Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - February 2006
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Update on Stadium Land Fight
Feb 24, 2006 10:29 AM
The Post's DC Wire blog has an entry about today's court hearing on the city's request for the right to remove the property owners from the lands taken via eminent domain in the footprint of the new baseball stadium and take full possession of the land. Interesting tidbit: "Also, Zeldon requested that a representative of DC CFO Natwar M. Gandhi discuss whether the city is ready to issue construction bonds for the project. Gandhi has said he will issue bonds only after MLB endorses the council's spending cap, which would give final approval to the lease agreement. Under the council's legislation, MLB has until March 6 to make a decision about the spending cap and stadium lease. Whether Zeldon will rule on the case before MLB makes its position known is unclear." Also, this week's Washington Blade has a follow-up on the Feb. 9 eminent domain ruling, and what the gay clubs (and their owner Robert Siegel) are going to do.
UPDATE, 11:09 am: The AP is reporting: "DC Superior Court Judge Joan Zeldon says she's prepared to evict the owners once Major League Baseball agrees to a stadium lease with the city. That decision is expected by March sixth. Zeldon has ordered several property owners fighting to keep their land to go into mediation with the DC government before then. Otherwise, the judge says she will promptly sign the land over to the city once it's certain the baseball deal will go through. "
UPDATE, 1:35 pm: Here's the Post's story on the ruling, although the headline ("Court Rejects DC Bid for Private Land") makes the ruling seem far more ominous than seems to be indicated by the text of the story.
More posts: Nationals Park

South Capitol Street EIS Newsletter
Feb 24, 2006 10:11 AM
The South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement project has posted its Winter 2006 newsletter with the latest updates on the study. Two build alternatives have been identified and are briefly described--the less costly one would keep the South Capitol and M intersection in two levels, and would create a "traditional" intersection at Potomac Avenue. The second and more wide-ranging alternative would reconstruct South Capitol and M to be "at-grade", and would create a traffic circle interchange at Potomac Avenue (there are differences in the two plans for east side of the bridge as well). The various plans (the two build alternatives, plus a "Transportation System Management" alternative and a No-Build alternative) will be presented at public meetings later this winter, then there will be ANC meetings, environmental analyses, and finally the preparation of the draft EIS. In the meantime, DDOT will be discussing this project as part of its Feb. 25 Open House. Also, both the South Capitol Street EIS and the 11th Street Bridges EIS teams will present their pedestrian and bicycle concepts to a meeting of the Bicycle Advisory Council on March 8. See my South Capitol Street and South Capitol Street Bridge pages for more details, photos, links, etc.

Raze Permits, Street Closing Legislation for Stadium Area
Feb 23, 2006 12:39 PM

Boy, it's been a quiet week on the Near Southeast front. (Almost too quiet...!) But this week's DC Register provides some very small stadium-related tibits. First, raze permits for the stadium fooprint have been filed with DCRA. Second, the city council has scheduled a hearing for March 17 on Bill 16-628, "Closing of Public Alleys In Square 702, 703, 704, 705, and 706 Act Of 2006." Of course, tomorrow (Feb. 24) is the date for an expected ruling on whether the city can now force landowners out of their properties.

More posts: Nationals Park

Last Week's ANC 6D Meeting
Feb 20, 2006 1:34 PM
Voice of the Hill has a piece on the ANC 6D February meeting. Read it to see why it was the last ANC 6D meeting I will attend. My commitment to bringing you all the latest in Near Southeast does not extend to enduring this level of torture!
More posts:

The Stadium and Commercial Real Estate
Feb 20, 2006 7:19 AM

You'd have to dig to find it on, but the front page of Monday's Business section has a huge graph showing the trend in commercial real estate sales in Near Southeast (and Buzzards Point) from 2000 through 2005. (Full disclosure: I did the research for it.) From 2000 through September 2004 (when DC got the Expos and the city announced that a new stadium would be built in southeast, there were 32 sales of undeveloped commercial property, totaling just under $40 million. In the 15 months after this, there were 37 sales--for nearly $219 million. It also compares two properties, right next to each other, that sold five years apart--the 45,000-sq-ft lot at 80 M Street sold for $5.5 million in 2000 (and construction began on the office building there soon afterward), while the 82,500-sq-ft block just to its north was purchased by Ron Cohen in 2005 for $51.6 million. A slight spike in prices, one might say. There's an accompanying article by Dana Hedgpeth, "Contesting a Stadium's Power," with quotes from developers, real estate professionals, and city officials as to whether the land boom in Near Southeast can really be attributed to the stadium, or whether the development would have happened anyway (albeit more slowly).

More posts: Nationals Park

Council Vote on Alley Closing
Feb 19, 2006 7:33 PM
A little late to be posting this, but I'll still pass along that on Tuesday the 21st the City Council will be voting on Bill 16-585, which is the request by Faison to close two alleys in Square 743N (the block bounded by 1st, New Jersey, L and M). Faison is wanting to build two towers in that location.
UPDATE: Oops, I was a little quick on the trigger there. The bill was *considered* at the Feb. 21 meeting, and has now been put on the March 7 agenda for its first reading and vote, with the second and final reading on April 4.
More posts: 100 M, Onyx, Square 743N

New Capper Seniors Photos
Feb 19, 2006 4:33 PM
I've added a bunch of new pictures to my Capper Seniors page of Capper Seniors #1, the building at the bottom of the 6th Street exit ramp.

Hearing on Blue Castle Building
Feb 17, 2006 9:34 AM
On March 23, the DC Historic Preservation Review Board will be holding a public hearing to consider whether to designate the Navy Yard Car Barn at 770 M Street (more popularly known as the "Blue Castle") as a historic landmark, and also to consider nominating it to the National Register of Historic Places. The hearing will be at 10 am, Room 220 South, 441 Fourth St. NW. (Remember, you can always check my Upcoming Events calendar to see what meetings, hearings, and other Near Southeast items of interest are happening.)
More posts: Blue Castle, 8th Street

City Paper Article on Eminent Domain
Feb 17, 2006 9:32 AM
The Washington City Paper has a big article about the eminent domain proceedings for the land in the stadium footprint: "Wild Pitch."
More posts: Nationals Park

Lots of Other New Pictures
Feb 16, 2006 9:55 PM
In addition to the pictures I posted earlier from the site of the new baseball stadium, there's also new pictures now on my Capitol Hill Tower, DOT HQ, and 20 M Street pages. I've also got a few new shots and some additional information on the project at 801 Virginia Ave. (if you've been past there, you may have noticed that the buildings on the lot have been demolished.)

Lots of New Stadium Site Pictures
Feb 16, 2006 5:21 PM
I hope I didn't jinx things, but on the off chance that construction on the new baseball stadium could actually begin in March (wouldn't that be a hoot?!?), I went for a nice long walk today in the beautiful weather and took what I presume are my final "before" pictures of the stadium neighborhood. The first pictures are of the perimeter of the site, which we'll be able to watch as it transforms from gritty industrial zone to demolished construction site to a stadium. The photos at the bottom of the page are of some of the businesses and buildings that have been the residents of these blocks off South Capitol Street but which will be soon replaced with bleachers, bases, bullpens, and uselessly exorbitant skyboxes. (You've got to take the good with the bad, I guess.) Anyway, enjoy the new photos. UPDATE: Oh, and by the way, I almost got arrested while taking them, as a DC policeman got all tense that I might possibly be photographing the Southeast Federal Center (which I wasn't). Because, you know, it's a government installation, and if I take pictures of it, the terrorists win. It's going to be so much fun having power-mad officers with nightsticks whacking baseball fans for daring to look at the east side of 1st Street. He asked to see my photos, but when I said, "Sure, fine, whatever, I've taken 70 already, do you want us to just stand here and look at the screen?" he got flustered and I took the opportunity to saunter off. (I'll admit I'm really just miffed that I didn't get mistaken for a prostitute, like a co-worker did when walking in the same neighborhood a few weeks back.)
More posts: Nationals Park

Mayor Confident. Again. Still.
Feb 16, 2006 12:16 AM

The Washington Times has "Mayor Confident of Lease Approval": "Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday said he believes Major League Baseball eventually will sign off on a new lease for the Washington Nationals' new ballpark and that legislation calling for a cap on city spending for the project will not be sent back to the D.C. Council. He said negotiations involving the league and more than a half-dozen city leaders are ongoing but could be wrapped up by week's end." And, once again, it's all about the parking garage: "Private developers are expected to play a key role in covering the cost of the underground parking garage because its construction will allow for retail or office space to be built at street level. By gaining developer commitments to pay for the parking, city officials hope to lessen any fears from MLB that the league will be responsible for cost overruns. [...] The underground parking is estimated to cost $55 million, but only $21 million for parking -- enough for an above-ground garage -- is in the ballpark budget. 'I think the development community will pony up, or we just won't build [underground parking],' said council member Jack Evans."

More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Open House on Anacostia Transportation Issues
Feb 15, 2006 7:07 PM
DDOT and the Anacostia Coordinating Council are holding an "Anacostia Transportation and Development Projects Information Fair," on Saturday Feb. 25 from 9 am to 2 pm, at 2616 MLK Ave., SE. It will be providing details on the plans for the Anacostia area, which include 11th Street and South Capitol Street Bridges, the Anacostia Waterfront projects and Poplar Point, as well as other projects that aren't in my Near Southeast purview. There will be bus tours of the sites, and food will be provided. Pre-registration encouraged but not required.

Capper/Carrollsburg PUD Approved
Feb 15, 2006 2:05 PM
At last night's Zoning Commission hearing, approval was given for the second-stage PUD for Capper/Carrollsburg, along with some modifications to the first-stage PUD. This should be the last zoning hoop for EYA to leap through before the project gets underway. The Capitol Quarter web site now says "Coming Fall 2006." But is that when sales start, will any sort of construction begin before then? Right now, I don't know. I do hope, though, that the city gets moving and demolishes the rest of the vacant Capper buildings before EYA has to start marketing the new construction, because it appears some scary elements are squatting now in those buildings (fences have been bent back, and doors to the buildings are broken open).

DC CFO Says Stadium Lease Okay
Feb 13, 2006 11:40 PM

From The Post, "D.C. Finance Chief Approves Council's Stadium Spending Cap": "D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi yesterday endorsed a baseball stadium spending cap adopted by the city council last week, saying he has no objections as long as Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Major League Baseball approve the plan. In a three-paragraph letter to Williams (D) and D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D), Gandhi said the council's $611 million spending limit on city funds for the project will not jeopardize his bid to get an investment-grade rating from Wall Street on the construction bonds. Gandhi said he will issue bonds once baseball officials, who are conducting their own review of the spending cap, endorse the deal and sign a final copy of the stadium lease agreement." Next step, MLB. The article also discusses the path to making the emergency legislation permanent, and also addressing some "minor" issues that arose from the Midnight Madness Session a few days back.

More posts: Nationals Park

MLB Not Thrilled with Council Amendment
Feb 10, 2006 9:58 PM
"Stadium Cost Cap Concerns MLB" is Saturday's Post story, describing a letter from Bob DuPuy to Mayor Williams, as well as indications that Jerry Reinsdorf wants to take the city to arbitration, while DuPuy is more conciliatory. We also now appear to be worried about the funding of a parking garage. I think we need a snowstorm to make everyone take a take a few hours off from it all. UPDATE: The Washington Times story says about the same thing.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Building Permit Application for 70 I Street
Feb 10, 2006 3:31 PM

JPI is not wasting time with their plans for a big residential development at 70 I Street, SE; they're going before ANC6D on Monday, and the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment on March 14, and today they've submitted a building permit application for the project. Plans are for two towers and 700+ units; the company has said in various news articles that they plan to start construction this summer. As soon as I can get my hands on a rendering, I'll create a new page for the project.

More posts: 70/100 I, ANC News, jpi, zoning

Spending Cap Document Released
Feb 9, 2006 9:55 PM
The city council has released the four-page Stadium Cap amendment passed in the wee hours on Tuesday night. A 4:00 pm Post story about the release says that as of early today, baseball officials said they had not seen the legislation; don't know if that has changed.
UPDATE, 5:55 pm: An AP wire story says that MLB has now received the documents, but that they will not issue a response until Friday, at the earliest. But who knows, someone might whisper to someone, and we'll hear about it sooner.
UPDATE, 10: 55 pm: The print version of the Post's story is now available, now including some choice words from Bud Selig: " 'When it comes to demagoguery, a lot of what happened down there would have made Huey Long blush.' "
UPDATE, 2:20 am: And here is the WashTimes story, " MLB Receives Stadium Lease Papers." On the issue of a new team owner perhaps being on the hook for cost overruns: "Last year, MLB accepted bids from eight groups for the team, and settled on a $450 million sale price based on terms that included a ballpark fully financed by the city. If MLB accepts the cap legislation, it might then ask bidders if they would still meet that price, even if they are vulnerable to being responsible for cost overruns. 'This might knock that [$450 million] price right out the window,' said one bidder."
More posts: Nationals Park

ANC 6D February Meeting Agenda
Feb 9, 2006 5:35 PM

Let's see if I can remember how to post an entry that doesn't have to do with the stadium... ANC 6D has posted its February Meeting agenda, which has a number of Near Southeast items. First, there will be a presentation by the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation on their plans. Then there will be a (re?)discussion of the proposed alley closings on Square 743N petitioned for by Faison to allow for the construction of two towers on 1st Street. There will also be presentation on the BZA application for the planned JPI residential project at 70/100 Street SE, which should give us our first peek at what's being planned for that site. Finally, there is a public space permit application by the Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 1st and L streets SE for a sidewalk cafe (which might be just fancy talk for an outdoor seating area connected to any food service the hotel will be having). The ANC meeting is on Monday, Feb. 13 at 7 pm, at 65 I Street SW.

A Public Service Announcement
Feb 9, 2006 4:05 PM

I can't believe how many times and in how many places I've read in the past few days that the new baseball stadium will be built in Southwest DC, which is 100% incorrect. So let's all review the following, commit it to memory, and make sure to tell your friends, neighbors, enemies, local reporters, etc.:

The new Nationals baseball stadium will be built in SOUTHEAST DC.

It will NOT be built in the "Anacostia" section of Southeast DC; it will be near the Anacostia River, but will be WEST of the river, not EAST.

Thank you. We now return your to your regularly scheduled programming.

More posts: Nationals Park
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