Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - November 2006
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Alley Closings and the Council - Schedule Change
Nov 20, 2006 2:22 PM

The four alley closings bills that had their public roundtables last week have now been added to the agenda for the Nov. 21 City Council Committee of the Whole session. This is a quick procedural step, where council officers report as to whether the bill is in good legal standing and whether the record is complete; if approved, the bills then are scheduled for their first readings, when bills can be debated by the council and amendments offered, and then voted on or tabled. Speaking of first readings, the fifth currently active Near Southeast alley closing bill (B16-0818, for the east side of Square 701, along First Street between M and N) will have its first reading and vote on Nov. 14.

UPDATE, 11/20: The Nov. 21 session has been postponed to Dec. 5, so these four bills will have to wait a few extra days. Note that the Dec. 5 session is also scheduled to have second reading/final votes on two other bills of interest, the Square 701 (west side/Cohen family) alley closings bill and the Capper PILOT funding bill. See my Upcoming Events calendar as always for details.

Zoning Filing to Move WMATA Parking - Update: Approved
Nov 16, 2006 11:09 AM

In order to start construction ASAP on both the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro entrance at Half and M and mixed-use offerings along Half Street, Monument Realty and WMATA are asking the DC Zoning Commission for an emergency text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay to allow a temporary parking lot for WMATA employees to be built, replacing the one currently atop the Navy Yard station. This new lot would be on South Capitol Street between M and N, on the lot just south of the Public Storage building and just north of the Amoco station (lot 0700 0046 for those of you with parcel maps), and would be accessed from Van Street. The text amendment would restrict the parking lot's life to three years--by that point, Monument's construction along Half Street should completed and WMATA employees would then be able to park in those underground lots. This will come before the Zoning Commission for setdown on Nov. 13; because it is being requested on an emergency basis, the Office of Planning is recommending that the text amendment take effect immediately upon setdown, and is requesting that it be set down for a hearing at the earliest possible date. Good to see that Monument and WMATA are moving fast. UPDATE, 11/16: This text amendment was approved on an emergency basis, which means that it goes into effect immediately and for 120 days, but Monument still has to go to the ZC during that time for a hearing to get permanent approval of the amendment plus approval of the parking lot itself because it lies in a CG Overlay mandatory review area. (See the above entry for more on THAT!)

Capitol Quarter Workforce Housing Lottery
Nov 16, 2006 8:44 AM
Hopefully the people who are interested in purchasing a workforce housing unit at Capitol Quarter are already registered with the EYA web site and are receiving the e-mail updates, but I'll still mention here that the first lottery for workforce (i.e., moderate income) units will be held this Saturday, Nov. 18, beginning at 9 am. There are a series of requirements that must be met in order to participate in the lottery, and a visit to the Sales Center at 4th and L on either Nov. 16 or Nov. 17 is required to be certified. And, like all good drawings, you must be present to win. More information is available on the Capitol Quarter Workforce web site or by getting in touch with EYA (202-484-0360). UPDATE, 11/16: The Washington Times published a piece today on the lottery this Saturday, but I bet EYA wishes that the article mentioned that you can't just show up on Saturday for the lottery, that you need to go to the sales center either today or tomorrow to be certified.... (And also the comment that EYA decided to do a lottery for the workforce housing because the first market-rate units sold out immediately isn't quite right, the lottery concept was announced before the market-rate units sent on sale.)
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Another Page Gets Revitalized - Ballpark District
Nov 15, 2006 3:22 PM
Now that the parking garage issue has been resolved (at least until Opening Day 2008, when hordes of stadiumgoers gasp in disbelief at what they're confronted with when they arrive and descend on the owner's box with pitchforks and boiling oil), I finally felt ready to tackle a reorganization of my Ballpark District page. Mainly I added a new "tab" specifically for the Monument Realty projects along Half Street, which also includes the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station; I also added some additional photos of other Ballpark District sites. I hope to get renderings of the Monument residential project at Half and N and the W Aloft hotel mid-block before too much longer, but at least I do have drawings of the office building planned for Half and M (above the Metro station). And I now decree that the parking garages are on the stadium site, not in the Ballpark District, and will remain so until they get torn down and redeveloped, sometime around 2025.

Other Council Actions
Nov 15, 2006 1:56 PM
In other City Council news from yesterday, two bills of interest were passed on their first reading: B16-0818, the alley closing request for the east side of Square 701, bounded by 1st, M, N, and Cushing (where a group of developers is planning 500,000 sq ft of office, residential, and retail), and B16-0929, the bill to allow PILOT funding for needed infrastructure improvements at Capper / Carrollsburg. These bills will both have their second reading and final vote on Dec. 5.
More posts: Capper, staddis, Square 701

BREAKING - Council Passes Aboveground Garages
Nov 14, 2006 5:19 PM
More to come as the news stories come out, but I'll break the news here that the council passed 10-3 the resolution today to override the Zoning Commission's rule preventing the construction of aboveground garages on the stadium site. (In other words, they voted to approve aboveground garages.) Barry, Catania, and Schwartz were the dissenters. There was much discussion about whether because of language in the original agreement that after Sept. 1, 2007, the city will have to ask the Lerners for permission to develop the parking garage site on the north side of the stadium that the city will be doomed to never having development because the Lerners would never allow construction in that spot that would disrupt the ballpark experience. But the councilmembers who voted yes seem to feel that at some point in the future there is still the ability to tear down the aboveground garages and develop the land, which will only continue to escalate in value. One teeny item that creeped out of the debate that may be how they're getting this under the cost cap--Jack Evans mentioned that aboveground garages are now being planned for the 300 south side parking spaces, which Clark Construction says can be done for $1.6 million. If this is true, that they're now dispensing with the idea of a grand southern-side plaza (where hardly anyone will be arriving from anyway) then they should have just put 10-story garages right there and had all the parking on the south side. I imagine this is still not a finished discussion.... More to come. UPDATE: Here's the Post story, with a quote from Adrian Fenty that shows perhaps folks are starting to get the message that these two blocks are not the end-all be-all of Ballpark District development: "The land in question on the stadium site is a small percentage of the area around the stadium that is already being developed." UPDATE II: A little late on my part, but here's the WashTimes piece, with an explanation as to why the south side garages can be done so cheaply: "Sports commission officials said the city was able to save money because the Nationals relaxed their requirement for 300 spaces at the south side of the stadium. The stadium construction team, led by Clark Construction of Bethesda, said it can build the parking more inexpensively now with only 130 space at the south." And here's Tim Lemke's Q&A on the entire garages brouhaha, for those smart souls who haven't been paying attention. UPDATE III: If you're into self torture, this council session is available via on-demand streaming video.

Near Southeast's Demolished Buildings
Nov 14, 2006 3:36 PM
Over the nearly four years that I've been prowling around Near Southeast with my camera, a lot of buildings in the Hood have met the wrecking ball. While my project pages have plenty of before-and-afters that capture those that have been demolished, I thought it would be nice to bring them together in one spot, so I've created a Near Southeast's Demolished Buildings page. I believe I've caught every demolished structure since 2003, and a couple earlier ones, though I continue to cry that I didn't ever get photos of the old Washington Star warehouse at 2nd and H, a beautiful marble or limestone building that bit the dust sometime in 2000.
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Council to Approve Aboveground Garages
Nov 14, 2006 1:08 AM
From Tuesday's Post: "The D.C. Council appears poised today to approve a scaled-back parking plan for the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium that calls for building two free-standing garages just north of the ballpark, near South Capitol Street and the Navy Yard in Southeast. [...] The new plan would build garages without reinforcement at a cost of $36 million, which could be paid with existing funds and remain within the cost cap, city officials said. Essentially, the plan is what the Lerner group has pushed for since taking over the team in the summer. [...] Fenty said the Lerner group has promised to work with the city to potentially tear down the garages in future seasons if a solid mixed-use development plan is proposed."
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

New Renderings, Updated Pages
Nov 13, 2006 2:47 PM
WDG Architecture updated its web site recently to include a rendering of 1015 Half Street, the 440,000-sq-ft office building by Potomac Investment Properties slated for the Nation site at Half and L. (I'd give a link directly to their page on 1015 Half, but like so many architecture firms, their site is so overly Flash'ed that there's no way to get you there.) They also had a rendering for 1325 South Capitol Street, the 244-unit residential project across from the stadium by Camden Development. (As expected, I'm wavering in my resolve to stop my coverage at the South Capitol Street median, and will now track anything that fronts South Capitol, even if the address is in Southwest.) These renderings--along with the one I found last week for 1000 South Capitol (the proposed 320,000-sq-ft office building by Lerner Enterprises on the same block as Nation)--spurred me to do some freshening of both my North of M and South Capitol Street pages, adding a lot of new photos and views.

Parking Back on the Council Agenda - And Herb Miller Sues
Nov 13, 2006 10:40 AM
Lookee here at what's popped up on the agenda for tomorrow's City Council session, a reading and vote on "Ballpark Parking Completion Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2006" and "Ballpark Parking Completion Emergency Amendment Act of 2006." (No sign of either of them in the online system, though.) I don't know what either of them contain, so we'll just have to wait for news to trickle out. The fun never stops. UPDATE: Speaking of the parking, WTOP is reporting that Herb Miller is suing the city, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, saying that his agreement with the city and Mayor Williams to build the Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness has not been honored. Says Miller: "D.C. will realize it has lost a remarkable opportunity to renew a neighborhood and provide hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefit to the city. It is a major loss that didn't have to happen." (Says JD: Just because this plan fell through doesn't mean there will never be development on those two blocks, not to mention that there's already plenty of other development on the blocks just north of the stadium.) UPDATE II: Here's the Washington Business Journal story on Miller's lawsuit.

WMATA Minutes on Navy Yard Station Expansion
Nov 13, 2006 10:30 AM
Last month the WMATA board of directors approved a plan to have Monument Realty oversee the $20 million expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M, as part of Monument's construction of an office building on that site. The minutes from the WMATA Planning and Development Committee are now posted, and there was some discussion about how WMATA can ensure that the April 2008 (i.e., Opening Day at the new ballpark) deadline for completion can be met: "Mr. Tangherlini responded that WMATA has included some penalties that involve the contractor providing transportation bridge service to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station if the scheduled completion is not met. In addition there are severe financial and operational penalties for the developer if the station is not complete by April 2, 2008."

Photo Updates
Nov 12, 2006 11:10 PM
Thankfully I looked at the weather forecast before planning my weekend, and scheduled a photo excursion for Saturday, not Sunday. Lots of new pictures in the Stadium Construction Gallery, now also reorganized so that as you scroll down you're basically walking clockwise around the stadium site from it's construction starting point at 1st and N Place all the way down Potomac, up South Capitol, and over on Half back to 1st. And I also added a new photo or two (and updated the spiffy animated slide shows) for 20 M and Capper Seniors #2. Let the icon be your guide to the additions, as always. UPDATE: Oh yeah, duh, there's also the Capper demolition along the south side of L Street between 3rd and 4th, I added a couple of shots of that as well to my Capitol Quarter page, I'll update when the last of the blue-roofed apartment buildings comes down, probably within the next week.

PSA 105 Meeting Nov. 18
Nov 12, 2006 9:39 PM
PSA 105 is the DC MPD Police Service Area that covers the western half of Near Southeast (from 6th Street to South Capitol)--their next meeting is Saturday, Nov. 18 at 10 am at the 1D1 substation at Marion Park (5th and E SE), and the meeting announcement mentions "concerns related to the stadium construction" as one of the items to be addressed. Join the PSA 105 Yahoo Group if you want to be electronically involved...
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A Handy Roundup of Near Southeast News
Nov 10, 2006 12:57 PM
The shareholders at Capitol Hill Tower invited me over last night to bore them with descriptions of arcane zoning regulations and pending parking garages, and their CHT Shareholder Community Blog includes a nice roundup of some of the Near Southeast development plans people had questions about, edited into handy bullet-point fashion for those of you just too darn lazy to bother committing to memory thousands of blog entries and hundreds of pages of photos and content. :-)
More posts: Capitol Hill Tower

Small Buildings Along 3rd, L, and 4th Demolished
Nov 9, 2006 9:08 PM
The two- and three-story brick buildings on the southeast corner of 3rd and L, and the one old townhouse on 4th between L and M, have been demolished within the past few days. These are on the northern part of Square 800, which is home to the 300 M Street office building and also the last tall Capper/Carrollsburg buildings. This land will be the southwestern edge of the Capitol Quarter townhome development. Hopefully this means that the long-vacant Capper buildings on that block will soon be demolished, but I don't know anything for sure. I also haven't heard any timeline for the demolition of the two-story Capper buildings on 2nd between I and L--mixed-income apartment buildings will eventually be built on those blocks, but there's no start date that I've heard for those projects. I will post demolition pictures soon--I've been quite remiss in my picture taking duties lately, but guilt is reaching crisis levels, and I promise to go on a photo excursion this weekend.

Lerner Site Redesign - 20 M Now Delivering in Spring 2007, 1000 South Capitol Rendering
Nov 8, 2006 11:13 PM
Lerner Enterprises within the past few days launched a very nice (and very much needed) redesign of their web site. The 20 M Street page (which isn't really the official project web site, that's 20MStreetSE.com) says that the building will be available in Spring 2007 (an earlier date than the Fall 2007 originally given), and gives much detail about the project's "green" features. It also lists Cushman & Wakefield as the commercial leasing agents, which I believe is a new development. There's also a page for 1000 South Capitol Street, a proposed 320,000-sq-ft office building on South Capitol between K and L (the parking lot next to Nation). No start date, but there's a rendering, the first I've seen for this project (and you know how excited I get when I unearth renderings). 1000 South Cap has been on the boards for years, but other than a request for an alley closing at an ANC6D meeting earlier this year (which was referred to the development committee), there's been no evidence of movement. See my own 20 M and North of M pages for photos, etc.

Little Red Building Liquor License Application - Update
Nov 8, 2006 4:56 PM
Today was the hearing on the application by "The Wine Cellar and Spirits" for a Class A (beer, wine, and liquor) license to open what the owners call a "tastefully designed wine and spirits" store in the Little Red Building at 156 L Street (next to the Courtyard by Marriott). ANC 6D has been officially designated as a protestant in opposition to the application, and presumably the owner will be in contact with the ANC to resolve any issues (most likely revolving around the sales of singles). There will be a status hearing on the application on Jan. 17, 2007, at 10 am.

Vote, Of Course - The Results
Nov 7, 2006 10:16 AM
It's now almost a cliche for oh-so-civic-minded bloggers to post "Vote!" messages on Election Day, but far be it from me to buck the trend. So get out there and vote in today's DC General Election, most especially the Ward 6 city council race between Tommy Wells (D), Will Cobb (I), and Tony Williams (R). UPDATE: Results are in, and congratulations to Tommy Wells on his Ward 6 victory. And Robert Siegel has been reelected as ANC 6D07 commissioner. UPDATE II: Here's a good Voice of the Hill piece on the Ward 6 and ANC elections.
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Douglass Bridge Work - Not Yet
Nov 6, 2006 8:33 PM
Today is the "on or about day" that the flashing signs on South Capitol Street said would mark the beginning of work on the South Capitol Street Bridge--however, the start has been delayed while DDOT makes changes to its plans. Will alert you to anything I hear.

Post Editorializes on Garages (Again)
Nov 4, 2006 12:03 PM
The Post editorial page weighs in again on the council standoff on the baseball stadium parking garages, laying out specifically the arguments being brought to table by CEO Gandhi and by council member David Catania about the city's liability should there not be 1,225 parking spaces on the stadium site by Opening Day 2008.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park
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