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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: November 2005
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45 Blog Posts
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After 19 months of construction, the Navy Yard entrance at 11th and O Streets is set to reopen on Nov. 21, and will become the sole entrance for visitors and deliveries. A new visitor parking lot has been constructed as well. Next question--when will the public be able to access the beautiful Riverwalk the Navy has constructed along the Anacostia without having to show ID? (When visiting the area this past weekend, I saw what appear to be new fences between the Riverwalk and the Navy Yard itself, and a nicely done brick gate to enter the Riverwalk from the east, but the gate is closed and cyclone fences block it as well.) UPDATE: Scroll to the bottom of my Navy Yard page to see photos of both the new O Street entrance and the fenced-off Riverwalk.
More posts: Navy Yard
 

(UPDATED to fix address for Nov. 28 meeting) ANC 6D and the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly are holding a Baseball Stadium Update meeting on Monday, Nov. 28 at 7 pm at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, 222 M Street SW. They are working to get city officials, Sports Commission officials, and others to attend to discuss "traffic, construction, zoning and other important issues." This was announced at the ANC 6D meeting on Nov. 14. Also at that meeting, the ANC voted to support the Florida Rock project; as for Capper / Carrollsburg, while the ANC voted to support the alley closings/street openings portion of the zoning application, they are for now opposed to the second-stage PUD. ANC Commissioner Williams is trying to organize a special meeting to hear more from the community so that another vote can be taken by the commission before the zoning deadline (former residents are complaining they are having problems with the developers about their potential return to the development).
 

Mayor Williams has gotten personally involved in the negotiations between the city and Major League Baseball over the lease for the new baseball stadium, according to Wednesday's Post ("Williams Joins Talks With Baseball Officials"). In other news, the City Council gave final approval to the technical amendments correcting the wording of the stadium financing package.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

District officials are prepared to ask Major League Baseball for a $24 million letter of credit and a $20 million payment for parking costs when high-stakes negotiations over the terms of a new stadium lease resume today, says the Post ("DC to Seek More Money from Baseball Officials"). Read the article for the details, but it does appear that the city is trying a slightly different tack from the request last week for $6 million outright to cover "catastrophe" insurance. Will it work? We shall see....

More posts: Nationals Park
 

DC council member Jack Evans, one of the biggest champions of bringing baseball to DC, is angry over the continuing stalemate over the stadium, and has launched a broadside at Major League Baseball, according to NBC4, who quotes Evans as saying that baseball must sign an important new stadium lease or just "move the team somewhere else." Quoting the article: "To sell bonds to build the new stadium along the Anacostia waterfront, Wall Street requires someone to guarantee that the $6 million annual rent will be paid despite any disaster or work stoppage. [...] Baseball is insisting the city bear the cost through expensive insurance. Evans said the city won't commit more money and baseball can move the Washington Nationals again." The money quote from Jack: "This is non-negotiable, so you either agree to this or you go somewhere else, because we are wasting our time. This is non-negotiable, and that's where we are right now," he said. "We are building a $535 million stadium for this group. That's enough." UPDATE: The Post's article ("Baseball Balking Over Stadium Rent") adds background and detail, as does the Washington Times.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

Adrian G. Washington, president of the Neighborhood Development Company, has been appointed as head of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, replacing Andy Altman, reports Saturday's Post ("Ballpark Area Chief Named"). Washington was raised in Anacostia, has an MBA from Harvard, and has spent 18 years developing and rehabilitating houses in DC. The Post article also says that the AWC has named the four finalists in its search for a "master developer" to oversee the creation of millions of square feet of housing, office, retail, and hotel space expected around the new ballpark. They are: Cordish Co. of Baltimore (which hired architecture firm Michael Graves & Associates, designers of the new Department of Transporation Headquaters around the corner from the stadium site); Monument Realty LLC of the District and its partner Federal Realty Investment Trust of Rockville; Forest City Enterprises Inc. of Ohio and its partner D.C.-based Western Development Corp.; and Akridge of the District. The selection committee is supposed to give its recommendation to the AWC board by early December. UPDATE: Here's the press release on Adrian Washington's appointment.

 

The 11th Street Bridges EIS web site has posted a two-page Project Overview document explaining (briefly!) the scope of the project and the "aggressive" schedule (with a timetable showing construction of the improvements happening in the 2007-2010 timeframe). There will be two meetings to review the draft set of alternatives before they are selected for detailed study, on Dec. 13 and 14. The handouts from the October scoping meetings are a good place to get general information on what the project is trying to accomplish (mainly, to add additional ramps to allow better access between the 11th Street Bridges and the Anacostia Freeway).
More posts: 11th Street Bridges
 

I attended the Community Ballpark Meeting on Nov. 2; it was hosted by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, which led to grumbling from the audience that the many DC government agencies who also have a hand in the stadium and surrounding development weren't in attendance. The one real piece of news (to me, anyway) was that the orientation of the ballpark has been decided on, and it's north-northeast, as you can see in the schematic contained in the handout. There are supposed to be public meetings in December to discuss the architecture, which I guess means that the design of the stadium will be unveiled at some point before then (hee hee). They are planning for zoning hearings in January, and now list April 2006 as the groundbreaking date. UPDATE: I've now scanned the 17-page agenda/handout (PDF), which has a lot of bullet points addressing economic opportunities, neighborhood "protection" (i.e., noise, lighting), transportation systems (traffic, parking, Metro), and community activities being undertaken (none of which at the moment are actually in the stadium neighborhood, which brought about much audience angst). UPDATE II (11/11): The Nov. 10 Voice of the Hill has (on page 3) a story on the meeting, detailing the somewhat fractious question and answer session.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

This is news from this summer, but I only just now came across it: a story in the September Capitol Hill Restoration Society newsletter (bottom of page 1) describes how the CHRS helped to prevent the demolition of 15 of the 19 existing private homes in the Capper/Carrollsburg footprint as the project goes forward.
More posts: Capper
 

ANC 6D has posted the agenda for its November meeting, at 7 pm on Monday Nov. 14., at 65 I Street SW. Agenda items include votes on Capper/Carrollsburg and Florida Rock PUDs, plus an update by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission on baseball stadium zoning and construction issues.
 

Thursday's Post ("Bill Would Sell Land Promised to DC") picks up on what NBC4 published last week, that a bill in Congress would have the effect of forcing DC to buy certain federally owned property rather than have it transferred to the city's ownership for free. The gist is thus: "Pombo's plan has also outraged D.C. politicians because it would undermine legislation sponsored by Davis and endorsed by President Bush that would transfer land for free to the city to compensate for Congress's ban on a commuter tax and for the resulting increase in the city's fiscal burden. The areas affected by the bill include 100-acre Poplar Point, where the District is planning a 70-acre waterfront park surrounded by offices, shops, hundreds of apartments and possibly a professional soccer stadium; 15 acres of parking lots and fields just north of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, where the Washington Nationals baseball team currently plays; and parcels near the Eastern Market Metro station on Capitol Hill, Waterside Mall in Southwest and the site of a new stadium for the Nationals just off South Capitol Street." But note that the only land in the stadium footprint that is currently federally owned is little tiny Reservation 124, the triangle of land between 1st, P, and Potomac. Rep. Davis is quoted: "At the end of the day, this stuff is not going to become law." UPDATE: The entire budget bill was pulled late today.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

Bud says that there won't be a new Nationals owner by the time the owners meet next week in Milwaukee. He's still interviewing prospective ownerships groups. (Oh, and there's no lease agreement yet, either.)

More posts: Nationals Park
 

For those of you who just can't get enough of zoning regulations, here's the final rulemaking and zoning order published in the Nov. 4 DC Register that amended the Capitol Gateway Overlay District regulations to include specifications for the ballpark. (Still waiting for Chapter 16/Capitol Gateway to reappear in the online DC Municipal Regulations!) Note that the design of the ballpark itself will still have to go through zoning hearings; nothing's appeared on the Zoning Commission schedule yet, but there's been hints of a January 2006 hearing date--I imagine that any delay past January on the zoning process would possibly start to impact the start of construction. Tick, tick, tick...!

More posts: Nationals Park, zoning
 

On Nov. 1 the city recorded in its real property database the change in ownership of those baseball stadium properties seized by the city via eminent domain. Out of the 23 landowners, 16 had their property taken--presumably the other seven have reached a sale agreement with the city, although those sales have yet to be recorded. You can see which were seized on my Stadium Offers page; those 16 owners will now go through the courts to have the fair price determined for their land (presuming they fail to prove that the seizure was illegal, which most observers seem to think is likely given the Supreme Court's Kelo decision).
More posts: Nationals Park
 

I've added a new page for the East M Street Area, that triangle of land east of the 11th Street Bridges and south of the Southeast Freeway that makes up the very eastern portion of Near Southeast. The Maritime Plaza development is the most obvious occupant of this area, but rowers and the like have staked a claim to this site's water access as well. The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's plans should bring welcome changes to this stretch in the years to come. (The addition of this area to the main map on my home page is not particularly elegant, but I couldn't shrink the map any farther!) I've also renamed the former East End page, giving it its proper designation "8th Street Historic District." (Both these monikers come from the Near Southeast Urban Design Framework, which is worth a look if you've never seen it or haven't looked at it in a while, to see what the city had in mind back in 2003 for this neck of the woods--you know, before anyone was talking about a stadium!!)
 

Not quite two years after spending $92 million to purchase the Maritime Plaza I & II (just east of the 11th Street Bridges), The Bernstein Companies has sold the two buildings for $115 million to Investcorp and Brinkman Associates. Buildings I & II, which contain 345,000 sq ft of office space, are part of the 12-acre Maritime Plaza Park, which will ultimately offer 800,000 sf of office space and a 250-room hotel. No timeline on the development of the rest of the project, which is being handled by Lincoln Property Company.

 

A nice piece on CBS's The Early Show about Bob Nixon, the founder of the Earth Conservation Corps, which works with at-risk kids from the community to clean up the Anacostia River.
 

The AP reports that the Post reports (don't you love that?) that there's still no deal on the lease agreement on the new baseball stadium, and that the two sides will continue to talk next week. Sticking points include terms of rent payments and development rights outside the stadium.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

A fun quote from Mayor Tony in the Examiner's piece on the possible stadium cost overruns ("Mayor promises Nats stadium will cost D.C. less than $535M"): "People aren't going to be sitting on folding chairs or rugs, but it's going to come in under $535 [million]."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

This morning's Washington Times reports that DC and Major League Baseball officials are to meet today to finalize the lease agreement on the new baseball stadium. Other notes: DCSEC officials downplay the Cadillac-vs-Buick talk of scaling back the stadium design; and DCSEC is to meet with HOK Sport on Monday morning to review ballpark designs (with briefings for city officials and the council in the pipeline before the designs are released publicly). This is outside of my purview, but I get asked about it a lot so I'll mention it although I won't be following it--the article says that DCSEC has received Marion Barry's support to build a new soccer stadium at Poplar Point, which is just across the Anacostia River from Near Southeast. From the article: " Barry, who has long opposed the construction of a facility for D.C. United east of the Anacostia River, changed his position after reviewing plans that included the construction of affordable housing and neighborhood-serving retail, commission members said.  [...] Officials hope the new soccer stadium can open around the same time as the new ballpark, but the city must first wait for a transfer of the land from the federal government. Legislation to approve the transfer awaits action by Congress."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Reading the Associated Press so you don't have to.... In "Mayor Williams Hopes To Firm Up Ballpark Lease; Avoid Overrun Costs," Mr. Bowtie says that he hopes the lease agreement on the new ballpark is firmed up this week, and that the new owners (whoever they are) may be called on to add some of the "bells and whistles" needed to make the ballpark "special" (you know, a Cadillac and not a Buick). And in "City Pushes Job Opportunities with Stadium Construction," there's (very) brief coverage of the Ballpark Business and Economic Opportunity Conference that was held today at the Convention Center.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Wednesday's Post brings us "Stadium Cutbacks Considered", which states that "the rising price of construction materials has significantly increased the projected cost of the District's baseball stadium complex, prompting officials to begin discussing what to eliminate from the project[....] [P]otential cutbacks could come from features inside or outside the ballpark, such as reducing the size of concourses, suites and other amenities or moving parking above ground and reducing the number of retail stores at the site." While this sounds disconcerting, I think a simple solution has probably already been arrived at, if not announced--to no longer include the land immediately south of N Street, which was always considered to be "amenity space," as part of the stadium construction, and instead let the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation handle that land's development as part of the Ballpark District. And this is hinted at in the Post piece: "Sports commission officials said last week that plans for underground parking, retail shops on the stadium site and some plazas outside the park might be eliminated. Those features are not considered core items by Major League Baseball, but they have been sought by the city to help generate more revenue from a ballpark entertainment district along the Anacostia in near Southeast that would feature restaurants and retail. [...] If necessary, features not contained in the agreement will be eliminated or paid for in other ways, such as by private developers." In fact, a schematic drawing of the stadium site included in a handout at the DCSEC's public ballpark meeting this evening show those areas as blacked out. I would imagine that private developers would be quite happy to get the opportunity to build on the stadium site, and the city would get the on-site retail and entertainment venues it wants without having to foot the bill....

 

By a 10-2 vote, the DC council approved the necessary "technical" amendments to the financing bill for the new baseball stadium. Tony's happy. UPDATE: Here's the AP's report on the vote, and NBC4's, which includes a fun additional tidbit about a bill in Congress demanding the federal government sell land to DC instead of giving it away, and that would include the sliver of a triangle at the intersection of 1st, P, and Potomac, which is on the stadium footprint. But it sounds like it won't be an issue, that a separate bill backed by Pres. Bush and Rep. Tom Davis would transfer the land.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Tuesday's Washington Times summarizes the latest goings-on in DC Council-land with respect to the new baseball stadium:Linda Cropp says that the necessary changes have been made to the ballpark financing agreement to satisfy bond raters (these changes will be voted on today by the council, then a second time per council rules at their Dec. 1 session). The article also says that MLB officials will be meeting with city officials this week to work on the stadium lease agreement, which MLB hopes to have in place before announcing the team's new owner--although Vincent Orange has introduced legislation to be voted on this week which would require MLB to select an owner before the lease agreement is in place. Then there's that whole Orange-Cropp lawsuit thing
More posts: Nationals Park
 

It's amazing the things you stumble onto sometimes. I just found on the DC Government web site a page called Washington Nationals: Excitement, Opportunity, and Revitalized Neighborhoods, with links to other pages on the dc.gov site about the stadium and its related economic development. (Of course, most of the links are ones you can get from here, but a resource is a resource!)
More posts: staddis, Nationals Park
 

There will be a Community Update meeting about the new baseball stadium on Nov. 1 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Southeastern University. (I found out about this from an ad in November's Southwester--the ad is from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, so you'd think that they'd mention the meeting somewhere on their own web site, which I check religiously, but alas, there's no mention of it there as yet.) [bumped up as a reminder]
More posts: Nationals Park
 

There will be a DC Ballpark Business and Economic Opportunity Conference on Wednesday, Nov. 2, to "bring together contractors and subcontractors with public, private, and non-profit organizations that have responsibility for LSDBE business development, apprenticeship programs, and employment of District residents for a day-long conference on subcontracting and apprenticeship opportunities associated with construction of the new baseball stadium."  Also on Wednesday, Nov. 2., a WASA public meeting on their river cleanup efforts, Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street, SE, 7:00-8:15 pm. Remember to look at my Upcoming Events Calendar to see what's on the Near Southeast agenda.... 
More posts: Nationals Park
 
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