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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: November 2010
In the Pipeline
Ballpark Square
Homewood Suites Hotel
82 I Street
1244 South Capitol
Yards/Parcel A
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Southeast Blvd.
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
909 Half St.
Akridge/Half St.
Ex-Monument/Half St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
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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Retail News
Restaurants/Nightlife
 

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20 Blog Posts

If you see some work being done on the block bounded by 1st, K, L, and Half in the next couple of days, don't get all excited that construction might be starting on the Plaza on K project. DRI--who bought the block for $69.4 million in 2007--tell me that they are going to be doing some leveling work to get rid of the eight-foot hill in the middle of the lot, to make it show a little nicer for prospective tenants who might be looking at the site. There will also be new fences put up.
Plans for the site currently call for buildings totaling approximately 825,000 square feet of LEED Gold office and retail. The first phase would be 300,000-sq-ft 88 K, along with 77 I, a "headquarters" space that could provide either 125,000 or 250,000 sq ft of space. There are also plans for a 10,000-sq-ft public plaza, surrounded by 14,000 sq ft of retail, along with another building (50 K) in a later phase. You can see my project page for more details, or visit the official web site. There's no timeline at this point for when the project might get underway.
 

A few weeks ago I posted about an e-mail I had received from Yung Park, owner of the (no longer standing) Little Red Building at 2nd and L streets, SE, about his plans to switch from running a liquor store on that site to a coffeehouse, which he said would be named Aroma Espresso Bar. One of the entry's commenters noted that a chain with that name already existed, and I replied in the comments that Mr. Park had told me it was not going to be a chain: "(so I wonder if the name is going to be problematic)".
This afternoon I received a very nice e-mail from the law firm of Baker Botts LLP, informing me that their client, Shefa, owns the federal trademark for "AROMA ESPRESSO BAR" and operates a franchise system under that trademark. Further, "Mr. Park’s establishment is not one of Shefa’s franchises, and we have communicated with Mr. Park, asking that he refrain from using our client’s trademark." They also asked that I refrain from using that name in any future blog entries about the LRB.
Hopefully soon we'll hear from Mr. Park about a new name. UPDATE: Or, judging by the vast reach of the current AROMA ESPRESSO BAR (as noted by Paul in the comments), maybe not. I would also note that the wording in the e-mail from the law firm was "asking", which doesn't exactly sound like a legal demand.
 

Just a reminder that the first of two public meetings to update the public on the status of the search for a new Marine Barracks location is tomorrow night (Tuesday, Nov. 30), at Eastern Market's North Hall (7th and North Carolina, SE). It will begin with an open house at 5 pm, with informational displays and "experts" on hand to discuss the various aspects of the Community Integrated Master Plan (CIMP), aka the site search. Then, at 6:30 pm, "speakers representing the community of stakeholders will present their viewpoints, [...] followed by a facilitated discussion of community development involving all participants."
Here's the agenda, and the CIMP web site has plenty of other informational materials including a recent Process Update (which I wrote about last week), in which it's stated that "the Marine Corps has not settled on any specific site or concept" (despite rumors to the contrary), and that the concerns of the fans of the Virginia Avenue Park "have been heard loud and clear and addressed accordingly."
My previous entry also talks about the CLG Status Report handout (posted by Norm Metzger), which includes some "Art of the Do-Able" conceptual graphics (emphasis on conceptual) that show how either the 11th and M "Exxon" site or the 8th Street "Square 929/930" site could be developed in ways that would not touch the Virginia Avenue Park. There's also a similar graphic showing how the presence at the current BEQ site along Virginia east of 5th could be expanded without losing the soccer field, which would requiring the shifting of the planned Capper community center site.
If the comment threads on my posts anytime I mention the word "Marines" are any indication, it should be a festive gathering.
 

From Monday's WaPo Capital Business: "Real estate developers and brokers in Southeast Washington say that Kaplan has been looking for office space suitable for the opening of a law school near the Washington Nationals' baseball stadium.
"Speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized by Kaplan to discuss the company's plans, the sources say Kaplan hired the real estate brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle and has been seeking up to 130,000 square feet in the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, around the Nationals' park, so it can open a law school there in 2013."
There's not much additional meat in the story, other than saying that Akridge (which owns the Half Street block northwest of the ballpark) is one of the developers vying for Kaplan's attentions. There's certainly a number of planned office buildings that could accommodate 130,000 square feet, and maybe the credit markets have shaken out enough that a lease taking 50 percent-ish of a building would be enough to get a construction loan. But there's also the issue of whether some proposed federal aid rules might hamper Kaplan's plans for expansion. [Full disclosure: Kaplan is owned by the Washington Post Co., my corporate overlords in my non-JDLand real life.]
We shall see....
 

I imagine it'll be pretty quiet around these parts for the rest of the week. So here's a few recently Tweeted items -- and one new one -- to make it look like I haven't completely given up blogging:
* It appears that the owner(s) of multiple lots along the 700 block of L Street (the brown apartment buildings plus the corner lot where the beer garden is headed) has sold half-interest in those properties to "Calle Ocho, LLC" (8th Street, get it?). But note that the empty lot that comes through from the Miles Glass property on the north end of the block and splits these four lots (0013, 0014, 0824, and 0825) is not (as of now?) part of this block of properties.
* EYA and the DC Housing Authority were awarded last week a Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Model of Excellence Award for the first phase of Capitol Quarter. (I just wish that the ULI folks who put out the press release hadn't said that the neighborhood is "The Yards.") The Jack Kemp awards are given to "workforce housing developments that represent outstanding achievements in several areas, including innovative financing, unique construction methodologies, strong public/private partnerships, and replicability to achieve workforce housing affordability."
* Speaking of Capitol Quarter, if you scroll down my homepage to the Building Permits feed, you'll see that the first permits have been approved for Capitol Quarter Phase II houses, for lots on 3rd, I and K.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID's Holiday Market is back for another year, running from Dec. 14-18 on the sidewalk outside of 1100 New Jersey Avenue. "Shop the market for wool sweaters and mittens, homemade soaps, jewelry, antique maps, wreaths and holiday greenery, paintings, and much more!" See the flyer for more details.
* You can check out the BID's latest newsletter for more tidbits, including that work on 225 Virginia/200 I is scheduled to start next month, with occupancy expected in mid-2012. (Just in time to have a big old railroad trench dug in their backyard!) UPDATE: Yes, yes, there's already been a hole punched in the east side of the building, as people have been telling me for a more than week now. I wouldn't quite call that start of construction if nothing much has happened since....
* And, not a news item per se, but some pondering: as part of the need to close what is expected to be a nearly $500 million budget shortfall, Mayor-Almost Vince Gray announced on Monday a freeze on all capital projects that are not yet underway, while a "blue-ribbon panel of experts" reviews which are necessary. There's no specifics on the list of frozen projects reported yet, but I am wondering if Canal Park, which is getting $13.5 million of its $20 million price tag from the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, might be on this list. We shall see....
Enjoy your holidays, everyone!
 

ANC 6B03 commissioner Norm Metzger has a report on yesterday's Community Leadership Group meeting on the search for a new Marine Barracks site. (I'm sorry, I just can't bring myself to call it the CIMP process on first reference.) My short version: there's no news on a site selection, and it appears that any RFP to build a new barracks is probably at least a year away, and even that date could be derailed if any sort of federal legislative action is needed to allow the sort of public-private development partnership that the Marines seem to be looking for. Norm's description of the meeting as being an "odd mix of frustration, clearly expressed community anger, and clarity" seems to be a good summary of where things stand from the group's point of view.
Norm also posted the CLG Status Report handout, which I think will be of most interest to residents for its "The Art of the Do-Able" conceptual graphics (emphasis on conceptual) showing how either the 11th and M "Exxon" site or the 8th Street "Square 929/930" site could be developed in ways that would not touch the Virginia Avenue Park. There's also a similar graphic showing how the presence at the current BEQ site along Virginia east of 5th could be expanded without losing the soccer field, which would requiring the shifting of the planned Capper community center site. (On this last one, I'll note that it looks like what is marked as M Street on the renderings is actually L Street, and the second graphic is showing a northeast view from 5th rather than the northwest as marked.)
Finally, there is this statement from the CIMP folks that seeks to address what it calls "some misperceptions circulating about the future of Marine Barracks Washington and the local community," centering mainly the idea among some residents that a site has already been chosen along with the rumors about what may or may not happen to Virginia Avenue Park. "It is very important that the Virginia Avenue Community Gardener group knows that their concerns have been heard loud and clear and addressed accordingly," the statement says, going on to say that "informal site design concepts strongly suggest that there is potential for options under which the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters Complex could be developed, without impacting any portion of the Virginia Avenue Park and gardens."
There are two meetings scheduled to update the public on the process, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 from 5 to 9 pm at Eastern Market's North Hall. More information on the entire process is available at the CIMP web site, or you can slog through my pile of posts on it all over the past year.
 

City Paper's Housing Complex blog has some new details on the plans for the Miles Glass site at 8th and Virginia by the new owners, the National Community Church (aka the Ebenezer's Coffeehouse folks). Pastor Mark Batterson says that he's envisioning "two performance spaces, one at about 500 seat capacity and another at a thousand, with at least one level of underground parking to handle the crowds. To keep the kids busy while adults are worshiping–or drinking coffee, or going to a play–there will be a large childcare center so special that they've retained the architects who created downtown Disney to design it."
They are also negotiating with adjacent parcels (which Batterson alluded to a few weeks ago, which by his description seems to include the empty lot on 7th), to make the "campus" somewhere between 50,000 and 75,000 square feet of developed space when completed. Batterson hopes to break ground within a year, with construction taking 12 to 18 months (so, probably 2013).
With a coffee house/performance space/church at the north end of the block and a beer garden at the south end, I may have to dub this spot the Saints and Sinners Stretch of 8th Street.
UPDATE, 11/18: If you've got ideas or notions for what you'd like to NCC do on this site, leave them in the comments--Mark Batterson has posted there this morning that everything's still really "up in the air" at this point, and they'd love to hear feedback.
 

I received a report from reader K on being part of a telephone survey on Tuesday night about neighborhood grocery stores. It apparently started with generic questions on where K shops, followed by questions about what kind of new grocery store K would like to see in the neighborhood, with options like Harris Teeter, Trader Joe's and Yes! being on the list. (Interestingly, given last night's Twitter eruption on Wal-Mart perhaps coming to DC, K says there were lots of questions about whether the neighborhood would support a "low-price" store.)
The interview then moved to specific questions about what K "would like to see at the new Harris Teeter at 5th and M by the Navy Yard." K said that the interviewer made the store sound like a done deal--which it certainly has seemed to be for a while now given all the hints and not-confirmed media stories about letters of intent, but there still has never been an official announcement from either Forest City or Harris Teeter that HT is indeed coming to the new residential building planned for 401 M St., SE at The Yards. One way or the other, it appears that construction on this building may be getting started next year--see my recent entries for details.
 

"After careful consideration," the staff of the city's Historic Preservation Review Board has recommended that St. Paul's African Union Methodist Protestant Church at 4th and I, SE, be designated a District of Columbia landmark, and also that the application be forwarded to the National Park Service for listing in the US's National Register of Historic Places.
The staff recommendation report gives a lot of good history about the church, some of which I mentioned in last week's post on ANC 6D supporting the church's application. It was built in 1924, and was the first church designed by R.C. Archer, Jr., Washington's second licensed African American architect. The report also says that the church is significant "as the very modest place of worship of an early twentieth-century, working-class, African-American community in the industrial environment surrounding Washington's Navy Yard," and mentions that the building has survived not one but two "substantial community razing and redevelopment projects" (the original construction of the Cappers in the 1940s and 1950s, and their current demolition and redevelopment) and is now one of the few historic buildings left in the neighborhood.
It's the church's working-class roots that in some ways have made this historic designation possible, because their lack of funds has meant that very little renovation has been done to the building since it was constructed, leaving it with most of its original (i.e., historic) materials intact. But, if the church receives its historic designation, it will then be eligible for some grants to allow for historically accurate renovations that would be done with the guidance and approval of the Office of Planning.
The Historic Preservation Review Board will vote on this application at its meeting on Thursday (Nov. 18) at 9 am. You can see the application documents here (cellphone pics).
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I read a few days ago about how the New York Daily News is using Foursquare to drive mobile users to its vast archive of historical NYC images, and I started thinking about my own sightly-less-vast archive of photos I've taken of Near Southeast since 2000, and what I could do with them in a mobile-y kind of way. I figured that what people would be most interested in would be to see what a certain spot looked like before all of the redevelopment started happening. And wouldn't be neat if you didn't have to input your location, but if it was determined via your phone's GPS?
So I threw something together, delving for the first time into both HTML5 and the still-in-alpha JQueryMobile, and it seems to actually work, at least on newer smartphones, though I make no guarantees. (Haven't tried it on older ones.)
How to use it? Stand on a street corner in Near Southeast, then go to jdland.com/here. If your phone has GPS, it will first ask you for permission to access your location data, then will lock on your location and bring up a page showing the oldest photo in my archive for eight compass points at that intersection.
Walk to another intersection, hit "Update GPS," and it'll show you a new set. If you're too far from an intersection, it'll ask you to confirm which one you want.
If your phone only uses the less-accurate methods of celltower triangulation or a WiFi signal to determine your approximate location, this app will show you what it thinks the closest intersections are, and you can choose which one to view. Or, if the GPS stuff just isn't working at all, you can browse to the intersection you want to see. (This will be what you'll have to do when you're trying it from your desktop computer, which I know everyone is racing to do right now--note that the pages will only work in Chrome and Firefox but not IE on desktops/laptops.)
It's kind of rudimentary in the display of the photos (yes, it'd be nice to show just one, based on the direction you're looking), but considering I only came up with the notion about 72 hours ago, it's not bad. I also have to ponder how to get these photos via location-awareness to people who are in the neighborhood but don't already know about JDLand, but that will come.
I've written a bit more about the app here--and note that, while I'm calling it an "app," it's just web pages, so it doesn't require a download.
That url again is jdland.com/here, or you can just go to m.jdland.com and follow the link at the top of the page. If you try it out, let me know how it goes. If it doesn't quite work for you, I apologize: it is, after all, something I just tossed together on a whim.
PS: Of course, all my photos since 2000 are available in my full archive whenever you feel like plowing through them, searchable by location and/or date. And maybe when DDOT releases Near Southeast images from its photo archive, I'll add a way to see those as well, but will wait for critical mass on that batch.
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More posts: JDLand stuff
 

City Paper's Housing Complex blog reported late Friday afternoon that DDOT has decided to put in a "Barnes Dance" configuration (also known as a pedestrian scramble) at New Jersey and M, SE, sometime early in 2011. This is the setup where traffic on all sides have a red light at the same time, allowing pedestrians to cross in any direction. The first one in DC was put in at 7th and H in Chinatown a few months ago. With so many people needing to cross diagonally to go between the Navy Yard Metro station entrance and USDOT, this is probably a good choice for another intersection to try it out.
(Though I do dream of a day far in the future, when Forest City builds an office building on the NGA site on the southwest corner of the intersection as part of the Yards, that that new construction would include an additional entrance to the Metro station, obviating the need for people on the south side of M to cross the street to get to the subway.)
 

At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, Bryon Johnston of the 11th Street Bridges Project gave a presentation on the rebuilding of the bridges, including an overview of the design and its main features as well as an update on the construction progress. He was nice enough to pass along the slides, which may not mean quite as much without his narration but are still helpful for people who haven't been following along through the process.
A few parts of the new design on the Near Southeast side of the project are worth (re-)pointing out, if you can make it through my torrent of descriptions:
* The "freeway" traffic and the "local" traffic will now be separated, with four lanes inbound and four lanes outbound on the freeway/upriver bridge and two lanes inbound/outbound on the "local"/downriver bridge (which Johnston was referring to as "Local 11th Street" because 11th will now feel like a street that crosses a river), as shown on slide 10.
* The local bridge will allow easier access between Near Southeast and Anacostia, for not only cars but pedestrians and bicycles, as well as streetcars when the routes are expanded. As part of this, 11th Street south of M is going to become two-way, and there will be bike lanes in both directions on 11th north of the bridge. (Slide 9)
* Another feature that appears to be coming together for pedestrians and bicyclists is creating two overlooks that jut out above the river on the south side of the local bridge--these would use two of the in-water piers from the current downriver bridge, and you can see them at left and on slide 11.
* One of the big changes for traffic flow for both Near Southeast and Capitol Hill is that there is going to be a new two-lane on-ramp to go westward on the Southeast Freeway toward Virginia at 11th Street, underneath where the current flyover ramps are. (See slide 7.) Folks who have easier access to 11th Street will no longer have to drive along Virginia Avenue and/or 3rd Street to go westbound on the freeway.
But part of this new 11th Street intersection is that traffic coming from Pennsylvania Avenue along the sunken road that currently feeds directly into the freeway will instead be brought up to street level at this new signalized 11th Street intersection and will then drive straight onto the new on-ramp. So there will be some consternation from drivers using this route. (This is also shown on slide 7.)
* To go across the river from Near Southeast on the freeway bridge, for access to DC-295 northbound and I-295 southbound, drivers will have a new ramp on the southeast corner of 11th and M (slide 4). The existing ramp at 8th and Virginia will still be available, too.
* There will still be an exit ramp from the inbound freeway bridge to I Street, just as there is now (slide 4).
* If you look at slide 4 very closely (and/or click on the bird's-eye view at right) and follow the paths off of each bridge, you can see how the freeway bridges coming across the river will have an exit for M Street similar to the current exit, but it deposits drivers at M just west of 12th instead of using 12th itself. It also no longer has the neat little N Street cut-through directly from the ramp that some Navy Yard workers cherish. To get to the Navy Yard, drivers will turn left on M, then left at 11th, and then go to whichever gate they need.
Other information in the slides includes: a graphic showing of the new ramps and accesses on the east side of the bridges at 295 and MLK (slide 12), of which the biggest addition is that you'll now be able to get to and from 295 and the bridges in all directions. There's also recent construction photos (including the first structural steel being laid on the freeway bridge), and information on stormwater management areas, and upcoming traffic impacts (slide 19).
It's expected that the freeway bridge will open about a year from now, with the new local bridge being finished in the winter of 2012/2013. (Dr. Gridlock wrote about recent milestones and upcoming work a few weeks ago.)
If you want to know more, there's my 11th Street Bridges project page, and you can also spend a couple months reading the Environmental Impact Statement to see all the studying they did of potential, um, impacts. There's also this Fact Sheet that they handed out.
 

From the world of ANC 6D:
* The commission voted 7-0 to support the historic designation application of St. Paul's AUMP Church at 401 I St., SE, thanks in no small part to Pastor Karen Mills, who charmed the pants off the assembled commissioners and audience with a display of good humor sorely needed after some earlier rancorous exchanges discussing Southwest Waterfront issues.
The church was built in 1924, and apparently the years of having a congregation that didn't have a lot of money ended up being a good thing: because there have been few renovations, the church's facade and bricks are still from the original construction, making it a far better candidate for a historic designation than other churches which have had work done. The church is also notable for being the first church designed by R.C. Archer Jr., who was only the second licensed African American architect in DC. Once the church receives its historic designation, it will then be eligible for some grants to allow for historically accurate and preservation-approved renovations. (The photo above shows the church in 2007, when it stood alone after the demolition of the Cappers and before the start of Capitol Quarter construction.)
The church was approached for this application by the DC Preservation League, and the hearing before the city's Historic Preservation Review Board is scheduled for Nov. 18 at 9 am. You can see the information forwarded to the ANC about the application here (shot with my phone's camera, so not of particularly high quality, but it made me feel like a secret agent!). One other educational tidbit: "AUMP" stands for "African Union Methodist Protestant."
Pastor Mills also said that anyone who wants to come see St. Paul's is more than welcome to visit. And so it is with great shame that I admit that I have never been inside of the little church I've photographed so many times --I've always been worried that I would burst into the flames of eternal hellfire the second I stepped inside the doors, and I didn't want the poor little church to get singed as a result of my sins. But I'm now determined to give it a shot anyway.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel: Stephen Flippin of CSX gave a(nother) update on the status of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. While CSX had applied for a $3 million grant under USDOT's TIGER II program to help pay for the NEPA process for the project, they didn't get that funding, so the process got delayed by a couple of months. They are now looking to have the first "public scoping meeting" in January, which would include information booths, audience comments and questions, etc. There would then be a 30-day comment period, followed by an "alternatives" meeting probably in March, then another comment period followed by probably five or six months of work with their design/build team before coming back to another public meeting for a full update on the project. After that, they would need a few months with their designers before construction could begin, which puts the earliest possible starting time for the project somewhere around the spring of 2012. (Definitely not a date written in stone.)
There's also the issue that funding for the tunnel project itself hasn't been secured, and so CSX is looking at various public financing possibilities (transportation reauthorization act, funding from other states in the National Gateway) as well as -- gasp! -- using some of their own money, or at least money they received for other parts of the Gateway that they haven't spent.
Beyond this update on the process, there's no new information on the construction itself, and there pretty much won't be until after the NEPA process is done.
* 11th Street Bridges: There was also an overview and status report on the 11th Street Bridges project; I'm hoping to get the slides that were shown, so I'll hold off on writing about that. If in the meantime you have 9 or 10 free hours and want to delve into all the environmental impact studies that were done for the bridge project (which include traffic estimations among many other things), here's the Environmental Impact Statement and other associated documents. UPDATE: Here's my writeup of the slides.
* Near SE/SW Combined Traffic Study: During a discussion about pedestrian safety issues at 4th and M, SW, commissioner Andy Litsky reiterated his long-standing complaint that no traffic study has been undertaken to look at Near SE and SW together, and that it continues to be sorely needed. Naomi Mitchell of Tommy Wells's office then spoke up that Tommy is ready to help the ANC finally get this study done. (And there was much rejoicing.)
* Half Street Closures: Apparently the city is planning to move legislation that would allow for the closing of Half Street, SE, between M and N during all events at Nationals Park with more than 5,000 attendees, instead of the current set-up where it's only closed during Nationals games. This would include recent events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure opening ceremonies and last Saturday's Greater Washington Region Start! Heart Walk.
 

An Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Notice of Public Hearing appeared in last Friday's DC Register for an outfit called "Bavarian Beer Garden" seeking a Retail Class "C" Tavern license to open a "new tavern, beer garden with European/American food" on the northwest corner of 8th and L, SE. This corner is currently an empty lot (sorry for the old photo), and is next to some of the land that the National Community Church just bought as part of its purchase of the Miles Glass site (a small amount of the Miles Glass property runs all the way through to L Street).
The hearing notice says that the tavern/beer garden would seat 99 customers inside, with space for another 200 outside in the summer garden. They're looking to be open from 11 am to 2 am Sunday through Thursday, and until 3 am on Friday and Saturday, with the hours of alcohol sales matching those "open" hours.
This is part of the "Lower 8th Street" area that the Barracks Row folks are trying to revive; but I'll also note that it's in the block directly north of the Blue Castle, which I believe still has charter schools operating inside, so I wonder if there's going to be an issue there.
The lot resides in ANC 6B, and I don't believe anything has come before its ABC subcommittee yet.
The ABRA hearing date is set for Jan. 3, 2011, with petitions to appear before the board about this application needing to be submitted by Dec. 20.
(h/t Prince of Petworth, who has photos of the site taken today)
 

Most parents probably already know this, but a meeting has been set up by the Parents on the Capitol Riverfront group with Kaya Henderson, DC Public Schools' interim chancellor, to discuss the future of Van Ness Elementary. Henderson will be there to talk about the results of the survey that was done back in September to gauge the potential pool of students for a possible reopening of the school, and there will also be a question-and-answer session. It's scheduled for Dec. 8 at 6:30 6 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE.
As I wrote a few weeks back, the parents group has been told by DCPS that, in order for a viable elementary to be opened (grades Pre-K3 though 5), it needs to have 250 students. The group says that they've been told that "it might be possible to phase in the school, starting with Pre-K3, Pre-K4 and Kindergarten for the first couple of years and then slowly expanding up through 5th grade," so they are trying to determine exactly how many school-aged children are in the neighborhood, along with possible projections of how many more might arrive over the next five years. They are also looking at whether a large number of parents currently on the waitlist for Brent Elementary might be willing to send their children to Van Ness out-of-boundary, to help increase the number of potential students.
UPDATE because of some confusion as to who exactly set up the meeting.
UPDATE II to note the start time having been moved to 6 pm.
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More posts: Van Ness Elementary
 

In case you don't have the date circled in red on your calendar, on Monday (Nov. 8), ANC 6D will be having its regular monthly meeting, and will be making the arduous trek across South Capitol Street to meet in Near Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda has just been sent out, and there are some Near Southeast items:
* The St. Paul AUMP church at 4th and I, which has remained standing while Capper came down and Capitol Quarter rose up around it, is the subject of a Historic Landmark application, which will be heard at the Historic Preservation Review Board's meeting on Thursday, Nov. 18. I hope to have more information about it when the HPRB's full agenda and materials are available on Nov. 12, but at Monday's ANC meeting there will be a discussion of the application and presumably a vote as to whether or not to support it.
* Updates are scheduled for both the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project and for the 11th Street Bridges.
There are also a number of Southwest-specific items, some zoning rewrites, alcohol/beverage issues, and whatnot. But it's totally not true that the agenda also includes a knife fight between all outgoing and incoming commissioners.
The meeting starts at 7 pm.
 

I'm trying to conserve energy on all things having to do with the Marines' search for a new barracks until some decisions actually get made, so today I'm just pointing you toward a post at The Hill is Home describing how the Barracks Row Main Street board passed a resolution endorsing the two blocks between 8th and 9th south of the freeway ("929-930") as their preferred site for the new barracks--and how that endorsement has riled up the fans of the Virginia Avenue Park and the community garden hosted there, who see BRMS's endorsement of the site as endorsing the "bulldozing" of the park.
The BRMS's executive director has quickly denied this, saying that the submitted proposal for 929-930 "replaces, at a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, the square footage lost as additional green space on other portions of the site," but the Save the Virginia Avenue Park Committee is, shall we say, skeptical and displeased, as you can see in the THIH's blog post and its comments thread. Controversy is a-swirling!
For a bit more background, you can also read my recent entry about the meeting where the unsolicited development plan for the 929-930 site recently submitted to the Marines by two landowners on those blocks was first mentioned. There was also discussion at that meeting about how any developer looking to work with the Marines on the Barracks project will need to demonstrate that they have control of all portions of the site they're proposing, which would be a dicey propostion if the 929-930 proposal includes any chunk of the park, since the National Park Service (which controls the park) won't state its views on the Marines taking part of the park until a NEPA process is completed. Unless the Marines convince Congress to pass "special legislation," according to Norm Metzger. My previous posts on the search process give additional background, if you're itching for more information.
But it's best to remember at this point that there are still no announced decisions on where the Marines may go. There are public forums scheduled for Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 to update the community on the process.
 

A mere five hours after the polls closed, DC's Board of Elections and Ethics decided to let us know who won the various ANC 6D races. (Presuming that the tallies they've posted are anywhere close to the final numbers.) By a comfortable margin (65-34% at this writing), David Garber has beaten 12-year incumbent Robert Siegel for the ANC 6D07 seat. With a whopping 556 of 1452 registered voters making it to the polls, this translates to a 332-171 victory (with 3 write-ins) in the current unofficial numbers (which don't include absentee ballots, provisional/same-day ballots, and curbside ballots).
All other ANC 6D incumbents who were running were reelected--chair Ron McBee appears to have had the closest race, up 54-42% on former commissioner Mary Williams, while Andy Litsky garnered a mere 96% of the vote in his unopposed race. 6D06 commissioner Rhonda Hamilton got 70% of the vote in beating two opponents, and Roger Moffatt also stays in his seat with a 66-33% win over Grace Daughtridge. Bob Craycraft has taken 6D01 (Jane Jorgensen's old seat) in an unopposed race, while Cara Lea Shockley appears to be winning David Sobelsohn's 6D02 seat, with 40% of the vote against 36% for write-in candidates and 24% for a candidate who withdrew(!).
I should also mention--as I pretty much never did during the entire race--that not everyone who lives south of the freeway votes in 6D07, as the residents from 7th Street east are in 6B04. And five--yes, FIVE--of those residents voted today, with one vote for incumbent Kirsten Oldenberg, three for Tim Casey, and 1 write-in. (Despite this, Oldenburg appears to have won her race against Larry Janezich.)
In terms of the other tallies for the evening in Near Southeast/Precinct 131, Vince Gray won 58% of the vote in the mayoral race, with 36% going to write-ins. Tommy Wells beat Near Southeast resident Jim DeMartino 75-25%, while Kwame Brown won 80% of the vote in his council chair race. The precinct went 81-19% for the amendment to make the Attorney General job in DC an elected position, and also voted for new Ward 6 Board of Education rep Monica Warren-Jones 60-38% (her ward-wide total is 67-32%).
Since these results don't include the absentee and other provisional ballots, the numbers will change, but no race appears anywhere near close enough that the outcomes would be in doubt. So, congrats to David Garber and all of the other winners. Between his blogging chops and his Twitter feed, I have no doubt that Near Southeast will be kept far more apprised of what their ANC commissioner is up to than has been the case over the past years. (Though perhaps this means I'm staring at my obsolescence!)
With this election season now thankfully over with, we can already start looking ahead to the redrawing of the city's ward boundaries as is done every 10 years after the census, as well as most likely seeing ANC 6D07 split up now that it's population of over 3,000 residents is well above the 2,000-resident standard for single member districts.
(And, if you want to get a flavor of my exasperation with DCBOEE's performance, wander through my Twitter feed. When it takes five hours to count 125,000 votes, and Maryland counted over 1.6 million in less than four hours, I think it's safe to say that there are some serious problems that need addressing. Get to work, Mayor-Elect Gray...)
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, politics
 

I've just received an e-mail from Yung Park, the owner of the no-longer-Little-Red-Building site at Second and L, where the plans have been for years to reopen a liquor store known as "Parkway Wine and Spirits" once the new building is constructed (the old LRB for a long time housed the Star Market). However, apparently that's all now changing.
According to this e-mail, the site is now going to be a cafe, to be called the Aroma Espresso Bar, and it will feature an Illy coffee bar, plus "gourmet sandwiches and gourmet pastries." He says that the new building's exterior design will be the same, with the interior having modern finishes. The first floor will be the kitchen and coffee bar, and the second floor will be the seating area. (They're also hoping for sidewalk tables, though that will have to go through the city's Public Space permitting process.)
"If we have decent weather," Mr. Park expects the building and store to be ready by February.
With Harry's Wine and Spirits (which I think is now being called Harry's Reserve) opening at 909 New Jersey within a few months, the notion of two "gourmet" wine and liquor stores so close to each other must not have looked quite so appealing. And, with Parkway/Aroma's location next to Canal Park, switching to a more all-ages business plan is probably a wise move. Will post additional information as I get it.
 

I can't imagine that anyone possibly needs a reminder at this point, but I guess I would be remiss if I didn't put together a Tuesday is Election Day post. (Do I sound completely worn down by election season?)
Near Southeast's polling location (Precinct 131) is at Van Ness Elementary, at 5th and M, SE. The polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm; you can check the DCBOEE Precinct Status Page to find out, um, status, I guess. Here's DCBOEE's official voters' guide (since there are in fact races going on other than on the ANC slate), and you can check out my questionnaires for 6D07 candidates Bob Siegel and David Garber if you haven't already. The DC Board of Elections web site also has scads of additional information, should you need it.
I'll be fulfilling the stringent requirements of Election Night Journalism in this day and age by breathlessly tweeting 6D07 results (and probably other 6D results), starting after 8:30, when DCBOEE says it'll start posting the tallies.
And so, as we used to say when we lived in Chicago during the glory days of the Daley Machine, vote early and vote often!
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More posts: ANC News, politics
 




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