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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: March 2006
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48 Blog Posts
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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....
 

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.)
 

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
 

(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
 

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
 

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
 

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.
 

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.
 

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
 

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.)

 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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.

 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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.
 

More links, in case you're interested: "DC Has Designs on Stadium Site" from the Washington Business Journal, "City Unveils Design for New Stadium" from The Examiner, "Washington Ballpark Design Bucks 'Retro' Trend" from the Associated Press, "This is It?" and "Bland Stadium's Design Simply Another Strikeout" from WashTimes columnists Tom Knott and Deborah Dietsch (they don't like it, apparently ;-) ), and the WashTimes official piece, "Ballpark Plan Goes Public."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

The Post gives big coverage to the new stadium, with a spread on A1 accompanying the story "Lots of Glass, Capital Views." There are also companion pieces by Post architecture critic Benjamin Forgey (not a big fan of the design) and Sports columnist Thomas Boswell (who thinks it could be a great ballpark if the owners-to-be pony up a bit more dough than is currently budgeted for the project). There's also a huge Sports-front package of illustrations, plus the story "Form Follows Bottom Line", about the financial aspects of the stadium design. Also, David Nakamura, who covers the stadium beat for the Post, will be doing a Live Online Chat Wednesday at 1 pm. And of course, it must be remembered that initial renderings don't always end up being what gets built.... Also note that I've been tweaking my stadium page throughout the day, with additional renderings and photos.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Mayor Williams has unveiled the design of the new baseball stadium--I've added the renderings to my stadium page. Also, here is the Post piece describing the new stadium, as well as the renderings with descriptions.
UPDATE, 1:23 pm: Here's an AP piece about the design, including reactions from The Usual Suspects.
UPDATE, 2:36 pm: And the MLB.com story.
UPDATE, 2:57 pm: And the mayor's press release, and the DCSEC press release.
UPDATE, 4:37 pm: "Just a Nats Fan" Miss Chatter has some pictures from the unveiling, including photos of renderings from angles other than the four that have been released. Hopefully those will be posted on the DCSEC site before long (they seem to have made room for them!).
UPDATE, 6:50 pm: Take the stadium virtual tour.
UPDATE, 11:08 pm: Belatedly, here's the WashTimes "online exclusive" piece today on the stadium.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

Can't make it until 11 am Tuesday? Watch the video report on the new stadium from NBC 4, which has one very brief animation of the inside of the stadium, along with discussion from those who have seen the design. Remember, it ain't gonna be Camden Yards.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Here today, I am righting a wrong that has left me filled with guilt for years--I'm finally adding a page on my site about the Earth Conservation Corps's Old Capitol Pumphouse location, tucked away between Florida Rock and WASA on the edge of the Anacostia River. See the ECC's own web site for more information about what this group does for local youngsters and also for the river. (They certainly will have a front-row seat to the stadium!) And while I was out, I snapped a couple of shots to add to the WASA page as well as the Capper Seniors page, with construction on both #1 and #2 proceeding along. I also updated the Capper Seniors #1 slideshow. Just because.
UPDATE: I got on a slideshow roll this afternoon, and updated and enlarged the three existing ones (DOT, Capper Seniors #1, and Capitol Hill Tower), and then added two more Capitol Hill Tower slide shows, including one of the project's southeast corner, so you can watch the Star Market go from stand-alone to oppressed neighbor. So go play with them.

 

WTOP reports that Judge Zeldon "has granted the D.C. government possession of land for the new baseball stadium, clearing the way for construction to begin." The ruling says that the landowners must vacate the properties no later than March 27. As I understand it (it's not clear from this article, but I believe all will be revealed by late this evening), this ruling covers only 5 of the 16 properties seized by eminent domain. UPDATE: Here is the Post story, "5 Landowners Ordered to Quit Stadium Site." Alas, no graphic to go with the Post story, so you'll just have to deal with my incredibly low-tech map showing which parcels are referenced in today's order. The story also says the stadium's design will be unveiled by Mayor Bow Tie on Tuesday. UPDATE II: Here's the Washington Blade piece on the evictions, written from the standpoint that the O Street clubs were not part of this eviction order.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

There's more links and information available now about the possible designs unveiled on Wednesday for the new South Capitol Street Bridge.You can see fun 3D videos of the different designs at the South Capitol Street Bridge Study site. (Do you think we can infer from the number of different videos available for each option that the "Cable Stayed Swing Bridge" might be the designers' favorite?) There is also a press release from DDOT, saying that there will be a community meeting in April to solicit comments on the design, and also to give an update on the project. The draft Environmental Impact Statement will be released in June. And, a bit more detail on the interim work that will be done on the existing bridge: "Starting this summer, the bridge will be rehabilitated to ensure its continued safety and use. The work includes new lighting, better sidewalks and a new coat of paint. 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." Wow, wonder how that's gonna work?
 

With the stadium now a certainty, the Washington Blade piece "Eviction Imminent for O Street Gay Clubs" discusses councilmember Graham's plan to petition the zoning commission for a one-time waver of zoning rules to allow gay entertainment clubs displaced by a new baseball stadium to move to new locations. More tidbits: Club Washington's closing (mentioned in this entry) was because the building's owner reached an agreement to sell the property to the city rather than continuing to fight the eminent domain seizure. Also, apparently Judge Zeldon said at the hearing on evictions two weeks ago that she would give businesses 10 days to vacate the properties at the time she issues the eviction order (the article says she is expected to do so in the next week or two). And this somewhat surprising comment toward the end, referring to club owner Robert Siegel, who has been offered $7 million for his properties but is going to court to fight for a higher amount: "Some critics say that Siegels push for more money and his claim of the citys reported failure to seriously help him relocate his businesses may be insincere." Meow!
 

It hasn't been posted on their web site yet, but the agenda for Tuesday's ANC 6D meeting has a couple Near Southeast-related items: recommendations by Development Committee on Closing Of Public Alleys In Square 743N, a presentation by the DC Preservation League on a possible Historic Designation of Navy Yard Car Barn, i.e., the "Blue Castle" (the case is coming before the DC Historic Preservation Review Board on March 23); and a presentation of the 11th Street Bridges study. It's at 7 pm Tuesday, at 65 I Street SW. UPDATE: I've been told that additional items have been added, both of which are Near Southeast-related: a request for support by the Van Ness Elementary principal to keep the school open (I've heard in the past that it would be closing, but that it would be temporary, maybe things have changed?), and an update from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission about the new baseball stadium. Also, here are the minutes from the February meeting.
 

An article in MetroWeekly (DC's Gay and Lesbian Magazine) says that the Club Washington bathhouse has now closed, having received an eviction notice on Feb. 28 (not from the city, but for nonpayment of rent). But with the stadium now a go, it's only a matter of time before the rest of the gay-themed businesses on O Street close. MetroWeekly also has "Last Call on O Street," a Flash presentation that takes "one last look at some of the faces of O Street."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Nothing much new in the Post's "A Red-Cap Day for Williams"--Tony's happy, David Catania's unhappy, stadiums spur economic development, yadda yadda yadda...
More posts: Nationals Park
 

WTOP reports on four possible designs for the new South Capitol Street Bridge. The article is somewhat confusing (although maybe it's my stadium hangover), but it does say that construction of the "moveable" bridge won't begin until 2011 (for non-bridge-o-philes like me, "moveable" means a drawbridge, not that the bridge itself will move--the bridge needs to be able to allow ships to reach the Navy Yard). However, the existing bridge also needs work so that it can remain in service while the new bridge is built. There's also mention of a "first phase" that will convert South Capitol Street from an expressway to a boulevard--I think that's the improvements to South Capitol Street that are coming this summer, not as a beginning phase of construction in 2011. (I'd tell you more about the plans for work on South Capitol Street this summer, but alas the DDOT web site doesn't have anything, at least not that I can find.) And, if you use the bridge frequently, be prepared, the article says that it's possible it will have to be closed during August 2006. More as I find out.
 

Here we go! Time to play the Stadium Design Guessing Game, this time courtesy of Thomas Boswell's column: "'I hope the new park looks like the rest of the city with all the pillars and white stone,' said [veteran reliever Joey] Eischen. 'Go to the stadium and it would be a little bit like walking into the Lincoln Memorial, but it's your ballpark. Fans would love it. 'Come check it out.' Even Robinson could not resist playing what will soon be Washington's leading parlor game: amateur stadium architect. 'I hope our new ballpark sets a new trend and doesn't just follow one,' said Robinson. 'When Dodger Stadium arrived, I think it was the first big league park that looked out into the landscape -- at the [San Gabriel] mountains. Royals Stadium [in Kansas City] felt unique with the waterfalls. Camden Yards set a new direction, too.Just so long as you can see the U.S. Capitol from some spot in the ballpark, that's all people will talk about. When the new San Francisco ballpark opened, everybody raved about the views [of the Bay]. Well, you had to go in the upper deck to see the water. But that's what you heard about. Just make sure you can see the Capitol from some seats.'"

More posts: Nationals Park
 

Technically, it was a formality (although with this crew, you never know), but the final reading of the stadium lease agreement just passed the city council, 9-4. Will post stories here as they become available.
UPDATE, 9:04 pm: In the meantime, what's next, other than much rejoicing from some quarters and doom and gloom from others? The design should be unveiled soon, and will have to get approval from the Zoning Commission. The city will probably get back in front of Judge Zeldon ASAP to get the ruling to evict the landowners in the stadium footprint. The bonds to actually fund everything will be sold sometime in 4-6 weeks. And MLB will name an owner, maybe by opening day? Then there will be (perhaps in mid-April) news from the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation as to the plans for the Ballpark District--I would hazard a guess that they're going to try real hard to have at least the stretch along Half Street between M and L well-developed with restaurants and retail by Opening Day 2008. Which means that the city and WMATA need to figure out where that Half Street bus depot is going to go. And maybe by early May demolition will begin. And... and... and....
UPDATE, 10:28 pm: Here is the AP story about the votes. Jack Evans is quoted as saying that the city hopes to unveil the designs next week, with a groundbreaking in late April.
UPDATE, 11:26 pm: And the Post story.
UPDATE, 12:57 am: And the WashTimes story, which has this item: "Clark officials already have locked in prices on most of the stadium materials, including steel. Those prices remain valid as long as construction begins before June. Sports commission officials said the construction team can complete the stadium in time for Opening Day in 2008 provided they have access to the land soon. However, the stadium could open as late as July 31 of that season without penalty from the league."

 

The Design Build and Completion Guarantee Agreement for the D.C. Major League Baseball Park Approval Resolution of 2006 (i.e., the construction contract) just passed, 9-4. Next up, the final reading on the lease agreement.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

No, no vote yet. In the meantime, here's a Post DC Wire blog entry from 2:30, counting the votes and saying that there should be 7 for both the lease affirmation and the construction cap agreement. (But wonder of wonders, Marion Barry might vote no!)
More posts: Nationals Park
 

While we wait for the city council to get to the baseball stuff on today's agenda, I'll pass along this news item--according to the DC Land Sales database, on Feb. 3, "ICP PARTNERS POTOMAC 810 LLC" purchased 10 lots along Potomac Avenue between 8th and 9th streets for $9 million. This includes the boarded up apartment building on Potomac, the building on M Street housing Quizno's, and the lots along 9th and the eastern edge of L. No word yet as to what their plans for this spot may be, but it is a prime location, just across the street from the Latrobe Gate of the Navy Yard. (Note that ICP Parnters is part of 801 Virginia Avenue LLC group currently developing the 801 Virginia Avenue project.)

 

From Reuters: "Washington's planned waterfront baseball stadium cleared its last major obstacle on Monday after the city and Major League Baseball signed a 30-year lease that caps city-funded costs at $611 million. " The article says that the path is now cleared for CFO Gandhi to sell the bonds to fund the stadium, a process expected to take four to six weeks. It also says that the construction contract with Clark is expected to be approved by the city council on Tuesday.
UPDATE, 10:43 pm: And here is the AP's very similar piece, with the quote that makes me perk up: "Once the construction contract is approved, the city hopes to unveil ballpark designs next week." Because we haven't had enough acrimony already!
UPDATE, 8:38 am: Tuesday's Post has "DC Exempt on Stadium Overruns," focusing the mayor-signs-lease story on a letter from CEO Gandhi to the city council certifying "that the deal struck over the past few days between the mayor, the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission and baseball officials includes a legal "acknowledgement" of the council's mandate to cap public spending on the project at $611 million" and that "excess tax revenue may be used only with the council's approval," thereby erasing the last major doubts from council members about the deal. A new owner could be named by the end of March. The WashTimes article this morning is very similar to the others, although it does have a new tidbit that says MLB has allowed the new stadium to open as late as July 31, 2008 without penalty. It also says "council members said they had no plans to disrupt the deal." Let's wait until today's council session is finished before putting all our faith in that statement :-).
UPDATE, 8:45 am: And, just for the heck of it, here's the MLB.com story on the lease signing. And if you feel like watching today's council proceedings (you masochist!), here's the streaming video link.
UPDATE, 10:30 am: I'll add in this nice Baltimore Sun piece, which uses a good hook of the long-suffering fans hoping that this finally makes the Nats DC's team.
And, last but not least, here's the Mayor's statement on signing the lease.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

This might be just a touch more than anyone really needs to know, but that won't prevent me from passing along this item from the Clark/Hunt/Smoot A Joint Venture web site (the guys building the new baseball stadium), dated March 1: "Clark/Hunt/Smoot has awarded its first major subcontracts for Demolition and Mass Excavation. Demolition has been awarded to F&L/Wrecking Corp., A Joint Venture, consisting of the local F&L Construction and Wrecking Corporation of America. Mass Excavation has been awarded to Anderson/Urban, A Joint Venture, consisting of The Anderson Company and the local Urban Service Systems Corporation. Approximately 315,000 cubic yards of soil will be excavated from the 20-acre site." If you thought a lot of heavy trucks rumbled through Near Southeast now , just wait until the demolishing and the digging start...
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Lori Montgomery's DC Wire blog entry on MLB signing the lease agreement seems to have some of the hesitation that I was expressing last night, and it centers around MLB's condition that "Excess ballpark tax revenue earmarked for debt service will be available for stadium cost overruns." Linda Cropp is meeting with people from the Mayor's office and the Sports Commission this morning. So I feel good to not have popped the champagne *just* yet. Also, here is the WashTimes's piece from this morning's paper on the "deal."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

From the Post: "Major League Baseball today signed a lease for the Washington Nationals use of a proposed $611 million stadium project along the Anacostia Waterfront, clearing the way for the city to begin construction of the stadium and baseball to move ahead with the sale of the team, according to sources familiar with the process. Baseball delivered a signed document to the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission on Sunday afternoon, with a provision that the lease not become effective until the city begins its sale of the bonds to cover the stadium project, sources said. The document, which was delivered to the city attorneys representing the D.C. Sports Commission, also contains a number of other conditions, sources said." And,for my favorite part: "A major condition was that the document does not become legally binding if the city enacts further legislation that is contrary to the stadium funding plan it passed last month, sources said." What does it mean? Is it really good to go? I want to see a bit more information first. See you after the Oscars.
UPDATE, 9:44 pm: Here is the AP story, containing this line, which is why I haven't been jumping up and down with glee just yet: "DuPuy said the lease will go into effect if the Council agrees to several provisions, including an agreement that the city not enact any legislation that violates the terms of the lease." This whole process has made me a wee bit gunshy of declaring "Ballgame" until we've got some more details, but hopefully all will be well.
UPDATE, 11:53 pm: The updated Post story, "MLB Officials Sign Lease for D.C. Stadium," does seem to have a feeling that this is all done. In addition, I saw Adrian Fenty interviewed on ABC7, and he said even though it was a bad deal for the city, it's time to move forward. So perhaps this really is finally completed, although I might not be completely convinced until there are shovels in the ground :-).

More posts: Nationals Park
 

There doesn't appear to be any big news tonight on the stadium lease agreement, so I'll take the opportunity to point people to this morning's WashTimes article (which I looked for but didn't find earlier today), "Mayor Defends Proposal." It appears that everyone is waiting to find out if the city's attorney general will rule whether the legislation passed in February allows use of excess baseball revenue to pay for any cost overruns. Another interesting notion is that if baseball signs the lease agreement on Monday, the council's scheduled vote on Tuesday to extend the cap legislation for 225 days might be, well, superfluous: even if the council were to vote against the extension, the lease will have already been signed. And, says Mayor Tony, "Once a lease is signed, a lease is a lease. It's a contract. You can't authorize people to enter into a contract and then change the law to de-authorize it." Hmmmm. The WashTimes does say that "Some sources, however, said council could disrupt matters by rejecting the city's contract with the ballpark construction team, which also is up for approval Tuesday." Food fight!

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While at the Courtyard by Marriott today, I got some great overhead photos of Near Southeast; as I worked to put them on the site, I realized that it was also now time to launch separate pages for three developments that are in the pipeline: JPI's two residential projects on I Street, the mixed-use development project on Square 699N at 1st, Half, K, and L streets; and the Faison and Opus East 1st Street office and residential towers between L and M. Right now the pages are kind of short on specifics, and I don't have renderings of any of the projects, but with JPI and Square 699N looking to start construction later this year, I figured it was time to break them out into their own pages. Also, I added overhead shots to my Capper/Carrollsburg and North of M pages. (And, in looking at my 2006 pictures, have you all figured out yet that I got a new camera?)

 

Using all the power and pull I have at my disposal ("Uh, yeah, hi, I have this blog, and I was wondering... Hello? Hello?"), I got a sneak-preview today of the not-quite-yet-finished Courtyard by Marriott hotel at New Jersey and L. It's still a few weeks away from the grand opening, but they do have some of the rooms ready for showing, and I snapped a few photos of them, as well as a few shots of the still-under-construction outdoor courtyard space of the residential side of Capitol Hill Tower (scroll a bit down my CapTower page to see the new shots). The hotel has 200-plus rooms, meeting space, a pool and fitness center, a bar, and a small restaurant area that will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner to not only guests but the public as well. If you ever want to stay there, sacrifice a bit of space and ask for one of the upper-floor rooms on the New Jersey Avenue corner--they have a wall of windows with unreal views to the west, at least until all the other Near Southeast projects get off the ground.
 

"Navy Yard celebrates opening of O St. gate" describes the renovations to the 11th and O Entrance to the Navy Yard, now designated as the entry point for visitors and deliveries. (The renovated gate officially opened in November, but the ribbon-cutting ceremony was delayed to Feb. 23.)
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That screeching sound you hear is the brakes grinding on Mayor Bow Tie's attempt to use revenue left over from the debt service on the stadium to pay for cost overruns. In "D.C.'s Mayor Draws Fire on Stadium Plan," from Thursday's Post, city council members express, shall we say, displeasure over the idea. I think Tony has it right: "People feel betrayed on both sides," Williams said of the council and MLB. "There's bad faith on both sides. And I think the only thing everybody agrees on is they don't like me." Someone wake me up on Tuesday, when we see how this turns out; having to go through this uncertainty for a fourth time is just absurd.

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Thursday's Post has "Williams Digs Up More Stadium Cash", about a plan by Mayor Bow Tie to use "$20 million in excess revenue from a gross-receipts tax on businesses, a utility tax on businesses and federal buildings and taxes from concessions at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium [to pay for cost overruns on the new baseball stadium]. Those taxes were implemented last year to pay off debt service on the construction bonds. Williams aides have told baseball officials that revenue leftover after debt service can be used for overruns, if necessary." But MLB said it was unaware of the plan, council members either wouldn't comment or complained that it would violate the cap legislation. The doom and gloom portion of the article: "The latest negotiations appear to be the final chance to resolve the standoff before Monday, the deadline set by the council for MLB to endorse the spending cap. If baseball officials reject the cap, the stadium dispute could enter binding arbitration. That would cause a delay of as much as six months and open the possibility that the Washington Nationals could be moved elsewhere.Baseball officials have made it clear that they do not want the Nationals' owner to have to pay for cost overruns for the stadium along the Anacostia River in Southeast. Over the past two weeks, the Williams administration has sought to assure MLB that another source of revenue is available." Whee! Time to start up the rollercoaster again.
UPDATE, 12:37 pm: The AP reports: "Williams says he had a conference call with MLB officials today, and promises the deal will get done before Monday's deadline. The mayor says reports that he has dug up 20 million dollars to help cover cost overruns are inaccurate. He says everything he is considering is in compliance with legislation passed by the DC Council. Williams says developments over the past year have left feelings of bad faith and uncertainty on both sides. "
UPDATE, 1:57 pm: For a little bit of atmosphere as to how all this is playing, I suggest Thomas Boswell's column.
UPDATE, 2:36 pm: From early this morning, sorry I'm only now seeing it, is a DC Wire blog entry from David Nakamura with a tiny bit more detail (including that Kwame Brown is against the plan), although how this squares with the AP story from a few hours later, I don't know.

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