15 Blog Posts
New Year's Eve Party by ReadysetDC at Trapeze School
Dec 30, 2010 6:02 PM
Just popping up in my inbox (which is hard to get to through the piles of opened boxes and discarded Toblerone wrappers) is news of the big New Year's Eve celebration ("Evolution 2011
") being thrown by ReadysetDC
Friday night starting at 9 pm at the Trapeze School's space at 4th and Tingey, SE at the Yards
. Dance performance by Holly Bass, live music by Chelsey Green and the Green Project, AWR B-boy performance (you kids tell me what that is), aerial ribbon dancing performances, live painting by Brandon Hill of No Kings Collective, and much more.
Tickets are $95
, and include an open bar, but you can get $20 off by using the discount code DC-LOVE. (They've even got a deal with the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L for a block of hotel rooms.)
Holiday Slowdown Now in Effect
Dec 20, 2010 11:01 AM
After the rush of public meetings over the past few weeks, it looks like we're now settling down into Holiday Mode, i.e., not much news, and I'll be taking the opportunity to take a bit of a break from JDLand. If there's anything big, I'll post it, of course, and I doubt I'll go completely silent over on Twitter
, but at this point I'm expecting that things will be pretty quiet around here until after New Year's. (That will be when every other blog on the planet does a year-end roundup, but I always save that for my State of the Hood
post in mid-January.)
So, Happy Holidays to all, travel safely if you're going over the river and through the woods to Grandma's, and enjoy all the tidings of the season.
Residents Day at Holiday Market Saturday
Dec 16, 2010 11:07 AM
wants to remind neighbors that Saturday is Residents Day
at the Holiday Market at 1100 New Jersey Avenue. It will run from 10 am to 3 pm, and in addition to the lineup of craft exhibitors, Christmas greens, and live music at lunch time, there will also be empanadas, free coffee and pastries from Starbucks, free doggie treats from Metro Mutts, the Eat Wonky
and Dangerously Delicious Pie
trucks and.... The Red Hook Lobster truck
at lunchtime. (The footsteps you hear are my husband's, as he races to be first in line.)
Of course, the market is also running today and Friday as well, from 11 am to 7 pm, with the CapMacDC
pasta truck scheduled to make an appearance on Friday. Here's the flyer
, for more details on vendors and whatnot.
6B Protesting 8th Street Beer Garden Liquor License (While Working on a Voluntary Agreement)
Dec 15, 2010 1:01 PM
On Tuesday night the full ANC 6B commission took up the issue of whether to support the liquor license application for the new "Bavarian Beer Garden" that a businessman is trying to open at 8th and L, SE. I wrote a lot about it last week when the ANC's ABC subcommittee met, and you can read that (long) entry
for most of the background, as well as read the committee report
that came out of it.
Commissioners are still very leery of approving a tavern license "with an entertainment endorsement" without having much more information about the plans for the bar, worrying that if they give their support and what is currently billed as just being some "oompah" music turns into a nightclub with music late at night seven days a week, there will be little recourse. (The fact that this is the first restaurant venture by the applicant has them a bit nervous as well.) Their desire is to write various hours/occupancy/entertainment-type restrictions into the Voluntary Agreement, perhaps including some that can then be revisited a few years down the road when it's clear how the bar is operating.
Mark Brody, the applicant, told the commissioners that he is willing to sign a voluntary agreement, and is willing to negotiate over the requested
hours of operation and occupancy load (which is at 399 on the initial application), so the negotiations will soon get underway. (The vote by the commissioners to support the license once a voluntary agreement is signed was 7-3.)
However, because the deadline for protesting the license application before ABRA is Monday (Dec. 20), and because the full ANC would need to approve any voluntary agreement by vote at a business meeting, the ANC is going officially be "in protest" with ABRA on the license until the agreements are worked out. (You can read the ABRA Protest Process FAQ
for more details, including about how the parties would then be scheduled for a "settlement conference" with an ABRA mediator.)
2010 Capitol Riverfront Annual Report; Connector Between Teague and Yards Coming in 2011?
Dec 14, 2010 2:27 PM
The Capitol Riverfront BID
just wrapped up its 2010 Annual Meeting, which certainly seemed to be the largest of them so far. The big part of the meeting is the unveiling of the Annual Report
, chock full of statistics and photos. I'm not going to summarize it, mainly because I've been writing all year about most of the news and data contained in it, and also because if you're truly interested in the neighborhood you should read it yourself. :-)
There were two items in Michael Stevens' remarks that I thought were of note, though:
* Apparently an agreement has been worked out with DC Water
(aka WASA) that will allow the "connection" between Diamond Teague Park
(across from Nationals Park
) and the Yards Park
to be built, starting this spring. In the past, a floating bridge has been discussed as how this connection would be completed, but have asked the BID for more info and will post when I know more.
* In discussing the many parks of the neighborhood, Michael Stevens said that they are "hoping" that Canal Park
will be completed in 2011--though, as he said that, the slide being displayed showed 2012 as the expected completion date. Given that the park is supposed to take 12-14 months to build, it would seem to be unlikely that the entire park would be ready before the end of next year, though perhaps some portions of it might be able to be open sooner.
Here's the slides used
by Michael Stevens during his remarks; the information on the connection between Teague and the Yards is on pages 22-24, with a rendering showing a walkway out over the water, looking exactly like an extension of the boardwalk at the Yards. The proposed project is listed as "a partnership among Forest City Washington, DC Water and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development." And, on slide 27, Canal Park is listed with a delivery date of 2012.
Nats Looking to Add a Curly W to Navy Yard Metro Station Name
Dec 13, 2010 8:54 PM
At tonight's ANC 6D meeting, Nationals vice president Gregory McCarthy asked the commission to support the Nationals' request for a name change for the Navy Yard Metro station. But, instead of asking to add "Nationals Park
" or "Ballpark" or "Baseball Stadium" or "[Insert Corporate Naming Rights Winner Here] Park" or some other permutation, the Nationals are asking that the Nationals' "Curly W" red logo be added to Metro's maps and signage instead. McCarthy said that focus groups with fans have indicated a strong identification with the logo, and, just as the Curly W appears on freeway signs around the area directing drivers to the stadium, the team wants the same icon to direct transit users.
Commission chair Ron McBee spoke of the team's positive impact on the community, especially all the work that team players and staff do with the students of nearby Amidon-Bowen Elementary School in Southwest, and there were few other comments from the commissioners. One audience member asked if this didn't amount to free advertising--McCarthy replied that the name of the stadium (which is owned by the city, he reminded) is "Nationals Park," and that the Curly W just signifies the team's name. (In far fewer letters.) The team would be on the hook for any costs incurred for the signage and map changes, but since WMATA is undertaking a reprinting and updating of its maps and signage next year, they probably have pretty good timing.
The resolution drafted by the ANC called for support of the Nationals' request, as long as Navy Yard remains in the station's name and remains first, with "Nationals Park" being an acceptable alternative if WMATA doesn't want to use the Curly W. (They also made sure to specify that the Nats are wanting the Curly W to be red.) This means that the ANC's preference for the station's new name is Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront/
, since the Capitol Riverfront BID previously came to the ANC
asking for support in having its
name added. The resolution also gives "Navy Yard/Riverfront/Ballpark" as an acceptable alternative if Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront/
is too long. The resolution passed 6-0-1.
In terms of how station name changes work, McBee passed out this 1987 DC government document detailing how the city evaluates requests
. After an ANC weighs in, the WMATA committee looking at the request submits a formal recommendation to DC's WMATA board member(s), who then transmit a formal recommendation to the mayor, who decides on the request and transmits a request for action (or non-action) back to WMATA.
After the vote, McCarthy took a moment to thank outgoing 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel ("who I first met when he was opposing the new stadium") for all the work he has done on behalf of the community since it was decided to put Nationals Park in his single member district.
Rainy Sunday Tidbits: Garage Art, ANC, Akridge/Half St.
Dec 12, 2010 11:28 AM
A few bullet points to pass along on this lovely day (man, I wish I was in Minneapolis right now):
* I took a few photos
(belatedly) of the newly installed stainless steel baseballs hung this week on the Nationals Park
garages on N Street. You can see a hint of the red and blue LED lights that will "activate" the balls, though I imagine it will be more impressive when it's dark out. (Also, if you're as desperate in your Christmas shopping as I am, remember that the Nats Team Store at Half and N is open from 11 am to 5 pm every day except Sunday.)
* A reader reported this morning that the fences have been taken down around the all-but-completed 1015 Half Street
office building, on the site of the old Nation nightclub. Douglas Wilson Companies, which took over the project when Opus East went belly up, had said when construction restarted in May that they would deliver 1015 Half by the end of the year, and they seem to have basically hit that date. No announcement of any tenants for the 440,000-square-foot building, though.
* The ANC 6D meeting is on Monday at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW, but, as of now, no agenda
has been posted. I'm sure it'll be a wonderful holiday potpourri of topics, though. (The agenda for Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting
has been up for quite a while, and includes the new beer garden
at 8th and L.)
* A reader passed along this DCMud piece
trying to play up movement on Akridge's Half Street project
(just north of the ballpark), but I see a lot of "expects" and "luck" and "hope to" rather than any concrete start dates, and so, to me, that means there's really no news of impending construction. The fact that the Bullpen has apparently gotten it's lease renewed for the 2011 season would point to Akridge not expecting to do any work before fall. (And I'd also note that the first sentence gets everything wrong about the disposition of the Southeastern Bus Garage site, as is so often the case with DCMud items on Near Southeast: Akridge was the winning bid for the entire bus garage site in 2007
, while Monument [which itself is not bankrupt, though its financial backer Lehman Brothers did croak] had earlier gotten the Metro station entrance on the other side of the street
. Monument had owned land south of the bus garage, on the Bullpen site, but then sold that to Akridge in 2008
.) The post also gives some background on the project, which might be new for people who haven't been following along, but which is basically what Akridge has been saying since they first unveiled the project two years ago
You can see my Akridge Half Street project page
for all of the details and renderings of the 700,000-square-foot office/residential/retail project, or, heck, read the zoning hearing transcript
from January 2009. I think new residents will be happy about Akridge's long-mentioned plans for the "stall"-like vending area along the "Via" as well as a "neighborhood retail" feel for the Van Street side of the project, though people will probably be even happier about that once they know the project is actually going to start....
8th Street Beer Garden at 6B's ABC Committee
Dec 9, 2010 9:55 PM
Despite having arrived fashionably late
to tonight's ANC 6B ABC committee meeting, I still managed to get there in time to hear the initial presentation by Mark Brody on his plans for the "Bavarian Beer Garden" that he is looking to bring to the currently vacant northwest corner of 8th and L, SE
. (This is the "Saints and Sinners" block, which is also going to have the National Community Church's new operations
on the Miles Glass site on the north end of the block.)
As I've written previously, he and his business partner (who has owned the property for more than 20 years--Brody appears to have bought a half-interest in the lots earlier this year for $600,000, according to property records) are applying for a liquor license
for a tavern/beer garden that 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. They also want to have live entertainment (oompah! oompah!) from noon to midnight on Sunday, 6 pm to midnight Monday through Friday, and noon to 2 am on Saturday. Brody said it would be "upscale," with beer running around $7, and there would be food, though no menu has been determined yet.
Brody brought no drawings or designs, but said they would put a newly constructed building along 8th Street, with the entrance on the corner, and the beer garden would be behind it, butting up against
the driveway from Miles Glass that punches through to L Street. (Brody and his partner own the two small buildings on the west side of the driveway.) Brody suggested that having a large nightlife offering south of the freeway would help pull people south on 8th, and make them less reticent to use the parking lot beneath the freeway (which tied into the discussion around the previous agenda item, another restaurant in the 500 block of 8th). He also mentioned the large surface parking lots that exist nearby that would have more than enough capacity to hold the large number of patrons his plans are for, though certain bloggers in the audience mentioned that the big one at 7th and L is probably going to see construction start
on its north portion before too much longer.
There was considerable skepticism from the commissioners (especially chair David Garrison) when Brody said that he hopes to be up and running "by spring," especially since the lot is in the historic district and he would still need all of his designs approved by the Capitol Hill Historic Society and the city's Historic Preservation Review Board, as well as go through the not-always-smooth building permitting process.
He and his partner (who is in construction) are looking at building a smaller "temporary" building now, with a more permanent three- or four-story structure to come later. But when the commissioners expressed their concern about having very little to go on in terms of design and concept before they make a decision as to whether to support the liquor license application, Brody said that he and his partner won't be building anything without getting the license first.
Commissioners also mentioned "Heart and Soul" a few times, which Hill veterans will remember as the venture at 8th and Pennsylvania that got its approvals as a restaurant with some live entertainment and turned into a nightclub that became a nightmare for residents. "What you're giving me screams 'nightclub,' " said 6B05 rep Ken Jarboe.
Neil Glick of 6B08 talked about the size of the plans, that this would be the largest space on the Hill except for maybe Remington's, and that "we can't just give away" support without much to go on, especially since Brody has not had any dealings with 6B before.
Kirsten Oldenberg, in whose single-member district (6B04) this site is located, listed similar concerns, as well as the fact that, if the temporary building is a success, why would the owners ever then tear it down to build something better? She also mentioned the Lower 8th Vision draft plan
that has just been submitted to the Office of Planning, wondering if this project fits in to that vision.
6B07 commissioner Carol Green separated herself a bit from her brethren by saying that she feels the area south of the freeway needs something now.
Jarboe then mentioned the possibility of writing into the voluntary agreement that the liquor license be temporary (three or four years) so that the project can get started soon, but "to give [the license] to you forever and ever opens us up for mischief later on."
The license is on the agenda for the full ANC 6B commission meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 14), at 7 pm at the People's Church at 535 8th St., SE, but with things like a voluntary agreement still needing to be written, along with probably some strong feelings about wanting more information, I'm not sure how the timeline is going to work out, with the liquor license hearing date set for January 3.
UPDATE: After deliberations (which were public but I mistakenly didn't stick around for), the ABC Committee has decided to support the liquor license application contingent on the applicant and the city's ABC Board agreeing to a Voluntary Agreement that limits hours and occupancy (terms to come). 6B is also going to argue for a temporary license (as I described above), but it's not clear that the ABC Board would go along with that. There will be more discussion of this at Tuesday's full ANC meeting.
Democrats Looking to Name USDOT for Rep. Oberstar
Dec 9, 2010 10:31 AM
This morning WBJ's Michael Niebauer tweeted
news about a bill introduced
in the House of Representatives on Wednesday to name the US Department of Transportation headquarters
on M Street, SE, for retiring Minnesota Democrat Jim Oberstar, who is described on his own web site
thusly: "In the 34 years he has served in Congress, Jim has become known as the body’s leading expert on transportation policy. From 1989 through 1995, he chaired the Subcommittee on Aviation, passing important legislation that has led to better maintenance and safer aircraft. Later, as the ranking democrat of the full Transportation Committee, he worked in a bipartisan manner to take the Highway Trust Fund off budget to ensure that gas taxes are used to fix roads and bridges and not to make the budget deficit look smaller."
The bill has 45 co-sponsors, including DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who led the push to get USDOT to move to what was then known as the Southeast Federal Center
nearly a decade ago
. The building, which houses 7,000 federal workers in 1.35 million square feet on 11 acres, opened in spring, 2007.
Knowledgeable Hill observers (*cough*brother
*cough*) say that the bill is likely to get through the Democratic-controlled House, but as with everything in Congress-land these days, who knows what might happen when it hits the Senate.
Abbreviated Update from the Van Ness Meeting
Dec 8, 2010 8:10 PM
Tonight the interim chancellor of DC Public Schools Kaya Henderson met with a large and very involved group of parents (and a lot of toddlers, some of whom showed off their impressive lung capacity) who want to see Van Ness Elementary reopened.
DCPS told those assembled that it is committed to making a decision on Van Ness in January, and that the decision will be based on "whether the numbers work out," both in terms of whether there are enough school-age children to support the school and whether the economic realities of a budget-crunched city government can get scarce dollars shuffled to pay for getting the school reopened (which would require taking money from other schools that are in need as well). DCPS handed out an information sheet
with some numbers in terms of children in the area and enrollment at nearby schools--I'm going to plead injury (thumb. ow.) and let you read it instead of summarizing.
Henderson mentioned many times the "positive energy" DCPS feels from the parents of the neighborhood, who clearly want a school opened immediately. There is no chance that Van Ness will open for the 2011-12 school year, the room was told, but one idea DCPS is looking at is possibly redrawing the boundaries for Tyler so that some of the Near Southeast children who live closer to Tyler than to Amidon (which is in Southwest) could go there. (One parent responded to this by saying that they hoped that all of Near Southeast could be included in a Tyler boundary redrawing "to keep the community together", and it's clear that many parents are not big fans of sending their kids to Amidon.)
At the end of the meeting, Tommy Wells said that with Van Ness in pretty good shape, capital funds shouldn't be a barrier to getting the school reopened if the necessary enrollment numbers are there. (Earlier, it had been announced [first by meeting organizer Bruce darConte and then a company representative] that EYA is pledging to undertake "buff and scrub" renovations at Van Ness if it'll help get the school reopened.)
Other than these items, the meeting was basically a "listening session," to allow parents to tell DCPS (again) their priorities and concerns. At the risk of being flip, I think I can boil it down to this: parents (and parents-to-be) in Near Southeast want Van Ness reopened. But it was a very collegial session--Henderson called it "one of the most delightful meetings I've been to."
So now the residents will wait to see what DCPS tells them---whether the school could reopen in 2012, or whether the numbers aren't quite there yet. It seems clear that DCPS expects Van Ness to reopen eventually--it's just a question of whether the timetable they come up with will be disappointing to the community.
[If this is less than complete, I apologize--I have to stop typing, I'm dying here! Feel free to use the comments to fill in what I didn't cover. You can also see Tommy Wells's tweets
from the meeting for more.] For more background, browse my previous posts
UPDATED to fix my Tyler/Brent mixups. As a non-parent, they're all the same to me. ;-)
20 M Signs Another Tenant, Now 97% Leased
Dec 8, 2010 10:56 AM
On the heels of Monday's news
of a new tenant for 20 M St., SE
, Lerner Enterprises has just announced another 20,000-square-foot lease, bringing the building to 97-percent occupancy. This tenant is Systems Planning and Analysis
(SPA), which will be occupying the 8th floor. They are expected to move in this spring, and will join the Bureau of Land Management, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the Columbia Group as the building's office tenants; Wachovia Bank at this point is the building's only retail tenant. 20 M was completed in March 2007.
Columbia Group Takes 20,000 Sq Ft at 20 M
Dec 6, 2010 4:23 PM
Lerner Enterprises has just passed along the news that The Columbia Group
has signed a lease for 20,039 square feet at 20 M St., SE
, bringing the building to about 84 percent leased. The company--which does "technical services support" for the US military--is expected to move in this spring, and will be occupying space on the 7th floor. The other tenants--the Bureau of Land Management and Booz Allen Hamilton--are expected to start moving in in January.
Upcoming Calendar of Events (Through Dec. 17)
Dec 6, 2010 10:46 AM
This is a painful post for me to write. (No, seriously--I hurt my left thumb last week, and typing doesn't help.) But I will power through to bring you news of upcoming events, all while wondering why Decembers are always so busy with public meetings--because it's not like we don't we have enough to do already....
* Tuesday (Dec. 7) is the second Marine Barracks site search
public forum, in Eastern Market's North Hall. I can't find the agenda for it, but the CIMP web site describes it thusly: "Session 2 will begin with at 5:00 pm with an open house where information will be provided in displays, and subject matter experts will be present to discuss various aspects of the CIMP with a facilitated discussion to authenticate community development objectives to begin at 7:00 PM." You can see the draft community objectives
handed out at last week's meeting, and read my summary of that session
, as well as the scads of posts
through the past year of this process.
* Wednesday (Dec. 8) is the neighborhood meeting with DC Public Schools interim chancellor Kaya Henderson on the movement to reopen Van Ness Elementary at 5th and M, SE. The meeting is at 6 pm (note the time change) at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, and while no decision on reopening the school will be announced, DCPS will be talking about the preliminary findings from the survey they did this fall about whether there would be enough students to justify reopening the school. Read my previous posts
* On Thursday (Dec. 9) the ANC 6B ABC Committee will meet at 7 pm
at the Southeast Neighborhood Library at 403 7th St., SE, and it will be taking up the new liquor license application for the Bavarian Beer Garden
at 8th and L, SE. It's looking to be a 99-seat tavern, with an additional 200 outdoor seats in summer, and would operate from 11 am to 2 am Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays. There's also apparently the possibility of live entertainment. The application will also be taken up by the full ANC at its regular meeting
on Dec. 14 at 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE.
* Monday (Dec. 13) is ANC 6D's monthly meeting--the agenda
should be out later this week.
* Tuesday, Dec. 14 is the BID
's Annual Meeting, at 11:30 am at 100 M St., SE. There will be a keynote address by George Hawkins, general manager of DC Water, plus the BID will release its 2010 Annual Report and State of the Capitol Riverfront.
* The BID also launches its Holiday Market on the 14th, running daily through the 18th on the sidewalk outside of 1100 New Jersey Ave., SE, across from the Navy Yard Metro station. "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, or the latest BID newsletter
* Also on the 14th is the aforementioned ANC 6B monthly meeting
, which includes a report by Michael Stevens of the BID on the Lower 8th Street Visioning Process report that's being submitted to the Office of Planning. (This will also be presented to the ANC's Planning and Zoning Committee on Dec. 7 at 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE.)
* Finally, on Dec. 17, the James L. Brooks movie "How Do You Know
" opens--this is the one that was filmed at Nationals Park
(and all around DC) back in 2009, and stars Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson.
Zoning Approvals for 401 M (Yards Parcel D)
Dec 2, 2010 10:03 PM
Tonight the Zoning Commission gave its approvals to Forest City's 401 M Street
, the planned residential/retail/grocery project on the southeast corner of 4th and M at The Yards
. The votes were 4-0-1 and 3-1-1 (more on that below), and with chairman Anthony Hood's new *streamlined* (read: speeded up) hearing process, the presentations, questions, and vote took less than 90 minutes.
In the past I've used Zoning Commission meetings to learn more about proposed projects, but I've already written a fair amount
about 401 M, and there wasn't really much new tonight. The issues that the commissioners wanted to discuss got pretty far into the weeds of zoning law, particularly Commissioner May's concerns about whether Forest City's request to allow balconies along 4th Street to hang over into the required setback area was something that could be handled under a special exception. (If you really REALLY want to know about this zoning rule, see page 11 of the Office of Planning's report
May's fellow commissioners didn't feel quite as strongly, but in the end they voted on two motions to approve the project, unanimously to approve all of the project except the special exception request, and then 3-1-1 to approve the special exception request. (The best moment might have been during the discussion of whether refusing to allow balconies would impact the project, when chairman Hood said, "If it didn't have a balcony, Anthony Hood wouldn't buy one.")
For those just joining us, originally
401 M was going to be an office building with a ground-floor grocery store, but market forces have intervened and earlier this year Forest City unveiled a new design, featuring two long and thin residential buildings (connected by an elevator tower) with between 200 and 225 rental units (20 percent of which would be set aside for people making less than 50 percent of the area median income). The grocery store, with no tenant officially announced (*cough*Harris Teeter
*cough*), would be 55,000 square feet on two floors, with its main entrance on 4th Street (as well as a previously approved cut in the historic brick wall on M).
On the south end of the block, at 4th and Tingey, there will be a four-story building with another 55,000 square feet of retail space, with what's expected to be a spa/fitness center/gym tenant on the top two floors and retail on the bottom two (seen at left). There will also be a new narrow service road running south from M between this new development and Building 202
for loading zone access. Access to residential parking will be from Tingey, and the grocery and retail parking entrance will be on 4th, next to the residential lobby entrance that will be directly across from the "Transportation Walk" behind USDOT
Forest City is hoping that construction could possibly start in early 2012, with a delivery in late 2013 or thereabouts. (But, repeat after me: dates like this are not written in stone.) ANC 6D voted unanimously to support the project back in October
Documents and a Few Notes from Barracks Forum
Dec 2, 2010 1:09 PM
With the selection of a location for a new Marine Barracks more than a year away, there wasn't much big news coming out of Monday's public forum, at least not in terms of my focus, the area south of the freeway. (There were lots of discussions about the disposition of the Building 20, the barracks building at 8th and Virginia the Marines are trying to get out of--I'll be leaving the blogging about that part of the process to Norm Metzger, who has posted some thoughts from Monday's meeting
The handouts, displays, and presentation slides
are now posted on the CIMP web site for your perusal. And it must be said that the feel of this meeting was more collegial and less antagonistic than some of the previous ones have been--getting Virginia Avenue Park out of the mix
seems to have dialed down the temperature somewhat, though it's clear that both sides (the Marines and the community) are still cautious and not completely at ease in working with their counterparts.
At this point, there's much more focus on the process of it all rather than any specific outcomes--how the RFP will be written and what requirements it will have for developers, whether there will be a community representative on the selection committee (doubtful), and the like. Writing about process isn't really my cup of tea--I just want to know about what comes out at the other end! That said, If I had to come up with a few bullet points that were of interest or sounded new, here's what I'd highlight:
* The approach to finding a new site really has changed from when this started a year ago--originally, the Marines were only looking at public property (Virginia Avenue Park, Tyler Elementary, Square 882, the annex
at 7th and Virginia, and inside the Navy Yard), but now there's the Square 929/930 option on the east side of 8th Street as well as the "Exxon" site at 11th and M. That changes how the process moves forward though, since there will now need to be special federal legislation to allow for a public-private venture. Doing this, though, means that any private lands that end up being used for the new barracks will stay on the DC tax rolls, since a developer will own the land and lease space to the Marines. It also pushes the timeline for the choice of a developer into 2012, with construction at least a year after the decision gets made. There will also have to be a NEPA process
* The Marine Institute is "being BRAC
'ed" out of the Navy Yard, and apparently will be moving to Building 20, taking up 25 percent of the new building (the maximum amount the Marines can occupy and have the building not need the security-required deep setbacks from the street). David Perry of Barracks Row Main Street called this news "a good thing." There will be lots of ensuing discussion about how the remaining 75 percent of that building/site should be structured. (North of the freeway! Outside of my boundaries!)
* It's been determined through the antiterrorism/force protection guidance that there can be underground parking at a new barracks, but that the parking control gate would need to be 82 feet away from the barracks.
* The US Department of Transportation expressed its interest in sharing a child care facility with the new barracks, since USDOT moved 6,000 employees to Near Southeast in 2007
without any sort of day care offerings.
* The DC Housing Authority seems open ("let's have a dialogue," David Cortiella said) to talking about the community center
site at 5th and K, which the Marines would probably want to gobble up if they decided to build the new barracks on the annex site. A community center would then be part of any shared-use facilities built. But DCHA has some timing issues that would need to be ironed out, the biggest being that they are required by the Zoning Commission to file building permits no later than July of next year.
* Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID talked about how the BID wants to see the RFP laid out, including urban design guidelines that would need to be adhered to: no blank walls, first-floor retail uses, no major surface parking, no loss of parks, no street closures (though he acknowledged that one might be tough), and preservation of existing historic buildings; using these guidelines on the 8th and 11th Street sites would be a big boon to the efforts to revitalize lower 8th Street (which David Perry of BRMS also talked about). He also mentioned making sure no land goes off the tax rolls as an important issue.
* The Barracks' commanding officer, Col. Paul D. Montanes
, put particular emphasis on his desire to integrate the barracks with the community, specifically mentioning the Navy Yard's brick wall as something he wants to avoid. He called this process a chance to build something special, not "an eyesore or a prison," and said that he considers the Marines at the barracks to be "ambassadors," and he wants them to be part of the community.
There was a lot more (maybe I should scan my illegible notes and post them!), but those were the big items; you can look through the materials
if you want to know more. (Never use me as a stand-in if this is a topic you're really interested in--go to the forums!) At the end of the meeting they handed out a draft Community Development Objectives document
, which will be the topic of discussion at the next forum, on Dec. 7 at Eastern Market's North Hall from 7 to 9 pm (preceded by another open house from 5 to 7 pm). If you want to submit your comments to the Marines about any aspect of the process, you can do so online
. (If you're just checking in, here's my previous posts
on the search so far.)
City Paper was there, too, and has a more general summary
, for people who maybe haven't been following along.