29 Blog Posts
Go to Page:
Connect Barracks Row Presentation on Dec. 18
Nov 28, 2008 9:09 AM
The group of urban planning students at the University of Maryland who have been studying the lower part of Eighth Street will be presenting their "Connect Barracks Row
" findings at a public meeting on Dec. 18 from 7:30 pm to 9 pm at the Navy Yard Car Barn, better known as the Blue Castle, at 770 M Street, SE. You can see the presentation from their Oct. 29 community meeting
and read a little more about the project on their web site
The students' work also got a write-up
in today's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only), which says: "Their findings so far come as no surprise: Walking beneath the noisy highway is undesirable, parking isn't easy to find and there is little reason to go to the site in the first place."
In describing lower Eighth Street, WBJ also says: "A developer had plans to turn one block into housing and residential space, but that plan apparently went nowhere." Sounds like a reference to the original plans for the Admiral at 801 Virginia
, which as I've been writing over the past few weeks has been redesigned as an office building and received its Board of Zoning Adjustment approvals on Tuesday
There's also mention of the hopes by Madison Marquette to turn the Blue Castle into a 99,000-sq-ft retail destination, but no progress has been announced.
BZA Approves Revised 801 Virginia Design
Nov 25, 2008 11:06 PM
This afternoon the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment
approved unanimously two requested variances that will allow 801 Virginia Avenue to go forward as a 19,000-sq-ft office building with 3,000 feet of ground-floor retail. I admit to listening to the webcast with only about half an ear, but the bulk of the discussion seemed to be centered around the applicant's request to only have 17 underground parking spaces instead of the required 30 (17 is still four more than were allotted in the original condo-building design). As I wrote about a few weeks back
, the developers say that groundwater levels and potential soil contamination issues would make it prohibitively expensive to dig two additional levels of parking (and having to have the garage entrance on L Street apparently doesn't help, either).
The 17 spaces will all be assigned to the office tenants, so there will be no parking for retail customers. (There was some discussion of creating overflow parking if necessary at 816 Potomac Avenue, another property owned by the same developer.) The applicant's traffic consultant also laid out the proximity of the site to Metro subway stations and bus lines, and with the request having the full support of the Office of Planning, ANC 6B, and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, the board voted to approve the variances.
No word on when the project might get underway.
Zoning Overlay Review for Akridge Half Street Project
Nov 25, 2008 12:42 PM
There hasn't been much made public yet about this development, other than it will be a mix of office, residential, and retail, and the hearing announcement
says that the FAR will be 7.9 and the maximum building height will be 110 feet. In addition to the overlay review (which sets out some firm guidelines
for projects along M Street and in the Ballpark District), Akridge is also asking for relief from roof structure requirements, loading requirements, ground-floor retail requirements, and step-back requirements.
It's been reported that Akridge is expecting to begin on the project in 2010; they've hired HOK
(designers of the ballpark and the Plaza on K
), Esocoff & Associates
) and StreetSense Inc.
to design what an Akridge press release
calls a "one-of-a-kind destination." Quoting further: "'Half Street is the city's newest and most unique urban destination,' says Matthew J. Klein, Akridge President. 'This stretch between the Metro and the ballpark has great energy and we look forward to capitalizing on that and other natural amenities like the river, to deliver the area's best urban living, working, shopping, dining, and entertainment project.'"
I've marked this movement by finally giving the site its own project page
(now separate from the old "Ballpark District
" page). Hopefully in the lead-up to the zoning hearing we'll get a peek at some renderings.
Hearing on 'Taxation Without Representation' Street (Updated)
Nov 24, 2008 7:09 PM
Today the city council held its hearing
, the bill that seeks to rename the portion of South Capitol Street
that runs next to Nationals Park
as "Taxation Without Representation Street, SE." Four witnesses testified in favor of the bill, although the support of three of them (DC's two shadow senators and the head of DCVote) was not exactly a surprise.
The city is using this as an alternate approach to getting the taxation-without-representation word out at the ballpark, after its attempt to install at the ballpark a toteboard
showing much the city pays in taxes was thwarted by the Nationals (who have final say on all signage at the ballpark thanks to the stadium lease agreement).
It's expected that the bill will have its first vote in front of the council on
Dec. 5 Dec. 2, with hopes that it can make it safely through the congressional oversight process in time to allow the signs to be posted by Opening Day. (Remember, not only do DC citizens not have a vote in Congress, their own legislation passed by their own elected representatives doesn't get to become law until after Congress has signed off.) UPDATE:
The Examiner covers the hearing
, with some additional details, mainly that "unlike other symbolic road name designations [it] would actually change the address of all buildings along that three-block stretch of South Capitol." Tommy Wells is quoted as saying: "What we want is for that to be the stadium's address. [...] We want people to have to write it." Also, 1345 South Capitol
's developer Camden Development submitted written testimony opposing this plan that would rename their block, saying that the name change will "negatively impact the residents of our building," cause "unnecessary confusion" and compromise "the spirit" of South Capitol.
Half Street Hole Getting Filled
Nov 24, 2008 11:24 AM
Reader M., who keeps a better eye on the Monument Half Street web cam
than I do, has passed along the word that, within the past week, the Half Street Hole (just north of Nationals Park
) has started being re-filled with dirt, except for the far northern portion where additional underground garage space next to the 55 M Street
office building is being completed. The small piece of garage construction is where a new street dubbed "Monument Street" has been planned, to connect Half to Cushing Street to the east; doing this work also will now give southern walls to the 55 M garage. The rest of the block is where Monument had plans
for a 200-room hotel and 340 residential units, along with lots of ground-floor retail. I don't know anything beyond what I'm seeing on the webcam, so we'll have to wait to find out What This Means (though certainly filling back in a three-story hole isn't particularly likely to indicate a project moving forward).
Boathouse Row: Pictures (Finally), and a Master Plan
Nov 21, 2008 11:44 PM
Back in August, I finally took a little time to drive down the practically hidden section of Water Street east of 12th to get some photos of Boathouse Row, the stretch of marinas between the 11th Street Bridges
and Pennsylvania Avenue's Sousa Bridge. Of course, all I really got were photos of their entrances (I'm way too shy to have actually driven in), but even pictures of their gates and signs are probably of interest to most people who've never taken this particular field trip.
A mere three months later, I've finally posted them on a revamped East M/Boathouse Row
page, where there first are photos of the Anacostia Community Rowing Center, followed by the new images from further up Water Street. (I also tinkered a bit with my main East M page
.) Of course, as I'm writing this I'm realizing that it would probably be even better if I went across the river and took photos of the row from Anacostia Park--I'll add that to my To Do list.
There's actually a Master Plan underway for Boathouse Row
by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the Office of Planning. By doing this, " the District seeks to provide upgraded public facilities, improve environmental conditions, preserve existing functions and utilize remaining land to enhance and expand boathouse, marina, dock and water recreation uses." The DMPED info page on the Master Planning Process
has a lot documents with much detail from the public meetings that were held over the summer and on Oct. 2
(which they don't seem to do a very good job of advertising, because I never heard about them). A handout from last week's Anacostia Waterfront Information Fair
says that the Draft Master Plan is expected to be released by the end of this year (and I'm hearing there will be a public meeting in mid-December); the Oct. 2 meeting slides
give a good summary of the plan alternatives being considered (and there's additional info on those here
), along with long-range visions for the area.
Addendum on Parking Meter Revenue
Nov 21, 2008 1:48 PM
In yesterday's wrap-up
of the Performance Parking
meeting, I mentioned how the program wasn't yet "operating in the black," because of the substantial cost of putting in the meters. However, I've been gently reminded that the legislation that created the pilot
spells out that, initially, 60 percent of the program revenue will be put toward the repayment of the cost of the meters, with 20 percent of the revenue to be used "solely for the purpose of non-automobile transportation improvements in the zone." (The other 20 percent goes to the DDOT's operating fund.) This means that there will already be some dollars available at the end of 2008 toward improvements.
In a few years, once the meters are paid in full, only five percent of the revenue goes toward meter and signage upkeep in the zone, and 75 percent goes to non-automobile transportation improvements in the zone, such as bike racks, sidewalk repair, etc.
Wrap-Up From Performance Parking Meeting
Nov 20, 2008 4:53 PM
Despite my subconscious desire to return to those days when I didn't bother going to public meetings, I ventured out on Wednesday night to DDOT's first quarterly public meeting on the Ward 6 Performance Parking Pilot Program
. Much of the discussion centered on issues outside of Near Southeast (such as how Southwest's parking-enforcement hours still run from 7 am to midnight seven days a week, even though Capitol Hill rolled theirs back to 9:30 pm six days a week and no restrictions at all on Sundays), so I don't really have a lot to report in terms of any changes that might be happening to the streets south of the freeway and east of South Capitol.
There are a few numbers to pass along--so far in 2008 (from the start of the program on March 26 through the end of October) the Ward 6 pilot zone grossed a bit over $235,000 in parking fees, with it splitting pretty evenly between the 80 game days ($118k, averaging $1,650 per day) and the other non-game days ($115k, averaging $1,300 per day). However, it cost the city more than $860,000 to install the meters and signage, so the program isn't exactly operating in the black yet.
The current red visitors passes are scheduled to expire on Dec. 31--however, DDOT's Damon Harvey acknowledged that the realities of trying to send them out in late December (in the midst of the holiday mail deluge) and the issue of on-street parking enforcement for the inauguration means that it's likely DPW will be told to not consider the old passes expired until Feb. 1 or some other date.
There was really only one attendee who was vociferously against the pilot's restrictions; others who got up to spoke had concerns about portions of it, but given how these meetings can sometimes go, it seemed that most people were accepting of the program. DDOT's Harvey made sure to emphasize a number of times that this program is not just about ballpark parking--it's to get ahead of all of the expected development and commerce coming to Capitol Hill, Near Southeast, and Southwest, and protect resident and business parking before it gets out of hand.
There were no specific changes announced for 2009--however, it sounded like if there were changes they'd be put in place closer to Opening Day. Although most of the people who spoke at the meeting mentioned that they didn't really see any influx of ballpark-related on-street parking on the Hill or areas further away in Southwest, it would be wise to keep in mind two things for 2009: the possibility
that the free Nats Express won't be running
(no decision yet), and, on the flip side, the opening of two new office buildings within two blocks of the ballpark that will have three levels of underground parking that could become available (100 M
and 55 M
, and perhaps also the underground parking now being built in the hole just north of the ballpark, though there's been no announcements of whether any of these will be offering gameday parking). The potential lack of free parking could drive more fans to try to find on-street parking, but perhaps the growth of close-in garage spaces will mitigate that.
Tune in again in February when I'm sure the traffic and parking discussions will heat up for the new season! (Yippee.)
Don't miss my addendum
, where I clear up that just because the meters haven't been paid for yet doesn't mean that the neighborhood won't already be seeing some of the revenue.
Link Roundup: This and That
Nov 20, 2008 8:16 AM
* The WashTimes says
that Eleanor Holmes Norton "has asked Congress's Joint Commission on Inaugural Ceremonies to consider opening up more space for visitors than just the Mall, including Verizon Center and Nationals Park
." I guess she means as a space to allow people to watch the ceremonies on the big screen (rather than, say, sleeping bags in the outfield)?
* City Paper does a piece
on Super Salvage, across the way in Buzzard Point, and how they feel that the city is pushing them to leave but how there's nowhere else inside the District to go. In a related story, the Post reports
that one of the concrete plants shut down in early 2006 thanks to the ballpark's eminent domain land takeover has just gotten approval (over neighbors' objections) to build a new facility just outside of Cheverly.
* Over the past couple of days the construction pedestrian walkways at 100 M Street
have been taken down, and the sidewalks look pretty close to being ready for use. Does this mean that M Street is going to get its two traffic lanes back soon? It was reported a few months back that Parsons Technology (which has leased about 30 percent of the building) would be moving in in early 2009. We should also be watching for the arrival of a Sun Trust Bank branch in the ground floor, presuming that deal is still done (you never know these days).
* Looks like they're putting the glass panels in around the Navy Yard station entrance in 55 M
's ground floor (hence the closures of the entrance after 8 pm that continue today and tomorrow, along with an all-day closure on Saturday).
Updated Skyline Photos (And Street-Level, Too)
Nov 18, 2008 3:03 PM
Before the front blew in on Monday I made a rooftop visit to get some new shots of the changing skyline west of New Jersey Avenue and north of M Street. You can see the new shots paired with their "befores" in my Overhead Photos Archive
; hard to believe that less than three years ago we didn't have Onyx
, or Velocity
, or 70/100 I
, or 909 New Jersey
. (And the next time I take these shots, 1015 Half
will be visible, too.) I also made the rounds and took street-level photos from the usual spots, which you can see on those project pages or all in one group
; I'll also note that the new Half Street photos
show the first floor of 1015 Half now underway. As always, click the
for all photos in the archive at a specific location.
Reminders for Wednesday: Parking Meeting, Onyx
Nov 18, 2008 2:45 PM
Two reminders for your Wednesday planning:
President Bush at USDOT on Tuesday
Nov 17, 2008 5:42 PM
Be prepared that on Tuesday (Nov. 18), President Bush will be visiting the US Department of Transporation headquarters
on M Street. Given that no parking will be allowed at DOT until noon on Tuesday because of security concerns, be prepared for an onslaught of extra transit passengers at the Navy Yard Metro station and on the bus lines, and extra cars in the daily lots around the neighborhood. No doubt there will also be some traffic disruptions as the president arrives and leaves, too.
Mini-Roundup: Metro Station Entrance Closed, Zoning News, Taxation w/out Representation Street Hearing
Nov 16, 2008 5:42 PM
A bunch of items to start the week with:
* Remember that the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M is closed every evening this week from 8 pm until closing, thanks to work on 55 M Street
* On Monday (Nov. 13), the Zoning Commission gave final approval to moving 225 Virginia Avenue
into the Capitol South Receiving Zone, which will allow any construction on the block to have greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR/90-ft-height currently allowed. This was approved with two caveats: that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90 feet to confirm that the building will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face, and that any structure will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park
. Read my entry from the hearing a few weeks ago
for more information.
* On Nov. 24 at 2 pm, the city council will be having a hearing
, the "Taxation Without Representation Street Renaming Act of 2008," which would "designate the portion of South Capitol Street, SE that intersects with N Street SE and Potomac Avenue SE as 'Taxation Without Representation Street, SE." It just so happens that this is the portion of South Capitol Street
that runs alongside Nationals Park
, where the council was thwarted in earlier attempts to install an electronic tote board
showing the federal taxes that DC residents pay while still having no voting representation in the US Congress.
* For weeks I've been meaning to post that Nationals Park made the list of Travel and Leisure Magazine's "Must-See Green American Landmarks
," thanks to being the first LEED-certified professional sports facility.
Quick Photos from the Anacostia Waterfront Fair, Plus a Few Other New Photos and Pages
Nov 15, 2008 4:35 PM
I have to admit that information fairs aren't quite my gig (especially since I'm immersed in this stuff everyday), but I did wander past today's Anacostia Waterfront Community Information Fair at the ballpark
to see what there was to see. I got there pretty early and left pretty early, so didn't see any of the panel discussions (and didn't take any of the bus tours), but if you want to see how they configured the exhibitions within the Stars and Stripes clubs at the ballpark, here's a batch of photos
. (And, if you were there, maybe you're in one or two of them!)
Plus, I felt a burst of inspiration yesterday the likes of which I haven't seen in months, and *finally* created project pages for William C. Smith's 800 New Jersey Avenue
development and for the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction
. The 800 NJ page has almost no information (since there's so little to be had about the project beyond the basic 1.1-mil-office-residential-retail-and-maybe-Whole-Foods
profile); the 11th Street Bridges page is a little better, but still is just a lot of pictures of overpasses and flyovers. Better than nothing in both cases, though!
Mayor Talks About Progress Along the Anacostia; Status Updates on Parks, Bridges, and the River
Nov 14, 2008 2:56 PM
This morning Mayor Fenty held a press conference at Nationals Park
with various city officials to highlight tomorrow's Anacostia Waterfront Information Fair
, and also talk up the recent progress and near-term next steps for the more than $8 billion worth of economic development, transportation, and infrastructure projects in the pipeline along the Anacostia River (not only in Near Southeast, but from the Southwest Waterfront all the way up past RFK).
Having sworn off taking any more photos of The Mayor at the Microphone (unless he shows up in a Hawaiian shirt and swimtrunks or something), I decided to record the 20-minute event
instead, so that the five or six of you interested in hearing the remarks can do so. (It's a 2.6-mb MP3 file
; the first few seconds are rough, but then it settles in.)
If you listen, you'll hear how the mayor managed to cajole the notoriously camera-shy Stan Kasten
into saying a few words about what's happening along the river and in the neighborhood from the point of view of the area's largest tenant. Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, DDOT Director Frank Seales, Office of Planning head Harriet Tregoning, and the director of the city's Office of the Environment George Hawkins spoke as well. There was some discussion throughout (and especially at the end) about how the slowing economy might be impacting both the city's plans and developers' projects, but the mayor remains optimistic.
The press release from the mayor's office
sums up the main points of today's event, but here's the Near Southeast-specific highlights from both the remarks and some other chatter of the day. First up, news of the three big parks:
The city "will break ground at Diamond Teague Park
by the end of 2008." (And the guide for tomorrow's fair says that the park will be completed in spring 2009, which is the same date we've been hearing for a while.) The mayor also touted the operating agreement with Forest City Washington to build and maintain the $42 million, 5-acre Park at the Yards
(but you knew about this already
), as well as the the agreement with the Canal Park Development Corp. to build the $13.1 million, three-block-long park
. (No mention of school buses.)
Then there's the bridges: Reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges
is scheduled to begin in mid-2009. (The shortlist of firms vying for the design-build contract was announced a few weeks ago
.) Whether we actually see heavy equipment moving in mid-2009, or whether this just marks the first part of the design-build project is not quite clear. I was also told that the contract to demolish the flyover ramps
to and from RFK could be completed soon, and that demolition would happen not long after the contract is signed.
As for the river itself, the city has started real-time water quality monitoring, updated automatically online
24 hours a day. There's also now the Anacostia 2032 Plan
"to make the Anacostia River boatable, swimmable, and fishable in 25 years." And a Green Summer Jobs Corps
was created earlier this year to "engage youth in the cleaning and greening of District neighborhoods and parks and to introduce them to green-collar job opportunities."
Finally, a planning process is underway to revamp Boathouse Row, the stretch of boat clubs along the Anacostia between 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. (I took a bunch of photos near the boathouses a few months back, and have been lazy about ever getting them posted, though you can see a few boathouse-free shots of the environs here
There's more about projects elsewhere along the Anacostia, but other bloggers get to cover those. Will update this post if there's any media coverage from today's event, and will have a fresh post on Saturday after the fair. I imagine I'll Twitter
a bit from those festivities (like I did from today's); remember that if you aren't a Twitter-er, you can read my tweets on the JDLand homepage
--check 'em out frequently, because I do sometimes post news there first, before I write full blog entries.
SATURDAY FAIR UPDATE:
They're now going to be providing
free shuttle bus service from the New Jersey & M Metro entrance to/from the ballpark, from 12:30 pm to 5:15 pm. (After they heard somewhere
that the Half and M subway entrance is going to be closed on Saturday.)
Dogfish Head Alehouse, Jazz Club May Come to the Yards (Teeter, Too); Whole Foods and Square 737
Nov 14, 2008 9:27 AM
Today's print edition of the WashBizJournal has some big retail-related Near Southeast items of interest
* "The developer of The Yards
, the 42-acre Anacostia riverfront project near the Nationals ballpark, is close to landing a jazz club
and Dogfish Head Alehouse
and may move its local headquarters to the former Navy Yard. The two retail tenants would be the first in the Boilermaker Shops
, a three-story industrial building with walls of red brick and plate glass on Tingey Street between Third and Fourth streets SE." (The Boilermaker Shops are scheduled to open in mid-2010, along with the Park at the Yards
and the Foundry Lofts
* The planned office building at 401 M
could become home to Forest City Washington's headquarters; it's the one with the grocery store space in the ground floor. WBJ says Forest City "is 'nearing a deal' with a grocer for 50,000 square feet and an announcement could come in 60 days. He would not reveal the chain, but sources say it is Harris Teeter Inc
. which has two D.C. stores and plans a third in Northeast." 401 M is not expected to be constructed before 2011, however.
* Also on the grocery store front, confirmation of the rumor that's been hashed around here lately: "William C. Smith & Co., meanwhile, has been in discussions with Whole Foods Market Inc.
about a store in its planned 4-acre development between New Jersey Avenue, H and Second streets, known as Square 737." (See, I tried to tell you folks
it wasn't going to be at New Jersey and K; and Jonathan, you're welcome for this tip.)
Finally getting *some* piece of news about 800 New Jersey finally spurred me, after all this time, to create a project page for it
. There's no renderings, just a bunch of "before" pictures, but at least it's something. And, since talk of grocery store on this site back in *1999* was one of the first tidbits that led me to start paying attention to the neighborhood, I guess it finally deserves its own page.
JPI Renting Out 70/100 I Units for Inauguration
Nov 13, 2008 10:19 PM
Now here's some quick-thinking
: "With high-end hotels completely booked and District residents renting out their homes to tourists, JPI has joined the inauguration rental frenzy and will rent unleased apartments at two of its recently delivered projects near Nationals Park
. The Dallas-based developer will require a three-night minimum stay at the Axiom at Capitol Yard and Jefferson at Capitol Yards
. The company did not release pricing information, but said it will offer guests a choice of furnished one or two-bedroom units. They also will receive access to 24-hour concierge service and conference rooms, gym facilities, free wireless Internet access in common areas." (WBJ
Per Ed's link
in the comments, the prices are $750/$1,000 per night for 1 and 2 BR units (with that three night minimum). Here's the Craigslist post
Taking Metro to the Anacostia Info Fair: Uhhhh... (Updated)
Nov 12, 2008 7:35 PM
Nice catch by reader S, who notes that the city's exhortations to arrive at Saturday Nov. 15's Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair
at the ballpark
via Metro appear to have one small complication
"The Navy Yard Metrorail station west entrance on the Green Line will be closed for select days this month as a result of safety sensitive construction work directly above the station's entrance. The station's west entrance will be closed on the following dates:
"Saturday, November 15, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Monday to Friday, November 17 to 21, 8 p.m. to closing
"Saturday, November 22, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Customers who normally use the west entrance will need to use the east entrance located at New Jersey Ave. SE."
They're now going to be providing
free shuttle bus service from the New Jersey & M Metro entrance to/from the ballpark, from 12:30 pm to 5:15 pm.
Reminder: Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair on Saturday, at Nationals Park
Nov 12, 2008 4:18 PM
A reminder that this Saturday (Nov. 15)
at Nationals Park
is the second Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair
, with representatives from not only developers but city agencies manning booths with all sorts of information about all the projects planned along the Anacostia River corridor. It's from 1 pm to 5 pm
, and will also have (according to this DDOT press release
) "free bus tours to several locations being revitalized on both sides on the waterfront, such as Poplar Point, Waterside (formerly Waterside Mall), Boathouse Row, and Southwest Waterfront." And refreshments, too!
(Let me also just state for the record that I was planning on posting this reminder today, even if I hadn't gotten a robocall just a few minutes ago from Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Neil Albert inviting me to the shindig.)
Onyx Grand Opening Party on Nov. 19
Nov 11, 2008 6:31 PM
The folks at Onyx on First
apartments are throwing a Grand Opening party on Wednesday, Nov. 19, from 5 to 8 pm, which will include a "special tour," as well as jazz, wine, and hors d'oeuvres. Here's the invitation flyer
, along with the information on how to RSVP. (Though I don't imagine they'll lock the door if you try to show up without having called first.)
Go to Page: