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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: October 2006
In the Pipeline
Community Center
Homewood Suites Hotel
Ballpark Square
Yards/Parcel A
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
1333 M St.
Southeast Blvd.
Florida Rock
1244 South Capitol
New Barracks
1111 New Jersey
Akridge/Half St.
Monument/Half St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
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Retail News
Restaurants/Nightlife
 

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On Nov. 2, the National Capital Planning Commission will consider approval of the design of Washington Canal Park, and someone was nice enough to pass along to me the Canal Park Concept Submission document that was prepared for the NCPC (and also the US Commission of Fine Arts's meeting on Oct. 19)--40 pages of incredible detail, with a long design narrative and many many drawings. UPDATE, 11/2: At today's NCPC meeting, the commission "commented favorably" on the design concept. The next stage will be the preliminary design stage, and the NCPC has requested that AWC provide "More fully developed streetscape designs at street edges and crosswalks; Simplified overall design with consideration of durable materials and elements that require less routine maintenance; Lighting design that has minimal visual impact on adjacent streets and mixed-use development; Details of water elements that demonstrates their character when water is turned off; and Design details indicating accommodations for the physically disabled, including persons with visual or hearing impairments." Finally, the commission "commended the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and its design team for integrating low-impact development strategies that will minimize the effects of storm water runoff from the site."
More posts: Canal Park
 

Today was a bonanza of Near Southeast alley closing requests, as four pending bills received their public hearings in front of the city council "Committee of the Whole" (i.e., Chairman Cropp, the only council member in attendance).
The first was B16-0799, alley closings and new street designations as part of the Capitol Quarter/Capper Carrollsburg project. Nothing really new in the testimony, except that it has been requested that the bill be considered by the council on an emergency basis, in order to help speed the process of getting the project underway. Ms. Cropp called the project "very, very exciting" and seemed particularly enthused by the mixed-income aspect of the project, noting that the city's past creation of "economic ghettos" hasn't worked out well.
Next up was B16-0888, which seeks to reopen H and I streets between 2nd and New Jersey, and to close alleys and streets within those two blocks; I was not aware until today that a portion of this land is actually federal land (Reservation 17A), which is part of the land transfer bill currently pending before Congress. The northern block (Square 737, north of I) is where William C. Smith is planning a mixed-use project, which in their testimony they broke out as two office buildings totalling 600,000 sq ft, two apartment buildings totalling 600 units (with a 10% affordable housing component), 1100 parking spaces, and 80,000-100,000 sq ft of retail space. They mentioned that back when they first bought the land in 1999 they got a letter of intent from Whole Foods to include a grocery store in this location, but then Whole Foods came down and saw that at that point there wasn't a whole lot of development going on, they pulled out; but Smith is still very interested in getting a grocery store in this development. They anticipate beginning work on this project in 2008 and completing it in 2011. As for Square 739 (where the DPW trash transfer station currently resides), it is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment, and plans are for a 322-unit apartment building with 115 affordable units, and also ground-floor retail. They don't anticipate beginning work on the building for at least another 4 to 5 years. Ms. Cropp did express some concerns about where the DPW vehicles will be relocated to, given the lack of industrial land left in the city.
After lunch was B16-0879, Monument Realty's request for alley closings on Square 701 between Cushing, Half, M, and N (in the block just north of the ballpark) as part of their "Ballpark Phase I" project, which also includes the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station at Half Street, which Monument is responsible for as part of their purchase of the WMATA land on the southwest corner of Half and M. New news from the hearing is that there will also be a hotel in addition to the previously announced 275,000-sq-ft office building at Half and M and the 350-unit residential building (mix of rental and condo, with up to 20% affordable housing) at Half and N--Monument is working with W Aloft to develop a 200-key boutique hotel on Half Street. The entire project will have 700 parking spaces, and Monument is planning to begin construction in January 2007 so that these three levels of underground parking (as well as perhaps some of the 50,000 sq ft of planned ground floor retail) can be completed by Opening Day 2008; they will then continue work on the upper floors to have the entire project completed in 2009. UPDATE: I should also note that as part of their plans, Monument will be extending Cushing Place approximately 80 feet, so that it will run through to N Street
Finally came B16-0880, another request from Monument Realty, this time for alley closings on the west side of Square 700, just across Half Street from the Phase I project in the previous alley closing hearing. They are still negotiating with WMATA to attempt to purchase the bus depot land on Square 700, but in the meantime are moving forward with a 115,000-sq-ft/100 unit residential project on the northwest corner of Half and N, on the site of the Good N Plenty carryout (whose lease expires today, it was mentioned). This project will have 12,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail, which, given its location directly across from the stadium plaza entrance, will be quite a prime location. Ms. Cropp was concerned that the project will only have two levels/74 spaces of underground parking (you got the feeling that parking is very much on her mind these days!). There was no stated timeframe for this project, except to say "after Square 701." And of course by then they'll have probably secured the bus depot.
For all of these bills, the next step I believe is getting them on the council consent calendar, for votes to be taken.
Is that enough information? Can I stop now? :-)
UPDATE: These hearings are all available via DC Cable 13's on-demand video offerings.
 

Today's Examiner reports: "Senior officials with the District and the Washington Nationals reached an understanding Monday to construct three aboveground parking garages adjacent to the new Southeast ballpark, The Examiner has learned. The informal pact between Nationals owner Ted Lerner, Democratic mayoral nominee Adrian Fenty and others would result in two garages on the north side of the stadium site, totaling 925 spaces and one 300-space garage on the south end, according to officials familiar with the morning meeting. [...] But Lerner, who has long sought freestanding garages, agreed to reconsider his opposition to retail and residential development a couple years down the road, sources said, which would likely require razing any existing structures." Despite trumpeting this as a deal, I'm not really sure what it's done--the article is vague on the details, saying that the project would cost $36 million, "within reach of the $611 million cost cap", but I'm guessing someone like Mr. Catania might have an opposing viewpoint on whether $36 million can be spent and still stay under the cap. And "Any aboveground parking will require nine of 13 council members to back a zoning exemption. And legislators have so far been unwilling to support freestanding garages."
 

Alas, the new DCStats Building Permits RSS Feed is still undergoing some birthing pains (updates daily around 10 pm instead of 9 am, leaving it well behind the other feeds, and seeming to miss some day's permit issuings), so I have to go back to the old-fashioned report to learn that last week the JPI's 100 I Street residential project received its building permit, so work can begin on its section of the lot, next to the already under construction 70 I Street. Together, the two towers will have nearly 700 units when they are delivered in mid-2008. Also, permits have been issued for six soil borings (4" wide and 30' deep) in two locations (200 L and 200 M streets) in the Canal Park footprint.
More posts: 70/100 I, Canal Park, jpi
 

I've made some more additions to the DC Gov't Data Feeds for Near Southeast. I've added the feeds for Government Service Requests (i.e., calls made to the 727-1000 citywide call center), Juvenile Arrests and Charges, and Alcoholic Beverage Licenses. Right now I've only added the Service Requests to the Data Feeds Box here on the home page, because the Juvenile Arrests feed, going back three months, hasn't had a single case listed yet for Near Southeast (!), and the Alcohol Licenses is only being updated monthly and I can't tell if the feed is going to only include new licenes from now on, or what. Anyway, they're now here for you to use or ignore at your choice. (I'm also going to keep a closer eye on the Crime Incidents and Building Permits feeds, which seem to maybe not be including everything in the daily update feeds); I told you that I'm at the mercy of what DC provides!). They appear to have completed rolling out the initial group of feeds--business licenses and adult arrests and charges have both been postponed until further notice as they try to work out various issues.
More posts: crime, process
 

An electronic sign has appeared at South Capitol and I streets, warning of road work beginning on or about Nov. 6. There's been nothing about it announced yet anywhere on the DDOT web site, and I haven't heard anything about it through the grapevine; a correspondent reported earlier in the week that he had contacted DDOT to ask when the work would begin to remove the South Capitol Street viaduct between Potomac Avenue and O Street, and he was told that it wouldn't start before early next year, perhaps no later than April. I e-mailed DDOT to ask for confirmation, but have received no reply. There are plans for lots of streetscape improvements along South Capitol in addition to the removal of the viaduct, so perhaps this is the beginning of that work. Will post here as soon as I find out more. UPDATE: A correspondent passes along information received from DDOT that the signs are marking the beginning of the project to rehabilitate the South Capitol Street Bridge, which includes doing steel repairs and railings, and painting of the steel beams, which is what will begin Nov. 6, and which will necessitate lane closures. This DDOT communique with a resident also said that the lowering of the viaduct between Potomac and O would not start until July 2007, and which will see the entire bridge closed while the work is done. Will continue to keep my eye out for the official press releases from DDOT on the work.
 

Today's Post writes about the two lots in Near Southeast that WMATA has announced will be made available for private development, the 14,000-sq-ft lot on the Southeast corner of Half and L and a 4,000-ft patch around the eastern entrance to the Navy Yard station at New Jersey and M. Not really too much in the piece that I didn't address in my own entry eight weeks ago when WMATA announced the search, but it's also a nice way to be able to post here that the deadline for developers to submit their proposals is Nov. 17. The article does mention, however, that sometimes these joint development opportunities don't always move like wildfire: "Once WMATA chooses a developer, the proposals must be reviewed by local jurisdictions and the Metro board. Getting the appropriate permits can be a lengthy process. Developers at the Prince George's Plaza Green Line station were selected by WMATA in 2000 but broke ground only last year."

 

After some delays, it appears that the mixed-use project on the southeast corner of 8th and Virginia may be moving forward soon. 801 Virginia Avenue will have 15 residences on it's upper floors, with 3,200 sq ft of retail at ground level and 4,750 sq ft of office space. The developers were nice enough to pass along a new rendering, which I've added to my 801 Virginia page. They are anticipating delivering the project in 2007.
More posts: 801va, 8th Street
 

A quick note here that strip club Club 55, which left its location at Half and K last month, is looking to move to 3350 New York Ave. NE. The neighbors (including the Washington Times) aren't happy about the idea.

 

Local blogs are buzzing today about the DC government's launch of crimemap.dc.gov, which allows users to drill down by address, neighborhood, ANC, Ward, whatever, and get a graphical representation of reported crimes. It's using the same DC Stat RSS feed that I've used to launch my Near Southeast Crime Incidents list (which has been wonderfully low on new data recently!). But if you're looking for a splashy graphic version to display crime trends, rather than my boring text-only list, give it a shot (but be warned, it's moving very slowly today thanks to all the publicity). And remember to scroll down and check my Near Southeast Data Feeds box every day--the crime and public space permits are updated by noon, the building permits update in the late evenings, and the recent property sales (which have a lag time of about six weeks) update once a week or so depending on the city's interest in updating their database. UPDATE: I've also tinkered with my Data Feeds box to show all currently in-effect public space permits, in addition to new/updated applications, as well as to expand the timeframe on offerings to 14 days from seven. I can't imagine this interests anyone other than me, but just in case....
More posts:
 

GlobeSt.com has a brief on MacFarlane Partners, the San Francisco-based real estate investment firm that has fronted 25% of the capital for the development of the Southeast Federal Center (hey, buddy, that's "The Yards" to you!). The article says that "the company plans to make significant investments in the Baseball district" and that "MacFarlane says he expects to announce three mixed-use projects in the area by the end of the year. These will consist of residential, retail and office totaling some $300 million to $400 million. Right now these projects are in the early planning stage, but MacFarlane says that, depending on the density patterns, he expects the projects will cover between one million sf to two million sf." I've seen MacFarlane mentioned recently as part of the group working on Herb Miller's stadium garages plan, but I don't know whether this statement about the three soon-to-be-announced projects would include the garages, or if it includes any part of the SFC/Yards, or if it's partnering with Forest City and Western Development (Herb's company) on the AWC's drive to develop the WASA site, or if it's three completely new projects. I guess we shall see. (Read the GlobeSt brief quick, because they archive after seven days.)
 

The Oct. 27 Voice of the Hill is now posted online, with it's extensive coverage of the Nov. 7 local elections--Near Southeast is in Ward 6 and ANC 6D (single-member district 6D07). Get yourselves good and educated, and then vote!
More posts:
 

From the DC Examiner: "Constructing free-standing parking garages at the new Southeast ballpark would be preferable to risking tens of millions of dollars by not producing at all, Mayor Anthony Williams said Wednesday. [...] 'We tried to maximize development on this site within the constraints we had, and we haven't been able to. So we're going to go at it this way and hopefully everybody will come to their senses in two, three, four years and do the right thing.' Williams indicated he now supports 'regular old, garden-variety structured parking.' 'And try to pretty it up,' he said, 'put a ribbon on a pig.' "
 

I don't quite know what to make of this, but here goes, from NBC4: "The fast-redeveloping Southeast Waterfront next to the Navy Yard and near the new baseball stadium is being turned into new offices, condos and shops. But, the area will now be called 'The Yards,' in honor of its nautical history." Putting aside for the moment why they didn't instead choose a catchy name like "JDLand", I'm trying to divine from this piece actually what area they're talking about. My initial thought is that this is just for the 44-acre Southeast Federal Center land, which is indeed next to the Navy Yard and near the stadium, and is in the hands of a single private developer (Forest City Washington) and also the Feds, which dovetails with the spot being described as a "federal entity" at one point in the article. If I'm guessing correctly, I actually don't mind rechristening the SFC as "The Yards." But if they're trying to rename all of Near Southeast, including the Ballpark District and everything, we might have a problem. Anyone out there (with CB Richard Ellis or with the city) have any light to shed? And, if I pegged it correctly as being the Southeast Federal Center, does this mean that they're about to get moving on their first phase? UPDATE: A little birdie passed along this link to (not quite launched) dcyards.com, confirming that "The Yards" is indeed the Southeast Federal Center. And construction apparently will begin in 2007. Man, I'll tell ya, NBC4 had to work pretty hard to make sure that almost no useful information was in that article, seeing as the who/where/when (Developer? Location? Timeline?) were all AWOL.
 

From the Post: "The District government's chief financial officer warned yesterday of serious penalties if the city fails to provide parking garages for the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium, encouraging the D.C. Council to reconsider a proposal it voted down last week. In an eight-page letter to council members, Natwar M. Gandhi says the city faces significant financial liabilities if members of the council continue to oppose a plan to build aboveground garages at the ballpark near the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington. The city might have to pay tens of millions of dollars to the Nationals for failing to meet contractual obligations, and the District could suffer shortfalls in potential stadium revenue." Same words as always--spending cap, underground, aboveground, zoning, revenue streams, yadda yadda--just arranged differently. Here's CFO Gandhi's letter, containing much detail, spelling out the options, etc. UPDATE: Here's the Examiner's story.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park
 

Monday's DC Examiner reports: "The Transportation Planning Board added more than $1 billion in projects for the District to the region's long-range transportation plan, according to officials. The stratagem, called the Constrained Long Range Plan, estimates about $4.5 billion will be available each year for the next 24 years to complete projects in Maryland, Virginia and the District. Projects can only be added to the board's long range plan if there is a solid funding mechanism in place. " Three of the DC projects will impact Near Southeast: the rehabilitation of South Capitol Street including transformation of the street into an at-grade boulvard from I Street to N Street and the construction of a new Frederick Douglass Bridge (costing $625 million and completed in 2015); the reconfiguration and reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges (costing $377 million and completed in 2011); and $3 million for the Anacostia Streetcar Study, which would run light rail across the 11th Street Bridges from Anacostia down M Street SE to South Capitol Street. (The first phase of actual construction of the Streetcar Project has been added to the CLRP as well.) Here's an explanation of the CLRP as well as the Transportation Improvement Plan, which describes the schedule for federal funds obligated to state and local projects.
 

The Capitol Quarter sales office will begin accepting contracts on Saturday (tomorrow, Oct. 21) for the first phase of townhomes being sold (I believe there are about 20 19 total market-rate and workforce units available in this first batch); I'll wander over a bit before 11 to see how many people are camped on the front doorstep; be sure to wave for the camera if you're one of them. UPDATE: Maybe I should try to remember what I've already written--the first 20 workforce units will be available via lottery on Nov. 18, not tomorrow. Duh. Starting tomorrow there will be 19 market-rate homes going up for sale. And word is that camping out began on Wednesday.... UPDATE, Saturday a.m.: 19 units released for sale, 19 buyers in line (and more turned away). So if you didn't make it down there, you'll have to wait for the next batch.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

At yesterday's WMATA board meeting, a resolution was approved to expand the Navy Yard Metro station at a cost of $20 million (to be paid with federal funds). The changes will be, to quote the Post, to "increase the number of fare gates and vending machines, add two elevators and relocate the station kiosk, fare gates and fare vendors from the mezzanine to the west entrance. The changes are planned for completion before the first home game of the 2008 baseball season." At the same time, the board approved the sale of the WMATA land above the Navy Yard station and the adjoining parking lot to Monument Realty, and also approved a Construction Agreement with Monument, whereby Monument will handle the construction of the station upgrades in concert with it's construction of an office building with ground-floor retail on the corner of Half and M. Monument has also agreed to reserve 20 percent of the residential units in it's other Half Street project for low- and moderate-income purchasers. And buried in the Construction Agreement documents I found a pretty snazzy rendering of Monument's planned building at Half and M, which I've added to my Ballpark District page (scroll down a tad past the map). The Construction Agreement also has detailed drawings of exactly what will be done to the station. You can also read the Sept. 21 WMATA Board Meeting minutes to see the discussion about the sale of the land. Or you can really go wild and listen to the audio from yesterday's meetings. And here's the Examiner's story on the agreements and plans.
 

City Council hearings have now been scheduled for October 31 for three Near Southeast alley closing bills (Monument's Square 700/west side and Square 701 requests, and William C. Smith's Square 737/739 request). I've added them to my busy Neighborhood Events Calendar; I've also (belatedly) added the DC Register announcement of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration hearing on the license request for a new liquor store at 156 L Street (the old Star Market) scheduled for Nov. 8. Note that the Square 701/east side alley closing bill had its hearing on Oct. 10. UPDATE, 10/20: The starting times of the three alley closing hearings on Oct. 31 have been revised, and an additional council roundtable has been scheduled for the same day on the Capper alley closings and new streets bill. All the hearing notices are available in this file, which also includes the notices on the Oct. 23 hearing on the Capper PILOT funding bill and also an Oct. 26 roundtable on LSDBE participation in the baseball stadium. My Neighborhood Events Calendar has been updated as well. Also, the Square 701/east side alley closing bill has been placed on the council's Nov. 14 consent agenda.
 

Sharp-eyed visitors to the site might have noticed the new "Dataset" links that arrived atop the home page and in the right-hand margin of other pages early this week (a "soft launch", I guess). Over the past few months the DC government has been launching various RSS feeds, and I've built an application to cull out the Near Southeast items from their Crime Incidents and Public Space and Building Permits feeds and display them here, both in individual archives but also in a new Near Southeast Data Feeds box here on the home page. These feeds update daily; when each launched, they also included some amount of historical data (crime incidents back to Jan. 2005 and public space permits back to 2000; the building permits feed is just getting going, seems to be working out some kinks, and has so far provided data from Oct. 2006 and some records from 2003-2005). Then, drunk with power, I decided to also add in basic list views of the Property Sales and Assessments data since 1999 I've accumulated for Near Southeast parcels (neither are available in RSS feeds). Assessments data will only update yearly; sales data should be updated weekly, but it's usually about six weeks behind. This of course is all DC goverment data that I'm merely filtering and displaying--I just take what they give me, and have no responsibility for errors, omissions, etc. Data from approximately the last seven days will display in the box on the home page, but sometimes old records get updated, so the display might sometimes be a bit squirrelly. Just always remember--JDLand is the web site where You Get What You Pay For :-).
More posts:
 

Debate is still ongoing (and with this bunch, it could go on a long time, especially with the demagoguery and fibbing coming from the dais), but it looks like there aren't nine votes to pass the declaration of an emergency to (I think) allow for making changes to the stadium financing cap that would then allow any of the various parking solutions to go forward. Jack Evans gave a pretty impassioned speech that, as some folks have been saying for a while now, just because development doesn't get fired up right away at the north end of the stadium site, all is not lost in the Ballpark District, and in fact he used the MCI Center/Gallery Place example, that the north end of the MCI Center block stayed empty for years, and no one can say that Chinatown and the MCI/Verizon Center area has suffered. (Tom Knott of the WashTimes said the same thing recently, hat tip to Gallery Place Living). Evans said that if there are surface lots on those blocks for a few years, it won't be the end of the world, and also said that at this point fixing the parking issue is no longer a council/legislative issue, that no one has come up with a way to break the $611 million cost cap, and that other DC government entities should come up with a solution. Marion Barry is still pushing his buddy Herb Miller's plan, Catania is still calling CFO Gandhi a liar, and so really nothing new is happening. UPDATE: The vote to declare an emergency was 7-6, it needed nine votes, so it failed. Now they're moving to Marion Barry's bill to move forward the Herb Miller garages plan. But because Barry's bill would impact the cap, it's being ruled "Out of Order." He wants to change the bill so that it would do nothing more than transfer control of the garages land from the SEC to the AWC, but Chairman Cropp still wants a fiscal impact statement on that change from the CFO's office. So they've moved on for now. UPDATE II: The council has voted down Barry's blll 11-1, with council members saying that they're not prepared to move on an emergency basis to transfer the land to the AWC from DCSEC, that there are still way too many issues to be figured out. So, where do we stand? With it all being punted back to the Mayor and the DCSEC and the Lerners. UPDATE III: Here's the Post story on the day's events. Mayor Baseball sums it up: "Take any major project from the pyramids to Stonehenge. The stupid parking lot has taken more hours and meetings per parking space. It's incredible." UPDATE IV: And here's the WashTimes piece.
 

Faison Enterprises and Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds are holding a ceremonial groundbreaking (with Most-Likely-To-Be Mayor Fenty in attendance) for the Onyx on First residential project, on Nov. 1 at 10:00 am. This is the 260-unit residential building at 1100 First Street SE; the project will also "include a rooftop pool, underground parking, a fitness center, an outdoor courtyard, a game room, and great views of the city from the upper floors. Condos will range from studios to 2-bedrooms, and prices are anticipated to start in the upper $200s." UPDATE: Here's a GlobeSt.com blurb on the project.
More posts: Onyx, Square 743N
 

From NBC4: "News4 has learned that D.C. Councilmember and mayoral candidate Adrian Fenty is talking with Mayor Anthony Williams about a new plan to build about 1,200 parking spaces on the south side of the stadium rather than on the north side. Sources said the change would make the garages cheaper to build and still leave land on the north side for development of retail stores, restaurants and housing. Sources said the Fenty plan would cost about $56 million compared to the mayor's price tag of about $80 million. Details of the new proposal are still being worked out between Fenty, the mayor, developers and the Lerner family that owns the baseball team. The new proposal could come before the D.C. Council as soon as Wednesday." Very interesting, and might be possible given the extra space on the south end of the stadium site. We shall see what arises. [NBC4 has now updated its story to remove the references to the south side of the stadium.] UPDATE: Here's the Post's article, which says nothing about the south side of the stadium concept mentioned by NBC4, instead saying that two three-story garages would be built aboveground on the north side of the stadium. The Post says that Fenty's plan has the support of CFO Gandhi and that the Nationals ownership group "was receptive to the plan." More: "Fenty said his plan would maintain the city's $611 million cost cap on the project, although it would require tens of millions of dollars in additional stadium-generated revenue that the city otherwise would be free to spend on other needs." And: "A critical aspect of the proposal would require the council to override a D.C. Zoning Commission decision from July that bans free-standing parking garages. Fenty aides said the council can sidestep zoning regulations for government projects." Apparently they're talking about building the aboveground garages in time for the 2008 opening, but the "structures would be reinforced to accommodate additional development on top in later seasons." Another wild ride at the Wilson Building appears to be at hand. UPDATE II: And here is the WashTimes piece, summarizing three of the plans (by Williams, Barry, and Fenty) currently being floated to fix the parking issue, but describes the Fenty plan as being on the south side of the stadium. And I wonder how long it'll be before this AP piece posted at WJLA is corrected, because I'm pretty sure they'd have a hard time putting 12,000 spaces on the site! UPDATE III: Don't forget that DC Council sessions are available via live streaming.
 

A quick roundup of Near Southeast-related doings at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting. After a plea from 6D07 commissioner Robert Siegel, the ANC voted to support the previously-voted-down alley closing request on the east side of Square 701 (between Cushing and 1st streets), saying in effect that a $95,000 community amenities proffer is not something that should be turned down. Monument Realty came before the commission to request support for it's two alley closing bills (in Squares 700 and 701 in the Ballpark District), and the request was referred to the ANC's Development Subcommittee for further discussions about Monument's community amenities package, which includes a pledge of up to 20% affordable housing in the residential project at Half and N, LSDBE participation, LEED standards, and an offer to spend approximately $500,000 to upgrade the electrical/HVAC systems at Amidon Elementary School (but there's some question as to whether Amidon will be open past 2007). Finally, the ANC voted not to support the request for a liquor license to open a liquor store at the old Star Market site at 2nd and L (the license hearing is Nov. 8). I'll link to the Hill Rag/Voice of the Hill reports on these meetings when available for additional details since it must be admitted that I bailed before the meeting was over and am relying on a vast network of informants and stringers to provide the few meager details I included here.
 

Since I know this will back in the news any second now, here is the DC CFO's Oct. 2 Fiscal Impact Statement on how the draft bill being shopped around by Marion Barry to get the Herb Miller/Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness plan back on track to put garages on the north end of the stadium site will result in the busting of the $611 spending cap the council placed on the ballpark project. And there's a bonus surprise! At the end of the FIS is the draft of the bill itself. (Also, just for the heck of it, here's CFO Gandhi's testimony back in July on the Miller garages plan.) Back on Oct. 4, news reports said that Mayor Williams told the council that he supported Barry's bill with several amendments that addressed Gandhi's concerns. There was talk of this bill coming before the Council at it's session this coming Wednesday, but it's not yet on the schedule. UPDATE: The city council schedule for tomorrow (Wednesday) has now been updated to show so many different ballpark-related items on the agenda that I'm not going to even try to figure out what's what. We'll see what transpires on the morrow....

 

Yet another Near Southeast-related bill has been introduced to the DC Council--this one is B16-0932, the "Square 770, Lot 802 Securitization Act of 2006." My not-so-learned reading of the bill tells me that this bill is authorizing the issuing of bonds not to exceed $140 million (principal), $40 million of which will go toward funding a portion of the costs of the five-acre Anacostia Waterfront Park planned along the river between 2nd and 4th Streets (within the Southeast Federal Center land), as well as the infrastructure improvements needed to allow for public access to the site. An additional $75 million will help fund other (unnamed) Anacostia Waterfront Initiative infrastructure improvements. The bill also sets up the DOT HQ's parcel (Square 770, Lot 802) to now be exempt from property taxes and instead have those payments go into the new Anacostia Waterfront Park Fund, to be used to repay the financing of the bonds and other expenses related to the park. You can read more about this PILOT plan in this June 2 post. UPDATE: There is also now PR16-1004, which appears to be amending the earlier DOT PILOT bills a touch. There is also a DOT PILOT technical amendment being voted on as emergency legislation at the Oct. 18 city council session--might be the same as PR16-1004, but I can't tell for sure. UPDATE, 11/2: Here is the actual resolution that was passed on Oct. 18 on an emergency basis, PR16-1039, The "DOT Pilot Revision Emergency Approval Resolution of 2006."
 

A beautiful fall day on Saturday meant that I had no choice but to go on a photo-taking expedition: see my photos of the new ballpark, Capper Seniors #2, and 20 M Street.
 

Just a reminder that the Capitol Quarter sales office will open on Saturday Oct. 14 at 11 am for it's one-week "sneak preview" of the development (meaning no contracts or appointments). I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview today of the sneak preview--if you're at all interested in Near Southeast, even if you're not currently thinking about moving to Capitol Quarter, you must go see the model of the developed neighborhood, it's absolutely stunning. I took a bunch of photos of it and have put them on my Capitol Quarter page, sprinkling them throughout and displaying them alongside the "live" photos of the area. Sales will begin first-come first-serve at 11 am Oct. 21 for the first phase of market-rate and workforce-rate townhomes. Prices and floor plans are supposed to be posted any second now on the official web site. One thing to remember as you look at the model--the low-, middle-, and high-income units are all mixed in with each other, sometimes multi-unit low-income rentals will have facades that make them look like two townhomes, so from the outside you can't tell which units are which. UPDATE: Prices and floor plans are now posted, on a spiffy new Capitol Quarter web site.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

A web site has been launched for the 260-unit residential building at 1st and L, which I've been referring to as 1100 First Street but which has been dubbed Onyx on First. Not much in the way of actual information there, but there is a registration form to fill out. (And I hope people who aren't in-the-know about Near Southeast aren't baffled by the "Ballpark Metro" references, since there's no station with that name, of course.) This is the project being developed jointly by Faison and the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund (Magic Johnson being the "Johnson" part of that).
More posts: Onyx, Square 743N
 

Bill B16-0929, the "Payment In Lieu of Taxes Act of 2004 Amendment And Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Public Improvements Revenue Bonds Approval Act of 2006," has been introduced before the City Council. This bill will allow the sale of bonds to raise $35.1 million to fund the necessary infrastructure improvements (streets, sidewalks, walkways, streetscapes, utility lines, etc.) around the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment. You may recall that two PILOT funding bills were approved in June of this year to help fund the Southeast Federal Center redevelopment (which, like Capper, is being developed by Forest City Enterprises). I suppose you're now wanting me to actually EXPLAIN the concept of PILOT funding, which might be asking a little much. From reading the bill, it sounds to me like property owners within the Capper/Carrollsburg PILOT area will have their tax payments placed not into the city's General Fund, but into a separate Capper PILOT Fund, which will be used to pay back the principal and interest on the bonds. Wikipedia's PILOT entry can help out a bit, too, this line especially: "PILOTs may be negotiated in specific circumstances, as when an arrangement is made for a corporation or institution to build a facility on public land without assuming ownership of the land," which perfectly describes both Capper/Carrollsburg and the Southeast Federal Center. UPDATE: Here's a better explanation, from someone "in the know": "Essentially a PILOT is like a TIF, except with property taxes. Since the property wasn't on the tax rolls before, we can capture 100% of the new property taxes, although once it is stabilized, we will likely be utilizing less than half of the total property taxes allotted to the project. The rest will likely [go] back to the District (though it could also be used to superamortize the loan so that the entire sum will go back to the District sooner)." UPDATE II: There's a hearing in front of the council's Committee on Finance and Revenue on this bill on Oct. 23 at 1 pm. UPDATE, 10/20: The Washington Business Journal (subscription only) gets to the heart of what's really going on--the Hope VI funding for Capper is $35 million short, so they're wanting to use this PILOT to cover the shortfall. But since the city's PILOT program is capped at $250 million, and DOT and the Southeast Federal Center have already chewed through most of that, attempts are being made to raise the PILOT cap to $500 million to then allow Capper to get a $35 million piece of the PILOT pie.

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This is not something I'm going to continue to track, but I know some readers are interested in knowing if former Near Southeast nightclubs Wet and Edge are going to reopen somewhere else. There is an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration hearing on Dec. 13 on Wet/Edge's petition to move their operations to a new location at 2046 West Virginia Ave., NE. So if you're wanting to know more, you might want to keep an eye on the ABRA web site and its calendar (which doesn't get updated much in advance of the weekly hearings).
 

Today there was a media tour of the ballpark construction site hosted by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and Clark/Hunt/Smoot, and they were nice enough to invite me. I'll have photos and details of what was said later this evening, but in the meantime here's the first JDLand Near Southeast multimedia offering, four minutes of video from within the construction site. It's not earthshatteringly exciting, but it is from down within the bowl of the stadium instead of from the usual vantage points along the perimeter. UPDATE: I've now posted my photos from today's tour, and also a bit of audio with the opening remarks from the DCSEC and construction folks. UPDATE II: And now the stories from news outlets on the tour: here's NBC4's brief. And MLB.com's (with lots of good details). And the Post's, which sneaks in a bunch of parking garage-related items into the story. UPDATE III: And the WashTimes story, and Marc Fisher's Post column talking about the garages (and how Mayor Baseball has already "checked out").
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Included in the packet of materials handed out today at the media tour were three new renderings of the stadium's exterior, much more detailed and crisp than the water colors that were originally released; I've posted them on my main stadium page.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

There's not much in it that oh-so-informed visitors to this site don't already know, but here's a brief from Commercial Property News about the start of construction at 100 M Street. The only tidbit in it that's new to me is that CB Richard Ellis will be handling the marketing and leasing.
More posts: 100 M, Square 743N
 

I heard from two people this weekend saying that the Nexus Gold Club (the last night club, and also the last strip club, left in Near Southeast) was either closing immediately or had in fact already closed. Terrified that I had missed a critical piece of news, I marched up to the front door (ignoring the gales of laughter coming from throughout the neighborhood) and made my inquiries, and was told by an unidentified staffer that Nexus is still open, with December still being the rumored closing date. Coming to that location will be 909 New Jersey Avenue, a 238-unit residential project by JPI. (I did notice the last time I drove past the 900 block of 1st that the tire alignment shop right next to the Nexus appeared closed in the middle of a workday. While last I heard the A1 auto shop directly on the corner of 1st and K was not selling to JPI, perhaps it's next-door neighbor has decided to move on; no property sale has been recorded through late August, the most recent records available in the city's online sales database, but perhaps that's changed.)
 

The Post's front page this morning has a big profile of the Lerner family, which starts right off with the friction that has become standard between the Lerners and city officials over almost every aspect of the new baseball stadium: "To District officials, the concrete columns rising along South Capitol Street represent the beginning of a sweeping renewal of the Anacostia River waterfront, not just the foundation of a new $611 million stadium for the Washington Nationals. For the team's owner, the family of 80-year-old billionaire shopping mall developer Theodore N. Lerner, there are more immediate goals. Every few days, the Lerners call or visit city officials with their latest desire: an executive dining room, and in the luxury suites, individual bathrooms and a special window glaze. They want close-in parking for the best-paying fans and have turned down several ideas for how to build it. They don't want to pay for cost overruns. Recently, Lerner himself wanted to know precisely where the team's souvenir store would be. When a city official described it, Lerner said he needed to see actual plans. [...] City officials hoped the family's development experience would bring high-quality services to the stadium and propel a waterfront revitalization, a major justification for building the ballpark with city money. But the Lerners also came with something else: an all-business approach that helps explain the friction with the city over the stadium."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

EYA has released details on the Workforce Housing program at Capitol Quarter. There are two floor plans to view (which are probably also a hint at the floorplans that will be available in the market-rate homes), as well as an extremely informative Workforce Housing Guidelines sheet explaining how the 90-or-so workforce units will be sold; details on deposit requirements, restrictions (lots of them), and income levels are included (along with a big NOTE: that just because your income falls within the accepted range doesn't mean you'll automatically qualify). Twenty workforce units will be available initially, and there will be a reservation lottery on Nov. 18. There will also be a seminar about the program on Oct. 11 at 7:30 pm at the Holiday Inn Capitol Hill (415 New Jersey Ave., NW), I'm not sure whether you need to be registered with Capitol Quarter's web site in order to attend. The guidelines sheet also mentions that construction at Capitol Quarter is expected to begin in the Spring/Summer of 2007, with units ready for move-in near the end of 2007, into 2008. And don't forget that the one-week preview period for the market-rate homes will begin on Oct. 14, pre-registration required.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

From Friday's Post: "The debate over parking for the new $611 million Washington Nationals baseball stadium has dragged on for months, and council Chairman Linda W. Cropp called on the mayor and council yesterday to make a decision." The story details a council breakfast meeting (now being held "in the sunshine"), with Cropp telling members "All you're doing is wasting time and shooting yourself in the foot," Mayor-to-Most-Likely-Be Adrian Fenty saying nothing, Marion Barry trying to give his bud Herb Miller another chance (and Herb getting dissed by Linda), and Jack Evans having the most reasonable comment: "[Evans] said the ballpark should be viewed as a long-term investment whose full development would appreciate in value. He compared it to the 1997 completion of MCI Center, now Verizon Center, where shops and restaurants were developed along with Gallery Place over a decade. 'I think we're about to make a decision that we will regret later on' if the underground parking is rejected, he said." And one more indication of the [non-]relationship between Mayor Baseball and the Lerners: "Williams laughed when Catania and council member Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3) suggested a new meeting with the Lerner group to discuss the project. 'Dealing with the Lerners is a problem for the new administration,' Williams said." Look for the Mayor's latest plan to possibly come before the council on Oct. 18.
More posts: staddis, Nationals Park
 

Pieces of news so small that I'm practically embarrassed to be posting them: Landscape work is being done at DOT, with a whole slew of trees and shrubs having been installed in the past few days along M and 3rd. The digging of what will be a very big hole for 70/100 I has begun, along I Street and now moving north into the property. And steel beams have started to be installed at the stadium site. Tomorrow's update: 15 leaves fall from a tree at 1st and K.
 

From Thursday's Post: "Six months after the D.C. Council voted to cap the rising costs of the Washington Nationals baseball stadium at $611 million, Mayor Anthony A. Williams now says the city needs an additional $75 million in public funds to finish the job. The extra money, which would require approval from the council, would be used to help pay for parking garages on city land just north of the ballpark[.]" The response from council members? "[S]everal other members objected vehemently yesterday when informed of the plan by a reporter. [...] Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), an ardent stadium booster, said he did not think the council would approve any proposal to alter the cap and allow more public spending. 'There is no legislative remedy for the parking,' Evans said. 'Under no scenario will the council raise the cap, in my view.' " And what's the new proposal for the garages? "[T]he sports commission would build two levels of parking underground and one level aboveground on the north parcel and another garage on the south side at a cost of $100 million. Those garages would be engineered so that further development could be added in the future, officials said. Since the city has $25 million for parking in the current budget, it would need an additional $75 million. Of that, $17 million would come from excess from a special tax on businesses and utilities that the city has collected during the two seasons the Nationals have played at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. The remaining $58 million would come from either a private developer, who would pay the city for the right to build above the garages, or from publicly financed bonds, city financial officials said. Either option is considered public funding and is barred by the council's cost cap." I know we're all stunned that this is taking yet another turn....
More posts: parking, Nationals Park
 

The very active new residents of Capitol Hill Tower have organized a meeting at 5 pm on Oct. 7 (Saturday) with officers from PSA 105 and also the three Ward 6 council candidates - Tommy Wells (D), Tony Williams (R) and Will Cobb (I) - to discuss security issues in the neighborhood as well as the plans for growth in Near Southeast. This meeting is open to the public.
More posts: Capitol Hill Tower
 

Got behind schedule on this, and am only now adding the Naval Historical Center's October slate of offerings to my Neighborhood Calendar. Make sure to check them out, there's some pretty neat ones, including a candlelight tour of the Navy Yard (space is limited, RSVP ASAP) and a baseball-related "Hip History" event on Oct. 7 (all gift shop visitors wearing Washington Nationals apparel will receive 10% off!), as well as a Halloween-themed "spooktacular" tour of the "Ghost Ship" Barry on Oct. 28. Because of the high level of security, all events require an RSVP in advance.
More posts: Navy Yard
 

Today's WashTimes reports: "The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission yesterday said it has authorized changes to the design of the Washington Nationals ballpark that will make it the first-ever "green" stadium in Major League Baseball. The commission yesterday said it will submit an application to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program from the U.S. Green Building Council, which grades construction projects for their sensitivity to the environment. To achieve certification, the project must earn a certain number of "points" for environmentally and energy efficient design. The sports commission has always intended to seek the LEED Certification, though it is not required." UPDATE: Here's the DCSEC press release.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

A briefing in Wednesday's Post: "D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) withdrew yesterday his proposal to revive a plan to build condominiums and parking garages near a new baseball stadium in Southeast Washington. There was little discussion about the bill during yesterday's council meeting. The city's chief financial officer, Natwar M. Gandhi, had sent the council a letter saying that the bill would "jeopardize the on-time and on-budget completion of the stadium facility." Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) told the council in a letter that he supported Barry's bill with several amendments that addressed Gandhi's concerns. The proposal could be placed on the agenda again this month." UPDATE: Here's a more detailed piece, from the Examiner: "Council Chairman Linda Cropp ruled the measure out of order - she opposed it anyway - because it was not accompanied by a fiscal impact statement. 'I agree wholeheartedly that there is an emergency we need to work out,' Cropp said. 'I don't think at this point this is the resolution to do it.' [...] Cropp agreed to work on a compromise with Barry in the coming weeks."
 

I've been remiss in not doing this sooner, but at the bottom of the right-hand column on this page you'll see a new list of links to Other DC Neighborhood Blogs. Go visit, and find out what else is happening around town....
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A bombshell from Tuesday's Post: "Several D.C. Council members were negotiating late yesterday to introduce emergency legislation today that would revive a plan to build condominiums and parking garages near a new baseball stadium in Southeast Washington. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) was leading the effort and had distributed a bill that seeks to alter the $611 million stadium cost cap approved by the council in March. The legislation would allow the city to spend money from the sale of development rights on stadium land to pay for the parking garages." As an emergency bill it would require 9 of 13 council votes, and CFO Gandhi has already said he has "grave concerns". And the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission would be stripped of control of the garages land, handing them over to the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and allowing them to negotiate with the Lerners. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride continues....
 

From CrimeInDC.org (saw this a few days ago, sorry for being slow in posting), report of a carjacking on Sept. 19 at 6:16 pm at the Exxon at 1000 M Street: "c1 reports as she was putting air in her front left tire s1 approached her from the rear then pushed her. s1 entered her vehicle at which time s1 and c2 began to struggle with the door. as s1 drove off c1 was hanging onto the driver door."
More posts: crime, M Street
 

Speaking of taking pictures, I've added some ones to my 100 M Street, 1100 First Street, Capper Seniors #2, and M Street photo galleries. 1100 First in particular has some striking before-and-afters now that trees have been removed along 1st and L streets. I also did some creative cropping of a Sept. 2000 photo of M Street to document (barely!) a solitary rowhouse that used to stand on the 100 M Street lot (where those steps-to-nowhere just west of the alley had been for the past few years, until meeting the wrecking ball over the past few weeks).

 

A portion of today's Dana Hedgpeth column in the Post describes "observations offered last week by developers and leasing and sales brokers to about 100 real estate professionals in an annual conference." The one comment about Near Southeast: "The area around the planned baseball stadium in Southeast, many agreed, will eventually develop into shops, restaurants, housing and more offices. But some differed on how long it would take. The area, which is now mostly boarded-up storefronts, empty lots and car repair garages, would look very different by 2008, some said. Others said it would take until 2010 or beyond. 'You'll go down there and forget what it looked like before,' [emphasis mine] said Daniel P. Dooley, managing director at Tishman Speyer Properties". Gosh, if only someone had thought to take pictures of the neighborhood to capture what it looked like before all the development arrived! :-)
More posts: Retail, Nationals Park
 

From the Post, the end of the article first: "Mark H. Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, said ballpark construction is proceeding on schedule. Workers have erected hundreds of concrete pilings and are shaping the clubhouses and seating bowls, with a major delivery of steel to the site -- a critical step -- set for Friday." The story itself is about how "[t]he Washington Nationals' disappointing on-field performance this season, coupled with a drop in ticket sales at 45-year-old RFK Stadium, has underscored the importance of finishing a new $611 million ballpark in time for the 2008 season." Fun quote: " 'RFK will never be more than good old RFK,' [Nationals President Stan] Kasten said. 'By the time we get the new park open in '08, it's going to [provide] the best experience you can possibly have.' "
More posts: Nationals Park
 
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