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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: March 2009
In the Pipeline
Community Center
Homewood Suites Hotel
Ballpark Square
Yards/Parcel A
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
1333 M St.
Southeast Blvd.
Florida Rock
1244 South Capitol
New Barracks
1111 New Jersey
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)
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(h/t reader M.) Last week, the Congress for the New Urbanism named the winners of its 2009 Charter Awards, and one of them is the "House Office Buildings Facilities Plan and Preliminary South Capitol Area Plan." I won't go into too much detail, since the majority of the area that the plan looked at is north of the freeway, but it is worth noting that, while it's a very neat plan that looks forward to both 2025 and 2050 and takes into account the vision of the NCPC's Extending the Legacy (no more freeway!), the designers of the HOB facilities plan perhaps didn't do a lot of research as to the reality of the land ownership south of the freeway. If you look at the maps of their proposed 2025 and 2050 implementations, you see all sorts of new government buildings on the block now dominated by 70 and 100 I Street, as well as a big park at Second and H, which might come as a surprise to the William C. Smith Co., which owns the block and is planning a 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project on that square. And yet the Post Plant remains, 41 years in the future, which probably is not what city planners would consider an optimal solution. And the Capitol Power Plant is still there, too!
All this aside, if you live or work on the Hill, you might be interested in what the future could bring for the parking garages, House Office Buildings, and other structures that are part of the Capitol Complex. And, if I'm missing something about how this plan is approaching the privately owned land south of the freeway, I'd love clarification....
 

The news has crossed my desk that the Congressional Bank Baseball Classic is returning to Nationals Park for its second year, on May 30, 2009. As with last year, it will feature four games showcasing high-school baseball talent--a game between the top two public schools, another between the top two private schools, followed by a title match between the two winners. There will also be an All-Star game. There's a fundraiser being held on April 19; more information on that at the official web site.
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March 30, 2008, was cold, overcast, and damp. (I *still* haven't warmed up.) And, on schedule (which few people ever thought would happen), Nationals Park saw its official debut, with the 2008 Nats season opener against the Atlanta Braves. President Bush threw out the first pitch, and Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off homer to win the game 3-2. And there were long long lines at the Ben's Chili Bowl window. If you want to take a trip down memory lane, here are my photos from that Opening Night; for your added perusal, here's the batch from the exhibition against the Orioles the night before (and here and here). Somehow it seems a lot longer than a year....
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A brief morning walkabout brought the following items:
* The demolition of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage at Half M continues; they had reached as far north as just across from the subway entrance at around 11:30, so the M Street facade could conceivably be gone by the end of today or early on Tuesday. You can see a couple of photos (like a bigger version of the one above) on my Akridge Half Street page, though the photos won't be as striking until the demolition reaches M Street.
* A nice fellow working at the schoolbus parking lot at Canal Park told me that the buses are being moved to their new home at DC Village on Saturday and Sunday (April 4 and 5), with drivers expected to report to work at the new lot on Monday morning, April 6. So, it does indeed sound like this is the last week of the Sea of Yellow.
* Look Mom, a Circulator bus! (This is the stop at First and K, before it turns right on I and circles back down New Jersey to the subway entrance.) You can see it lurking in a few other updated photos I took at New Jersey and M. UPDATE: There apparently was a boo-boo with the information on the DC Circulator site--the bus will be running from 6 am to 7 pm weekdays (it had said 6-6). They've also updated their service map to correct some errors.
* Here's my first shot of the repainted Third and K Market (now to be known as the Corner Copia Deli). You can compare it to its old profile here.
* The Nats are having a "soft launch" for their new food concessionaire (Levy Restaurants) via a series of invitation-only events this week. Tonight employees of the Navy Yard will be sampling the new food, and there will also be events on Tuesday and Wednesday for local businesses and invitees of the BID. On Friday the media will get its shot. I will report back later in the week, though I won't be able to provide doggie bags for everyone.
 

Don't know if the work started on Friday or today, but a late-evening drive down M Street brought the surprise news that demolition is now underway on the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M. The demo is starting at its southeastern end (closer to N Street), and I can't imagine it'll take too long to dismantle the building. There's scaffolding now in place for a pedestrian walkway along the garage's M Street face. This is the first demolished building of 2009 in the neighborhood, and the 154th since I started photographing the neighborhood. (Browse the previous 153 via my Demolished Buildings gallery.) The bus garage site, now owned by Akridge, is slated to be replaced with 700,000-sq-ft of office, residential, and retail offerings, with construction perhaps beginning in 2010.
When I was circling the block to check the extent of the demolition (made more difficult by Half Street currently being closed so that infrastructure work can be done), I drove past the Center Field Gate at the ballpark and saw that the blank concrete wall that used to be the northern face of the Red Porch restaurant is now floor-to-ceiling windows, looking onto the plaza.
 

With minutes to spare (given that the Metro N22 bus goes out of service after Saturday), DCCirculator.com now has the information for the new route that will run from Union Station to Eastern Market to the Navy Yard Metro station, beginning on Sunday, March 29. The site says that the buses will run every 10 minutes from 6 am to 6 pm 7 pm on weekdays (only), with extended service on Nationals game days. (Not sure I had heard before this that there'd be no weekend service, so I guess it technically starts on Monday, March 30.) The stops in Near Southeast (see the map) will be at Eighth and L, Hull and M (by the Navy Yard Hull Street gate), the 300 block of M, the Metro station entrance at New Jersey and M, and also at First and K as part of the turnaround-loop the buses will do to head back east. The fare is $1, and the buses accept cash, transfers, SmarTrip cards, and passes. (The info for the route replacing the 98 bus is available now, too.)
(UPDATED to correct the hours of operation, which were incorrect on the Circulator web site.)
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More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA
 

The Capitol Quarter folks (EYA and the DC Housing Authority) have just released information on the next offering of "workforce" houses for sale, the program where buyers who make between $80,000 and $115,000 annually and meet a host of other requirements and restrictions can buy a townhouse at Capitol Quarter for under $600,000. If you go to the workforce web site at EYACapitolQuarter.com, you'll find all of the information needed to register and be "certified" as eligible in advance of the April 18 lottery. There will be a maximum of 18 houses for sale in this lottery, though possibly fewer if previous Capper residents exercise their options to buy one.
The first workforce lottery was way back in November 2006, when 176 people entered the lottery for 20 houses.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

I was remiss in not mentioning earlier this week that I also posted updated photos on Saturday of the construction underway at 1015 Half Street (you old-timers can enjoy the shots of Nation one more time) as well as the all-but-completed 55 M Street (though the utilty work on Half Street prevented me from getting any photos other than of the northern part of the building).
For additional photos other than the ones on the project pages, check the Photo Archive for Half and I, K, L, and M, Van at M, and Cushing at L and M (which will also show you updated pics for other nearby projects, like Velocity).
 

Happy Friday, everyone! It's going to be a golden day! So get yourselves up, you sleepyheads, put a big smile on your face, and go take on the world!
{Yeech. That's enough of that.}
Here's some worthwhile links from the past few days, which have been piling up while I've attended to real life:
* Greater Greater Washington dug through the mayor's FY 2010 budget proposal and says that it would repeal the portion of the Performance Parking Act that sets aside a portion of the parking meter proceeds for the neighborhoods. As I wrote back in January after the quarterly Performance Parking public meeting, "legislation that created the pilot spells out that, initially, 60 percent of the program revenue will be put toward the repayment of the cost of the meters, with 20 percent of the revenue to be used "solely for the purpose of non-automobile transportation improvements in the zone." (The other 20 percent goes to the DDOT's operating fund.) "
* Also on the parking front, Michael Perkins of both Infosnack and GGW takes a long, detailed look at on-street parking around the Navy Yard: "Over the last two months, I've collected occupancy data for three blocks immediately adjacent to the Navy Yard. Between the prices and time limitations, more spaces are going empty than needed." He'll be writing again on the subject--including getting DDOT's reaction--today.
* DCMetrocentric throws open the floor to a discussion of the quality of architecture in Near Southeast. Opinions vary.
* Richard Layman thinks the Circulator replacing the N22 is a waste of money.
* The Post's District Extra on Thursday took a look at the Anacostia Waterfront forums that have been held the past two months, and will continue through June. (April's will be a "Green Living in a Green DC," on April 21.) Here are the presentation slides from the meeting described in the Post piece.
* This 1993 photo from Darrow Montgomery's archive looks to be on the field south of the old Capper apartment building at 900 Fifth Street (where Capper Seniors #1 now stands). The freeway embankment at rear is the giveaway.
 

This is *still* I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it territory, but tonight I'm hearing that DC public schools poobahs have signed off on the new parking lots out at DC Village, and have authorized the moving of the buses currently parked at Canal Park. A date in the first full week of April is being bandied about, though I'm too gun-shy from years of move dates passing by to post it just yet. Will this finally be the time when it actually happens?
UPDATE: It totally slipped my mind during a very busy week to mention reader M. passing along an e-mail they received from the Mayor's office saying that "we anticipate that the school buses will be relocated as of April 6, 2009", which is the date I was hearing yesterday would be the start of the exodus. So, with two sources, let's say that April 6 could very well be the day that the buses are either gone or starting to be gone.
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More posts: Canal Park
 

City Paper's new Best of DC issue is out, and their staff picks include one for Best Local Web Site, where Brightest Young Things is marked as best, but another site gets all the verbiage: "Credit JDLand with thoroughness. If there is a development--however puny, however bureaucratic--regarding the commercial and residential layout of near Southeast D.C., this site may well break the news and will certainly have all the analysis and documents behind it. The site's blog items refresh very regularly and there are cool interactive maps and the like. JDLand, in fact, might just deserve a higher ranking, if only it weren't so nasty." The entry goes on to target my list of highlighted-in-red items on my contact page as the chief example of my nastiness. Perhaps Erik would like to serve as frontline secretary for my inbox without all of those caveats (which I have always considered to be wry, not nasty), and I'd like to think that the people who do contact me via that page get a pretty nice response 99.99% of the time. But oh well. I still very much appreciate the pick.
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More posts: JDLand stuff
 

From the newest BID newsletter: "Corner Copia, specializing in made-to-order deli sandwiches and pre-made sandwiches, will open May 1st at Third and L Streets, SE, the site of a former corner store. Currently under renovation, Corner Copia will also sell a selection of snacks, cold beverages, beer, wine and convenience items." {It's actually at Third and K, of course--you can see photos of how it's looked over the past four years.}
UPDATE: And, as reported in the comments, the building has been painted today and is now a grayish-olive. Glad I got one last batch of pre-paint photos! Will post new ones in a day or two.
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From a hot-off-the-presses Nats press release, an announcement that on April 8 the Nationals and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities will unveil two public artworks at Nationals Park: bronze statues of Washington baseball legends Frank Howard, Josh Gibson, and Walter Johnson, which will be placed in the Center Field Plaza; and "The Ball Game," which has "four suspended mobiles with approximately 48 hand-painted figures hanging in action," which rotate to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and which will be hung on the concourse at the top of the grand staircase.
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Mar 23, 2009 9:54 AM
Sometime within the past few weeks the Nats updated their parking information pages for season ticket holders and individual game parking, which I've brought together in an update of my stadium parking map. In comparing them to the last year's parking options, you can see the following changes:
* There's no "official" parking at The Yards anymore (the "blue zone" from 2008, lots E, Z, and Y). Perhaps they'll be available as cash lots, but I haven't heard. (See Update II below.)
* Lot "S" way up at Second and H has been dropped, too.
* New official lots have cropped up at the WMATA bus garage site (lot G) and underneath 55 M Street (lot O). The WMATA garage was offered as $50 valet parking starting about mid-season last year.
* Individual game-day parking prices have dropped by $5 for most of the lots that were same-day purchase lots last year (though the purchasing system doesn't seem to exactly match the map when it comes to the red zone, which says $35 for the lots other than the official garages while the purchasing system says $40 for all red zone parking).
As for whether the Nats Express shuttle from RFK is going to run, there's been no announcement, and the page for it on the official web site, looks like it hasn't been updated since last season. (It hasn't been updated to replace the N22 references with news of the new Circulator route, either.) The "interactive trip planner" also has not yet been updated to show the 2009 parking options.
I imagine more info will be coming soon.
UPDATE: The Nationals have passed along word that the Nats Express shuttle from RFK will be running again this year. Also, the lot under 55 M won't be an official lot after all.
UPDATE II: The folks at the Yards say that they will be offering both cash parking and "season subscription" parking in their lots that were formerly lots E, Y, and Z last year. (They'll just be doing it on their own and not as part of the lineup of "official" Nats lots.) More info to come soon.
UPDATE III: Reader J. rightly notices that Lot R (under 1100 New Jersey) is also gone from the 2009 lineup.
 

Mar 22, 2009 9:31 AM
Part of my trek(s) on Saturday included getting a slew of updated photos of 909 New Jersey, the 237-unit apartment building between I and K that's now all-but-completed. The landscaping is done, and the fences are down from most of the sidewalks--which will make baseball fans walking to and from the Capitol South subway station happy, I imagine. No word yet on any tenants for the ground-floor retail spaces.
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More posts: 909 New Jersey, jpi, Retail
 

Mar 21, 2009 5:45 PM
If you haven't been by Capitol Quarter in the past few weeks, you might be a bit surprised to see how it's progressing. I've posted a bunch of new photos from Fifth and Fourth streets, where you can see the progress ranging from nearly completed exteriors along L Street (getting painted!) to framing now reaching the Fourth and K intersection.
I took a ton of new photos today (even though the bright blue skies of mid-morning got replaced by icky high clouds), but am rushed at the moment and so will go through the rest of them tomorrow. But these ought to keep folks busy until then.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Mar 20, 2009 7:04 PM
How can I possibly summarize in this small space the never-ending parade of testimony and questions at last night's hearing on the various Capper zoning modification requests? (I just thank the heavens I watched the web cast and didn't attend in person.) If you didn't avail yourself of this entertainment, you'll just have to wait for the transcript to come out to get all the specifics, but here's a few bullet points on issues that were brought up (read the Office of Planning report on what was actually being requested):
* Commissioner May was displeased that there were no "sample boards" of the exterior finishes for the two new apartment buildings, as is apparently required for a stage 2 planned-unit-development approval.
* The commissioners were clearly befuddled by the scope of the requests, variances, and exceptions before them, even though last year they had requested that the three separate filings be grouped together in a single hearing.
* There was much discussion of the request to further delay the construction of the community center until at least 2011, with the Housing Authority testifying at length as to the financial realities of the bond and lending markets (see more about that here), and members of the public and ANC commissioners (Siegel and McBee of 6D) emphasizing as they have in the past "the community's" need for the center and questioning DCHA's idea that the neighborhood needs to reach a "critical mass" before the center should be built (does 300 completed units out of a planned 1700 meet that threshold?). DCHA said repeatedly that building a community center is a promise they have made that will not be broken, but that right now it's just not a possibility.
* Two former Capper residents testified to their belief that the Housing Authority is not adhering to what's required in terms of job training and other social services that are supposed to be provided while residents are waiting to move back, which got chair Anthony Hood into a bit of a dander. (Read pages 12-14 of the 2004 Capper zoning order to see what is expected in this realm.) This and the other public comments (such as the "why can't you use Obama's stimulus money?" question that had come up at ANC 6D) brought a somewhat forceful response from David Cortiella of the Housing Authority as to what they're doing for the former residents, and he again went through the current barriers to financing the center. There was then a minor dustup between commissioners Jeffries and May, with May pressing the housing authority on its performance and timeline and Jeffries expressing some level of surprise that the zoning commission was questioning a Hope VI redevelopment's financial problems "in this economic climate."
By the time the hearing wrapped up at 11:15 pm (and I'd be lying if I said I had paid attention to every word), the commission was requesting a series of additional filings from the housing authority and its team, and put it all on their April 27 agenda. (And look for this to be back on the ANC 6D agenda on April 13, too.)
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, meetings, zoning
 

Mar 20, 2009 9:14 AM
Today's DC Examiner reports that Nationals Park, with its nearly $1 billion new assessed value, is the most valuable property in Washington, "roughly $4 million more than the city's assessment of the White House, $400 million more than the U.S. Capitol and $550 million more than either the Library of Congress or the Verizon Center." The article also notes that the land beneath the stadium has a higher value than the building itself ($511 million to $489 million).
It then segues into how the ballpark assessment has helped to raise the total value of Near Southeast by $1.5 billion just since last year, as reported on a local blog. "'I think at heart is just the reality that finished buildings are assessed higher than unfinished lots, and Near Southeast had five buildings and the ballpark finished in the past year,' Dupree said in an e-mail. 'Some of the buildings that have been standing for a few years did see their assessments decrease.' 'Still,' she added, 'going from $221 million to $6 billion in nine years is quite a leap.' "
There's also this quote from councilmember Kwame Brown: "'The economy is down but the area is hot,' Brown said. 'It'll only get better."
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Mar 19, 2009 4:19 PM
All sorts of tidbits came down the pike in the past 24 hours. In no particular order:
* I didn't make Tuesday night's Anacostia Waterfront Forum, but the presentation slides ("Economics of Developing the Anacostia River") have been posted. The slides have a good batch of economic data and detail for those interested; it's estimated that there could be nearly $6.7 billion in public investment along the river over the next three decades. In addition, the February forum is now available via streaming video, and the next forum has been scheduled for April 21, with the topic being "Green Waterfront, Green Jobs, Green Living in a Green DC." (The March "Waterfront Watch" newsletter has these additional tidbits, plus stories on the DC streetcar project and the Diamond Teague Park groundbreaking.)
* The WashTimes's Tim Lemke gets a first peek (along with suiteholders) of what new concessionaire Levy Restaurants might have in store for Nationals Park this season.
* Via the eckington blog, a list of the "shovel-ready" transportation projects in the district being funded by ARRA (aka "the stimulus package"). Apparently the demolition of the ramps connecting the 11th Street Bridges and RFK were on the request list, but didn't make the final cut. DDOT's been saying for a while that this demolition would happen Any Minute Now. (Read more about DC and the stimulus package at recovery.dc.gov.)
* Back in December, the owners of the 810/816/820 Potomac Avenue properties (the building that houses Quizno's, the abandoned apartment building, and the space between) announced a sealed bid sale for the lots. While some bids have been submitted (interest from hotels keeps getting mentioned in the communiques I've received from the landowner), the original March 15 deadline has been extended by another 30 days.
* A link that I saw this morning that I've subsequently lost says that the Circulator route replacing the N22 from Union Station to New Jersey and M will begin on March 30.
* Two readers reported that the 55 M construction cam has been turned off. For the first time since 2006, there are no active web cams in the neighborhood. Waaah!
* Another reader reported that the sign put up in 2006 at the corner of Second and M advertising 250 M Street ("Delivery 2008") has been replaced with a new sign, minus any delivery date.
* I know that it's been a *long* time since I've posted new photos. I had grand thoughts of going out this morning, until I looked at the radar. I'm hoping to take some this weekend, though I have a very tricky schedule to work around. But at least know that I'm now feeling guilty about it.
 

Mar 18, 2009 1:52 PM
I've just about reached my recommended yearly allowance of writing about the various Capper zoning requests that are pending right now, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel, since the hearing is finally being held Thursday night at 6:30 pm. If you've grown tired (as I have) of my haphazard attempts to describe exactly what's being requested, you can now pour through the Office of Planning report, which gives far more detail than I've ever attempted. Even if you don't want to know that much about it all, there's a pretty good map on page three of the report that details the plans for every block of Capper/Carrollsburg (though without any timelines for the future projects). I have a similar map on my main Capper page, but this one does add a lot of detail.
I've also managed to snag the first renderings of two of the planned Capper apartment buildings, which I've added to my project page. One (seen at top left) shows the 171-unit building planned for L Street, next to Canal Park and behind the proposed 250 M Street office building. There's also now a first look at the 189-unit building planned for the 600 block of L Street (seen above), on the north side of the old Capper Seniors lot and just south of the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters. In the original Capper plans, this site was going to be townhouses, but it was decided that an apartment building would fit in better with the larger surrounding structures.
The Thursday hearing will be available via live web cast, if you're so inclined.
 

Mar 15, 2009 10:38 PM
It certainly doesn't feel like it's the case, so you might be surprised to find out that the District of Columbia thinks that Near Southeast is worth about $1.5 billion more than it was a year ago, at least in terms of the latest tax assessments now available. With a total assessment last year of around $4.5 billion for the blocks bounded by the SE Freeway, South Capitol Street, and the Anacostia River (to just west of the Sousa Bridge), this bump up edges the neighborhood's "worth" to just over $6 billion.
A chunk of that change is coming from the first official assessment of Nationals Park, valued at $999,982,800 (geez, Mr. Tax Assessor, just round it to $1 billion and be done with it), a rise of nearly $650 million from the assessed value of just the land last year. Blocks that saw projects get completed in 2008 (70/100 I, 100 M and Onyx, and 55 M) got hefty bumps in their valuations, while other spots (20 M, the Capper blocks, USDOT, Maritime Plaza) saw their assessments go down.
I created a report comparing 2008 and 2009's numbers overall and by block, though I wouldn't swear to the exactness of each number down to the penny (but they're probably close enough).
As for the trend of the overall valuation of Near Southeast over the past nine years, it's still *up*:
2001: $221,096,652
2002: $428,312,487
2003: $640,209,280
2004: $771,006,345
2005: $894,123,520
2006: $1,781,481,650
2007: $2,539,618,280
2008: $4,467,137,880
2009: $6,004,334,490
UPDATE: Here's a link to a map of the square numbers, in case a bit more visual assistance would be helpful.
 

Mar 11, 2009 1:50 PM
Lots of little things to pass along:
* Per Dr. Gridlock (because I forgot to check myself), tomorrow the WMATA board will be voting to discontinue the N22 line that runs between the Union Station, Eastern Market, and Navy Yard Metro stations. The city will be replacing it with a Circulator bus that is also supposed to stop at the new Capitol Vistors Center (but will not include the daytime loop over to Maritime Plaza at 12th and M). You can read the report to the board for a summary of the public comments received on the proposed change.
* Another Anacostia Waterfront Forum is being held, on March 17 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the MLK Library. This month's topic is "The Economics of Developing the Anacostia Waterfront" and will feature Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, Alex Nyhan of Forest City (who works on the Yards), and others. Here's DDOT's release on the February forum.
* I mentioned a few days back the summer concert series being put on by the BID; they've now released a flyer with the lineup of acts (so you can see them all on a single page rather than browsing through their events calendar).
* Potholepalooza! And it's also a good time to mention that DDOT has started its own Twitter feed.
* I've been remiss in not mentioning the city's new web site, consumer.dc.gov, devoted to consumer protection issues, with a focus right now on targeting unlicensed towing businesses, auto repair shops, and home improvement contractors. And DCRA has been Twittering for a while now (if you follow them you've gotten to read my pleas to get the building permits feed flow unstuck, which they took care of yesterday. Thanks!).
 

Mar 10, 2009 4:40 PM
As we near the one-year anniversary of the opening of Nationals Park, here's a few recent items worth noting:
* (h/t to reader J) May 15 is Bike to Work Day, and the Washington Area Byclist Association has chosen the ballpark as one of the "pit stops," which will "offer breakfast, entertainment, dynamic speakers and chances to win bicycles and other prizes." And free t-shirts, too! See the web site for more details.
* Last week the ballpark was named one of the thirteen most significant projects of 2008 by the Associated General Contractors of America, all recognized "for their complexity, innovation, success and ultimately, for their significance to the construction community and the nation at large."
* The ballpark also recently was named a winner of of the 2008 "Beyond Green" High-Performance Building Awards from the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, in a ceremony on Capitol Hill where case studies of the winners were presented; here's the slides about the ballpark, with lots of detail about the various designs and aspects that make the stadium "America's Greenest Ballpark," as well as the first sports facility in the U.S. to be LEED certified.
 

Mar 10, 2009 10:57 AM
I can't hardly bring myself to write about the Capper PUD modification requests *again* (my first post on them was back in July), so I'll just stick to the basics and say that on Monday night ANC 6D voted to support the three requests, with provisos that the Zoning Commission request the start date for construction of the community center be in 2011 and not 2012 and that the Housing Authority provide *50* parking spaces in the lot at 7th and M for health-care workers who visit the Capper Seniors #1 apartment building, where apparently there is trouble with parking (according to commissioner Robert Siegel, who lives across the street). The delay on the community center was again a major sticking point (just as it was at the February meeting where these requests were also presented, giving Monday night a very Groundhog Day feel), and the Housing Authority representatives again explained that the center must be financed with bonds, which are all but impossible to "float" these days given the economic realities. (The bonds that eventually pay for the community center will also pay for the demolition of the trash transfer station and the other infrastructure work needed on the western edge of the Capper footprint, around Canal Park.) Cries of "but what about the Obama stimulus money?" also were left unsatisfied. But, in the end, with the extra wording proposed by Commissioner Sobelsohn and approved by Siegel, the resolution passed.
The Zoning Commission will have its hearing on these three requests on March 19. Read my February or July postings for all the specifics. And I hope to at some point get renderings of the apartment buildings planned for L Street between Second and Third and between Sixth and Seventh (hint, hint).
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, meetings, zoning
 

Mar 9, 2009 5:11 PM
There's some new information on the Canal Park front today, starting with the news that Olin has been chosen from a group of seven invited applicants to create a new design for the park. They are the firm behind the National Gallery's sculpture garden and the Air Force Memorial (on the hill above the Pentagon), and are currently working on the new levee system at 17th and Constitution.
The new design will still focus heavily on low-impact design features and stormwater management abilities, with hopes that the park could be a "zero net energy" project through the placement of solar panels on lightpoles and perhaps even neighboring buildings. (I asked if there were going to be 30-foot-tall windmills, but the answer was no.) The stormwater management aspects could extend to future neighboring buildings as well, perhaps by capturing the HVAC condensation and/or stormwater runoff. There's also likely to be a new pavilion and cafe that weren't in the original design, as well as the possibility of building a fountain that could also be an ice skating rink in the winter.
The schedule to completion, though, is not a short one--preliminary designs were not part of the RFP process, and it's expected that the design and permitting process could take between 10 months and a year, which would put the start of construction in early 2010. Because of the extensive infrastructure work that needs to be done beneath the park site (for not only the park but the eventual surrounding Capper apartment buildings), the estimated length of construction would be about a year, putting the opening date in 2011.
But, for now, all anyone wants to know at this point is when the school buses will be gone, right? Construction on the new lot out at DC Village is apparently nearly complete, with "April" now being offered as the date when the buses can move to their new home, but will it happen? Perhaps there ought to be a Farewell to the Buses Pool--put your guess for the date when the buses drive off for good in the comments, and we'll see who comes closest. (And maybe we'll also have the first official JDLand reader gathering on the day the buses leave, so everyone can stand on the corner and sing "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Goodbye" while waving them down the road.)
On the bright side, permits are already in the works so that, once the buses are gone, the three blocks will be cleared, graded, and sodded, to allow for use as a park while the design process is underway.
My Canal Park page is pretty moldy right now (I've been on strike from updating it), but you can check it out to see how little it's changed in the last six years.
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Mar 9, 2009 10:28 AM
With thanks to the folks at Akridge, I at last have some renderings of their planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on Half Street, which I've added to my project page and paired with the "before" photos of the same location. These are the plans that were approved by the Zoning Commission last month, and you can read my more detailed description of the project for additional information. Construction could begin in 2010.
 

Mar 8, 2009 11:05 AM
I've been out of town for most of the week, so posting was kind of haphazard. Here's some additional items, starting with news from just this morning:
* Reader atweber passes the news via Twitter that workers have told him that the Third and K Market will be opening next month. So, those wishing to stay in the neighborhood to shop won't have to use CVS as their "supermarket." (And the new windows and door are so pretty!)
* Not officially confirmed, but the WashTimes is reporting that President Obama has agreed to throw out the first pitch at the April 13 Nationals home opener.
* Via the BID's latest newsletter: the little beige building at 900 M Street that once was a Hudson car dealer (and more recently a dialysis center) is scheduled to open in April in its new incarnation as a retail building. It's said that the owner has received one letter of intent from an undisclosed tenant. (Just speculating, but maybe it's the Dunkin Donuts franchise that was reportedly looking in the Navy Yard area?)
* The BID has also announced the lineup for this summer's lunchtime concert series at the plaza behind USDOT, though you have to page through their calendar to see the schedule of artists. It runs on Wednesdays at noon from May 20 through Sept. 16.
* When I posted about FiOS internet at 70/100 I and asked "is this news?", I should have referenced this post from last summer, about the "First Community to Offer FiOS" sign on Half Street, where we discussed that FiOS internet was already listed as available at those addresses on the Verizon web site.
* The day after I posted about the calls from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to convert the Capitol Power Plant from coal to natural gas, ABC7 reported that "several thousand demonstrators "urged Congress to pass legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, and they targeted the government's own Capitol power plant as a symbol of the problem. An enthusiastic crowd of mostly young people marched from a park near the Capitol to the power plant several blocks away, where they planned to block entrances and were prepared to get arrested. The group chanted along the way, 'We don't want the world to boil, no coal, no oil!'" Darryl Hannah and Robert Kennedy Jr. were among the protestors. When they arrived at the power plant they were met with "about a dozen" pro-coal counter-demonstrators.
* On Thursday the Post looked at how the office building development biz in DC has all but ground to a halt: "Not a single office building has been started in the District since October, a sign that the slowdown that began in the far-out suburbs has now reached prime city locations." The Hood (surprisingly) isn't mentioned, though WBJ reported a few months back that Donohoe was looking for (but unable to secure) funding for 1111 New Jersey.
 

Mar 6, 2009 3:07 PM
Since the breakneck pace of change in Near Southeast over the past few years has now slowed (though not quite stopped completely), I'm thinking it might be a good time to focus a little more on looking back at exactly what we've seen, especially since some of it flew by so quickly as it happened that we can hardly remember it. I've now added a Random Blog Entry from the JDLand Archives to the bottom of the home page, beneath the set of three random before-and-after photos that have been there for quite some time, making it even *more* worthwhile to scroll down the home page every so often.
I've also now created a JDLand Archive page, where you can more easily get to the month-by-month archive of blog entries since 2003, along with seeing the random blog entry and random photos. (There's a link to it right above the first blog post on the home page.) And yes, each time you reload the page, you get a different entry and set of photos (hence the word "random"). There may be some broken photo links in some of the older blog entries thanks to my reorganizing the photo archive, but other than that, it's kind of cool to watch it all go by again. (I did get my college degree in history, after all.)
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Mar 6, 2009 2:37 PM
With a hat tip to reader M. for seeing that this page has finally gone live (I figured out the URL a few months back, but they hadn't linked to it anywhere yet and hadn't included any drawings), I can point you to Akridge's small info page on 25 M Street, which includes one of the many renderings that Akridge displayed at the ANC and Zoning Commission hearings over the past few months. It's a view of the northern section of the west side of Half Street; at the very far right you can see Lerner's 20 M Street building, if that helps orient you. (It's drawn as if you're standing on Half Street at the very southern corner of 55 M, looking northwest). It shows the two office buildings, with the "Via" being the open space between them. (Not shown is the horseshoe-shaped residential building on the southern end of the block.) You can read my more detailed description of the Akridge plans here, and see my project page for photos of what the site currently looks like (hint: it's the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage).
 

Mar 6, 2009 1:44 PM
The agenda has been sent out (though not yet posted) for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW. The only Near Southeast item on the agenda is a vote on the three zoning PUD modifications being sought for the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment--they were presented to the ANC back in February, which you can read about here. Other agenda items include updates on the Waterside Mall redevelopment and the Southwest Zoning Planning process, the SunTrust marathon, the proposals for the new firehouse at 4th and School, SW, and the job fair held in Southwest earlier this week for employment at Nationals Park.
 

Mar 4, 2009 12:07 PM
I didn't think it was actually news that 70 and 100 I Street have FiOS internet, but this announcement today from Verizon could be read like it is. "Residents at two new apartment buildings in this city's revitalized Capitol Riverfront neighborhood now have access to Verizon's FiOS Internet, the most advanced broadband service available." Maybe the real lede is this: "The service also will be available this spring in a third building [909 New Jersey] currently under construction in the same neighborhood." As for the more desperately awaited FiOS TV service, no word on *when*: "JPI's buildings in Washington -- and other single- and multifamily residences throughout the District -- will also ultimately have access to Verizon's award-winning FiOS TV as the company rolls out the service over the next few years under a recently approved franchise agreement."
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Mar 3, 2009 9:20 AM
Last night the Zoning Commission unanimously approved Forest City's Phase 2 plans for the waterfront park at The Yards, which include three glass-enclosed pavilions offering 50,000-sq-ft of retail and a 60-foot "visual marker" at the edge of the water on the boardwalk. You can see more renderings and designs on my Yards Park page (scroll down a bit for Phase 2), and this National Capital Planning Commission report has a lot of information as well, with many of the same drawings that were presented last night. I described it all thusly a few months ago:
The "light tower," designed by James Carpenter Design Associates, is made up of stainless steel prisms that reflect light during the day and will be subtly illuminated at night. The top is actually 70 feet from the top of the water, but 10 feet of that is the boardwalk; the structure itself is only 60 feet high.
The storage shed, as I've mentioned in the past, will lose its faaaahbulous salmon-colored corregated skin and will be enclosed with non-reflective glass. The other two buildings (currently given the wonderfully descriptive monikers of P2A and P2B) will also be mainly glass structures. There will be a restaurant court in front of the center building, overlooking the area of the park that steps down toward the waterfront.
The commissioners were very complimentary of the designs, with only a bit of concern expressed about whether the tower (made of stainless steel prisms) was either a bit too small for its surroundings (commissioners Jeffries and Keating) or if perhaps its base was a little too plain (May and Turnbull). Turnbull was also concerned about sustainable design features of the pavilions, and, more succinctly, that the walls made all of glass would just make the buildings into "a very hot box." May also said that Forest City needs to come up with better names for the vertical marker and the retail pavilions, though he also dryly added he was "not advocating selling the naming rights."
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development testified in support of the project, and the Office of Planning recommended approval--their staff report is worth reading for more details on the project and on the various zoning exceptions and speical requests Forest City was seeking. ANC 6D voted last month 6-0-1 to support the project, and there were no other witnesses either for or against the plans.
In the end, with the commissioners having made no requests for additional materials or clarifications, it was decided to take their vote immediately, and approval was given 5-0. Because this was a Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review, this was the only vote that will be taken.
The first phase, which is expected to begin construction in the next three months and be completed by mid-2010, is the basic layout of the park and the boardwalks. The third phase will be the piers and marina, which Forest City said last night is targeted for completion in 2012 or 2013.
 

Mar 1, 2009 9:56 AM
* (h/t reader F) The AP takes a look at the Capitol Power Plant just north of the SE Freeway, the neighborhood's second most "favorite" landmark (after the school buses) with its smokestacks obscuring the view of the Capitol dome from many locations. On Thursday, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to the Architect of the Capitol asking that the power plant switch from burning coal to using natural gas for its operations, saying "The switch to natural gas will allow the CPP to dramatically reduce carbon and criteria pollutant emissions, eliminating more than 95 percent of sulfur oxides and at least 50 percent of carbon monoxide...We strongly encourage you to move forward aggressively with us on a comprehensive set of policies for the entire Capitol complex and the entire Legislative Branch to quickly reduce emissions and petroleum consumption through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean alternative fuels." The AP's story tells how Congress has been trying to clean up the plant and make it more "green," and the potholes in the road to making it run completely on natural gas. I'm guessing it wouldn't be wise to start counting the minutes until the smokestacks are gone.
* On Monday at 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission is scheduled to have its hearing on the Phase 2 plans for the park at The Yards, though we'll see if the weather wreaks havoc with the schedule. Here's my notes on the presentation of the designs to ANC 6D, and my Yards Park page has renderings.
* (UPDATE) Missed this--the Examiner reported on Friday that the Capitol Hill Restoration Society has filed suit to stop construction of the new 11th Street Bridges, citing its "significant, irreversible, adverse effects" on the surrounding area. The CHRS web site has a bit more detail as well.
* Tickets still available for Elton and Billy. Apparently there was a bit of a glitch yesterday when they went on sale.
 
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