by "Team On-Field Photo Day," where for the first time fans will be able to go down to the warning track to take photos before the game. After the game, there will be a free concert by the band Lifehouse (but you have to have a game ticket in order to go to the concert.)
Sunday's 1:35 pm game is $1 Kids Day, plus the seventh annual "Kids Run the Show Day." And, following the game, there will be a softball game between the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team and a group of DC-area celebrities. If you purchase tickets to this game through nationals.com/woundedwarriorsoftball
, each $20 ticket purchased will result in a $5 donation to the softball team.
Finally, for Labor Day Monday's 1:05 pm game against the Dodgers, there is another $5 ticket special.
You can read more about all these goings-on (and the other offers for these games) in this press release
And it seems to be all but official that Strasmas returns to the neighborhood next week, with Stephen Strasburg expected to pitch
against the Dodgers on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
* In non-baseball stadium doings, Opera in the Outfield
will be back again, on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 pm with a free simulcast of the Washington National Opera's performance of Tosca
(and What's Opera, Doc?
, which really should be the headlining feature). You can bring food and a blanket to sit on, but no alcoholic beverages can be brought in, and bags can't be any larger than 16" x 16" x 8".
* In other concert news, the BID has extended the Friday summer concert series at the Yards Park through Sept. 9. The concerts are from 6 to 8 pm, and food trucks and other offerings will be on hand.
* The Capitol Hill Day School's move to its temporary home at 5th and K SE is in full swing, and the school is doing a great job of blogging it
(along with the renovations on their Dent School digs).
* A raze permit application has been filed for 1008 3rd St. SE, a few doors south of Cornercopia. This rowhouse had a partial roof collapse
along with cracks in the walls during the Feb. 6 2010 blizzard.
* Seems like the neighborhood fared just fine through Hurricane Irene, except for the flood of DC residents
on Friday wanting sandbags from the DPW operations at New Jersey and K, SE. (The city ended up moving the sandbag operations to RFK on Saturday.) This should be the last time this happens, since DPW is expected to be moving out of the old trash transfer station this fall (perhaps even by mid-October).
Ummm, Ooops? (Unintended Extended Summer Vacation)
Aug 25, 2011 9:49 AM
Yes, I'm still here, tweeting away
(also available on Facebook!
) when I come across items of note, but there hasn't really been any bloggable news, and I've been feeling meh enough over the past week that trying to pull together a Tidbits post when I don't think anyone's actually reading anyway just didn't seem that enticing. Plus, now I'm in full weather geek mode, with Irene perhaps becoming more of a threat to the Metro area than it initially seemed. (If she comes up the Chesapeake Bay like one model suggested overnight, Near Southeast could certainly see some flooding at the Yards Park and other spots along the Anacostia River. If. IF. Still a big IF.)
So for now, consider this an open thread. Want to tell your earthquake story? Anything else of note that you've seen lately? Feel free. And I promise I'll return here when there's bloggable news to report, but in the meantime I'll probably be more in the 140-characters-or-less mode through Labor Day.
Proposed ANC 6D SMD Boundaries; Near SE in Two SMDs
Aug 17, 2011 5:06 PM
The Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force
has released its initial redistricting report
, which includes the proposed ANC and Single Member District boundaries
approved at the Aug. 8 task force meeting. These are not final, and now will go through a months' worth of meetings with all Ward 6 ANCs to allow for recommendations for any changes from the commissions and other affected groups.
Here's the proposed Ward 6D SMD boundaries
(at right). As I've mentioned ad nauseum, there was no way Near Southeast was going to remain as one SMD, and in the new map it's split into two districts, with 6D07 now comprising almost all of the neighborhood, while the area right around M Street west of New Jersey Avenue has been melded into the 6D02 single member district that covers the northeastern section of Southwest.
Given the population layout of the neighborhood, there isn't really any alternative in order to hit the target range of 1,900-2,100 residents per single member district other than creating a boundary that includes Capitol Quarter
, Capitol Hill Tower
, and 70/100 I
, which gives a population of 2,091. (If you try to swap 70/100 I for the blocks with Onyx
, and 909 New Jersey
, you end up with only 1,791 residents.)
There does seem to have been an attempt to keep as much of the neighborhood in one SMD as possible, with the proposed 6D07 including the baseball stadium
and Florida Rock
, though the areas just north of the ballpark (where the Akridge
Half Street projects are proposed) would be in the SE/SW 6D02 district.
If these boundaries are approved, it sets up a very interesting situation for current 6D commissioners. David Garber, who has ruled over all but a smidge of Near Southeast since being elected in 2010, lives on a block that would now be in the new 6D02 SMD spanning South Capitol Street; the existing 6D02, all in Southwest, is currently represented by Cara Shockley, also elected in 2010. Whoever would represent the bulk of Near Southeast in these new boundaries could not live at Onyx, Velocity, or 909 New Jersey.
The Ward 6 redistricting task force will be at the Sept. 12 ANC 6D meeting to discuss the proposed boundaries and to receive comments. There is still a possibility that there could be a reversal and Near Southeast could move to ANC 6B (the Capitol Hill ANC), and the task force's report included the not-adopted map for 6B
that shows Near Southeast as part of a 12-SMD commission. This would keep much of Near Southeast in one district, with Canal Park, Capitol Quarter, and blocks right by the freeway except for 70/100 I paired with a few blocks north of the freeway in another district. The task force meets with 6B to get its recommendations on Sept. 13.
There will then be a Sept. 19 meeting to consider all recommendations received as a result of their initial redistricting maps, to then come up with a final recommendation to be forwarded to Tommy Wells by the end of September.
If you want to know more (including how to make your feelings known, if you have any), the task force web site
is chock full of information. And you can play with my interactive Ward 6 census map
if you want to try to make your own SMDs that fit the 1,900-2,100 population range.
Virginia Avenue Tunnel Scoping Meeting Set for Sept. 14
Aug 16, 2011 10:24 AM
The public meeting process for the reconstruction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel is about to get underway, with a date finally having been set for the first of the mandatory NEPA sessions: On Sept. 14, DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration will hold the Public Information and Scoping Meeting
. This is an "open house," with no formal presentations to be made, but there will be maps and displays available, and officials will be there to receive comments from attendees. Written comments
can also be submitted electronically, if you can't be there in person. The meeting is at Van Ness Elementary School at 5th and M, SE, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
After this, there will be a Public Design Concepts Meeting at some point in the fall, which is where the first detailed plans for the project will be laid out. Then the Environmental Assessment would be released sometime in spring of next year (with an accompanying public hearing), with the final decisions on the project's design being made about a year from now.
If you haven't been following along, there is a rail tunnel that has run under Virginia Avenue from 2nd St. SE to 12th St. SE for about 100 years now, and, as part of the National Gateway project
, CSX plans to widen the tunnel to allow for double-tracking, as well as raise the height of the roof to allow for double-stacked train cars. In order to accomplish this, Virginia Avenue will need to be closed for 2-3 years (though the cross streets will still be open), and an open trench will be dug to allow trains to continue to run alongside the existing track during construction. As one might imagine, the residents of Capitol Quarter in the 300 block of Virginia Avenue are a mite concerned about exactly how this will work, as are people who use Garfield Park (just to the north of the tunnel) and drivers who come off the Southeast Freeeway at the 6th Street exit, since cars will not be able to continue east on Virginia during construction but will have to go left under the freeway and go up into the Capitol Hill neighborhoods.
In May, CSX announced that it would be investing $160 million of its own money
to fund the project. There is a strong desire by CSX to get this work completed before the opening of the expanded Panama Canal in 2015.
Pre-Leasing for Foundry Lofts at the Yards Now Underway
Aug 15, 2011 6:45 PM
In a big milestone for the continued transformation of the old walled-off Southeast Federal Center into the huge mixed-use development known as The Yards
, pre-leasing has begun for the Foundry Lofts
, which developer Forest City has been transforming from its previous incarnation as the historic Pattern Joiner Shop building in Navy Yard shipbuilding days into a 170-unit apartment building. (Pre-leasing was officially supposed to begin today, but with the leasing trailer on site and open to visitors for the past week or so, interest from potential residents overtook the planned launch and leasings actually have already started.)
The units will have 12-14' ceilings, exposed brick, and concrete beams (befitting the term "loft"), along with the hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops that would be expected in this sort of building. Rents will start at $2,000 a month, going up to $3,100 a month for one of the 33 two-level penthouse apartments in the new floors added to the top of the original building. (There are also a small number of affordable units available as well, though I don't have details on those.) Forest City expects move-ins to begin in October.
And, as previously announced
, a Potbelly Sandwich Works and Kruba Thai and Sushi will occupy ground-floor retail space early next year. Plus it's pet-friendly, too!
With its location on Tingey Street SE, immediately north of the Yards Park
(and surrounded by parking lots used by fans heading to Nationals Park
), the Foundry Lofts building is probably already familiar to many people who've come to Near Southeast over the past few years. It's the first residential component of the huge Yards redevelopment to be coming to completion, and will be the first multiunit residential building to open in the neighborhood since 2009. The renovation of what used to be known as Building 160 began in 2008, but was halted for well over a year at the height of The Economic Difficulties before work began again
in August of 2010.
There is also plenty of construction activity right around the Foundry Lofts that will bring additional offerings to the Yards over the next two years. Just to the north, work has begun on the renovation of the Boilermaker Shops
into a retail pavilion (to house a number of restaurants when it opens later in 2012), and soon work should get underway a block to the east on the second Yards residential project, the apartment building at 401 M Street
that will have a Harris Teeter
in the ground floor. Plus, construction on the Lumber Shed building in the Yards Park to make it a retail pavilion (and home to Forest City's offices, temporarily
) should begin later this year.
For more information, you can visit the leasing trailer now open from 9 am to 6 pm at 3rd and Tingey, SE, or go to FoundryLoftsDC.com
, which hopefully will have some more complete information soon. (There's also their Facebook page
, or Twitter feed
, if you're feeling particularly social media-y about it all.) I haven't made it to the leasing office yet, having been gloriously unplugged in Wyoming for most of early August, but I hope to get there this week. And my Foundry Lofts
page gives additional before-and-during photos of the construction and a few additional renderings, including one of the building's interior courtyard.
Task Force Votes Again to Keep Near Southeast in ANC 6D
Aug 10, 2011 11:47 AM
At a meeting on Monday night, the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force voted 4-3
to keep Near Southeast in ANC 6D, which also includes (almost?) all of Southwest, rather than moving it to ANC 6B, which includes most of southern and eastern Capitol Hill. If this sounds like something I've already posted, it kind of is, because last week the task force voted to create ANC boundaries
that would keep Near Southeast in 6D, but had left open for another vote whether those boundaries should be tweaked to move Near Southeast to 6B.
I was not there, but tweets from attendees indicated that it was a vote that came down to wanting to listen to the many residents of Near Southeast who advocated being moved to ANC 6B versus not wanting 6B to be a 12-member commission if that move were to have happened. (A poll on the task force web site
shows a nearly even split between people wanting Near Southeast moved to 6B versus keeping it in 6D; the comments thread
on the subject also became a bit of a war between residents supporting the switch and mostly Southwest residents wanting Near Southeast to stay in 6D.)
But this is still not the final decision on the matter. The task force will include the unapproved move to 6B in the initial task force proposal "as an information item." The decisions the task force makes are not binding--ward redistricting task forces report to their council members, who can then tweak the proposal if they wish, and then the entire council votes on the proposed new maps. The Ward 6 task force will be attending ANC meetings in September to present their proposal and get feedback, and then will meet again on Sept. 19 before making their final recommendations.
As for how ANC 6D with Near Southeast remaining will be divided into seven single member districts, I was hoping that the task force would post its maps before I got around to writing this, but alas, no. (They say they hope to have the maps posted sooner than their Aug. 18 date for posting their entire initial report.) Unless they plan to stray from the guidelines that look to have SMDs drawn with populations of between 1,900 and 2,100, some portion(s) of the western part of Near Southeast will be part of an SMD with blocks across South Capitol Street, in Southwest.
If you want to try to come up with your own way to divvy up the 14,359 residents of Southwest into seven SMDs, you can play with my redistricting map
. It will let you create up to three SMDs on one map, by clicking on the map to choose one set of blocks, then clicking the "Show Map with Selected Blocks Highlighted" link, then repeating those steps two more times.
But hopefully the proposed map from the task force will be posted soon.
And now back to my mini-break.
Friday Tidbit Overload (Isn't August Supposed to Be Slow?)
Aug 5, 2011 2:30 PM
A slew of tidbits, some already tweeted
, some not:
* The third Truckeroo food truck festival
is now scheduled for next Friday, Aug. 12, from 11 am to 11 pm. They'll keep doing them monthly, through October.
* This isn't news for anyone who's seen the big holes punched in the sides, but work on the Boilermaker Shops
retail space at the Yards
is finally underway. It's expected to take about a year. This is where the new brewpub by the Churchkey folks will be
, along with Buzz Bakery, Austin Grill Express, BRB, and Huey's 24-7 diner.
* Along with their announcement of a new Circulator route that will run from east of the river across the 11th Street Bridge and up 8th St. SE over to Potomac Avenue, DDOT has also announced that the Navy Yard Circulator route will no longer go into the Union Station garage. Instead, it will stop at a new location near the flagpoles in front of the building. There won't be any stop at Louisiana and D anymore, either. (See the DDOT presentation posted by DCist
for the details, with the Navy Yard route stuff being on page 7.)
* The Capitol Hill Day School's blog
is doing a good job keeping track not only of the renovation work at Dent School, but also on the progress on their temporary location at 5th and K, SE. The modular classrooms are arriving
, plus there's now power
* For people who don't stay glued to comment threads (for shame!), ANC commissioner David Garber recently posted with more details about the Georgetown University Health Disparities office
moving into the retail space at Capitol Hill Tower: "I was reassured that this will not be a health clinic, and that it is better to think of it as the research center's "home base" on this side of the city. It will mostly be office space, and employees will spend most of their time outside the office at sites in Wards 6, 7, and 8, facilitating research on environmental health, obesity, and breast cancer research. I was told that no more than five clients would be visiting the office each day -- not as a medical clinic-- but that the space would likely also be used to hold meetings for the center's organizational and community-based task forces/committees."
* President Obama gave a big speech on jobs at the Navy Yard
this morning, which will be notable mostly for how my Google News Alert for "washington navy yard" will take days to get back to normal.
There's probably more than this, but this has already cut into that mini-break I was trying to take....
ANC Redistricting: Near Southeast Stays in 6D, or Does It?
Aug 5, 2011 11:07 AM
On Wednesday night, the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force approved new boundaries
for five ANCs in Ward 6, with a map that keeps Near Southeast together, and keeps it in ANC 6D. However, it also included, as an "option for additional research," preparing Single Member District options that both keep Near Southeast as part of 6D (the Southwest ANC) or move it to 6B (the Capitol Hill ANC).
The committee will have a meeting on Aug. 8 at 6:30 pm to discuss this option along with two other options they are mulling elsewhere in the ward, and have posted on their blog polls for residents to vote on the options under consideration.
Before Wednesday's vote, Near Southeast's current ANC commissioner David Garber sent an open letter to the task force
, indicating that his consituents have made clear that their interests lie with the areas north of the freeway where so many of them eat and shop: "As much as we are similarly scaled and share interests with the Southwest community, residents of Near Southeast simply do not associate with that community in the same way they do with Capitol Hill." And, along with this, he says that residents have made very clear that Near Southeast should not get split between the two ANCs. Garber has also started imploring his constituents (on his mailing list and Facebook page) to make their feelings known to the task force.
The numbers portion of this discussion is worth looking at--right now, ANC 6D07's 2,737 census-counted residents make up 18.8 percent of ANC 6D's population of 14,359. if you move all of those 2,737 residents out of 6D, that leaves the Southwest ANC with 11,622 residents, which will give it only six commissioners, and the layout of the neighborhood would make for a tough set-up to have all the single-member districts reflect the desired 2,000-count population, or even the 1,900 low-end-of-the-range target.
If you move those 2,737 residents to 6B, it ends up with 22,954 residents, which again will make for some interesting decisions on SMD population counts, and would also make 6B at least an 11-SMD ANC, compared to the other Ward 6 ANCs having as few as five or up to nine commissioners. It would also mean that Near Southeast would make up 11.9 percent of 6B's population.
It's also possible the task force could still decide to divvy up Near Southeast between the two ANCs, with the Capitol Quarter area being split off to join an SMD north of the freeway. This decision would keep ANC 6D at seven commissioners and would make the numbers easier to manage in creating new SMDs 6B. (And would then give 16 commissioners from other neighborhoods in two ANCs a whole lot of power over the future of Near Southeast!)
And even if the task force keeps the "status quo," with 6D's boundaries remaining unchanged (which would seem to have been their initial inclination, given Wednesday night's vote), there's still the question of whether an SMD will span South Capitol Street to include portions of both Near Southeast and Southwest, or if the task force will decide to allow for SMDs with fewer than 1,900 residents, which could possibly give Near Southeast two commissioners and raise 6D's total to eight.
Lots of decisions coming down the pike. But, judging by the utter lack of reader interest in my posts on this subject (looking at the dismal traffic numbers and lack of comments compared to other topics I write about, and in comparison to the outcry that erupted when the possibility of moving Near Southeast to Ward 8 was floated), perhaps most residents don't see ANC boundaries and SMD locations as an issue that effects them one way or the other.
A Few Photos Before Downshifting into the August Doldrums
Aug 1, 2011 3:31 PM
I'm anticipating that the next couple of weeks will be pretty quiet, at least the Foundry Lofts
start their pre-leasing on Aug. 15, followed by the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force
release of its first draft of proposed new ANC/SMD boundaries on or about Aug. 18. So here's a bit of a potpourri, and then I'm going to probably take a blog-breather unless really big news breaks. (As always, I'll still be popping up on Twitter
with tidbits here or there.)
A smidge belatedly, I've added the three garages demolished a week ago on the southeast corner of 1st and K to my Demolished Buildings Gallery
, as entries 163, 164, and 165. (It might soon be time to create a Not Demolished Gallery, which would be far far smaller.) I was surprised when digging in my archives to find a couple of photos of the garages still in operation (above), from 2006 and 2007. You can also see how that stretch of 1st has changed since 2003, looking south from K
and north from L
I also grabbed a quick photo
of the progress on the new bridge bring built by the city that will link Diamond Teague Park
to the Yards Park
, scheduled to be completed this fall. (And I guess it's time to also officially get rid of the "floating bridge" nomenclature, because, as we've seen for months, there are big ole' piles in the river.) It'll be interesting to see if usage of the First Base Gate at Nationals Park
at 1st and Potomac increases noticeably next season with this new riverside walkway available. (It will also make arriving at Teague Piers via water taxi to attend events at the Yards Park involve a much more enjoyable walk, compared to schlepping up to N Street and over.)
If you're looking for other links to help kill time over the next few weeks, take a look at the JDLand Headlines
to be sure you haven't missed any big items lately.
Report on ANC Redistricting Listening Meeting for 6D
Jul 29, 2011 11:00 AM
On Thursday night the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force
held its "listening meeting" for residents and interested parties in ANC 6D to get input as to the feelings about the current ANC and Single Member District (SMD) boundaries and what changes people would be either wanting or not completely detesting.
Interestingly, many of the Southwest residents who spoke--starting with ANC 6D chair Ron McBee and longtime 6D commissioner Andy Litsky--spent much of their time focusing on how important it is to keep Near Southeast in ANC 6D. McBee said both areas have lots of similarities, from housing stock to traffic issues to transportation issues (Circulator, etc.) to the need to build retail, and that coming improvements to South Capitol Street
should improve the flow between the two neighborhoods. Litsky, echoing McBee by saying Near Southeast and Southwest "are more similar than dissimilar," also mentioned the coming South Capitol Street reconstruction and how much more difficult it would be to have any sort of negotiations be going on with two separate ANCs in the mix.
Current 6D07 commissioner David Garber did not take a position one way or the other on whether Near Southeast should remain with 6D, saying that he is waiting for his residents to weigh in, but that the vast majority of the feedback he's received so far indicates that residents feel much more "a part of" Barracks Row than Southwest, and that South Capitol Street is much more difficult to cross than going under the freeway. And that while Near Southeast shares a lot of similarities with Southwest, the reality is that a lot of people move to the neighborhood for its proximity to Capitol Hill. Finally, he mentioned the idea that Capitol Hill sees Near Southeast as "their waterfront community."
Residents who spoke at the meeting included Mary Williams, who lives just west of the ballpark in Southwest and who says her community has not been served well by being grouped in with Southwest concerns, and they want to "secede" to the Near Southeast ANC. Other Southwest residents also spoke of how often they go into Near Southeast to go to the ballpark, or the Yards Park. Only one Near Southeast resident spoke, Ms. McCarty (sorry if you're out there, I didn't catch your first name). She said she was "agnostic" about whether Near Southeast is in ANC 6D or ANC 6B to the north, but to please keep all of Near Southeast in the same ANC. She also commented on it being important that Capitol Quarter residents not be cut off SMD-wise from any of the commercial development going on in Near Southeast, since they will be impacted by those sorts of changes and want to have a say.
At the end of the statements, the group gathered around a map of ANC 6D's current boundaries
, and discussed issues. Again, there was very little conversation about Southwest other than some ideas for small tinkering.
There seems to be a desire within the task force to even out the number of single member districts across what will probably be five ANCs, and 6B already has eleven SMDs. So, task force chair Joe Engler brought up the concept of bringing the portion of 6B's western edge near New Jersey Avenue and Garfield Park together with Near Southeast to form a new SMD. Using some of the area just north of the freeway to pair with the eastern half of Near Southeast would create a properly sized SMD (or close to it) and could give ANC 6D eight single member districts rather than seven (or six if the eastern part of Near Southeast were moved to 6B), bringing it closer in size to other ANCs.
There seemed to be positive feedback from the group on this concept, with some discussion of the amount of cross-traffic there is between residents and dog owners of Near Southeast using Garfield Park and dog owners near Garfield Park using Canal Park (before it started construction, at least).
I've mocked up a map
that shows this general idea in a way that the numbers could work, keeping in mind that the green portion below the freeway was counted in 2010 as having 1115 residents and so would need at least 800 residents from north of the freeway to become a full SMD, presuming the task force adheres firmly to the numerical guidelines of 2,000 residents plus-or-minus 5 percent. You can see on the map (or on this one) that 6D02 in Southwest already bumps up to Independence Avenue, so doing likewise on the Southeast side of things would be somewhat symmetrical. And, given that New Jersey Avenue is also slated for a fair number of improvements as part of the South Capitol Street reconstruction
, this would put all of that corridor in the same ANC. It's also possible that the little "notch" near Lower Barracks Row, with only 27 residents, could also come to 6D, though the love of the Virginia Avenue Park by 6B residents might make that a flashpoint.
Of course, as has been discussed repeatedly, Near Southeast's population numbers are already higher than the 2010 census reflects, and with new buildings looking ready to start or open in the next two years at the Yards
, 880 New Jersey
, Florida Rock
, and Half Street
, and with Capitol Quarter
and the Capper redevelopment continuing to be built out, both of these SMDs would see plenty of new residents in the near future, and who knows how many before the next redistricting happens in 2021. (Dear God, don't let me still be blogging when that comes around.)
ANC 6B will be having its "listening meeting" on Monday, Aug. 1 at 6:30 pm at St. Coletta's at 19th and Massachusetts, SE, and the task force blog's list of questions for 6B residents
includes "Is the freeway the proper north-south dividing line? For example, is there an opportunity to move part of a western SMD to ANC 6D that uses the Third and/or Fourth street tunnels to 'connect' the residents on both sides of the freeway?" It will be interesting to see the response, along with how 6B people feel about potentially having their 11-SMD configuration shrunk.
There hasn't been much feedback here in the comments about redistricting--I know I find it more fascinating than most people (it's in my blood, since my father was involved in a lot of Congressional redistricting back in the day), but how do people feel about this concept that Joe Fengler was discussing? And how about the to-be-in-6D-or-not-to-be-in-6D question?
The task force plans to release its first draft of a new map on or about Aug. 18.