peek >>
Near Southeast DC Past News Items: March 2007
In the Pipeline
Homewood Suites Hotel
1111 New Jersey
Yards/Parcel A
1244 South Capitol
Florida Rock
Ballpark Square
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Southeast Blvd.
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
New Barracks
Akridge/Half St.
Monument/Half St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
Posts on Food/Fun
Retail News
Restaurants/Nightlife
 

Ads by HillAds
  
Rearview Mirror
Blog Archive
Demolished Buildings
Historic Photos & Maps
Past Events Timeline
On the Hill, '59-'69
From Above, '49-'08
Gas Prices Gallery





Go to Full Blog Archive
55 Blog Posts
Go to Page: 1 | 2 | 3

I gave you inside-the-ballpark photos on Monday, and today there's a new set of exterior shots of the Nationals baseball stadium (note that I've now separated the interior and exterior stadium photo galleries into separate tabs). Remember that clicking on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon will show you all uploaded photos of that angle, not just the oldest and newest (so you can watch the stadium construction change in two-week intervals). I also "freshened" the Photo Archive's database of photos at all the intersections around the perimeter of the stadium, giving you additional viewpoints not shown in the Construction Gallery: check out 1st Steet at N, N Place, O, and Potomac; Half Street at N and Potomac; and South Capitol Street at N, O, P, and Potomac. (You can also browse the archive by map to pick and choose locations.)
I also did what is probably the final major photo update for 20 M Street, and updated some other intersections as well--Half and M, Cushing and M (both of which are part of the Monument Half Street footprint); Cushing and L; and 1st and M and 1st and L, home of the construction sites for 100 M Street and Onyx on First, which each got updated as well, although the pictures aren't particularly exciting (still just a big hole in the ground). Or you could just look at all the photos I took today, then click on the intersection link if you want to see previous photos.
And now, I must go watch my Gators.

 

Thanks to the fine folks at DDOT, I've now gotten a hold of some of the documents from yesterday evening's public meeting on the stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP). First, here's the slides presented by consultants Gorove/Slade about the TOPP, with maps and charts listing expected transit/auto/pedestrian traffic volume and flow. There's also an FAQ on parking, traffic, and other issues for Southwest and Near Southeast residents. In addition, DDOT handed out an FAQ on the Douglass Bridge improvements going on over the next few months, and they also had a number of display boards with information on the plans for the South Capitol Street corridor and other regional traffic issues. If you live in Southwest, or Near Southeast, or Capitol Hill, or Anacostia, or even Prince George's County, or if you're a baseball fan planning to come to the games, I suggest taking a close look at these.... (Some of them are kind of big files, be patient if they take a moment to load.) UPDATED to correct the link to the Gorove/Slade presentation; there's also now more slides (from DDOT and WMATA) available here.
 

From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal: "CNN and a couple of law firms are sampling the wares in Southeast DC by taking tours of new office buildings cropping up around the new baseball stadium. No leases have been signed yet, but the buzz of these high-profile tenants looking at Southeast as an option is quite a victory for a neighborhood formerly known as an industrial zone crawling with seediness and crime. [...] Also, rents in Southeast are expected to be around $40 per square foot for full service, $20 to $30 cheaper than new or renovated buildings in the Central Business District." Of course, right now, "tours of new office buildings" means 20 M Street, the only new office building currently completed and with plenty of space to lease. But by 2009 there will also be 100 M, 55 M, and probably 250 M and 1111 New Jersey. And maybe a couple more, depending on what happens within the next few months at Square 699N, Square 697 (Nation), and the Willco site at 83 M. (The article fudges a bit by mentioning 1.8 million square feet of office space was under construction in Near Southeast back in December, but, well, 1.35 million of that was the DOT HQ.) UPDATE: Added the link to the story, since WBJ was nice enough to bring it out from behind the pay wall.
 

It was a tough call between swallowing a couple of bottles of hydrochloric acid or attending tonight's public meeting on the stadium's Transportation Operations and Parking Plan, but luckily for you my JDLand duties eventually won out. I'm hoping to get electronic versions of the slide presentations, so I'm going to just type up my notes for now, and hope that the details come later; besides, much of it will sound familiar to folks who read this blog regularly. There were presentations by DDOT and WMATA about their plans for the area, as a warm up for the discussion by traffic planners Gorove/Slade on the TOPP.
DDOT gave an overview of all of its near-term plans for Near Southeast--this includes the additional ramps to be added to the 11th Street Bridges, which already has funding and is moving at (bureaucratically speaking) lightning speed, and should be done by 2010. Then the planned improvements to South Capitol Street and the South Capitol Street Bridge were profiled, including this summer's festive demolition and lowering of the northern portion of the bridge. The current bridge itself will also be painted, and will get new lighting and pedestrian rails (more like the Pennsylvania Ave. bridge). Then there will be the streetscape improvements to South Capitol, Potomac, N, 1st, and I Streets, SE, all before Opening Day 2008, with resurfacing, new streetlights, curbs, etc. There will also be some small changes to the South Capitol and I intersection to try to improve the flow, although there are no current plans to expand the ramps to/from the freeway.
Next up was WMATA, giving a description of what's being done to expand the Navy Yard Metro station in advance of the throngs of baseball fans. The station's capacity is being upgraded to 15,000 customers per hour (the same as Stadium-Armory) from the current 5,000, turnstiles and Farecards machines will be moved to street-level, elevators will be added to the west entrance, and more, all while Monument Realty's 55 M Street office building is built on top of the station. The west entrance will be one-way outbound before games and one-way inbound afterwards, while the east entrance will remain two-way. Metro will also put in place the same plan of 9-13 extra trains after each game that they currently do for games at RFK, and that the system's recent receipt of nearly 190 new rail cars will also help increase capacity over the next 18 months. They are also looking at shuttles to other stations after games, and that the possibility exists that DDOT could expand the DC Circulator bus routes that currently end in SW to include the stadium area, with a route down M Street, up 8th, and over to Union Station, but that's not decided yet.
Gorove/Slade went through a lot of numbers, but I think in some ways didn't quite emphasize what the people attending wanted to hear most, which is that non-resident gameday street parking will be prohibited in basically all residential areas in Southwest and Near Southeast south of the freeway, and they'll be using the model that's been being refined in the Hill East neighborhood around RFK for the past few years (residents receive Event Parking permits to display, and also one guest parking permit per household). They estimate that for a sellout crowd 19,000 people will come via transit (16,000 through the Navy Yard station), 750 will arrive by charter buses, 400 by taxi, 3,400 on foot or bike, and 13,600 by car (in 4,700 vehicles). They indicated that the Nationals themselves are in charge of coordinating the parking negotiations with various sites, and a slide showed that the Nationals have identified about 5,200 parking spaces that can be available (well above the 4,700 vehicles anticipated to be coming to games). Only 185 of these spaces are in Southwest (between Half and South Capitol north of M); the rest are all in Near Southeast. While there are possibilities for parking in Buzzards Point, currently it appears the Nationals are not anticipating using that area for parking. No decision has been made yet on using the RFK parking lots and shuttle buses.
In terms of pedestrian flow at game time, many of the surrounding sidewalks are to be upgraded as part of DDOT's streetscape improvements. There will be traffic control officers at the major intersections, and Half Street SE south of M will be closed entirely to vehicle traffic, while some lanes on N will be closed; also there will be no parking at all on M Street or on 1st Street north of M on gamedays.
But what all the planners want is for people to come to games via public transit.
The questions from the audience centered mainly around the impact on the residential streets of Southwest and Capitol Hill, with great concerns about parking for visitors ("what if I'm having a party?") on game days. I imagine there will be more of the meetings, with more consternation, yet to come. And I also imagine that Opening Day 2008 will be rife with tales of traffic back-ups, transit snafus, and lost suburbanites unable to find their parking lots. And then the plans will be tweaked and re-tweaked, just as they have been around RFK for the past few years.
As I said, hopefully I'll have the slides and some other materials to pass along within the next few days. If you have concerns that you want to air, be sure to contact the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, and cc ANC 6D (office@anc6d.org) so that the ANC can track the feedback.
UPDATE: See my entry with the slides from the meeting, now posted on my site.

 

I've added the Navy Museum's slate of public programs for the month of April to my Upcoming Events calendar--nice weather to stroll down to the Navy Yard, you can even walk on the completed section of the Anacostia Riverwalk (after you promise your first-born to the guards at the entrance gates) and gaze longingly westward past the fence toward what will eventually be the Waterfront Park at the Yards.
More posts: Navy Yard
 

Goings on about town.... Earlier this week the construction crane arrived at the Onyx on First/100 M Street construction site, signaling the beginning of the end of the digging-down phase and the start of the building-up phase. (Though these two projects are being developed by different companies, they are being built concurrently--that's synergy, and cost savings!) Two blocks over, a big sign has gone up at 2nd and M advertising Washington Canal Park--the graphic on the sign is the same one I found a few weeks back in the Capitol Riverfront BID executive summary. And, today, fences have been erected around Square 699N, the entire block bounded by Half, K, L, and 1st, the former home to Wet/Edge and various other small businesses. Permits appear to be in place for demolition and excavation, so with the fences up I'd expect something to start happening soon--now if only the Cohen Companies would tell us WHAT! You can see a few new shots on my Square 699N and Canal Park pages, or here in the Photo Archive all at once. UPDATE: I should add that, back in September 2005 when Ron Cohen purchased Square 699N, it was reported that the block would be developed with 650 condos, a hotel with condos, a stand-alone 250,000 sq ft office building, and retail. But there's been little reporting since on his plans.
 

A reminder about Thursday's big neighborhood meeting: "The public is invited to learn about the recommendations for the Traffic Operations & Parking Plan (TOPP) and to discuss issues pertaining to traffic planning for the new Ballpark District and nearby neighborhoods. Representatives from the DC Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Police Department, the Washington Nationals and the Sports Commission will be on hand. The meeting runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on March 29 at Southeastern University, 501 I St., SW. For information, call the new Ballpark Hotline at (202) 608-1112 or visit www.washdcsports.com."
UPDATE: You can now read my summary of the meeting and also see the slides.
 

Today I've added some expanded information on The Yards, the 44-acre redevelopment project by Forest City Washington on the Southeast Federal Center site (behind DOT on M Street, stretching from 1st Street to the Navy Yard at Hull Street, and down to the Anacostia River). They are beginning to move forward with their first phase of projects, which will start this spring with the building of roads and infrastructure within the site (we should see new signs for The Yards at 1st and N and other locations relatively soon). In early 2008, work should begin on the first two big projects, which are the redevelopment of Building 167 (the old Boiler Maker's shop on Tingey between 3rd and 4th) into a retail building, and the rehabilitation and expansion of Building 160 across the street (the Pattern/Joiner shop) into a residential building; these are expected to be completed in 2009. This first phase will also include the renovation of Building 202 (the Gun Assembly Shop) at 5th and M into another residential building; this site (which I long ago dubbed the "JD Lofts") will be a joint project between Forest City and PN Hoffman. Also, expect to see demolition within the next few months of the beige brick building at 1st and N across from the Nationals ballpark, so that this parcel can be turned into stadium parking, at least for a few years until office buildings are built there. Rounding out Phase 1 will be the construction of the Waterfront Park at the Yards, a 5.5-acre public space along the banks of the Anacostia, which is just now starting to be designed. This will be connected to Diamond Teague Park south of 1st Street by a floating pedestrian bridge, which sounds kind of cool.
You can get a better feel for all of this by looking at the map and photos I've added to a new Yards Overview tab, and then also look through the photos I have of the site, or use the Photo Archive to check out the perspectives at 1st and N and along Tingey at New Jersey, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and Hull.
 

An e-mail has gone out to folks who have registered with the Capitol Quarter townhome development announcing that the hours of the sales office at 4th and L have been temporarily cut back to 11 - 6 Saturdays and Sundays, with weekday hours by appointment. "These new hours are only temporary - once the release date of our next homesites is known, our office will return to being open 11 am to 6 pm daily." Hopefully there will be news on the next release of units by the end of spring; the first 40 houses (market-rate and workforce-rate) were snapped up in the blink of an eye, and it'll be interesting to see if the level of interest is the same on the next go-round.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

From DDOT, a drill everyone should be getting familiar with: "As part of ongoing improvements to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will continue bridge repairs this weekend, starting Friday, March 30. Following the morning rush hour this Friday, DDOT will temporarily close the inbound lanes on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Inbound bridge drivers will be directed to follow signed detours on Interstate 295 North to the 11th Street Bridge - providing direct access into the District. The inbound lanes will be closed beginning on Friday, March 30 at 10 a.m. until as late as Monday, April 2 at 4 a.m. All lanes will be reopened in time for the Monday morning rush hour."
Why? (in case you're just joining us) "The off-peak closures and repairs are needed to prepare for a major rehabilitation that will take place on the Frederick Douglass Bridge in July and August - at which time all lanes on the bridge will be closed in both directions. [...] The one-direction-only weekend closures on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge are necessary to allow workers to safely replace bridge expansion joints with new joints (joints allow a bridge to flex when temperature changes occur). Joint replacement work requires extended periods of uninterrupted work hours, as it involves removing existing joints from the concrete bridge deck, making necessary repairs, installing new joints and placing concrete to reconnect the existing bridge deck to the new joints. Under-the-bridge steel repair work and painting also will occur. The weekend closures and repair work, which are scheduled to conclude in early June 2007, also may require periodic single-lane closures during weekday non-peak travel times.
"During the July-August closure, the northernmost portion of the bridge will be lowered to become an at-grade roadway with a new intersection at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. Nearly three blocks of elevated roadway - which currently act as a barrier to access across South Capitol Street - will be removed and replaced with at-grade intersections that will help knit the neighborhood together. Additional improvements will occur such as paving and painting the entire bridge."
See my Upcoming Events calendar for the planned closures from now through June.

 

On March 26 29 at 6:30 pm, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission is holding a Public Meeting on the Nationals Ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, which should be a festive meeting-of-the-minds between the public and representatives of DDOT, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Nationals, and the DCSEC. See the front-page story from the April Southwester for more information. UPDATE, 3/27: It would help if I could *read* - the meeting is this Thursday, March 29, not yesterday.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park
 

A few items of Near Southeast interest were on last night's Zoning Commission agenda. First, the commission unanimously approved the modification to the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD to change the makeup of Capper Seniors #2 (now nearly completed at 4th and M) from all units for low-income seniors to add some workforce-level (30-60% median income) units as well. Seniors will have first preference, followed by former Capper/Carrollsburg residents who meet the income requirements; because there are no one-bedroom units in the public housing portion of Capitol Quarter, making this switch at Capper Seniors #2 means that former residents in need of a one-bedroom have the chance to move back this year, instead of waiting for 2011 when the multifamily mixed-income buildings get built along 2nd Street. In return for this modification, the developers agreed to amendments recommended by the Office of Planning that additional shared parking spaces be created within three blocks of the building, and that two ride-sharing cars be located at Capper/Carrollsburg (also within three blocks of Seniors #2). So, look for more news in the coming weeks on the "Ballpark Apartments".
The commission also unanimously approved a modification to the office building at 100 M Street that needed to be undertaken because their sidewalk along 1st Street is being narrowed thanks to a decision by DDOT to widen 1st Street north of M to allow for two traffic lanes, two parking lanes, and a bike lane. The commissioners were not happy with DDOT's move, lamenting that the ZC's attempts to create walkable communities with vibrant ground-floor retail and outdoor seating space can get thwarted by a DDOT decision like this one. But the commissioners also agreed that the 100 M developers shouldn't be penalized for DDOT's mischief.
There was supposed to be a final vote on the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for 1325 South Capitol, the new residential building across from the Nationals ballpark, but that has been deferred to the commission's April 9 public meeting.

 

There was a media tour of the Nats ballpark site today, and I was lucky enough to be part of the group. I'm plowing through the pictures right now, and will have a bunch posted soon--including not only from concourse level from way up in the upper deck. So keep checking back. UPDATE: Here's the big pile of new photos from inside the stadium, taken from the concourse level, the club level, and the upper deck in right field. I made the images larger than usual, so the page may be slow to load for you. I also uploaded a few minutes of video to YouTube, but the quality is pretty poor. (My crack staff of photographers and videographers weren't multitasking real well.) I will eventually incorporate some of these pictures into my Stadium Construction Gallery, but I wanted to get them posted first.
I will be updating this entry with links to the tour coverage in the local media as it comes out--Nationals President Stan Kasten gave a shout-out to my web site during his remarks, we'll see if it makes it on-air....
UPDATE: Here's the story from WTOP, with some accompanying video, too.
UPDATE II: The Post's afternoon story focuses less on the tour and more on Mark Lerner's positive pronouncements that the parking situation: " 'We're working hard on it,' Lerner told reporters during a tour of the stadium construction site in Southeast Washington. 'We have a team of people who are working on it. . . . All the local developers around the stadium are being very cooperative. We're very optimistic we'll be able to secure additional parking.'
UPDATE III: Here's Fox5's story on the stadium, very nicely done. And I'll add here the story from MLB.com, which also nicely captures what clearly was a fair amount of surprise from the tour attendees that the park was so far along (if only there were a web site with frequent updates on the progress!) and that it appears headed toward being quite a crowd-pleaser. (Although note that the MLB story is wrong when it says that home plate has already been placed--there's still four feet worth of dirt to be excavated before they get down to field level.)
UPDATE, 3/27: And the Examiner weighs in.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Near Southeast's representative on the city council has launched his web site--go visit TommyWells.org for community news and updates on the political process for all of Ward 6.

More posts:
 

On a dreary, marathon-tinged Saturday morning, it was nice to be able to check the goings on along Half Street without having to leave the house, thanks to the Stadium Construction Cam--and, lo and behold, on Camera 2 starting at around 8 am, I was able to watch the demolition of the last building on the Monument Half Street lot, the gray garage at 68 N Street, which is now memorialized as #117 on the Demolished Buildings lineup. This building is where the glorified alley known as Cushing Street will be punched through to N Street as part of Monument's project--the apartment building along N Street will actually be built above and around the Cushing Street right of way, leaving just enough space for vehicles to squeeze under and through.

More posts: Monument/Half St.
 

Demolition has begun of the old Capper Community Center at 5th and K--this will eventually be replaced with a new two-story 28,000-sq-ft center (see renderings on my page) that will include a daycare facility for 66 children, a rec center, a computer lab, a gym, a game room, and meeting/classrooms. I'm told that the Spring 2007 issue of Architecture DC has an article about the center and some renderings, but it's not online and I haven't seen the print version yet; I'll post it here when it's available on their site. I'll add photos of the demolition soon.
UPDATE, 3/24: Oops, meant to mention that the Community Center's demolition was completedearlier this week. Its page has been updated again with photos, and it's now Addition #116 to my Demolished Buildings page.
More posts: Community Center
 

For all of you who can't get enough tidbits about parking enforcement, vector control, and stoplight resynchronization, I'm pleased to tell you that the DC Service Requests feed has come back online after a short hiatus. (And all those parking enforcement entries should serve as fair warning to incoming DOT staffers who are thinking "Oh, I'll just park on the side streets.")
In additional data feed news, I've upgraded the Building Permits feed into an home-brewed hybrid--not knowing whether DC ever plans to add the pending applications to the RSS feed, I decided to take matters into my own hands and expand the city's daily RSS feed of approved permits and with records on new-but-not-yet-approved applications that I'm scraping from DCRA's Building Permit Status database. The pending applications contain almost no information other than the address and date, but it's better than nothing.

More posts:
 

From this week's Washington Business Journal print edition (online for subscribers only), a story about water taxi service being established between Alexandria, Georgetown, and the new National Harbor also addresses the possibilities of expanding the service to the stadium area:"[When the first segment of National Harbor opens in 2008], the Nationals' new baseball stadium in Southeast is expected to be ready, and waterfront planners are looking into building a dock system near the Earth Conservation Corps offices on First Street SE [note from JD: this is the Diamond Teague Park location]. To date, representatives of the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. haven't had any discussions with Peterson or Potomac Riverboat about running the water taxis there for baseball games. But that should change in the coming weeks, says Nia Francis, a project director with AWC. Preliminary research has shown that the demand for a landing near the ballpark is contingent on commuter traffic and other uses for the dock, Francis says. An arrangement with a dining cruise operation will also be examined. 'We're in the midst of a feasibility study for building a landing down there,' Francis says. 'I'm sure we will approach [Potomac Riverboat] while the study continues.' "

 

The closure of the inbound lanes of the South Capitol Street/Frederick Douglass Bridge planned for this weekend has been postponed until next weekend (March 30-April 2) because of tomorrow's National Marathon, which has the bridge on its route.
 

From today's Examiner: "Mayor Adrian Fenty said Wednesday he supports consolidating two quasi-government agencies charged with developing major interior and waterfront properties and bringing their responsibilities under his authority. With Fenty's backing, the days appear numbered for the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. and the National Capital Revitalization Corp. as they exist today. The D.C. Council is considering a bill that would dissolve both agencies and shift their duties to the office of Neil Albert, Fenty's deputy mayor for planning and economic development. 'We can support that legislation if it would consolidate the functions of the AWC and NCRC under the deputy mayor's office,' Fenty said of the legislation, introduced by Ward 2 Council Member Jack Evans. Restructuring the corporations was a top priority for Fenty in his first 100 days, and a report analyzing various structural alternatives was delivered to the council this week. But the mayor had yet to take a position on Evans' bill, now under consideration by the council's economic development committee. 'The likelihood is that the organizations will be consolidated in some fashion and it will be under the control of the mayor,' Evans said."
UPDATE, 3/23: Here's another roundup of where the AWC and NCRC stand, from Voice of the Hill, with a focus on how Ward 6 residents and representatives are viewing the issue.
 

Perhaps harkening back to the days when their new stadium had everyone excited, today's Baltimore Sun profiles the new Nationals ballpark ("Future Distinctly on Rise for Nationals"). " 'Just remember what we've gone through trying to get baseball here, and the cost of the ballpark, and remember that Washington had baseball and then it didn't,' said Chartese Burnett, a Nationals vice president who grew up in the area. After such a turbulent ride to get a team, Burnett said, the city is going to breathe a giant, collective sigh of relief when the new park opens. 'It's going to be like 'Wow, this has been a long time coming,' she said. " The article mentions the design features that have previously gotten a lot of attention, like the cherry trees in the outfield and the views of the Capitol (for now) from the upper decks--but they might want to ease up on making a big deal about the oval-shaped clubhouse, from what I understand there's about 10 non-square locker rooms in MLB already....

More posts: Nationals Park
 

From the Examiner: "The District of Columbia could get its first gold-rated 'green' building courtesy of Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner, the family announced Wednesday. The 190,000-square-foot office building, located at 20 M St. SE near the under-construction Nationals baseball stadium, was constructed to match the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold standards for environmentally friendly buildings. The building, the first built under Lerner Enterprises' Green Initiative Program, will be submitted for certification from the Building Council, officials announced. Projects are awarded certified, silver, gold or platinum certification depending on the number of credits buildings receive under the Building Council's grading system. The Lerners have endured criticism from some environmental activists for not including enough green materials in the new Nationals stadium."
More posts: 20 M
 

Friday's Washington Business Journal print edition included "Development agencies fated for major shake-up", surveying the landscape in the wake of the council hearings on the fate of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation. (I'm a few days behind on this, and it's a subscription-only article, so I'm just failing all over the place.) "No decisions have been made yet, but several D.C. Council members have made it clear they're not pleased with the work done by the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. and the National Capital Revitalization Corp. At recent hearings, complaints were voiced about their lack of progress on several projects and what council members called inconsistent leadership and poor communication with the city. [...] At the very least, AWC's operations appear poised for a takeover by the city. Neil Albert, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, was recently named interim CEO of the agency and says many of its projects already require the city's cooperation. [...] [S]everal council members say they haven't heard a compelling argument in favor of leaving the agencies alone. Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, says the city today is better equipped to handle the agencies' operations and development portfolios." As for those supporting the AWC and NCRC, you can read in the April Southwester (page 5) the testimony of ANC 6D vice chair Andy Litsky. When will a decision be made? Dunno.
 

From the Metropolitan Police Department: "This is to advise the public that the National Marathon will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2007. To facilitate this event, parking and vehicular traffic restrictions will be in effect on certain roadways. The race is scheduled to begin at approximately 7 am. All streets affected by the National Marathon are expected to be reopened at approximately 2 pm, depending on prevailing conditions." A peek at the Course Map (PDF) shows that M Street SE, 8th Street SE, and South Capitol Street are on the course, so be prepared for road closures and other difficulties if you're coming into Near Southeast or anywhere within the course route.
More posts:
 

Monday's Examiner ran a piece called "S.W. Real Estate Market Dead, Agent Says", trying to tie what one realtor says is a soft market in Southwest to a supposed larger idea of difficulty selling near the new Nats ballpark. Putting aside that a photo caption says (incorrectly) that the stadium is in Southwest (I'd like a dollar every time that mistake gets made--geez people, look at a frickin' map), I think people should be aware that the Southwest and Near Southeast markets are vastly different, even if they're only separated by a single (albeit wide) street. Near Southeast is now an emptied-out neighborhood basically being rebuilt from scratch, while Southwest is an established residential community with a lot of (somewhat dated) housing stock and not many amenities, at least not until Waterside Mall and the Southwest Waterfront get redeveloped. So it might be hard to entice people to buy in the area of Southwest close to the stadium where the homes are older and the neighborhood slightly sketchier when on the horizon they can see brand new townhomes or condos surrounded by retail spaces coming down the pike in 18 months or so. Southwest has gotten many raw deals in this city's history, and right now they may continue to see the ballpark-related redevelopment rush pass them by somewhat--but if the developers of the new Southwest Waterfront and Waterside Mall can navigate the sometimes treacherous road of getting buy-in from Southwest residents, the possibilities are certainly there for Southwest to have its own renaissance, completely separate from a ballpark that many of its residents didn't want as a neighbor anyway.
UPDATE: A correspondent rightly notes that a distinction should be made between the residential area of Southwest and Buzzards Point, the gritty industrial area south of R Street SW; Buzzards Point actually has more in common with Near Southeast (old industrial, no residential, scramble by developers looking to redevelop and bring in condos, mixed-use, etc.) than it does with its brethren directly to the north.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

There hasn't been any announced movement on either office building planned for Square 697 (the block bounded by South Capitol, K, L, and Half), but I decided it was time to build (or, more accurately, I got guilted into building) a new page detailing 1015 Half Street and 1000 South Capitol. 1015 Half is the 440,000-sq-ft building planned for the site of the old "Nation" nightclub, and since they do at least have a "Coming Soon" banner hung on the north facade and have applied for raze permits, they get the additional honor of being added to the main projects map on my home page (where space is so very limited). 1000 South Capitol is Lerner Enterprises' proposed 300,000-sq-ft office building, but other than a rendering and some contact info on the Lerner web site, there's precious little additional information about this project. Of course, these new pages have photos on them as well.
 

Word has coming pouring in this afternoon from various boots on the ground (we'll give co-credit to readers Frank and Dave) that a sign announcing "Coming Soon - FedEx/Kinkos" has appeared in the window just to the left of the 20 M Street entrance (as they once again wait until I am just out of sight to hang the advertisement). Those who are hoping for a restaurant will have to continue to keep their fingers crossed.

More posts: 20 M, Retail
 

I gave you new stadium, Monument Half Street, and 20 M photos yesterday; today I've posted new Community Center and DOT HQ shots, including some pretty neat ones of the new New Jersey Ave. and Tingey Street intersection (amazing what bright sunlight can do for a bunch of buildings and fresh asphalt!). I also added to the 20 M page new shots of the festive scrolling information sign they've installed over the main entrance, as well as the "Coming Soon - Wachovia" sign that I missed by minutes when taking my pictures on Sunday. You can also see on one page all the photos from yesterday and today that I've posted.
 

Monday's Post mines the changes in Near Southeast with another A1 story, "The Far Side of Rebirth." No new pieces of news, just interviews with people who've been in the neighborhood a long time, plus some new arrivals (hi Scott!). For those of you arriving here at JDLand.com after reading the article, you might want to visit my Capper/Carrollsburg, Nats Ballpark and Capitol Hill Tower pages for more information on the projects mentioned in the story, and you can also see photos of the St. Paul's AUMP Church, the Market Deli, Bennie Meeks' firewood lot, and even the horse stables under the freeway, and the changes occurring around them that I've been documenting since 2003.
 

Still working my way through the pile of pictures I took today.... New shots posted of the ongoing work at the Monument Half Street site, and also some "substantially complete" shots of 20 M Street--in a couple photos you can see men working on the far left window on M Street, and a reader gave me a heads up that not more than a few minutes after I came through, they posted a sign saying "Wachovia Coming Soon." So, if that's indeed the case, that would be the first 20 M tenant we've heard of.
 

A beautiful if chilly late winter day today drew me out for a belated update to the Nats Ballpark Construction Gallery (I was out of town; don't shoot me for being a week late!).
Speaking of construction, Saturday's Washington Times reports that the DC auditor has determined (to the chagrin of David Catania, no doubt) that the stadium remains beneath the mandated $611 million budget cap: "Nichols said budget projections for certain parts of the project have increased, but that the overall project remains on budget. [...] But Nichols said these new costs do not violate the cost cap, because the city was able to make up the difference in savings or reductions to other budget items. Commission budget figures show the city spent about $17 million less than estimates on financing for the stadium and about $2 million less than estimates on installation of utilities. The commission also reduced its contingency for the project from $19 million to about $9 million. Several council members including David Catania, at-large Independent, have claimed that the sports commission should include the cost of improvements to Metro and roadwork as part of the ballpark budget. But Nichols said those costs, which total $36 million, are not part of the $611 million budget. "
More posts: Nationals Park
 

The DC Property Sales database reports that, on January 29, "noted" DC developer Douglas Jemal (in the form of Jemal's Ballpark LLC, Douglas Development) paid $4.25 million for 1201-1225 South Capitol Street, the two one-story gray buildings that run on the west side of South Capitol between M and N streets. Haven't heard anything about any plans for the site; it's currently home to a couple of small businesses. Jemal already owns a number of somewhat-close-to-the-stadium properties down in Buzzards Point.
More posts: South Capitol St.
 

While you ponder the upcoming Zoning Commission vote on the 1325 South Capitol Street residential project, you can gaze at a new drawing of the building, nicked from the WDG Architecture web site. It's certainly a much more detailed and spiffier rendering than what was previously released....

 

On Wednesday March 21, the AWC is holding an Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and Parks Public Meeting; to quote from the announcement, "The Anacostia Riverwalk is a continuous 20 mile trail system that will link public parks, plazas, and neighborhoods to the Anacostia River. A major section of the trail is due to be completed this year. Come learn about the Riverwalk and the many new parks to be built along the Anacostia Waterfront." There's an open house at 6 pm, with the presentation and discussion from 6:30-8 pm; it's at the Ellen Wilson Center at 750 6th Street SE (just north of the freeway). For more information, contact: Diane Sullivan, Project Director, at (202) 406-4028 or diane.sullivan@awcdc.com. (This announcement isn't yet posted on the AWC web site, so no link, alas.)

 

The Zoning Commission has deferred until its March 26 Special Public Meeting any decision on whether to allow Capper Seniors #2 to be redesignated as a mutlifamily workforce (30%-60% annual median income) dwelling in addition to having its low-income senior citizens units. ZC chair Carol Mitten noted a bit of a disconnect between statements offered by the DC Housing Authority and the Office of Planning, and so both are to meet before March 26 to formulate a recommendation.
The March 26 special meeting will also have the ZC's final vote on the 1325 South Capitol Street residential project, and also the "minor modification" being requested at 100 M Street.
And, since I gave the Office of Zoning a bit of a hammering a few weeks back when they debuted their new online calendar, it's only fair that I now rave over the return of monthly at-a-glance lists for Zoning Commission and BZA meetings, which make finding out what's happening far far easier. Thanks, guys, not only is it great to see this functionality back, but you did a really nice job with it, too.
 

Another building has bitten the dust on the Monument Half Street site, and I think everyone can agree it will not be lamented on its death--it's the brown cinderblock building just north of the N Street intersection, and it's now been immortalized on my Demolished Buildings page. And, thanks to Camera 2 of the Clark/Hunt/Smoot Stadium Construction Cam, we can see that it breathed its last between 11:11 and 11:22 this morning, March 15. (I'm pretty sure I'm the only one using that camera to not watch the stadium construction!) They appear to be working around the temporary WMATA lot that they built just north of the cinder-shed; at the same time, work appears to be nearly complete on the next WMATA temporary lot, over at 1236 South Capitol (formerly home to the neon yellow bungalow, just south of the storage company).There's a zoning hearing on April 23 for permanent approval of the new temporary lot (it was approved on an emergency basis back in November).
 

On Wednesday a "shoring and sheeting" building permit application was filed for 1001 First Street, which is on the block known as Square 699N, bounded by 1st, Half, K, and L streets. It was bought in September 2005 by local developer Ron Cohen for $51 million, and was the home to nightclubs Wet, Edge, and Club 55, along with various other small businesses that slowly moved out until the block was left vacant in September 2006. As for the building permit app, shoring and sheeting is how the walls of a big hole in the ground are held up during excavation (I hope that isn't too technical of an explanation), and is another sign that Cohen is getting his ducks in a row to do .... something .... on this lot, as were the public space permits that were granted in December 2006 for the necessary water and sewer shut-off work on the site. I haven't seen evidence of raze permits, but I only started seeing those in Fall 2006 and it's possible that they were applied for earlier. What I did notice during a drive-by today is that all of the trees on the block--including a pretty huge one at 1st and L--have been chopped down (I'm pretty sure within the past week). Will we hear word of Cohen's plans soon?
(I was hoping to give you an equally enticing report on a building permit app filed for 83 M Street, the Normandie Liquors lot at 1st and M, but apparently it's for the placement of a construction trailer, which I'm guessing is for Monument's Half Street project, though I don't know for sure. Ah well.)
 

An Associated Press story, popping up all over the Internets today: "Come next April, Ryan Zimmerman might become the first player in major league history to hit a home run into a cherry tree. A grove of cherry blossoms behind the left field bleachers is one of the latest additions to the plans of the ever-evolving Washington Nationals ballpark. 'We couldn't find another ballpark that had trees in the ballpark,' team president Stan Kasten said Tuesday at the launch of a campaign to sell luxury suites. " If you look at some of the renderings I've posted, you'll see that trees have been in the design for a while, but I guess they decided now would be a good time to mention them (since the cherry blossoms are about to bloom here in town). In other stadium-related news, apparently there's new video demonstrating what the view will be like on the stadium concourse and in the suites (created for this suites sales campaign, I imagine). I'm still looking for an online version of it (Fox 5 news showed it on the air earlier today), will post when I have it.
UPDATE: Here's the new virtual tour of the stadium concourse and suites, from NBC4.
UPDATE II: And here's the Post's story on the cherry trees and the suites. And it mentions: "Team owner Theodore N. Lerner has said he will spend tens of millions to upgrade many of the stadium's amenities, including an outfield restaurant plaza, stone finishes behind home plate, bathrooms and glass partitions in the luxury suites, and the installation of a high-definition scoreboard. One goal is to have a giant baseball above the two-story outfield sports bar capable of projecting 360-degree replays of home runs and other highlights."

More posts: Nationals Park
 

From the Examiner: "The [Anacostia Waterfront Corporation] and [National Capital Revitalization Corporation] are the targets of a public hearing scheduled at 10 a.m. today before the council's economic development committee to help determine the fate of both agencies. Council Member Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, introduced legislation in January that seeks to dissolve both agencies and transfer their assets to the mayor's office." That's a better lede to their story than what they actually used: "Drive down to the area around the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium being constructed on the Anacostia Waterfront today, and it's hard to believe it's someday supposed to be a city showcase." Bah. The hearings aren't being shown on DC Cable 13 or via streaming video (a welcome reprieve for a sick blogger); I'll update this entry as news from the session comes out.
UPDATE: Here's the first story out, from the Washington Business Journal:"A pair of highly scrutinized D.C. development agencies received high marks from some community activists Tuesday, but city officials still aren't convinced the organizations are getting the job done. [...] 'I have had a steady stream of disgruntled and unhappy economic development people coming to my office complaining about these organizations,' [Jack] Evans says. 'We are here today to figure out how to make this work.' "
 

A little birdie was kind enough to pass along a URL for the "Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District", the BID in its initial organization phase that's slated to cover the entire Near Southeast footprint. (I'm not letting them rename my Hood just yet.) Right now there's only an Executive Summary posted, but it's certainly chock full of information about what's planned for the area, and how important a BID would be (they seem to be fixated on how dirty the neighborhood currently is). The city council must approve the creation of a BID, so this document is very much focused on persuading The Powers That Be that this BID is necessary; it's chock full of vision statements, goals, boundaries, number crunching, yadda yadda yadda. But considering that the initial directors of the BID are heavy hitters from WC Smith, Forest City Washington, Monument Realty, JBG, and Potomac Investment Properties, it's clear that there's plenty of muscle behind this proposal. But if you don't care about any of that, at least check out the cool previously unseen renderings of the Nats ballpark (on page 15) and the proposed Canal Park on the back cover (I'm adding the renderings to my project pages as well). You can see my previous entry about the formation of this BID (and more about what the heck a BID is) here. But definitely browse through the BID's Executive Summary, they clearly mean business [ahem].
 

A press release today from Lerner Enterprises: "Lerner Enterprises, Washington D.C.'s largest private real estate developer, is pleased to announce the substantial completion of 20 M Street, SE, a 190,600 square foot 10-story Class 'A' office building located in Washington D.C.'s Southeast Corridor. 20 M Street is situated across from the Navy Yard Metro and two blocks from the new ballpark of the Washington Nationals." The press release touts the building's views of the Capitol and the Nats Ballpark, and its LEED Gold rating by the US Green Building Council. Missing from the release, it should be noted, is any announcement of tenants for the building; as of now, none have been announced that I've heard. As for "substantially completed", the building itself doesn't look 100% open for business, but the sidewalks are now completed and open, so I guess that's good enough. You can relive the before-and-afters on my 20 M Street page, and I've also updated the office tab of my Project Directory to move 20 M to the Completed list. (And you'll note that 55 M and the other portions of the Monument Half Street project are now listed in the directory as "Under Construction.")
More posts: 20 M
 

(I was out of town last week, and am also currently under the weather, so I'm only slowly catching up.) At some point during the past week, more buildings on the footprint of the Monument Half Street project met the wrecking ball, giving us some new additions to my Near Southeast Demolished Buildings page. There's also getting to be quite a hole already on the north end of the lot, around the Navy Yard Metro entrance at Half and M.
 

It took awhile to get into the city's Real Property Sales Database, but it can now be reported that WMATA sold its land on the east side of Half Street and one parcel on M Street to Monument Realty on Dec. 26 for $15.4 million. This is the land on top of the Navy Yard Metro stop east entrance that's now going to become the first part of Monument's Half Street/Ballpark District mixed-use development; as part of this deal, Monument is handling the renovation/expansion of the subway station, already underway.
 

The draft agenda for the March 12 ANC 6D meeting has been sent out (although not posted on their web site as yet, alas), and there are a few Near Southeast items of interest: discussion and vote on an construction agreement (presumably between the developers and the neighborhood/ANC) for 1325 South Capitol Street (the 276-unit residential project across from the ballpark); a presentation on modifications being requested in front of the Zoning Commission to the plans for the office building at 100 M Street (I don't know any details, will post when I find out); and a presentation on streetscapes at the The Yards/Southeast Federal Center (ooooh, more hints of moving forward!). There's also a meeting on the planned Monument Realty project on the Randall School site at Half and I Streets SW (blissfully outside of my purview). The meeting is at St. Augustine's Church at 6th and M Streets, SW at 7 pm.
UPDATE: The 100 M Street change is quite minor, according to Opus East, a result of actual construction drawings evolving from the original design drawings. I also hear tell that First Street is going to be widened at some point by DDOT, which means that 100 M and Onyx on First won't have a wide/deep sidewalk along as originally thought. (I don't have any details on the First Street work.)
UPDATE II: The ANC 6D report in the new issue of the Hill Rag has more details on the 1325 South Cap construction agreement as discussed at the February meeting, though I don't know whether it's changed or not going into tonight's meeting. It also says the project has 276 units, not 244 as I've been reporting.
 

Washingtonian.com's Open House blog was nice enough to include my Near Southeast site in its list of Habit-Forming Real Estate Blogs, alongside others that are doing similar work around the DC area. While I'm certainly addicted to it (with no hope of rehab, at least not before the stadium opens), it's comforting to know that I'm dragging other people down with me.

More posts:
 

(Yes, I'm running a bit behind. Will be back to normal next week.) On Wednesday the Economic Development subcommittee of the city council held an oversight hearing that included testimony about the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation. From the Washington Times piece on the hearing: "Council member Kwame R. Brown, at-large Democrat, said he was not trying to stop progress by the organizations, but that he would be 'holding them accountable' for questionable expenses and delays in completing deals. A hearing on whether to dissolve them is scheduled for March 13." And, from the Washington Business Journal: "Wednesday's hearing was focused more on the agencies' interaction and cooperation with neighborhood groups, says Kwame Brown, D-at Large, chairman of the council's economic development committee. The March 13 hearing will look at the actual performance of both agencies and how they've progressed with their development efforts."

 

The Washington Blade updates the continuing saga of the nightclubs that left Near Southeast because of the Development Gold Rush and the legal roadblocks that continue to thwart their attempts to find new homes within the DC city limits. Not something I'm following closely, just passing along the link for those who might be interested.

More posts:
 

A new item popped up on this coming Monday's (March 12) Zoning Commission agenda, and apparently it is a request by the developers of Capper/Carrollsburg to revise one of the conditions in the original PUD to allow units in the new Capper Seniors #2 building to be made available as workforce housing (30%-60% annual median income) in addition to the already approved low-income senior units. This will probably be something that the ZC will have to have hearings on, but we'll find out on Monday.
And, let's think for a moment.... Income-limited units, in a building that will be ready this spring, close to Barracks Row and the Navy Yard Metro and the stadium.... Could this be the mysterious Ballpark Apartments? It would explain why they're using a portion of one of the Capper drawings in their ads (with no apparent fear of being sued), and there are indeed water and monument views from various angles in that new building (at least for now). It's a cirumstantial case, but a pretty strong one, methinks. Let's see what shakes out.
 

I get asked a lot (and I mean, a LOT) about what new development and projects might be coming to areas east of the Anacostia River, in wards 7 and 8. Today's Washington Times has an overview of what's in the pipeline for these areas of the city that haven't seen the economic boom that has so transformed many other parts of DC. I won't be tracking these projects, but I did want to alert folks to this article, and also to put out the call that East of the River could certainly use a Redevelopment Blogger....
More posts:
 

From DDOT: "As part of ongoing improvements to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will continue bridge repairs this weekend, starting Friday, March 9. Following the morning rush hour this Friday, DDOT will temporarily close the northbound (inbound) lanes on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Inbound bridge drivers will be directed to follow signed detours on Interstate 295 North to the 11th Street Bridge--providing direct access into the District. The northbound (inbound) lanes will be closed beginning on Friday, March 9 at 10 am until as late as Monday, March 12 at 4 am. All lanes will be reopened in time for the Monday morning rush hour." This work is part of the preparations for the planned demolition of the raised portion of South Capitol Street (north of Potomac Ave.) this summer.
 

NBC 4 reports: "The District's new baseball stadium is beginning to take shape along the Anacostia River in Southeast. Construction on the site began last May, but the ballpark is already changing the city's skyline, News4's Tom Sherwood reported Monday." To which readers of JDLand say, "Tell us something we don't already know." (hee hee)
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Sunday's Post has a short update on the battle between former landowners at the Nationals ballpark site and the city over the value of the land that was taken via eminent domain. What's new? Mainly that nothing's new, it's all still wound up in court. But one interesting item I hadn't heard before: "Aside from the price of the land, also being contested is how much money the government is seeking to recoup from the business owners to pay for environmental rehabilitation. Although they were forced to vacate, the business owners are still legally responsible for paying for the work, legal analysts have said." With the latest DCSEC report saying that more than $12 million has been spent on environmental remediation at the site so far, this could be a big hit on the pockets of the old property owners if this actually pans out.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Today's Washington Business Journal has a cover story ("Agencies at Risk", available online) on the hazy future of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation, which have come under fire by members of the city council for being "barriers" to getting things done in the city. The AWC's coverage area includes all of Near Southeast, so what becomes of it will have an impact on much of what I'm tracking here, including the Nationals ballpark, Canal Park, Diamond Teague Park, and the Anacostia Riverwalk. There are two city council hearings on the fate of these two quasi-government corporations, the first on March 7 at 10 am, when the Committee on Economic Development holds Agency Oversight Hearings on FY06-07 Budgets, covering not only AWC and NCRC but also the Office of Planning and the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (so it's quite the Near Southeast Oversight Bonanza). Then, on March 13 at 10 am, the same subcommittee will be holding the first hearings on the "NCRC and AWC Reorganization Act of 2007"; I imagine both of these will be available via streaming video and on DC Cable 13. As an aside, the Examiner reports that Mayor Fenty's office has said that an anticipated report on the AWC and NCRC was in fact not supposed to be ready in 60 days, but 100 days (oops).
 

The latest citywide real property tax assessments are now available in the city's database, and I've culled out the Near Southeast properties and posted them in my Assessments Archive, where you can also access previous years' numbers back to 2003. I'm not going to do a comparison of all individual properties year-to-year (you don't pay me enough!), but I will give you a quick glimpse at how the total assessed value Hood-wide has looked over the past five years:
2007: $2.05 billion
2006: $1.78 billion
2005: $894 million
2004: $772 million
2003: $640 million
If that doesn't do it for you, here's a lovely chart:
The highest assessed property? That would be the office building at 1100 New Jersey Ave., assessed at $128 million; the highest value for a single unimproved lot is (as always) the Consolidated Rail (CSX) land north of I Street, south of the Freeway (and under it, too): the 463,000 sq ft lot is assessed at just under $86 million (although keep in mind that some locations where development is pending--like, say, the stadium--are still seen in land records as many small lots rather than a single large one).
UPDATE: Should have just done this when originally writing this post--the combined assessed value of the 63 individual lots that make up the stadium site is (deep breath) $180 million, compared to $32.8 million in 2004. (And an additional update, the overall Hood numbers above were tweaked slightly--I guess I missed a couple lots when I first ran this, but the ratios and overall feel is still the same.)
More posts: 1100nj
 

I've just added to my Calendar of Events the March schedule of lectures, concerts, and other events at the Navy Yard's Naval Historical Center. The schedule for their monthly Naval History Seminar has been released through June, as well. If any of these events interest you, be sure to contact the museum at least 24 hours in advance so that your entry into Fortress: Navy Yard can be assured.

More posts: Navy Yard
 
55 Posts:
Go to Page: 1 | 2 | 3