Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - March 2011
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A Quick Gallery of Photos from A Rainy Opening Day
Mar 31, 2011 3:24 PM
It didn't exactly make one believe that Spring is anywhere close to springing, but a big crowd of fans still braved the weather to head to Nationals Park for Opening Day 2011. I took some photos here and there of the park and the opening ceremonies before retreating to the warmth (yes, I'm a wuss) including the above stitched-together panorama.
Is there optimism for the season? Pessimism? Or will it really not matter, as long as the sun eventually comes out?
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More posts: Nationals Park

Pre-Opening Day Roundup: Shake Shack Coming by June, NatsFest Photos, Circulator's Hours Officially Expanded
Mar 30, 2011 5:46 PM
The news from Tom Sietsema whizzed around the Twitterverse early today: "acclaimed" New York restaurateur Danny Meyer is bringing four of his creations to Nationals Park, including Shake Shack, which has already had DC foodies salivating over a planned Dupont Circle location. Shake Shack will be replacing Five Guys on the Scoreboard Walk, and surrounding it will be El Verano Taqueria (serving Mexican snacks), Box Frites (Belgian-style fries with dips) and Blue Smoke (barbeque). The ink is apparently barely dry on the deal, so construction is only just now getting underway (as you can see in the photo at right and this one, which I took today at the ballpark). Shake Shack and the others are already operating at the Mets' stadium, Citi Field.
This isn't the only news of the day in regards to the ballpark food, as the team also announced new food partnerships: the Boston Beer Company will bring Sam Adams beers to the stadium, along with a new Sam Adams beer garden in May; Kayem Hot Dogs are now the "official frank of the Washington Nationals"; and Breyers is now the official ice cream. There's also changes to the existing concessions, including two portable Hard Times Cafe carts that will sell nachos. And a new "point of sale" operation that is supposed to speed up food sales and other transactions. (We shall see....!)
As for outside the ballpark, I peeked in on the progress at Das Bullpen, and while they were working very hard, it was hard to judge whether they'll be open by tomorrow morning. But the original Bullpen at Half and N will be opening at 10 am for all your late-morning beer-drinking needs. (Justin's Cafe will open at 10:30.) There was also work going on along Half Street, with Monument Realty finally replacing the Half Street advertising signage that for so long has declared "Coming 2009" with a more gentle "Coming Soon."
All this reconnaissance came as part of my short visit to NatsFest, and you can see a quick gallery of my photos from the event, none of which are terribly exciting and are more about little things here and there than the players or any of the activities. (I figured those sorts of photos would be a dime a dozen since every fan was toting a digital camera.) One change at the stadium visible in one of the photos (above the big honking new Jayson Werth banner) is that the red tent on top of the left-field garage that has been obscuring views of the Capitol for the past few years is now gone. Yay!
In other news, DDOT has announced that the Navy Yard Circulator's hours are indeed being extended beginning on April 1. From Friday through Sept. 30 (though could be continued in the FY12 city budget), the buses will run from 6 am to 9 pm weekdays and from 7 am to 9 pm on Saturdays, in addition to the extended hours on Nats game days. (They're supposed to post the 2011 Game Day Schedule, but it's not there quite yet.)
And, if you want more transit info before heading off to the ballpark, here's Metro's press release on its plans for extra trains, crowd monitoring, etc.
If I were in a generous mood, I could also link to today's front-page Washington Times story about how nothing is happening around the ballpark in terms of development, but if they are silly enough to dub the "new" Courtyard by Marriott (finished in 2006) as one of neighborhood's "signs of progress," then I'm not sure you need to read the rest. Besides, you can just read my roundup of what's changed since the end of last season to find out all you need to know.
We'll see what the weather does on Thursday--people seem to be sounding a bit more optimistic, but be aware that if there's rain, they'll most likely play Friday and not Thursday night.
UPDATED headline, tweaking "before June" to "by June."

Baseball Back for Fourth Season at Nationals Park; Neighborhood Update, Parking Map for Returning Fans
Mar 28, 2011 9:44 AM
It's hard for me to believe that this week marks three years since the first Opening Day at Nationals Park, but time does march on. Wednesday evening's NatsFest followed by three games against the Braves (starting with Thursday's 1:05 pm season opener) will bring a lot of people back to Near Southeast for the first time since last summer.
If you're one of them, and you haven't diligently been reading my posts (gasp!), you might be interested in knowing what's been going on since the last time you ventured into this neck of the woods. Here's the big items:
Yards Park: In early September, the first phase of the six-acre Yards Park opened on the banks of the Anacostia, just two blocks east of the ballpark. It's a space unlike any in Washington, and is definitely worth a visit, perhaps even on your way to Saturday's afternoon game, since the park is holding a Family Fun Day that starts at 11 am. (Even if you don't make it to the park right away, you can easily see it from the ballpark's southeastern viewing platform.)
It will probably be a neat place to watch the Friday night post-game fireworks as well (UPDATE: waah! no fireworks this year!), a trip which will be made even easier when a floating bridge connecting Diamond Teague Park--just across Potomac Avenue from the First Base Gate--with the Yards Park is completed, perhaps by the end of the season.
Unfortunately, most people visiting the park in conjunction with a Nationals game won't get to walk along the river all the way to 11th Street: while the Navy Yard has announced that its stretch of the boardwalk is opening April 1, the initial hours will only be from 8 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday.
Foundry Lofts: Just to the north of the new park, work re-started last September on the stalled Foundry Lofts building at 3rd and Tingey, and it is expected to be completed this fall.
Bullpen: It may not be ready by Thursday, but the open-air bar and live music gathering place across N Street from the stadium known as the Bullpen is opening a gameday beer garden to the north of its current spot, on the corner of Half and M across from the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. With close to 80 picnic tables, it will have a capacity of over 600 and will offer European beers, sausages and other like fare, and a quieter environment than the original Bullpen (which will be remaining open for this season as well). The name of the new spot? Das Bullpen. (Yes, that's the moniker I flippantly gave the project back when the news first broke, which the owners decided to go ahead and use. #winning!)
Capitol Quarter: If you park in lot T on 3rd Street, SE, you'll see new townhouses going up directly across the street as part of Capitol Quarter's second phase of construction.
200 I: Just to the north of lot T and right by the Southeast Freeway, you'll see the old Star/Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue in the process of losing its exterior "skin" as it moves toward becoming 200 I Street, a DC government office building that will be completed next spring.
Canal Park: Right in the middle of things, across from the Five Guys and Subway, you'll see construction at last underway on Canal Park, the stretch of 2nd between I and M that at one time was a schoolbus parking lot and which has been plain open space for the past two years. The park is expected to be open by spring of next year, and so during the next 12 months expect there to be almost no parking along 2nd; the eastern part of the street is closed altogether. Also, note that L Street is closed for this one block, so you can't use it to get from New Jersey to 3rd or vice versa.
Harry's: If your path to and from the ballpark includes a walk down New Jersey Avenue (perhaps from the Capitol South Metro station), and you find yourself in desperate need of adult beverages, Harry's Reserve has now opened on the southwest corner of New Jersey and I, in the ground floor of the 909 New Jersey apartment building.
Florida Rock: While it hasn't happened yet, plans are for the concrete plant just south of the ballpark to be razed sometime this year, bringing unobstructed views of the Anacostia River to the southeastern viewing platform and clearing the Florida Rock site until the proposed 1.1-million-square-foot RiverFront project can get some financing and get started.
Getting Here: I've got my Stadium Parking map ready to go for 2011, though I've made no additions or deletions on it yet for the new season. I'll wander around this weekend and see if any new lots have popped up or old ones have gone away, though first impressions are that there are no major changes, certainly not in terms of the official Nats lots. (If you see any new lots or old ones that have gone offline, let me know so I can update the map.)
But with this area being a multimodal paradise, your better bet is Metro, or the Circulator that runs from Union Station and Eastern Market, or even Capital Bikeshare, now that there's a station at 1st and N. UPDATE: Forgot to mention the water taxi running from Alexandria, and it's possible that the new American Water Taxi service may get started up soon.
Retail? Eats? Unfortunately, if you were expecting this post to include a litany of new food and retail offerings, you will be just as disappointed as the residents and officeworkers currently are with the continuing lack of options beyond Subway, Five Guys, Justin's Cafe, and Cornercopia. There could be at least two additions before the end of the season, however: another beer garden (separate from Das Bullpen) is under development at 8th and L, SE, and the old "Little Red Building" site at 2nd and L is on its way to becoming "Lot 38 Espresso." Neither project has an announced opening date.
There is also lots of under-the-radar chatter of various restaurateurs starting to look at the area (which I haven't bothered posting, because a) I don't do rumors and b) it shouldn't really be news that they're looking in such an underserved area). With the above projects underway, along with DDOT and the FAA soon moving into 55 M, 20 M now 97 percent leased, and 100 M off the DL thanks to its foreclosure sale, there is a definite shift in the economic winds, and it would not be surprising to get some announcement of some new retail before the end of this season.
For more information on what's changed and what might be changing, check out my 2011 State of the Hood. The BID also did a recent roundup of changes.
If you want to relive the glory days of the ballpark's construction, you can wander through all my exterior and interior photos from that heady time, along with my many photo galleries from ballpark-related events over the years, from the groundbreaking to the topping out to each Opening Day. You can also check out what that part of the neighborhood looked like before the stadium's arrival. (Yes, I'm wallowing in nostalgia. It was a fun time.)
(UPDATED headline, because I can't count.)

NCC Buying the People's Church on Barracks Row
Mar 27, 2011 12:23 PM
Today the head of the National Community Church is announcing to his parishioners that a deal has been struck for NCC to buy the People's Church at 535 8th St. SE in the middle of Barracks Row.
With their home base at Ebenezers Coffee House near Union Station overflowing and any completed construction on their new Virginia Avenue footprint probably 3-4 years away, this gives the church an instant "phase 1" building with more than double the capacity of Ebenezers.
Mark Batterson tells me that the first service on 8th Street will be on Palm Sunday, April 17. They'll have one service a week there until the land deal is completed in early June, after which more services and events will be held at the new location, but they'll continue to meet at Ebenezers as well. In time, they are looking at converting the building back to its previous life as a movie theater: it opened as Meader's Theater in 1910, then became the New Academy Theatre before being converted to a church in the early 1960s. (If you've been inside the church, you certainly would recognize the seats and layout as vintage movie theater design.) NCC may even reopen the balcony, which has been closed off as a separate meeting space. They also hope to adapt the stage so that the space can be used for community events; and they're open to suggestions and ideas if you have any.
The People's Church will be moving to Maryland, where most of their members now live.
This gives NCC a bit of breathing room for designing and getting through all the bureaucratic hoops of building at 8th and Virginia, but Batterson considers 535 8th to be a "stepping stone" to the new location. And you can see how excited he is in his recent tweets hinting at the deal, which described to me as a "double miracle for both churches."
UPDATE: Here's Batterson's blog post on the news, with some cool vintage photographs of 535 8th.

DC Challenge at the Yards Park April 16; NatsFest Schedule
Mar 25, 2011 1:11 PM
The April lineup of events at the Yards Park continues to grow: on April 16 it will be host to the DC Challenge, an "Amazing Race" style scavenger hunt through the city. Competitors will "solve tricky clues" to plot the best route and race for cash prizes, and then afterwards there will be a "Finish Line Festival" with music, games, food drink, and the "crowd-judged costume contest." You can register online, and the web site has much more information on what's billed as "America's largest adventure race."
Also, in a slightly different vein, if you haven't already seen it, here's the schedule for NatsFest on Wednesday afternoon.
(One note on my handling of upcoming events--generally I'll post about something when I hear about it, and maybe give another reminder a couple days beforehand if the timing's right, and of course they're all always on my events calendar. But if you want lots of updates and reminders on goings-on at the Yards Park or other events handled by the BID, you'll want to follow those Facebook or Twitter feeds.)

2010 Census Numbers Quantify the Changing Near Southeast
Mar 24, 2011 9:42 PM
Numbers geeks rejoiced on Thursday when the 2010 census numbers for DC were released, and of course I had to dig right in.
The population of Census Tract 72 in 2010 is given as 2,794, an increase of nearly 1,000 residents from 2000 and which accounts for about 11 percent of the entire Ward 6 population increase. The demographic numbers are striking: Near Southeast is now nearly 60 percent white and 31 percent African American, compared to being nearly 95 percent black 10 years ago. It's also interesting that it found 95 percent of the population to be age 18 or older, compared to only 69 percent in 2000. There's also 1,459 more housing units counted in the neighborhood (and that number has certainly gone up since the census was taken).
Here are the numbers:
(You can see an expanded list with percentage change and some additional numbers here, which also shows that the neighborhood's population counted at 2,089 residents in 1990 and 2,994 in 1980.)
The Capitol Riverfront BID has estimated that the neighborhood population was around 3,300 at the end of 2010.
Even though the population of DC itself climbed by nearly 30,000 in the last 10 years, Near Southeast is now a larger portion of the overall population than it was 10 years ago, skyrocketing to a whopping .46 percent of the city's count.
"Tract 72" covers the area south of the freeway from South Capitol Street to 11th Street, but unless people are living east of 11th on their boats (or in a van down by the river), the boundaries would cover all of the residential areas of Near Southeast.
Of course, what future researchers looking at census numbers will never see is how much more the neighborhood emptied out through 2005 (when only 410 M and the private single-family homes were occupied). My guess would be that the population got down to around 400 during that time, if not lower.
Income-related demographic numbers for 2010 aren't yet released, but it's not hard to assume that those numbers will show an equally dramatic change.
And now that the city's numbers are out, the fun really begins with the need to redraw the ward boundaries, which will then beget a redrawing of the ANC boundaries. ANCs are supposed to have about 2,000 residents per single member district--will Near Southeast cease being covered by a single SMD? Or, for that matter, will all of Near Southeast remain in Ward 6, given the noises Marion Barry is making about the necessary redrawing of Ward 8's boundaries? "I'll defend the riverfront," is the quote from Field Marshall Thomas von Wells. (Hey, we kid because we love.) "Ward 6 should remain the same."
(Note: I wrote a slightly different summary of Near Southeast's census numbers for the Post; the numbers cited in that article use the Post's internal numbers by neighborhood instead of going purely by Tract 72. Not sure exactly where the different boundaries are, but I'll stay with Tract 72 here since it's easier to get access to those numbers publicly for checking and comparison.)

Performance Parking Brings Monies for New Bikeshare Station(s), Transportation Study; Some Parking Costs Going Up in 2011
Mar 24, 2011 1:38 PM
Michael Perkins at GGW got his hands on the draft version DDOT's 2010 Ballpark District Performance Parking Report, and while I'll leave it to him to handle the in-depth discussion of pricing and meter use in Near Southeast as well as other neighborhoods, there are a few action items in the report that might be of general interest (you should read all 31 pages if you want the nitty-gritty).
Now, this is a draft report, but assuming it becomes final...:
Revenues from the parking program have been able to provide $812,100 for "non-automotive transportation improvements" in 2011, which will include a new Capital Bikeshare location at the Yards Park and $135,000 for a new fence along New Jersey Avenue by the railroad tracks (presumably it won't hide the "Water Pylons" public art coming to the freeway underpass). There will also be two or three other new bikeshare stations somewhere in the Ballpark District parking zones (Near Southeast, Southwest, and southern Capitol Hill), but those haven't been announced.
There will also be a $70,000 grant to partially fund a Capitol Riverfront BID Transportation Study, which the page 25 of the report says will happen during this fiscal year and will look at:
* The need for additional traffic signals and stop signs based on pedestrian and vehicular patterns (and recent accidents);
* Neighborhood traffic circulation patterns including one way street circulation and freeway access and turning movements onto the freeway frontage roads;
* How the CSX tunnel reconstruction will impact traffic flow and SE/SW freeway access/egress;
* Existing and future parking demand and the proposed parking supply to meet that demand;
* On street parking strategies and supply for commercial, residential and visitor populations;
* Optimum Circulator routes and hours of operation;
* Recommended routes for bike lanes that tie into the Riverfront Trail system;
* The optimum route for a streetcar line in the M Street right of way and how it would service the Buzzard Point subdistrict; and
* How M Street is designed and works as a multi-modal transit corridor while exhibiting a high quality of design in the public realm.
Gosh, I'm just not sure if residents will be interested in any of these! If perchance a reader or two might have an idea or data point for the above items, feel free to discuss in the comments.
Note that this study doesn't quite seem to match the overarching Near Southeast/Southwest combined traffic study that got some discussion late last year, but perhaps there's more going on than what's mentioned in the DDOT report.
DDOT is also proposing that non-gameday parking rates at the multispace meters between South Capitol and 2nd Streets from the freeway to M Street go up to $6 for three hours (first hour $1.50, second hour $2.50, third hour $3). Plus, the boundaries of the parking zone will move eastward to 11th St. SE from 9th St.
By the way, if you have a fab idea for how some of the proceeds from the parking revenue can be spent on the aforementioned non-automotive transportation improvements, you can submit a written proposal to DDOT (further information on page 26 of the report). And if you want background on how the Performance Parking Pilot came into existence back in 2008, my Stadium Parking page can help with that.

Concrete Plant on Florida Rock Site to be Moved, Razed
Mar 24, 2011 9:55 AM
I've gotten a bit more information about the raze permit application at the Florida Rock site, the concrete plant on the banks of the Anacostia directly across from Nationals Park.
According to Florida Rock Properties, the owner of the site, the tenants are building a new plant on land also owned by FRP down South Capitol Street on Buzzard Point (at S and Water streets near the Pepco plant and the Coast Guard building). Once that new site is completed, the existing operations on Potomac Avenue will be shut down and the structures will be razed, which should happen sometime this summer (though timelines on these sorts of projects are never written in concrete, ha ha).
The plant is one of the last specimens of the ballpark area's previous life as an industrial zone, and has housed a gravel/stone/concrete operation since the 1920s, when Smoot Sand and Gravel operated there after moving from what is now the Yards Park site when the Navy Yard expanded its boundaries during World War I. I have taken scads of photos that have included it over the years, and should probably thank my lucky stars that I was never mowed down by any of the trucks coming in and out of there during all my photographing of the ballpark's construction. There was certainly a close call or two.
As I've noted about a billion times over the past eight years, the site's redevelopment plans call for a 1.1-million-sq-ft mixed-use four-phase development, but Florida Rock Properties does not as yet have any deals in place to get this new "RiverFront" project started. In 2009 they received a time extension on their zoning PUD, and are not required to file building permits until June 2012. The site will probably remain fenced and unused in the interim, but at least the dismantling of the tower will finally allow unobstructed views of the Anacostia River, the Douglass Bridge, and the east bank of the river from the ballpark's southeastern viewing platform. Not to mention nicer views of the ballpark from the river, for boats such as those using the Diamond Teague Piers next door. At least until the new development goes up....

Florida Rock Raze Permit, and Other Tuesday Tidbits
Mar 22, 2011 11:03 AM
All sorts of small stuff that has recently been Tweeted, or just left to molder until I finally got around to posting:
* A raze permit application has been filed by the Florida Rock folks for the concrete plant operated by Vulcan Materials Co. on Potomac Avenue just south of Nationals Park. This in an of itself is quite interesting, made even more interesting by a lack of response from Florida Rock Properties when I inquired as to what this planned razing might mean. From what I'm told, raze permits are valid for one year from the date of issuance (and this one hasn't been issued yet). The plan has been for a 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project that would include office, residential, hotel, and retail in four buildings, plus lots of open space. (Note that the western part of the project can't be built until the new Douglass Bridge is built and the current one is demolished, which doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon). Whether the current plans will still be going forward with the current owners or if changes are in the works, we'll just have to wait and see, though considering that it took FRP a decade or so to get zoning approvals for the site, it would be no fun to see the process start over again.
* There was a kitchen fire on the 3rd floor of the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St. SE on Monday night, according to tweets from DCFireEMS. The bulk of the fire was handled by the sprinkler system, they say, and there were no injuries.
* The DC Music Fest planned for the Yards Park on May 7 has been cancelled "due to a lack of funding and sponsorships."
* The Five Guys at Nationals Park will not be back for the 2011 season, says Curbed DC. (The one on 2nd Street across from Canal Park is not affected by this.)
* Speaking of the ballpark, in case your attention hasn't yet turned to baseball, note that Opening Day is next Thursday (March 31), with NatsFest being held at 4 pm the day before. The first series of games (Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday) will all be early afternoon starts (1:05 pm on Thursday and Saturday and the normal 1:35 pm start on Sunday).
And Saturday's game is bookended by Family Fun Day at Yards Park, being held from 11 am to 4 pm in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (Plus there's all the goings-on that day on the Southwest Waterfront, including the big fireworks display.)

Simplified Design for 8th Street Beer Garden on HPRB Agenda
Mar 21, 2011 10:22 AM
The proposed 8th Street Beer Garden is back before the Historic Preservation Review Board, with a "substantially simplified" design that the board's staff has deemed sufficiently compatible with the character of the surrounding Capitol Hill Historic District.
The first floor is now proposed to have a brick veneer (though it's not really shown on the new rendering that the beer garden team was kind enough to pass along), and there have been other changes that HPRB staff say have improved the overall proportions of the building. There's also now a pergola (arbor) on the roof to help with shading on sunny days. Sidewalk seating spaces are also shown, though the developer will have to get a public space permit and work around the bus stop currently at the 8th and L intersection.
There are still a few small issues the HPRB staff would like to see addressed, but they have recommended that the concept be approved by the board, and the project has been placed on the consent calendar for the March 24 meeting. (Though the board may choose to remove it from consent if they have any issues they want to discuss before voting.)
You can see a larger view of this revised design alongside the previous version and some current photographs on my new 8th Street Beer Garden page, which isn't exactly a barn-burner but at least it's something. (It goes hand-in-hand with my new National Community Church page, which has photos of the lots NCC now owns.)
The HPRB meeting is on Thursday at 10 am, and will be available via live streaming or on demand. (Or you could go to the meeting in person, but that's so 20th century.)
UPDATE, 3/24: The consent portion of the agenda passed with no discussion, so the design concept is now considered approved by the board ("as consistent with the purposes of the preservation act"), with final approval delegated to HPRB staff.

Updated Photos From the Center of the Neighborhood
Mar 20, 2011 10:16 AM
Saturday was a lovely day for taking a couple of walks with camera in hand, and with work underway at locations that couldn't be any closer to my out-of-neighborhood house, I had no excuse to not get some updated photos of 225 Virginia/200 I, Capitol Quarter Phase 2, Canal Park, and the Little Red Building. (It was also nice chatting with the folks who correctly guessed that the oddball standing in the middle of the street taking photos must have been me.)
The showy demolition work is now well underway at 225 Virginia/200 I, and if the few shots and renderings on the project page aren't enough for you, you can do a virtual walk around the block to see which walls and windows are blown out at this point and to compare the current images with their "befores."
No time is being wasted at Capitol Quarter, where framing has now wrapped around from I to 3rd to K Street on the first block of Phase 2. You can take a "walk" around that block, too, if you haven't lately, or wander through the project page, both of which have plenty of images of the old Capper public housing buildings that were on this block for a very long time. I also added to the database some photos of what will eventually be the intersection of 3rd Place and L, once the new street gets built through its second block south of K. If you're big on old Capper photos, there's a few "before" images of L Street buildings in that sent that haven't been displayed on the site before now.
If photographs of fences are your thing, take a "walk" around the Canal Park perimeter, to see many pictures of the "traffic control" now in place in advance of the start of construction on the park (presuming it ever actually comes). Those barriers are going to put a crimp in some of my standard shooting locations for the next year or so, including where I've stood for the past eight years to take photographs of the Little Red Building, which in its new incarnation is now more of a brick red than the beet red it used to be. ANC commissioner Garber posted on Friday that the roof is going in over the next few days, at which point work on the interior can begin, as it slowly progresses toward becoming "Lot 38 Espresso."
Remember that the Click to see all available photos of this location.icon on any page gets you to the full batch of photos I've taken at any location (which, since I'm getting into the eighth year of doing this, can be kind of voluminous in some spots).
(I know that It seems kind of odd to still be posting photos when so many readers now live in the neighborhood, which of course wasn't always the case. But it's my schtick, and so I continue onward! Plus. there are plenty of people interested in Near Southeast who don't wander around every day--or maybe some of the residents don't know what these spots used to look like before....)

Navy Yard Opening Their Riverwalk for 'Limited Public Access'
Mar 16, 2011 11:48 AM
Just released from the Navy:
"Gates at the east and west end of the waterfront promenade (Riverwalk) at the Washington Navy Yard (WNY), will open for limited public access on Apr. 1, 2011. The WNY Riverwalk terminates at the Yards Park to the west and 11th Street SE to the east.
"The gates at both ends of the WNY Riverwalk will be open during base working hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday excluding Federal Holidays. Exceptions to these operating hours will be made when restricted access is necessary to accomplish Navy operations. The Navy may block or restrict access without notice for safety or operational reasons.
"The Display Ship Barry, located along the WNY Riverwalk, will be open to the public with access directly from the Riverwalk when the Riverwalk is open. The Display Ship Barry and the Navy Museum can be accessed through the WNY during normal hours when the Riverwalk is closed. Holders of valid Department of Defense (DoD) identification cards will be able to enter the WNY via turnstiles along the Riverwalk during operating hours. Access for non-DoD identification card holders will continue to be via the WNY visitors center, located at the intersection of O Street and 11th Street SE."

Details on 225 Virginia/200 I's Landscaping, Parking Deck
Mar 16, 2011 9:48 AM
(Continuing along with my posts on Monday night's ANC 6D meeting....)
StonebridgeCarras, the folks who are morphing the old Star/Post Plant at 225 Virginia into a new DC government office building at 200 I (I'm still fighting that address) came to ANC 6D looking for support for a public space permit covering the landscaping, paving, sidewalks, and other exterior improvements.
There are a number of large oak trees surrounding the building, and Jane Mahaffie of Stonebridge said that they are "going to great lengths" to save as many of them as possible, although arborists have already determined that two or three of them need to come down. (At least one of those trees, however, will be dried out and reused in the rebuilt structure.) You can see on the graphic at right (see larger version) the larger trees that denote which ones are expected to be saved. Of course, when CSX digs its trench, the trees along Virginia Avenue may not end up being quite so lucky....
The landscaping will not be on too grand of a scale, since the city will be responsible for maintaining it and isn't exactly rolling in dough.
What is also depicted on this drawing that hasn't always been obvious in the renderings of the new 200 I is the parking deck planned for the southEAST corner of the block. It's a one-story deck, with an entrance on 3rd Street for visitors to park on the roof of the deck, and another entrance on I Street for DC government staff to enter and park either on the lower part of the deck or in the basement of the building. (There are upwards of 200 total spaces, if memory serves.)
But, as anyone who has walked north on 3rd Street to the freeway can tell you, there is a considerable rise in the grade of the street, so while the parking deck will look one story tall down at I Street, it will actually be at the same level as the street up closer to Virginia, as you can see in this rendering of what the deck and its "dense buffer plantings" will look like as seen from 3rd Street:
The larger version of the above graphic has additional renderings of the parking deck as seen from 3rd and from I, showing how the designers are attempting to hide the deck as much as possible, especially as time goes on and the plantings mature.
The ANC voted 7-0 to support the public space permit.
If you haven't been following along, 200 I is expected to be home to the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the DC Child and Family Services Agency, and the Commission on Arts and Humanities. Its new entrance will be on I Street, facing Canal Park, and the lobby will include a gallery of artwork that will be open to the public (without having to go through security). There also may be some small "incubator" service retail in the southwest corner of the building. The developers are going for LEED Gold certification, and 50 percent of the new roof will be "green." Exterior construction is expected to be completed by January of 2012, with move-ins expected to happen in late spring of '12. You can see renderings of the lobby and more photos on my 225 Virginia project page.
(And, one more 6D recap to come.)

Dueling St. Patrick's Day Forums: DC Water, Circulator
Mar 15, 2011 10:17 PM
I know one of my big complaints about St. Patrick's Day festivities has always been that there just aren't enough civic forums included. But that's not the case this year!
* This is late notice (my bad), but on Thursday night (March 17) DC Water (aka WASA) is holding a Ward 6 Town Hall Meeting to talk about all manner of water- and sewer-related issues. Both Tommy Wells and George Hawkins (general manager of DC Water) will be there, and no doubt one of the topics of discussion will be the multi-billion-dollar Clean Rivers Project to fix the combined sewer overflows that result in sewage emptying into the Anacostia River. I have done a wonderful job of avoiding writing about this project, and I will do so for a while longer, except to note that it will eventually mean construction work along M Street east of 9th and along Tingey Street, but not before next spring (and continuing until 2017), so I have a little more time to get with the program. The town hall is from 6:30 to 8 pm at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th St. SE.
* Unfortunately, the DC Water town hall is scheduled at the exact same time as the "First Semi-Annual DC Circulator Public Forum," which is being held right in the neighborhood at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L SE, and which is expected to include a discussion of a possible expansion of service on the Union Station-Navy Yard line, perhaps by expanding hours of operation to 9 pm Monday-Saturday during baseball season. (There is, however, no truth to the rumor that the route is going to be renamed the Dubliner-Molly Malone's line.)

ANC 6D Supports Temporary Capitol Hill Day School; Capper Update
Mar 15, 2011 10:25 AM
(There were a number of Near Southeast-related items on Monday night's ANC 6D agenda, so I'm going to break up the reports into a couple of posts. One or two more to come over the next day or so.)
Representatives of the Capitol Hill Day School came to 6D to ask for the commission's support on a zoning case that would allow the school to erect "modular classrooms" on the empty community center lot at 5th and K while their current location at 2nd and South Carolina undergoes renovation. As I wrote last week, the school would occupy the lot starting in June, with the intent of returning to the Dent School building in January 2012. There were a few additional details given last night:
* CHDS has secured 29 spaces in the big parking lot at 7th and L for faculty.
* They will be requesting from DDOT that six of the street parking spaces (half the block) on the east side of 5th in front of the lot be changed to No Parking from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays, to act as a drop-off zone for parents and buses. They will ask parents coming from north of the freeway to drive south on 4th, turn left on L, and then turn left on 5th to pull into one of their four drop-off spots, where kids are guided quickly out of the cars. (You can see this in operation at 2nd and South Carolina.) Their school buses would also operate in those spots during the day. But the spaces would be available for resident parking after 6 pm, before 8 am, and on weekends, with a "minimal" number of nighttime events beyond a Back to School night.
* Headmaster Jason Gray said that the school wants to be "as minimally disruptive as we can, be good community members, and leave the site better than we left it." They'll be landscaping the site (and fencing it), and will clear the lot and clean it up once they move out.
* In return for using this DC Housing Authority lot, CHDS has agreed to fund three scholarships for public housing children to attend the school, though details on how the students will be picked are still being worked out.
The commission voted 6-1 to support the zoning request, with only Commissioner Roger Moffatt voting against. The BZA will hear the case on May 17. If you want to know more about the CHDS renovation project, you can check out their wiki, and they are also keeping a blog on the construction project.
There was also a general update on the progress of the overall Capper redevelopment given by David Cortiella of DCHA. Some bullet points:
* Construction on the second phase of Capitol Quarter is actually a bit ahead of schedule; Cortiella said the first move-ins are scheduled for July/August, but I've heard from EYA that it may be more like May/June.
* DCHA is in the process of building a new lot for DPW so that it can move out of the New Jersey & K site; Cortiella expects this to happen by August, at which time site remediation and demolition can begin, working toward the building of I Street through to New Jersey Avenue (along with all manner of infrastructure work). This would take about 18 months.
* The financing for the mixed-income apartment project on Square 882 (just south of the Marine barracks) has apparently proven difficult to secure, and is still being worked on, with Cortiella saying he "expects" it by the end of the year.
* The community center's financing is dependent on whether a second bond can be floated to get the rest of the $55 million PILOT monies; the $29 million bond sold in 2010 is paying for infrastructure work around Canal Park and the DPW site, and by spring of next year it should be known whether this second bond will be happening.
* The entire project is still on track to eventually provide the 707 units of public housing that were on the site before redevelopment; about 337 have already been delivered.
(Plus, it wasn't mentioned at the meeting, but there's a lottery of up to 11 Capitol Quarter workforce housing units coming March 26.)

Capitol Quarter Phase II Workforce Lottery March 26
Mar 15, 2011 9:58 AM
EYA has announced that up to 11 houses at Capitol Quarter are being made available at workforce-level prices in another lottery, the third since Capitol Quarter began being developed in 2006. Household income must be under $119,025, and there are a lot of qualifications and requirements to meet, requiring a visit to the sales office before March 20 in order to be certified as eligible. The lottery will be held at 10 am on March 26 at the sales office at 4th and L, SE. (There may be fewer than 11 houses, since former residents of Capper/Carrollsburg are given an opportunity to purchase homes in this program before they are made available.)
Read the financing program document or contact EYA for more details.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

ANC 6D Agenda: Capper, Day School, Yards, 225 Virginia
Mar 11, 2011 12:37 PM
Very quick post to note that the agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now posted. The bevy of Near Southeast items include:
* An update on the Capper Hope VI redevelopment from the DC Housing Authority;
* The zoning case to allow Capitol Hill Day School to erect temporary structures on the Community Center lot starting in June while their school undergoes renovation;
* A Yards zoning amendment that would allow Forest City to "temporarily" (not more than 20 years) include office space in the second floor of the Lumber Storage Shed at the Yards Park, which would allow FC to move their offices there;
* And an update on "landscaping plans" at 200 I Street (still known in these parts at 225 Virginia Avenue).
There's also a lot of other items more of interest across the way in Southwest, although the items on "Safeway 'Customer Service' Procedures" and some others might be of note to Near Southeast residents as well.
Also, I might point out this item from the agenda, if you haven't noticed it before: "Community Concerns -- ANC6D residents may address the Commission for three (3) minutes, provided they have called the ANC office at 202-554-1795 at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting to supply the topic and request a time slot. (Statements must be submitted in writing for record purposes.) " The Community Concerns slot is now at the very end of meetings, however.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, at 600 M St., SW.

Harry's Reserve Opens its Doors, Spirit-Starved Residents Rejoice
Mar 10, 2011 2:26 PM
I haven't been there myself, but readers are reporting via Twitter and Facebook that Harry's Reserve Fine Wine and Spirits is now open for business on the southwest corner of New Jersey and I, in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey. It's been almost 10 months since the owners first signed a lease and started the liquor license process, but it's now the neighborhood's first outlet for the hard stuff in a number of years. It's also the first retail space at 909 New Jersey to be occupied, and the first new retail offering in Near Southeast since Justin's Cafe opened last April.
This is apparently a bit of a soft opening (so be gentle!), with a true "Grand Opening" coming in two weeks or so. The owners are the same folks who own Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits in the 300 block of Pennsylvania Ave., SE, and who owned the Harry's liquor store in the old Waterside Mall in SW. When the owners met with ANC 6D's ABC subcommittee, they indicated that "they would sell beer, wine, and liquor, as well as milk, sodas, juice, cheese, and other "quick stop" items, and are very much wanting to emphasize that this is going to be a 'community' store, with higher-end products, wine tastings, and other offerings beyond what people normally think of when they hear 'liquor store.'"
I will get down there myself to check it out if the rain ever stops, but if you've paid a visit, let us know in the comments what's on the shelves and any other impressions.

Miles Glass Raze Application; Beer Garden at HPRB March 24
Mar 9, 2011 4:06 PM
When this photo popped up late Tuesday, it seemed like maybe Harry's Reserve at New Jersey and I would be open today, but we're hearing now that it'll be "a day or two," with a grand opening to come in two weeks. In the meantime, everyone's watching 2nd Street between I and M and reporting in about No Parking signs and stakes in the ground as construction on Canal Park seems to get ever closer. So, I guess I have to come up with something to post.
* With all the land now in hand that they were eyeing on Square 906, the National Community Church has filed for a raze permit for the old Miles Glass building at 8th and Virginia, says WBJ. Although the site is within the Capitol Hill Historic District, that in and of itself may not be an impediment to the building being torn down, the article says, since it was constructed in 1963 and "the vast majority of buildings deemed historic on Capitol Hill were erected prior to 1945." Not that any razing will happen anytime soon, but I'm still glad I went and got a bunch of new photos of it last week. (Though I still prefer the photo at right, from my first photo trek in January 2003, when the Miles Glass sign was still there.)
And, in his blog post about the final land purchases, NCC's Mark Batterson tells a story about how the acquired the car garage at 7th and K, given that the owner had refused all previous offers: "On September 15th our staff went over to the property and we laid hands on that auto shop. It felt like an impossible prayer, but we prayed for divine favor. [...] Then on January 15, four months to the day after we prayed on the property, we got a contract."
* Meanwhile, on the south end of the Saints and Sinners block, it looks like the 8th Street Beer Garden will be back in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board on March 24, at least according to the current agenda. At last month's meeting, the designs were described as being "very close," but revisions were requested and board members voted to look at them one more time. It sounded like some of the "busyness" was going to be simplified, so it will be interesting to see the revisions.
(I will say my mea culpas and admit that I sat on these links for way too long because I had grand dreams of getting project pages done for both the NCC and Beer Garden undertakings, but that hasn't happened. Yet.)

Onyx on First Apartment Building Up for Sale
Mar 8, 2011 5:49 PM
With an instruction to residents to Please Don't Panic, I'll pass along the news that Onyx on First, the 266-unit apartment building at 1100 1st St. SE, is up for sale. With a brochure touting "Excellent Transportation Infrastructure, Phenomenal Employment Opportunities," and "Shopping and Entertainment Options Abound," the sellers look to be trying to get in on what is clearly a rebounding multifamily market in DC.
Apparently there's no price set for the sale, and with a building that's 92 percent occupied with what looks like pretty high average rent numbers, I imagine investors will be taking a close look. The eventual sale (should there be one) could also be an interesting barometer of how "the markets" view the neighborhood. Proposals are due April 14.
The building, originally planned to be condos but converted to apartments during the construction phase, was developed by Faison and the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund and completed in 2009. It was built the same time as its neighbor 100 M, the office building that recently bought for $57 million in a foreclosure sale. Onyx is on the same block as the New Jersey Avenue entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, two blocks north of Nationals Park, and one block west of the Courtyard by Marriott that is being bought for $68 million. And, of course, just across the street from the Market Deli.
You can see my Onyx project page for photos and more information.
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