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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: May 2007
In the Pipeline
Community Center
Homewood Suites Hotel
Ballpark Square
Yards/Parcel A
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
1333 M St.
Southeast Blvd.
Florida Rock
1244 South Capitol
New Barracks
1111 New Jersey
Akridge/Half St.
Monument/Half St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
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Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
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I was trying desperately to ignore this, because of inexcusable factual errors from the text version that make me want to prevent them from getting any traffic from this link, but people are inundating me with the clip, so here you go: NBC 4 ran a piece on Wednesday about Capitol Quarter, with video of the folks camping out. So if you can get past the labeling of the development as being "East of the River" (grrrrr) and the mention of its location as being near the "East-West Freeway" (GRRRRRRRRRRRR), enjoy. Impossibly high standards aside, the piece gives a good overview of what's happening, although there's no real news in it for regular readers here.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

A very cool announcement just arrived in my inbox, with news there is now going to be a Farmer's Market every Tuesday at the new plaza on the southwest corner of the DOT site, on New Jersey Avenue. It will run from 10 am to 2 pm, with "Farm-Fresh Produce, Baked Goods and More!" And then you can sit on the new plaza, by the new "water wall", and munch on your goodies. This will be a very nice (and healthy) addition to the food choices in Near Southeast, at least on Tuesdays.... UPDATE: I should add that this is not technically a new undertaking--DOT (along with the USDA) began running a weekly summer farmer's market back during the Clinton administration at their old building in Southwest, and are bringing the tradition along with them to their new home.

 

Thanks to reader G. for giving me a heads up on the work being done along New Jersey Avenue to put in new sidewalks (specifically across the street from Capitol Hill Tower and alongside the DPW Trash Transfer station north of K). DDOT tells me that this is part of the planned South Capitol Streetscape improvements that we'll be seeing over the next few months along the streets between New Jersey and South Capitol. I don't have many details yet on exactly what the improvements will entail and the exact locations, but I think we'll get some additional information from next week's DDOT briefing on the Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover. These may not be fabulous artsy-fartsy sidewalks in this phase, but concrete is better than dirt pathways--and when the blocks get redeveloped, the developers will be responsible for bringing their sidewalks up to Anacostia Waterfront Initiative standards. The new New Jersey Avenue sidewalks are being done all the way north to the freeway, to make it easier for folks to walk to Capitol Hill--and by extension, to the Capitol South Metro station (take note, ballpark-goers).
More posts: New Jersey Ave.
 

Welcome to those of you wandering over from my Ballpark and Beyond column this week in the Post's District Extra. I promised that if you visited here, you'd get links to all those fabulous sites and documents you read about, and so here they are:
* WMATA Bus Garage Move to DC Village: Here is the Metro press release about the board's action on the proposed move of the garage, and also the May 24 board meeting's agenda, and the link to the archived audiocast (the bus garage item is about 50 minutes into the audio).
* Capitol Riverfront BID: The text of the bill before the council creating the BID is online; the Capitol Riverfront BID web site has their executive summary, bylaws, and operating plan; and the council hearing on the bill is June 12.
* Camping Out at Capitol Quarter: You can visit the official Capitol Quarter web site for information on the market-rate townhouses for sale, and the Capitol Quarter Workforce Housing web site for details on how the program works, what income levels qualify, and the restrictions placed on buyers. And there's my Capitol Quarter page, too, for photos and more links.
And feel free to scroll down and read my entries that didn't make the paper (I'm far more talkative than the print version could possibly handle), and click on the map at right to learn more about what's happening in Near Southeast.
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From DDOT, a reminder that the last weekend closure of the outbound/southbound lanes of the Douglass Bridge (i.e., the South Capitol Street Bridge) is on tap, starting at 10 pm Friday June 1 and reopening sometime before the Monday June 4 afternoon rush hour. Of course, in a few weeks we'll all be dreaming of the days of mere weekend closures, when the bridge is closed in both directions for all of July and August for its Extreme Makeover, when "the bridge's elevated northern approach will be lowered to become an at-grade roadway with a new intersection at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. Additional improvements will occur such as paving and painting the entire bridge. Ultimately, nearly three blocks of elevated roadway--which currently act as a barrier to access across South Capitol Street--will be removed and replaced with at-grade intersections that will help knit the neighborhood together."
 

The calendar for June is quickly filling up with all sorts of meetings and hearings on various Near Southeast-related projects, and although I've been adding them to my Upcoming Events list, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight them. So mark your calendars, and if you're interested in participating, many of the links have information on how to do so.
* It's not actually in June, but on May 31 at 6:30 pm (close enough!), the Zoning Commission is having another public hearing at 6:30 pm at One Judiciary Square on Case 06-41, Camden Development/1325 South Capitol Street, this time to consider the project as a consolidated planned unit development and map amendment request to rezone as C-3-C.
* The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation public board meeting originally scheduled for last week was postponed and will now be held on June 1 at 1105 New Jersey Ave., SE, at 6 pm; agenda items include "South Capitol Waterfront Modification of Contract for Parsons Brinckerhoff" (which I believe has to do with the project to design Diamond Teague Park) and "Baseball District: Western Development Litigation" (which is the lawsuit that resulted from when the city opted not to move forward with Herb Miller's Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness plan for on-site stadium parking).
* On June 7, the DC Council Committee on Workforce Development and Government Operations is having a Public Oversight Hearing at the Wilson Building at 9 am on the proposed relocation of the Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters to 225 Virginia Ave., SE, also known as the old Star/Post plant. (UPDATED with a date change to June 7.)
* On June 12, the council's Committee on Finance and Revenue will have a public hearing at 11 am on the bill to create the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District (bill B17-0208, "Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District Amendment Act of 2007").
* On June 14, WMATA's Planning, Development, and Real Estate Committee will be meeting, and included in their anticipated agenda items is "approval of developer selection and term sheet for the Navy Yard station east entrance", which is referring to a joint development solicitation proposal back in September 2006, looking to develop the 4,400 square feet owned by WMATA above the Navy Yard station entrance at New Jersey and M with some combination of a public plaza at ground level and development above it.
* On June 16, the council's Committee on Economic Development is having a Public Roundtable on "Progress of Economic Development Projects in Southwest and Near Southeast DC," at the Westminster Presbyterian Church at 400 I St., SW, at 10 am. (This was listed in the June issue of the Southwester, I don't have a link to an official announcement yet.) UPDATE, 6/1: I've now got a copy of the meeting notice.
* And on June 20, the Zoning Commission is having a public hearing at One Judiciary Square at 6:30 pm on Case 06-32, a proposed text amendment to add Square 766 [the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave.] to the Capitol South Receiving Zone, a move that would allow greater height and density on the lot than under its current zoning.
So, don't ever say that this stuff sneaks through the political process without anyone knowing about it! The trick is trying to stay awake through it all.
UPDATE: I should add, even though it's outside of my purview, that on June 7 there will be a Zoning Commission hearing on the updated plans for Waterside Mall on M Street in Southwest.
 

Despite the bleccch weather of the weekend (hazy and humid does not make for pictures that "pop"), I did make the circuit around the ballpark on Sunday and so have updated my Stadium Exterior Construction Photo Gallery. And we need to enjoy the pictures from the raised portion of South Capitol Street between the river and O Street, because I've only got one month left to stand at those vantage points until the viaduct gets closed and the makeover begins. Waah! (Though I'm willing to sacrifice those perches if it results in a cleaned-up South Capitol Street.)
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Last week, I posted about a Call for Artists posted on the web site of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to "design and create a suspended public art installation along the main concourse of the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium," with a budget for the project of $200,000. Well, according to today's Examiner, it turns out that back on May 15, when the city's budget was approved, the $850,000 originally included for spending on various stadium art-related projects was zeroed out because, you guessed it, the council determined that this money if spent would violate the $611 million spending cap on All Things Ballpark, even though a plan had been hatched earlier this year where "art was to be purchased with general obligation bonds, permanently owned by the commission and leased to the team at no cost, which put the works outside" the cap. And note that, rather than now being able to spend that $850,000 on other arts projects in the city, the commission doesn't have access to that money at all. The Examiner says that the Fenty administration is "still is negotiating to revive the projects."

More posts: Nationals Park
 

Today's Post Business section has "A Neighborhood Rises at The Yards," which gives a quick overview of the plans for the old Southeast Federal Center, as well as a profile of Deborah Ratner Salzberg of Forest City Washington. The article mentions a lot of what I posted back in March, that the infrastructure work at the Yards will begin soon (sewer lines, paving streets, putting up street lights and planting trees) so that it can look a bit more presentable when baseball arrives across the street in 2008. (It's expected that surface parking for stadium-goers will be available on lots at The Yards not slated for immediate redevelopment, but no announcement has been made yet.) The article also confirms my previously posted information that the brown-and-white Building 160/Old Pattern/Joiner Shop will be rehabilitated as a residential building, with an expected completion date in 2009. The article also mentions that Building 173/the Old Lumber Storage Shed (the terra cotta-colored building at the north end of the site of the planned five-acre waterfront park) will be remade into a restaurant pavilion; the first phase of the park is expected in 2010. Additional near-term projects not mentioned in the story are the planned renovation of Building 167/the Old Boiler Maker's Shop just to the rear of the new DOT HQ into a retail building and the redevelopment of Building 202/the Old Gun Assembly Shop at 5th and M into another residential block in a joint project between Forest City and PN Hoffman.
You can look at my Yards overview page for a hard-to-read map and guide to the various projects expected to come during the many years of the Yards' redevelopment; there's also plenty of pictures on the Yards Photos tab, as well as a new rendering that appeared with the Post story of what Building 160's renovation will look like. You'll also see at the top of the page a shot of the new Yards sign that appeared at 1st and N this past week.
 

For those of you who like to drive the loop around the stadium site to check out the latest progress, be advised that you can no longer go will often find the road closed north from Potomac Avenue on the mini-South Capitol Street that runs on the east side of the viaduct (pictures here); it's been closed as prep work gets underway for the lowering of the Douglass Bridge starting in July. The work now starting on the new Nationals office building that will run along the southern end of South Capitol Street (see my stadium renderings page for drawings) has spilled out into that access road from time to time over the past week or sol. If you don't make that drive yourself and are hoping for an update to my Stadium Construction Gallery, I'm somewhat hamstrung by the overcast weather this weekend (which makes for pretty icky photos), so unless there's a break in the cloud cover it may possibly be a few days before I add a new batch of shots.
Speaking of the bridge work, on June 7 DDOT is having a press briefing on the project, which they are now calling an "Extreme Makeover" -- hmmmm, I think I said that first ;-). The briefing will discuss traffic detours, construction plans and schedule, commuting solutions (such as Bridge Bucks), and the additional improvements to South Capitol Street that are coming. In other words, soon we'll finally get the details on how this is all going to shake out.
UPDATE: Apologies for the mix-up in the comments above about the street closure; it's open today, when no work is going on at the stadium site. And, just to repay you for that boo-boo, I went out and took pictures even though the sky is not bright blue; will probably have them posted tomorrow.

 

I mentioned this in my preview of Thursday's WMATA board meeting, but then missed it in my summary of what happened, so we'll throw it over to the Post: "Fares on four Metrobus routes that will be detoured in July and August, when District officials will close the South Capitol Street Bridge for a major construction project, will be temporarily reduced, the Metro board said.The fare on the A9 route will go from $1.25 to 75 cents, and the express bus fare on the P17, P19 and W13 routes will drop from $3 to $1.25 during construction. The routes will temporarily end at Metrorail stations on the Green Line to help buses and commuters avoid traffic detoured by the bridge closing. The A9 (South Capitol Street Line) will end at the Anacostia station, and the P17, P19 (Oxon Hill-Fort Washington Line) and W13 (Bock Road Line) routes will end at the Southern Avenue Metrorail station."
The Post piece also briefly mentions the vote to move the Southeastern Bus Garage to DC Village, and you can read my entry from yesterday for more detail on how exactly the debate went, and also for links to various documents about the move. There was no word today that I've heard as to whether the city had reached a deal on moving the shelter beds currently at DC Village--remember, if that doesn't happen by Thursday May 31, the boards' approval vote of the move and the various next steps does not take effect. And you can listen to the archived audiocast of the meeting if you're especially interested.

 

It's a Capitol Riverfront kind of day here, as I now see that the bill to create the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District was introduced to the DC city council last week by Tommy Wells and Jack Evans; it's B17-0208, "Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District Amendment Act of 2007." The text of the bill is online; it describes the boundaries as being all of Near Southeast and most of Buzzards Point (from 2nd Street SW eastward, with a few jogs along Q and P), and it sets out the taxes it will assess on commercial properties within the BID. No word yet on when hearings will be. You can visit the Capitol Riverfront BID web site to read their executive summary, bylaws, and operating plan, and also take a look at some of my previous entries on the creation of the BID. And what exactly is a Business Improvement District? It's an area where the majority of property owners agree to an "self-tax" that pays for services that aren't provided by the city, like security, public space maintenance and cleanup, marketing, promotion, development, parking, transportation, etc. Here's the Wikipedia entry, if you want more general background on BIDs, and RestoreDC also has a page on DC's BIDs.
 

Hat tip to reader K. for the news that the Capitol Riverfront promotional video commissioned by the Washington DC Economic Partnership I mentioned last week is now available online (it's not streaming, you have to wait for the 4 MB or so Quicktime file to download before watching it). Quoting again from the press release: "The five-minute video fuses massing models, renderings, map graphics, fly-by animations, copy writing and narration into a montage of the current and planned development of this highly sought-after area of Washington, DC." Definitely watch it, it's very well done as these things go, although anyone who spends time at JDLand won't see any great surprises. Keep in mind that it's a video geared toward investors and commercial entities, with plenty of statistics and enticing images (millions of square feet of office space! thousands of new residential units! stadiums! riverwalks! happy patrons strolling past shiny new chain establishments!) but there are some neat animated snippets of some of the buildings in progress in Near Southeast, and renderings maps of the plans for the Southwest Waterfront and Poplar Point. One thing I did learn--the map in the video shows the possible DC United stadium at Poplar Point as being located more to east, across from the Navy Yard, and not on the little peninsula directly across the river from the Nationals ballpark.

More posts:
 

What a beautiful day! And with that weather, what luck that I had arranged some trips high up into a few of the tall buildings around the neighborhood to get new shots of the latest demolished lots and holes in the ground. I've uploaded these new pictures From Above and matched them with "before" shots on a whole slew of pages (you might have to scroll a bit to see the new pictures): Nation/1015 Half, the old Edge/Wet block on Square 699N, the North of M overview page, the Monument Half Street page (that's a biiiiig hole in the ground), the 100 M/Onyx on First page (where the construction on the Onyx end of the block is getting close to street level), 70/100 I Street, 909 New Jersey (showing the A1 garage all alone) and even the Stadium Construction Gallery (waaaaaay at the bottom, with a view from just a bit to the side of Dead Center Field, albeit four blocks away). I also created a new Overhead Photos page, showing all the ones I've posted on the site, grouped together by location. And I also created a special view with larger-than-usual pictures from today (don't miss it!), because it was so beautiful and you really could see forever from those high-up locations, and I wanted people to be able to see more than just little specks of buildings.
 

Thanks to the legions of folks who sent me this link today (it's been kind of a busy day!)--it's video of an interview (11 minutes) yesterday on Washington Post Live with John Stranix, who represents the owners as a project manager for the new Nationals ballpark. Short version? It's going great! Otherwise, not much news that hasn't been posted here (except for mentioning that the turf will be put down in October). But you do get to see the computer-generated tour of the stadium again, along with some recent video clips from the infield.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

At today's WMATA board meeting, the board approved the plans to move forward with the move of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M streets to DC Village. The specific actions they approved were to hold a public hearing on the project, advertise the Phase 1 construction contract, negotiate with the city to aquire the DC Village property, apply for a Federal bus facility grant, and authorize the sale of the garage and its parking lot; however, board member (and DC councilman) Jim Graham asked for an amendment to the resolution, stating that if the city does not have an agreement on the relocation of the homeless shelter currently at DC Village (which would be closed with the move of the garage) within seven days, this resolution will not take effect. Graham said that he had hoped the deal would have been completed by today, but that "the word immiment really accurately describes how close we are." If there is no deal, the resolution would have to come back to the WMATA board again for re-approval next month. If the agreement is reached, then Metro is planning to have a public hearing on the proposed plan, probably in July based on now having to wait for the shelter agreement to be struck. Here is the Metro press release about the board's action and the proposed move of the garage, and also the meeting's agenda, and the link to the archived audiocast (the bus garage item is about 50 minutes into the audio).
 

We've got a bit of a milestone here at JDLand, because starting today the Post's District Extra section has a new column called "Ballpark and Beyond," which will take selected news and photos from this very blog and publish them in convenient, on-the-go, dead-tree format. (So if you don't get the paper, or you don't get the DC edition, pick one up when you're within the city limits on Thursday to check it out.) It's quite exciting, as you can imagine, to be able to have my work here be circulated out to a much wider audience, and it's also great that the Post is finding a place in print for news that is very "hyperlocal." (This is probably where I should mention that I've worked in the Post newsroom for nine years, not as a reporter or editor but as a computer geek, and that this web site has always been and will continue to be my own project.)
If you're a long-time visitor to the site, don't worry, nothing is going to change. I'll still yammer on incessantly about renderings and zoning text amendments, though perhaps with fuller explanations than I have in the past (to catch the newcomers reading the print version up to speed). But otherwise, I'm going to keep on doing what I've always done. Just think of this as the site going "multi-platform."
For those of you who are new to the site, thanks for dropping by, and I hope you'll take a look around to see what's available. The map to the right gives you the basics--move your mouse over it, and you'll get information on the various projects in the neighborhood. (You can also scroll down to the Project Directory for a more straightforward list of what's happening.) Click on the map, and you'll be taken to the project pages, where you can get more detail, links, photos, and news items (here's my Nationals Ballpark page as an example--be sure to click on the "tabs" to see the additional information). There's also the Photo Archive, where you can pick an intersection and see a sampling of the thousands of photos I've taken of Near Southeast since 2003, and watch the view change. (Or not change, depending on where you're looking.) I also have data feeds from the DC government that are updated daily with crime reports, public space and building permits, service requests, and recent real estate transactions. Plus there's a calendar of upcoming events. And of course you should check back often to see what the latest is, because I post new items a heck of a lot more than once a week.
So hopefully this new venture will be a success. And who knows, maybe there's more to come.
PS: You can now also get to this site by using the URL www.ballparkandbeyond.com. But do not fear, it'll always be at JDLand.

More posts:
 

I don't know if these are new, or just new to me, but I found today two new drawings of the infamous parking garages now under construction on the north end of the ballpark site, which I've put on my Stadium Renderings page (they came from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commissions' Ballpark Gallery). One shows an overhead view of the two garages, and the second appears to be a ground-level view of the western garage as it would look to fans arriving via the main plaza at Half and N streets. I guess we won't have to wait all that much longer to see if the pretty watercolor renderings match what ends up being built.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park
 

In an Examiner article today about the Washington Humane Society's plan to consolidate operations in a single building in Northeast, it was mentioned that the planned Spay/Neuter Clinic under construction at 10th and L SE is now going to open in September; I guess the June move-in date announced back in April arrived a little too quickly. For more on the plans, I'll quote again from the society's Spring 2007 newsletter: "As if being the largest Spay/Neuter Clinic in the Metropolitan area was not already enough, in June 2007, the Washington Humane Society will unveil the first ever low-cost Regional Spay/Neuter Center, created specifically to service the entire DC metropolitan area. The new facility will be named the National Capital Area Spay and Neuter Surgical Center. The current low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinic is located on Georgia Avenue in Northwest and will move to Capitol Hill, 1001 L Street, SE to a facility that is nearly four times the size of the current location. [...] The new National Capital Area Spay and Neuter Surgical Center will provide an average of fifty sterilization surgeries on both dogs and cats every day, five days a week."
More posts: spayclinic, square 976
 

A couple weeks back I posted about DDOT's new "Bridge Bucks" program, which offers $50 per month toward transit fares and vanpool fees for people who will be affected by this summer's Extreme Makeover: Frederick Douglass Bridge. DDOT sent out a press release yesterday saying that the program has now launched, and you can visit the Bridge Bucks site for more details. Or, as I said then, avoid it all and just take a nice eight-week summer vacation; you could spend it camping at 4th and L.
 

The next offering of market-rate townhouses at Capitol Quarter is planned for sometime in June, but even with no official date announced, people are already camping out in to make sure they get their chance at a unit. I dunno, maybe EYA needs to shift its strategy of how it determines who gets to buy their houses--Sack races? Skeeball tournaments? Scavenger hunts? Weekly televised talent shows where the audience votes on who wins? For those of you whose lives prevent a three-week camping expedition to the wilds of 4th and L, go to the official Capitol Quarter web site to sign up for their e-mail list to be notified about the next releases.

More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

On Thursday the WMATA board has on its agenda the approval of series of recommendations to continue moving forward on the plan to relocate the Southeastern Bus Garage from its current spot at Half and M to DC Village. The recommendations are the same as what came out of the Planning and Real Estate Subcommittee earlier this month to hold a public hearing on the project, advertise the Phase 1 construction contract, negotiate with the city to aquire the DC Village property, apply for a Federal bus facility grant, and authorize the sale of the garage and its parking lot (presumably to Monument Realty, though I've yet to see any official announcement that Monument was the source of the unsolicited offer in April for the property). The plan would then be to come back to the board in September with a land transaction agreement to be executed, and a construction contract to be awarded. As I've mentioned previously, WMATA is very much wanting to be out of the Half and M garage before the Nationals ballpark opens in March 2008. In addition to the documents for Thursday's meeting, the background documents from the May 11 subcommittee meeting also have lots of good detail on the proposed move, as do my last few entries on the subject.
And also on the agenda (good thing I scrolled down!) is a request to approve temporary changes in the routes and fares for the A9, P17, P19, and W13 bus lines during July and August's Extreme Makeover: Frederick Douglass Bridge. If you ride these buses, be sure to read what's being proposed, but the gist is that because the detour route's expected congestion would impact bus schedules, WMATA is proposing to temporarily end those bus routes at subway stations on the east side of the river, but reducing the fares to help offset the higher cost of riding the subway.
If you're really interested in this meeting, WMATA provides live streaming and archived audiocasts of its meetings. (Yay!)

 

From the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, a "Call for Artists" went out earlier this month to "design and create a suspended public art installation along the main concourse of the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium. The goal of this public art project is to provide an exciting arts enhancement to the interior of the ballpark while celebrating the spirit of our national pastime. The work will be visible along the main concourse, across the field from Baseball Plaza, and from street level on the south side of the ballpark." (In other words, by the grand staircase near 1st and Potomac.) And, my favorite part: "The selected artwork must be durable, safe, weather resistant, and require minimal maintenance." Total budget, a mere $200,000. Deadline for submissions is June 18, and it is expected that the selected artists will be announced in September. Of course, even art for the stadium is not without controversy, as seen in my December post about how money being set aside by the arts commission to fund stadium art is considered by the CFO to come under the requirements of the dreaded $611 million cost cap on stadium spending. But in January, a deal was apparently brokered where the arts commission would in essence "implement a public arts project at the ballpark, using taxpayer dollars, without the cost of a single painting or sculpture showing up in the stadium construction budget. At no point would the sports commission or the Nationals take ownership of the art" (basically leasing the art to the stadium). Public funding sleight-of-hand at its finest!
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Tonight the Zoning Commission approved with a 3-0-2 vote Case 07-08, the request to allow temporary surface parking lots (lasting no more than five years) on a number of parcels within walking distance of the Nationals ballpark. (I considered this hearing so important that I took off my fuzzy slippers and actually ventured to Judiciary Square to attend in person rather than watching Ye Olde Webcast.) Commissioners Mitten, Hood, and Turnbull voted for the action; Commissioners Parsons and Jeffries did not attend.
The Office of Planning, while making clear in its report that it strongly encourages the use of mass transit and other alternatives to cars and would not normally support surface parking lots, testified that these lots and the 3,775 maximum spaces they would provide (see my Stadium Parking page for a map that shows their locations) will help to alleviate the short-term shortage of available parking during the next few years until new developments with additional underground parking in the area are completed.
It was requested that the case be approved immediately, on an emergency basis, with the explanation that the sooner the Nationals know where their lots are going to be, the better they can tailor the assignments of season-ticket holders to different lots based on where they are arriving from. (It was also emphasized numerous times that the parking lots are just one part of the overall traffic planning for the stadium.)
The main opposition to the amendment came from residents of Southwest, and ANC 6D commissioner Andy Litsky testified that the neighborhoods were not so much concerned with the lots themselves, but how traffic would be directed to the lots, with the bulk of the consternation focused on 4th, P, and I Streets, SW, which the residents consider to be local roads but which were mentioned by a traffic consultant at the March public meeting as being likely routes to the possible lots in Buzzards Point. There was also a surprising moment when a representative of Pepco testified that there's no way that Square 665 at Buzzards Point can be considered an option for a surface lot, because there's a substation still in operation on it. The Office of Planning explained that this text amendment was merely identifying "potential" lots, and that it's assumed that not all squares will ever actually have surface parking on them, and in fact the presentation slides by traffic consultant Gorove Slade from the March public meeting indicated that most likely no parking would be created at Buzzards Point. Ken Laden of DDOT then testified that his agency has never considered 4th, P, and I in SW to be important streets, because the vast majority of the lot locations are on the east side of South Capitol Street and that DDOT is trying to keep the bulk of the traffic in Near Southeast (where there are currently very few residential developments).
This gave the zoning commissioners an opening they were looking for, and they crafted a pretty sweet way to take the residents' concerns into account: because each surface parking lot will still have to go through the normal DC approval process for a Certificate of Occupancy (environmental review, DDOT review, etc.), they ordered that the associated traffic plans submitted with the COO may not include directing traffic to/from the lots down local streets (specifically mentioning 4th, P, and I). With that, the amendment was approved on an emergency basis. Andy Litsky said he was "pleased" with the decision.
As for the overall traffic management plan, apparently DDOT was not real happy with the first draft that they received on April 30 from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (Laden said it wasn't "user-friendly") and are expecting a new draft in early June, which will then be put out for public comment (and I'm guessing there will be plenty of that). It will include the same sort of on-street parking restrictions that have been used around RFK, where no one can park during games without a special residential parking permit, although exactly how far the boundaries of that restricted area will reach is still under discussion.
And DDOT's Laden also said that an agreement is close to being reached that would add a Circulator bus line from Union Station to the new US Capitol Visitors' Center to the Capitol South and Navy Yard Metro stations, which would give direct access to the red, orange, and blue lines without having to change trains at L'Enfant Plaza.
Above all, it was repeated numerous times that this will be a work-in-progress, that the plans will be tweaked and massaged as the planners see what works and what doesn't. In other words, while traffic will undoubtedly be a nightmare on Opening Day 2008, that doesn't mean it will always be that way. And, oh yeah, take Metro.
For additional background, here's my post from when the zoning case first came up. And be sure to read the Office of Planning's report, Andy Litsky's testimony, and the presentation slides from the March public meeting. And all my other Stadium Parking and Transporation documents and links.
UPDATE: Here's the Post piece on the hearing.

 

Within the last few days, a sign has popped up in a ground-floor window on Capitol Hill Tower's New Jersey Avenue frontage announcing "Congressional Cleaners Coming Soon." Word was out many moons ago that this dry cleaner would be moving to CHT, but finally it looks like it's not far off. (There have been some recently approved building permits that pointed in this direction as well, but the sign is even better evidence.) So soon you'll be able to add dry-cleaning to the list of every-day tasks available in Near Southeast, along with banking (Chevy Chase bank at New Jersey and L), eating (Five Guys, Subway, Wendy's, McDonald's, and Sizzlin' Express), and of course, all of your beauty supply and wig needs.
 

It took awhile, but the demolition of the old Nation nightclub at 1015 Half Street is finally all-but-complete. (They left the three-story shell up for quite a while, but it's finally gone.) You can see Nation befores-and-afters on my 1015 Half Street page, or check how the Half and K and Half and L corners have changed over the past seven weeks (with the additional demolition happening on Square 699N across the street from Nation). And Nation is now immortalized as #136 on my Demolished Buildings page.

 

UPDATE: This planned closure for this weekend has been cancelled because of the rotten weather forecast. Original entry:
Once again, the outbound side of the Douglass Bridge will be closed this weekend; here's the scoop from DDOT: "Improvements to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge) will continue this weekend, as crews continue repairs on the southbound or outbound lanes. Following the evening rush hour on Friday, May 18 at 10 pm, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will temporarily close the southbound (outbound) lanes on the Douglass Bridge. All lanes will be reopened in time for the Monday (May 21) evening rush hour. Outbound bridge drivers will be directed to follow signed detours to I-395 South across the 11th Street Bridge to I-295 South. Drivers also may consider taking either New York Avenue or Benning Road as alternate routes." This is of course all in preparation for The Mother of All Bridge Closures, coming in July and August when both sides of the bridge will be shut down to demolish the northern 800 feet of the viaduct, and lower the exit of the bridge so that it reaches ground level at Potomac Avenue.

 

Hot on the heels of the Zoning Commission's approval of William C. Smith's plan for its 190,000-sq-ft office building at 250 M Street, I've found an updated drawing of what the project will look like (designed by Hickok Cole Architects), and I've added it to my 250 M Street page. You can see how the building is designed to echo 1100 New Jersey Avenue, its neighbor across Canal Park.
 

A reminder before the weekend starts that on Monday night the Zoning Commission will be having its hearing on Case 07-08, the request to amend the city's zoning laws to allow temporary (no longer than five years) surface parking lots on certain squares in Near Southeast and Southwest to help provide parking for the new stadium. (It's available via live webcast [but not archived] for those who don't wish to schlep to the meeting.) You can read the Office of Planning's report in support of the case that I posted earlier this week and see my map laying out where the parking lots would be located; there's also a piece in this morning's Examiner about how nearby residents (read: residents in Southwest, since there are hardly any in Near Southeast) are "furious, fearing that the location of the new lots will force traffic onto their narrow neighborhood streets, trapping them in their homes on game days." Note that the mention by Andy Litsky in the article of 4th Street is referring to the street in Southwest, not Southeast. My Stadium Transportation and Parking page also has in addition to the map the various presentations by DDOT and the traffic consultants about the plans to get people to and from the stadium, the on-street parking plans (i.e., none), and also the news items from the past few months about this subject. I imagine the zoning hearing is going to be quite festive.

 

From a press release, word arrives that soon we'll be seeing a spiffy video showing us what the Southeast and Southwest Waterfronts are projected to look like in the future: "Interface Multimedia, a leading provider of state-of-the-art visualization services, and WDCEP, the Washington DC Economic Partnership, announced today the debut of the Capitol Riverfront video, the highly anticipated overview of $13 billion of development along the southern waterfronts of Washington, DC. Following a five-month collaboration with the WDECP and 25+ area developers and architects, Interface Multimedia's Capitol Riverfront video will debut on Monday, May 21st at the ICSC Spring Convention in Las Vegas. The five-minute video fuses massing models, renderings, map graphics, fly-by animations, copy writing and narration into a montage of the current and planned development of this highly sought-after area of Washington, DC. [...] The high-density area embraces neighborhoods around the new 26-acre Washington Nationals' baseball stadium, delivering in the Spring of 2008, and creates a vibrant, walk-to-work lifestyle with retail, shopping and entertainment at every doorstep. Within the next five years, development is expected to bring 1.3 million SF of retail and 10.1 million SF of office space to the Capitol Riverfront. More than 11,500 residential units are set to deliver by 2012. Cultural additions include the new 250,000 SF Arena Stage, pedestrian-friendly bridges, 10 scenic parks, waterfront promenades and the 22-mile Anacostia Riverwalk trail. " There will soon be a web site hosting the video, according to the release. The video's creation has been sponsored by a laundry list of the heavy hitters of the neighborhood's redevelopment: the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, Forest City Washington (The Yards), JBG (the new DOT HQ), Monument Realty (bringing you Half Street in the Ballpark District), PN Hoffman (the Southwest Waterfront and also the redevelopment of Building 202 at The Yards), and Urban-City Ventures. And it should be noted that "Capitol Riverfront" is the name given to the Business Improvement District now being set up that will cover most of Near Southeast (just in case you might have thought that a branding opportunity was being passed up, which as we know rarely happens).
 

A quick heads up on a couple of events that might be of interest: On May 19 and 21 there will be Roundtable Discussions on "Development Dollars for Community Benefits", an event sponsored by ANC 6D, the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly, and the South Washington/West of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative (see the flyer for locations and times). And on May 26, the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association is hosting a Youth River Sports Day, sponsored by the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission--see the AWC announcement for more details.
UPDATE: Just across the transom is an announcement (not yet online) of the next Anacostia Waterfront Corporation board meeting, on May 23rd at 6:00 pm at 1105 New Jersey. Near Southast items on the agenda include "South Capitol Waterfront Modification of Contract for Parsons Brinkerhoff" (which I believe has to do with the project to design Diamond Teague Park) and "Baseball District: Western Development Litigation" (ah, reliving the good old days of the Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness).

 

From Wednesday's Post: " In a preliminary vote yesterday, the [DC] council unanimously supported the creation of a quasi-independent agency to replace the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. and the [National Capital Revitalization Corp.], the two entities that have shepherded development in recent years. But the Fenty administration wants full control of the projects and plans to lobby the council to reconsider its legislation before a final vote next month." Kwame Brown's plan is to create the "Economic Development Authority", which would take control of many of the NCRC and AWC projects, but would give the administration authority over other parcels, such as Poplar Point. Neil Albert, the deputy mayor for economic development (who would see the functions of the AWC and NCRC folded into his domain under the mayor's proposal), "said the council's plan to create an Economic Development Authority would add layers of bureaucracy to an already arduous process." But Brown says "that the new agency would have the focus necessary to complete the projects." The AWC's specific projects in Near Southeast include Canal Park, Diamond Teague Park, and the Anacostia Riverwalk, as well as ostensibly working on the development plans for the Ballpark District and the entire South Capitol Waterfront.

 

Let's go around the horn and see what happened at last night's various meetings.
* The Zoning Commission voted to give final approval to the plans for 250 M Street, William C. Smith's planned 190,000-sq-ft office building on M Street just east of what will be Canal Park. The building, which is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Planned Unit Development (and will help fund all the redevelopment at Capper), is expected to start construction at the end of 2007.
* ANC 6D had three Near Southeast items on the agenda--unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend, so I'm giving you the quick and dirty results, and will hopefully have links later for additional details. First, they gave their approval (again) to the 276-unit residential building planned by Camden Development at 1325 South Capitol Street, but this was pretty prefunctory since they approved it a few months back and nothing has really changed except a bureaucratic need to resubmit the plan to the Zoning Commission in a different manner; the ZC hearing is on May 31. Second, they voted not to support Zoning Commission Case 07-08, the request to amend the city's zoning laws to allow temporary (no longer than five years) surface parking lots on certain squares in Near Southeast to help provide parking for the new stadium. There was also a presentation by the DC Housing Authority on what's been happening with Capper/Carrollsburg and the Capper seniors buildings, but of course you've been reading this site religiously and so know it all already.
UPDATE: Apparently the feelings against the parking case ran pretty strong; and I understand that Andy Litsky of the ANC will be testifying in opposition at the Zoning Commission hearing next Monday (May 21).

 

Tonight ANC 6D will be briefed and will vote on whether to support Zoning Commission Case 07-08, the request for text amendments to current zoning regulations to permit and regulate temporary surface parking lots on specified blocks near the stadium. Here's the Office of Planning's report to the Zoning Commission on the proposed zoning changes--it's not very different from the original report they submitted back in April, as I understand it the only major difference is asking that parking spaces for baseball be reserved for 1.5 hours before events (rather than the 3 hours initially suggested). The hearing before the Zoning Commission is on May 21. For more background on the plans for parking and other transportation issues around the stadium site, see my Stadium Parking page for maps, presentations, and other documents.
 

I must admit, as big of a thrill as it's been watching the new Nationals ballpark being birthed, it's become a bit rote to go take photos every two weeks. Sure, the steel beams continue to wind around along South Capitol Street, and the upper deck is going in with particular speed now, but not much has been a surprise lately--until today, when I ventured onto 1st Street for the first time in two weeks, and was greeted with an entirely new stadium to look at--precast concrete slabs have been installed on the ground level all along 1st Street south of N Place, giving the stadium the first taste of the limestone look that will make it so distinctive to DC. (This portion of the stadium is not visible from the otherwise fabulous Stadium Construction Cams.) You can see the new concrete in my Stadium Construction Gallery (along with updates of the usual vantage points), but to get a feel for how big a change the eastern side of the stadium has undergone in the past few weeks, I'd suggest browsing the Photo Archive at 1st and N Place looking south and west, 1st and O looking south and west and north and west, and 1st and Potomac looking north and west. And go down there and see it for yourself in person! (Just try not to run me over while you're driving past.) I just wish it hadn't been such a hazy dusty summer-like day, I miss those azure blue skies in today's shots....
More posts: Nationals Park
 

With Edge, Wet, Secrets, Ziegfield's, and the other adult nightclubs having now been gone from Near Southeast for quite some time, I'm going to stop giving updates on their progress as they try to find new homes. If you're wanting to keep up with the latest, check out Frozen Tropics, who has been adding a number of entries over the past few days on the plans for some of the clubs to move to Northeast.
 

Just a small update on the movement that appears to be happening on Square 696, which is the block bounded by 1st, Half, I, and K that is currently home to a firewood lot, a towing company, and a car repair shop. I mentioned a week ago that "DRI Development Office/Retail" signs appeared on the fence surrounding the firewood lot at 1st and I--within the last day or two, the same signs are now hanging on the southwest corner of the block (at Half and K). I have no more word on what's transpiring in this spot (believe me, I'm trying), but this could be what the Washington Business Journal was talking about in a recent piece when it mentioned "a block on the corner of Half and K" being "among the handful of property sales in the developing ballpark district as high valuations lure the current crop of owners to sell." The four parcels on the block have been owned up to now by the Pedas family (who sold Square 699N one block to the south in 2005) and also Potomac Development Corporation, and there's no indication yet in the land records of any sales. This is a big block, as the four parcels total around 74,000 square feet--with I Street likely to become a prime east-west artery across South Capitol through Southeast and Southwest, and with JPI's two residential projects going up directly to its north and east, it's a location that I've been surprised hasn't sprouted any projects sooner. More as soon as I get it.
 

A public hearing has been scheduled for June 6 by the DC Council's Committee on Workforce Development and Government Operations on the proposed relocation of the Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters to the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave. If you're interested in testifying, the directions are in the hearing announcement; and if you have strong feelings on the proposal (which I've been getting some inkling of), you should probably make your feelings known to council member Tommy Wells and also to Carol Schwartz, who is the chair of this committee.
And it should also be noted that on June 14 the DC Zoning Commission will be having a public hearing on a request to move the 225 Virginia Ave. tax square to the Capitol South receiving zone (the same zone as other properties zoned C-3-C along I Street south of the SE Freeway), which, as I understand it, would allow for a greater height and density on that spot than is currently allowed.

 

From the Washington Business Journal: "D.C. leaders are determined to change the future of two highly scrutinized development agencies, but they are still duking it out on how it will all work. Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert says his office is already crafting plans to assume the operations of the National Capital Revitalization Corp. and the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. Armed with several new hires with private sector development experience, Albert says he's prepared to continue the missions of both groups and cut costs, at the request of Mayor Adrian Fenty. But Albert's office will need to go through the D.C. Council, whose economic development committee has already approved a different plan. Committee Chairman Kwame Brown, D-at large, wants to create a combined entity for AWC and NCRC that would be governed by a five-member board and retain control of some of the agencies' major projects, including the Southwest waterfront, Poplar Point and the McMillan reservoir site. The remainder of the AWC's and NCRC's smaller plots and development projects would be folded into Albert's office under Brown's plan." The two sides are working to find a compromise before a vote on May 14 on the plan to create the new entity--to be called the DC Economic Development Authority (EDA).

 

Following up on yesterday's entry about the plans to move the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage from its current location at Half and M to the DC Village site in Ward 8.... This morning the WMATA subcommittee supported the resolution that will now be voted on by the full board on May 24--the plan is to place an advertisement in June for a demolition/utlities/environmental remediation/site preparation contract, which would be ready for the full WMATA board's approval in September. There's still some question as to whether they'll be building a temporary facility or will go full-bore from the beginning with a permanent facility that will be added onto in later expansion phases (if they get a federal grant they may go for the full facility, or they may have the funds from the sale of the land and some other transactions, etc. etc.).
DC council member Jim Graham did ask for the resolution's wording to be tweaked somewhat to make clear that the city is still working on a plan for the relocation of the homeless families living at DC Village, although Marion Barry told the meeting that just this morning an agreement was finalized between himself (as chair of the appropriate council subcommittee) and the mayor to have $10 million from the DC budget available to get DC Village closed and the families relocated by the end of 2007 (and perhaps even by the end of FY2007). Barry also told the meeting that he is strongly in favor of moving the garage to DC Village, and that his constituents in Ward 8 have also been overwhelmingly in favor of the plan. The desire to move the garage off of Half Street has been an issue for 10-15 years now, he said ("even when I was mayor") and it's "time to do it now."Jim Graham also indicated that he is very much in favor of the move, but that he just wants to make sure that the current residents of DC Village are adequately taken care of (and indicated that he will move to reconsider approval of this plan at the June subcommittee meeting if it appears the city hasn't gotten the relocation plan figured out by then). You can listen to the audio of the meeting here, and the background/information documents are here. (And read my entry from late April on all this for additional background.)
More posts: Metro/WMATA, staddis
 

Tomorrow (May 10), the Planning, Development and Real Estate subcommittee of the WMATA board is meeting, and the agenda links to a document detailing the continuing process of moving the Southeastern Bus Garage out of its current location at Half and M Streets (right across from the Navy Yard subway station entrance, and smack in the middle of the Ballpark District). The document contains background information so that, at the full board meeting later this month, approval can be requested of a proposed resolution (contained in the document) for the following items: "[n]egotiate a land transaction with the District of Columbia, by which WMATA may acquire the DC Village property via monetary consideration or an exchange of existing properties; hold a Compact public hearing on the project and its Environmental Assessment, General Plans and Preliminary Financial Plan; advertise the Phase 1 construction contract upon completion of the bid documents; and apply for a Federal bus facility grant." The Phase 1 part of the project would allow the buses to be moved from Half Street quickly and housed temporarily while the new facility is built at DC Village, and the documents indicate that they are hoping to award the Phase 1 contract by WMATA's September board meeting. The document also says that last month WMATA received an unsolicited bid for the garage land, but doesn't say who (and I just can't imagine who might do such a thing!). Then we can start waiting to see what the Unnamed Bidder comes up with in terms of redeveloping that side of Half Street. UPDATED to fix stupidly broken links.
UPDATE II: This story is now starting to be picked up, from the angle that the bus garage move will close the largest homeless shelter in DC. Note that the proposed resolution in the documents talked about above says that the WMATA board will take no action until "there is an approved final plan for the relocation of any shelter beds" at DC Village, and that DC's city administrator "has approved a final plan for the relocation of any shelter beds displaced by the construction of the Southeastern Bus Garage at DC Village."
 

The agenda for May ANC 6D meeting has been sent out (though it's not yet available on their web site). In addition to a presentation and vote on the Waterside Mall plans, there's a bunch of Near Southeast-related items on the agenda, ones that I've been posting about here for a while:
* There will be a presentation and vote on 1325 South Capitol's resubmission to the Zoning Commission as a PUD (that hearing is now scheduled for May 31). This is the planned 276-unit residential building across the street from the Nationals ballpark, which because of some procedural muck had to resubmit its plans in a different format.
* Also scheduled is an update by the DC Housing Authority on the latest goings-on at Capper/Carrollsburg, including status reports on the Senior Buildings (which I imagine will include the change for Capper Building #2 [aka the "Ballpark Apartments"] to allow workforce-level residents in addition to low-income seniors), as well as on the planned demolition this summer of the old Capper Seniors building at 7th and M, and the latest with the townhomes at Capitol Quarter, as more market-rate houses go on the market and with infrastructure construction expected to begin soon (and "vertical construction" probably starting in early fall).
* And there's also a presentation and vote on the (gaaaaak) Supplemental Stadium Surface Parking plan that's having its zoning hearing on May 21. My Stadium Transportation and Parking page (and its News Items tab) can give you the gory details.
This meeting is scheduled for the same time as Monday's Zoning Commission meeting, which includes on its newly-posted agenda the final approval vote on the 250 M Street office building project (which has been delayed a bit over the past few months), so it's a tough call which one I'll be focusing on. (Especially since we know how much I love ANC meetings.)
 

A couple of quick links in quick succession:
"Stadium Legal Expenses Mounting" from the Examiner, about the escalating legal costs still being incurred from the battles over the taking of the stadium land via eminent domain (Kwame Brown says the $611 million spending cap is not in danger even while the council introduces legislation to pay Venable LLP up to $3.8 million over the next two years to continue to work out the lawsuits by displaced landowners still pending.)
To cleanse the palette from that, you can read about the new 47-ft-by-101-ft high-definition video screen (scroll to the bottom of the page) that the Nationals will be installing, the second-largest one in baseball. The Nationals' owners ponied up the additional $2.8 million to upgrade from the smaller scoreboard that the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission was paying for.
Yesterday a DC Council subcommittee approved B17-0109, "The One-Time Relocation of Licensees Displayed by the Ballpark Amendment Act of 2007", which if passed would allow Ziegfield's and Heat (which closed because of the stadium's eminent domain land takeover) and Edge/Wet and Club 55 (which weren't on the stadium footprint but closed in Sept. 2006 to make way Square 699N's redevelopment), to relocate in Ward 5 near Mt. Olivet cemetery. The Post reports that Ward 5 council member Harry Thomas will oppose the bill, and that his office heard from more than two dozen residents yesterday complaining about it. You can also read a couple of pieces from last week about the bill being introduced.
Also, there isn't really anything new in it, but just for archiving sake (or for those of you coming in late), here's a quick blurb from Costar on the Metropolitan Police Department's planned move to the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia. Here's my previous entry on the move, for more background.
 

Today the Board of Zoning Adjustment heard an application by Donohoe to waive the rear-yard requirement for its planned 146,000-sq-ft office building at 1111 New Jersey. I don't want to get too far into the weeds of it all, but basically this rear "yard" requirement was actually applying to the airspace along the alley between L and M above the project's first floor (because by right the first floor can run right to the alley line). Donohoe's position was that, by allowing them to build to the rear property line on all floors, they could build an 11-story building with higher ceilings on the 1st floor (16 feet), making the space far more desirable to prospective retail tenants. If they were unable to use that airspace, they would instead build a 12-story building of the same square footage, but with only 12-ft ceilings on the 1st floor (and shorter ceiling heights on the other floors). Although ANC 6D opposed this application on the grounds that it lacked a community benefits package (which is not required in a "by-right" project), the BZA felt that the higher ceiling heights on the first floor that would be allowed by granting this special exception, and the resulting higher-quality retail prospects that could be drawn to the building, could be considered to benefit the community. And with the pastor of St. Matthew's Church (which sits directly to 1111's north) saying that he is in favor of the project, and with the Office of Planning, the Capitol Hill Historical Society, and the neighboring developments (100 M Street and Onyx on First both sit across the alley from 1111 New Jersey) supporting it as well, and with other required standards of the rules met (sufficient distance between 1111 and adjacent structures, sitelines sufficiently separated, and adequate off-street parking [114 spaces], loading docks, and delivery space), the BZA voted 5-0 to approve this application. I've been told that this project could begin construction this summer.
UPDATE: Actually, I now hear that the project may not start until closer to the end of 2007. I don't know for sure, but perhaps the schedule is also being impacted by an upcoming item on the WMATA Planning, Development and Real Estate subcommittee agenda for June 14: "Approval of Developer Selection and Term Sheet for the Navy Yard East Entrance", which is referring to a joint development solicitation proposal back in September 2006, looking to develop the 4,400 square feet owned by WMATA above the Navy Yard station entrance at New Jersey and M with some combination of a public plaza at ground level and development above it. So we shall see....
 

New from DDOT: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today started an innovative program to spur greater use of transit and ridesharing by commuters affected by this summer's repairs of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge). The program will help commuters affected by DDOT's planned July-August closure of the bridge. Modeled after a successful similar effort carried out by the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, DDOT's 'Bridge Bucks' program will provide $50 per month toward transit fares and vanpool fees to encourage commuters to switch out of their cars and into an alternative travel mode." There's a Bridge Bucks web page with more information. Or you could just take that eight-week summer vacation!
UPDATE, May 8: Here's a WTOP piece on the Bridge Bucks plan, and The Post's Dr. Gridlock (Bob Thomson) is addressing the program and the concerns from commuters about the plan to close the bridge in his Get There blog today.
 

Don't know how new this is, but a page on the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission's site about the steps being taken to make the new Nationals ballpark "green" includes a graphic describing the various environmentally conscious aspects of the stadium--and the graphic also has a stadium rendering I haven't come across before (looking at the stadium from its northwest corner) with the best view I've seen so far of the garages planned for the north end of the site, as well as good detail of the South Capitol Street facade of the stadium. I've added the graphic to my Stadium Renderings page.
 

On Monday (May 7), DDOT is having a media briefing to announce that construction has begun on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. This is the first phase, and so doesn't actually include the planned portion of the trail through Near Southeast (from the 11th Street Bridges to the Frederick Douglass Bridge)--according to the AWC page and a meeting AWC held a few weeks back, I believe what's now being constructed is Phase I, the trail on the west side of the Anacostia from the Navy Yard to the National Arboretum. Phase 2 will be on the east side of the river, from Poplar Point to Pennsylvania Avenue, and Phase 3 (the Near Southeast portion) is probably looking at a 2010 date (when the Waterfront Park at the Yards is completed, and they can build the pedestrian bridge to link that park to Diamond Teague Park and Florida Rock.
UPDATE, May 7: A post-briefing press release says that the section of the Riverwalk now under construction is a two-mile stretch that will run from the Navy Yard east to Benning Road. There's also a link to a fact sheet on the trail (albeit from June 2006) that has a map of the planned trail and other information. And here's a WTOP piece on the new section.
 

Donohoe's planned 146,000-sq-ft office building at 1111 New Jersey Ave. (on the west side of New Jersey between L and M) takes a step forward tomorrow with a hearing in front of the Board of Zoning Adjustment--they're looking for a special exception for a waver of the rear yard requirement, which apparently would allow them to put up an 11-story building with higher ceilings as opposed to a 12-story building with lower ceilings if they have to keep the rear yard. ANC 6D voted in April to oppose this application, but more because the developers are not providing a community benefits package than any issues with the application itself. The hearing should be webcast, and I'd tell you what time it's scheduled for, but the Zoning Schedules and Agendas site has been down for three days now, so I can't look it up to confirm.
UPDATE: The BZA site is back, so I can tell you that the hearing is the third item on the agenda for the session that begins at 9:30 am.

 

Let's see.... The most interesting news of the day is that, as of 2:00 this afternoon, there were already folks camping out in front of the Capitol Quarter sales office, six days ahead of the next offering of five market-rate townhouses. Next, I took some new photos of the Nation demolition (which is not exactly proceeding with lightning speed)--check either my 1015 Half Street page for the basics, or the Photo Archive for Half and K and Half and L for additional shots. I also updated with what might be my final M Street photos for the DOT HQ, recording that both New Jersey and 4th Street are now open to traffic south of M (a couple weeks after the stoplights were turned on). And I took photos of the new DRI sign at 1st and I (though the photos don't show them real well, and one's already falling down)--they say "DRI Development Services, LLC | A Transwestern Company | Office/Retail." Still trying to get some info on what's coming there. Anyway, you can poke around those pages, or you can look at all the photos from today that I've posted and then click on the intersection/direction links to compare today's shots to what that view has looked like over the past few years.
 

In late March, in my big update on the plans for The Yards, I mentioned that the old Gun Assembly Shop at 5th and M (also known as Building 202) would be in the first phase of residential renovations (beginning in 2008), and that Forest City Washington would be partnering on this one portion of The Yards with PN Hoffman (the folks who will be revitalizing the Southwest Waterfront). The DCMud blog has more on this project (they're in the real estate biz, so they've got a leg up on this poor unconnected blogger), saying that "The former naval gun factory will metamorphose into one of the coolest projects in DC, according to the developer, which intends to fully renovate the interior space, leaving the existing shell and giant six-story atrium - to become the amenities center, encircled by the residences. There will be nothing like this in the District or its environs, according to Dave DeSantis of PN Hoffman." No wonder I was smart enough to dub this building the JD Lofts, way back in 2003....!
 

From an e-mail just sent out by EYA, word that "Capitol Quarter will accept reservations on our next 5 market rate homes on Saturday May 12th, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. [...] Reservations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis beginning at 11:00 a.m on May 12th. [...] Please note that no reservations will be accepted before 11:00 a.m on Saturday May 12th, 2007, and this offering does not include any workforce homes, which will be released at a later date." And: "We anticipate an additional 5 market rate homes will be made available each month for the next several months." So, for those folks waiting to see additional movement at Capitol Quarter, it looks like they're kicking into gear. And note that the sales center is now back to being open seven days a week. For more on Capitol Quarter, check out my Capper/Carrollsburg pages. If you want to receive these announcements directly from EYA, go to their Capitol Quarter web site and sign up.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Today I saw for the first time new signs hung on the fence surrounding the firewood lot on the southwest corner of 1st and I Streets, emblazoned with "DRI Development/Office and Retail" (or some such). I have absolutely no information on this--this lot has been owned for quite some time by the Potomac Development Corporation, but I don't see any records as of yet in the online public records to indicate a sale has taken place, so perhaps it's a joint venture. Or not. I don't know. Anyway, I'll try to see what I can find out (whispers in my ear always welcome!), and hopefully some light can be shed on perhaps ANOTHER project getting started in the North of M section of Near Southeast, to go along with JPI's two residential towers, ADC Builders' Square 699N, Faison's Onyx on First condos, and Opus East's 100 M office building (and maybe the Nation site, too?), and perhaps something on the Sunoco lot by Monument Realty.
 

Through an embarrassing confluence of events too geeky to explain here, I'm only now seeing that Monument Realty has now launched an exceedingly spiffy web site at its existing HalfStreetDC.com URL. Not a lot of information that isn't already available on my Monument Half Street page, but it's certainly flashier! Estimated completion for the east side of Half Street (which I think ought to be called Monument Valley) is mid-2009; the west side development is still being worked out as plans move forward for WMATA to close its Half and M bus garage.
 

For those of you interested in the plight of the gay nightclubs with nude dancing that have left Near Southeast and their attempts to reopen elsewhere in the city, today's Washington Blade has an update on a new bill introduced by Jim Graham to attempt to fix a zoning issue that stalled an attempt by Wet/Edge to reopen (with "straight" nude dancing) in Northeast. UPDATE, May 8: Here's a short Examiner piece on Graham's expectations of meeting resistance when trying to get his bill passed.
 

The Yards (formerly known as the Southeast Federal Center) now has more than just a placeholder image at its web site, dcyards.com. There's now a form to fill out if you're interested in more information, and also one if you're looking for details on their local, small and disadvantaged business enterprises (LSDBE) programs. The site says that overall they're planning 2,800 residential units, 1.8 million square feet of new office space, 300,000 square feet of retail, and of course the 5.5-acre waterfront park--this is of course over a multiyear period (like, say, 10 years), but they say that the first office and residential projects will be available in 2010. One of the first retail projects (scheduled to open in mid-2009) will be the renovating of the Old Boiler Maker's Shop/Building 167, at the corner of 4th and Tingey as a shopping space. As for the other projects, I had heard not too long ago that some of the residential projects, which involve the renovation of two existing buildings, would be ready by 2009, but I guess the schedule has changed. Will try to find out more; for now, you can get more details and photos on my Yards page.
 

From today's Washington Times: "The real estate investment firm MacFarlane Partners this week joined the $700 million mixed-use redevelopment project in Southeast near the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium. Although work has already begun on the 1.9-million-square-foot project, San Francisco-based MacFarlane Partners said it had agreed to make a large investment in the development. The amount was not disclosed." Uh, WHICH project would that be? Only thanks to a quote from Monument Realty's Russell Hines in paragraph #3 is there any hint of exactly which project MacFarlane is investing in, so I'm really still only guessing when I tell you MacFarlane appears to be investing in the Monument Half Street project just north of the stadium site. Mr. MacFarlane is of course one of the new owners of DC United, and is spearheading the redevelopment of Poplar Point, a somewhat salient point that isn't even mentioned in the story (and no, I'm not going to start covering Poplar Point, so stop asking!). MacFarlane is also already an investor in The Yards.
UPDATE, 5/8: Here's a piece from Commercial Property News confirming that it is indeed the Monument Half Street project that MacFarlane is investing in.
 

I've added the Navy Museum's slate of public programs for the month of May to my Upcoming Events calendar, if you're looking for entertainment and/or book larnin' right here in the Hood.
More posts: Navy Yard
 
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