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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: April 2008
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The northeast corner of Half and M is home to Nats Lot J these days, with the Sunoco station that used to be there having closed in 2006 (taking with it my first Gas Prices in the Hood location). The land was purchased in 2007 by Monument Realty for $14.3 million, and they're currently marketing the site as 50 M Street, a 135,000-square-foot build-to-suit office building, targeting associations in the area as possible tenants. Monument was nice enough to pass along this early conceptual rendering of the building (bigger version here). Waiting for a tenant means that this building probably won't get started anytime soon.
The project's M Street location means it will have to go through a Capitol Gateway Overlay Zoning Review, which includes the requirement that all the building's non-entrance frontage along M Street be devoted to retail space, and that no less than 35 percent of the entire first floor be retail. (See page 15 for more of the overlay's M Street requirements.)
As for the one-story red brick building behind the 50 M lot, that's a warehouse owned by the Feds, which as of now doesn't seem to be going anywhere. But that little spot is getting kind of valuable, isn't it?
And, since I don't have much else to show you these days, take a few minutes to "drive" M Street, first heading east then back west, to see the changes since 2003. Remember to click on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon for any location where you'd like to see the photos between the before and the after....
 

The new May issue of the Hill Rag has two articles on the not-very-positive response on Capitol Hill to the new Performance Parking regulations that have gone into effect, centered mainly around complaints that parking for visitors and guests via the one-guest-pass-per-household configuration is not working. You can read the report on April's ANC 6B meeting and the Rag Time column for more. And the latest Voice of the Hill also has an article about the ANC 6B meeting and the problems with guest parking. Feedback that perhaps the rules do not need to be enforced on non-gamedays seems to be growing, too.
These reports are all from outside my boundaries, of course, but we all know how much I enjoy covering parking. Anyone from Near Southeast want to weigh in and add to the fun?
It's also a good opportunity for a reminder about the May 7 community meeting organized by Tommy Wells on Performance Parking, at the Capitol United Methodist Church, Fifth and Pennsylvania/Seward Square, SE, from 7 to 8:30 pm, which ought to be a real barnburner.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park
 

A reminder that tomorrow (April 30) is the first and only weekday afternoon game at Nationals Park, where the Nationals will be taking on the Atlanta Braves with a 4:35 pm start time. (There's a 1:35 pm game on Monday May 26, but that's Memorial Day.) Traffic and Metro might be a bit hairy during the evening commute, so regulate your blood pressure accordingly.....
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

After a week's vacation, I'm still trying to remember how this whole blogging thing is supposed to work, so while I'm figuring it out, here are a few links:
* Dr. Gridlock looks at the Nats Express from RFK, and finds it acceptable. (Except for perhaps more signage.) And talks about the fun e-cruzer electric carts that are ferrying people for free between the shuttle stop at 300 M and the ballpark.
* Last week's Weekend section has a feature on the KegBus, which shuttles revelers from the bars on Pennsylvania Avenue and Eighth Street to the ballpark.
* Not to go all Prophet of Doom on you, but the Post's Sunday Magazine has a big piece on what DC may look like in 2025. In one scenario: "His mother didn't know it, but Paxten and his friends loved to wander around the mostly abandoned Nationals Park and the ruins of the entertainment complex, despite reports that coyotes had a den in the Nationals' former bullpen. The park had been neglected since Major League Baseball dissolved Washington's team in the second wave of contractions to hit the sport." Yes, but is Florida Rock built?????
 

Monday's Metro section of the Post has "Beside the Diamond, a Lump of Coal", bringing readers up to speed on the Florida Rock concrete-plant parcel just south of the ballpark. Nothing in it that folks wandering through here on a regular basis won't already know (you can read the piles of entries I've posted on the project over the past five years for additional details, including my post about last month's surprise preliminary approval of the latest design, and my project page has plenty of renderings and photos).
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More posts: Florida Rock
 

Within the past few days, I've gotten messages from a few people asking What's the Deal With the Velocity condos project at First and L, noting that construction has taken a vacation recently (like me!). I've been told that it should be starting back up again within the next week or so, and that it's still on schedule to be finished next year. It's still a condo project (not switching to rentals), and about 40 of the building's 200 units have been sold.
 

Just a quick note that both the zoning review and special exception applications for the office/residential/grocery project planned at 401 M Street at The Yards and the Public Space Committee's consideration of an application for Five Guys to operate a sidewalk cafe appear to have been approved. (I didn't get to see either meeting, so I know nothing more than that.) See the entry below for additional links and details to find out what the heck I'm talking about. And normal posting here on the blog will resume very soon (I promise), since the JDLand batteries are now just about recharged.
 

Apr 23, 2008 10:36 AM
A somewhat busy Thursday (April 24) is on the boards:
* We might be getting some news on the state of Monument Realty's lawsuit against WMATA over the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage to Akridge--the WMATA Board of Directors is meeting at 11 am, and the agenda for their executive session includes "Legal Issues - Monument vs. WMATA." I know nothing beyond that.
* Forest City's plans for the office/residential/retail project at 401 M Street will be getting a Southeast Federal Center Overlay District Review in front of the Zoning Commission at 6:30 pm at Suite 220 South, 441 4th St., NW; you can also catch it via live webcast, if it's working. Read more about this from my ANC 6D wrapup last week and an earlier entry on the project.
* And, if you want to make your voice heard about the public space application by Five Guys for a sidewalk seating area, the Public Space Committee will be bringing it up at its monthly meeting, at 941 North Capitol Street, NE, 7th Floor, starting at 10 am. This is the application that ANC6D refused to support last week because of the lack of a community benefits package for the "loss of public space."
 

Apr 22, 2008 10:23 AM
If you're looking for more lunchtime food options in Near Southeast (and who isn't?), here's word from the Capitol Riverfront BID that local "eco-vending" company On the Fly, which has been setting up shop before Nationals games on Half Street about 100 feet north of the ballpark entrance, will now be offering lunch from their neon-green electric "smartkarts" at that location daily from 11 am to 3 pm, starting today (April 22). Quoting: "In addition to its spicy turkey chili, named a "Home Run" by the Washington Post, On the Fly will offer Rocklands BBQ sandwiches, soft tacos with your choice of chicken estafado, pork carnitas or veggie filling, Japanese edamame salads, Brazilian chopped salad with beef tenderloin, couscous, vegetarian sides, energy bars and other organic natural snacks and beverages." Here's a coupon for a complimentary side order or snack between now and Friday--and it mentions Julia's Empanadas as another of their offerings (yay!). On the Fly also has carts at Farragut North, Gallery Place, and the Arboretum.
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More posts: Monument/Half St.
 

Apr 20, 2008 9:34 AM
The Nats continue to expand their single-game parking offerings, with new options for drive-up cash lot parking now posted on the official web site (and being mentioned during game telecasts). The latest offerings are: a) valet parking (at $50 a pop!) inside the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M (which the Nats are now leasing from WMATA), b) additional cash-lot parking in official Nats lots T and W (at Capper) for $20 and lot HH for $15; and c) pre-pay-only individual-game Red Zone parking at a mere $40 a game.
Even broadcaster Don Sutton remarked during a broadcast a few nights ago that perhaps the Nats did *too* good of a job of telling people how tight parking and traffic would be, and that now there's plenty of inventory. (Perhaps the Nats also saw the private cash lots cropping up and saw a little bit of $$ flowing away from their grasp....)
But will this additional traffic flow to parking lots increase congestion, causing angst about the volume of cars descending on the neighborhood? (Then again, if it does, perhaps the pendulum then swings back toward people using Metro or the Nats Express.)
 

Apr 18, 2008 2:47 PM
The Capital Rowing Club and the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association are offering free lessons in "sweep rowing" on Sunday (April 20) from 1 to 4 pm at the boathouses on the Anacostia River nestled between the 11th Street Bridges on O Street. No reservations are required. Even if you don't want to learn to row, it might be a chance to make a visit to the boathouses if you haven't been there before. (And, don't worry, they won't be demolished by the upcoming rehabs of the bridges, though the boathouse operations will be moving to the north a couple hundred feet during construction.) If you can't make Sunday's session, there will be another one on June 7, as part of National Learn to Row Day.
 

Apr 17, 2008 10:59 PM
So, I failed as a neighborhood blogger and archivist and didn't get down to the ballpark (or anywhere close by) for today's Papal Mass. But I didn't have a ticket and couldn't have gotten within a block of the stadium without one. And I figured it all just might get some coverage in the media. I'm not going to track down every article, but here's a sampling:
Check out the Post photo gallery of the day, along with the main article and a feature by Hank Steuver. The WashTimes Papal Visit blog proclaims "Wow--What a Mass!" NBC 4 has a page devoted to all of its video coverage--make sure to scroll down and see the little piece on the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church that sits right at South Capitol and M. Channel 9 also has a story and a photo gallery, as part of all of their coverage.
Dr. Gridlock kept track of the roads and rails both before and after the mass, and there seem to have been no major meltdowns. Again.
And, in what baseball fans really want to know, NBC4 has the goods on the work it's taking to transform the ballpark back into a ballpark.
Despite my abject failure with the mass, this was a milestone day for me, because during the ridiculously busy home stretch of the ballpark's completion, I just kept telling myself that I only had to hang on through Opening Night and Pope Day, and then all would return to "normal." And now, after posting nearly 2,000 photos and 270 blog entries in these 108 days of 2008, I seem to have made it. Yay!
So, as a present to myself, posting will be a bit light over the next few days as I do a bit of battery recharging.
 

Apr 17, 2008 7:20 PM
From DDOT, word that testing of the swing span of the Douglass Bridge necessitates some nighttime closures this weekend. "To conduct a full test of the swing span, and ensure the safety of motorist and workers, the bridge must be closed during the testing activity. The first closure is scheduled for Friday evening, April 18th from 10 pm to 5 am. If all results return positive no further closures will be necessary. However, if minor adjustments are found to be necessary, additional testing and closures will be conducted on Saturday from 10 pm to 5 am and repeated again with test-dependent closures scheduled for Sunday from 10 pm to 5 am. Motorist will be detoured to the 11th Street bridges."
 

Apr 17, 2008 2:03 PM
On Friday (April 18) at 3 pm, the city council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment will be having the "initial segment" of the hearing on DDOT's proposed FY09 budget. And, quoting from the hearing announcement: "The initial segment of this hearing will focus on the proposed construction of new 11th Street Bridges. A project currently budgeted at $450 million."
I haven't quite been able to get an answer as to whether this means that some portion of the project will begin next year--a contact at DDOT told me that they will "begin work on the ramps to RFK late this summer/fall" and that "removal of these ramps was recommended in the Middle Anacostia Crossings Transportation Study." That *sounds* like they're demolishing those ramps later this year (which, you can see in the EIS Preferred Alternative are indeed slated to be removed, though not technically as part of the 11th Street Bridges project), but until I see it specifically announced (or mentioned in tomorrow's hearing), I hesitate to say that's actually what's about to happen. If anyone out there has insight..... I won't be able to watch the hearing right away, but will try to get to it within a few days.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges
 

Apr 17, 2008 8:56 AM
So, the faithful are streaming toward the ballpark as we speak. Although the 55 M cam showed the upper decks pretty empty with about 90 minutes to go, Channel 9 (already on the air with its coverage of the mass) gives a better view of the tens of thousands already inside. (48,000 people are expected.) How's everyone faring, either trying to get out of the neighborhood or into it for work? Or is everyone just staying home? And, for those reading this later today who went to the mass, how did your trip go?
In other news, my Ballpark and Beyond column this week is yet another one about stadium parking, taken mainly from my Monday night post about ANC 6D's muted reaction to parking and traffic issues (along with the Zoning Commission's approval of having additional lots built in Southwest if landowners want them). I also tossed in a quick roundup of the private cash lots springing up.
 

Apr 16, 2008 12:31 PM
An interesting graphic in this morning's Post gives the lowdown on Thursday's papal mass at Nationals Park. There's even a diagram showing how the interior of the park will be laid out, which is handy, since we can't see it anymore on the web cam. No seating on the infield, for those of you concerned about any wear-and-tear.
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

Apr 16, 2008 9:54 AM
From Bruce Johnson's blog, word that the city council has introduced the "Positive Nature Property Tax Exemption Forgiveness Act," which will provide some temporary relief from the property taxes that have endangered the youth program's existence at 1017 New Jersey Avenue.
I've received a draft version of the bill (even though today is Emancipation Day and government offices are closed--good service!). It says that Lot 18 on Square 740 is exempt from real-property taxation as long as it is leased to Positive Nature. Further, "The Council orders that all unpaid real property taxes, interest, penalties, fees, and other related charges assessed against real property located at Lot 18, Square 740 for tax year 2008 shall be forgiven."
This is still just pending legislation at this point, of course, and is a short-term solution while (Bruce says) Tommy Wells, David Catania, and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development search for new space for Positive Nature.
UPDATE: And who did I just run into at 15th and K, NW--none other than Bruce Johnson himself, doing Man on the Streets about the pope. I took a minute to introduce myself as "that blogger whose photos of the ballpark you've used on your blog." He laughed, and apologized for not originally crediting the photo (and rightly noted that he did so after what I'm sure was an avalanche of feedback from JDLand readers), and we talked for a moment or two about this Positive Nature news. It's a small town....
 

Apr 16, 2008 5:38 AM
After writing about the revitalization of Capper/Carrollsburg a few weeks ago, the New York Times now looks at Near Southeast/Ballpark District/Capitol Riverfront: "But everyone agrees that the change in the neighborhood in the 22 months since work began on the 41,000-seat stadium has been astounding. In what was an urban wasteland of trash-strewn lots, sex clubs, and taxi and auto repair shops, developers have invested in new offices, condominiums, rental apartments, stores and restaurants. This undertaking is still very much a work in progress, but that progress is palpable in the sights and sounds of jackhammers, scaffolds, bulldozers and other heavy construction equipment. Fenced-off areas and hard-hat crews are everywhere." It's a pretty good overview for folks who don't know what's been happening in the area, but JDLand readers will be familiar with most of the descriptions and players. If you're wandering onto this site after reading the Times article, looking for more information (and pictures!) about the changes, just start clicking on the map at right to see what's been happening in these here parts.
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

Apr 15, 2008 1:03 PM
I'm just going to bullet-point all this stuff. Follow links for additional background. (See my entry from last night for news on the ANC's discussion about parking and traffic issues during the first games at the ballpark.)
* The commissioners voted to support Forest City Washington's plans for an office/residential/retail project (including a grocery store) at 401 M Street in The Yards. This support hinged on a Memorandum of Understanding on community benefits being offered by Forest City, including a lottery that could allow a 25 percent preference (or higher) for ANC 6D residents when it comes to the 30ish affordable housing rental units in the 194-unit project. (The final verbage of the MOU was hashed out at the meeting; talk about watching the sausage get made.) An audience member complained that LEED certification for the project should not be considered an amenity, but Forest City replied that the city's green building law does not go into effect until 2012, and these buildings are expected to be completed in 2011. Other components include preferences for ANC 6D certified business enterprises and a promise to report yearly to the ANC about the project. A lack of a community benefits package had tripped up this request for support at the ANC's April meeting. This project now goes to the Zoning Commission for a Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review on April 24.
* A request to support William C. Smith's modifications to its plans for 250 M Street (raising the height of the building to 130 feet) was postponed, as the commissioners expressed their unhappiness at the lack of any community benefits. The developer's representatives said that community benefits were part of the original approval of the project as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD, and that this modification is not resulting in any increase in square footage from that original plan. Commissioners had no suggestions for what benefits they would be seeking, only that they want more. This project may be back in front of the ANC at its May meeting, since the Zoning Commission hearing on the PUD modification isn't until late May.
* A request to support a public space permit request by Five Guys to add an outdoor seating area at its Second Street location was turned down, not only because the commissioners said that Five Guys had not provided information on the request to all the commissioners in a timely manner but because there's no offer of, you guessed it, a community benefits package in return for the "public space" being taken.
* A representative of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs updated the commission on plans to add 40 vendors on the streets surrounding the ballpark, thanks to emergency legislation passed on April 1 by the council. The mayor is expected to sign the act today, at which point DCRA will have 21 days to identify sidewalk locations for the vendors to set up shop. It's not expected that any will be on South Capitol Street or on M Street (thanks to narrow sidewalks), and rules prohibit vendors on residential streets. However, in a few months a larger initiative will get underway, with the Capitol Riverfront BID's involvement, to create a "Development Zone" allowed for in the recent overhaul of city vending regulations, which will give the city and residents greater say in where vendors are placed, what they sell, and the appearance of their carts. And, in response to questions from commissioners and audience members: no cigarettes or alcohol will be sold at these carts, and there don't appear to be any concerns on the city's behalf about terrorism related to these carts or their operators. (I'm just reporting what was asked.)
* The commission voted to support the liquor license application of former O Street clubs Ziegfield's and Secrets to reopen at 1824 Half St., SW, at the site of the old "Lime" nightclub. A voluntary agreement with the clubs' owner was reached to address concerns about traffic, cooperation with police, and community input.
 

Apr 15, 2008 8:20 AM
* The Post, the WashTimes, and the Examiner all do their "preparing Nationals Park for the Pope" pieces. (There must have been a press tour, perhaps as part of this Archbishop Wuerl tour that WJLA reports on.) There's also plenty of detail in the Post story about how to get to the ballpark early, expected crunch on Metro during morning rush hour, etc. etc.
* The Post's Federal Diary looks at government plans to deal with what a e-mailer to me called "Take Your Pontiff to Work Day." Both USDOT and the Navy Yard will be open for business (as will all government agencies), with adjusted arrival times for employees allowed; DOT is apparently using this as a "large-scale test of its telecommuting program."
* A reminder again of the planned street closings this week, including the biggie that South Capitol Street (including the Douglass Bridge) will be closed from 2 am to 2 pm Thursday. And WUSA notes that there are river closings too, with the Anacostia closed from the 11th Street Bridges to the Potomac.
* The Capital News Service (seen here via the Miami Herald) talks about the desperation among the flock to get tickets, and how scalping is not being tolerated.
 

Apr 14, 2008 11:12 PM
On Monday night, without much discussion, the Zoning Commission gave approval to the request to add additional blocks in Buzzards Point to the zoning amendment allowing temporary surface parking lots near the baseball stadium. The commissioners who spoke mentioned the need to give the Nationals the flexibility the team was seeking to be able to build new surface lots as development possibly takes away the lots currently in use. The vote was unanimous, although Commissioner Turnbull stated for the record his concern that lots north of Potomac Avenue, closer to the residential portion of Southwest, could introduce significant traffic. As of now, the Nationals have announced no plans to use any lots at Buzzards Point this season.
At about the same time the Zoning Commission was voting, ANC 6D was discussing how the first few games at the ballpark went, in terms of traffic and parking impacts on Southwest and Near Southeast. And, for a group of people who, shall we say, have not been shy over the past few years about voicing fears as to how the new stadium would impact their neighborhood, the reaction was surprisingly muted. Visitor parking passes did not seem to get to all residences, additional signage needs to be installed, issues with left turns and parking enforcement on G Street, SW will need to be addressed, and there were questions about whether the parking restrictions on M Street could be eased, but overall the commissioners seemed to feel that there had been no major issues. Commissioner Robert Siegel, who represents all of the ANC east of South Capitol, proclaimed himself "very pleased." (Though Commissioner David Sobelsohn did remark that things "will go smoothly as long as the Nationals keep losing.")
The meeting itself was pretty sparsely attended, with few of the residents who have been vocal about potential problems at previous meetings on hand. Only a couple people in the audience spoke up about any issues they'd had or seen, and did so without much emotion. The discussion was over in probably about 15 minutes. If you've ever attended an ANC 6D meeting, you know how astonishing this is.
Tommy Wells will be having a community meeting to look at how the new on-street parking regulations are working, both for residential streets and the retail stretches along Pennsylvania Avenue and Barracks Row, on May 7 at 7 pm, at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church (Fifth Street and Seward Square, SE).
There's other items to report from tonight's meeting, but I'll write about those in an entry to come.
 

Apr 14, 2008 12:17 PM
The stadium web cam is worth peeking in on this week (in case you've gotten out of the habit) to see the work now underway to get Nationals Park ready for the Pope's mass on Thursday. (Note that the Miller Lite ad on the bottom left of the scoreboard is covered.) The 55 M camera shows a banner now hung on the eastern parking garage with the insignia for the Pope's visit.
And, since people have asked: I'm trying to find out how much longer this web cam will be running. (The centerfield camera was shut down last week.) Will report when I hear something.
UPDATE: "Soon," maybe even this week. 'Twill be the end of an era....
UPDATE II: As noted in the comments, the camera hasn't updated since about an hour after I asked when it would be turned off. Oops.
 

Apr 14, 2008 9:31 AM
* After having its ninth-highest ridership day on Wednesday night (the predicted commuting catastrophe that never happened), Metro announces that Friday's hockey, baseball, and cherry blossoms trifecta resulted in its third busiest day ever, with 828,132 riders on Metrorail, behind only the Reagan state funeral in 2004 and a cherry blossoms/baseball doubleheader in April 2007. We'll see if Pope Day hits the list.
* The WashTimes talks about the potential traffic gridlock this week during the Pope's visit, especially for Thursday's mass at Nationals Park.
* WTOP reports that people trying to sell their tickets to the mass online are getting cease and desist letters from the archdiocese. Not to mention all-expenses-paid trips to purgatory.
* This NewsChannel 8 report from Friday talks about how the ballpark will be transformed into a "spiritual center."
* The Post writes about the Nationals Dream Foundation's Neighborhood Initiative, which I wrote about here. (This link is a day late, thanks to the Post's RSS feeds being, shall we say, untimely.)
* The Nats are out of town this week, returning on April 23 for a long homestand through May 4. This is mainly a cheap excuse to give the first link to a gallery I'm going to update throughout the season of photos I've taken at the ballpark that don't fall into the before/after or press event categories. Not much there now, but at the bottom of the page you can also follow the links to the piles of photos I took at the ballpark in March during the run-up to Opening Night.
 

Apr 13, 2008 2:21 PM
If you like photos of streetscapes taken under overcast skies, this has been the site for you lately. Yeesh. On Saturday, before the rains came, I updated my shots of the western side of New Jersey Ave., showing how projects like 909 New Jersey, 70/100 I, Onyx, and 100 M have changed the view in the past year. At least the sun was out for the brief time on Friday evening when I took new photos of the western side of the ballpark, along South Capitol Street. So, adding these to the photos I took earlier in the week of First and Half streets, the current state of construction in Near Southeast is pretty well documented. And now the sun shall come out, but I'll be waiting a few weeks until the next round of updates (probably early May).
Monday brings some meetings with Near Southeast items of interest. At 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission will have its monthly meeting, and is scheduled to vote on whether to open up additional blocks in Southwest to possible temporary surface parking lots (you can watch via live webcast). At 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 601 M St., SW, ANC 6D will have its monthly meeting, and will be looking at Forest City's plans for office and residential buildings at 401 M Street/400 Tingey at The Yards, and the request by the developers of the proposed 250 M Street office building to increase its height to 130 feet. The project at The Yards has its hearing at the Zoning Commission on April 24, and 250 M's is scheduled for May 14.
And, for this week's visit from the Pope, the Post has a huge graphic of road closures and other information to help get through the festivities. Note that, in addition to the closure of South Capitol Street from 2 am to 2 pm Thursday, it shows that Van, Half, First, and Potomac in SE will be closed at some point, as will O, P, Q, and Potomac SW from Half Street to South Capitol. "Expect other road closures around the ballpark from 9 pm Wednesday until 2 pm Thursday," it says.
 

Apr 12, 2008 8:55 PM
Saturday morning, in between raindrops at the ballpark, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation unveiled its new Neighborhood Initiative, which aims to support small non-profits near Nationals Park with grants, donations, and resources from both the foundation and the team.
The first two organizations selected for the initiative are the Hopkins Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, located in the Hopkins public housing project at 12th and K, SE, and Near Southeast's own Earth Conservation Corps, which since 1989 has worked with hundreds of unemployed 17- to 25-year-olds to give them career skills and training while working to restore the Anacostia River. Anyone who's looked out at the river from the ballpark's grand staircase or its Potomac Avenue viewing platform has seen the red brick pumphouse that is one of the ECC's two locations (the other is just down the river at Buzzards Point), and which will anchor the soon-to-come Diamond Teague Park, named for an ECC volunteer who was murdered in 2003.
The Dream Foundation will be giving the ECC $40,000 a year for the next three years; the Hopkins club is receiving a $50,000 gift to hire a "teen director." Foundation chair Marla Lerner Tanenbaum said that the Nationals are committed to "being good neighbors," and that "the health of the Anacostia River is a concern of all District residents."
Nats players Joel Hanrahan and Elijah Dukes helped unveil the new "Wall of Dreams," where fans can contribute to the Foundation's works by purchasing a baseball that displays their name and a short inscription, with various "packages" ranging from $250 to $5,000. (The display is just across from the kid's Strike Zone in the Center Field Plaza.) I took some photos at the event; you can also read the press release, along with a piece on MLB.com.
 

Apr 12, 2008 10:04 AM
The spring 2008 edition of WalkingTown DC includes a tour of "Capitol Riverfront: the New Neighborhood Around the Ballpark," on Saturday, April 26, from 10:30 am to noon. The description: "Alongside the Nationals ballpark, between the Anacostia River and the U.S. Capitol Building, a new cityscape is emerging - the Capitol Riverfront. Visit industrial buildings where the Navy once produced weapons ammunition and landmarks such as the blue castle trolley barn and beaux-arts WASA building. Learn how new development projects are transforming the Capitol Riverfront into a business center, urban neighborhood, and entertainment district." It's being led by the executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District as well as a representative of Forest City Washington (developers of The Yards). Meet outside the New Jersey Avenue exit of the Navy Yard Metro station. (As for this whole "Capitol Riverfront" versus "Near Southeast" thing--technically, Near Southeast is a subset of it, since the Capitol Riverfront BID also includes Buzzards Point. And I'm just remaining kinda old school about it all, too.)
 

Apr 11, 2008 7:34 PM
From a DDOT press release (not yet online), word that on Thursday April 17 (aka Pope Day), South Capitol Street will be closed from I Street to Firth Stirling Avenue, including the Frederick Douglass Bridge, from 2 am to 2 pm.
 

Apr 11, 2008 1:18 PM
The surprise appearance by the sun on Thursday gave me the chance to update some north-and-east photos on the way to the ballpark, mainly along Half Street, with a few from First, Cushing, and Van thrown in. You can see the entire batch of new photos, or you can check the 70/100 I, 909 New Jersey, Velocity, and Monument Half Street pages for a little bit of context as to what you're seeing, or you can look for the icon by intersection (Half and I, Half and K, Half and L, Half and M, First and I, Cushing and L, Cushing and M, Van and M). Make sure to check out the new photos I took last week along First Street if you missed them, to get a pretty complete view of what's happened in the neighborhood in the past two years. (Or just come down and see for yourself.) Hopefully soon I'll get some additional updated shots from along South Capitol Street and New Jersey Avenue (which will be changing thanks to 909 New Jersey now beginning the showy phase of its construction).
 

Apr 11, 2008 9:24 AM
(Nick Johnson getting hit by a pitch during last night's 4-3 loss to the Marlins)
Bruce Johnson of Channel 9 has blogged about this a couple of times, and now the Post picks up the story of the fight between the mayor's office and the city council over tickets to Nationals Park. There are not enough tickets in council's suite to allow all 13 council members to have two tickets each; instead of giving the tickets to Chairman Vincent Gray to distribute, the mayor's office is distributing them, and for all three games this week, the same four council members (Alexander, Brown, Mendelson, and Schwartz) have been left out. So, each day, Gray has rounded up the distributed tickets and sent them back to the mayor's office.
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Apr 10, 2008 2:17 PM
A few days ago I promised to post some updated photos I'd taken in The Yards, which I'm finally getting to. (Been sick as a dog for more than week now, which I blame squarely on Mother Nature's poor performance during the first games at the ballpark.) They're not exactly barnburner photos, since they're mostly shots of either newly paved parking lots or scads of dirt waiting to be turned into something. But, follow the icon for new images of the Boilermaker Shop (above), the Waterfront Park, and the Pattern Shop Lofts, all of which are scheduled to open in 2009.
I've also added additional photos to the archive, at "intersections" that don't actually exist just yet, but provide additional views of what's happened so far: 1 1/2 Half at N (where the old GPO building was--seriously, it's going to be called "1 1/2 Street"); Second at Tingey and Second at Water (which will become real intersections when Second is eventually built south of Tingey and Water Street becomes a new road north of the park); and Third and Tingey (which will become more of an intersection when Third Street is extended one block south, to the new Water Street). See the map to get a clearer idea of what I'm babbling about. And eventually I'll take some new photos from the Fourth Street side, too.
 

Apr 10, 2008 9:05 AM
* There's not a single story that I can find in the media this morning talking about how last night's predicted commuting catastrophe went, on the roads, at RFK, or on the Metro. The announced paid attendance at the ballpark was 23,340, up a few thousand from Monday night, and judging from the 55 M web cam the vast majority of people arriving by Metro made it before first pitch. (The 10-4 drubbing at the hands of the Marlins was a disaster of a different sort.) Anyone have any problems?
(Ah, just as I finished writing, here's Metro's report, saying that yesterday was its ninth highest weekday ridership day ever, though tourists and cherry blossom visitors were part of the mix, too.)
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's Post looks at how the dire predictions for Opening Night and Monday night didn't come to pass, and also the many different ways you readers reported getting to the ballpark on Opening Night (so, thanks for all those comments--made my job easy this week!).
* An Inquirer columnist disses concessionaire Aramark's performance at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, noting that the company, which had been in charge of concessions at RFK, didn't get the gig at Nationals Park. (He also tosses in a plug for Ben's half-smokes.)
* I'm going to add a list of available cash lots to my Stadium Parking page--I'd love some on-the-ground reports to make sure I'm getting them all (Splash, Chez Resnick at First and L, 80 M, South Capitol and Potomac, perhaps Positive Nature--anyone seen any others? If so, where, and for how much?).
 

Apr 9, 2008 2:02 PM
Thanks to reader S. for pointing me to this post last week from the Post's Going Out Gurus with news of the "KegBus", which on Fridays and Saturdays is running shuttles to Nationals Park from four Capitol Hill bars -- the Pour House and the Hawk and Dove on Pennsylvania Avenue and Finn Mac Cool's and the Ugly Mug on Eighth Street -- dropping bar patrons off at Second and L, SE (about three blocks from the ballpark). It's sponsored by Miller Lite, and to get on board you need to buy a beer at one of the bars and get a special wristband. There's two runs to the stadium before the game, and two or three after. No drinking on the bus, though! Read the post for more info, or visit one of the bars and demand that they tell you all about it.
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Apr 9, 2008 10:09 AM
* NBC4 sets the vibe with "Traffic Nightmare Expected in DC Area This Evening", a short piece on the Wizards-United-Nats trifecta. They list the area around RFK as the possible flash point, though all of yesterday's Impending Doom stories pointed toward Metro and Gallery Place. Remember, if you're using the Nats Express, you have to park at RFK's Lot 7 tonight, not Lot 8. Dr. Gridlock has more on getting through the evening.
* WJLA gets into the mix with "Parking Woes Surround New Stadium," retelling a story they had on Tuesday about legally parked cars getting towed during Monday's ballgame. There's also a quote from a school bus driver lamenting not being able to park free on the street anymore, which I'm guessing won't be garnering much sympathy from the pro-Canal Park folks who want the buses out. And there's dueling quotes from Barracks Row shopowners, one who doesn't think it's fair and another who likes the turnover of spaces. There will be a public meeting next month to get first feedback on the new parking restrictions.
* For something a bit more uplifting, try Catholic News Service's "Turning a Stadium into a Cathedral for Pope's Mass in DC."
And, an observation:
* Conventional Wisdom leading up to Opening Day: "OMG! The stadium is going to be a disaster because there's going to be such huge traffic, transit and parking nightmares!"
* Conventional Wisdom after Monday's game: "OMG! The stadium is going to be a disaster because no one's going to go!" (Never mind that it was NCAA finals night/cold as hell/the Marlins/a school night/a game not in season ticket partial plans.)
Stan says the Nats will get the attendance they deserve. Ask the Capitals about that, when you're mulling whether to fork over a couple thousand dollars for a ticket to one of their playoff games.
 

Apr 8, 2008 4:54 PM
UPDATE: Wow, thanks to reader S for seeing that Metro's already taken down the press release and the YouTube video. Must not have been going over quite so well, as I thought might be the case. Here's my original entry:
Apparently Metro was pretty pumped with the buzz they got a few weeks ago from their YouTube video showing marshmallow Peeps deciding to take Metro to the ballpark for Opening Night. They've now produced a sequel showing a Pope Benedict Bobblehead doing the same thing in advance of his April 17 mass. I hope the WMATA folks have said a few Hail Marys. You can check Metro's Papal Visit page for more information on how to use transit to get to the mass. (And here's the press release on the bobblehead video.)
POST-UPDATE UPDATE: Channel 7 reports (and the Post, too) that the archdiocese was unhappy about the ad.
 

Apr 8, 2008 4:43 PM
(Moved to its own entry, to give the Pope Bobblehead stuff its own glory.) Here's Metro's press release detailing preparations for Wednesday's Triple Threat of the Wizards, DC United, and the Nats all in action at the same time. And, because you can never have enough press releases, here's one from the Nats (link to come) explaining that, when DC United is playing at RFK, Nats Express shuttle parking will be in Lot 7: "Washington Nationals fans choosing to park for free at RFK Stadium and take the Nats Express to Nationals Park may park in Lot 7 on all D.C. United home game dates. RFK Stadium Lot 8 will not be available to Nationals fans on Wednesday, April 9 or any future date in which the Nationals and D.C. United each play at home. Lot 7 may be accessed off the Whitney Young Bridge (East Capitol Street) or off of Oklahoma Avenue. The Nats Express begins ninety minutes prior to Nationals home games." WTOP asks about whether there will be any patrolling of DC United fans parking free in Lot 7 (apparently not).
 

Apr 8, 2008 4:36 PM
It's not the same as seeing townhouses sprout from the ground, but it might still be worth noting that today's data feed for DC building permits shows a slew of approvals for Capitol Quarter addresses on Fourth, Fifth, and I street addresses....
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Apr 8, 2008 3:29 PM
The mayor's office has put out this press release today officially announcing the regional high school baseball tournament to be played at Nationals Park on May 31. Called the "Congressional Bank Baseball Classic," it will "include four games being played between area schools. The day will begin with a game between the DC Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) East and West Division champions, which will be followed by a game between the two top private school teams, followed by an All-Star game featuring players from across the region. The tournament will end with the DC High School Baseball Classic, where the DCIAA and private/parochial game winners will face off." Read the release for additional details.
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Apr 7, 2008 10:42 PM
(Decided to move this to its own entry.) As expected, it wasn't anywhere close to a full house at Nationals Park tonight. I wandered over to South Capitol Street at about 6:30 and traffic wasn't even backed all the way up the exit ramp from the freeway, and M Street was all but empty. The T and U lots at Capper didn't seem to get more than about 30 cars between the two of them, though the E, F, J, K, and L lots were pretty full. And I see that the garage at 80 M Street, which is not an official Nats lot, is offering cash parking for $20. (Looked like the Positive Nature folks on New Jersey Avenue are running a cash lot, too?) Lots of people coming out of the Navy Yard station at Half and M at 6:30ish--if you arrived that way and walked to the Center Field Gate, you were greeted by the Budweiser Clydesdales. Inside the park, lines were shorter (since there were fewer people) but there's definitely still grumbling about the speed of service.
What was your experience tonight, either getting to and from the park or inside?
As for media reports, the Post paints a similar picture to what I saw, that the evening went smoothly. WJLA focuses on the glitchy scoreboard, apparently not finding anything else of note to report from the evening. Announced paid attendance was 20,487, says AP, noting that Metro says they noticed almost no difference from a normal rush hour. Another AP story talks about the scoreboard problems and the fact that the ballpark was less than half full. Next stop, Wednesday's triple threat with the Nats, the Wizards, and DC United all in action at the same time. And with warmer weather on the way, finally.
UPDATE: A few more media reports: WJLA reports on overzealous towing (and note the interesting use of an un-cleaned-up quote from an angry resident). The Examiner focuses on Metro having little trouble.
 

Apr 7, 2008 10:53 AM
Residents and commuters should remember that tonight is the first weeknight game at Nationals Park (vs the Florida Marlins), scheduled for a 7:10 pm start time. Dr. Gridlock has a good roundup on all the different ways to get to the ballpark on his Get There blog, and here's Metro's press release from Friday on how they're preparing. Let me know how the evening goes for you, either as stadium-goer or commuter. (Reports again on how you got to the game and any counts on the number of cars using the parking lots would be great, too, since I can't get to all the lots myself. Post 'em in the comments.)
With the weather setting up to be icky again (my kingdom for a sunny day), and with tonight being the NCAA basketball championship game, and with the visiting team being, well, the Marlins, I'm not sure if this game is going to set any attendance records, meaning it probably shouldn't be used as a real indicator of how weeknight games will go. But the commentariat will certainly be watching for any meltdowns to jabber about.
To tie this into the *real* big sports news of the weekend, tonight's pre-game ceremonies will have Cristobal Huet, Mike Green, and Coach Bruce Boudreau of the Capitals throwing out the first pitch and announcing "Washington, Let's Play Ball."
ADDING: The Nats are home six of the next seven days (tonight, then Wednesday through Sunday). Wednesday night will bring issues with Nats Express parking at RFK because DC United will be playing and with Metro thanks to a Wizards Game at Verizon Center, and Friday will have the Caps playing their first playoff game vs. the Flyers at Verizon Center at the same time as the Nats are playing on South Capitol Street.
 

Apr 7, 2008 10:35 AM
From the Nats: "The Washington Nationals today announced that the public and tour groups will have the opportunity to take tours of Nationals Park. The tour program will begin on Saturday, April 19. On all non-game days, the team will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the ballpark through an hour and fifteen minute tour. Led by a Nationals Park guide, tours will begin at the Center Field Gate and encompass many areas of the ballpark the public cannot usually access, including the premium club areas and suites, the Shirley Povich Media Center and the Nationals dugout, batting cages and bullpen." There will be four tours a day (seven a day on the first two days), and times, prices, online ticket purchase, and additional details are available at nationals.com.
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Apr 7, 2008 9:29 AM
This morning's Post has an interview with Deborah Ratner Salzberg, president of Forest City Washington, the company behind The Yards and much of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment. Bullet points of interest:
* Salzberg says that they're "just beginning construction" on the 170-unit Pattern Shop Lofts, with work starting this summer on the 45,000-sq-ft Boilermaker Shop retail space and the Waterfront Park. All three are expected to be opened by fall of 2009 (though I think there will be later phases of the park with additional offerings, such as the water taxi piers she mentions). The Boilermaker Shop will have "restaurants, a bookstore and possibly a climbing wall."
* She says (as we heard a few weeks ago) that construction will begin this summer on the Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhouses at Capper.
There's going to be more of the interview posted today on the Post's WashBizBlog; I'll add the link when it's available. UPDATE: Here's the complete interview.
This would have been a fabulous time for me to post those new photos I took in The Yards this weekend, but alas, I haven't gotten to them yet. Soon, I promise.
 

Apr 6, 2008 12:15 PM
The sunlight wasn't fabulous when I ventured out yesterday, but I still took a pretty complete set of photos along First Street between I and N. With 909 New Jersey now peeking up above ground level, and Velocity racing upwards, the skyline is morphing yet again. And of course work continues on Onyx and 100 M (both due to be completed this summer). As I've mentioned a few times lately, the streetscape improvements to First Street have made the stretch from I Street southward pretty much unrecognizable from what it was a year or so ago (or even three months ago).
While you can look at the complete set of photos I took yesterday, I'd suggest taking a little extra time and looking at these new shots by intersection, where you can see the photos paired with their "befores": check out First and I, First and K, First and L, First and M, and First and N (above); and there's also some updates at Half and N by the ballpark Center Field Gate and New Jersey and I thrown in as well. Click on the See All Photos of This Angle wherever you see it to see the photos between the Before and the After (or, more precisely, the "During").
Soon I'll post some additional photos from yesterday of portions of The Yards, which is now more accessible thanks to the new parking lots. And if the sun ever comes out again, I'll venture along Half Street and other locations that need updating.
 

Apr 4, 2008 4:28 PM
This just in, from a Nats press release: "The Washington Nationals today announced they will offer individual game parking passes to fans for all 2008 home games at Nationals Park. The opportunity to purchase individual game parking is only available online by visiting nationals.com/waytogo." The lots/prices are: $15 per game at Green Lot HH (under the freeway at South Capitol Street); $20 per game at Orange Lot W (the old Capper Seniors lot at 7th and M); and $40 to Red Zone parking (lot unspecified). See my Stadium Parking map to see where these lots are (I'll update it with this info momentarily).
Quoth Stan: "After careful review of the experience of the first weekend, the team is pleased to make available yet another amenity for fans, daily parking spaces at various price levels." After some lots were pretty empty on Opening Night, this offer isn't surprising.
And note, again, that single-game parking in these lots is available only online--you have to buy it before you go to the game, because it won't be available by just driving to the lot. This presumably is being done with an eye toward mitigating the congestion that would arise when people wander around looking for parking. We'll see if they were *too* successful on Opening Night, and some people who dutifully took Metro or the Nats Express from RFK and saw few traffic problems and empty lots decide to now arrive by car, reversing the initial success.
If I were to offer advice, I'd say that buying a parking pass isn't a bad idea for weekend games, but I'd still counsel caution at the idea of driving to Near Southeast during a weeknight rush hour.
UPDATE: The Post writes about the new parking options, and also about Monday night's game being the next big test for getting fans to and from the ballpark.
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Apr 4, 2008 12:39 PM
* Metro has put out a press release (one of many to come, I'm sure) describing their plans for the first weeknight game, the April 7 game at 7:10 pm. This comes right during rush hour, and the Green line isn't exactly empty at that time of night, and until they get more of their new railcars into service Metro can't add trains, so this might be the first blemish on the Nationals Park commute. Ditto with folks driving to the lots close to the ballpark. There will be plenty of trains after the game, but an early (or late) arrival might be advisable.
* Tonight's ballpark Open House has been cancelled, but you can still go on Saturday (read how to sign up). And there may still be time to sign up for those singing auditions!
* Until then, we can take one more look back at what went right over the inaugural weekend via WTOP with Mark Seagraves's column: "The fact is very few people thought this past weekend would happen in the almost flawless fashion that it did. District officials built a state-of-the-art stadium, the first sports stadium to certified environmentally friendly, and they did it in only 22 months." He mentions that the ballpark construction itself was on budget (arguments can continue until the end of time about land acquisition costs and other "soft" costs); I'd add that three other pretty big ballpark-related projects were also completed on time over the past two years: the upgrading of the Navy Yard station west entrance (remember the wailing a few weeks back about how it wasn't done yet?), the streetscape upgrades to Potomac, First, and I (remember what I Street looked like about three days before Opening Day?), and the summer 2007 Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover and accompanying improvements to South Capitol Street.
I must say that I'd been dreading this week for about three years now, imagining the gallons of ink and millions of electrons that were going to be spilled complaining about the ballpark not being finished, or detailing the massive cost overruns, or the traffic meltdown, or the transit catastrophe, or any combination therein. In fact, I've hardly known what to do with myself over the past few days since there's been so little news (which I'm sure is equally true for the media on the ballpark beat who no doubt expected to be writing all those stories).
I think the era of four or five new posts a day at JDLand is over, which hopefully most people won't see as a bad thing. But be prepared that there might not be new posts every day anymore, if there's nothing to report. There will still be photo updates every few weeks, though!
 

Apr 3, 2008 8:30 PM
The Washington Blade has an article about the possibility that Ziegfield's and Secrets--two gay bars at Half and O SE that were shut down in 2006 to make way for Nationals Park--may be reopening in Buzzards Point, at 1824 Half St., SW. The first part of the article is about how DC police chief Cathy Lanier had to weigh in after initial comments from 1D commander David Kamperin made it sound like the police would oppose the relocation. The rest of the article deals with the application for a liquor license, for which a hearing is scheduled May 14.
 

Apr 3, 2008 2:40 PM
From a press release, word that you American Idol dreamers have two chances at glory at the ballpark on Sunday: "Washington Nationals fans will have the opportunity to audition to sing the 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at a 2008 Washington Nationals game. Fans interested in participating in the auditions must e-mail anthem@nationals.com. The first one hundred fans to sign up are guaranteed a spot in the auditions; walk-ins will not be accepted. Contestants will be asked to sing the National Anthem in under 90 seconds, the length of the anthem during pre-game ceremonies. Fans selected to perform the anthem at a Nationals game will be notified throughout the season."
Following those auditions, "the Nationals will host tryouts for one 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' performer as part of MLB's 100th anniversary celebration of the song. Five finalists will be chosen from these auditions and one winner will be selected to perform 'Baseball's National Anthem' during the Seventh Inning Stretch at the Nationals game on May 19th vs. the Philadelphia Phillies. The final winner will be chosen through a fan vote at a later date. [...] To participate in this competition fans must RSVP at entertainment@nationals.com."
The auditions are Sunday (April 6), with the anthems starting at noon and the 'Ballgame' singers starting at 4:00. Alas, the events are not open to the public. But if you're close by, you might get to hear anyway.
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Apr 3, 2008 9:58 AM
* The Post's District Notebook finds out that council member David Catania is "over" the financing deal for the ballpark that he so vociferously opposed: "Catania quickly put a damper on [Kwame] Brown's enthusiasm, saying the stadium still is not worth the more than $611 million of public money. 'I will never think differently,; Catania insisted. 'I'm over it.' "
* WTOP has another stadium-related shocker to add to its Hall of Fame: the car and schedule magnets being given out at the April 10 home game could demagnetize your Metro farecard if they get too close to each other! Don't let this happen to YOU.
* The Post's DC Wire blog posts about the plans for the four-game high school baseball series to be held at Nationals Park on May 31 (first reported by the WashTimes in early February). There will be a fundraiser for the event on May 3, asking for "corporate contributions up to $15,000 and individual contributions up to $3,000."
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra this week is about the surprise approval last month of the design for RiverFront on the Anacostia, on the Florida Rock site just south of the ballpark. See my project page for renderings of the plans as well as photos of what the 5.8-acre site currently looks like.
 

Apr 2, 2008 11:30 PM
* If you haven't been inside the ballpark yet and want a free visit on either Friday night (April 4) or Saturday afternoon (April 5), WTOP tells you how. (Hint: it involves signing up for the Nats promotional e-mail list.)
* The credit crunch on Wall Street has caused the interest rates on a small portion of the stadium bonds to skyrocket, says the Examiner.
* WTOP says that Metro feels pretty good about its performance on Opening Night (as do most riders, at least evidenced by the comments you folks have been posting), but they've got a few tweaks in store for the homestand next week. They'd like you to stretch out on the Navy Yard platform, please, and will put in more trash cans so that people can toss drinks and food and cigarettes when they get to the station.
* Speaking of the Navy Yard station, if you've done that walk up Half Street and want information on what's planned there beyond the renderings on the east-side fences (or want to see what was there up until about 18 months ago), check out my Monument Half Street page. Plans for the west side of the street, where the Southeastern Bus Garage has now been vacated by Metro, are stalled thanks to a lawsuit brought by Monument against WMATA after the land was sold to Akridge in a way that Monument contends was unfair.
* This is a little old, but I'll toss it in anyway (I *think* I haven't already linked to it; it's all just a blur now)--MLB.com reports that Stan Kasten was very happy with how Opening Night went in terms of the fan experience.
 

Apr 2, 2008 3:46 PM
As I wrote a month ago in an entry that was visible for about five minutes thanks to all of the ballpark news, the first new-construction buildings at The Yards are now winding their way through the zoning process. It's two buildings that look like one--a 320,000-square-foot 10-story office building at 401 M Street and an 11-story 180ish-unit apartment building to its south at 400 Tingey Street. They would both have ground-floor retail, but it's what's planned for 401 M that will probably have everyone's attention, because a grocery store is proposed for that space, just inside the historic wall and sentry tower on the southeast corner of Fourth and M. The office building would be LEED certified, and the 20 percent of the residential building would be affordable housing units (up to 50 percent of the area median income).
The Parcel D plans have already been reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission in advance of its meeting tomorrow (April 3), with the executive director reporting that the buildings are not inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan and do not adversely affect any other federal interests.
The Zoning Commission Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review of the plans and three associated variance requests is now rescheduled for April 24. ANC 6D will be bringing it up again at its April 14 meeting, after electing not to vote on the project at its March 10 meeting because of the lack of a community benefits package--see the summary of the meeting in the April Hill Rag (I was out of town, and so don't have any additional details).
As for start dates, documents earlier in the year had the office portion getting started in 2008 for a 2010 delivery, and the residential portion starting "based on market conditions." However, a reader is reporting that a sign now up at Fourth and M says "Coming 2011." I'll see if I can get any further details. (UPDATE: Yup, 2011 is now the current "estimate" for the project. So, don't stop shopping at the Capitol Hill Safeway just yet.)
In the meantime, work on renovating the Boilermaker Shop at Third and Tingey into a 46,000-sq-ft retail pavilion should be starting Any Minute Now, as should the rehab of the Pattern Joiner Shop across the street into a 170-unit apartment building. Both are expected to be finished in 2009. (Did you see the light displays being projected onto the Pattern Joiner building during the ballgames?) The Factory 202 residential rehab of the old Gun Mount Shop at Fifth and M, which is a joint project between Forest City and PN Hoffman, also now has a "Coming 2011" sign.
 

Apr 2, 2008 1:59 PM
If you're interested in knowing everything about the food at the ballpark, check out all the Washington Post offerings today, starting here. There was also a chat with folks from the Food section staff. UPDATE: For a different point of view on today's Food section offerings, I point you to the Washington City Paper's City Desk blog.
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Apr 2, 2008 12:48 AM
From NBC4, word that on Tuesday the city council unanimously passed legislation to allow street vending at Nationals Park: "On Tuesday, [Ward 3 council member Mary] Cheh introduced emergency legislation requiring Mayor Adrian Fenty to come up with 40 vending spots in 21 days, including 23 spots for veteran vendors of RFK. The spaces will be distributed by lottery." The council had passed legislation to overhaul of the city's vending rules last month, but the new regulations weren't getting written quickly enough to get vendors in place by the ballpark. The Post has more.
The council also voted unanimously to "create a body within the D.C. Auditor's office that will perform a one-time audit of completed projects on land that is now controlled by Neil Albert, deputy mayor for economic development, but was once under the control of the defunct public-private National Capital Revitalization Corp. and the Anacostia Waterfront Corp.," according to the Washington Business Journal. This would include Canal Park and Diamond Teague Park, and is being done to "ensure that developers keep promises to build affordable housing, meet environmental standards, hire District workers and involve local and disadvantaged businesses when they receive public land or financing."
Meanwhile, Bruce Johnson reports on his blog (with photo credit in place--thanks!) that there's been some behind-the-scenes battling between the city council and the mayor's office over who would control the complementary tickets to the two suites at the ballpark designated to the city. It sounds like an agreement has been reached where the mayor will control tickets to one suite and council chair Vincent Gray the other. (Geez, even *I* could have come up with that solution.) UPDATE, 4/2: Now Bruce says there's still no agreement. Part of the problem is that the executive branch, city council, and sports commission had 148 tickets to work with at RFK, and only have 48 at Nationals Park.
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Apr 1, 2008 12:43 PM
Based on my own observations and some others that have come my way, it seems that the parking lots put together by the Nationals for Opening Night near the ballpark were not anywhere close to filled to capacity, despite months of dire predictions that even these 4,000 or so spaces would not be anywhere near enough to handle just season ticket holders, let alone people who just had tickets for that night and wanted to park near the stadium. For instance, the 110-space lot T at Third and K wasn't even opened on Sunday night, and lot U was nowhere near capacity. On the other hand, some reports say that Lot 8 at RFK was completely full, and there was overflow parking at Lot 7.
So, I'm looking for some information, and I'd love responses from readers. If you went to Opening Night, how did you get there? If you drove, did you have a parking pass for one of the lots? Which lot did you park in? Did you have a pass, but opted to take Metro or go to RFK? If you took Metro, how did you arrive? (Navy Yard, Capitol South, Union Station, N22 bus, other bus, etc.) Did you walk? Did you bike? Leave your information in the comments. Thanks!
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