Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - March 2006
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Courtyard by Marriott Open for Business
Mar 31, 2006 2:14 PM
I had heard rumblings that this would be the case, but a reader has now confirmed that the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L has opened today. For folks who work nearby, the Marriott will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the public as well as guests, and the bar will be open to all, too. As for the residential side of Capitol Hill Tower, folks who have already bought units are being given late April/early May move-in dates....

Star Market For Sale, On Craigslist
Mar 31, 2006 9:51 AM
Now THIS is interesting, someone has posted a For Sale ad on Craigslist for the Star Market, the little red building that stood its ground while Capitol Hill Tower grew up around it. A mere $950k, after being bought less than a year ago for $580k. (Thanks for the link to my site, guys.)

O Street Gay Clubs Closing This Weekend
Mar 31, 2006 7:30 AM
With a court order now in place requiring the six gay clubs to leave their stadium-footprint properties by April 4, this will be their last weekend of operation on O Street, says The Washington Blade. The article also chronicles the continuing difficulties for the clubs in finding new homes, and also gives some history of their 30-year run in Near Southeast.
More posts: Nationals Park

Council Hearing on Stadium Street Closings
Mar 29, 2006 9:39 AM
(A little slow with this one, apologies.) On April 3 at 10 am, the DC Council will hold hearings on B16-0628, "Closing of Public Alleys In Square 702, 703, 704, 705, and 706 Act of 2006." This covers the closing of streets and alleys in the footprint of the new baseball stadium, including portions of Half Street, O Street, P Street, and Potomac Avenue (?). See Page 5 of this PDF for more information.
More posts: Nationals Park

Car Barn Gets Historic Designation
Mar 24, 2006 9:56 AM
Yesterday the DC Historic Preservation Review Board approved the Historic Landmark nomination of the Navy Yard Car Barn (aka the "Blue Castle" at 7th and M). This means that the building has now been added to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites, and is also now protected under DC's Historic Preservation Law. What does this mean for the company that just paid $20 million for the property with plans to use it for retail? We shall see.
More posts: Blue Castle, 8th Street

Stadium Revenue Projections Study
Mar 23, 2006 7:44 AM
The Post reports on a study prepared for CFO Gandhi:
The Washington Nationals could generate $203 million in revenue during their first season in a new stadium, according to a District-commissioned report that includes projections that would make the franchise one of the richest in Major League Baseball. [...] The projections greatly exceeded the expectations of city officials and MLB executives. And several baseball officials, who had not seen the report, expressed skepticism about the estimates when contacted this week.
Last year the Nationals generated about $100 million at RFK; would they really be able to double that? I guess we shall see....
More posts: Nationals Park

Possible Closing of Van Ness Elementary
Mar 22, 2006 6:17 PM
Van Ness Elementary School, at 5th and M streets SE, is apparently on the city's list of approximately 30 schools it wishes to close by August 2008 as part of a financial restructuring of the DC Public Schools. I'm guessing that a developer or two might be willing to pay the city a tidy sum for the rights to that property on the southern edge of Capper/Carrollsburg.... Here's a Post story from a few days ago about the school closures initiative in general; and a Voice of the Hill blurb about Van Ness's principal going before ANC 6D looking for a letter of support for keeping the school open (the ANC wants more information before making a decision). The city is expected to make its decision in April.

Nation To Close July 15
Mar 22, 2006 4:08 PM
The rumors have abounded for some time, and now there's confirmation that the Nation nightclub at Half and K will be closing, with July 15 given as the last night of festivities. Potomac Investment Properties has had plans for some time to build a 250,000-sq-ft office building on that site--they filed a building permit application back in August, 2004, but it lay dormant for months and months and months. However, the permit has had some movement on it within the past month, so there clearly is movement toward beginning the new project. The Washington Blade has more on the closing, and on Nation's history. I don't know when exactly construction would begin. See my North of M page for photos, etc.

Last Stadium Landowners Evicted
Mar 22, 2006 9:54 AM
Both the Post and the Blade report that Judge Zeldon has ordered the eviction of the last remaining stadium landowner holdouts, including the gay bars on O Street owned by Robert Siegel. Siegel, plus the trash transfer station at 1st and N also covered under yesterday's order, have until April 4 to vacate. The Blade says that Siegel's clubs are planning special large-scale celebrations for the final weekend they are open.
More posts: Nationals Park

Some Demolition Coming to Capper
Mar 21, 2006 3:14 PM

Thanks to a tip from a reader, I checked out Capper/Carrollsburg this afternoon, and there are signs that some demolition is about to be started, on the block between 3rd and 4th and K and L, which is the one block where private homes have been existing alongside the abandoned housing. I don't know if this is the start of demolition for all of the remaining buildings, or if there was just a desire to get this particular batch of buildings taken down since they are right next to private homes, but one way or the other this is nice to see, because it's not good for a neighborhood to have so many deserted buildings still standing. And I would certainly imagine that EYA would not want the shells still there when sales start on Capitol Quarter this fall.

UPDATE, 10 days later: Not much progress has been made on the demolition site mentioned above, but I see now that initial work appears to also be going on in the block just to the north, which has nothing but abandoned Capper buildings on it (bounded by 3rd, 4th, I, and K). The roofs above the front stoops are being crow-barred off the buildings, and some piles of trash have appeared in the courtyards.
UPDATE: Also in the Spring-Cleaning department, the Star Market at 2nd and L has just gotten a fresh coat of red paint. Perhaps the new owner is planning on reopening the little bodega once Capitol Hill Tower opens its doors? (See the CapTower SE Corner slideshow to refresh your Star Market memory.)

NCPC April Meeting
Mar 20, 2006 2:29 PM
The National Capital Planning Commission has posted the agenda for its April 6 meeting, whichs includes an informational presentation on the new Nationals baseball stadium; the meeting will be at 401 9th Street, NW at 12:30 pm.
More posts: Nationals Park

On Luck Cafeteria Sold
Mar 20, 2006 8:59 AM
The On Luck Cafeteria on the northeast corner of 1st and M Street is the latest longtime small business to cash out in the Near Southeast Land Rush, having been bought in February for $4.5 million by Opus East, which is developing the 240,000-sq-ft 100 M Street office building. Today's Post has more about the sale, and also says that Opus East plans to start construction later this year.
More posts: 100 M, Square 743N

Another Stadium Reax Piece
Mar 18, 2006 9:01 AM
The Post does a man-on-the-street-reaction piece, "For Some Fans, Stadium Designers Whiffed Big-Time" (a pretty negative headline not particularly backed up by the story, although I guess the "some" is the hedge).
More posts: Nationals Park

A Few More Stadium Renderings
Mar 17, 2006 12:56 PM
Some more ground-level views of how the stadium is envisioned have trickled out, and I've added them to my stadium page, paired with photos of what those locations currently look like. It's a bit different :-).
More posts: Nationals Park

Ballpark District First Phases in 2009
Mar 16, 2006 11:30 PM

With the stadium now moving forward, attention will turn to the areas immediately surrounding it and the mixed-use developments the city wants to see in order to make the Ballpark District a year-round destination. In Friday's Post article "D.C. Stadium Likely to Open Without Entertainment Area," developers are quoted as saying that first phases probably won't be done before 2009. The four developers chosen by the AWC have hired urban planning firm Cooper, Robertson & Partners to create the master plan for the 40 acres of mixed-use development. In the meantime, Monument Realty says it expects to begin construction in early 2007 on the land it owns in the blocks just north of the stadium footprint. So, be prepared to walk through a lot of construction to get to the stadium in the early days. (On the other hand, the delays that everyone seems to anticipate will occur with the stadium could help get the ballpark district further along before the ballpark debuts.) Also, the article mentions that the plans for the stadium itself incorporates retail space within the park's facade along 1st Street, and also manages to sneak in another mention that the parking garages raising eyebrows in the stadium renderings will most likely disappear.

'Little Skippers' Program at the Navy Yard
Mar 16, 2006 3:13 PM
The Washington Navy Yard's U.S. Navy Museum has for the past year been running a once-a-month family-oriented program called "Little Skippers," teaching children about the history of the Navy. On Saturday the 18th at 1 pm the topic will be "'Shooting the Breeze'- Target Kites in World War II." After learning about the history of target kites the children will be given the supplies to make their very own target kites. The parents can participate, helping their children with their creations. The program is free, but requires an RSVP 24 hours in advance (see the story for details). You can also subscribe to a monthly e-mail from the museum.
More posts: Navy Yard

Next Stadium Step: Zoning (But Not Yet)
Mar 16, 2006 11:29 AM
For those of you filled with breathless anticipation.... I just called the DC Office of Zoning, and they say that as of yet a zoning application as not been filed for the stadium. Back in Fall 2005 an amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay (which covers the South Capitol Street Corridor and environs) was passed, which changed the zoning laws to allow for a baseball stadium to be built and set forth general requirements and regulations for the stadium, but the stadium itself is required to get Zoning Commission approval as well. Tick tick tick!
More posts: Nationals Park, zoning

70/100 I Street Variances Approved
Mar 16, 2006 8:29 AM
It doesn't appear on the web site yet, but the grapevine informs me that on Tuesday the DC Bureau of Zoning Adjustment approved JPI's variance application for their 700-unit, two-building project at 70/100 I Street. With a building permit application already submitted, this project would appear to be on track for the beginning of construction later this year. JPI's other residential project in Near Southeast, 901 New Jersey, will have its own BZA hearing on May 16. Hopefully now I can get some renderings of the projects.... UPDATE: And like magic, a new building permit app for 70 I appeared in the DCRA database today.
More posts: 70/100 I, jpi, zoning

More Stadium Reaction
Mar 16, 2006 8:20 AM
Other Day Two stories on the new baseball stadium, these from the WashTimes: "Ballpark's Look Could Be a Hit," "As Long as It's Here, The Ballpark's Grand," and the inevitable "Nats' New Stadium Among Most Costly."
More posts: Nationals Park

The Stadium and South Capitol Street
Mar 16, 2006 7:16 AM
The Post's Marc Fisher has a column today about the stadium and its environs, "South Capitol Street Will Have to Play Catch-Up": "But the plans released this week are a vision of the future, and indeed the District has an impressive concept for a new Anacostia River bridge and a reconfiguration of South Capitol Street that would replace the ugly ramp with green space. The truth, however, is that for quite some years, the stadium will come smack up against the city's befouled underside." He also was wise enough to catch the sleight-of-hand in the stadium design drawings: "[B]oth Metro riders and motorists will approach from the north, where, rather than a grand entrance, the architects offer a cramped plaza sandwiched between two boxy parking structures. But wait: Those boxes are really a political ploy and a sales pitch. The D.C. Council nixed the money for underground parking, but designers nonetheless intend to put the parking below ground, as they should. The ghastly parking towers are in the drawings to scare the Nationals' new owner and developers into coughing up the $28 million needed to dig the hole for parking; investors would then get the right to build retail, residential or offices above the garage." His Raw Fisher blog has a follow-up about the column as well. (And gives this site quite the nice shout-out, too.)
Just as a follow-up, last Friday I posted an entry (lost in the stadium avalanche) about a DDOT press release describing the interim work to be done on the Frederick Douglass Bridge this year, including: "In addition two blocks of the elevated viaduct will be removed and replaced with an at-grade roadway, greatly improving the appearance and pedestrian access along South Capitol Street." This means that they'll somehow jigger the ramp (pardon the technical talk) to start/end at Potomac Avenue, rather than O Street, so that the cool knife-edge portion of the stadium won't be nestled next to a viaduct for four years or so. Now this I can't wait to see.
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