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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: December 2007
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Community Center
Homewood Suites Hotel
Ballpark Square
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Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
1333 M St.
Southeast Blvd.
Florida Rock
1244 South Capitol
New Barracks
1111 New Jersey
Akridge/Half St.
Monument/Half St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
Factory 202/Yards
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1000 South Capitol
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Completed
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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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It's New Year's Eve, and I'm trying desperately to wring two more days of laziness out of this holiday season, but here's a couple items anyway:
* I'm not about to plunk down the $35 a month for a subscription to find out for sure, but this BidClerk.com posting on a search for a general contractor sounds pretty familiar: "Renovation of and a new addition to a multi-residential complex in Washington. Completed construction plans call for the construction of a six-story, 170-unit apartment building to include renovation of an existing four-story, 157,000-square-foot warehouse with a two-story, 49,000-square-foot addition above the existing roof. General contractor bids are due January 10, 2008." Could there really be that many buildings in the city other than the brown-and-white Pattern/Joiner Shop at The Yards that would so perfectly fit that description?
* If you're driving through the intersection at Half and I, you might be so distracted by the temporary blacktop that now cuts across the old southwest corner that you miss the new sign on the southeast corner advertising DRI/Transwestern's Square 696 project. There's a rendering but no other details.
* The DC Foreign Car garage at 31 K (on the 1015 Half Street site) has just a few hours to become the last demolished building of 2007. But maybe they're gunning for the honor of being the first one of 2008.
 

In case you've already grown tired of the ballpark photos I posted on Monday showing the eastern and southern sides of Nationals Park, I've now updated the South Capitol Street images, too. (The northern views will have to wait until the reconstruction of N Street eases.) The main Ballpark Exterior Photo Gallery is now in pretty good shape after a short span of neglect (but as I said the other day, I think I needed the break).
I also took some new photos to capture the progress at 55 M Street, plus the completion of demolition at 1345 South Capitol.
If you don't feel like clicking around on all those links, here's all the photos I've posted in the past week. Try not to be blinded by those blue skies!
A few other items of note: The BP Amoco station on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N has fences up around it--I can't believe no one let me know! It's owned by Monument Realty, and I haven't heard about any near-term plans for the site. This leaves only one gas station in Near Southeast--the Exxon way over at 11th and M. There used to be three gas stations on South Capitol, now there aren't any. (And I've lost yet another source for my Gas Prices page. Waah!)
Also, new fences have gone up around the 1015 Half Street site, taking up one lane on K Street and on Half Street. Some exterior work was done to the DC Foreign Car building, but the little building is still there. For now.
I hope to get updated photos of 70/100 I and the pile of rubble that used to be old Capper Seniors within the next week. There's just too much activity to document these days--I've got to break it up into manageable pieces....
 

I was trying to take a few days off, but an idea popped into my head during an attempted nap that I just couldn't ignore. So say hello to a new page: my Nationals Park Frequently Asked Questions and Rumor Destruction Page (call it the Ballpark FAQ for short). I tried to pull together the questions that I hear and see the most often, from basics about the park's location to all the questions about Metro, parking, and entertainment options around the site. I'm going to keep it updated as events warrant--I know there's going to be a flood of information from the team and the city about how to get to the ballpark as Opening Day gets closer, which will allow many of the FAQ's "specifics haven't been announced" answers to be fleshed out with actual details. It also doesn't address much of the in-the-weeds detail of baseball at the ballpark--I'll leave that to Nationals fan sites.
This FAQ is now the default ballpark page, and replaces the old Stadium Renderings gallery, which has now been moved to a new page (after all, renderings are less important when the dang thing is just about three months away from opening!). So if your bookmarks have changed, apologies. The exterior and interior stadium photo galleries are still in their proper places.
(As for why on earth I didn't do a page like this a loooooong time ago, I plead insanity. Yeesh.)
 

Wednesday's Post has a front-page profile of Ronnie Strompf, Clark's project superintendent overseeing all the construction work at the ballpark: "World War II had Patton. The Nationals ballpark has Ronnie Strompf." There's also a slideshow of photos of Strompf and the ballpark.
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Thanks to all the right people in all the right places, I've been allowed back along Potomac Avenue and First Street south of N, for the first time in more than two months. (Yay!) Which means I've updated my photos of the Nationals ballpark exterior on its eastern and southern sides, not only on the main stadium page but also on the First Street and Potomac Avenue extended archive pages. Since the webcams no longer show any of the exterior work, it's nice to get a peek at the latest: the grand staircase on the southeastern side is not installed yet, though the grading is being done. The admin building's exterior is moving along nicely as well. And all the streetscape improvements along First and Potomac make for quite a different experience, too.
I hope to go back within a few days and update the South Capitol Street views, since they're now almost six weeks old. (I was holding to a petulant moratorium of not updating those photos after the various run-ins I had had with security at First and N, though perhaps also I was just taking the opportunity for a bit of a rest break, which was sorely needed.) New shots from along N Street will probably come before too much longer, though the construction work along there as well as the low December sun will make it hard to get too many good photos along the ballpark's northern edge for a while.
Merry Christmas!
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With the Christmas downshift already kicking into gear (as I can tell by the tumbleweeds blowing through my inbox today), posting will be sporadic through New Year's. I'll probably have a photo update at some point during that time, and will of course keep scouring for news, but it'll all still add up to a more leisurely schedule for the next week or so. So in the meantime, Happy Holidays to all, and thanks for your interest in my site. I'm not sure it would be *quite* so detailed if there weren't actually people reading it, so I thank you for pushing me forward....
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This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post is my summary of ANC 6D's deliberations on the ballpark liquor license. It also references a meeting held last night between community leaders and city and team representatives (though my deadline was before the meeting, so the column couldn't actually include anything *from* the meeting).
The meeting included updates on the road improvements in the area and the Navy Yard Metro station upgrades, both of which are still on track to be basically done by opening day (the Metro station might "still need another coat of paint", it was said, but will be "serviceable").
The Nationals are still working out their parking plans, not only in terms of the lots near the ballpark but also the satellite parking at RFK, and all the additional planning that goes with it (traffic flow, signage, shuttle buses, drop off/pick up locations, etc.). It appears as of now that there might not be season-ticket-holder lots in Southwest at all, not even at Buzzards Point. There was also mention that stadium-goers will not be funneled through the South Capitol Street exit of the freeway--the team is going to try very hard to move fans through all the other close-by freeway exits, but not South Capitol Street.
Circulator buses will not be part of the transit plans for the first season. But they're planning plenty of bike racks around the ballpark perimeter, and are also still working on a bicycle "valet" parking service.
Also, there's tentative plans for two stadium job fairs, possibly on Feb. 2 and Feb. 26 (details still being worked out).
And, everybody knows that the first few games will be "a challenge."
The general tone of the meeting was more cooperative and collegial than some of these meetings have been in the past (maybe because Tommy Wells was there for the first part and everyone wanted to be on their best behavior). There's plans for more meetings and workshops between these "stakeholders" (I really hate that word) to try to hammer out the best plans for traffic, pedestrian flow, and "curbside management" (aka on-street parking) before it's all then unveiled to the community at public meetings. There was also agreement that the group should get together after the first homestand in April to talk about what works/what doesn't.
UPDATE: Speaking of public meetings, here is the official announcement about the Jan. 11 city council Committee on Economic Development oversight hearing on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium." It contains information on how to testify at the hearing, if you're so inclined.
 

Today it's Marc Fisher's turn to write about Gelberg Signs, the signmakers at Nationals Park; he talks mostly about their work in hiring disadvantaged DC residents, especially from the Artisans training program at Covenant House, a charity in Northeast that works with homeless young people. "Opponents of public investment in the baseball stadium scoffed at the idea that it would produce anything except the most menial jobs. But in addition to hundreds of construction jobs, the stadium is creating real, lasting positions in careers that, as Luc Brami says, 'can really support a family.' Jobs at Gelberg pay $10 to $30 an hour, with full benefits."
Plus, buried at the end is this item that will perk up everyone's taste buds: "Another bit of welcome news: They're making a sign to go above a Ben's Chili Bowl stand. The legendary U Street eatery will have an outpost at the ballpark."
UPDATE II: DCist does a bit of calling around and determines that Ben's Chili Bowl at the ballpark is not quite a done deal: ""We are in a good faith conversation with them, but it would be premature to say it's definitely happening. There is no signed contract yet."
And all the stories about Gelberg signs in the past few days make a bit more sense now that I see that there was an unveiling of the ballpark's exterior signage today at Gelberg's offices in Northwest. (Here's a link to the PR NewsWire piece, but the site hasn't been responding for the past few hours.)
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Having driven by this evening, I can report that the last wing of the old Capper Seniors building has come down in the past few days. Nothing left but a big pile of rubble. I'll go back and get photos when it's not, um, DARK.
 

Dec 19, 2007 1:18 PM
WTOP put together a short profile yesterday of the Gelberg Sign Company, the small local company that won the contract a few months back to create all the signage for Nationals Park: "The signs include everything from huge metal letters that will spell out 'Nationals Park' in front of the ballpark, to signs leading to seats, concession stands and rest rooms. [...] With opening day just about 100 days away, crews this week began the process of installing signs, mounting clips and installing hardware."
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Dec 18, 2007 12:02 PM
In case you're wanting to schedule your 2008 around when the Nats are (or aren't) going to be in the neighborhood, here's the just-released 2008 schedule, posted over at Barry's place. I'm slowly adding the home games to my calendar so that locals can have an easy spot to check on home games. And of course this schedule shows that the March 30 Sunday night opener on ESPN against Atlanta reported last week is now confirmed; ESPN has a quick blurb on the opener. (UPDATED to fix ESPN link, and to pass along that MLB.com says that President Bush has been invited to throw out the first pitch. Start lining up now in order to get through the metal detectors before the fifth inning.)
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Dec 17, 2007 10:27 AM
While the plan that Tommy Wells announced last week to address on-street parking around the ballpark and on Capitol Hill is just beginning its trek through the legislative process, the first of the new parking lots that the city and the Nationals will want stadium-goers to use will get underway soon. Building permits have been approved in the last few weeks for temporary surface lots in the Capper footprint at Second and K, Second and L, and Sixth and M, and work on the first two should be starting this month. (The third lot will get started in January, after the wreckage from the almost-completed demolition of the old Capper Seniors building is cleared away.)
At the same time, a Request for Proposals has been issued by DC Housing Enterprises for the management of these lots, offering a one-year contract with up to four one-year renewal options. The RFP, while chock full of selection criteria, required certifications and other specifications, also gives a few details about the planned operations of the lots themselves, which together will have about 670 spaces (or more, if valet parking is used). They will be offering monthly prepaid public parking on weekdays from 6 am to 7 pm, at a rate of not less than $150 per month; some daily parking may be allowed as well.
But users of the lots will have to vacate prior to any Nationals game, since the lots are "expected to be subject to an exclusive arrangement" with the team that gives all spaces over to ballgame parking from two hours before the game until three hours after. And a nice arrangement it is--the DC Housing Authority will apparently receive $10 per parking space per game, whether all spaces are used or not.
The zoning rule passed earlier this year that allowed the creation of temporary ballpark-area lots such as these says that they may also be used for a "seasonal or occasional market for produce, arts or crafts with non-permanent structures," though no plans for anything like that have been announced. The rule also states that the lots can only last until April 2013, since it is believed development around the ballpark will bring plenty of underground parking that will negate the need for these surface lots. The three Capper lots will eventually be replaced with a mix of apartment buildings, townhouses, and office buildings, though start dates for those projects have not been announced.
One block south of Capper, at the Yards, another batch of temporary surface lots are planned, which would have about 700 spaces. Beyond these and the garages with 1,225 spaces on the ballpark site itself, no other stadium parking locations have been publicly identified, though the Nationals have said they have found enough parking spaces for all season ticket holders--they just haven't said where they all are yet. And the city and the team continue to say that Metro will be the best way to get to the ballpark.
You can check out my stadium parking map to see where these new lots are--it also shows the other locations where zoning allows temporary lots, plus existing lots and underground garages where parking could be made available.
 

Dec 16, 2007 11:47 AM
Before the snow-that-never-was arrived yesterday, I took a quick spin to get some updated photos. There was still a smidgen of sun when I visited the old Capper Seniors site, where only the southwest wing of the huge building remained standing when I was there (but even that could be gone by now). I also wandered along Tingey Street behind the DOT HQ for the first time in a long time to see what's going on with the work at The Yards--they're now preparing to build some temporary parking lots and are doing their infrastructure work before starting the rehabs next year of three existing buildings into residential and retail offerings. I also took some shots along M Street and at Onyx on First and 100 M to take advantage of the overcast skies in those spots, since the building shadows on winter days when the sun's out are almost impossible to work with. Finally, I got updated photos of 55 M Street, the northern portion of Monument's Half Street project, where the section along M Street is now three stories high and a fourth story is underway on the southern edge of the building.
Here's the entire batch of new photos on one page--don't forget to click the if you want to see all photos in the archive from a certain angle. And in case you missed these a few days back, I recently took new overhead photos of the North of M area (looking south and west and northwest), showing quite a change in the last 21 months.
 

Dec 14, 2007 8:31 PM
There has been much discussion by residents and city officials over the impending "apocalypse" of traffic and parking congestion with the opening in April of the new ballpark. Residents not only in Near Southeast (all 400 of you) but in Southwest and on Capitol Hill have been waiting for the city to announce exactly how on-street parking will be handled during games, as there is great concern as to whether residents will still be able to park on their streets and won't have to deal with hundreds or thousands of cars circling the neighborhoods looking for free parking.
It's been thought that the model used at RFK--special parking permit stickers for residents to put on their cars--would be ported over to the new ballpark area, but over the past few months council member Tommy Wells and his staff, along with DDOT, have been working on a pilot plan they hope could address not only the parking issues at the ballpark but also the parking problems seen on Capitol Hill along Pennsylvania Avenue, Barracks Row (Eighth Street), and the streets around Eastern Market. They are looking for ways to balance the needs of residents with the impact on businesses if parking is hard to come by, and are looking at a concept called "Performance Parking." Here's my five-cent summary:
"Retail" streets would have the hours of metered parking extended to seven days a week until late in the evening, and with the prices to park at the meters raised to a level that would discourage some people from arriving by car, opening up more spaces and reducing double-parking and congestion. The adjacent residential streets, now covered by Zone 6 parking rules that ostensibly only allow two hours of visitor parking during weekdays (but are dependent on the parking enforcement folks tracking the cars to know how long they've been there) would see the installation of meter kioskson one side of the street, where nonresidents could park for no more than two hours even until late in the evening and on weekends. (Residents could park on both sides of the street as long as they want.)
These rules would extend with slight tweaks to the streets around the ballpark: "Retail" streets in these areas would allow longer stretches of parking (four-plus hours), but would have rates for metered parking comparable to the amount charged in pay lots, to discourage ballpark-goers from believing that on-street parking would be any cheaper than what's available in existing lots and garages. And with the residential streets having meters that wouldn't allow parking for longer than two hours, most people going to three-hour-plus baseball games would avoid parking on those blocks.
In other words, these restrictions would tell visitors--park in a lot, or take Metro, or walk, or ride your bike, but don't expect to drive down and find a space for free on a street somewhere.
One other facet of this plan would be to use the revenue from these much higher on-street parking rates to pay the cost of the new kiosk-type meters (that cost about $7,800 a pop), the cost of the extra enforcement needed to make the plan work, and also improvements to the streets and the communities to make alternative modes of transportation more enticing (fixing sidewalks, adding bike racks, making bus shelters better, etc.).
This plan has been previewed for local businesses and the ANCs (today it was the media's turn), and it's hoped that a bill creating this special pilot project can start its path through the city council process in early January. Alas, this would not be enough lead time to get it all in place before Opening Day, so there will probably be some tumult during the early part of the season as the city tries to keep stadium visitors from taking over the residential neighborhoods.
You'll no doubt be reading much more about this idea over the coming months, and there will be public meetings and refinements and many words written about it all, I'm sure. And of course one other piece of the puzzle--the locations of the various lots where the Nationals will be directing season-ticket holders to park--has yet to be made public. Eventually Wells's office will release maps (perhaps soon) showing the streets that could be designated as retail or residential, along with other documents providing far more detail than what I've previewed here.
In the meantime, I'm going to do something I've never done in the nearly five years that I've been running this Near Southeast site--I'm going to open up the floor to comments about this idea, that then hopefully can be read by city officials and other residents to see what people's impressions are of the plans. But be forewarned, if this little low-tech experiment goes off the rails and people start getting out of control, I'll close it down and won't be inclined to give it another shot. So behave. Of course, you'll be commenting on something you probably need to learn much more about to truly be informed, but when does that ever stop anyone on the internet?
UPDATE: Here's a story from the Post on Wells's parking plan. " 'The ballpark visitors are going to be very tempted to look for cheap parking' on city streets, said Neha Bhatt, a planner in Wells's office. 'We've got to get that out of people's head that free parking exists here.' " The story also reminds me to mention that plans are to make Buzzards Point off-limits to on-street parking during ballgames (though it's likely some cash lots will be built there).
Also, there's going to be an Committee on Economic Development oversight roundtable on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium" on Jan. 11 at 10 am. (It was originally scheduled for this Monday, the 17th, but they felt like there hadn't been enough public notice. I'll say--I hadn't even heard about it!)
UPDATE II: The WashTimes piece on the plan.
 

Dec 14, 2007 7:32 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the long-rumored debut of Nationals Park on the special March 30 ESPN Sunday night season opening broadcast has gotten its last batch of approvals (from the players association) and is now a "go." (No official confirmation yet.)
UPDATE: The Post is reporting that this is a done deal as well, though still without confirmation from MLB.
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Dec 14, 2007 6:21 PM
So, I'm scanning this late-Friday-afternoon press release from the Mayor's office about a new location for the MPD evidence warehouse (a location so secure they won't actually say where it's going to be). The warehouse was one of the functions that was supposed to go into 225 Virginia Ave., and reading this took me back to some of those public events earlier this year where Office of Property Management director Lars Etzkorn tangled with council members when first defending the plan to move MPD there and then when defending the decision not to move MPD there (the exchanges described here are my favorites).
So imagine my surprise when reading the end of the warehouse press release: "At the same property news conference, the Mayor introduced Robin-Eve Jasper as the new interim director of the city's Office of Property Management. The former director, Lars Etzkorn will be nominated to a full-time position on the Contract Appeals Board." Perhaps his absence from the October hearing on MPD space needs and November's announcement of the city's plan to get rid of the 225 Virginia lease spoke more than I realized at the time. He did testify just yesterday in front of the city council, with no mention in his remarks that he'd be leaving his post.
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Dec 14, 2007 9:12 AM
I've received two new renderings of RiverFront on the Anacostia, the 5.8-acre mixed-use development planned for the Florida Rock site that sits on the Anacostia River just south of the ballpark. There's a view from the river showing the four buildings that make up the project (two office buildings, one residential, and one hotel), and a detailed view from Potomac Avenue and First Street showing the eastern office building (which would be the first building under construction) and the others along Potomac Avenue that would face the ballpark. The developers will be having a hearing in front of the Zoning Commission sometime within the next few months to get this latest iteration of the design approved; once that process is complete, construction could begin. The entire project will take a number of years to complete. As for the question most often asked--when will the concrete business still operating on the site be shut down?--my learned answer is: I don't know.
Take a look at my RiverFront page for much more detail on the current design for the site, which also includes a public plaza at the eastern end of the site that will abut Diamond Teague Park (and that helps to give unobstructed views of the river from the ballpark's grand staircase). The planned Anacostia Riverwalk runs all along the site's south side, with a promenade area no less than 75 feet wide (and with separate bike and pedestrian paths). There's also "Potomac Quay", a glass-enclosed retail walk running between the eastern office building and the residential building and a huge water feature at the "Piazza Cascade", tieing together the three western buildings of the project. And, for a look at some of the long and winding road that this project has traversed over the years, scan the news items I've posted.
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Dec 13, 2007 2:47 PM
While the main stories in the media coming out of today's WMATA board meetings will no doubt be the approval of fare increases, my focus was on other action items:
* Without discussion, the board voted to execute the sale announced back in June of the 5,612-sq-ft WMATA land at New Jersey and M to "NJA Associates" (aka Donohoe). For more detail, you can read my entry from last week about how this land fits in with Donohoe's plans for 1111 New Jersey Avenue.
* The board also approved the plan to build a new 114-bus garage at DC Village to replace the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M, contingent on not only a series of land transfers between the city and WMATA but also on the $69.25 million sale of the current bus garage site to Akridge, since the proceeds from that sale are necessary to both fund the new garage and the interim costs associated with continuing the old garage's functions until the new site is ready. Marion Barry spoke forcefully in support of the move, speaking not only of his constituents' strong support for building a new facility in Ward 8 but also that the current garage is "in the way of progress," situated as it is smack in the middle of the fledgling Ballpark District.
No timeframe for closing the current garage was discussed by the WMATA board, and it was only mentioned in passing that Monument Realty's litigation surrounding the sale of the old garage is still pending. WMATA employees who I've talked to at Half and M in recent days have said they were initially told the garage would be vacated this month, then were told it would be next month, and are now being told that there's no firm date planned.
If indeed WMATA is not planning to close the garage before Opening Day, it will need to come up with plans for moving their buses in and out of that space while dodging tens of thousands of pedestrians, or how they'll shut down the garage during game times. It would also mean that the garage's possible use as a temporary parking facility would be off the boards.
 

Dec 13, 2007 10:32 AM
Here's your dreary Thursday morning reading material:
* The Post writes about the labor disputes at the ballpark: "Labor leaders are defending the hiring practices at the construction site of the new Washington Nationals ballpark, saying that efforts to give jobs to D.C. residents have been an 'unequivocal success.' [...] [T]he leader of the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO said the project has been successful in hiring District workers. The letter disputed criticism from some local activists that the ballpark had not come through with jobs for city residents."
* The Examiner, NBC4, WBJ, and the Post write about the presentations last night of the four finalists' plans for redeveloping Poplar Point. Channel 4 also includes a slideshow of the designs and links to information on each plan's community benefits. Apparently one of the propsals includes "an aerial tram that would carry passengers across the river to the new baseball stadium." And Now, Anacostia has some bullet points on the various presentations as well.
* Also from the Post, a District Extra piece on last week's council hearing on the Taxation Without Representation tote boards that some city council members want to put on the Wilson Building and the stadium. (Here's my report on the hearing.)
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post adapts my recent blog posts on the sale of St. Matthew's, the Capper PILOT bill, and the recent Capitol Riverfront BID meeting.
* UPDATE: I should also add this opinion piece in the Examiner by Phil Wood on his impressions of the new ballpark. "If you asked me to describe the place in a single word, I'm ready to answer. Compelling."
 

Dec 12, 2007 10:23 AM
Time again to dig into the What's the Deal With....? mailbag. Reader BH has asked about the two boarded-up gas stations and the old KFC along South Capitol Street, wondering when they're going to be demolished.
I have no answer, alas, for the former Exxon station on the east side of the street at I, which has been closed since May 2006 after its owner pleaded guilty to double-billing government contractors for more than $120,000; JPI was apparently somewhat interested in acquiring it so that they could build 23 I on the entire block, but that doesn't seem to have happened.
The KFC/Taco Bell closed in June after being bought by Ruben Companies, which has long-term plans for an office building on the site, to match their SC1100 on the east side of the street and 21 L Street to the north. However, they are not planning to demolish the KFC anytime soon, and in fact are looking to rent the space to a food-related business in the near-to-medium term.
The second Exxon, on the west side of the street south of K, closed at the end of August. The rumor was that the lot was going to be sold, but so far no transactions have shown up in the DC property sales database. (Ruben owns the other two-thirds of that block, which is the 21 L Street site.)
(I went 1 for 3 on this. Yeeech. This is what I get for not anticipating that WTDW.... questions wouldn't necessarily be ones I know the answers to! But I'm willing to keep trying--if you have a WTDW.... question, pass it along. Be advised, though, that I'm posting these as I can get to them, so submissions may not get addressed right away.)
 

Dec 11, 2007 3:33 PM
Two bills of Near Southeast interest passed their first readings at today's city council meeting, on the consent agenda, no less. (Consent agenda = no discussion or bickering! Yay!) First was Bill 17-0448, which authorizes the closing of the public alley on Square 696 (bounded by Half, First, I, and K), and which had been interesting mainly for the affordable housing trust fund contribution discrepancy that came up during the bill's hearing a few weeks ago, when the developers noted that they expected their contribution to be in the neighborhood of $900,000 and the Office of Planning determined the required sum be closer to $8 million. Apparently the final bill calls for a $1.1 million contribution, which council chairman Vincent Gray said is the largest trust fund contribution ever as the result of an alley closing. The developers also have agreed to create a 20-foot-wide pedestrian right-of-way through the middle of the block to allow for easy access from I Street to the planned public plaza on K Street, though apparently DDOT requested that this right-of-way be upgradable for "motorized access" in the future if necessary. This alley closing will allow DRI Development to move forward with their plans for 800,000 square feet of office space in three buildings with 37,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. There've been noises that the first construction on the site could begin in the summer of 2008, but nothing official has been announced. (The last tenants on the block, in the cab garage at First and K, are expected to move out in February when their lease expires.)
Also passed today was Bill 17-0292, the Capper PILOT funding bill that I just wrote about in detail a couple days ago. This authorizes a bond issuance of up to $55 million that will yield close to $37 million to pay for infrastructure improvements at Capper/Carrollsburg. The bonds will then be repaid by landowners making payments in lieu of property taxes. I should mention that these PILOT funds won't only be repaid by residents of Capitol Quarter--there are two planned office developments totaling 750,000 square feet that are within the Capper PILOT area (600 M Street at the old Capper Seniors site and 250 M Street) that will generate PILOT payments.
Each bill will come before the council again in January for their final votes.
 

Dec 11, 2007 12:17 PM
It's nowhere near as exciting as a liquor license at the ballpark, but I should still pass along that the ANC voted 4-0-3 to support Forest City Washington's request for map and text amendments at The Yards that is going in front of the Zoning Commission on Jan. 11. (The three abstentions were because those commissioners had not received the packet of explanatory materials before the meeting.) The amendments are all pretty technical (larger setback along the Yards's boundary with the Navy Yard, clarifications about ground-floor retail requirements, etc.). You can see the amendments spelled out in the Zoning Commission hearing announcement.
More posts: ANC News, The Yards, zoning
 

Dec 10, 2007 9:50 PM
I just got back from ANC 6D's monthly meeting, where the commissioners voted 6-0 (with one abstention) to support the application by Volume Services Inc. for a "CX Arena" liquor license at the new ballpark. This single license would cover all concessions at the stadium, including kiosks, restaurants and boxes, and at individual seats.
The ANC had asked representatives of the Nationals and concessionaire CenterPlate to discuss potential issues with alcohol sales at the ballpark in greater detail, but it became a more freewheeling discussion between the team officials, who are trying to assure nearby residents that the team wants to be a good neighbor, and the commissioners, who feel that the community has received very little communication up to now from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and other city agencies about traffic, parking, and other stadium-related issues.
Nationals senior vice president for business affairs Michael Shapiro spoke a number of times of the Nationals' "sincere desire to become a member of the community," and that they want the neighbors "to be proud" of the new ballpark. Shapiro and director of ballpark operations Matthew Blush offered to meet on a regular basis with community leaders, which appeared to be well received by the commission's vice chair Andy Litsky, who described the ANC's dealings with the Sports and Entertainment Commission on ballpark-related issues over the past two years as a "horror show."
Greg McCarthy, who is senior director of the Nationals' ballpark district dealings, spoke about parking and traffic issues, explaining that season ticket holders will be assigned to specific lots and will be given detailed instructions on the correct routes to use, to prevent the cut-through traffic and circling for on-street parking that the team says it will be actively discouraging. The commissioners made clear that parking issues remain a huge concern for residents, and that they want to hear specifics soon about how gameday parking will be handled.
Shapiro and Blush described upcoming outreach efforts such as bringing neighborhood kids to the ballpark for batting practice, getting jobs at the stadium for local residents, and having ambassadors and security outside the ballpark itself before and after games as part of making "the building work for the community." Commissioners and audience members were particularly interested in job opportunities at the ballpark, with the hope that the Nationals will go beyond "hanging out a sign" to actively recruit nearby residents.
As for the liquor license, Shapiro indicated that most of the rules in place at RFK (such as no alcohol sales after the seventh inning) would be in place at the new ballpark, and suggested that the Verizon Center would be used as a guide for how to handle alcohol-related issues for non-baseball events such as concerts. (I'm guessing that liquor sales might not be an issue at the first non-baseball event at the new stadium, which is scheduled to be the April 17 mass by Pope Benedict XVI.)
With some concerns that protesting or otherwise hindering this application might spur the sports commission or the city council to issue a liquor license outside of the city's Alcohol Beverage Control jurisdiction, the ANC gave its support. The license hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.
In the meantime, the DCSEC, the Nationals, and community leaders have another meeting scheduled for Dec. 19.
 

Dec 10, 2007 2:21 PM
I visited my perch above New Jersey Avenue today and got updated photos looking to the south and west and northwest, which provide quite the overview of the changes in the past 21 months on the blocks I've wittily dubbed North of M (between M, South Capitol, the freeway, and New Jersey). The two links above show you just the oldest and the newest photos for each angle, or you can try these links to see all the photos I've taken of those angles, at about three-month intervals.
Of course, the arrivals of 100 M, Onyx, and 70/100 I are the biggest changes; you can also see that Velocity is building the garage levels and will be above ground by late winter, and that 909 New Jersey's crane is now in place, meaning that vertical construction there is not far off. But thanks to the 100 M/Onyx construction, peeks at the ballpark and Monument Half Street from this vantage point are now pretty well gone.
I also took a few ground-level photos of the New Jersey and L intersection to capture the change in the skyline above St. Matthew's, which is easier to see now that that big old tree has dropped its leaves. You can see just today's ground-level shots, or compare them with past photos.
If none of these billion links tickle your fancy, all ground-level and sky-high photos from today can be seen on a single page.
 

Dec 10, 2007 9:55 AM
From the BID, more details on the holiday music planned for the Navy Yard Metro entrance this week, and it's three performances over three days, not just one on one day. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, the a cappella group Reverb will be performing; Patty Reese will perform on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 4 to 5:30 pm, and on Friday, Dec. 14, Reverb will be back from 8 to 9 am. This is sponsored by the BID, WMATA, and the DC Commission on Fine Arts. UPDATE: Here's the release from last Friday (that I overlooked, grrrrrr) on the Metroperforms! program. One thing in it that might be worth noting, just to be on the safe side: "Program participants are not permitted to sell merchandise, nor ask for money from the public while performing."
More posts: Metro/WMATA, staddis
 

Dec 10, 2007 9:17 AM
The Post has a story this morning on the concerns of residents about how stadium traffic is going to impact the neighborhoods around the ballpark. "City officials and Nationals executives have been working on plans for new traffic patterns and parking for about 5,000 cars expected at most games. But neighborhood activists said few details about those plans have been made public. And what they have heard has made them more concerned as they watch the mammoth stadium rise above the skyline." Plans for free parking at RFK still have not been finalized, nor have announcements yet been made as to where season ticket holder parking lots will be: "Not knowing the parking sites has left neighbors concerned that they can't predict which streets will be most congested or whether they will be satisfied with the team's plans." Street parking will be limited to residents, as at RFK, though the final boundaries of the restricted areas have not been announced (an early draft of the parking zone, as well as links to the full the Draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan, are on my Stadium Parking page.)
More posts: parking, Nationals Park
 

Dec 9, 2007 11:30 AM
The Legal Times blog has an update on lawsuits over the properties seized by the city via eminent domain to make way for the ballpark: "Originally, 24 landowners challenged the District's appraisal of their property, sending the city and the landowners to D.C. Superior Court for more than two years. But in early November, a second round of mediation talks resulted in settlements for all but four of the cases, and the settlements were finalized with the District in November." The post mentions that one settlement resulted in a $51 million payment for four of the parcels after the city initially offered $33 million. You can see the original offers and assessments here; finding out the final prices is a bit more difficult.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Dec 9, 2007 10:40 AM
A short blurb in today's Post says that at lunchtime on Dec. 12 there will be an a cappella quintet performing holiday music at the Navy Yard Metro station. "The performances are part of MetroPerforms!, a program designed to showcase the talents of area artists at select station entrances." Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la!
More posts: Metro/WMATA
 

Dec 8, 2007 12:19 PM
Foggy air with low-in-the-sky not-very-bright December sun is not conducive to snappy photos, so this is just a brief update to capture the most pressing changes to the skyline. Demolition started back up this week at Old Capper Seniors: the southeast wing is now gone, and the east wing is getting smacked with the wrecking ball this morning. You can see the demolition from all angles in the old Capper Senior Expanded Archive. I also took a few shots of 55 M's progress (look for the icon in its Expanded Archive).
 

Dec 7, 2007 1:02 PM
Because I'm not always so successful in getting people to tell me the current status of various projects, I spend a lot of time pouring through documents hoping to get hints here or there, and within the past few days I've uncovered a few new ones. I sent out some e-mails asking for additional information, but those have gone unanswered (waaaaah!), so I'll just post what I've seen, and wait for the various bureaucratic processes to move along to get more information.
The developers of the planned office building at 1111 New Jersey Avenue are having a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review in front of the Zoning Commission on Jan. 31. This review is now required because Donohoe is buying the land on top of the Navy Yard Metro station east entrance, which means that the project's property now "fronts" M Street and must get a review by the Zoning Commission to make sure it follows the design and usage requirements laid out by the CG Overlay. I haven't seen any new renderings yet to know whether the building has grown from its original 146,000-sq-ft design (note: see UPDATE below). No mentions yet of when construction might start. Presumably this design will be presented to ANC 6D, at perhaps its January meeting.
And, in the Questions and Responses posted along with the Capper PILOT underwriters RFP, there's the following statements:
* 250 M Street, the 200,000-sq-ft office building by William C. Smith, "will commence construction on or about May 2008";
* 600 M Street, the 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City on the old Capper Seniors site, "is expected to commence construction in late 2009 or early 2010 -- Stage II PUD process with the District Zoning Commission has already commenced"; and
* 800 New Jersey/120 Canal, the planned 1.1-million-sq-ft mixed use project by William C. Smith on the land north of I between Second and New Jersey (known as Square 737), "will commence Stage II PUD upon transfer of District land in early 2008."
1111 NJ UPDATE: Amazingly, just a few hours later, another document popped up with additional information on 1111 New Jersey: it's for the Dec. 13 WMATA board meeting, a request to execute the sale announced back in June of the 5,612-sq-ft WMATA land at New Jersey and M to "NJA Associates" (aka Donohoe). And it describes the "new" 1111 NJ thusly (emphases mine):
"The Developer proposes to combine the WMATA property with an adjacent 16,406 sf developer-owned site and develop an office building with ground floor retail. Its current proposal to the District of Columbia Zoning Commission is for an approximately 211,000 sf building, a portion of which cantilevers over the WMATA property. At ground level, the proposal includes a wide plaza surrounding the Metro entrance, consistent with the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Framework Plan. The Developer will make modifications to Metro facilities at its own cost and subject to WMATA approval. At present the modifications are expected to be limited to adjustments to the vent shaft and new paving in the plaza area. The existing entrance canopy will remain. The entrance will be protected during construction. The Developer has stated that it does not currently anticipate any need to close the entrance during construction."
WMATA is selling the land for $2.3 million plus an unnamed additional payment if the approved project is larger 206,000 square feet.
 

Dec 7, 2007 11:01 AM
Voice of the Hill has posted an article on the status of parking and traffic plans for the new ballpark, which boils down to: team and city officials say it will be okay, neighborhood residents and activists say it won't. The team, as it always has, will be emphasizing Metro as the best way to get to the stadium, and is apparently working on plans for guiding people who drive to the games on the "right way" to get to the various parking lots that will be available. As for the infrastructure work: "Street and sidewalk work is on schedule, and the Navy Yard Metrorail station will be ready to use, but possibly unfinished, by opening day, said Ken Laden, the Transportation Department's associate director for transportation policy and planning. Laden also said the agency is working with Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells on new street-parking regulations that would discourage on-street parking during games."
According to the Voice there was a community meeting about baseball-related traffic concerns on Nov. 28, which I didn't see announced anywhere. But apparently there's another one scheduled for Dec. 19 at 6:30 pm at Southeastern University.
 

Dec 6, 2007 4:22 PM
Construction and architecture geeks will be interested to read the cover story of the latest issue of the Engineering News-Record, which is an in-depth chronicle of the fast-track design/build approach used to build Nationals Park in 23 months, which if completed on time will break the speed record for major-league ballpark contruction. There's also a sidebar on how the stadium may be the first major league sports facility to be LEED certified.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Dec 6, 2007 2:01 PM
If you're interested in the "Taxation Without Representation Federal Tax Pay-Out Message Board Installation Act of 2007" (Bill 17-0028) that would put electronic tote boards on the Wilson Building and the ballpark showing the federal taxes that District residents pay while still having no votiing representation in Congress, the council hearing is now underway, which you can watch on DC Cable 13 or via streaming video. I wrote about it a few days back, and today's WashTimes gives some detail on what the bill calls for. I'll have more after the hearing is finished.
Post-Hearing UPDATE: The first two hours of the hearing were more of a general discussion about the current state of DC voting rights, which included multiple mentions that the $3 billion that District residents pay each year in federal taxes is higher than the tax burdens of seven states, and nearly as high as four others. It wasn't until DC Sports and Entertainment Commission CEO Greg O'Dell started his testimony that the issue of whether the council even can legislate the addition of a sign to the ballpark came up.
Because the lease agreement signed by the team and the city states that the Nationals control the signage on the stadium's interior, exterior, and perimeter, the DCSEC's outside counsel feels that this tote-board bill "could conflict" with the lease. O'Dell took a pretty tough batch of questions from council chair Vincent Gray about whether O'Dell himself thinks this sign is a good idea--he punted a number of times, saying he wanted to be "mindful of the process" and "respectful of my board" until Gray finally pinned him down to admit that he thinks it's a good idea. O'Dell did say that the sports commission would move to implement whatever the council decides.
Chairman Gray commented a few times on his unhappiness that the citizens of the District are paying $611 million for the ballpark but can't put this sign up without going to the Nationals for approval. As to the issue of whether the sign's costs would violate ballpark cost cap, O'Dell indicated that if the sign cost less than $100,000 that he didn't think it would cause any cap problems.
So, one would imagine that there will now be some intense negotiations between the city and the Nationals to get their approval for the sign. But given the response that Stan Kasten gave to Mark Plotkin (described here and here) about the moving the DC Taxation Without Representation sign that currently hangs at RFK to the new ballpark, it will be interesting to see how this tote-board discussion turns out.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Dec 6, 2007 12:06 PM
Reader M. gets in the What's the Deal With spirit by asking "WTDW Capitol Quarter?", noting that the first deposits for houses in the development were accepted in October 2006, and that move-ins still have not begun. A few weeks ago I reported that residents-in-waiting were being told that construction on the houses themselves might not start until the second quarter of 2008; while I'm not privvy to what I'm sure is all sorts of behind the scenes stuff about why the project has taken so long to get underway (believe it or not, large commercial companies and city government officials are not all that excited about keeping me in the loop on stuff like that!), there is some news today that indicates that the project is continuing to move forward.
The city council's Committee on Finance and Revenue will be having a mark-up session this afternoon at 3:45 that includes Bill 17-0292, the "Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Public Improvements Revenue Bonds Approval Amendment Act of 2007", which, in amending the original Capper PILOT bill from 2006, makes some "technical clarifications" and also authorizes a $55 million bond issuance. This bond, now $11 million larger what was originally anticipated because of increased borrowing costs, will provide $36.7 million for public infrastructure improvements like environmental remediation, building of two new streets (Second Place and Third Place), and water and sewer upgrades and replacements. Once this bill is passed by the council, the Housing Authority will be able to move forward with issuing the bonds, probably in Q2 2008; in fact, they have already sent out a Request for Proposals for underwriters for these bonds, which closes on Friday (Dec. 7). This bond will then be repaid by the payments in lieu of property taxes that landowners within the Capper PILOT area will be responsible for. (The draft council bill and the underwriting RFP give much more detail about the PILOT plan, if you're interested.)
The construction that's currently tearing up the streets at Capitol Quarter is a separate first-phase contract, allowing EYA to complete the initial work on public infrastructure that needs to be done before they can start work on the "private" infrastructure (the utilities and other work under the house lots themselves). Once that is done, then "vertical construction" can begin on the houses themselves, which is the work that is now scheduled to begin in the spring.
And, the DC Building Permit feed shows that six-month extensions for Capitol Quarter permits have recently been approved.
So, while none of this answers what was probably the meat of the WTDW question--I know everyone really wants all sorts of skinny on the "whys" of the delays--it does give some semblance of an update on where things are.
Post-Hearing UPDATE: The bill was moved out of mark-up ("reported favorably") with no discussion, and next goes to Committee of the Whole (presumably at next Tuesday's meeting). Note that the online version of the bill is the original draft, and may not reflect the current wording. Jack Evans mentioned at mark-up that there will be an amendment offered at the Committee of the Whole, but didn't elaborate. And here's the draft committee report on the bill, which gives a less technical description of the changes being made to the original 2006 PILOT legislation.
More posts: Capper, What's the Deal?
 

Dec 6, 2007 9:47 AM
The WashTimes reports: "A corporate naming rights deal for the $611 million stadium will not be in place for the 2008 season as the team is running out of time to complete an agreement for this spring, principal owner Mark Lerner said." The ballpark is officially Nationals Park in the meantime. And: "Lerner also confirmed the Nationals are close to a deal to hold their first game at the new stadium on Sunday, March 30, which would allow the game to air live on ESPN. He said all that remains is final approval from the Major League Baseball Players Association, but the deal could be completed as soon as this week. [...] If the game is approved, the Nationals likely would play the Atlanta Braves, then embark on a road trip to Philadelphia and return to Washington the following week."
These tidbits came from yesterday's holiday lighting ceremony, which I wasn't able to attend (though the Nats320 blog was there and has photos) and which doesn't seem to be covered on the local networks' video offerings. But be sure to look at the stadium web cam images from Wednesday evening for some particualrly striking photos of the ballpark, lit up at night with a blanket of snow on the field.
UPDATE: Oops, here's the MLB.com piece on the ceremony, with lots of details.
UPDATE II: One more note on the holiday lighting ceremony--a press release from the Nationals today says that the Nationals and Clark Construction subsequently donated the 10-foot Douglas Fir used in the ceremony to the South Washington/West of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative, for its use at a Dec. 12 holiday celebration at Westerminster Presbyterian Church at 400 I Street, SW.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Dec 5, 2007 6:54 PM
Braving the flakes of snow, the fledgling Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District held its first general membership meeting today, which included the election of its Board of Directors. From looking at the list of the 21 new board members, it seems the BID has made sure that every major developer in Near Southeast and Buzzards Point is represented on the board. Five "at-large stakeholders" were also named, allowing organizations who are a big part of the neighborhood's future but who don't actually own land within the BID's borders to be included in the BID's activities. This group includes representatives of the Nationals, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, and Forest City Washington (developer of The Yards). One actual resident of the neighborhood was elected, too. (Hi Darryl!) At subsequent meetings the directors will get down to the board-ly business of electing a chair and vice chair and populating and executive committee and additional committees on Marketing/Public Relations, Economic Development, Transportation and Access, and Public Realm. Anything else you could possibly want to know about the BID's governing structure can be found in the bylaws.
The press release about the meeting also reports that the six "clean team members" have collected more than 1,200 bags of trash around the BID, and two "hospitality/safety ambassadors" have provided "over 50 informational assists."
UPDATE: WBJ writes a blurb from the press release, too.
 

Dec 5, 2007 10:09 AM
The Post reports that there was a rally at RFK yesterday by nonunion works protesting the lack of construction jobs for city residents at the ballpark. "The agreement for the Southeast Washington ballpark called for at least half of the journeyman workforce and all new apprentices to be District residents, but the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission said in an October report that 32 percent of the journeymen and 91 percent of the apprentices have been from the city. Protesters complained that because the ballpark contract requires union workers, a large number of minorities were left out of the hiring."
And, in a story just barely tied to the stadium, The WashTimes reports about the Nationals' work through its Dream Foundation to create a youth baseball academy at Fort DuPont Park in Southwest, perhaps at the expense of renovating the city's baseball and softball fields: "Under the conditions of the lease tied to the Nationals' new ballpark, the team is required to help youth baseball programs in the District by operating a new baseball academy, holding clinics and providing free equipment to groups in need. By most accounts, the team has done well in meeting those requirements, but a provision of the lease calling for the team to renovate fields in the city has gotten less attention. [...] Tanenbaum said she is aware of complaints involving the city's playing fields but said she is being cautious about taking on too much in just the second year of operations for the foundation [...] Nationals director of community relations Barbra Silva said she and Tanenbaum have talked with Play Ball DC and the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and said the team could begin helping with renovations this year. But they want to ensure the fields not only are renovated but maintained." The article also mentions that the foundation "will start a charitable program next spring relating to the neighborhood around the team's new ballpark."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Dec 4, 2007 10:21 PM
On the same day that Washington was named the #1 Walkable City in the country, Tommy Wells's office has announced his 1st Annual Livable, Walkable Community Awards ceremony, recognizing efforts of "neighbors, city employees, civic organizations, and local businesses" who show liveable, walkable vision and leadership. The ceremony is on Wednesday Dec. 5 at the East Hall of Eastern Market from 6 to 9 pm--there will be food, drink, a cash bar, and live entertainment, and the the awards begin at 7:30. So walk on over!
More posts:
 

Dec 4, 2007 8:03 PM
With the late-season information lull now upon us, I thought it might be a good time to launch a new semi-regular feature: What's the Deal With....? I'm envisioning this as a chance to answer questions about things you see around the neighborhood or on this web site, since it's I know it's hard keeping up with the torrent of information that comes at you from JDLand. I do freely admit that I'm sometimes not so great at re-addressing the basics, since I'm so focused on digging out the latest news. And of course many of the folks who wander by are newcomers trying to get caught up with the backstory--or are veteran visitors who aren't necessarily keeping up with Near Southeast in quite such a *detailed* manner as Some People. (Why I'm only thinking of this now after almost five years of responding to questions like this mainly via e-mail, I don't know. I guess the desperation to have new content is a strong force!)
So, if you have a question that might be a good fit for WTDW...?, drop me a line, and we'll see what we come up with. I'll be looking for questions that have concrete answers, rather than requests for ruminations on the big picture. (And don't be like the college journalism student I recently heard from who sent me one dozen essay-level questions about Near Southeast, and requested that I return my answers by the end of the day.)
I'll start with an e-mail that arrived today from a reader asking about the status of Onyx on First, the 260-unit residential tower by Faison and Canyon-Johnson under construction on the southeast corner of First and L. Onyx was launched in late 2006 as a condo project and is scheduled to open in Fall 2008, but although there's a web site with general information, sales at the building have yet to get underway. (The trailers you see behind Normandie Liquors at First and M arrived back in the spring to house the Onyx sales office, but have sat unused for more than six months.) Rumors about Onyx's status have been floating around as the DC condo market softens, but so far no change to the original plans has been announced. When I hear something confirmed, I'll post it here as fast as my little fingers can type.
Next?
 

Dec 3, 2007 9:44 PM
Just a few hours after the Nationals turn on the holiday lights at the ballpark this Wednesday, the Anacostia Community Boathouse (nestled between the spans of the 11th Street Bridges) will have its own ceremonial lighting, as part of the annual Boathouse Lighting and Community Awards Ceremony. The awards are for individuals and groups "who have shown an outstanding committment to advancing ACBA's mission of sponsoring rowing and paddling programs that foster physical fitness and camaradarie, connect neighborhoods along the Anacostia to the waterfront, and build a spirit of environmental stewardship through increased recreational usage." Receiving the ACBA Champion Award will be former mayor Tony Williams, in recognition of his work as the architect of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative.
Not only does former Mayor Bowtie A. Baseball get the award, he also gets to flip the switch to illuminate the boathouse. And the other marinas along the Anacostia Waterfront will also be lighting their clubhouses for the holiday season. The awards ceremony and lighting start at 6:30 pm, followed by a public reception.
More posts: Boathouse Row
 

Dec 3, 2007 10:40 AM
If on Saturday evening you saw the skies over South Capitol Street look a bit brighter than usual, it was the lights along the first-base line at Nationals Park being tested. If you want to see what it looked like inside the stadium, check the ballpark web cam for Dec. 1 at around 6:40 pm.
And speaking of lighting up the ballpark, there's going to be a "holiday lighting ceremony" at the stadium on Wednesday afternoon. Following remarks about PNC Bank being named a "founding partner" of the team for 2008, a Christmas tree, Menorah, and Kwanzaa candles will be lit. And Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will "distribute holiday cheer and gifts to the workers."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Dec 3, 2007 9:37 AM
A few notes to add to recent items:
* I don't get on the Southeast Freeway on a regular basis, so only yesterday did I see the huge Capitol Yards sign hanging on the side of 70 I, facing the freeway. Oops; would have helped me write Saturday's entry on the new project web site a day or two sooner! UPDATE: And, with good timing, here's a new press release touting the "topping out" of 70 and 100 I Street. They are scheduled to open in summer 2008.
* Both the PSA 105 and MPD 1D mailing lists (registration required) have been discussing the November spate of car thefts, which included not only Near Southeast but Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods. Apparently the three thefts recently listed for the unit block of L Street (which I didn't blog about because I was a little suspicious that there might be a mistake in the data flow) were three cabs stolen from the same lot. Also, 1D commander David Kemperin says that the Auto Theft Unit was deployed to the area, and that "an arrest was recently made for auto theft and other information obtained from an arrest for unregistered auto that may link some of these thefts." If you're interested in ongoing discussions about crime in the area, a subscription to these lists is probably a good idea.
* On Friday I wondered aloud what Phil Mendelson's response would be to Mayor Fenty's press conference on 225 Virginia and the Consolidated Forensics Lab, and, like magic, his complete statement appeared in my inbox. "Learning about today's announcement, I am unsure about what can be considered 'new' news regarding the progress of the Consolidated Forensics Lab and the relocation of various public safety facilities. We learned of the probability of Bowen Elementary School being used to house the First District Police Headquarters at an oversight hearing I held on this issue on September 20th of this year. We also knew then that the administration was looking for suitors for the property at 225 Virginia Avenue, SE; nothing new was announced about this today." Read the rest here.
 

Dec 1, 2007 1:27 PM
With a hat tip to a tipster who shall remain nameless, I'm passing along CapitolYardsDC.com, the new splashy web site launched by JPI to market its four Near Southeast apartment buildings along I Street, which will total 1,350 rental units and which together are being called "Capitol Yards."
The two buildings I always cover together as 70 and 100 I Street have been dubbed Jefferson and Mercury at Capitol Yards, and although they're right next to each other they will have distinctly different looks-and-feels. The Jefferson will have more of a "warehouse" feel, with "exposed brick and hardwood floors" for a "spacious loft-style atmosphere", while the Mercury next door will be going for "up-to-the-minute finishes."
Across the street, 909 New Jersey is now known as 909 at Capitol Yards, and its page touts a "two-story lounge with a modern bar, plasma TVs and a 90-inch projection TV" as well as an Asian-themed spa and a rooftop deck with "lounging and grilling areas." This building will also have restaurant and retail tenants on the first floor (which might also prove to be a handy stop for Nationals fans walking along New Jersey going to or from the Capitol South Metro station).
The pages for each of these projects also include animated views of the building's exteriors.
There's also a page for what's now 23 Eye at Capitol Yards (though I haven't decided yet if I'm going to always indulge that whole "Eye" thing), which has the first rendering I've seen of the building that will eventually go up west of Half Street (where the Wendy's and a towing company currently reside). Its page touts not only a rooftop pool, but also a rooftop dog park, which one would like to assume will be outfitted with very high fences. The 421 units are being described as "two-story true loft homes with 18-foot windows"; the site also says that the building will be Washington's first LEED silver-certified residential building.
You can wander through my project pages for each of these buildings to see where they're at (and what their lots looked like before). The furthest along are 70 and 100 I, scheduled to open in the summer, and are now topped out and getting their brick facades. The hole has been dug for 909 New Jersey, and it is supposed to open in mid-2009. Nothing has changed yet at the 23 I site, but construction is expected to start in 2008.
 

Dec 1, 2007 9:05 AM
This morning's quick hits:
* The Voice of the Hill has posted a piece on its web site surveying the community reaction to the 11th Street Bridges EIS, while the December issue of the Hill Rag looks at the project from the perspective of Hill East.
* The Hill Rag also has a recap of the November ANC 6D meeting, which focused mainly on Southwest issues, though there is a small blurb about the ballpark liquor license (it sounds like there were some concerns about the 8 am to 3 am time frame listed on the application).
* Meanwhile, the December Southwester reports on the Oct. 3 groundbreaking at The Yards by reprinting much of the Forest City press release on the project.
* Out of my realm, but I'll still pass along that the four short-listed development teams will be presenting their proposals for Poplar Point at Dec. 12 at 6:30 pm at Birney Elementary School, 2501 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave., SE.
* I'm watching with interest a public space permit application this week by Cofeld LLC for 1271 First Street, which is the lot on the northwest corner of First and N, which had a raze permit filed for it in June. Hints of demolition? We'll see if the permit data, when approved, tell us anything further.
* UPDATE: One more quickie to add. The Garfield Park-Canal Park Connector Project has posted notes and summaries of discussions at their Oct. 24 workshop. Topic areas discussed included Biking and Walking, Under the Freeway, Public Art, Urban landscape, and History & Neighborhood Heritage.
 
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