Fairgrounds Soft Opening Today, with Food Trucks
Apr 3, 2012 9:52 AM
The shipping container market known as Fairgrounds
is having its soft opening today in concert with the 3:05 pm Nats-Red Sox exhibition game
, with food trucks available for not only for Nats fans but for residents and office workers, from 11 am to 8 pm at Half and M streets, SE. Red Hook Lobster Pound, DC Empanadas, Curbside Cupcakes, Tasty Kabob, and Big Cheese will all be on site.
The "official" opening is planned for April 12
, the day of the Nats home opener. I'm guessing that's when the market will actually open.
I visited the site about an hour ago, and they were still working hard, and the food trucks weren't on site yet. It looks like they'll open up the interior up at the Das Bullpen end of the street, but as I predicted, this is really just a chance to sell some food and drinks
. The market portion of the project isn't anywhere in evidence yet.
They're Ba-aack: Nats Exhibition, Then Wounded Warrior Softball
Apr 2, 2012 4:13 PM
The fifth year of baseball at Nats Park
gets underway Tuesday (April 3), with an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox
at 3:05 pm, followed immediately by the 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Amputee Celebrity Softball Classic
Tickets for the Nats game also are good for the softball game, and a portion of the proceeds from tickets purchased here
will go to the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team
. Celebrity participants include
Mayor Gray, Jack Evans, Mike Isabella, Bryan Voltaggio, David Gregory, Darrell Green, Johnny Holliday, Luke Russert, and all other manner of local TV and radio personalitiies.
(Plus, the first 20,000 fans get a 2012 Schedule Magnet!)
If you're a resident, watch for some crowds and additional traffic, and of course beware of roving bands of marauders with Massachusetts accents.
The Nats' 2012 season officially begins on Thursday in Chicago versus the Cubs--they'll arrive back in Washington for their home opener on April 12, against the Cincinnati Reds. (If you're wanting to know when the team will be at the ballpark throughout the next six months, see my Events Calendar
, where only the home games are entered.)
'Diamond in the Rough': WaPo Looks at Neighborhood's Progress
Apr 1, 2012 10:27 AM
[I'm just back from a week in Florida (hence the spring training pics
), and today I'm celebrating the ultimate April Fool's joke (getting married in Vegas 12 years ago today!), so I'm going to ease back into the blogging thing.]
The Washington Post has a big A1 piece today
by Marc Fisher looking at the area around Nationals Park
, as well as the performance of the team and ballpark from an economic standpoint, in the four years since the ballpark opened.
For people who follow the neighborhood closely (i.e., JDLand readers), there's probably no new nuggets of information, but it's good as a "reset" piece if perhaps you haven't followed every twist and turn since the Nationals first came to DC in 2004.
There's also some additional detail and points of view from across the South Capitol DMZ, which of course I don't generally write about here. [Though, ugh, "Capitol Street"?]
"The worries that [council member Jim] Graham, former mayor Adrian Fenty and other opponents shared about the ballpark becoming a financial dead weight seem to have been for naught.
"In the past three years, the ballpark fee, a tax levied on the city's 1,800 largest businesses, has brought in $85 million, double what the city had projected. Sales taxes at the stadium have lagged behind estimates because of lower attendance, but the city's overall take has been so strong that millions in excess collections have been used to balance the D.C. budget. The gusher of tax dollars will allow the District to pay off the 30-year stadium bonds as much as 12 years early, which will let the city scrap the business tax sooner than planned[.]"
If you want to know more about what's changed just within the past few months around the stadium, my new Visiting Nats Park page
has a "What's New" rundown
, along with much more information and photos
from the stadium's construction and big events. Or you can click on the map at above right on the home page (or visit my full project map
) to dig in more deeply to what's happened not only since the ballpark opened but going back to 2003.
[Full disclosure: while I worked on the big map graphic
that accompanies the article, I had zero to do with the article itself--though I think my web site helped out!]
Capper Milestone: Capitol Quarter Townhouses Now Sold Out
Mar 29, 2012 9:40 AM
It's a real milestone in the redevelopment of Near Southeast to report that the entire stock of townhouses for sale at Capitol Quarter
has now sold out.
The first reservations for units were taken in October 2006
(remember the people camping out?), construction began in summer 2008
, Phase 1 finished construction and Phase 2 reservations began in 2010, and now, with construction underway on the last group of houses on L between 3rd and 4th, the finish line for the project is not far away.
The development has been the third phase of the Hope VI redevelopment
of the old Capper/Carrollsburg
public housing project, replacing the old housing with nearly seven blocks of brightly painted rowhouses, containing not only 130ish market-rate townhouses (a few of which have broken the $1 million barrier) but also 90ish special workforce-rate
houses for smaller incomes, in addition to nearly 90 subsidized rental units.
Those units, combined with the 300 built at Capper Seniors #1
and 400 M Street
, mean that more than half of the 700 units in the old Capper have now been replaced. The rest are slated to come in five mixed-income apartment buildings
, located on the west side of 3rd Street, on L Street south
of the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, and on the DPW/trash transfer station site at New Jersey and K. No timelines have been announced for any of the remaining buildings, but you can see on my main Capper page
a map with estimated unit counts for each.
I've taken a lot (a LOT) of photos of the Capper footprint since 2003: my Capitol Quarter Phase 2
and Phase 1
pages give a good overview, or you can just pick a spot along 3rd, 4th, or 5th Streets in my Photo Archive
and take a look.
Slightly Off-Topic: Checking Out that *Other* Nationals Ballpark
Mar 27, 2012 9:17 AM
I had an opportunity on Monday to make a trip to Viera
for my first-ever Spring Training game, to see the Nationals beat the Houston Astros, 7-4. While sitting in the warm Florida sun for a few hours watching baseball was the top priority, I did arrive with camera in hand, and so couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a bunch of pictures of the Nats' other stadium.
The Nats will be back at their real ballpark
one week from today, for an exhibition game on April 3 against the Boston Red Sox. The home opener is now just a smidge over two weeks away, on April 12 against the Cincinnati Reds.
Monday Tidbits: Justin's Block Party and Farther-Off Events
Mar 26, 2012 10:05 AM
I'm going to be a bit scarce this week, so here's few events-related tidbits to keep the home page from having the equivalent of electronic tumbleweeds blowing across it:
* Justin's Cafe
has now posted the information on its April 14 block party
, both on Facebook
and its new JustinsCafeEvents.com web site
. It will run from 11 am to 9 pm, offering a line-up of local craft brews (including "beer trucks" from Port City Brewery and DC Brau), and 106.7 The Fan FM will be broadcasting from there. "All ages welcomed, 21 and over to drink." Money is also being raised for free youth baseball and softball programs through the DC Grays
and S.M.A.R.T. Camps and Clinics. (The Nats play the Reds at 4:05 pm that day.)
* On April 1 (well, April 2, technically), the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator bus
starts its summer hours, running from 6 am to 9 pm weekdays and 7 am to 9 pm Saturdays, with extended service on Nationals game days.
* The Southwester reports
that there's a Neighborhood Night
at Nationals Park
on Thursday, April 19. "The team will honor the vibrant spirit of the neighborhood by featuring local residents in various pregame activities, including throwing out the first pitch, delivering the lineup card and greeting the players as they take their positions on the field." Near Southeast and Southwest residents can also get discounted tickets to games throughout the season, but I'll make you follow the link to find out about that!
* A bit farther down the pike, the Kennedy Center is presenting "Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America
," a week-long festival showcasing all manner of free performances and events from May 6-12. One of the May 6 kick-off events will be from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Nationals Park and the Fairgrounds
(old Bullpen) on Half Street, and the closing event on May 12 from noon to 6 pm will be at the Yards Park
Thursday Tidbits: Minutiae from Wandering the Streets (and Twitter)
Mar 22, 2012 3:38 PM
* Shipping containers have been arriving
at the Fairgrounds
(Bullpen) site. (They say there's going to be a "preview" event on March 30--looks like a lot of work to do in eight days. But the real opening is supposed to be
in time for the Nats' season opener on April 12.)
* Greenery is arriving
at 200 I/225 Virginia
, and the sidewalks are done. Apparently the fences will be moved back sometime next week to keep the building perimeter secure but to allow the sidewalks to be used. (In other words, the "street sidewalk" will finally disappear.) There should also be repaving and crosswalk striping around the site coming in early April.
* Framing is racing along on the stretch of Capitol Quarter
townhomes on 3rd south of L.
* Curbs are going in on 2nd Place next to Canal Park
and the pavilion.
* The cherry trees in the Center Field Plaza at Nats Park
are budding, but don't look on the verge of popping yet. Perhaps they can hold on until April 3.
* Yesterday we were talking about the possibility of a little BOOM
, but here's what might happen 'round these parts if there's a really BIG BOOM
* The Post writes about the neighborhood
as part of the big Mega RealEstate focus on walkable communities, and keys in on the fact that the area has a number of different names. (For the record, it's not like I made up "Near Southeast"--I was just following the city's lead
.) Within a few hours, though, Greater Greater Washington may have solved the problem by pointing us to the area's late-19th-century moniker: "Bloodfield
." Wouldn't that work great for ballpark headlines? ("Phillies Dismembered at Bloodfield.")
Anything else folks are seeing?
A Little Present Left Over from the Old Days at 1212 4th
Mar 21, 2012 2:51 PM
When a "suspicious package" alert went out on Twitter
this morning about the 1200 block of 4th St. SE and 400 block of Tingey being closed, my Spidey sense tingled a bit, given the recent speculation in comment threads
that the halt in digging at the planned 1212 4th St. apartment building/Teeter
project at the Yards
was because of an "UXO" (unexploded ordnance).
Since no one's reported any big BOOMs in the intervening time, the clean-up must have proceeded according to plan. The question is, will there be any more surprises once digging resumes?
UPDATE II: While we're all enjoying being a bit flip about all of this, it is of course a serious business to be doing this excavation with such items laying around. Forest City tells me that the work is being done in accordance with guidelines from the Army's Explosive Ordnance Division, and that indeed over the past several weeks sitework has needed to be stopped temporarily because of the unearthing of "munitions debris." Each time, the police department's bomb squad is called in, who then determine whether the EOD folks from Ft. Belvoir should be called in, as they were today.
Forest City also says that it's anticipated that most buried artifacts and debris are found within the first 10 to 15 feet of soil when excavation, so once they get past that level, they expect the finds will trail off. And, it's not just munitions being found--foundations of several homes that were on site prior to the lot being used by the Navy have been found, as well as a Civil War-era cannon.
But the company does want to emphasize that "public safety and the safety of the site workers are paramount for Forest City, so we will continue to strictly abide by the established practices and involve the qualified technicians whenever and as soon as necessary." This includes having a former Navy munitions expert on site at all times as a "spotter," and using a two-part method when excavating, scooping the dirt from the hole in small quantities and spreading it out to be looked at and cleared before it's then scooped into a truck for removal from the site.
Whether this will impact the timeline for 1212 4th's construction depends on how many stoppages there end up being.
Coming to Nationals Park, or Just to the Neighborhood? A Guide
Mar 20, 2012 11:24 AM
Do you know what's two weeks from today? The Nationals' first home game of 2012, an exhibition against the Boston Red Sox. And the home opener is a mere three weeks and two days away, when the Nats play the Cincinnati Reds on April 12.
This means a lot of people will be returning to the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards neighborhood for the first time since last summer, or might even be venturing in for the first time ever thanks to the buzz around the team's potential. So I've created a new page: Visiting Nationals Park
, which brings together links and information both about the ballpark itself and what's available and interesting outside the stadium.
I'm sure it'll be updated with more items as Opening Day approaches, but I figured I'd go ahead and get it out there
now (especially to help everyone in the media getting ready to write their annual What Is/Isn't Happening Near Nats Park pieces!).
March 28 Meeting on Potential 11th Street Recreation Bridge
Mar 19, 2012 3:16 PM
This was mentioned last week when the news first came out
, but now there's confirmation via a flyer from the Office of Planning
that an "informational meeting" will be held on March 28 at 6:30 pm about the "Potential Recreation Reuse of 11th Street Bridge, SE."
If you missed the hullabaloo, the city is looking at the notion
of reusing the structure of the soon-to-be-abandoned downstream/outbound 11th Street Bridge
as a recreation destination, linking both sides of the Anacostia River "in a unique and dramatic way."
And there's also now a page on the OP web site
about the project, noting that no decisions have been made or even committted to on the project. The page also makes sure to mention that "actually seeing this project realized will be very ambitious and challenging." A design competition will be held later this year, and apparently the process will "involve local youth in generating ideas." And, as Lydia DePillis noted
, there will have to be a "significant level of partnership with the private and non-profit sectors" in order for this to work.
will be held in the DCRA office space at 1100 4th St., SW. Bring your ideas!
Tidbits: Miles Glass Raze Permits, Navy Yard-Ballpark, More
Mar 19, 2012 11:57 AM
Couldn't leave all these morsels until the normal Tuesday Tidbits slot:
* More Demolitions Coming
: Raze permits have now been approved for the Miles Glass building at 8th and Virginia
and its next-door neighbor, the closed auto repair shop at 7th and K
. National Community Church
, which owns the lots and others on the same block, said back in January
that a temporary parking lot and "community green space" will be coming to the site while the church continues to work on its final plans for the site, which in the past have been described as
being a combination of coffee house, performance space, and church offices.
* Bike to Work
: May 18 is DC's Bike to Work Day
. One of the pit stops
is the Yards Park
, from 7 to 9 am, and you get a t-shirt if you register and then stop at your designated pit stop.
* Bridge Recreation
: If the notion of the "11th Street Recreation Bridge
" captured your fancy, you can see some additional stories on the idea by Lydia DePillis
, and WJLA
notes that the city isn't intending on paying for this entire thing itself, and a decision needs to be made by May whether or not the new 11th Street Local bridge
will have the bulb-out viewpoints built (they'd be unnecessary if the current downstream bridge was being kept). WJLA
, on the other hand, mentions that "some" are concerned it "could become a hotbed for crime"--which led to a fun Twitter back
that devolved into using the new bridge for a Jason Bourne/James Bond-type chase sequence.
* Mobile 'Hood
: The Capitol Riverfront BID has launched a mobile version of its web site
, which uses your phone's GPS to give you information on food, developments, and events near your location.
And, of course, if you want to know what your current location looked like before all the changes started happening, you can go to my mobile site (m.jdland.com
) or jdland.com/here
on your phone and you'll get my oldest photos looking in each direction from the corner nearest to where you're standing. (Read more about how that works
: DCMud looks
at the plans for the Half Street Fairgrounds
(which I broke the news of
back in February), with a few neat new renderings. And then the piece drops a mention at the very end that "DCRE Real Estate" is handling the retail leasing for the project--that's DCMud's company, and the writer of the blog post is also the agent handling the leasing. (Just in case you like to be aware of those sorts of things when getting your news.) In the meantime, a few shipping containers were spotted
on the site last week.
Ward 6 Dems Holding At-Large Candidates Forum Tuesday
Mar 19, 2012 8:27 AM
Unless you live and breathe politics (and who in DC does THAT?), you might not even be aware that DC is having its primary election day on April 3
, and while Ward 6's council member Tommy Wells is not up for reelection this time around, Ward 6 residents do have the at-large council race to vote in (in addition to the presidential election and the DC delegate/shadow rep races).
To help get to know the candidates, the Ward 6 Democrats are hosting an At-Large Candidates Forum tomorrow, Tuesday, March 20, from 7 to 8:30 pm at Brent Elementary School at 301 North Carolina Ave, SE. The forum will be moderated by WTOP's Mark Segraves, and the event is free and open to the public.
Running are Vincent Orange (the current seat holder), E. Gail Anderson Holness, Peter Shapiro, and Sekou Biddle (all Democrats), Mary Brooks Beatty (Republican), and G. Lee Aikin and Ann C. Wilcox (Green Party).
Early voting for all races
starts today (March 19) at One Judiciary Square. From March 24 to March 31, early voting expands to seven additional locations, including the King Greenleaf Rec Center at 201 N St., SW. For more information about the election, go to the Board of Elections web site
New Boilermaker Shops Brewery to be Called Bluejacket
Mar 16, 2012 9:44 AM
The Washington Post reports today
that the Neighborhood Restaurant Group has now decided on a name for the brewery it is bringing to the Boilermaker Shops
at the Yards: Bluejacket
, which it says is "historically a term for sailors in the US Navy."
The brewery also now has a web site
, a Twitter feed
, and a Facebook page
. And an "Established 2013" tagline, so that's another confirmation that they don't look to be opened before the end of this year.
The brewery will be located on the eastern end
of the Boilermaker Shops building, fronting 4th Street SE.
Navy Yard Security Exercise May Impact Navy Yard
Mar 16, 2012 9:44 AM
Something to keep an eye out for
next week in the areas right around the Washington Navy Yard
"Exercise SOLID CURTAIN-CITADEL SHIELD 2012 will be conducted on naval bases and installations throughout the National Capital Region from March 19-24, 2012.
"This annual exercise is designed to enhance the training and readiness of Navy Security Forces to respond to threats to installations and units. Exercise SOLID CURTAIN-CITADEL SHIELD 2012 is not in response to any specific threat, but is a regularly-scheduled exercise.
"Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions to normal base and station operations, but there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic around bases or delays in base access. Area residents may also see increased security activity associated with the exercise."
[And yes, I'm making a point with that headline.]
Tuesday Tidbits: Best Evaluated by Volume, Not Weight
Mar 13, 2012 9:19 AM
So many Tweets
recently, such small items. Let's see how short I can keep them:
* Justin's Cafe is looking to have a block party
on Saturday, April 14 (when the Nats and the Reds play at 4:05 pm), and ANC 6D has supported the request to close 1st Street between K and L. (Thanks to SWill
for, once again, picking up my slack.) Still probably some bureaucratic hoops to jump through before all is confirmed. This was moved from
Opening Day so it would be on a weekend, Will says,
* New striping and bike lanes were installed Monday on I Street SE between South Capitol and New Jersey.
Anything else going on these days? Besides that sandwich shop opening?
Let's add the elephant parade
! Starting tonight at 8 pm, on the southern edge of Garfield Park at the train tracks where Virginia crosses under New Jersey, says WTOP
: I sent a lackey
down to Potbelly to get a few opening-day shots
. Hope he's not expecting to get reimbursed for his lunch.
Could Old Outbound 11th Street Span Become Recreation Bridge?
Mar 12, 2012 12:15 PM
, the city is apparently looking at the concept of transforming the downstream, soon-to-be-abandoned outbound 11th Street Bridge
into an "11th Street Recreation Bridge
," calling it an "opportunity for a destination linking river trails and recreation amenities."
This PDF from the Office of Planning
(interestingly, it has the file name "Constituent Request.pdf") has a couple of concept drawings, some graphs about development in the surrounding areas, and keeps mentioning a "proposed design competition" to generate ideas for how the span could be used after the new 11th Street Local Bridge opens this summer.
There's been back-room chatter for a while that Office of Planning director Harriet Tregoning has been interested in preserving one of the existing bridge spans as a potential "High Line
" for Washington, DC, and there have also been calls from various residents (including Near Southeast's own Man About Town David Garber
) to build some sort of pedestrian bridge linking the two shores of the Anacostia River.
that DPW (? maybe OP?) is holding a meeting on March 28 at 6:30 pm on the concept, though I can't find any press releases or anything about it on dc.gov.
I'll be interested to see how it's proposed to get people up to it from the western shore, given that the approach to the old bridge is supposed to be demolished in order to complete the new 11th Street Local bridge's "arrival" at street level near 11th and O
, and then allowing two-way traffic to run on 11th Street by the Navy Yard.
I'm guessing there will be plenty of chatter about this to come!
Potbelly Opening for Business Tuesday at 10 am
Mar 11, 2012 10:03 PM
Unless things fall apart in the final few hours, the Potbelly Sandwich Works
at 301 Tingey St. SE should officially open for business on Tuesday, March 13, at 10 am. (At least, that's what the sign says
!) On Sunday afternoon workers were on site getting training, and on Monday there will be a dress rehearsal/dry run for "friends and family
It will be open from 10 am to 7 pm seven days a week, and, if you're unfamilar with Potbelly's menu, you still have a little time left to bone up
Canal Park Construction Issues Push Back Opening Date
Mar 8, 2012 2:50 PM
There's been a lot of positive news in the neighborhood of late, but news today from Canal Park
will be disappointing to many residents and observers: Because of "major underground obstacles" that weren't found until workers started digging, the park's underground storm water system is having to be completely redesigned and then approved by DC Water.
According to Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association
, this has bumped the schedule by about four months, and November 1 is now the expected completion date. (Just in time for ice skating!)
Canal Park is of course also where Xavier Cevera's Park Tavern restaurant
is anticipated to open, which means that its opening would be pushed back as well.
Harry's Reserve First Anniversary Events This Weekend
Mar 8, 2012 1:09 PM
Harry's Reserve, the "fine wine and spirits" store at the corner of New Jersey and I SE, is celebrating its first anniversary (how the time does fly!), and are getting out the word about some events over the next three days to mark the occasion.
Tonight and tomorrow (Thursday and Friday), they are having wine tastings from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Then, on Saturday (March 10), they are throwing a barbeque out front from 1 pm to 5 pm, and tastings until 7. They are also raffling off more than 15 bottles of the good stuff.
Details on all the offerings will hopefully be up on their Facebook page
--I'd reel off the entire list of wines and spirits they are making available during these tastings and for the raffle, but then we'd just have a conflagration in the comments about how the Ruca Malen Malbec is soooooooooo much better than the De Martino Legado Syrah, and how the Three Saints Pinot Noir was so much better until the hipsters discovered it, and then I'd have to start suspending people, and there'd be rioting.
A (Virtual) Walk on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail's Western Side
Mar 7, 2012 9:48 AM
What a gorgeous spring day we appear to have on tap today! Wouldn't it be a lovely day for a nice stroll along a riverfront? Near Southeast, Southwest, and Capitol Hill denizens (plus a lot of the #bikedc crowd) are familiar with the neighborhood's portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
, but now that the bridge
between the Yards Park
and Diamond Teague Park
is complete, giving the main portion of the trail a connection to Nationals Park
, non-residents should get a reminder to experience what is a path unlike any other in Washington.
So I've put together a new page
covering the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail (Near Southeast Portion)
that acts as a sort of virtual walk along the river, from 1st Street SE to the 11th Street Bridges and a little beyond. (If I weren't so lazy, I'd take on the entire trail, but maybe later.) There's also a few before-and-afters to remind people of how far the trail has come in a relatively short time.
A lot of the photos on this new page
may be familiar from my other project pages, but I think it was worth it to give this amenity its own home. And there should be some updates over the next few months as the 11th Street Local bridge is opened and the work begins on the portion of the trail that runs beneath the bridges, not to mention the paths on the new bridge itself that will make for an even easier link to the trail's eastern side that runs through Anacostia Park. And I'll try to get some newer photos of the section from 11th Street to the Sousa Bridge, and perhaps beyond.