Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - January 2009
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Pre-Weekend Roundup
Jan 30, 2009 12:57 PM
Some little items to head into the weekend:
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is going with a Best of the 80s theme for its Riverfront Reel summer outdoor movie series, and has a survey up to determine the most popular flicks. (Though let me just say that the omission of Die Hard has me white with rage....)
* DDOT is holding an "Anacostia Waterfront Forum" on Feb. 17 at the MLK Library at 6:30 pm, "on the role that replacing the 11th Street Bridges will have in creating a more inclusive and sustainable Distrct."
* Also from the BID, news that the Earth Conservation Corps has scheduled a dedication ceremony for Diamond Teague Park on April 28. I've been told that if all goes "as planned," the construction of the in-water structures (the docks and the piers) should be completed by Opening Day, though the plantings and other work on the dry-land portion of the park would be completed by the beginning of July.
* Greater Greater Washington is not happy that the US DOT is having a "sale" on its parking spaces.
* City Paper's Housing Complex blog is bewildered about where this Capitol Quarter "neighborhood" might possibly be. (Teh Google probably could have answered that.)
* The US Department of Justice and some Shell Oil entities are nearing a $2.1 million settlement for damages and cleanup costs at the Southeast Federal Center (now the Yards) after what the feds allege was benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene contamination of soil and groundwater "from leaking underground storage tanks located at a former filling station adjacent to the contamination."
* I did attend last night's zoning hearing on Akridge's Half Street project, and will post a summary when I recover from the nearly four-hour session. But I did hear that the bus garage on the site will be demolished pretty soon, to make way for temporary parking. Both Akridge and Monument are talking with the Nationals about providing their spaces for gameday parking. (Monument has told me that their underground garage at 55 M--and the little addition to the south--will be complete by Opening Day.) That's a lot of spaces that weren't around last year....
* DCRA has restarted the Building Permits feed. And there was much rejoicing.

Artomatic Valentine's Weekend 'Experience'
Jan 30, 2009 9:05 AM
From the Capitol Riverfront BID newsletter: "Luck of the Draw, presented by Artomatic, The Pink Line Project and The Capitol Riverfront BID, will transform selected residential building units, lounges, courtyards and parking lots with photography, sculpture, graffiti art, live music and DJ's to create a three-day art and music experience in the Capitol Riverfront. The event is free and open to the public on Friday, February 13th from 6-9 pm, Saturday, February 14th from 6-9 pm, and Sunday, February 15th from 2-6 pm. All locations are within a two-block walking distance around the Navy Yard Metro. E-cruzer shuttles will be running between the event and Barracks Row restaurants at Eastern Market for pre/post-event dining. Luck of the Draw kicks off the BID's partnership with Artomatic, leading up to hosting six weeks of Artomatic '09 this summer in the Capitol Riverfront." Here's the Artomatic flyer. No details as to locations.
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Reminder: Akridge/Half Street at Zoning Commission
Jan 28, 2009 9:30 PM
Thursday (Jan. 29) at 6:30 pm is the Zoning Commission Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for Akridge's planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project along Half Street. You can read my summary of the project plans as presented to the ANC a few months back for details; the ANC voted to support this plan at their January meeting. (I still don't have any renderings--I hope to soon!)
There's also the Office of Planning's hearing report for the project, which was prepared a few weeks ago; it says that OP is "very supportive of the project" but was unable to make a recommendation at the time of the report because it required additional information. I believe there's been some back-and-forth between Akridge and the planning office since then, but details will have to come at the hearing. The OP report is a good offering if you want a pretty detailed analysis of how the project stands up against the CG Overlay requirements as well as explaining the various exceptions and variances being requested.
If you don't feel like schlepping down to the Zoning Commission offices at 441 4th St., NW at 6:30 pm (and there's no one who understands that more than me), you can watch the proceedings on live webcast (no archived offerings, though). I imagine I might send a Tweet or two, if there's something worthwhile.

Special ANC 6D Presentation Meeting on Feb. 2
Jan 27, 2009 7:45 PM
With developers of three large projects needing to make presentations, ANC 6D has decided to have a separate presentation meeting on Feb. 2 in advance of its Feb. 9 monthly business meeting. And all three are Near Southeast spectaculars:
* The Housing Authority will be there to talk about the various modifications it's seeking to the Capper PUD, in advance of its March 19 Zoning Commission hearing;
* DDOT will be making a presentation on the final South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement (this includes the plans for the new Douglass Bridge), which I wrote about a few weeks back; and
* Forest City will be making a presentation about the park at the Yards (I believe these are the designs for Phase II, which include the various pavilions and the docks and marinas). The National Capital Planning Commission will be taking a look at Yards designs at their Feb. 5 meeting, and the Zoning Commission hearing on the park's second phase is scheduled for March 2.
The meeting is at the ANC 6D offices on the second floor of 1501 Half Street, SW, at 7 pm.

More Office Leases Signed at 100 M
Jan 27, 2009 1:58 PM
While everyone continues to nervously eye the commercial real market, Opus East has continued to sign tenants at 100 M Street. In addition to Parsons (who signed for 30 percent of the building's space early on), deals have now been completed with Battelle's transportation group (about 6,000 sq ft) and NAVSEA contractors CDI Marine (6,000 sq ft) and Orbis (7,400 sq ft). This brings the building to about 43 percent leased, according to Opus, with contracts closed to be completed for another 8,000 sq ft.
As for retail, SunTrust is still planning to open a branch there (perhaps as early as this spring, but nothing's confirmed), and Opus continues to look for a restaurant (or restaurants) to fill the remaining 8,500-sq-ft of ground-floor retail space.
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First Hints at Changes at the Ballpark for 2009 Season
Jan 26, 2009 5:35 PM
While it's outside of my jurisdiction to blog about what the Nationals do to further their goals of winning baseball games, I do consider it part of my mandate to keep an eye on that big building they hang out in. So, with that, here's some hints for what will be coming at the ballpark in 2009, from Chico Harlan's transcript of Stan Kasten's remarks at NatsFest:
* There will be big changes to the Red Porch restaurant in centerfield, which was the last part of the ballpark completed ("We literally got it the day before the season opened," Stan said). Here's how he describes what's coming: "What's gonna happen there is the walls you see now out there where it says Red Porch are being blow[n] out, and it's going to open up right into the ballpark with tables out into the stands. The other wall into the plaza is being blown out; we're having the patio with seats on the plaza with a firepit out there. And of course we're changing the floors and the walls and the menu, so it's going to be a much different experience."
* A stage will be coming to centerfield to allow for more pre-game activities, including the MASN live pre-game show, and some other "surprises" that will be announced later.
* Status of Josh Gibson, Walter Johnson, and Frank Howard will be erected in the centerfield plaza by Opening Day or soon thereafter.
* There will be changes to the food prep/service/quality, presumably in line with the change from concessionaire Centerplate to Levy Restaurants. Stan says: "We're going to have more in the way of value meals this year, because we know the budget is something everyone is worried about." [To which the audience applauded, according to the transcript.] "We're gonna tinker with some all-you-can-eat sections on certain nights; this has become popular in other cities. We're going to try experimenting with it ourselves this year."
* There will also be more specialty ticket packages for certain sections, which weren't spelled out. (The Nats have already announced lower ticket prices for many seats in the park this year.)
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'LEED For Homes' at Capitol Quarter
Jan 26, 2009 3:31 PM
From a press release just out, word that EYA will be seeking LEED for Homes certification for Capitol Quarter: "The neighborhood's proximity to public transportation, employment centers, parks and neighborhood retail reduces the amount of time homeowners spend in their cars. Add to that environmentally friendly building materials such as Energy Star appliances and windows, water saving plumbing fixtures, high efficiency heating and cooling equipment, and low VOC paints and finishes. The homes at Capitol Quarter provide more energy savings, better indoor air quality, and less impact on the environment than standard new townhomes -- all qualities that the LEED for Homes program is designed to promote." Also from the release, this: "Traditionally, LEED certification has been sought by builders for commercial buildings and custom residential homes. Capitol Quarter will serve as a model for volume builders in how to implement LEED for Homes on a larger scale."
UPDATE: Here's the release on EYA's site, which reminds me to note that this will be the largest LEED for Homes development in the country.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

New Construction Photos: Teague, Capitol Quarter, 1015 Half (and More)
Jan 25, 2009 5:49 PM
I took a nice tour of the action spots around the neighborhood today, getting updated photos of the very showy progress at Capitol Quarter and 1015 Half Street.
I also snuck across the river (don't tell) to get a peek through my zoom lens at the goings-on at Diamond Teague Park, plus I took a photo or two through the fence at First and Potomac. It looks like the gangplank from the shore to the pumphouse has been dismantled; and there's definitely "in-water" work going on.
I also got a good batch of updated photos for 55 M, and gave my Monument Half Street page a badly needed refreshing--there's also this shot of the construction on the extension of the underground garage (and the shored-up hole on the south end of the block), as seen from Nats Parking Garage B.
I even took my first(!) set of photos at 11th and L, where the Southeast Freeway bends toward the 11th Street Bridges, to get an official "before" baseline in advance of the reconstruction and reconfiguration of it all. (And I found this plaque on one of the flyover pillars, which might be worth a chuckle or two.)
If you want to see the entire batch of new photos on a single page, here they are, though it's about a hundred of them so be patient. But the links above are better if you want to see them matched with their "before"s.
(Oh, and that dinky little For Sale sign at 10th and M by the Exxon that I wrote about on Friday is gone. Drunken property advertising?)

Photos from NatsFest at the Ballpark
Jan 25, 2009 5:46 PM
I wasn't able to stay for a real long time, but I did take a few photos from the first hour or so today's first NatsFest at Nationals Park. Looks like they had a really good turnout, judging especially by the lines for autographs.
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Tidbits: Teague Park Started, Bridges and Stimulus, Reservation 17A, Exxon For Sale?, Capper Zoning, More
Jan 24, 2009 2:40 PM
Some items from the past few days. Big ones first:
* It's probably been true for weeks, but I've just now been by Diamond Teague Park for the first time in a while and can confirm that construction is definitely underway there. Fences are up, cranes (three of them?) are in place, and workers were there. Pictures tomorrow. (Probably *lots* of pictures tomorrow from all over, as long as the weather stays reasonably clear.)
* City Paper got its hands on the letter Mayor Fenty sent to DC Delegate Norton about the city's priorities should the Feds decide to toss some stimulus package dollars in this direction. As I predicted, the two Near Southeast bridge projects were mentioned: "In particular, aspects of the Eleventh Street and South Capitol Street Bridge replacement projects could be undertaken immediately." He also mentions the city's backlog of maintenance projects, along with investments in Metro and the implentation of the streetcar project. And school modernization. And public safety issues.And environmental initiatives. And housing affordability. And health care. (And now here's the stimulus bill itself, though it doesn't get down into specific projects. On the other hand, considering these two bridges ease the commutes to and from the district of the House Majority Leader....)
* Back in mid-November, the transfer of the plot of land known as Reservation 17A from the Feds to the city finally took place; it runs between New Jersey Avenue and Second Street, and is straddled by the trash transfer station building. With this now under District control, various wheels can start turning in that area, including allowing the establishment of I Street between Second and New Jersey that will form the southern boundary of WC Smith's 800 New Jersey Avenue project. There's hopes that the trash transfer station could be demolished in 2010.
* Reader T. reported yesterday that a small bought-at-the-hardware-store For Sale sign went up at 10th and M yesterday, in front of the fence of the Exxon station. I'm not sure what the deal is, since the land is actually owned by the Exxon Corporation, and you'd think they'd have better methods of marketing the land.
* The public notice for the March 19 Zoning Commission hearing on various Capper PUD alteration requests is now available.
* WBJ reports that the Nationals have parted ways with Centerplate, last year's concessionare at the ballpark. This year it will be Levy Restaurants for the food and Facility Merchandising Inc. for the retail.
* More of the fences are coming down at 55 M, as you can see on the web cam. (Though it took me more than a month to notice that the plywood "tunnel" at the Metro exit had disappeared.)
* The Douglass Bridge will be closed at 5 am Sunday until 10am-ish to test the swing span.

First Satellite Photos Showing the Completed Ballpark
Jan 23, 2009 2:56 PM
I've been waiting for this for a good while: sometime in the past few weeks, Google Maps updated its satellite images of Near Southeast, after having been stuck in 2004 time-range for a long time. It's now a shot from sometime in Spring of 2008 (May or late April, to judge by the work on the hole at 1015 Half Street and the leafy-ness of the trees at the ballpark), and, lo and behold, there's that Nationals Park, all shiny and new.
There's been other free online satellite images that were more recent than Google's, but the newest I had seen was this Mapquest shot from late 2006, where the steel work was underway at the ballpark. So this is quite a Great Leap Forward, not only because it shows the completed ballpark, but comparing the two images (as you can do on my Satellite Compare page) shows the incredible amount of change during that 18-month timespan in the neighborhood. (You can also compare this newest images to others from 1988, 2002, 2004, and 2005; my preference is to compare it to 2002.)
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2009 State of the Hood Finally Posted
Jan 23, 2009 8:34 AM
It's a few days behind schedule, but I've finally completed my 2009 State of the Hood roundup, where I take a few minutes (and a heck of a lot of words) to look back at what happened in 2008 and what's on tap (or, more realistically, not on tap) for 2009. If you haven't been following along closely (and I'm not sure who really does other than me anymore), this is a good way to get caught up on what's under construction, what's finishing up, and what's to come. (If you want some quick numbers, there's also my Development Since 1999, By the Numbers chart.)
The short version for 2008?
First half: All Nationals Park all the time.
Second half: Hello, is there anybody out there?
(On the bright side, this second part is pretty much the same story in any neighborhood anywhere in the country.)
As for 2009, at this point it's hard to imagine a whole lot of projects getting started, though if the economy starts to perk up in the second half of the year there could be some movement. (I'm no Dr. Doom, but you can still color me a bit skeptical.) I haven't put up the Gone Fishin' sign yet, but clearly the volume of JDLand content is going to continue to be a bit thin for a while.
And, while my expertise in predicting the ups and downs of the commercial real estate biz is somewhere around, um, none, I'll still pat myself on the back for this final paragraph from my 2008 SOTH: "Near Southeast will make its official debut with quite a splash in 2008, but we'll also find out whether the economy will slow down the blistering revitalization pace the neighborhood saw in 2007. And whether the Nats can christen their new home with a postseason run. And whether I can make it through to 2009." Well, two out of three ain't bad.
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Roundup: NatsFest, Wendy's, Yards Park, Teague Park, Lower Barracks Row
Jan 22, 2009 1:53 PM
Pulling together some reminders and other recent Twittered tidbits:
* This Sunday is NatsFest at the ballpark, from 1 pm to 5 pm. It's being held indoors in the various club areas, so if you've never gotten to see some of the lounges, or the conference center, or the clubhouse, this might be a good opportunity. Season-ticket holders get four free tickets; for the rest of the world it's $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.
* Last week a raze permit was issued for the defunct Wendy's on I Street. No word on when demolition will actually occur. This is where JPI is planning its fourth Capitol Yards apartment building, 23 I Street, but there's been no recent intelligence on when they might decide to get underway.
* Construction hasn't yet begun on the Park at the Yards, but some additional information and more detailed renderings should be coming to light over the next month. Forest City is scheduled to make presentations to the National Capital Planning Commission on Feb. 5, and the Commission on Fine Arts on Feb. 16, and possibly ANC 6D on Feb. 9.
* A reader is reporting this morning that a derrick crane is going up at Diamond Teague Park--perhaps that's to begin work on the water taxi piers. (Though note that there was already a crane of some sort there back in December when I took these photos.)
* Apparently the various property owners surrounding the section of Eighth Street south of the freeway have gotten together along with the Capitol Riverfront BID to start working on plans to perk up the area, using the Connect Barracks Row report by University of Maryland Urban Studies and Planning students as a jumping-off point. Look for public meetings in February-ish.

Capitol Quarter Construction Moves North
Jan 22, 2009 11:05 AM
I haven't seen it with my own eyes yet, but a couple readers reported yesterday (as I Twittered) that Capitol Quarter vertical construction has now begun on the north side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth, across from the units already well underway. (There's also a rumor that bricking will begin on those first townhouses soon.) The foundations have been underway on this block for a while, so I'm assuming it's the showier framing work that has begun. I'll give them a day or two to make some progress, and will get photos this weekend.
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A Few Inauguration Day Photos
Jan 21, 2009 10:48 AM
It's not terribly exciting to look at photos of parked buses, but if you want to see a couple shots of what Near Southeast looked like on Tuesday, here's a few pictures. (You'll also see there a sprinkling of images of 1015 Half Street, now four stories high.) I left the Hill around 9:30 am and walked down south of the Freeway, crossing into Southwest on I Street, and inhaling all manner of bus fumes (from illegally idling vehicles) along the way. I then followed the mobs westward along Independence (since the Mall was closed off before I even left home) and ended up at one of the Jumbotrons along 17th Street near the World War II Memorial. From there, it was an easy trip back homeward along Maine Avenue to I Street.
For all of the hassles that now are part of living on Capitol Hill, a day like yesterday reminds one of its benefits, since the Metro or bus rides or parking were not part of my day--just 5 1/2 miles of walking. My only regret of the day is that I didn't follow the brave souls who took the ramp up onto the SE/SW Freeway to cross toward RFK--it would have been my one chance to get photos from the freeway without being in a speeding car!
If you want to see additional photos of my inauguration trek (with a number from Southwest), here they are, though note that they are in reverse chronological order.
UPDATE: And, just so that people don't think I'm praising life on the Hill at the expense of the other close-in spots, I'll note that a day like yesterday also shows the benefits of living in Near Southeast or Southwest. (You folks in close-by neighborhoods north of the parade route, though, didn't get to live the good life like the south-of-the-Mall-ers did, unless you really enjoyed that trek through the Third Street Tunnel.)
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Near Southeast Tracking Hits Its Sixth Anniversary
Jan 19, 2009 9:25 PM
On January 19, 2003, I decided to take a bunch of photos of the area south of the Southeast Freeway, and then came home and posted them on my personal web site. No grand plans for hyperlocal journalism or neighborhood blogging--I'd just heard there were plans to revitalize the neighborhood (even though I didn't even know what the area was called), and wanted to have a few pictures of what it looked like "before." And then I created a page of links for myself so that I could keep an eye on the various projects without having to dig through my bookmarks.
And now here we are.
There's too much going on in the city right now to really pay much attention to this little anniversary, but I couldn't let it go by completely unmarked. I'll look back over the past year and look ahead at what's {probably not} coming in 2009 within the next few days, but until then, Happy Anniversary to me. And a big thanks to everyone who reads the site and who send tips or feedback--this site never would have grown into the monstrosity it's become if I hadn't discovered that people were actually interested in what was being posted.
(And, as a useless aside: astute observers might note that I'm not marking the anniversary of JDLand.com--that's because I've had a JDLand web site since 1996, containing several different online projects of which Near Southeast DC blogging was just one. The root JDLand.com address only became the official Near Southeast web site in 2007, when I finally figured out this particular project was a bigger draw than,say, photos of our kitchen remodel.)
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Earth Conservation Corps and Day of Service
Jan 16, 2009 3:11 PM
So far I haven't heard of any events in Near Southeast for Monday's Day of Service that is part of the inauguration schedule, but I have received word that the Earth Conservation Corps (who occupy the pumphouse where Diamond Teague Park is soon to be) is participating in "Renewing the Anacostia Together," which is "a tree-planting and community service project in celebration of the Presidential Inauguration Day of Service." This event at Anacostia Park has been put together by Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, along with other members of the Maryland congressional delegation and DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. Alas, I see from the info page that it's already reached the maximum number of RSVPs (350!).

Inauguration Road Closures Map (Again), Plus Some Bus Parking News
Jan 15, 2009 1:27 PM
Since it's slipped down the home page a bit, here's my Near Southeast Inauguration Road Closures and Parking Restrictions page, again. I've also added the information on parking at Nationals Park to the page as well.
I also did a bit of wandering around the Click and Park web site where bus companies can reserve their parking, and I see that all bus parking at Nationals Park is sold out. Also, all bus parking spots on Second Street, SE between Virginia and M are sold out, but the other Near Southeast streets are still available for reservations. (All Southwest bus parking is sold out.)
Residents by these bus-parking streets might want to put in earplugs on Monday night at bedtime, since the buses are being told to arrive at their parking zones between 4:30 and 6:30 am Tuesday morning.
Also, the city now has this map (3 MB PDF) showing the bus parking zones, "pedestrian priority" walking routes, bus routes, and other information for the Mall and the areas to the south. I can't quite figure out if you can continue up South Capitol Street toward Washington Avenue and then get to Independence Avenue and the Mall that way because that's part of the restricted area, but maybe as long as you're on the south side of the Independence it's okay? So look for a pretty fair amount of foot traffic on New Jersey Avenue and I Street as people walk from Capitol Hill and points south and east.

Inauguration Parking Available at Nationals Park
Jan 14, 2009 8:23 PM
With a hat tip to the DC Sports Bog: Nationals Park is offering covered parking for the Inauguration starting on Friday in Parking Lot B, at N and South Capitol, though read all of the restrictions carefully:
"Beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday January 15 {sic?} and continuing through midnight on Monday, January 19, Parking Lot B will be open to the public on a 24-hour basis. The garage will operate on a cash only, first-come, first-served basis. No advance reservations will be taken. Vehicles can be left overnight and will be charged the full day rate for each night in the garage. Rates are $20.00 for daytime parking and $35.00 for overnight. No in and out privileges will be allowed.
"Due to the security requirements for the inauguration, no additional cars will be allowed to park in the garage after midnight on Monday, January 19. If a customer has previously parked their vehicle in the garage prior to midnight on Monday, they can exit the garage but will be required to defer to security and police requirements for exit routes from the area which could be severely restricted. Any vehicle can be retrieved after 6 p.m. on January 20 when the travel and parking restrictions are released."

Lots of Little Items (Real Life Still Intervenes): Plaza on K Renderings, Barracks Row, More
Jan 14, 2009 2:38 PM
Still knee-deep in inauguration craziness in real life, so can't devote much time to Hood things these days. Here's some quick bullet items, which at least I've managed to Twitter over the past few days so that I'm not completely shirking my responsibilities. (Don't forget that these Tweets get displayed at the upper right of the JDLand home page, if you just want to check them every so often.)
* I've received some swell new renderings of the Plaza on K office/retail project at First and K. The official web site also now has a whole lot of detailed information as well. Transwestern announced last week that they have officially begun marketing the project, and that the two buildings along First Street--88 K and 77 I--would make up the first phase. There's also a 10,000-square-foot public plaza at First and K that would be surrounded by ground-floor retail. It also is "designed to LEED Gold standards." See the above links for additional details. No timeline for the start of the first phase--I'm guessing they're not building on spec in this environment.
* The final Connect Barracks Row report has been posted; this was the study by University of Maryland students on how to reconfigure the southern end of Eighth Street below the freeway to better connect it with its neighbors to the north.
* I mentioned the other day that none of the *hundreds* of Near Southeast bars would be taking advantage of the special Inauguration extended hours, but I was incorrect. A lot of people (like me!) probably don't know that the "Bachelor's Mill/Back Door Pub" at 1104 Eighth Street SE in the block north of the Navy Yard even exists (even though their web site lists it as "The District's oldest and largest entertainment complex exclusively dedicated to the gay and lesbian communities"), but they're on the list of approved late-hours venues.
* A resident reports that last two little buildings standing on the 1345 South Capitol footprint have been demolished in the past few days. But no word on whether this means Camden is starting to move forward on this apartment project.
* I failed again, and couldn't make the ANC 6B meeting on Tuesday night. But I'm hoping that the update on the South Capitol Street Final EIS--my main reason for going--will be done for ANC 6D next month.
* Every year I've celebrated on January 20 the anniversary of my starting to track the goings-on in Near Southeast (Jan. 20, 2003 was the first day I went out to take photos, which I then posted on my web site). The past few years I've marked it by posting my annual State of the Hood roundup. However, this year, given that the lead-up to January 20 is going to be just a touch busy, I'm guessing I'll miss my self-imposed deadline by a few days. Waaah!
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