Near Southeast DC: Past News Items
- January 2008
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Morning Link Roundup: Ballpark, Velocity
Jan 31, 2008 9:25 AM
Lots of ballpark and other news stories today:
* In case you missed it, last night I posted about the Feb. 9 and Feb. 21 job fairs
for part-time and seasonal work at the ballpark
has sold 21 units since opening its sales center in November, according to this press release
touting the development as the "fastest-selling new condominium project in the District of Columbia, and one of the strongest sellers in the entire National Capital Area."
* Coverage of Kwame Brown's hearing on the noose incident
at the ballpark is available from The Post
, and NBC4
. You can watch the hearing here
once it's posted, and read Brown's press release
on the hearing.
* The Laborers' International Union of North America, a major supporter of the ballpark's Project Labor Agreement, issued a report saying it should be a model for future projects in the city, and that more than $12 million has been injected into DC neighborhoods thanks to stadium paychecks to local workers. LIUNA says that 72 percent of all apprenticeship hours have been performed by District residents, while 87 percent of all new apprentices are from the District. (The report also touts the ballpark as being on-time and on-budget, though perhaps that budget part refers to the actual construction and not the land acquisiton costs, which have definitely gone over budget.) Reports on the union's numbers are on Tim Lemke's blog
and at the Post
* The media apparently got brought in to see the scoreboard on Wednesday, and NBC4 has a piece
on it (ABC7 mentions it in its labor piece
* Washington Times columnist Tony Knott rails
about neighbors of the ballpark who are "coming up with apocalyptic visions" about the 41,000 "Ken and Barbies" coming from the suburbs to the ballpark, writing that urban dwellers who initially are drawn to a city's walking distance to services and entertainment turn against the "crush of humanity", "eventually endeavor to transform their stretch of the urban jungle into the Shenandoah Valley."
* Ballpark and Beyond
in today's District Extra is a roundup of short takes from around Near Southeast, including the closing of Domino's
and the demolitions on First Street
, the Blue Castle's debut on Facebook
, Gifford's ice cream coming to the ballpark
, and Chocolate City
, the documentary about former Capper/Carrollsburg residents and gentrification in Washington.
* Dear Leader picked
to throw out the first pitch? (Hint: it's not the Dear Leader you might be thinking of, and it's SATIRE, people.)
It's 11:35 pm....
Jan 31, 2008 12:36 AM
.... and the council hearing on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking plan
has just ended.
You guys owe me. (Though at least I'm home in my fuzzy slippers watching the telecast.)
But despite there being more than six hours of testimony (which I need to admit here I missed the 90 minutes of, since it wasn't broadcast), I don't really see a lot of new headlines, especially if you've been following along
as I've posted on this bill over the past six weeks or so. Here's my impressions of the 4 1/1 hours I did see (I'm guessing the part I missed was a tutorial on the basics of Performance Parking, which I've now seen three times):
* The vast majority of the witnesses who testified were in support
of this plan to regulate curbside parking in areas near the ballpark. Residents, business owners, smart growth advocates, and others expressed concerns
about certain aspects of the bill
, but there were only two people (unless I dozed off somewhere) that came out completely against it. Five ANC 6D commissioners testified (Litsky, Sobelsohn, Hamilton, McBee, and Siegel, and Moffatt was supposed to but wasn't there).
* DDOT director Emeka Moneme says that his agency expects to release specifics on the bill
(streets, enforcement hours, meter prices) by the end of next week
(so, Feb. 8ish).
* What parking is going to be like on Opening Day
was not addressed during the portion of the hearing I saw, which at this point is probably as pressing as any other issue. You can see my report from last week's town hall
on Opening Day parking information that filtered out during that session. This may be part of what DDOT is releasing next week.
* Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement
. Witness after witness hammered on this point, that all the plans and fines in the world won't work if there isn't strict enforcement of whatever rules are put into effect. Tommy Wells did mention that more enforcement can be handled by the same number of workers under this new plan, since with printed receipts from kiosk meters a parking attendant only needs to check a vehicle once to see if it's within it's legal time limit, rather than showing up once to inventory the cars that are parked in a zone and then return hours later to see which ones are still there and parked illegally. Jim Graham seemed a tad bewildered that Ward 6 residents want *more* enforcement, when so many of his Ward 1 constituents complain about too much enforcement. His comments about lack of resources at DPW and "only so much of the pie" didn't go over too well. Moneme said that he has assurances from DPW that "the resources will be there."
* The desire for strong community involvement
in not only the setting of rates but in determining the success of the plan was another theme hit on repeatedly by witnesses who fear that the draft version of the bill gives all power to the mayor and the executive branch without any sort of community input or council oversight. Wells, Moneme, and Jim Graham all seemed to get religion on this point, pledging to make sure that some sort of mechanism is in place to involve the ANCs and get feedback from businesses and residents.
* Guest passes
are still a thorny subject, especially whether people will try to copy them (they're going to have holograms) or create a hot black market by selling them. Church parking
is equally delicate, though Tommy mentioned the possibility of starting Sunday enforcement of parking laws at 1 pm, to better accommodate churches but prevent all day parking by baseball fans.
* Moneme mentioned a number a times the idea of being able to pay for your parking via your cellphone
(which could also send you an alert when your meter was about to expire), although this raised the hackles of witnesses who envisioned Nats fans and Capitol Hill workers repeatedly "feeding the meter" from their seats in section 401 or their desks in the HOBs. (Tommy said that this could probably be addressed.)
* Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID
testified in support of the plan, but said that the BID feels there should be no on-street parking at all on game days in the blocks north of M
between New Jersey and South Capitol, because of the likelihood of traffic congestion. He also asked for the plan to be expanded south to cover Buzzards Point, and mentioned that future revenues from the parking plan should go to amenities such as streetscape improvements and Canal Park
I believe they will attempt to get this passed at the Feb. 5 city council legislative meeting as emergency legislation, though I don't have that confirmed.
If you want to watch the hearing, you'll be able to do so at your leisure
, once it's posted and when you have 25 percent of a day to spare. I'll be checking it out when to see the first portion that I missed, and will update if there's additional news.
Ballpark Job Fairs Announced (Feb. 9 and 21)
Jan 30, 2008 7:39 PM
, official word that two job fairs
for parking, catering services, security, maintenance, cleaning, and guest services jobs at Nationals Park
will be held on Saturday Feb. 9 and Thursday Feb. 21 from 10 am to 2 pm at Greenleaf Recreation Center
at First and N, SW.
* The positions, most of which are part-time and seasonal, are open to persons ages 18 and older
(including senior citizens).
* The Nationals are going to be looking with particular interest at residents of Ward 6 who will not need parking to get to jobs at the stadium
* Residents who have little work experience but who are "reliable and willing workers" will be considered for positions that they have the skills for.
Make sure to read the entire post
on Tommy's site for additional details if you're interested in applying.
The notice doesn't say how many jobs the Nationals are looking to fill.
Ballpark Scoreboard Video Testing
Jan 30, 2008 4:05 PM
(Bumping this up in case people missed it yesterday. Today the display is putting out widescreen video, so it looks like they finally found the HD channels!)
Various Nats message boards have noted that the huge HD screen that makes up the Nationals' scoreboard
is now undergoing testing, as you can see on the Stadium Web Cam
. It started on Monday at around 11:30 am, first displaying the DirecTV logo; today's 10:39 image looks like, I dunno, turtles? (And, yes, this also means that the press box web cam is back up again, after having taken a breather for most of the past two weeks.) I don't know if they're still planning the big Super Bowl watching party for the stadium workers on Sunday, but if so, it's good to be checking out the screen more than a few hours in advance, so that someone doesn't end up having to stand up on the eastern parking garage with a really big set of rabbit ears ("Does it come in okay now? How about now?").
Thursday Zoning Commission Hearing on 1111 New Jersey
Jan 30, 2008 1:39 PM
On Thursday (Jan. 31) at 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission is having its Capitol Gateway Overlay review hearing
for 1111 New Jersey Avenue
, Donohoe's office building at the corner of New Jersey and M. As I've written before
, this project has been expanded to include 220,000 square feet of office space with 5,700 square feet of ground-floor retail in a 130-foot-tall glass-facade building, and is now subject to a CG review
because of acquiring some land from WMATA that fronts M Street. This was presented to the ANC two weeks ago
, which did not support the project because of the lack of a community benefits package.
The Office of Planning is recommending that this project be approved by the Zoning Commission; you can see the OP report here
, which lays out point-by-point how the project stands up against the various CG requirements. There's also a request for a zoning special exception to waive a rear yard requirement; the Board of Zoning Adjustment approved a similar waiver request back in May
, but they're having to apply for the exception again because the building has grown in size since the BZA ruling, so there's now more building inside the rear yard area.
Producing the Pope, Noose Hearing, Parking Hearings
Jan 30, 2008 9:21 AM
This morning's tidbits:
* It doesn't say anything about smoke machines or laser light shows, but this press release
announces that "Showcall, Inc., an event production company based in Maryland, was selected by the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. to produce Pope Benedict XVI's public Mass
at the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium
on April 17, 2008." As for what that means: "Showcall, Inc. will provide stage and set design and layout, audio visual production, and overall show direction of the public Mass. Showcall will utilize its unique skill set in producing high-profile, high-threat level events and will coordinate with the Washington Nationals to host the first major event in its new baseball stadium. Showcall will work closely with GEP Washington, the overall DMC firm for the visit."
* Kwame Brown's Committee on Economic Development is having its hearing on the ballpark's "noose incident
" today at 1 pm. I don't see it on the Channel 13 lineup
, but perhaps it'll get shown live or will be broadcast later on.
* Today's two hearings on parking issues
in front of the council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment are at 5 pm and 6 pm. My "real life" is on overload for the next few weeks thanks to Super-Duper Tuesday and the metro-area primaries, so I can't make these hearings in person, but I will watch the coverage
later this evening and sum up.
* There's also now a joint hearing
between the Public Works committee and Kwame Brown's Committee on Economic Development on the Ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan
(TOPP) scheduled for Feb. 28 at 6 pm
. There should be explanations at this hearing as to how all aspects of getting to and from the ballpark
are going to be handled (at first, at least). I believe that this information will be released to the public well before Feb. 28, though I don't know exactly when.
Monday's Public Meetings (Parking, Half Street)
Jan 29, 2008 1:47 PM
Last night ANC 6D
held a special public meeting to decide whether or not to support Tommy Wells' Performance Parking bill
when it has its council hearing on Wednesday
. I was unable to attend, but reports from my vast network of moles indicate that the ANC will be supporting the bill, albeit it while "expressing strong concern" over some still-outstanding issues. (We'll find out what those are during Andy Litsky's testimony at the hearing.) The ANC vote was 4-2.
At almost the same time, the Zoning Commission held a brief special public meeting to take up the series of minor modifications
that Monument Realty requested to its design for the east side of Half Street (yes, the area that's already under construction
). I talked about these in slightly more detail a few weeks ago
when this first came to the Zoning Commission; the ZC declined to approve these as part of its consent agenda at that meeting because the commissioners wanted a little bit more clarification, which they got in the filings for this second hearing. The only question that came from the dais was why Metro nixed the wire mesh panels with LED lights that Monument had originally envisioned as the walls around the Navy Yard station entrance at Half and M--the reply was that, in addition to weatherproofing concerns, Metro wanted its security people to be able to see into the station by shining a light from a car on the street, instead of having to go into the station. The wire mesh is now being replaced with a glass "frit" (yes, I had to look it up
, too) that will be backlit with the lighting scheme Monument wants. With that, the commission approved the request 5-0; all the minor modifications are explained in the Office of Planning report
Tuesday Morning Linkage and Notes
Jan 29, 2008 9:21 AM
A few small items:
* There's been a competition to design the altar for the Pope's April 17 mass at Nationals Park
, says The Post
: the winning entry "uses a pattern of overlapping arches that is repeated on all the pieces, including the altar's base. [...] The chair has a very tall back with the papal coat of arms. The front of the pulpit, from where the pope will read, features images from the Bible."
* Howard University's student newspaper, The Hilltop, writes about
Saturday's Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair: "The [Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Framework Plan], which calls for 6,500 units of new housing, 3 million square feet of new office space, 32 acres of new public park space and a 20-mile network of riverside trails, appeals to residents of wards 6, 7 and 8 who share a common interest in improving the area. 'I was surprised to find out that so much construction has already taken place,' said Anne Holdbrook, a resident of Anacostia. 'I hope that they continue the re-development because there are so many abandoned buildings that are around that make the place look very unattractive[.]' " (See my summary
of the fair, too.)
* The DC crime reports data feed
is back on line. However, apparently they've re-run all the data from 2006 and 2007, and feed consumers like myself are supposed to ditch the data previously downloaded and replace it with the new versions. With the files being H-U-G-E, though, it's going to take some time for me to do this. (UPDATE:
Ahem. Guess that didn't take as long as I thought. This crime data archive
is now updated.)
Parking Hearings: Testimony Deadline (Now Passed)
Jan 28, 2008 12:58 PM
Buried in my Saturday morning update, I mentioned that there is now a second hearing on parking scheduled for Wednesday (Jan. 30) in front of Jim Graham's Committee on Public Works and the Environment. In addition to the originally scheduled hearing on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking bill
, there is now also a roundtable on "Parking Management Strategies for New Columbia Heights Retail Development and the New Ballpark", where "DDOT will present data and strategies." The roundtable begins at 5 pm, followed by the hearing on Tommy's bill at 6 pm
. If you want to sign up to testify at either of these sessions, you need to do so by 5 pm Jan. 28; information on how to do so is contained in the new revised hearing notice
to note the passage of the deadline, to avoid misunderstandings.)
Photo Update: N Street, 55 M, Willco, 23 I
Jan 28, 2008 11:02 AM
I wandered around on Sunday for a photo session, wishing that spring would hurry up and get here so that the sun will rise higher during the day and set farther west so that I can stop dealing with the damn glare whenever I face southward.
* I have new images along N Street just north of the ballpark
between Half and First, which show the work at the entrance plaza at Half Street, including glass now being installed on the ground floor of the western parking garage, as well as the structures that will make up the entrance gates.
* In fact, I updated all 12 angles of the Half and N intersection
, which now that it has its new wide sidewalks, curbs, streetlights, and an initial paving job, is really a stunning testament to 24 months of change
, not only on the four corners of Half and N but the blocks to the north as well. It's definitely worth a look.
* I took a lot of photos of the now-demolished Willco stretch
along First Street (and gave the project its own page as well), and of course I got all the usual angles
of 55 M Street
* On Half Street between I and K, where JPI's 23 I Street
residential project is expected to start this year, a pile of red-and-black advertising banners have been hung on every available surface, and a "JPI Permit Parking only" sign has appeared on the entrance to the former towing company's parking lot on that block. I'm guessing JPI's purchase of the property just closed. I haven't heard anything about potential start dates for this project, or when the Wendy's might close.
, 23 I
, 70/100 I
, Capper New Apt Bldgs
, Monument/Half St.
, Square 743N
, Square 697n
, Nationals Park
, Square 701
WashTimes Near Southeast Overview
Jan 28, 2008 9:53 AM
The front page of this morning's Washington Times has "Office, Condos Flock to Be Near Nationals
," highlighting the development that's exploded in Near Southeast over the past few years. Regular readers of JDLand will be familiar with most of it, and there isn't any news in there that I haven't posted on (though there might be some new tidbits for those who don't keep up with news items here on a regular basis). If you're looking for more information on any of the projects mentioned in the article, just click around the map at the top right of JDLand
to your heart's content. You can also read my 2008 State of the Hood
for a more detailed overview of the projects currently under construction and what's in the pipeline for 2008.
Waterfront Fair Tidbits (250 M, Bridges, More)
Jan 26, 2008 7:22 PM
This afternoon's Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair
appeared to be very well attended, at least during the 90 minutes or so I was there. (Even Marion Barry showed up.) There were three long tables of displays and information from city agencies, commercial developers, and non-profit organizations, and Near Southeast was well-represented--JPI
, Monument Half Street
, Williams C. Smith (250 M Street
), Forest City (Capper/Carrollsburg
, The Yards
), the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association
, and the ballpark
all had people on hand. (There was also plenty of swag--hope you didn't miss out on your DC WASA lanyard!)
Two news items I came across:
* First, confirmation that 250 M Street
will start construction in either late spring or early summer, although they don't yet have any office or retail tenants to announce.
* Second, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement
for South Capitol Street
(including a new Frederick Douglass Bridge
) is going to be released on February 8, with a public comment period to follow. There are two build alternatives that would reconstruct South Capitol Street and the Suitland Parkway (and its interchange with I-295), but neither has been identified yet as a "preferred" alternative. (No design from the four options for a new Douglass Bridge has been chosen yet, either.) There will be public meetings in late February about the Draft EIS, and the web site
will be updated soon with information on the draft. I'll write more about this when the Draft EIS is officially released, but it's this study that will decide whether a big traffic oval is built at South Capitol and Potomac, and whether the South Capitol/M interchange could be reconfigured into an "at-grade" intersection (i.e., no more tunnel).
I should have asked about the status of the reconfiguration of the 11th Street Bridges now that that EIS
is complete, but I could never get close enough to the table to talk to anyone. (See update below.)
Other developments such as the Southwest Waterfront and Hill East had displays as well, but since my brain can't process anything outside of my borders, you'll have to hunt down information on those projects elsewhere.
I'm finally looking through the pile of flyers I picked up, and here's a few timelines in the official brochure for the event (they're called "targeted schedules", so best not to pen them in just yet):
* Douglass Bridge Replacement
: Begin construction Spring 2010, complete in Winter 2015.
* 11th Street Bridges Replacement
: Begin construction Spring 2009, no completion date listed.
Also, the 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City at the site of the old Capper Seniors building
at 600 M
has a Spring 2009 start date in one of Forest City's flyers. The other Yards start/completion dates in the brochures are on target with what I've written about previously (see my Yards Phase I page
Lazy Saturday Tidbits: Demolitions, Hearings, Noose
Jan 26, 2008 11:12 AM
A few items:
* This week the three low-rise buildings at First and N across from the ballpark met their maker, and have now joined the Demolished Buildings pantheon
. The 55 M web cam
shows that Normandie Liquors remains standing, for now.
* In addition to the official council hearing on Wednesday Jan. 30 at 6 pm
on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking bill
, there's now a public roundtable hearing on "Parking Management Strategies for the New Columbia Heights Retail Development and the New Ballpark
," starting at 5 pm
. (Apparently Jim Graham is interested in trying a Performance Parking-like plan near the new DC USA project.) There will be a presentation of data and strategies by DDOT at this hearing. Both sessions will be in Room 412 (note that this is room change for the 6 pm hearing).
* The Post has "Ex-Worker Calls Noose Incident an Overblown, 'Stupid Prank'
", where fired worker Stephen White says a co-worker threw a tied rope to him and said, "Steve, I made you a necktie." He says he threw it back, and "I guess it fell on the floor. I got fired because somebody put a noose together to put around my neck." The Post says: "White said he never picked it up and did not know whether the co-worker had." A second worker--who White said was the thrower of the noose--was fired as well.
Documentary on Capper and Gentrification
Jan 25, 2008 3:02 PM
DCist alerts us
to a new documentary, Chocolate City
, which looks at gentrification in DC by following the story of the 400 families at Capper/Carrollsburg
who have been moved out as part of the Hope VI redevelopment of the project. There will be a screening on Saturday night (Jan. 26) at Busboys and Poets at 2021 14th St., NW at 11 pm, and two other screenings
in the next two weeks.
Reminder: Anacostia Community Waterfront Fair
Jan 25, 2008 2:53 PM
Reminding everyone that tomorrow (Sat. Jan. 26) from 1 to 5 pm
is the Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair
, which will "provide information to residents about the billions of dollars worth of development and transportation projects underway along the Anacostia Waterfront. [...] District government staff, developers, public officials and non-profit partners will be ready to discuss the status in developing and planning of highly anticipated projects including Hill East Waterfront, the Anacostia Riverwalk, Poplar Point, replacement of the 11th Street Bridges
, The Yards
and the replacement of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge
The event will be at St. Coletta's, 1901 Independence Avenue, SE, which is next to RFK, and across the street from the entrance to the Stadium-Armory Metro station. I don't know what the parking situation will be. Questions should probably go to DDOT at (202) 673-6813.
Yes, I'll be there, roaming around desperately hunting for new tidbits, so say hi if you see me--I'll be the rapidly aging redhead in glasses. (That should narrow it down.)
South Capitol and M Domino's Closing - Parking?
Jan 25, 2008 12:22 PM
Thanks to sharp-eyed reader E. for the tip that there's now a sign on the Domino's
at South Capitol and M
that says they are "moving" to 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue. Monument Realty
owns the land--I haven't heard of any plans for developing it (it's a pretty small spot), but perhaps a few stadium parking spaces could be squeezed in. I'm checking to see what might be transpiring....
Monument has told me that they are indeed "currently negotiating a parking deal for the property." Note that it's not a done deal. It's an 8,000-square-foot lot, if anyone's interested in doing the calculations of how many spaces could possibly be placed there (if the Domino's building were demolished).
And I just called the Domino's (because, ahem, I know the number by heart) and they said they're closing Monday (Jan. 28). And really, they're not moving to 15th and Pennsylvania, because that's an already existing Domino's location. The number is (202) 546-3030 if you need to update your speed dial.
Ballpark Workers Fired After Noose Incident
Jan 25, 2008 8:20 AM
Ick. From the AP: "Two construction workers at the new Washington Nationals ballpark
are being fired after a noose was found at the site. Officials with the city and electrical subcontractor Truland Systems say the noose was found Tuesday in a break room for construction workers. The decision to fire the Truland workers came after Truland and the joint venture building the stadium met with the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. Truland spokesman John Jordan said that the company is deeply appalled." The Post
has more details on the incident, the investigation, and an earlier incident between a Truland worker and African-American electricians. And here's the Examiner's piece
Council member Kwame Brown sent out a statement
late Thursday night calling himself "outraged": "I will fight tooth and nail to discover the truth of what happened. I will also do what's in my power to ensure that companies with a proven history of discriminatory practices never get contracts or do business with the District of Columbia. Hate crimes will not be tolerated." The release goes on to say that Brown "is also considering a measure that would require the District to take into account the proven discriminatory history of a company and its employees when awarding city contracts" and will hold an oversight hearing on the incident next week.
Here's the joint statement
from the DCSEC and Clark/Hunt/Smoot.
Future Stadiums - A Modest Proposal
Jan 24, 2008 9:51 PM
To: Dan Snyder, owner, Washington Redskins
To: Victor MacFarlane, owner, DC United
Dear Sir: I am writing to offer my services to photograph and blog about the construction of your 26,000-seat open-air soccer stadium at Poplar Point
, should it come to pass. Please contact me for more information about my salary requirements.
(What, you think I'd do this for FREE ever again?)
Tommy Blogs About the Town Halls
Jan 24, 2008 1:24 PM
Just posted on TommyWells.org is an entry from the councilman himself
, summarizing some of the concerns he heard from residents at the two Performance Parking town halls, and how he thinks his plan addresses them. Issues such as enforcement, lack of surface lot options from the Nationals, people who don't want their blocks included in the plan, and the idea that the plan somehow actually is *encouraging* stadium-goers to park on residential streets (uhhhhh....?) are addressed by Tommy. There's also links to post or e-mail your comments. You can also read his Curbside Parking Management Proposal
page, my two summaries
of the town halls, and my original post
explaining the plan if you haven't gotten caught up yet.
Ballpark and Beyond This Week - ANC Wrapup
Jan 24, 2008 10:52 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column
is a shortened summary of last week's ANC 6D meeting; but here's the links to my more detailed reports on the what transpired at that meeting with 1111 New Jersey
, an alley closing request
by Monument Realty, and Florida Rock
And, since it's been a busy week, you might have missed my 2008 State of the Hood
, which rises above all the daily minutaie to look at what's happened in Near Southeast in the last 12 months and what's coming in 2008; if you're coming late to the party and are looking for an overview, take a few moments to browse it.
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