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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: October 2007
In the Pipeline
Homewood Suites Hotel
1111 New Jersey
Yards/Parcel A
1244 South Capitol
Florida Rock
Ballpark Square
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Southeast Blvd.
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
New Barracks
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
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
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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With let's-not-even-admit-how-many pictures now posted on this site, and with so many locations and so many angles to look at, it's sometimes hard to know where the most striking reflections of the changes in Near Southeast might be found. So of course I had to go and build a new page: JD's Favorite Before-and-Afters (or, in a lot of cases, Before-and-Durings). There's no rhyme or reason to the order (except maybe my mostest favorite faves at the top), and quite a lot of them are from locations still undergoing changes, but these are the shots that make even my jaded brain stop and say, "whoa." These photos will be updated as new pictures are uploaded, and I'll probably tinker with the lineup, but you get the idea.
More posts:

DDOT has cancelled plans to close two outbound lanes on the Douglass Bridge from 7 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 3 and 4). So now you can take a weekend jaunt and buzz the new South Capitol Street and its renovated bridge without backups!

It's now officially scheduled: the turf for Nationals Park will be cut at a farm in New Jersey on Halloween night, and trucked down here for installation starting Thursday morning. (I just hope the guys cutting it don't get distracted scanning the skies for the Great Pumpkin.) Unless the construction folks taunt everyone by pulling the plug, the press box web cam should give a great view of the field's change from brown to green. (If you haven't looked for a few days, don't wait until Thursday to check it out--the infield is now pretty well laid out.)
More posts: Nationals Park

Oct 30, 2007 8:53 AM
WTOP talks to the man who's installing all 41,000-plus seats at the new ballpark, to see how they compare to RFK: "All of the seats are angled toward home plate, so fans will be able to see the batter and the pitcher, says Alveno, who is the foreman in charge of seat installation. Alveno says each seat is equipped with a cup holder and the size of the seats varies from 19 inches to 22 inches. Seats in the pricier sections -- such as behind home plate -- will be cushioned." There will be a "Meet Your Seat" event for season-ticket holders before the ballpark opens. Single-game ticket sales will start in February.
More posts: Nationals Park

Oct 29, 2007 10:01 PM
UPDATE, 10/29: Very last-minute alert that this show will be on tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 30) morning at 10 am on the Discovery Channel. In case you missed it.
UPDATE: Sorry, guess I should have bumped this up on Wednesday before air time. (What, everyone didn't mark their calendar and set their Tivo as soon as they read this last week?) The show was really well done (I must admit I wasn't expecting it to be very good), so try to catch it again when it re-airs on Oct. 30 at 10 am. There's also behind-the-scenes clips available now on Discovery's web site.
Original Entry: Next Wednesday night (Oct. 17), the Discovery Channel's Build it Bigger series will profile the construction of the new Nationals ballpark. The official blurb for the episode is: "In Washington, DC, 800 workers attempt to design and build a $650 million baseball stadium in less than two years. Danny Forster finds out if they can finish the 41,000-seat Nationals stadium, complete with the largest scoreboard in the US, on schedule." (Although the Royals have now pushed ahead in the Scoreboard Size Race, apparently.) It's scheduled to be on at 8 pm and 12 am; check local listings, as they say, for the bat time and bat channel in your area. There's also a preview podcast available. (h/t to 08Cubs)
More posts: Nationals Park

Oct 29, 2007 3:43 PM
Today's Washington Times has a long piece on the history of the Verizon Center (originally the MCI Center, for those of you not keeping up on your telecom mergers). The last portion of it deals with how the Verizon Center's success in revitalizing a somewhat moribund section of town might apply to Near Southeast as the baseball stadium opens.
More posts: Nationals Park

Oct 29, 2007 8:48 AM
From the Post: "Monument Realty, which has filed a federal lawsuit against Metro over a land dispute, said Friday that the expansion of the Navy Yard station near the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium would be completed on schedule. Executives at the District company had threatened to slow work on the project because the transit agency plans to sell land near the stadium to another development company, Akridge. Jeff Neal, a Monument principal, said in a written statement that the project would be completed before the start of the 2008 baseball season. 'We have worked diligently and transparently to develop an aggressive timeline,' he said. Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for Metro, said, 'We have every reason to believe that they will fulfill that pledge.' " Monument also stated that the station would be done on time a few weeks ago in a letter to ANC6D vice chair Andy Litsky and others, which I posted here. You can see my Monument Half Street page for more information on the station expansion as well as 55 M Street, the office building that Monument is constructing on top of it. (There's also the Half Street Web Cam for tracking the progress, but it's been offline for the past few days. UPDATE: It's back now.)
UPDATE II: There's also this interview with Russ Hines and Amy Phillips of Monument, conducted last Friday by the Nats320 blog, about the on-time-ness of the project.

Oct 28, 2007 1:04 PM
(I have no way of verifying the authenticity or the reputation of this story, as it's just being reported on one blog, but it's too juicy to ignore. All disclaimers apply. h/t Ballpark Guys)
The Pope is apparently planning a trip to the U.S. in mid-April, with visits scheduled for New York and Washington, and the "Whispers in the Loggia" blog reports: "While most of the previously-noted itinerary of the Catholic University of America and diplomatic courtesies at the White House appear to remain in place, one reported change has the venue for Benedict's DC Mass pegged not for the expanse of the National Mall, but -- as with New York -- the new stadium of the Washington Nationals, currently projected to open barely a week before the visit takes place. (On a related note, Major League Baseball's scheduling for 2008 is still in its tentative stages and has not been publicly released.) Built to house a game capacity of 41,000, Nationals Park would likely seat closer to 50,000 for a papal liturgy."
Even the author--who writes for a international Catholic weekly--adds a bunch of a caveats to the news: "[P]apal trips are not formally announced by the Vatican until three months prior to a visit's taking place, and the detailed final itineraries are held until weeks before the journey. Bottom line: everything can, and very well might, change. But this is where things are heading as of the present... even if 'Nothing is confirmed until the Holy Father signs off on it.' "
(See this September item from the Catholic News Agency for early news of the papal visit, saying that Mass would be held on the Mall.)

Oct 27, 2007 9:04 AM
From NBC4 (this is the entire piece): "There could soon be a faster way to get from Prince William County to the District. The Potomac River Express commuter ferry took its first test run Thursday, traveling from Quantico Marina up the Potomac River to Navy Yard. During the trial run, the ferry got to the Wilson Bridge in 47 minutes. The ferry arrived at Navy Yard in just under an hour. That's nearly half the amount of time it can [take] by car during rush hour. More test runs for the ferry are planned for the spring. The company that will run it still needs to get approval to operate from the Virginia Department of Transportation." There's also a much more detailed story from the Potomac News. I don't think they actually docked anywhere along the Anacostia (since there isn't anywhere for a ferry to let people off--yet), they were just testing the time.
UPDATE, 10/29: Here's a Washington Business Journal piece on the ferry trial run and plans, and the press release it was written off of.
More posts: Navy Yard

Oct 26, 2007 3:00 PM
I had one ear tuned in this afternoon to Phil Mendelson's hearing on space needs for the police department (a follow-up to the Sept. 20 barnburner between him and Office of Property Management director Lars Etzkorn). This time it was Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert in the hot seat, and he stated that plans for using the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue will be "finalized by the end of the year." He called the original plan to use 225 for the First Distrct police station, the evidence warehouse, and other MPD functions a decision by "a well-intentioned prior administration" that he can't advise the mayor to adopt. Mendelson disagreed strongly, and also said a number of times that if the eventual uses for 225 Virginia don't include any of the public safety agencies, then his committee has no jurisdiction, but that as a council member he will be very critical of any plans for the building that don't include the various urgent space needs of the police department.
Albert also talked about the plans for relocating the 1D station--it appears they have a location in mind, but Albert didn't want to discuss it in public. He did say that it is in Southwest, and that it is permanent space, not swing space. He also said that community leaders would be contacted for input before the plan is finalized. Despite skeptical questioning by Mendelson, Albert said that the timeline for a 2011 completion of the new Consolidated Forensics Lab at the current 1D location is still on schedule, and that with the 1D relocation sites being looked at, he's confident that 1D can be moved and built out without jeopardizing the planned start of construction on the lab in early 2009.
Mendelson is clearly frustrated with the decision not to use 225 Virginia, and with the run-arounds he feels he has received over the past few months (he had a long list of questions from the Sept. 20 hearing that he never received answers to), so it will be interesting to watch this continue to unfold.

Oct 26, 2007 9:44 AM
I don't normally do this, but I've got a bunch of pretty small items, so I'll just run them together:
* There's finally a small piece in the big media about the plans to redo the 11th Street Bridges, from WTOP. Nothing new, except that DDOT hopes to begin the construction in 2009, contingent on that pesky little thing called federal funding.
* Monday's kick-off ceremony for the Capitol Riverfront BID is making its debut on DC Cable 16 tomorrow (Saturday), at 3 pm, with additional showings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday also at 3 pm. If you don't have cable, you can watch its feed via streaming video.
* I've now posted Monument's 90-second animation of what the east side of Half Street will look like when finished. If it goes by too fast (or if you can't get it to work), you can see the stills I took from it on my Monument Half Street page. There's no sound, and in order to make it small enough to download in less than 12 hours, the quality is lower than the crystal clear original. But you'll get the idea.
* You may notice that the map at right on my homepage has acquired a bunch of new stars. Showing that razor-like sharpness I'm known for, I took just under five years to figure out that I could display projects on the map even if I didn't have enough room for them under the "selected projects" lists at left. But at least the stars are color-coded! Just hover your mouse over them, and you'll get the descriptions. And don't forget that you can also click on the tabs above the map to get to the directory of all completed, under construction, and in-the-pipeline projects. Now I just need to work on freshening up some of the neglected interior pages of the site; I'll do it during all that spare time I have.

Oct 25, 2007 8:38 PM
I got a sneak peek today at the new Velocity Sales Center trailer at Half and K, which is scheduled to open to the public at 10 am Friday. The big eye-catcher about this sales trailer is that they've built right into it a full-scale replica of one of their one-bedroom-with-den units. I took some photos of it, which I've put on my Velocity page (you'll also see at the top of the page a new rendering of the building itself). To start they're selling 24 of the building's 200 units, with prices starting just above $300k for studios. The building will have a rooftop pool, and the ground-floor units along L Street will have outdoor patios below the sidewalk line. The building is scheduled to be completed in 2009, followed eventually by a mirror Velocity II building running along K Street and an office building along Half Street, with a shared courtyard between them. The official web site is at Stop by the sales center and tell them you read about it on JDLand, and you'll receive.... a big smile and lots of information about the project.
UPDATE, 10/26: In honor of today's launch of the sales center, the Washington Times Friday New Home Guide has a piece about the Velocity project.

Oct 25, 2007 9:21 AM
No Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post this week, but news has been coming so fast over the past few days that it might be a good time to highlight some headlines that you might have missed in the flurry:
* I posted a ton of new photos from all around the neighborhood, and from inside the ballpark, and also put up new renderings of Monument's Half Street project;
* The Velocity Condos sales center opens on Friday, as the crane arrives to begin vertical construction;
* Demolition on the northwest corner of South Capitol and O is scheduled to start Monday, to clear the site for the 1345 South Capitol residential project;
* The Market Deli and its two neighbors along the 100 block of L Street have jointly put themselves on the market for $11 million;
* The old Capper Seniors building is scheduled to start being demolished Nov. 5, and at about the same time move-ins will start at the new Capper Building #2 at Fourth and M;
* Someone's camping at Capitol Quarter;
* Look for the turf to be laid at the ballpark right around Halloween; in the meantime, read the press release from the Nationals about parking at the new ballpark and at RFK.
And of course, you can scroll down to read other items I didn't mention here. But news is aging off the homepage after about six days right now, so don't dawdle!
More posts:

Oct 25, 2007 8:56 AM
I wouldn't have linked to this Examiner article on funding for the proposed Consolidated Forensics Lab normally (since it isn't really a Near Southeast story), but there's a couple of errors in it that need fixing. Here are the two sentences containing boo-boos: "Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration two months ago scrapped plans to build a long-awaited crime lab at the First District police headquarters in Southeast Washington, stalling construction indefinitely" and "In September, Fenty's administration decided not to locate the crime lab in leased space at 225 Virginia Ave. SE, a location that he had chosen five months earlier."
The writer appears to have mixed up the scuttled plans for 1D with the plans for the crime lab; contrary to these statements, there have never been plans to build the lab at 225 Virginia; the plans that were scrapped were the move of the 1D headquarters to 225 from its current home in Southwest, to free the location for the crime lab to be built there. I don't believe (unless things have changed since the ANC6D meeting two weeks ago) that plans to build the lab at the 1D site have been scrapped at all; they just can't build the lab there until they find a new home for 1D.
UPDATE: I'm just now seeing that tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 26) there's a public hearing by Phil Mendelson's Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, "Follow Up on Capital Projects and Space Needs for Public Safety Agencies," which presumably is going to be talking about the combined lab's construction. The last hearing, on Sept. 20, was a pretty tense affair between Mendelson and Lars Etzkorn, director of the Office of Property Management. (I mention tomorrow's hearing because I know Mendelson does still seem to be holding out hope that some MPD functions could still move to 225 Virginia.)

Oct 25, 2007 8:48 AM
One of the issues with having satellite parking for the new Nationals ballpark at RFK, according to today's Examiner, is what would happen when both the Nats and DC United have games scheduled for the same time. The article says that there's still no agreement between the city and the Nationals on any plan to park baseball fans at RFK.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Oct 24, 2007 8:17 PM
Monument Realty has created a high-tech animation of what its under-construction project on the east side of Half Street will look like when completed; some images captured from the animation are now on my Monument Half Street page. (I'm waiting to find out where the animation will reside, and hopefully will be able to link to it.) Compare the drawings of the Half and M corner with the latest shots from the Half Street construction web cam, and you'll see that the steel beams are now being put in place that make up the distinctive pattern around the Navy Yard Metro entrance. (But don't look too closely at what's shown for the west/right side of the street, since that's the site of the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, which Monument thought it was going to acquire but which has been won by Akridge with a $69.25 million bid. And which is now subject of a Monument lawsuit.)
UPDATED, 10/25: I've now got a low-bandwidth version of the animation posted. Please note that in order to not have it be huge file that you'd need an afternoon to download, the animation is not as sharp as the original.

Oct 24, 2007 4:09 PM
One more reminder that Wednesday night (Oct. 24) there is a public meeting on the project to create a more appealing connection between Garfield Park north of the Southeast Freeway and the to-be-built-hopefully-eventually Canal Park, one block to the freeway's south. The meeting is from 6 to 9 pm at St. Peter's Catholic Church at 2nd and C streets, SE. Here's the project web site, for more information, along with a DDOT press release on the meeting.
More posts: Canal Park

Oct 24, 2007 11:47 AM
It has been observed that a camper has set up shop within the past week or so outside the Capitol Quarter sales center at 4th and L, even though no date has been announced for the next release of market-rate homes. Too bad the weeks of dry weather just gave out! Campers were of course a fixture at the site over the summer, when five house sites were sold each month. It will be interesting to see how long this intrepid soul (and presumably the cadre of friends helping save the camper's place "in line") will have to wait....
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Oct 24, 2007 12:10 AM
In response to the e-mail sent out earlier today from the Nationals saying that non-season ticket holders will be able to park at RFK and ride a shuttle to the new ballpark for free, the city is saying that the deal isn't done, according to Wednesday's Post: "The Washington Nationals said for the first time yesterday that the team expects some fans to park at RFK Stadium next season and ride a shuttle bus to the new ballpark more than two miles away. But the team's announcement that fans will be able to park for free at RFK, property controlled by the city, surprised D.C. officials, who said they have not signed off on the plan." And, in addition to the negotiations not being yet finalized, there's questions on how such shuttles would work, given how traffic-filled the routes between RFK and South Capitol Street can be.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Oct 23, 2007 5:11 PM
From a Nationals press release, via e-mail:
"The Washington Nationals announced today that all season ticket holders will be offered parking for games at the new ballpark. Fans purchasing season ticket packages, including full season, half season and partial game plans, will be able to purchase parking in the area surrounding Nationals Park. Available surface parking spaces and/or garages are currently being designated, and the process is an ongoing one. The Nationals and the District have been working very diligently for over a year to provide parking for their fans.
" 'We are very excited to announce that, due to the hard work of many, many people, we now feel confident that we will be able to provide parking spaces for purchase by any season ticket customer account,' said Stan Kasten, President of the Washington Nationals. 'We understand there has been a great deal of concern and speculation regarding parking availability at the new Nationals Park for 2008.'
"For fans without season tickets that choose to drive to Nationals Park, or season ticket holders who choose not to purchase parking, there will be free parking at RFK Stadium with a speedy and free roundtrip shuttle service to the games.
"The process of selling tickets and acquiring parking spaces will continue throughout the offseason. More details about parking, including policies and prices, will be announced at a later date."
See my stadium parking page for all the parking-related news up to now. I know nothing about actual locations of lots for season ticket holders, etc., etc. Just passing along what the press release says. Hopefully specifics will be coming along soon. (And it will be interesting to see if this truly means that all non-season ticket holders wanting to drive to the new ballpark will be sent to RFK for parking and shuttled.)
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Oct 23, 2007 4:50 PM
I'm hearing that the Velocity Condos sales center at Half and K is within minutes of opening--there will be a broker/client open house probably over the weekend. More specifics when I get them. Or just wander by and see if the light's on.
UPDATE: Now official: the sales center will open to the public starting Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm. If you signed up for the contact list at, you should be getting an e-mail about this "Grand Opening Weekend"--"During your visit you can experience interactive video and virtual reality presentations, and tour an amazing full scale, one bedroom with den and 2 full baths Model Home right in the Sales Center!"

Oct 23, 2007 4:34 PM
From the Post: "Raw sewage is flowing into the Anacostia River from a leak in a major sewer line that carries untreated waste from a pumping station in Southeast Washington, D.C. Water and Sewer Authority officials said last night. [...] The cause of the leak was not immediately known. It was discovered when workers repairing part of the riverbank spotted water churning nearby. Tests showed that sewage probably was flowing out of a buried line somewhere between the O Street pumping station and the riverbank." They'll first try to bypass the pipe (seven feet below water), which could be done today, and then work on repairing it. As for any health concerns: "Dunn said that the leak near the O Street station does not pose a threat to public health, noting that more untreated sewage flows into the river on rainy days, when runoff overwhelms the city's sewer system and treatment capacity." Lovely. City Paper has excerpts from the WASA media advisory on the leak. And yes, this is the WASA operation just across First Street from the ballpark.
UPDATE: I should note that in 2005 and 2006 there was extensive interior and exterior rehabilitation work done to the 1905 Beaux Arts Main Pumping Station building, plans for which went through the city and federal bureaucracy before I became the source material addict that I am today. So here's the February 2005 National Capital Planning Commission executive action on the rehabilitation plans. The repointing of the exterior masonry and the repair of damaged windows, doors, and building cornice was why the building was under a white tarp in early 2006.
UPDATE II: The Associated Press is reporting: "The sewage leak into the Anacostia River has been stopped. DC's Water and Sewer Authority set up a bypass pump system to stop the sewage from reaching the river."
More posts: DC Water (WASA)

Oct 23, 2007 1:06 PM
I've confirmed that demolition is scheduled to begin on Monday (Oct. 29) on the northwest corner of South Capitol and O, where Camden Development is preparing to build the 276-unit 1345 South Capitol Street apartment building. Construction of the building itself will probably start in latelatelate2007 or 2008. (h/t to DCMud) And note that it has indeed changed its address to 1345 from 1325, because the city wouldn't give them 1325.

Oct 23, 2007 1:17 AM
For months now, I've been dreading this part of 2007, when so many projects would be underway--and it turns out I was right to be worried. Goodness gracious, tons and tons of photos were needed to keep to my perfectionist mandate, but at last I've gotten them up on the site, even though it's pretty much taken a week to get every shot I wanted. For your perusing pleasure:
*The Stadium Exterior Construction Gallery is more updated than it's been in nearly three months, though N Street was unavailable to me this weekend thanks to lots of digging going on. The photos on that page, as well as on the expanded galleries of views along Potomac Avenue, South Capitol, and from the ballpark's viewing platform at First and Potomac show not only the progress on the stadium but also on the streetscape improvements. Sidewalks, curbs, and streetlamps continue to be installed--and the stoplights along South Capitol are gearing up as well (it looks like the P Street light that's now flashing yellow is going to get turned on pretty soon).
* 70 I Street and Onyx are just about topped out, while their siblings 100 I and 100 M aren't far behind. In fact, progress at 70 I is outpacing me so much that within the five days since I took photos of its western side, the bricking of that wall has begun, and is already reaching the second floor in some spots. There's some nice long-distance shots of these projects, from the freeway and the ballpark, highlighting how much the skyline has changed in just a few short weeks.
* Velocity's three-story-deep hole is now getting a concrete floor, which means vertical construction is starting before long. (The crane arrived within the past few days.) And Monument's 55 M Street office building (where the Navy Yard Metro west entrance is being expanded) is poking up above street level, with the first concrete pillars poured along M Street. And it's been hard to get any photos of the work at The Yards, but I finally snagged a few from up on high.
* Plus there's the shots from the top of 20 M Street this morning, including a few panoramic views across Southwest.
If you don't want to plow through all those links above, you can see all the new photos on one page, though it's just a touch overwhelming. (Yes, even I know it's overwhelming.) But the project links above (and their expanded archives) are really worth it, because the scope of the changes is now so amazing. So click on a or two to watch the progression.
And now I will rest myself and my camera for a while. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Oct 22, 2007 12:46 PM
This morning the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District held a kick-off celebration on the 10th floor of 20 M Street, the latest stop on the 2007 Traveling Road Show of Near Southeast groundbreakings. Mayor Fenty, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Council Member Tommy Wells, and others saluted the changes happening in Near Southeast--and fans of Canal Park will be happy to know that Wells took time to stress the importance of getting the park built, not just from a greenspace standpoint but also because of its stormwater management operations. Renderings of the projects underway were displayed on easels throughout the room, most of which are available as well here at JDLand. There were also diplomas presented to the first graduates of the "Clean Team" program, the blue-jumpsuited workers now starting to be visible around the neighborhood as they work to keep the streets and sidewalks clean, no mean feat when the entire area is basically one big construction zone. For more about the BID, visit their web site. I took some pictures of the proceedings, a few of which I've tossed up on a page (opting for speed rather than depth of coverage). And I also took the opportunity to get some updated overhead shots of the neighborhood from the 20 M vantage point, which I'll be posting along with the rest of the photos I took this weekend as soon as I can finally get through all of them.
UPDATE: Not sure how much coverage there will be of the event, but here's a brief on it, and on the BID itself. And here's the press release from the mayor's office.
UPDATE II: And a story from the Washington Times. Quick reminder on what the BID is here for: "Business leaders said they were willing to agree to pay thousands of dollars in taxes to fund the BID.[...] The money will fund basic cleaning and security efforts as well as marketing and coordination of transportation and parking."
UPDATE III: An audio piece on the BID from WAMU-FM.

Oct 21, 2007 5:59 PM
Word has arrived that the Market Deli at First and L, the cab company at New Jersey and L, and the small empty lot between them have gone on the market as a joint sale, with an asking price of $11 million for the 9,000-plus square feet of land. It's one of the last spots in Near Southeast west of Eighth Street where the land is still owned by individuals and not developers, and anyone watching the corner shouldn't be surprised that this is finally happening--and given that behemoth Akridge owns most of the rest of that block's land along First Street, maybe they might be watching this offering with interest. The deal is being spearheaded by the Resnick family, which over the past few years has sold family land on both sides of the 1100 block of New Jersey, and on L Street where Onyx is now going up. (And their father once operated a 5&10 where the Courtyard by Marriott now stands.) In the meantime, they're talking with restaurants about perhaps renting some of the existing space to sell "quick food" for ballpark goers.

Oct 20, 2007 5:34 PM
I've posted a new batch of photos from inside the stadium, where the main item of interest is the dirt being spread out on the field in preparation for the planting of the grass, which is not far off ("Turf or Treat!"). Check back tomorrow for additional photos from along South Capitol Street and other locations that need updating...
More posts: Nationals Park

Oct 20, 2007 10:23 AM
After being vacant since the beginning of the year, the old Capper Seniors building at 601 L Street is in its final days, with demolition scheduled to begin the first week in November. Once the hazmat cleanup that's been going on is finished, the building, which opened in the late 1950s, will be brought down floor-by-floor (no Vegas-style implosion). I was inside the fences yesterday and between the raindrops got a few pictures of this building, though I hope to get some more before the final curtain.
At the same time the old building is coming down, the 139-unit new Capper Building #2 at 400 M Street is going to be opening its doors to residents. Originally designed as a building for low-income seniors, its profile has been expanded to also include renters who earn up to 60 percent of the area median income (from $38,000 for one person to $54,000 for a family of four). I was given a tour yesterday and got photos of the inside; the first floor has a community room with kitchenette, and laundry, computer, fitness, and conference rooms, and the landscaped interior courtyard also serves as a stormwater management system. The two-bedroom corner units at Fourth and M have some pretty nice views of The Yards and DOT (but I think they're all already spoken for). Twenty of the one-bedrooms and one of the two-bedrooms are for the mobility-impaired. A web site for the building will be launched soon, and there will be a rental office on-site. With Building 2's opening, there are 300 new affordable housing units now available in the Capper Hope VI redevelopment (with Capper Seniors #1 having opened late in 2006), with another 400 to come as mixed-income Capitol Quarter gets underway early next year, and the other mixed-income Capper apartment buildings planned for Second Street loom farther at some unannounced date in the future.

Oct 19, 2007 5:29 PM
On Monday (Oct. 22), there's going to be a "signing ceremony" to officially enact the law creating the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District (Near Southeast and Buzzards Point). Mayor Fenty will wield the pen, and the Usual Suspects are expected to be in attendance (Eleanor Holmes Norton, Tommy Wells, other council members, developers, nosy bloggers, etc.). It's at 20 M Street at 10 am.

Oct 19, 2007 3:19 PM
The Post's Dr. Gridlock has a blog entry today about the work that continues on the Douglass Bridge: "Out of sight below the deck, in a big box-like area of pale gray steel, workers are riveting new bolts into place while either refurbishing or replacing aging parts of the structure across the Anacostia River. Aside from making the whole thing look better as a southern gateway to central Washington, the work will extend the life of the bridge until it can be replaced by a new structure the city plans to build right nearby." DDOT hopes to wrap up the work on the bridge, and on the streetscape improvements to South Capitol, Potomac, First, and I, by February.

Oct 19, 2007 2:23 PM
It's a slow Friday afternoon, so I'll sneak across South Capitol Street for this tidbit from the Post: "D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer won a court order yesterday requiring the owners of a property near the new baseball stadium to clear it of abandoned cars and trucks, construction debris and hazardous materials. Singer filed suit last week in D.C. Superior Court against John Henry Davis and John Reginald Davis, who she claimed have been using a vacant lot as an illegal dumping ground. The court order calls for the site, at 1800 Half Street SW, to be cleared within 21 days. The lawsuit was filed after citations calling for a cleanup were ignored, D.C. officials said. 'The area surrounding the stadium and the nearby neighborhood is expected to be a new and exciting entertainment destination, not a junkyard,' Singer said in a statement." If it's really 1800 Half Street, they must be talking about the cars and junk on the north end of the site, judging by this Google Maps satellite view (though it's from 2005).
More posts:

Oct 19, 2007 8:12 AM
Thursday's Washington Times has a piece on the continuing push to expand the boundaries of the Mall, and mentions legislation that Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced yesterday, describing it as envisioning "redrawing East Potomac Park, Banneker Overlook, the grounds of RFK Stadium, the Kennedy Center Plaza and the new South Capitol gateway as sites that would be defined as part of the Mall. All of them could host monuments and museums that various groups ask to be put on the Mall." The bill, H.R. 3880 (text not yet available) would "authorize the National Capital Planning Commission to designate and modify the boundaries of the National Mall area in the District of Columbia reserved for the location of commemorative works of preeminent historical and lasting significance".
This appears to be an outgrowth of the soon-to-be-released National Capital Framework Plan, a joint effort between NCPC and the Commission on Fine Arts, described thusly: "By showing how to create new destinations for cultural attractions throughout the city and improve the connections among them, the Framework Plan will provide a comprehensive approach to easing demand for construction on the National Mall while creating lively urban spaces throughout the city." (The Framework Plan itself is an outgrowth of the 1997 Extending the Legacy framework plan, which also begat the 2001 Memorials and Museums Master Plan.) But, as the Times says, "Local support is building to expand the Mall but the federal legislation it would require is more elusive." So don't look for new memorials popping up at the foot of South Capitol Street next week.
More posts: South Capitol St.

Oct 18, 2007 4:17 PM
One of two new Stadium Web Cam views has gone on line this afternoon, showing the view of the ballpark from the press box, high above home plate. As I mentioned last week, soon the other camera (currently looking down Half Street from atop 20 M) will move as well, to a position on top of the north/west parking garage along N Street (north of left field). These new angles will give great views of the turf being installed, which should start happening within the next few weeks. Then we can all sit at our desks and watch grass grow!
More posts: Nationals Park

Oct 18, 2007 1:31 PM
I posted about this a few weeks ago, but I'll pass along this DDOT press release from today as a reminder that on October 24 there is a public meeting on the project to create a more appealing connection between Garfield Park north of the Southeast Freeway and the to-be-built-hopefully-eventually Canal Park, one block to the freeway's south. The meeting is from 6 to 9 pm at St. Peter's Catholic Church at 2nd and C streets, SE. Here's the project web site, for more information.
More posts: Canal Park

Oct 18, 2007 9:42 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra in the Post covers the new zoning amendment for additional temporary surface parking lots (here's the Office of Planning report with all the details), and a little blurb about three of the historic call boxes along First Street disappearing recently, which you might have missed when I posted it here on Tuesday because it was at the end of two veeeeery long entries.

Oct 17, 2007 2:46 PM
From WTOP, a story about someone thinking about maybe doing something sometime: "It looks like the Metro station nearest to the Washington Nationals new stadium will be renamed, but who will pay for it? WTOP has learned the Nats may intend to pick up the tab. Nationals President Stan Kasten says discussion of what the Metro station might be called has been delayed because stadium naming rights have yet to be determined. But as far as paying for the new signage, Kasten says it is something the organization is 'talking about' and one of the things it is 'considering.' "

Oct 17, 2007 8:40 AM
Recently a sign has gone up on the old Miles Glass building at 8th and Virginia advertising an "assembled lot sale" for eight lots along Virginia and along L, totally nearly 27,000 square feet and having a combined assessed value in 2007 of $6.761 million. The sign seems to indicate that the group sale does not include the Wrenn Barber Shop/Braiding Salon building at 1005 8th, nor the Miles Glass/Al's Diner lot next door at 1003 8th, which was bought on July 19 for $620,000 by "1003 8th Street LLC" (though I'm only now figuring out that the Miles Glass building is part of that 1003 8th lot). The assembled lot sale is being handled by real estate agent Barbara Miles, whose father was the founder of Miles Glass. (And she says that the family did take the cool old Miles Glass sign for themselves, which I'm glad to hear because I'm a sucker for cool old signage.)
And another new sign has popped up on the beige two-story building at 900 M Street, advertising lease or sale of this 9,624-sq-ft lot, with Lincoln Property Company, owners of Maritime Plaza at 12th and M, as the contact. Assessment records show the owner as "Paramount Investments," but I don't know if Lincoln manages the property or if they've purchased it or what (the public version of the property sales database runs about six weeks behind actual sale dates). It was assessed in 2007 at $2.651 million.
If anyone knows anything more about these sales, drop me a line.
More posts: 900m, Maritime Plaza

Oct 16, 2007 10:23 PM
I need to correct an error I made in my Oct. 5 post (which carried over to my Post column on Oct. 11) about the 11th Street Bridges Final Environmental Impact Statement. I incorrectly said that the total number of lanes in the preferred alternative design chosen for the bridges (12) would be unchanged from the current configuration, having misread the EIS wording that referred to the number of freeway lanes being unchanged. The two spans currently have eight freeway lanes; the new configuration, quoting from the EIS (page 5-13), will be "a new eightlane freeway bridge along the alignment of the existing 11th Street Bridge as well as a new, local four-lane bridge crossing on the current alignment of the Officer Welsh bridge." (The "Officer Welsh Bridge" is the official name of the downstream span and "11th Street Bridge" the official name of the upstream span of what is commonly referred to together as the "11th Street Bridges.")
I regret the error, and have docked my pay and put a warning in my file. If I do it again, I will fire myself and look to replace myself with a new me that I can trust.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges

Oct 16, 2007 9:18 AM
With Opening Day 2008 inching closer, the cobbling together of parking at the new ballpark is apparently turning out to be a greater challenge than constructing an on-time on-budget stadium. So this week the city put in another zoning amendment request to allow more temporary surface parking lots, this time covering eight squares in Southwest, all between P, T, 2nd, and South Capitol streets. (See my Stadium Parking page for a map with the new lots highlighted.) You can read the Office of Planning's report on the new case (07-08A) for more detail.
On Monday night the Zoning Commission approved this request on an emergency basis, meaning that the zoning change takes effect immediately, lasting 120 days while a hearing is scheduled and a permanent amendment is voted on.
As with the original amendment approved earlier this year, the lots can last no more than five years, are required to be available for public parking during non-game times, and must have District Department of Transportation approval of their traffic routing plans to ensure that access to the lots is not directed along I, P, or Fourth streets, SW. There's also a new requirement being added with this latest request, that a minimum of five percent of the spaces in these lots be reserved for a car/ride-share program.
These new lots are still subject to the cap of 3,775 total spaces laid out in the first amendment, unless special exceptions are obtained after the cap is reached from the Board of Zoning Adjustment on a per-lot basis. As with the squares covered earlier this year, it's not expected that lots will suddenly sprout on every one of the locations covered in the request; the main goal appears to be additional flexibility in finding possible spots for the needed spaces.
A separate zoning action a few months ago approved three temporary surface lots totaling under 800 spaces at The Yards, across the street from the stadium. There are also apparently negotiations underway about using the lots at RFK and providing shuttle service to the new ballpark.
There are other locations within a few blocks of the ballpark that will no doubt become temporary parking lots as well--one example is the Lerners' recent permit applications to build a lot on land they own at 1000 South Capitol Street.
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, when this new zoning amendment was discussed, commissioners mentioned rumors of additional lots perhaps coming to the recently closed KFC and Exxon locations on the west side of South Capitol. But these blocks are not in the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay, and so don't require the special approval needed for the squares in the previous amendment requests. And these additional locations still require the Nationals to contract with the landowners, which might not always be an easy negotiation.
The ANC commissioners did not bring up many concerns about this new request, other than asking for confirmation that the traffic controls in the initial amendment cover these new lots, which Judi Greenberg of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development assured was the case.
Commissioner Ron McBee said that he hopes to organize a town hall meeting for Southwest residents about all the parking plans when they are more concrete, and vice chair Andy Litsky reminded Greenberg that the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission is supposed to be meeting with community leaders to address ballpark-related concerns, but that there hasn't been a meeting in six months.
The zoning commission's approval of the emergency action came with little discussion, perhaps reflecting that most of the potential issues with these temporary lots were hashed out in the first request.
Time should solve many of the initial parking issues around the ballpark; right now there are seven office and residential projects already under construction around Near Southeast that by 2008 and 2009 will have multiple levels of underground parking that could potentially be available for gametime, just as with the lots are in the buildings around the Verizon Center. Most of the squares in these recent zoning requests, along most every other block between South Capitol and Second, will also eventually be home to buildings with underground parking.
UPDATE: An e-mail sent out today to Nationals season ticket holders says that 2008 ticket package information will be sent out "in the next month or so", and that a "comprehensive transportation package will also be sent to all season ticket holders shortly after you have received your seat location information." Presumably the "transportation package" means parking plans for season ticket holders (and maybe a really good Metro map!).

Oct 16, 2007 8:43 AM
In other news from Monday's ANC meeting:
* Council Member Phil Mendelson spoke about his concerns that the new consolidated crime lab construction schedule is continuing to slip. The new lab, which is supposed to be built at Fourth and School streets, SW, can't get underway until a new home (temporary or permanent) is found for the police department's First District station currently located there. Up until recently, of course, 1D was supposed to move to the old Post plant at 225 Virginia Avenue, but with that now scuttled, the Office of Property Management is hunting for a new 1D home somewhere in Southwest, perhaps using either the Amidon or Bowen elementary school buildings, both of which are at only 60 percent capacity and could be consolidated by moving the sixth graders to Jefferson Junior High School. Mendelson, "irritated" at how the city is handling the space shuffling, wants the process of finding a new 1D home speeded up, even if it means taking 1D out of Southwest, which of course was viewed as a nonstarter by this ANC that represents Southwest; Commissioner Sobelsohn commended Mendelson on his "bravery" for coming to Southwest and telling the residents they shouldn't have a police station. (It also sounds like Mendelson is still hoping for a return to using 225 Virginia, given his numerous references to the $500,000 checks the city is writing each month to lease the empty building.)
* The Randall School redevelopment project by Monument Realty and the Corcoran Gallery was approved, thanks mainly to a negotiated community benefits package that includes a $200,000 contribution by Monument to the ANC's Community Investment Fund, preferences for ANC 6D residents when filling the affordable housing component of the project, and agreements with the Corcoran to support various neighborhood art projects and arts education offerings for Southwest residents. The vote was 5-0; vice chair Andy Litsky did not vote, after expressing his displeasure with what he sees as Monument's threat to slow down the Navy Yard Metro station expansion when the company did not win the right to buy WMATA's Southeastern Bus Garage. Monument executive vice president Russell Hines, who attended the meeting, reiterated the points he made last week in an e-mail to Litsky, that the station expansion is not behind schedule as has been reported and that Monument is committed to getting the work completed by Opening Day 2008.
* A local resident informed the commission that three historic police and fire call boxes along First Street have recently gone missing. Those with x-ray vision can see them in my photos (up until yesterday) of First and N and First and O, deep in the heart of ballpark construction territory and along the stretch of First Street being renovated by DDOT; the now-missing First and L box is pretty hard to see behind the Onyx fencing. There's an effort called Art on Call, led by Cultural Tourism DC, to find and restore these boxes, and kids from the Earth Conservation Corps have been painting the boxes in Near Southeast and Southwest. Calls are in to the District Department of Transportation to see if the boxes have perhaps just been temporarily moved, or if they're, um, history. (The box at First and K is still in place, at least.)

Oct 15, 2007 10:08 PM
I took advantage of great weather and an unplanned opening in my schedule to make a photo run through the Hood on Monday. The pictures that will probably be of most interest are of the east and south sides of the stadium exterior, which I've been unable to get shots of since First Street and Potomac Avenue were closed to traffic and pedestrians a number of weeks back. While the stadium itself doesn't look incredibly different on those sides (lots more window glass being installed, including in the areas along First Street slotted for retail), I did get a nice surprise when I found a new sidewalk already in place on the south side of Potomac Avenue east of South Capitol. But don't be expecting to get to "drive the ballpark circuit" again much before Opening Day--the infrastructure work on Potomac and on First (and eventually on I) is scheduled to continue through February. (I also want to plead my case that I've now lost a lot of my "guideposts" around the stadium that I used to line up my before and afters, so if you determine that new photos aren't 100 percent in the same location as the old ones--just remember, as usual, you get what you pay for here at JDLand.)
I also made it to Poplar Point with camera in hand for the first time in two months, and posted a few of those shots, with more to come in the next few days. And there's a lot of photos of 70/100 I, Onyx, and 100 M, although not the complete lineup that I usually post--I hope to get the rest, along with the north and west sides of the ballpark, this weekend. Onyx and 70 I appear to be within seconds of completing their top floors, with their siblings 100 I and 100 M not too far behind. And believe me, I can't wait for those four buildings to get their exteriors finished, so I can rest a bit! Of course, it'll be a short breather, since Monument's 55 M is now at ground level, and the concrete is being poured at the bottom of the Velocity Condos hole.
You can also see all the photos I posted from today on a single page, though it might be too much to digest in a single sitting.

Oct 15, 2007 9:59 PM
In this entry on Friday I noted that the agenda for the next meeting of the Commission on Fine Arts included a design review for Diamond Teague Park--but I've been told that the city is going to hold off presenting their revised design for the park until probably the November meeting. (The Commission had asked for some changes to the design shown to them in September.) Approval of the park's conceptual design is also on the just-released tentative November agenda for the National Capital Planning Commission, but that review should happen as planned.
More posts: Teague Park

Oct 15, 2007 9:31 PM
If you feel desperately left out that you missed the groundbreaking ceremony at The Yards a few days back, it's now being replayed on DC Cable 16 at various times; keep checking the link as they add times for the rest of the month. (The channel is also available via streaming video, if you don't live in DC and/or don't have cable.)
More posts: The Yards

Oct 12, 2007 4:25 PM
For those of you suffering from withdrawal thanks to the now-four-day outage of the Stadium Construction Camera on the southeast side, I can pass along the news that soon the cameras are going to be moved to two new vantage points: in the press box, way up above home plate, and on top of the north/west parking garage along N Street. No date for exactly when the moves will happen, but keep an eye out.
On a related front, for those of you wondering where all the damn updated photos are of the stadium's interior and exterior, as well as other Near Southeast projects, I just haven't been able to get to them lately, and probably won't be able to until next week. This is, I guess, an answer for all of those people who say to me, "How do you find the time to maintain your web site?" Sometimes, I don't. But believe me, I'm suitably guilt-ridden and will get updated photos up as soon as I can. (All of the construction and road work and traffic, and the hot and dusty weather of the past few weeks, have been contributing factors, as they've made the window for being able to take decent photos very small, and much harder to take advantage of.)
More posts: Nationals Park

Oct 12, 2007 4:12 PM
I don't know how I missed this (I'm going to blame my RSS reader), but back in September the Commission on Fine Arts was shown a design for Diamond Teague Park, the new public space being planned for the foot of First Street across from the ballpark. Just posted on the CFA web site is a letter from the commission to Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, whose office is now handling the park's creation, laying out some problems that the commission had with the initial design. The letter led me to the web site of Landscape Architecture Bureau, which is designing the park, and I found deep in it some sitemaps and renderings of the park that look to be of the initial design shown to the CFA. (What is it with architecture and design firms and their insistence on building Flash sites that make it impossible to link directly to anything? Aaaaargh! Stop it! Stop it!!!!)
I've added one of these drawings to my Diamond Teague page so that you don't have to spend a bunch of time digging to find it, and on it you can see "the small triangular subdivisions and narrow walkways to the floating docks" that the CFA described as "fussy and timid and not in scale with the stadium and its visual connection to the river."
The city seems to have responded quickly, because a revised design for the park is now on the CFA agenda for its Thursday, October 18 meeting. (A pretty speedy turnaround--does this mean they are trying to get something done with the park to coincide with Opening Day 2008?)
Even if the specifics of the design change, I'm guessing the general layout will remain the same. The map shows a water taxi pier to be built near the Earth Conservation Corps pumphouse, and the floating bridge connecting this part of the riverfront with the waterfront park at The Yards. I'm also interested to see on this site map that apparently Potomac Avenue is going to be extended east of First Street, to then turn north on a line with a new "1 1/2 Street" that will eventually run parallel to First Street in The Yards.
(As for Florida Rock next door, there had originally been rumors that it was going to have a setdown hearing at this month's Zoning Commission public meeting, but it's not on the agenda, and appears to have been delayed at least until November.)
UPDATE: I've removed the sitemap of the park, after having heard that it's an older design that doesn't show what the proper boundaries of the park will be, especially on the western side that abuts the Florida Rock property. Hopefully we'll be able to see a copy of the newer design they're working on soon.

Oct 12, 2007 3:12 PM
The agenda is out for Monday's ANC 6D meeting; the big item is the aforementioned vote on Monument Realty's plans for redeveloping the Randall School at Half and I, SW; also, Council Member Phil Mendelson is slated to talk about the MPD move (I don't know if this means just the 1D station issues, or everything that surrounded the now-aborted use of 225 Virginia Avenue). Also, there's an agenda item about a Southwest Neighborhood Association town hall meeting on ballpark parking, but I can't tell if that's just to announce the town hall meeting, or if it already happened. The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 6th and M, SW.
More posts: ANC News, parking

Oct 12, 2007 9:37 AM
An e-mail has just been sent by Russell Hines of Monument Realty to Andy Litsky, vice chair of ANC 6D, in reply to Litsky's Wednesday e-mail that asked for Monument to withdraw what has been publicized as a "threat" to slow down the completion of the Navy Yard Metro station's expansion in response to WMATA awarding the Southeastern Bus Garage site across the street to Akridge. Litsky had said that he would oppose Monument's proposed redevelopment of the Randall School site in Southwest if Monument did not pull back.
Hines's e-mail, which was cc'ed to the commissioners of ANC 6D as well as myself and Tommy Wells and WMATA board members Jim Graham and Marion Barry (all of whom had received Litsky's original e-mail) says that the Metro Station is currently on schedule, and asks that the Randall School project be judged on its own merits. Here's the paragraph that is probably of most interest, describing Monument's view of current state of the renovation's schedule:
"Second, Mr. Neal did not threaten to slow the renovation of the Metro Station. At the time the letter was written, the District of Columbia had asked Monument to spend its own money to accelerate the completion of the Metro Station. The project had suffered from a variety of delays, including delays that were caused by actions or inaction by other public entities; however, there was no consensus on the impact to the final completion date. Mr. Neal was objecting to spending more money to accelerate the project and pointing out that it was an unreasonable request given WMATA's recent position on the disposition of the bus garage. In short, WMATA wanted to take further advantage of Monument's resources without making any effort to reciprocate by entering into negotiations with Monument as had been promised. Furthermore, by the time this article was written, Monument had already worked with the contractor on a plan and schedule that addressed any perceived or actual delays in the completion of the Metro Station. WMATA officials had this information when they made the false claim that the Metro Station was seven weeks behind schedule. We have since met with District and WMATA officials to discuss this schedule and all parties appeared satisfied. Why WMATA continues to put out inaccurate information about the schedule or let inaccurate reporting go unchallenged is beyond me. I should also point out that when Monument took on this responsibility last December, it was considered a very difficult schedule -- in fact, WMATA staff conceded that they would probably not have finished on time even if they simply installed fare gates at grade and built the standard Metro canopy over the entrance."
Hines's complete e-mail is available here; like Litsky's, I removed the e-mail addresses it was sent to, preferring not to blab addresses that aren't mine. And see my entry from yesterday about Monument's lawsuit filed against WMATA.
UPDATE: Here's a Washington Business Journal piece with additional quotes from Jeff Neal of Monument refuting the "slow down" issue. (And, gosh, I wonder where WBJ saw the Litsky letter?)

Oct 11, 2007 6:25 PM
With DDOT having put out a press release in the past few hours alerting the media to the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the 11th Street Bridges, I can breathe a sigh of relief that I didn't screw up by having it be the focal point of my Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra. (It's easy to worry that you've done something wrong when news of a $465 million reconfiguration of one of the region's most important commuter routes hasn't been picked up by anyone else. Nice scoop for me, though!) No graphic went along with the column, though, so look at the images I posted here on Monday to understand the design alternative that's been chosen. Next steps would apparently be the actual design, although the EIS process took care of a lot of that, followed by construction.
My column also included the quick blurb about the bids being solicited to build the three temporary surface parking lots at Capper/Carrollsburg.
UPDATED to include link to press release.

Oct 11, 2007 5:08 PM
The Post is reporting that Monument Realty filed a lawsuit today against WMATA, asking that the planned sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M to Akridge be invalidated, arguing that "it deserves the property because it has been working with Metro and the District government for three years as 'master developer' of the area, with the implicit understanding that Metro would sell Monument the land." If the court were to not invalidate the sale, Monument wants $100 million in damages. I haven't seen the documents myself (though I hear one of my JDLand maps is used as an illustration), so I don't know whether the previously implied threats to slow down the Navy Yard station renovation are addressed anywhere.
UPDATE: Here's the Washington Business Journal piece on the suit, and the Associated Press's.
UPDATE II: And the Examiner's.
UPDATE, 10/12: Here's the link to the basic information on the lawsuit, though you'll need a subscription to PACER if you want to read the lawsuit documents themselves.

Oct 11, 2007 11:22 AM
Another few days' worth of lane closures on the Douglass Bridge this weekend, this time the outbound/southbound lanes, according to a DDOT press release. The outbound lanes of the bridge will be closed beginning on Friday, October 12 at 9 p.m. until as late as Monday, October 15 at 4 a.m. They're working on the swing span area in the middle of the bridge, repairing the steel framing. And apparently they're expecting the work on the bridge and the accompanying streetscape improvements to South Capitol Street to continue through February.
UPDATED to add link to press release.

Oct 11, 2007 12:13 AM
When word broke a few days back that Monument Realty had lost the bidding for the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage site at Half and M, the Post described a letter from Monument principal partner Jeffrey T. Neal to WMATA that threatened a slow-down in Monument's work on the renovation and expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station if the company was not awarded the garage site as it felt it had been promised. (It has also been reported that Monument is already seven weeks behind schedule on the project.) This station is of course the lynchpin of the city's plans to get stadium-goers to and from Nationals Park, particularly in the near-term before the parking situation is sorted out.
Now, with Monument's plans for developing the old Randall School site on I Street in Southwest about to come up before the Zoning Commission, ANC6D vice chairman Andy Litsky has written a sternly worded letter to representatives of Monument and its Randall partner the Corcoran Gallery of Art, cc'ed to Tommy Wells and WMATA board members Jim Graham and Marion Barry, that boils down to this: "[U]nless Mr. Neal and Monument Realty withdraw this threat -- in writing and in advance of our vote on Monday night -- I will oppose this PUD at the ANC and in testimony before the Zoning Commission." He goes on to say: "The time has finally come for District residents and policy makers to stand up to developers who use threats and lawsuits as leverage in one part of the city and yet expect -- and often receive -- support for their special projects, PUDs and city tax incentives in another. Enough is enough."
You can read the entire letter here (I PDF'ed the e-mail without the headers so as not to blab a bunch of e-mail addresses to the world). The ANC meets on October 15; the Zoning Commission hearing is Nov. 8.

Oct 10, 2007 9:14 PM
One more item on the issue from recent posts about the hiring of DC residents for construction jobs at the ballpark, mentioned in posts yesterday and last week. Council Member Kwame Brown's office has sent out a press release that details the exact numbers for resident participation, in terms of both the goals created for the stadium project and the actual participation percentages as of now. The journeyman hours have been discussed in the media (goal of 50 percent resident hiring, versus an actual percentage right now of just under 29 percent), but there's also the goal of 50 percent of all apprentice hours for DC residents, with an actual percentage of 78 percent; 91 percent of all apprentices hired are supposed to be DC residents, missing the goal of 100 percent. And overall DC hires for all jobs stand at 50 percent, just below the goal of 51 percent. And, in terms of local business participation, the requirement was that 50 percent of all contracts awarded for stadium construction work go to local, small, disadvantaged companies (LSDBEs), and as of now LSDBEs make up just under 54 percent of committed subcontracts, worth $203 million.
UPDATE: Here's The Post's take on this press release, from their District Notebook column in today's District Extra (hence the slightly snarky tone). It also says that Brown's stadium tour was at 7 am on Tuesday, so now I'm not so sad I missed it.
More posts: Nationals Park

Oct 10, 2007 1:18 PM
Via the Developments in Southwest DC blog, word is out that there's going to be a Waterside Mall Demolition Party on November 1 from 4 to 6 pm, with "local fare, music and entertainment." I post this mainly because I'm terribly jealous that, given all the demolition that's happened in Near Southeast in the past few years, there's not been a SINGLE party! But Southwest deserves a bit of letting loose after all the trials and tribulations of getting Waterside Mall redeveloped....
More posts:

Oct 10, 2007 8:38 AM
WTOP follows up their no-one's-thought-about-renaming-the-Navy Yard-station story yesterday with a story this morning saying, basically, people are now thinking about renaming the Navy Yard station: "A name change for the Metro station near the new Nationals stadium could be on the way. The move for the change comes after after a WTOP report. 'It is something we ought to do," Metro Board member and D.C. City Council member Jim Graham tells WTOP. "It is just a matter of changing all the maps. We have the money to do it.' " The last station name changes cost almost $211,000.

Oct 9, 2007 2:43 PM
The Washington City Paper is reporting that there was a press conference and tour at the ballpark today (my invitation must have gotten lost in the mail), given by Council Member Kwame Brown and the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, with a smidgen of news about the construction itself (sod expected to be laid down the first week in November), but mainly to address the recent stories about the amount of high-level "journeyman" work being given to DC residents. The project labor agreement specified that 51 percent of these jobs should go to DC residents; speakers at today's event put the number at 28 or 29 percent. As mentioned in previous stories, "The essential problem is that there aren't enough skilled D.C. resident workers available to fill the jobs. If a subcontractor doesn't have a D.C. resident to do a job, it can contact the city's Department of Employment Services. If DOES has no workers, then the subcontractor can hire whoever." They did say that DC residents have worked 78 percent of all of the available apprentice hours, which could mean more experienced workers down the road for other city projects.
UPDATE: Tim Lemke of the WashTimes was on the same tour, and gives an update on the construction progress, beyond just the grass: "The bulk of the structure, including two parking garages on site, is nearly fully erected. Stadium workers have been installing seats in the ballpark at a rate of 1,800 to 2,000 a week, with all expected to be in place by the end of the month. Much work remains on the inside portions of the ballpark, though the clubhouses are nearly complete and the concession stand and restaurant areas are taking shape. The biggest remaining challenges, Haas said, will be completing site work on the outer edge of the stadium, such as sidewalks and plazas. Installing the electrical system for the ballpark's massive scoreboard also will pose a challenge because of the complexity of the job."
More posts: Nationals Park

Oct 9, 2007 11:45 AM
(Boy, I really want to ignore this, since 99 percent of it falls outside my cast-in-stone boundaries, but it's a slow day, so....) Tomorrow (Oct. 10) there's a Public Information Meeting about the 14th Street Bridge Corridor Environmental Impact Statement Study. Quoting: "The purpose of this study is to identify actions that can reduce congestion, enhance safety, and improve traffic operations in the 14th Street Bridge corridor." They're looking for congestion and safety solutions and ideas, and also are looking for ways to make the "existing corridor work more efficiently." The scope of the study area runs along I-395 from just east of South Capitol Street all the way to Glebe Road, and east to Route 1 in Virginia and south to M Street in Southwest. See the flyer for additional details. It's from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Amidon Elementary School, 401 I Street, SW.
UPDATED because I can't read a calendar. Tomorrow is the 10th.
More posts: South Capitol St.

Oct 9, 2007 9:06 AM
From WTOP: "In the sprint to get the new ballpark for the Nationals up and running next year, an important element may have been overlooked, and it could cause big confusion. The name on the closest Metro station to the stadium is Navy Yard, but it doesn't say anything about a stadium being there. Right now, the only Metro station with the word stadium in it, is the Stadium-Armory stop. That name isn't changing and the Nats aren't playing there next year. D.C. leaders tell WTOP this is the first time the issue has been raised. They say they do understand there could be confusion." And: "A request for a name change at the Navy Yard stop would have to come from the District and would have to be paid in full by the District. A name change on a Metro stop isn't exactly an easy procedure. The last time there was a change was at the 'Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Station' as well as the 'Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter' stop. Both of those changes cost almost $211,000 and took months because maps and signs had to be replaced." Maybe the people who go to the wrong station can catch the RFK parking shuttle.

Oct 8, 2007 12:34 PM
With no "real" news outlets yet uttering a peep about the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the 11th Street Bridges, I've had to continue to do my own analysis of what the chosen design alternative will look like. Friday's bleary-eyed discussion was a decent start, but I've looked at it a bit more closely today and have seen that there really will be a pretty large-scale change in how the Southeast Freeway works with the new plans.
If you look at this spiffy side-by-side graphic I've tossed together, showing the current freeway ramps and flyovers at 11th Street versus what the EIS depicts, you'll see that the bulk of the SE Freeway's lanes will turn toward the bridges at 11th Street, instead of just two smaller flyovers that currently exist. This is because the many lanes that now run from the freeway under 11th Street and over to Pennsylvania Avenue at Barney Circle will be taken out of the SE Freeway flow altogether. Instead, drivers on the SE Freeeway wishing to get to Barney Circle (and vice versa) will access the freeway and the new "Southeast Freeway Boulevard" (kind of a "Virginia Avenue Extended") via ramps at 11th Street, which appear to be able to be carved out of the existing smaller flyovers west of 11th. (And so the two flyovers coming from east of 11th to the sunken Pennsylvania Avenue access could be demolished altogether.) This means that the area north of M along 11th Street will be much more of a street grid rather than a series of flyovers and tunnels. Eventually.
And, for Navy Yard workers who use the 11th Street Bridges, note that you would no longer get to take that little turn onto N Street as you come off the bridge; you would arrive at M Street, turn right, turn right again on a newly two-way 12th Street, and then turn right at N. For other people, you'd be able to either turn left at M once you exit the upstream span of the bridge, or continue north on a new street and access the new Southeast Freeway Boulevard to continue either to Pennsylvania Avenue or 11th Street closer to I.
But it's really hard to clearly explain it all, so put on your concentration caps and spend some time comparing the befores-and-afters to see for yourself.

More posts: 11th Street Bridges

Oct 7, 2007 6:06 PM
Tucked deep in the classifieds of Thursday's and Friday's Washington Post were solicitations to build three temporary surface parking lots in the footprint of the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex. The invitations for bids (here and here) are for 1) site grading/storm water systems/paving, and 2) lighting installation; proposals are due on Oct. 26 to DC Housing Enterprises (a subsidiary of the DC Housing Authority). The lots total nearly 234,000 square feet, and are located in two locations: the blocks bounded by 2nd, I, 3rd, and L, east of Canal Park, and the site of the old Capper Seniors building at Sixth and L, SE, which is scheduled to be torn down by the end of this year.
There will be somewhere between 670 and 720 spaces created in these three lots, which are being built to help ease the expected ballpark parking crunch. They were approved earlier this year under a zoning ruling that states the lots can last no more than five years; they will also be open for non-baseball use. The seniors building site is eventually going to be home to a 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City Enterprises, and the blocks lining Canal Park are destined to become mixed-income residential buildings as part of Capper/Carrollsburg's redevelopment.
UPDATED because I found the correct space count for the lots.

Here's some late Friday news for you: the 11th Street Bridges Environmental Impact Statement has been completed, and a preferred plan for the reconfiguration of the bridges has been chosen, at an estimated price of $465 million, taking an estimated five years to complete. No start date has been announced.
You can read the summary, check out the Preferred Alternative and the other alternatives, plow through the entire thing at once (36 MB), or pick and choose the sections you want to read. When even the summary is 24 pages long, it's hard to give a quick description of what is being recommended, but here's my best shot:
* There will be two new bridges built on exactly the alignments of the existing two bridges, allowing the use of the existing piers but requiring their widening to allow for wider bridges. Two new ramps will be built on the east side of the Anacostia River, providing access at last to the northbound Anacostia Freeway from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and to the freeway from the southbound Anacostia Freeway. One of the two bridges would be dedicated to freeway traffic, and the other to local traffic, with the total number of **freeway*** lanes unchanged, but with four new local lanes and with added paths for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as "accommodations for transit," such as the proposed light rail system.
As for what would happen to the interchange with the bridge in Near Southeast, it's hard to digest, but this is what I'm seeing by looking at the diagrams in the Alternatives section (here's a Google Maps satellite view of the current bridges, which you might need):
* The current on/off ramps at N Street would be moved to M Street (see page 15), with local traffic and paths to and from Anacostia being routed on the western of the two bridge spans (officially known as the Officer Welsh Bridge), and traffic bound for the Anacostia Freeway routed onto the 8-lane eastern span. This also means that the local traffic coming north from Anacostia would be routed along a newly two-way portion of 11th Street up to M.
* The exit ramp now between Ninth and 10th streets would be moved to Ninth Street.
* There would also be a new entrance to the westbound freeway from 11th Street (perhaps taking some of the pressure off the Third Street ramp?).
(In a separate project, the existing Southeast/Southwest freeway between 11th Street and Barney Circle is apparently going to be downgraded to a new Southeast Freeway Boulevard, which would be accessed by exiting the freeway and going across 11th Street at-grade. As part of this, the sneaky little route to Pennsylvania Avenue from 9th Street and Virginia Avenue would be removed, too.)
As for the impact of the reconfigured bridges on the boathouses nestled between them on the west side of the river, the EIS says that "it has been determined that construction of any of the build alternatives, including the Preferred Alternative, will not require the whole or partial demolition of either of the two ACBA buildings." Boathouse operations would have to be relocated during construction, but the documents state that DDOT is committed to maintaining the operations during this time, having agreed to provide temporary structures on a Washington Gas-owned space a few hundred yards to the north. (See Section 7.3 for more about the boathouse impact.)
Finally, the document states that the bridges project will not impact the Virginia Avenue Park at 9th and Virginia.
I doubt anyone is still reading at this point, so I'm going to quit while behind and hope that all sorts of media outlets give some real coverage, and take me off the hook. If you're at all interested in this, especially in the impacts east of the river that I haven't addressed, I suggest browsing the entire document. You'd be amazed how much detail is in there.
There's now a public comments period, through November 20. See the EIS web site for more about the entire study process.
If you're not real familiar with this area of Near Southeast, visit my East M Street page for photos and links.
UPDATE, 10/11: I erred in this above item when stating that the total number of lanes would be unchanged from the current configuration; having misread the EIS wording that referred to the number of freeway lanes being unchanged. The two spans currently have eight freeway lanes, which will be the case with the new bridge; but those eight lanes will be carried on a widened version of the upstream span, and the downstream span will carry four local lanes.

Here's a Fox 5 video from Thursday morning about the new National Capital Area Spay and Neuter Clinic at 1001 L Street, with interviews with some of the staff and lots of views of the interior. (And even a shot out the window at the park across the street.) UPDATE: Oops, missed this. Local radio station WAMU did a report on the center this morning.
More posts: spayclinic, square 976

Also from today's Washington Business Journal print edition (subscribers only) is "Nats May Open Ballpark Without Naming Deal", which says that "Club executives are anticipating a delay in the rollout of a corporate moniker until 2009. [...] But with no deal imminent, according to club officials, the new mind-set is to wait until an optimal agreement happens rather than accept a lowball offer and push out a name for the opening of the 41,500-seat ballpark near the Anacostia River in April." It says that the team is seeking $8 million to $10 million per year for a naming-rights pact, which would be the second largest in Major League Baseball. The team says there is no concern about opening the stadium without a deal in place, using the Nationals Park name in the interim. Principal owner Ted Lerner is quoted as saying, "On a practical level, we're getting awfully late in the game where we wouldn't have enough time to order and install the signage in time for opening day. We'll get there. The important thing is to have the right deal instead of the quick deal."
UPDATE: The WBJ article was originally published in the Sports Business Journal; here's the link.
More posts: Nationals Park

Today's Washington Business Journal has a long story (not just for subscribers!) about Monument Realty's miffed-ness over not being awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage site. It details the process from 2005 when the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation issued the solicitation to develop land around the new Nationals ballpark up through the surprise awarding of the bus garage site earlier this month to Akridge. As for the next steps, in light of the acrimony and Monument's recent threats of litigation, the article sheds no light on the what course of action will be taken by the city, Monument, and/or Metro.
One thing the article cleared up for me was that brief moment in late June when the city asked WMATA to sell the bus garage to the District, then pulled back: apparently Monument Realty had complained to the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development about the open bidding for the garage, and so the city asked to buy it, until it was realized that the purchase "would require approval and tens of millions of dollars from the council, which would soon recess for the summer", and so the offer was rescinded.
If you're interested in some of the documents, here's the September 2005 Request for Expressions of Interest, the Dec. 2005 Summary of Recommendations listing the chosen Designated Developers, and the accompanying press release. (Just be nice and give proper credit to where you got them if you use them.)

There's a profile in today's Post of Victor MacFarlane, who over the past few years has invested huge sums of money in the District, including purchasing a 25-percent stake in The Yards and coming on board as a partner in Monument Realty's Half Street project. Oh, and he bought DC United, too, and was offering to build a new soccer stadium and huge mixed-use development at Poplar Point until the Fenty Administration decided to open the land to a Request for Bids process.

Today is the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new National Capital Area Spay and Neuter Center at 10th and L Streets, SE, launched by the Washington Humane Society and Alley Cat Allies to provide high-volume, lost-cost spay/neuter services for the critters of the DC metro area. I won't be able to be there, alas, but perhaps we'll get dispatches from other media outlets that have a slightly larger staff.
More posts: spayclinic, square 976

Thursday's WashTimes: "Nationals fans likely will be able to park near RFK Stadium and take a shuttle to the team's new ballpark next year, but it's still unclear how much they will be charged. The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, which has oversight of the RFK lots, revealed yesterday that it will allow fans to park near RFK but has asked the team to pay as much as $5 a spot for the rights on game days. The sports commission has offered to provide 1,000 spaces for free, while charging the team $5 a space for 2,500 additional spaces. The team, however, has argued against the $5 a space charge because it likely already will incur costs by operating the shuttle service." The rest of the piece has a quick survey of the current state (or lack thereof) of the parking issue. It also mentions that the first game at the new ballpark could be on Sunday, March 30, allowing the stadium to debut on an ESPN national telecast.

More posts: parking, Nationals Park

The Near Southeast Groundbreaking Tour made its stop at the old Southeast Federal Center this morning, as city, federal, and corporate representatives took time out to officially mark the beginning of work at The Yards. There were speeches, there were shovels, and dirt was turned, all with the dull roar of heavy construction equipment in the background. I took some photos of the festivities and added them to the bottom of my main Yards page--and don't forget to look at the First Phase tab to get a feel for what's coming between now and 2010 (two residential buildings, one office building, a retail building, a pavilion, and a 5.5-acre park). There was a fair amount of media, so I expect to update with some story links later in the day. And since the mayor was there, the ceremony should eventually be on DC Cable 16.
UPDATE: Here's the press release from Forest City, with lots of numbers and stats on the project. And the Washington Business Journal piece, which sent me on my way to find this page on the design of the waterfront park, on the web site of M. Paul Friedberg and Partners, which includes a rendering of the floating bridge that will connect the Yards to Diamond Teague Park and the stadium.
UPDATE II: The Post story on the groundbreaking is now online. And NBC 4 has this text story (I think it's actually from the Associated Press), which doesn't have much of note, but I thought I'd correct one sentence: it says "More than 35 development companies are part of the project", but that should be 35 agencies. (I'm not sure any project could ever get finished with 35 different development companies!) Channel 4 also had a video report on its 6 pm newscast, but they haven't posted it online. (I only know about the 6 pm clip because Mom of JDLand called breathlessly to say she had seen me in one of the crowd shots.)
UPDATE III: The WashTimes offering. And one last reminder that you can find lots of details (and photos!) on The Yards on my project page.
UPDATE IV: A late addition, just now showing up: the Deputy Mayor's office press release.
More posts: The Yards

The developers of the Florida Rock site immediately to the south of the new ballpark have been spending the past few months working to flesh out the new design unveiled back in June, and apparently will be going to the Zoning Commission on Oct. 15 for setdown of their new application for a second-stage PUD. (If you understood almost nothing in that last sentence, don't worry about it.) That means a full hearing on the new design could possibly happen before the end of 2007, and if the bureaucratic gods align, perhaps work could begin on the first phase of the project in 2008. I've received a few new renderings showing a bit more detail, and have added them to my Florida Rock page (I'm not ready to start officially calling it RiverFront on the Anacostia just yet). Look for the icon to see them.
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning

A groundbreaking ceremony is being held at The Yards (once known as the Southeast Federal Center, for you old-timers) on Wednesday morning at 10:30. Speakers on the agenda include Mayor Fenty, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Tommy Wells, and others.
More posts: The Yards

The Post looks into the issue of DC residents getting hired to work on the construction of the Nationals ballpark: "D.C. residents have worked about one-third of the total hours of skilled labor needed to build the Washington Nationals stadium, despite an agreement between the city government and labor unions that half of the hours would go to city workers. The data [...] show that city residents have worked 32 percent of the nearly 650,000 hours worked by journeymen, which include those in trades such as ironwork, electrical, roofing and plumbing. Although the vast majority of lower-paid apprentice work has gone to D.C. residents -- 91 percent -- the stadium contractors have not met the goal of 100 percent established in the labor agreement[....] Under the terms of the labor agreement, if a union is unable to provide D.C. workers to meet a request from a subcontractor, it can ask for assistance from the city's Department of Employment Services. If the agency cannot find a qualified applicant within 48 hours, the subcontractor is free to hire from outside the city." (There was a similar City Paper article a few weeks ago.)
More posts: Nationals Park

DC council member Kwame Brown's Committee on Economic Development had an oversight hearing this afternoon to get information from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on the transition of projects on the Southwest Waterfront, Hill East, Poplar Point, Canal Park, and Kingman Island. The majority of the hearing time was spent on the three large projects, but since my hard-and-fast coverage boundaries don't include any of them, I'll just pass along what was said about the current status of Canal Park.
In her opening remarks, DMPED chief operating officer Valerie Santos Young gave a brief description of the 1.8-acre park project, in particular its sustainable design and stormwater management aspects, which will help "minimize discharge of polluted water" into the Anacostia River. She said that her office is (still) working with the DC Public Schools transit administrator to relocate the 100 buses parked on the southern two blocks of the site, and that the Deputy Mayor's office is aware of the "considerable interest" from residents in seeing the park built. "We have achieved some recent milestones to do just that," she said in closing her Canal Park remarks, without actually mentioning what the milestones were. It was later in the hearing, when asked for specifics by Tommy Wells, that Young explained the city has now negotiated the termination of the lease with the company renting the northernmost block of the site.
Otherwise, the issue with getting the park underway still boils down to the removal of the school buses, which has apparently been set back further after council chairman Vincent Gray's recent objections to a plan that would have created a citywide school bus parking lot in Prince George's County instead of in the District. Young said that they are now "scrambling" to find another permanent location, as well as an interim lot the Canal Park buses can be moved to, although DCPS does not want to relocate the buses to a temporary site until a permanent solution has been figured out. But Marion Barry made clear that Ward 8 residents oppose moving the buses to D.C. Village, which apparently had been considered as one possible interim solution.
Wells also asked if there were any progress on the creation of water taxi or ferry landings along the waterfront, but Young replied she was unable to give any answers because she was not personally aware of the specifics and that the project manager was not at the hearing, a response heard so many times that committee chairman Brown finally recessed the hearing in exasperation. (Young's "I was on vacation that week" response to a question by Barry about the specifics of a Poplar Point decision was my personal favorite.) Brown said that there will be another hearing scheduled, and admonished the Deputy Mayor's office that next time they need to be ready with facts and the appropriate staffers in attendance at oversight hearings, and not just repeat "We'll get back to you on that" over and over.
If you're interested in the other projects and want to see the hearing, check the DC Cable 13 listings for replays.
More posts: Canal Park
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