Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - December 2005
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Contract Finally to be Awarded for Canal Park
Jan 3, 2006 7:48 PM
(originally posted Dec. 2) It's been just short of a year since Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd won the design competition for Washington Canal Park, and basically nothing has happened with the plans since then. But for its Dec. 8 board meeting, the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has prepared a draft resolution that agrees to award GGN a $979,500 contract for design and planning services. Let's hope that the park appears in 2006, as originally scheduled. UPDATE: I have now heard that the AWC board did authorize the AWC to enter into a contract with GGNL. But of course now the contract has to be worked out.
More posts: Canal Park

Tony Williams Talks up the Stadium
Dec 29, 2005 4:20 PM
Mayor Bow Tie was on WTOP's Ask the Mayor this morning--here's a story on his stadium-related comments, with links to audio files of the broadcast. As for Mayor Bow Tie's bow ties, there's even a story about that today, too.
More posts: Nationals Park

Thursday Lease Trial Balloon
Dec 28, 2005 10:56 PM
Different day, only slightly different story. Today we have "D.C. Metro Fund Weighed To Boost Navy Yard Stop" in the Post. Perhaps tomorrow's story will be "Labor Day Telethon Eyed for Stadium Funding."
More posts: Nationals Park

No Stadium Lease Vote Before Mid-January
Dec 28, 2005 11:12 AM
City Administrator Robert Bobb (yes, Bob Bobb, not to be confused with Bob Loblaw) says that we should not expect a city council vote on the stadium lease agreement before mid-January, with hopes to conclude the agreement by the end of January. He also says that they are trying to "rein in" some of the public discussions of the ongoing lease negotiations. UPDATE: Here's an expanded version of the same AP story above, with a touch more detail. UPDATE II: The WashTimes expands on the "mid-January" story.
More posts: Nationals Park

The Latest Stadium Funding Trial Balloon
Dec 27, 2005 11:17 PM
"Land Sale Possible To Fund Stadium" in Wednesday's Post describes a new possible plan to help fund any potential cost overruns on the new baseball stadium: "District officials are considering selling development rights on land adjacent to a baseball stadium to the Washington Nationals' new owner or development companies as a way to help cover potential cost overruns on the ballpark project, D.C. Council members said yesterday. [...] Council members said the tentative plan is to sell the rights to develop land within the portion of the 21-acre footprint for the stadium project that will not be occupied by the ballpark itself. The structure is expected to take up 14 or 15 acres. Developers or the new team owner would probably pay tens of millions of dollars for the rights to the land, the council members said, for a chance to build a mix of shops, restaurants and office space." If only someone had floated an idea along these lines back in November...! Note that this land is not part of the Ballpark District that the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has recently named developers to work on. And, who knows, if potential team owners get a whiff of the possibility that they could buy with that land and develop it (and reap the profits), maybe they'll poke at Bud a bit and pressure him to go ahead and name the new owner. After all, how would you feel if you were the new Nats owner and you never even got the chance to sit at the table when the land right around your new home was sold off to developers?

At Last, Updated Pictures
Dec 27, 2005 12:53 PM
It's a beautiful sunny day, so I went on a photo expedition. (Except that trying to take pictures toward the south at this time of year is almost impossible, no matter what time of day.) Check for new photos on my DOT HQ, Capitol Hill Tower, Capper Seniors, Florida Rock, M Street, and 20 M pages. As always, the  icon is your guide.

Position Vacancies at Courtyard Hotel
Dec 27, 2005 12:45 PM
If you're in the hospitality industry and are looking for work in Near Southeast, Hospitality Partners (the management of the opening-soon Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L) has posted a few position vacancies on their web site. (And I'll be continuing to check the cycapitolhilll.com URL to see when it turns into a web site for the property itself.)

801 Virginia Ave. Project Rendering
Dec 27, 2005 7:52 AM
ICP Partners, the developers of the new project at 801 Virginia Avenue, have been kind enough to pass along a rendering of the four-story building that is going to be built on the southeast corner of the 8th and Virginia intersection--you can see it at the top of the "My Photos" section on my 8th Street Historic District page. The project is to have 15 residences, and retail spaces along 8th Street, and could be completed by the end of 2006.
More posts: 801va, 8th Street

Blue Castle Sold; Redevelopment Eyed
Dec 27, 2005 7:17 AM
Catching up a bit here after the holiday.... Preferred Real Estate Investments has purchased the "Blue Castle" building on the corner of 8th and M, for $20 million. According to the Post: "Executives at the Conshohocken, Pa., developer said the location of the 100,000-square-foot building makes it ideal for retail stores such as a Barnes & Noble bookstore and a Whole Foods grocery. The upscale stores eventually would supplant three charter schools that now are in the building." They hope to start construction in 2007. (And they're planning to de-Blue the building a bit, too, by painting it a more sedate shade; but they plan on preserving the arched windows and exposed brick interior.) Note that it doesn't sound like there are as yet commitments from any retailers for the site.

WBJ Roundup on Nats, Near SE Impact
Dec 27, 2005 5:57 AM
The Washington Business Journal has named the Nationals "Newsmakers of the Year," detailing the how the plan (and trying to go through with it!) to put a stadium in Near Southeast engendered a land rush in Near Southeast. It's a nice short wrapup of all that we've watched happen during the past 12 months....
More posts: staddis, Nationals Park

Lease Fumble Analysis
Dec 23, 2005 10:33 PM

"Leadership Void Keeps Stadium Deal Up in the Air" is an analysis piece in Saturday's Post discussing the "three mayors"--Williams, Cropp, and Barry--and how the stadium lease agreement has gotten so mucked up.

More posts: Nationals Park

Capitol Hill Tower News
Dec 23, 2005 10:51 AM
More non-stadium news! I've got a tidbit or two on the Capitol Hill Tower project, as it heads toward the finish line. The Courtyard by Marriott hotel that makes up the southern portion of the block is anticipating an opening date of March, 2006 (I'll let you know when reservations start being accepted). Also, the site's developers are working on filling the 9,000 sq ft of ground floor retail that's available--a drycleaners has already been lined up, and there are hopes that a restaurant can be brought in as well. I've added a new rendering of the Courtyard elevation along L Street to my Capitol Hill Tower page--and I'm embarrassed at how the photos on that page are getting way out of date, I'm going to do some mammoth photography sessions next week, I promise. UPDATE: And I also hear that an on-site Sales Center for the residential/co-ops side of the project will be opening soon. The residences are supposed to open sometime in the second quarter of 2006. UPDATE II: And coffee lovers will rejoice to hear that there's also going to be a mini-Starbucks counter in the lobby of the hotel!

Jaffe Hints at Cost Overrun Solution
Dec 23, 2005 10:08 AM

It's an opinion column, not a news story, so make of it what you will, but the Examiner's Harry Jaffe has a Friday column telling Nats boosters not to fear, that there will be a stadium lease agreement, mainly because there's too much money in it, for all sides. He says that the developers who have signed on to build the Ballpark District "will step in to save the day, if necessary. [..] I am banking on the developers because, over the long run, they stand to make the most money from the stadium deal. They have the most to lose if it craters. Developers already have agreed to kick in as much as $20 million for infrastructure costs. They are in negotiations to relieve the city of the most egregious part of the lease: cost overruns."

More posts: Nationals Park

Site Search Now Available
Dec 22, 2005 12:55 PM
I've added a search box to the top of my Near Southeast home page--when even I am having trouble finding stuff on my site, I figure it's time for a search capability :-). I also tinkered with the display along the right side of the homepage, beneath the map, adding thumbnails of the renderings for projects under construction, and doing some tidying up of the design.
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Capper Seniors #2 Construction Begins
Dec 22, 2005 12:41 AM
Stop the presses! I have NON-STADIUM news! Hallelujah! Construction has begun on Capper Seniors #2, the wraparound addition to the Carroll Apartments for low-income seniors at 4th and M. This new construction will add four stories and 130+ units to the 64 units in the Carroll building. Scroll to the middle of my Capper Seniors page for a rendering of the new construction, and photos of the current site. As for Capper Seniors #1 at 5th and Virginia, construction is speeding along, and I promise once the Christmas rush is over to post new photos. For more detail than one would ever want on the entire Capper/Carrollsburg project (and Canal Park, too), read the Feb. 2004 Zoning Approval for the Capper PUD.

Nats Bidders Told Not to Offer Funds
Dec 21, 2005 11:11 PM
I don't really want to spend the next x number of weeks tracking every single story about the stadium lease, but I feel I've set the precedent. Ah well. Thursday's Post has "Nats Bidders Told Not to Offer Funds", which says that MLB told the groups bidding to buy the Nationals back in early November not to promise city officials money for the new stadium. The story also gives more detail on Marion Barry's oh-so-subtle attempts to become commissioner of baseball by trying to "force" MLB to sell the Nats to a bidder who has agreed to pay for stadium cost overruns. (Yeah. Attempting to strong-arm MLB. That'll work.) The story also notes that despite Barry's comments yesterday, Carol Schwartz says that she never told the Mayor-for-Life that she was on-board with his "deal." (I'm starting to have flashbacks to the DC government of the 1980s, and it's not pretty.) UPDATE: Carol Schwartz has penned a stern Letter to the Editor to the Post about Barry's "deal" and the first Post story on it.
More posts: Nationals Park

DC.gov Updated Stadium Page
Dec 21, 2005 2:25 PM

The DC web site has updated and expanded its Baseball in DC page, including most of the same links it's had all along, but now there's also a aggregation page of city press releases relating to baseball; they've also added a Public Comments and Testimony section. (Hat tip to DCist for noting the new version of the page, as well as it's prominent spot on the dc.gov home page.)

More posts: Nationals Park

Stadium, Etc.
Dec 21, 2005 7:16 AM
Today's Post stories: "Barry Acted to Block Stadium, Ex-Mayor Says He Had Been Negotiating Deal," with the tales of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that led to the cancellation of Tuesday's lease vote; "Stadium Arbitration Could Take Months," detailing the unusual situation of arbitration over a stadium itself; "In Baseball Melodrama, No Shortage of Critics," with a rundown of public opinion; and "Baseball, D.C. Are in a League Of Their Own" by Thomas Boswell, which does a good job of explaining that the Nationals are not about to be taken away from DC. The WashTimes has "D.C. stadium vote delayed until next year", which is a more straightforward recounting of where things currently stand.
More posts: Nationals Park

Today's Lease News
Dec 20, 2005 11:16 AM
Starting a new thread for today's lease tidbits. Mayor Williams is holding a briefing at 1:30 to give the latest on the lease agreement. UPDATE, 2:30 pm: Not much new seems to have come out of the briefing; here's the AP's short piece: "Mayor Tony Williams says he's not giving up on the city's baseball deal. He says he plans to seek guarantees of outside money from developers and the federal government for infrastructure costs around the proposed stadium. That may help win him some votes on the DC Council. In the meantime, negotiations continue with baseball officials. D-C Sports and Entertainment Commission chairman Mark Tuohey says they don't expect a delayed vote on the stadium lease to cause major problems -- even if the city misses its December 31st deadline as expected. He says a brief delay shouldn't cost the city any extra money." UPDATE, 4:50 pm: Here's the expanded version of the "All is Not Lost" AP story I quoted above, which includes talk of the council wanting a team owner to pay a bigger share of the costs.
More posts: Nationals Park

Breaking News: No Lease Vote on Tuesday
Dec 19, 2005 5:03 PM

Breaking news: "Mayor Tony Williams has asked the D.C. Council not to vote Tuesday on the baseball stadium lease agreement. Williams has withdrawn the lease from consideration to make what his office calls "technical changes." Williams says he will continue to work aggressively with the federal government, private developers and Major League Baseball to put together the best deal possible for the city. Cropp says she will work with the mayor to put the lease back on the council agenda as soon as possible." I don't know yet what this actually means, whether there really are changes, or if Tony knew he didn't have the votes. More as I get it. Here's the mayor's press release. UPDATE: Rumors flying fast and furious, if you want to track them you can visit the Ballpark Guys's Nationals board. Posters there are saying that this is tied to Tony getting a commitment from the Feds to pay for the Navy Yard station upgrades. UPDATE, 7:05 pm: The Post now has a story up about the delay; big tidbits include that the city has gotten a letter from the four ballpark district developers offering to pay for $12 million worth of repairs to roads around the stadium. UPDATE, 7:39 pm: Jim Graham says the lease didn't have the votes. UPDATE, 9:39 pm: MLB.com has a story on yet another (!) stern letter from MLB COO Bob DuPuy, warning the council: "If the lease is not approved by [Dec. 31], the city will be in default on its contractual commitments and we will then have no choice but to prepare for arbitration." UPDATE, 12:45 am: Here's the Washington Times piece on it all.

More posts: Nationals Park
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