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It was a busy ANC 6D meeting on Monday night for Near Southeast-related issues, so I'm going to put it all in a series of posts:
* New Jersey Avenue Underpass Art: The Capitol Riverfront BID gave an update on the "Water Pylons" art installation, which is now moving forward after being "dormant" for about a year. This is the project partially funded by a grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities that will paint and light the pylons holding up the Southeast Freeway in a "modern representation of water that announces New Jersey Avenue, SE as a gateway to the Capitol Riverfront community." The reflective blue paint should go up in July, followed by light fixtures in August, and the installation should be dedicated in September, which will be right around the time that DCCAH moves into its new nearby digs at 225 Virginia/200 I. Passers-by may note that new fences and LED overhead lighting have already been installed along New Jersey as part of the transformation of the underpass. The BID's presentation to the ANC, with more information about the project, is here.
* Parking Parking Parking: There was a discussion about issues with game-day parking in the neighborhood, specifically the prohibition of parking along K and L streets, as well as other restrictions that have made residents unhappy. Damon Harvey of DDOT says that the agency is "reassessing" the current configuration, to figure out how to provide better access to residents while not allowing stadium-goers to then hog all the parking. He expects that changes will be announced in a month or so that will allow for "greater residential protection during games." One other non-game day change for residents has already gone into effect: meters are now turned off at 6:30 pm (but still 10 pm on game days).
However, those who came to the meeting hoping to hear about changes in the Residential Parking Permit system that would allow residents in the high-rise buildings west of Canal Park to park on the street throughout Ward 6 were disappointed, as DDOT continues to hold that large residential buildings in mixed-use neighborhoods will not qualify for RPP. (Harvey used the Ellington on U Street as a specific example of this being the case elsewhere in the city, but there are more buildings in this situation than just that one and the Near Southeast ones.)
Also, in somewhat related news the ANC unanimously passed a resolution protesting the plan in the mayor's new budget to redirect most performance parking proceeds to other areas, such as Metro, rather than their being used as originally intended, to fund non-automotive transportation improvements in the neighborhood.
 

For its May 14 business meeting, ANC 6D is venturing east of South Capitol Street, holding the session at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St., SE, starting at 7 pm. The full agenda isn't posted yet, but a flyer sent around by chair Andy Litsky includes the following items: ANC 6D CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel letter, Update on Canal Park Construction, Discussion of Game Day Parking Issues, and New Jersey Avenue Public Art Piers (which I assume is the "Water Pylons" project that the BID received a grant for a while back).
UPDATE: I bumped this to the top of the page as a reminder, since the meeting is tonight. The agenda has been posted, and now includes an update on the Florida Rock/RiverFront plans, in addition to the items mentioned above along with some issues of importance in Southwest and various races and events that want approval to come through the neighborhood(s).
Judging from a new case filed with the Office of Zoning, it looks like the Florida Rock folks are asking for a one-year time extension on their previously approved PUD, but I imagine that will all be discussed this evening.
UPDATE II: Should clarify that the original PUD extension was through June 27, 2012, which was going to be pretty hard to meet with their filings from earlier this year to change the first phase from office to residential still working through the process. This new request would give them until June of 2013 to either get their requested modifications approved, or revert back to the original approved plans.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings
 

Not much going on, so let's do a pre-weekend roundup, one day early to give you plenty of time to plan your schedule:
* Friday brings the first Truckeroo food truck festival of 2012, from 11 am to 11 pm at the Fairgrounds at Half and M SE. Its Facebook page today listed the truck lineup as including BBQ Bus, Big Cheese, Cajunators, Cap Mac, Chef Driven, Curbside Cupcakes, DC Empanadas, DC Slides, Doug the Food Dude, Hot People, Hula Girl, Tapas, Pleasant Pops, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Sinplicity, Sweetz Cheesecake, and Takorean.
* If you want to walk off some calories, you can also head to the Yards Park for the Friday Evening Concert, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. US Navy Band The Cruisers will be the music act this week, and food will be by Red Apron Butchery, Buzz Bakery, and Luke's Lobster, with beverages by ChurchKey.
* Saturday brings the finale of the Kennedy Center's Street Arts Across America festival with Street Arts in the Park, a day-long event at the Yards Park, from noon to 6 pm. The full lineup of music and events is available on the official web site.
* On Sunday, the Fairgrounds will be celebrating Mother's Day with its first Family Day, from 11 am to 4 pm, with "carnival games and prizes, inflatable and mechanical rides, children's entertainers and live musicians," plus food trucks.
Admission for all of these events is free. And the forecast looks pretty sweet.
And then the neighbors who live in that big building on South Capitol Street will be returning to town on Monday, for a series against the Padres that includes a 1:05 pm game on Tuesday (which is also Weather Day!), and then a weekend series against the Orioles, which should make for big crowds.
 

DDOT is announcing that the the 8th Street exit ramp from the westbound Southeast/Southwest freeway is closing permanently on May 10 at approximately 10 am.
This is the ramp that drivers use coming from Pennsylvania Avenue and Barney Circle, not the one used for 8th Street when coming inbound from the 11th Street Bridge.
The closure is happening because the new flyover for traffic coming westbound from from the 11th Street freeway bridge will be bringing traffic onto the westbound freeway via a ramp that runs right across the 8th Street exit site (this photo of the ramp as seen from 11th Street from back in January shows on the far left where the 8th Street exit is and why it's having to be closed).
The Marines can't be too unhappy about this closure, since the ramp runs right between the two halves of Building 20, which isn't exactly a prime security configuration.
In the press release, DDOT also says that it expects the new ramp connecting Southbound DC-295 (on the east side of the river) with the inbound 11th Street Freeway Bridge (I-695) to open by July 4, and that this "will have a direct connection to I Street at 10th Street, SE" (which is where the current ramp from the inbound 11th Street Bridges is).
As to when/how the other new ramp that will bring traffic up to 11th Street from the Pennsylvania Avenue/Southeast Freeway connector will open, I don't know. There are a lot of traffic flow changes are coming to 11th Street between I and O over the next few months--the new ramp to the outbound freeway bridge from M just east of 11th is looking closer to completion, as is the 11th Street Local bridge. If only someone would get over there to take some photos of the progress! (Well, I did take *one.*)
One of DDOT's spiffy videos detailing all the new movements sure would be handy about now.
 

The Nats have created "NatsLive" this year, a series of three post-game concerts that are free to any ticketholders to that day's game. The June 2 concert with Dierks Bentley had already been announced, but today the news is bopping around Twitter that The Wallflowers will be playing the second concert, on July 21st. (Both games are versus the Atlanta Braves.) No act yet announced for the third date, Aug. 18 against the Mets. Game tickets for all three dates are already on sale.
 

DDOT has announced that a meeting to update the public on the progress of the M Street SE/SW Transportation Study has been scheduled for May 24, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St. SW.
The study area covers the stretch of M from 12th Street, SE to 14th Street, SW, along with the adjacent areas from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway south to the Anacostia River/Washington Channel. DDOT is looking at "how to integrate transit, bicycling and walking with motor vehicle traffic," while also trying to figure out how to balance residents' preferences for how M Street should be configured versus how visitors, workers, and commuters expect it to flow.
The first meeting, back in January, included an introduction to the study before attendees broke up into small groups to give feedback about the issues they feel need addressing.
According to the web site, a draft study report is expected this summer, with the final report and a final public meeting coming in the fall.
 

It's official! The city has declared May 4-6 to be Natitude Weekend, and the Nats have even festooned the Center Field Gate with a new Natitude Park sign. All of this to work at Taking Back the Park from the hordes of Phillies fans that will, despite best efforts, be once again descending on the neighborhood. (Though perhaps they should remember the spankings their team got the last time the teams played, during the final few games of the 2011 season.)
So, residents should be aware that there will be a whole lot more people in the area than for any game since the home opener. The schedule:
* Tonight (Friday, May 4), 7:05 pm.
* Saturday, 1:05 pm.
* Sunday, 8:05 pm. (A rare Sunday night game time, since ESPN has chosen the game for Sunday Night Baseball.)
And, as if getting to and from the neighborhood won't be congested enough, Metro has decided to go forward with a weekend of heavy track work, despite pleas from riders groups concerned about not only the Nats/Phillies game but also the Caps/Flyers game at the Verizon Center at 12:30 pm Saturday. For the Green Line, Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville stations will be closed, and buses will replace trains between Greenbelt and Fort Totten, but there's work on all the other lines as well.
And, even though the game isn't until Sunday night, there are also two midday events in the neighborhood that day that might be drawing people: the LivingSocial Dodgeball Tournament at the Yards Park and the Kennedy Center's "Lunchtime Invasion" street arts event at the Fairgrounds from 11:30 to 1:30.
Plus, tonight is the first of the Yards Park Friday Night Summer Concert Series, starting at 6:30 pm.
If you're coming to the neighborhood for the first time, my Visiting Nats Park page will help you with information on parking, transportation, food options, and things to do outside the park.
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More posts: Events, Nationals Park
 

This flyer, just posted on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project web site, announces that the next public meeting about the project will be on May 21 from 6 to 8 pm at Nationals Park. "During this public meeting, the concepts to move forward in the EIS will be announced." Read my post from Wednesday for more information on the whole EIS thing, and this one from the last meeting to find out more about the initial concepts that were looked at, and that will form the basis for the ones chosen to be studied further.
 

As the Fairgrounds prepares to begin its daily hours on May 4, the outdoor event space just north of Nationals Park at Half and M is also starting to promote some of its non-gameday offerings:
* The Truckeroo food truck festival will be back for another year, on five Fridays this summer: May 11, June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, and Sept. 28, running from 11 am to 11 pm each time.
* There will also be a new "Family Day" event, with a promo flyer describing it as having "carnival games and prizes, inflatable and mechanical rides, children's entertainers and live musicians," plus food trucks. Admission will be free, and scheduled dates so far are May 13, May 27, June 3, June 10, and June 24, from 11 am to 4 pm.
All have been added to my Events Calendar, for future reference.
(Perhaps this is also good timing to finally link to this Housing Complex post from last week showing what the site could look like if it ends up with advertising on the sides of the shipping containers, which WCP says Fairgrounds was soliciting.)
 

Earlier this week the Federal Highway Administration and DDOT gave notice that the in-process National Environmental Policy Act study of CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel project will be switching mid-stream from an Environmental Assessment to a more detailed Environmental Impact Statement study.
Since the outcome of an EA is often the instigation of an EIS, this is probably serving mainly to speed up the process and get started on an EIS that most likely would have been needed anyway. The NEPA web site mentions that "[i]f a federal agency anticipates that an undertaking may significantly impact the environment, or if a project is environmentally controversial, a federal agency may choose to prepare an EIS without having to first prepare an EA," both of which would certainly seem to be ways this project could be described.
If you want to see how extensive an EIS can be, check out the ones completed for the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction and the planned South Capitol Street corridor improvements.
The information already gathered and feedback already garnered during the EA process will be incorporated into the EIS. CSX representatives tell me that they expect the switch to add about six months to the environmental review process, and the project's web site now has a Spring 2013 date listed for the Final EIS/record of decision. CSX has always wanted the project to be done in 2015, to coincide with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, but that timeline is starting to look a bit dicey given that construction has been expected to take 2-3 years.
The public meeting to unveil the chosen "alternative" designs that the EIS is studying is currently being planned. You can read my write-up from the last meeting to see more about the initial group of concept designs, which ranged from expanding the tunnel to building a separate parallel tunnel to leaving the tunnel untouched to closing it and having CSX reroute all their traffic rerouting the double-stack traffic and through traffic out of the city (UPDATED to fix my mistake--there is no proposal that would close the tunnel altogether). (It probably isn't hard to guess which alternatives are preferred by the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association, with CQ's homes on Virginia Avenue standing mere feet away from any construction.) UPDATE: It's been requested that I mention that, while the CQ HoA letter above lists a group of possible signatories, at least three of them (ANC 6B, Barracks Row Main Street, and the Committee of 100) have all already voted against co-signing the letter.
For those blissfully unaware of this project (I wish!), CSX is needing to expand the 105-year-old tunnel that runs beneath Virginia Avenue between 2nd and 12th streets, SE so that a second track can be added and double-height cars can be accommodated. With initial plans calling for the extended closure of Virginia Avenue and a temporary track in an open trench to run trains through during construction, residents on both sides of the freeway have been greatly concerned about how the work will be designed and carried out, which then spurred DDOT to request a formal environmental review (despite this being a project being carried out by a private entity on a right-of-way that they own some of).
My pile of posts over the past few years on the subject may also be enlightening, or may not.
UPDATE: This flyer just posted on the VirginiaAvenueTunnel.com web site says that the next public meeting, announcing which concepts will be looked at in the EIS, is scheduled for May 21 from 6 to 8 pm at Nationals Park.
 

I've learned today that mega-developer Toll Brothers has purchased the Square 699N land directly north of the Velocity Condos building on 1st Street SE for $24 million, with the intention of building a 250ish-unit residential building.
This land has been owned by the Cohen Companies since their purchase of the entire block bounded by 1st, Half, K, and L in 2005.
In fact, the garage and below-grade structure for the Toll Brothers lot is already built--that's why you see all the funny beige boxes on the land, covering vent shafts and other infrastructure items. Cohen had planned to move forward with a sibling for Velocity soon after it completed the condo building, but that never came to fruition.
This would be Toll Brothers's first building in DC proper, I believe, but they have plenty of offerings in the Metro area. And, as I found out today, they don't just do single-family homes (White Flint Station is an example of a condo building of theirs in the area). UPDATE: SWill from across the way mentions in the comments that TB bought White Flint Station after it was completed and converted it to condos from apartments. Apologies for the assumption.
More to come on this, I'm sure. And it will no doubt be seen as another indication of the strength of Near Southeast's residential market.
[And I should add that Cohen still owns the third lot on the block, along Half Street.]
 

A press release sent out on Tuesday is trumpeting the sales of two of the buildings in the "Capitol Yards" lineup, 909 New Jersey and the Axiom at 100 I Street, the completion of a pending deal that I first wrote about in January. However, back then, residents in Axiom's sibling, the Jefferson at 70 I, were also notified that their building was under contract, but that deal apparently didn't complete with the other two. The 448-unit Jefferson was the priciest of the three offers, at about $165 million, compared to about $94 million for the 245-unit Axiom and $95 million for the 237-unit 909.
Did the Jefferson's residents go out back with metal detectors and find the $165 million needed to purchase the property themselves? Or are there a few more i's to dot and t's to cross to finish the deal? Or is something else afoot?
In the 100 I and 909 New Jersey sales, the buyers are "institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management."
The three buildings were completed by JPI back in 2008 and 2009, but the recession hit the company hard and eventually two of its executives boltered to partner with folks from Akridge to form the Jefferson Apartment Group. But 70/100/909 apparently remained part of JPI's holdings, as did the empty lot at 23 I Street where JPI's fourth apartment building had been planned, until it was foreclosed upon and picked up by Ruben Companies in late 2009. The three buildings, completed in 2008 and 2009, have been managed by Greystar ever since JPI sold its property management division to the company.
UPDATE: I'm hearing chatter that residents of 70 I did form a tenant association to attempt to buy the building themselves, which then adds some additional time to the deal to allow the residents to find financing to match the initial offer. Anyone from the building want to chime in?
 

After a west coast swing that sputtered a bit at the end, the Nationals return home today for the rest of the week, starting with a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks before the weekend's touted Take Back the Park games against the Phillies.
The $2 tickets for tonight's game against the D-backs sold out pretty quickly once it was known that this would be 19-year-old Bryce Harper's first home game in the big leagues, but it is the first night of MLB All-Star balloting, with Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Rick Ankiel, Michael Morse, and Jayson Werth all on the ballot. Wednesday is $1 Hot Dot Night, and Thursday May 3 is a "drawstring backpack" giveaway for the first 20,000 fans (Half Street entrance only) as part of "MLB Network Day."
Look for big crowds over the weekend during the Phillies series, and note that the traditional Sunday post-game "Kids Run the Bases" offering will be on Saturday this week, since the Sunday game is a rare 8:05 pm start (thanks to it being ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball game). Also, the Fairgrounds will reopen on Friday, at 11:30 am.
Before Sunday night's game, the six newest members of the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame will be honored. At the top of the list is the late WUSA sportscaster Glenn Brenner, who you DC newbies would not remember but who was much beloved before he died of a brain tumor in 1992. Other inductees include NBA star Adrian Dantley (who lived across the street from me on the DC side of Western Avenue back in the day), Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, Joe Gallagher of St. John's College High School, journalist Sam Lacy, and UDC's Bessie Stockard.
If you haven't ventured to the stadium yet this season, my Visiting Nats Park page will give you information and links on how to get there, and what there is to eat and see nearby.
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

The Yards Park folks are announcing today that the annual Yards Park Friday Evening Concert Series will be back again for 2012, running for an expanded 20 weeks, from May 4 through Sept. 14.
New this year is that the lineup of musical acts is going to be selected by OnTap Magazine, and that food will be provided by Red Apron Butchery, Buzz Bakery, and ChurchKey. (Buzz Bakery is one of the tenants slated to come to the Boilermaker Shops, and of course ChurchKey is the sibling of Boilermaker's Bluejacket brewery.)
The food options are described thusly by the press release: "Red Apron, a small-batch producer of locally-made and handcrafted charcuterie from Chef Nate Anda, will serve a variety of artisan hot dogs with housemade condiments. Buzz Bakery, a bakery and coffee shop led by award-winning Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac, will offer seasonal treats such as baked goods, ice cream, popsicles and fresh juices. Greg Engert, who manages the beverage programs at Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, Rustico and other area restaurants, will oversee a weekly rotating selection of hand-selected craft draft beers and wines." There will also be a rotating lineup of second food vendors each week, such as familiar food trucks Stix, BBQ Bus, Luke's Lobster, Dutch Mill Catering and Doug the Food Dude.
The music will be a "wide range" of styles, including jazz, Top 40, country, salsa, and reggae.
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More posts: Events, The Yards, Yards Park
 

After the flurry of the past few months, real news is taking a bit of a breather. In the meantime, here's some reading material I've scraped up, so that it doesn't look like I've completely quit working:
* Joel Osteen Ministries' "America's Night of Hope" is coming to Nationals Park on Saturday--here's the Washington Post's story on Osteen and the plans for the event. Doors open at 5:30 pm and the festivities start at 7 pm, if you're wanting to plan your evening around the crowds. If you're coming to the neighborhood for it, my Visiting Nats Park page can help you find your way.
* Want to know how the Nats Park field is cared for, and who takes care of it? The Post profiles head groundskeeper John Turnour and his work.
* A reader tells WashCycle about being stopped from biking on the Navy Yard portion of the Riverwalk. That promenade has always been signed as prohibiting bicycling, but with increased publicity for using the Riverwalk as a biking trail (including Tuesday's ribbon cutting of the new bridge across the CSX tracks), the issue of bicycles along the Navy Yard/Yards Park/Teague stretch is going to keep bubbling up, perhaps even moreso when the new 11th Street Local bridge opens soon with its wide pedestrian/cycling paths making the connection between both sides of the river even easier.
* Speaking of that new 11th Street Local bridge, much streetscape work has been done recently on O Street (new pavement, curbs, and brick paver crosswalks), and it looks like the concrete should be poured before too long to complete the connection from O to where the bridge begins to rise above the river. Maybe I'll actually get over there with my camera soon.
* Speaking of streetscapes, there's a new sidewalk on L Street between 1st and New Jersey, to go with the new sidewalk on Half between I and K.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID would love it if you'd fill out either their residential survey (if you live in the neighborhood) or the employee survey if you work here.
* Jonathan O'Connell at WaPo looks at how developer Opus East hit the skids, right as it was trying to finish 1015 Half Street. (Opus was also the developer behind 100 M, but it was completed before everything truly fell apart.)
* The Mayor is having a Ward 6 Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Town Hall Meeting tonight (April 25) at 6:30 pm at Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol Street.
* The next meeting of Police Service Area 106 is on Saturday, April 28, at 10 am at the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE.
What else is going on?
UPDATE: Adding a link to Washington City Paper's profile of "The Nautical Yards", a "site-specific dance and theater piece inspired by the Washington Navy Yard" being performed at the Yards Park Thursday through Saturday (April 26-29) at 7 pm. Premium seating is $30, general admission is free.
And I should probably remind that tickets for Springsteen at Nats Park on Sept. 14 go on sale Friday (April 27) at 10 am.
 

While much of my time on Opening Day each year is spent racing around getting pictures of the festivities, it's equally important to me as the first time after a multi-month lull that I can go to the various viewpoints on the upper deck and get updated photographs of how the ballpark's immediate surroundings have changed.
On the ballpark's western side, overlooking South Capitol Street, there's now the Camden South Capitol apartment building rising out of the ground, more than four years after the lot was cleared in preparation for construction. While technically this new 244-unit building is outside of my boundaries, I've taken enough photos of the western side of South Capitol Street over the years to maintain a pseudo-project page, where you can get the basics on the development and some before-and-afters but where I'm not going overboard in documenting the building's arrival. The photos above were taken from the ballpark's northwest viewing platform, and you can see the other images I've taken from that perch since my first visit there in September 2007.
If you want some additional views to the west, I have a series of before-and-afters from the small opening at O Street near the elevators, including these looking straight out O:
Meanwhile, on the ballpark's south side, there's two changes since last summer worth getting photos of: the completed Riverwalk bridge between Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park, and the clearing of the Florida Rock site. And, since my 2007 "before" shots are from the time that Potomac Avenue and First Street were being reconstructed, and long before the waterfront started getting spiffed up, the transformation is pretty striking, though you can tell that I had my wide-angle lens in 2007 but had to settle for stitched-together images this time:
You can browse my many variations of these before-and-after Anacostia River views, both to the southeast and to the southwest. And, note at the top of these pages the links to other "on high" photographs from various rooftops around the neighborhood.
(PS: Apologies for the site's extended outage on Thursday--a botched move by my hosting company to upgrade the hardware of my shared server resulted in what to you was a nearly seven-hour outage but to me was the equivalent of a couple of ice ages.)
 

The Marine Corps will be getting the wheels moving again in what has been a stalled quest to build a new barracks and associated support space, putting the word out Wednesday via the project web site and a newsletter that it will be using the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process "to continue the dialogue with the community of stakeholders" going forward. However, it's also now clear that "federal land acquisition will be unavoidable as a result of recent unforeseen changes in policy and a less favorable funding outlook."
In other words, the potential for a public-private development partnership as discussed in the 2010 series of public meetings is falling by the wayside, and the federal government will have to own the land that the new barracks is built on. (Though the Marines say they "will continue to investigate opportunities to collaborate with the District of Columbia to minimize impacts to the local tax base and pursue all viable options[.]")
During 2010, the site selection process had narrowed the slate down to three potential locations: the site of the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters/MBW Annex at 7th and Virginia, the former Exxon site at 11th and M on Square 976, and "Squares 929/930," the two blocks bounded by 8th, Virginia, 9th, and Potomac controlled by multiple landowners, including a joint venture between Madison Marquette and ICP Partners. Wednesday's newsletter, posted by the Washington Business Journal, says that squares 929, 930, and 976 will be analyzed in the environmental impact statement, but that the Annex site is now ruled out for the required 100,000 square feet of housing, though it could be used for the needed 60,000 square feet of "support space."
However, given that there's also mention of analysis of "any additional sites that are identified within 2,000 feet of the MBW Main Post at 8th and I," one wonders if some of the sites ruled out in the original CIMP process might come back to the table, such as the old Capper Seniors site at 7th and M ("Square 882") that the Marines coveted so much given its location just to the south of the Annex, even though the DC Housing Authority officially requested in May 2010 that the Marines stop looking at it. The Virginia Avenue Park would also fall within that 2,000-foot perimeter, but the park's devotees mobilized pretty successfully two years ago when the Marines initially eyed their turf, as did the parents at Tyler Elementary when its playing field was on the original site list.
The Marines do say they are still committed to many aspects of the original CIMP, including working "collaboratively with the community and stakeholders" (and the city), and also to the concept of "[r]educed security standoff distances for the urban environment."
Expect a formal announcement in "late summer" of the NEPA process.
If you haven't been following along (or weren't around in 2010), this site search has all come to pass because Building 20, the fortress just north of the freeway at 8th St. SE, suffers from "serious antiterrorism/force protection and quality of life deficiencies," with reuse of the site ruled out because of the expanded "standoff distances" now required in this War on Terror era. It's those new-era requirements, though, that have many in the area concerned about what sort of negative impacts a new barracks could have on its surroundings. Feel free to browse back through my many posts on the process for more details.
 

Diverse Markets Management, the company which was overseeing the "market" portion of the new Fairgrounds shipping container market and events space on Half Street, alerted its vendors and other exhibitors via e-mail that "[a]fter much deliberation, DMM has concluded it must drop out of this project, effective immediately."
In the e-mail, DMM executive director Michael Berman said he was sorry that the plans didn't work out, having had "high hopes for the venue," but: "Taking a hard look at the site, I believe it cannot support retail, vending, artists or farmers as we had imagined that it might. I think the space is well designed to serve alcohol products and that the stage, sound, and food trucks compliment that use, but the vending and retail aspect does not fit in at all, without a complete redesign, which is not envisioned."
In what is probably related news, the Fairgrounds web site now says that it will be open "daily" (i.e., operating on non-game days in addition to game days) beginning May 4. The food, drink, and entertainment portions of Fairgrounds's operations were not being handled by DMM and presumably will be continuing. I've reached out to Fairgrounds developer Bo Blair to find out whether another vendor will be brought in to try to revive the market aspect of Fairgrounds' plans, and will update with any information I get.
UPDATE: Describing the Fairgrounds team as "disappointed" that DMM pulled out after only five days of business, Bo Blair had this to say via e-mail:
"From the beginning of the Fairgrounds concept, we all were very aware that the retail aspect was going to be a difficult task. Unfortunately, DMM was not the right fit. We are fully committed to moving forward quickly with a host of other vendors, artists, real estate brokers, and entrepeneurs who see the incredible potential to create something unique and interesting on the site. We did not go out and spend over $350,000 and waste an incredible amount of time and effort to have the containers sit empty. We will fill them soon. The other aspects of Fairgrounds, such as the food trucks, The Bullpen, games, and live music have been very well received. We have many events planned for the summer and will be open daily starting May 4th. We look forward to new ideas and concepts to fill the container stores as soon as possible and are excited for the great season ahead."
 

I didn't really intend to go completely off-grid for a long weekend, but a road trip to and from north Florida didn't leave me much time or energy for blogging. What did I miss?
* I assume everyone's heard by now that Bruce Springsteen will be playing at Nats Park on Sept. 14. Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 27 at 10 am at tickets.com. (If I'm not showing appropriate enthusiasm, I apologize, but Springsteen just hasn't ever really done it for me. I think I was permanently scarred by everyone around me going so crazy for him when I was in college, during the whole Born in the USA era. I just hid in my room and listened to R.E.M., and U2, and the Smiths, and Squeeze, and Elvis Costello, and....)
* The Nats' current homestand continues for the rest of the week, with tonight being the first $2 Ticket Tuesday of the season. Then there's Neighborhood Night on Thursday, April 19, followed by the season's first Pups in the Park game at 1:05 pm Saturday, April 21, and Kids Opening Day at 1:35 pm Sunday, April 22.
* If you're not availing yourself of tonight's $2 Ticket Tuesday, perhaps you might want to check out the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce's session on real estate development in and around Capitol Hill, which will be focusing on the areas east of South Capitol and south of East Capitol, which includes Near Southeast. Tommy Wells is scheduled to be part of the lineup. It's from 7 to 9 pm at the Meader Theater (NCC's new home) at 535 8th St., SE.
* Saturday, April 21 is Lantern Making Family Day at the Yards Park, as part of the lineup of events as the Cherry Blossom Festival comes to a close. There are two sessions, at 10 am and noon, followed by a parade/procession through the park.
* It's a bit outside my boundaries, but residents and others may be interested to know that the new Anacostia Riverwalk Trail Bridge crossing the railroad tracks just north of Pennsylvania Avenue will be opening on April 24.
And, some non-event tidbits:
* Square 696, the block bounded by I, K, Half, and First owned by DRI and Jamestown and originally branded as "The Plaza on K," is apparently being relaunched as "Congressional Square," though that doesn't seem to have filtered down to any web sites just yet. It's still an 825,000-square-foot office and retail project.
* On Opening Day, I noticed a lot of cars parked in the fenced-off lot on the southeast corner of 1st and M SE that belongs to the former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building. I asked Forest City about it, and they said that they will offer parking in that lot for certain games where big crowds are expected, but aren't planning to make it available for daily use.
* In the 700 block of Virginia Avenue, the Miles Glass building and the auto repair shop next door are no more, but at least they are now permanently enshrined as entries #168 and #169 in the Demolished Buildings Gallery. A parking lot is expected to be built for temporary use, while the National Community Church works on its plans for a larger events space on the site.
 

It was a little more difficult than it looked like it would be (and had a bit of a crazy finish), but the Nats got a win for their sold-out 2012 Home Opener, winning 3-2 in the 10th thanks to a wild pitch.
It's not hard in this world of social media to find photos from Opening Day, but that doesn't mean I can pass up the opportunity to post my own, for those of you who weren't there (or even if you were).
I have two galleries for you browse through: my shots from around the stadium (both looking inside and looking out), along with images from the opening ceremonies. (I leave the photos of the game itself to others.) And now I think I shall take a bit of a breather!
UPDATE: Shoot, meant to include links to my previous Opening Day galleries (and more), if folks wanted some memories....
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