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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: May 2008
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In what chair Anthony Hood remarked might have been the Zoning Commission's first-ever landscape architecture-only case, the Zoning Commission on Thursday night approved the design for the first phase of the waterfront park at The Yards, the nearly 6-acre green space along the Anacostia River on the site of the once walled-off Southeast Federal Center. My project page has a number of the renderings that were displayed during the presentation, and additional descriptions of what's planned for the site can be found in these two blog entries.
Representatives of Forest City said that they are committed to opening the first phase of the park in the summer of 2009. The second phase, which will include the renovation of the Lumber Storage Shed and the construction of other retail pavilions and buildings, is expected to come before the Zoning Commission this fall. Phase 3 will be the piers and marinas. Somewhat surprising was the news that the floating boardwalk connecting the Great Lawn on the western side of the park to Diamond Teague Park and the ballpark is now going to be built by the city as part of the construction of Teague rather than by Forest City as part of this park.
Much of the discussion by the zoning commissioners (that I saw--I watched from home in my fuzzy slippers and the webcast went wonky a few times in the middle) centered around the pedestrian bridge that runs across the bulkhead and the new freshwater canal. Its very "forward" design---described by Commissioner Etherly as an "aggressive architectural play" and by vice chair Jeffries as a "Slinky," a moniker that I'm sure the developers would probably prefer to not catch on--was not met with universal acclaim. The commissioners did seem recognize its intended role as a piece of art and one of the iconic elements of the park. Jeffries emphasized--and others agreed--that because the designs for the buildings and for the "art tower" are coming at a later date, the bridge is setting the stage for the rest of the architecture at the park, and that the future designs must play off what the bridge has started.
Peter May did not like the bridge (though I missed a lot of his comments because of the webcast problems). He expressed a worry that the bridge, along with the not-yet-designed art tower and whatever's planned for Poplar Point, could create a series of "Look at Me" moments along the Anacostia, all trying to compete for attention. "The 'Look at Me' moment for a waterfront park should be the river itself," he said.
There were also discussions of the lighting plans, and concerns as to whether or not the bridge has a railing (it does). Jeffries asked a lot about the vegetation planned for the different sections of the park, and expressed a wish for some landscaping that is a bit more "wild" in nature, to which Forest City seemed receptive.
There were letters of support from ANC 6D, which voted 7-0 on May 12 to approve the plans, as well as from the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the National Capital Planning Commission, which approved the park's design back in February. So, in the end, the commission decided to go ahead and vote for approval of the plans immediately, although the issuance of the final order is subject to the commission receiving some new renderings showing more clearly the railing on the bridge. The vote was 4-0-1, with commissioner Turnbull not present.
 

DCRA has selected via lottery the street vendors who will get the 28 available locations in Near Southeast. Here's a map of where they'll be hanging out their shingles, starting June 3. Note that there are none south of M Street; on the other hand, the spots at New Jersey and I might be a nice greeting for Capitol South-arriving fans. As mentioned a few days ago, there will be new lotteries for the spots on the last Tuesday of each month.
(Boy, today is like the old days, with so much news. [So be sure to keep scrolling.] And I'm even sitting on two more items, waiting for the rush to die down!)
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Getting the scoop on Onyx today spurred me to check in on the doings next door at 100 M Street, the 240,000-sq-ft office building that's been built in tandem with Onyx (though they are being developed by different organizations). Opus East tells me that they expect 100 M to be "substantially complete" in November, with tenants beginning to arrive in January 2009. Reports last year indicated that Parsons Technology has leased about 30 percent of the building. You can check my project page for before-and-after photos, especially if you want to gaze longingly at the On Luck Cafeteria....
And, since retail is what folks really want to know about, I can pass along that 100 M has SunTrust Bank signed up as their first retail tenant, and is looking for restaurants for their other spaces.
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More posts: 100 M, Retail, Square 743N
 

I had a nice chat today with a representative of Onyx on First, the almost-finished 266-unit apartment building on the southeast corner of First and L streets. Confirming what a commenter mentioned a few entries back, they're expecting to deliver the first five floors of the building in late July or early August. Rents have not been set for the individual units, but are expected to range up from $1,950 for a studio, $2,050 for 1 br, $2,225 for 1 br/den, $2,500 for 2 br/1 ba, $2,450 for 2 br/2 ba, and $2,800 for 2 br/2 ba/den. (You can compare them to the out-of-the-gate rents at 70 and 100 I here.) The new web site is OnyxApts.com, though as of now there isn't much there beyond a sign-up sheet if you want them to contact you with more information.
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Just a reminder that tomorrow (Saturday May 31) is the first Congressional Bank Classic at Nationals Park, showcasing the top baseball teams from DC's public and private schools. Starting at 9:30 there will be a game between Maret and St. Albans, followed by McKinley and Wilson. At 3:30 the city's all-star game will be played, and at 7 pm the winners of the two morning games will face off. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for school-aged kids. Rain date is Sunday, June 1. More information available here.
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Last night the Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to extend the allowed building height and expand the total square footage of the proposed office building at 250 M Street in what is technically a modification to the Capper/Carrollsburg second-stage PUD that this office building is part of. The building, which will be going for LEED silver certification and which will have ground-floor retail, will now be 130 feet high and have 233,405 square feet of space. The discussions at the hearing centered mainly on the penthouse structure, the "next generation" elevator technology that allows for less overhead space, and how exactly the agreement with ANC 6D should be viewed.
William C. Smith's Brad Fennell testified that the developer has agreed to additional amenities beyond those in the original PUD (which included $325,000 toward the funding of Canal Park). He described the new amenities as "recruiting construction workers from ANC 6D by purchasing quarterly ads in the Southwester, creating an overall goal of 20% first-source employment for qualified ANC 6D residents, and providing contracting and new hiring opportunitiess for local residents and subcontractors by giving tiebreaking preferences to subcontractors headquartered in ANC 6D and for qualified construction workers living in that area." On May 12 the ANC tied 3-3 on the project, but apparently some subsequent tweaking of the proffer into this final form resulted in a letter from the ANC indicating that four commissioners would support the project with these additional amenities. The Zoning Commissioners felt that, since this was not an official vote of the ANC, it couldn't be given the required "great weight," but could be looked at the same as any feedback from a neighborhood association. The fact that no ANC members appeared at the hearing to testify in opposition also was noted.
You can read the Office of Planning report for all the specifics you could ever want about the changes in the design; if you're really interested, you can also read the original second-stage PUD approval of 250 M from last July, that last night's ruling is modifying. (The original Capper PUD is worth a look as well if you aren't familiar with what's been approved for the area's redevelopment.) Also, since I haven't mentioned it lately, it should be noted that this office building is technically a joint venture between WC Smith and the DC Housing Authority, with the monies from it helping to "financially leverage" the rest of the redevelopment of the Cappers.
This was the first vote; final action on this modification will be scheduled for a month or so from now. Earlier this year a WC Smith representative had told me that construction could begin in the middle of this year, but there was no mention of start dates at the hearing.
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More posts: 250 M, M Street, zoning
 

Looks like the negotiating to get the Eagles to Nationals Park on July 26 has fallen through. After first showing up on their tour calendar, and then being removed a few days later, the July 26 DC date is now posted again, but at Verizon Center. Tickets go on sale June 9.
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May 29, 2008 12:07 PM
From the Nationals: "The Washington Nationals will host the first of two Ladies Night Out and Home Run Happy Hour promotions on Thursday, June 5 when the Nationals take on the [St. Louis Cardinals] at 7:05pm. The happy hour will take place at 5:00pm in the Rooftop Party Zone, located on top of Nationals Park Garage B and will include live entertainment, happy hour drink specials, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, wine tasting, massages and manicures. Demonstrations and product samples will be offered by 20 exhibitors and guests will have the opportunity to meet Nationals players. The Savvy Girls of Summer will present and sign copies of their new book, It Takes More Than Balls, a female's guide to understanding and enjoying the game of baseball. Tickets may be purchased for $30 by visiting nationals.com/ladiesnight. A ticket to the event includes admission to the Home Run Happy Hour as well a Scoreboard Pavilion game ticket for the evening's game. Scoreboard Pavilion Seats are located on the Mezzanine Level in Sections 240 through 243 and are valued at $27 apiece." Exhibitors include Anheuser Busch, Cantina Marina, Honest Tea, Jewelry By Paula, Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd w/ The Curious Grape, Nail Taxi, Noah's Pretzels, Potomac Massage Training Institute, Slumber Parties by Beth, and Washington Sports Clubs.
(This is the first I've heard of the Garage B "Rooftop Party Zone." And the team name is in brackets because of a boo-boo in the Nats press release. But the game is indeed against the Cardinals.)
 

May 29, 2008 9:41 AM
* The Post's DC Wire blog is reporting that at 5 pm today DCRA will be having a lottery for the 28 street vending spots near Nationals Park. "Winners will enjoy their spots for one month, starting on June 1. Then the process starts all over again with a lottery on the last Tuesday of each month until the baseball season ends." (Vendors grumbling about neon-green On the Fly's vending on Half Street have found out that the eco-vendor is actually on private property.)
* From the Examiner: David Catania gets back into the baseball carping business, saying the city should get its money back from the consultants who predicted in 2005 that the Nats would average 39,000 fans in the first year at Nationals Park, since there's only been an average of 29,000 fans during the first third of the season. Catania says "that ERA may have seriously overestimated ticket sales, which represents a major portion of stadium-related revenues." However, DC CEO Natwar Gandhi has replied that "the ballpark bonds are structured in such a way "that a significant drop in attendance would not hinder our ability to pay debt service" and that "in a worst-case scenario, total attendance at the new stadium could drop to approximately 10,000 people per game without affecting debt-service payments." The Examiner also says: "Ticket prices at the new ballpark are 20 percent higher than the consultant predicted, Gandhi said, which will drastically reduce the effect of reduced attendance." I wonder if the consultants factored in cold and miserable April weather? The Post's DC Wire has more on this.
* The Nats announced earlier this year that tours of the ballpark are available on non-gamedays; yesterday they sent out word that proceeds from those tours will benefit the team's Dream Foundation, which currently has a number of initiatives underway, including the Neighborhood Initiative that's providing three years of funding to the Earth Conservation Corps. Info about the tours is available here.
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra is short and sweet, with blurbs on the RiverFront/Florida Rock zoning approval and the almost-arrival of 700 new residential units at 70 and 100 I Street.
* Also in the District Extra is a big piece on whether the diversity of the Nats' roster, "combined with their state-of-the-art stadium, will be enough to attract young blacks and Latinos to the game in the District."
* DC United wants the city to pay $225 million for its Poplar Point stadium, which the Post says is "far more than some city leaders say they would support" and that "even the amount officials have considered, $150 million, has raised some concern with D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, whose analysis has concluded such a deal could push the government above a Wall Street debt ceiling that he recommended last year." In the meantime, Marc Fisher thinks it's all a bad idea.
 

May 28, 2008 4:08 PM
It's nowhere near as exciting as zoning hearings (then again, what is?), but I see that the City Council hearing on the bill to close a 2,400-sq-ft alley on Square 700 is happening tomorrow (May 29), after having been canceled back in February. The alley is just north of what used to be the BP Amoco station on South Capitol Street at N (which is now Nats Parking Lot N). Monument Realty is requesting this closure to allow for the combining of both the Amoco site and the parking lot to its north, with plans to build what was described in January as a residential building with 150-200 units and 14,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail space, as part of Monument's Half Street projects. Additional details are in my January report on Monument's request for ANC 6D's support (which they didn't get, thanks to a 2-2-1 vote). The bill is B017-0552, if you'd like some light afternoon reading. The hearing is scheduled be televised/streamed on DC Cable 13, starting at 10 am.
 

May 28, 2008 12:23 AM
Across the mighty Anacostia, plans are apparently coming together for the proposed soccer stadium at Poplar Point, says the Post: "A coalition of D.C. Council members is drafting legislation that would authorize Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to spend $150 million in public money to subsidize construction of a soccer stadium for D.C. United in Southeast Washington, city government sources said. [...] The city would finance construction bonds with excess tax revenue being collected by the District to pay for the baseball stadium. D.C. United would be responsible for paying for any costs above $150 million[.]" (See, it mentions Nationals Park, so I'm allowing myself to link to it.) Read the article for more on the possibilities, and whether there's enough support from the council and the community, and how the ballpark tax revenue could be used.
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May 27, 2008 10:25 PM
Starting Wednesday May 28, the Capitol Riverfront BID and US DOT developer JBG are launching a 10-week lunchtime concert series, to be held every Wednesday at noon on the Southwest Plaza behind DOT at New Jersey and Tingey. Quoting from the press release: "Capitol Riverfront Concerts is a ten week summer concert series with lively and diverse musical artists, performing everything from original pop to Latin Jazz, R&B, bluegrass, Caribbean and more. Bring your lunch or enjoy a special outdoor grill menu provided by the U.S. DOT cafeteria."
Folks desperate for outdoor recreation space in the neighborhood might note this line from the release: "The concerts are part of a growing number of programs that you will see in the Capitol Riverfront as several new parks begin to open next spring 2009." (There could indeed be three parks opening in some capacity next year, if previously announced [or hinted at] timelines hold: Canal Park, the waterfront park at The Yards, and Diamond Teague Park.)
Here's the flyer with the lineup of performers, and a map if you can't quite figure out where the plaza is. I've also added the schedule of performances to my own Near Southeast Upcoming Events Calendar.
 

May 27, 2008 2:03 PM
There's two Near Southeast projects with hearings in front of the Zoning Commission this week:
* On Wednesday (5/28) the ZC will hear the request to extend the height of the office building planned for 250 M Street. I've written about this here, and you can read the Office of Planning's final report for much more detail on the request (and see the latest design). OP recommends approval of what is technically a modification to the Capper/Carrollsburg second-stage PUD (yes, this office building is part of the Capper redevelopment). After initially refusing to vote on the plan because of a lack of community benefits, ANC 6D voted 3-3 on it at its May meeting, which means there will be no support from the ANC. (I wasn't at this meeting, so I can't give you the specifics of what the developer offered to the ANC, or why the resolution didn't pass.) It's possible that 250 M will begin construction this year, but there's no confirmation of that.
* The next night (Thursday 5/29) the ZC will undertake a Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlay District Review for the first-phase plans of the 5.5-acre waterfront park at The Yards. This design was approved by the National Capital Planning Commission back in February (with some suggestions for refining the pedestrian bridge that is one of the focal points of the design). The Office of Planning report for Thursday's hearing gives a lot of good detail on the plans for the park, as does my original entry from when the design was unveiled. OP supports the design for the park, while also hoping for refinements to the bridge and noting that there should be additional bike racks. You can all sorts of cool renderings of the plans on my Yards Park project page. The first phase of the park is expected to be finished by the end of 2009; subsequent phases, which will include piers and retail pavilions, will come later.
 

May 27, 2008 12:10 AM
Watching from ground level as new buildings pop up is all well and good--but when they are completed, it also means a new vantage point for overhead views of the neighborhood (as long as I can convince the owners to indulge a pesky camera-toting neighborhood blogger). So, thanks to the folks at JPI, I'm now able to add 70 I and 100 I to the Overhead Photo Gallery, joining existing perches on top of 1000 New Jersey, 20 M, and various spots at the ballpark. Even though it wasn't a brilliantly sunny day when I visited, I still got some good photos of the current state of Near Southeast (such as 100 I's southward view seen above, showing the renovated First Street, Onyx, 100 M, Velocity, Nationals Park, and 20 M). In these new 70 I and 100 I overhead galleries, you'll also see 909 New Jersey, the hole being dug for 1015 Half, and even some views east toward 225 Virginia and west toward Southwest. Enjoy. (And, if you want to see the photos I took *inside* 70 and 100 I this week, check out the project page.)
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May 26, 2008 1:36 PM
* The Post has an article on how today's Nationals game against the Brewers is the second of only two weekday afternoon games at Nationals Park this season. " 'We love afternoon weekday games but had to hold off this year due to the uncertainty about daytime parking availability,' Nationals President Stan Kasten said. 'We'd certainly like to have more next season, but no decisions have been made about '09.' " The article also talks to hookey-playing grownups who miss these games. Given that it's a holiday, and the gorgeous weather, and Sunday's second-highest-of-the-season attendance (35,567), this final weekday game might see a pretty big pile of people.
And, catching up on a recent few links that I've been slow to post:
* Columnist George Solomon Saturday's Post has a brief preview of the upcoming Congressional Bank Baseball Classic, which will showcase the the first-ever, city-wide high school baseball championship game, at Nationals Park on May 31. Games begin at 9:30 a.m., with private schools St. Albans and Maret meeting, followed by the DCIAA's Wilson High facing McKinley. Tickets are $5, and kids get in free--read more here.
* Dr. Gridlock hears that using the Capitol South station on the Orange and Blue lines and then walking down New Jersey Avenue to go to games is a great idea. Yes, it certainly is, even if it isn't exactly a news flash. (But use the JDLand Recommended Route instead!)
In non-ballpark news:
* Metro Weekly looks at the planned reopening of Ziegfield's and Secrets on Half Street SW in Buzzards Point, a few blocks away from their original homes at Half and O SE (now shallow left field).
* The Naval Historical Center at the Navy Yard takes a bit of a beating in a piece from Saturday's Post, comparing it with the shiny new Marine Corps museum at Quantico.
* For those of you counting the moments until the armed encampment at First and M departs, here's a May 14 story from the Mount Vernon Gazette on the progressing construction at Ft. Belvoir of the new home for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. It's expected to be completed by August 2011, with NGA employees from Reston, Bethesda, and the windowless white box on the old Southeast Federal Center footprint starting to move in early in 2011. Eventually that First-and-M site will be redeveloped as office space as part of The Yards.
 

May 25, 2008 8:42 PM
Mere moments ago I saw for the first time new banners hung on the temporary plywood walkway that runs along M Street between First and New Jersey, announcing that Onyx Apartments at 1100 First Street is now leasing. (Perhaps the signs have been there for days, but if so, my vast network of eyes-on-the-ground missed a spot.) There's also a new URL, OnyxApts.com. The web site itself says "Leasing Summer 2008," and is nothing more than a slightly updated rendering and a sign-up form. But for folks who've been wondering if Onyx was going to be making any sort of progress toward opening, it is evidence of some forward motion. Between Onyx and 70 and 100 I, close to 1,000 rental units will be opening in Near Southeast over the next few months.
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May 23, 2008 10:35 AM
With a unanimous 5-0 vote after a brief discussion, the Zoning Commission approved last night the plans for "RiverFront," the 5.8-acre mixed-use project on the Anacostia River south of Nationals Park, ending the decade-long trip through the zoning process for the site long known as Florida Rock.
Before the final vote, chairman Anthony Hood quoted from the recent ruling by the National Capital Planning Commission that the RiverFront project "would not adversely effect" any federal interests. Remarking that the passage "says it all," Hood read: "This project is expected to bring activity and amenities to the Anacostia waterfront and is respecting the planning for the South Capitol Street corridor and the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Furthermore, it is enhancing the connection of the Nationals Baseball Park and surrounding district to the Anacostia waterfront, goals supported by the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative[.]"
Now it's onto construction drawings and a trip through the city's permitting process. It's not expected that work will begin until sometime in 2009 on the first phase of the site, which includes an office building with ground-floor retail and a public plaza across Potomac Avenue from the ballpark's grand staircase. [see update below for caveat]
If you want to know more (dear heavens, I'm not going to go through all the details AGAIN), look at my project page for renderings and also scroll through five years' worth of news items on it all. UPDATE: The press release is out, and I'll note that it gives no indication of when the first phase could start. Given the Monument Realty news of financing troubles, Camden's pause at 1345 South Capitol, and the commercial real estate biz in general, it's probably best to now be pretty skeptical of start dates until permit approvals start popping up and shovels start digging into the ground.
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May 23, 2008 9:13 AM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal: "With two failed condominium projects seeking apartment investors, incomplete financing at two major D.C. projects and at least one empty office building, Monument Realty is feeling the pinch from today's constricting real estate economy. [...] And, contrary to industry speculation, Monument is not for sale, [Monument co-founder Jeffrey] Neal said. In the coming weeks the company hopes to nail down financing for two ongoing projects -- the residential portion of its Half Street project and The Watergate Hotel -- and finalize negotiations to sell two residential projects, he said."
As for the status of Half Street, where the 55 M Street office building is topped out and a hole is dug awaiting the start of a planned 200-room hotel and 340 residential units: "Monument recently secured $72 million in construction financing for the office portion of Half Street, along with an undisclosed sum for the hotel piece. The development company is still in the hunt for financing for its planned 340 residential units, Neal said. Once that is in place, the residential and hotel portions 'will come out of the ground this summer,' he said."
The article, which has a lot of detail on the difficulties Monument is facing on its other projects, also mentions that the litigation between Monument and WMATA over the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage "has been put on hold while the parties mediate their dispute."
 

May 22, 2008 3:07 PM
The folks at JPI were kind enough to take me on a walk-through today of their getting-close-to-opening Jefferson and Axiom apartment buildings (better known as 70 and 100 I Street). Jefferson, with its warehouse/industrial feel, is about a month away from opening its shared spaces and first few floors of apartments, with all 12 stories expected to be open to tenants by late fall; Axiom will see its first units open in July, and also is expected to be completed before the end of the year. Together, the two buildings total nearly 700 apartments, and will be the first rental units to open in Near Southeast.
My interior photos of Jefferson/70 I give you a glimpse of the huge "sports pub", the interior courtyard, the other shared spaces, and the roof deck and pool, with hints of the amazing views of the city from up on high. (Don't worry, I'll be adding lots of big images to my Overhead Photos Gallery soon.)
Since Axiom/100 I is not quite as far along in its construction, the interior photos don't hint as much at the final look-and-feel of the shared spaces; but I actually got more photos inside the units in 100 I. And it's on 100 I's roof deck that I got the above photo.
The temporary rental office in the trailer at Half and I is open for business. At Jefferson, rents start at about $1,600 for a studio, $1,855 for a 1-bedroom ($2,225 for a 1 br/den), $2,555 for a 2-bedroom, and a $3,320 for a 3-bedroom; Axiom's prices are a little higher. For both buildings, a single parking space is $200 per month, or $275 a month for a tandem space. And pets are allowed, but there are size and breed restrictions, and additional fees. There are also some special deals being offered on lease terms.
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May 21, 2008 10:49 PM
The Post's Marc Fisher writes for Thursday's paper about the behind the scenes battle between the city and the Lerners about whether Nationals Park was completed on schedule, with the owners pointing to the $100,000-per-day damages owed to them according to the stadium lease agreement if construction was not finished on time. Quoting: "But nearly three weeks after the stadium played host to its first game, the Nationals were still demanding $100,000 a day because, among other items, the team offices at the new ballpark were not yet completely ready. The city conceded that the offices weren't done as soon as the ballpark itself, but sports commission chief executive Gregory O'Dell reminded the Nationals that the offices make up less than 3 percent of the stadium project. He called that delay a "minor inconvenience" and noted that the District allowed the team to stay at its old RFK Stadium offices rent-free."
In other ballpark-related news, reader D. reports that the valet parking that was launched a few weeks ago at the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M has gotten cheaper, now down to $40 from $50.
UPDATE: Tim Lemke has more on the $100k/day issue, saying that it does appear to revolve around the admin building. He also has a bit about the upgrading of some of the stadium bonds from BBB+ to AA, which I'm sure is faaaabulous!
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May 20, 2008 9:25 AM
Just like last month, the agenda for the WMATA board of directors meetings this Thursday includes an executive session, and in that executive session is the agenda item "Legal Issues - Monument vs. WMATA." For those of you just joining us, this lawsuit is a result of the bidding process for the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M that awarded the site to Akridge for $69 million--Monument argued that they were supposed to have first dibs on the site after being named "master developer" by the city. A judge awarded a preliminary injunction on the sale in February, saying that Monument has "demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that they were substantially prejudiced when WMATA considered Akridge's nonresponsive bid and participated in improper ex parte discussions with Akridge." I never heard about anything coming out of last month's board executive session when this was supposed to be discussed; perhaps there will be some action needing to be taken this time outside of executive session to give us a hint.
There's nothing else of Near Southeast-interest in the other WMATA board meetings on Thursday, but the Subsequent Agenda for the Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee says that its June 26 meeting will include an action item for approving the term sheet on the Navy Yard Chiller Site at Half and L. A joint development solicitation for this 14,100-sq-ft site was released back in September of 2006. A "developer selection" was supposed to be on the board's agenda back in January, but then disappeared; we'll see if this June item actually holds. The 2006 solicitation described WMATA as "looking for innovative plans . . . that will yield quality developments for the local communities, increase transit ridership, enhance the local tax base and provide a stream of revenue to WMATA for capital needs." Proposals were also supposed to follow the principles of "transit-oriented development" -- "providing safe, walkable, mixed-use communities that emphasize transit connections and reduce auto dependency." While doing all that, the site's developer would still have to replace the chiller operations either on site or somewhere close to the Navy Yard station.
 

May 19, 2008 11:23 PM
If you've ever said, "I'd PAY to get a date with Ryan Zimmerman," this is for you. On Thursday (May 22) from 7 to 10 pm there's a charity date auction being held in the Stars & Stripes Club at Nationals Park, to help Nationals communications guru Chartese Burnett raise $170,000 in her quest to become the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Woman of the Year. Bachelors on the auction block in addition to Mr. Zimmerman are Nats Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan, former DC United player Shawn Kuykendall, and former Secret Service Special Agent Shawn Holtzclaw (if G-Men are your thing). The Bachelorettes will be Miss DC of USA Chelsea Rogers, Cherry Blossom Princess Jen Corey, Former Woman of The Year Candidate Colleen Sasser, and Becky Lee of Survivor: Cook Islands. You can also bid on spending an afternoon with Many Acta and Chartese.
Tickets to the auction are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. More information here.
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May 18, 2008 4:54 PM
I haven't officially visited the rental office/trailer at Half and I yet, but I can still pass along that 70 and 100 I Street now have their own web sites: 70 I is officially the Jefferson at Capitol Yards, and its sibling 100 I is known as Axiom at Capitol Yards. The sites (which could perhaps use a bit more horsepower or a bit less Flash) have floor plans (just for the Jefferson, Axiom coming soon), amenities lists, and photo galleries.
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May 17, 2008 12:16 PM
Now this is what Spring is supposed to be like. I didn't have much time, but I wandered around to get mainly new photos of 909 New Jersey, which is sprouting like a weed. Here's the entire batch of today's photos, centered mainly on the area bounded by Half, New Jersey, I, and K (with a few from Second Street thrown in). You can also look at the Half and I, Half and K, First and I, First and K, New Jersey and I, and New Jersey and K intersection archives to see the before-and-after comparisons. (You'll also see the new rental office trailer for 70/100 I on the southwest corner of Half and I.) Watch for the icon, though the photos I took on gloomy May 1 are marked as "new" still, too. And, as always, the See All Photos of This Angle icon will show you all photos in the archive of a certain intersection (like the northwest corner of New Jersey and K, which you can watch get demolished, then see 70/100 I rise up in the distance, and now watch 909 New Jersey climb up.)
 

May 16, 2008 6:15 PM
From both the Post and Bruce Johnson of Channel 9 (using my pictures again), news that the standoff about tickets to the two luxury boxes at Nationals Park for baseball games has been resolved. Attorney General Peter Nickles personally delivered the 19 tickets per game for Suite 61 to council chair Vincent Gray this morning. Says the Post: "The suite has 19 seats. With 13 council members, the chairman will create a "fair rotation," said Dawn Slonneger, Gray's chief of staff. The chairman would like to have nine more seats in the lower section so that the council has 28 tickets, the number it had to RFK stadium where the Washington Nationals played before the new stadium opened this spring, she said. Under the old system, Gray received four tickets to each game while the other 12 members got two each."
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More posts: politics, Nationals Park
 

May 15, 2008 7:32 PM
Word has just arrived that there's a "Preview Grand Opening" this weekend for JPI's first two "Capitol Yards" apartment buildings, the brick siblings at 70 and 100 I Street (officially known as Jefferson and Axiom at Capitol Yards). There's apparently now a leasing trailer on I between Half and South Capitol (next to Wendy's perhaps? I haven't been by in a few days), and tours of the new buildings will start there, with the preview running from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday (the 17th and 18th). The two buildings will have almost 700 rental units available, and should have some pretty amazing views of the neighborhood and the Capitol dome (and the freeway!). (The building permits for rooftop pools on both buildings just came through within the past few days.) The official web site is at capitolyardsdc.com; you can see the history of the project (which broke ground in fall 2006) on my 70/100 I project page. These are the first residential units to open in Near Southeast since Capitol Hill Tower was completed in spring 2006, and they are the first rentals. It's expected that Onyx on First (now apartments, at least last I heard) will be opening later this year as well, adding another 266 rental units to the neighborhood.
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May 15, 2008 10:30 AM
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra of the Post includes a series of items I've posted here over the past few weeks, including the signing of sales contracts at Capitol Quarter, the return of the DOT Farmers Market, work starting/not starting on the Pattern Shop Lofts at the Yards and 1345 South Capitol, and the plans Monument Realty has for 50 M Street. (The column's just going to run every other week from now on, which will be festive given that the amount of news out of the neighborhood has dropped by about 70 percent since the ballpark opened; so my desperation for content will be even greater than before).
* Tim Lemke reports that the D.C. Building Industry Association is presenting today "a 2008 Building Achievement Award to the ballpark project team, in recognition of the accomplishment of building the stadium in under two years while facing significant budget pressure."
* A native of Chicagoland has good things to say about the ballpark, especially its "green" aspects.
* It took a while, but here's some press coverage of the May 6 high school baseball game at the ballpark between B-CC and Whitman.
* Keith Olbermann's video tours broadcast during the past two weeks of the under-construction Yankees and Mets ballparks have made me wistful.
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May 14, 2008 11:49 PM
City Paper's latest issue brings us "What Parking Crisis?", detailing how hard the city and the Nationals worked to plan for the expected parking catastrophe when the ballpark opened, and then surveys the nearly empty the parking lots during the recent homestand, along with the decline in use of the Nats Express and the lack of much problem with on-street parking by fans in Southwest and on Capitol Hill. (It also mentions the $550,000 a year the DC Housing Authority is getting from the Nats to lease the T, U, and W lots in the old Capper footprint, whether all the spaces are used or not.) Gregory McCarthy of the Nats is quoted as saying that it's still early in the season: "Summer is not here. The inventory of lots was based on the experience we think will unfold. The parking situation is still evolving." It also mentions last week's community meeting on the on-street parking restrictions, which I summarized here.
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May 14, 2008 2:42 PM
This tidbit is outside of my boundaries, but news is slow these days, so I'll pass along news that the city has just released its solicitation looking for a master developer for 50-plus acres in Hill East, the area along the Anacostia River near RFK and Barney Circle. Responses are due by August 1. It's expected that the redevelopment would take a decade. You can find out lots more about the solicitation and the area itself at hilleastwaterfrontdc.com. There's also a press release, but it's not online yet. Here's the Post's DC Wire blog about the plans.
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May 14, 2008 10:13 AM
Handy timing: not long after my long and wordy survey of retail space that will be coming online in Near Southeast over the next few years, the Capitol Riverfront BID has released a Retail Opportunities map, showing basically the same data in a purty graphic format, for those of you who prefer colors to prose....
 

May 13, 2008 5:33 PM
From DDOT: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will be conducting operational testing of the swing span of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, a.k.a. South Capitol Street Bridge this weekend beginning on Friday, May 16th at 10pm. To conduct a full operational test of the swing span, and ensure the safety of motorists and workers, the bridge must be closed during the testing activity. The initial closure is scheduled for Friday evening, May 16th from 10pm - 5am, weather permitting. If all results return positive no further closures will be necessary. The rain date is scheduled for Saturday from 10pm - 5am. Motorists will be detoured to the 11th Street bridges. Variable Message Signs will be posted along the north and south bound routes leading to the bridge to alert drivers to alternate routes."
 

May 13, 2008 3:28 PM
From DDOT: "The Barracks Row Main Street in Washington, DC seeks an artist or artist team to design, create and install an urban mural for the SE Freeway overpass that divides the south end of 8th Street SE, now known as Barracks Row. The goal of this project is to create a unique landmark that expresses the character of the surrounding neighborhood. The large mural will help draw residents and non-residents for repeated viewings to the area and reinforce a sense of place within this community." Deadline is June 13, with the schedule calling for the work to be completed by early 2009. see the announcement for more details. The money is coming from federal highway funds, but the project itself is being run by the Barracks Row folks along with DDOT.
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May 13, 2008 9:02 AM
A raze permit has been filed for the now-vacant white one-story garage on the northwest corner of First and K, where DRI Development is planning to build the first phase of its three-building 825,000-sq-ft Square 696 office/retail project, a 300,000-sq-ft building that is expected to begin construction later this year. This garage was, until the end of February, home to both Four Star Cab and Merritt Cab, both of which relocated when their leases expired.
A peek into CoStar (link may not work right, and CoStar doesn't allow direct links to listings for plebes like me) shows lease listings for both 50 K Street and 90 K Street, each also labeled "The Plaza on K," which I imagine also is referencing the 8,000-sq-ft public plaza planned for K Street at First Street. 90 K appears to be the first building planned for the site, listed at 300,000 total square feet and 12 stories, with a "year built" date of 2010. Its sibling 50 K is listed at 285,000 sq ft and 12 stories, with no "built" date (though both listings have an April 2010 occupancy date in their detail pages). See my Square 696 page for a rendering of the project, plus a site map and photos of the block in its current incarnation.
 

May 12, 2008 1:26 PM
Responding to my inquiry about the windows that have recently been removed from the Pattern Shop Lofts building on the south side of Third and Tingey streets in The Yards, the folks at Forest City have let me know that interior demolition work is indeed underway on the World War I-era building. The existing interior walls, ceilings, plumbing, asbestos {cough} and whatnot is all being removed, in preparation for the actual construction/renovation work that is scheduled to begin later this year. Two floors will be added to the top of the building as part of its transformation into a 170-unit apartment building, which will also have 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. It's expected to be finished next year. (Its neighbor across Third Street, the Boilermaker Shop, is currently out for bid, and construction is expected to begin this summer to turn it into a 46,000-sq-ft retail space by fall 2009.)
Meanwhile, work has stopped at the 1345 South Capitol Street site (directly across from the ballpark), with the old buildings demolished and the site mostly cleared. Camden Development has been planning a 276-unit apartment building for this location, but I've been told that the company is "trying to decide what to do" with the project.
 

May 12, 2008 12:02 PM
Hmmm, perhaps it's not a go yet after all--the July 26 date for the Eagles to be in concert at Nationals Park is now removed from their July tour date list, after popping up there last week. The WashTimes had reported last week that the concert was under negotiation, but then a few days later one of JDLand's commenters noted that the date was on the band's web site. And now it's not. We shall see.
 

May 11, 2008 3:37 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting has been sent around (although not posted on their web site, sigh), and it has a couple of Near Southeast items. There will be a presentation on the plans for the Waterfront Park at The Yards, in advance of a May 29 Southeast Federal Center Overlay District Review covering new structures that will be built to house retail pavilions at the park. There's also apparently a public space permit application from the Onyx folks at 1100 First Street for a fence along L Street, plus garden masonry piers and light fixtures. And the developers of the 250 M Street office building are back again, after having not gotten very far at last month's meeting with their request for support for a second-stage PUD modification at a May 28 zoning hearing to increase the building's height (but not its square footage) from what was originally approved, since the commissioners wanted a new round of community benefits in return for their support, which W.C. Smith balked at given that the project isn't requesting to take any new amount of public space. We'll see if there were any negotiations since then. The meeting will be at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW.
 

May 9, 2008 2:01 PM
Since it's such a rotten day, I'll go back to when the sun was shining (Tuesday), and give you my first-ever photos from the roof of 20 M Street. (I've taken a few photos from inside the 10th floor going back to April of last year, but from the roof I don't have deal with the pesky glass reflections.) Here are these new photos matched with the oldest ones from the same angle, so you can compare 13 months' worth of changes easily; you can also look at all the photos if you want to watch the progression of changes. There's views to the north (above), showing the digging now underway at 1015 Half Street along with the construction progress at 70/100 I, 909 New Jersey, and Velocity (plus the site-clearing at 23 I). To the south is the increasingly-shiny 55 M, as well as the ballpark, of course. I also tossed in some photos toward the west, showing the skyline of Southwest.
 

May 9, 2008 10:17 AM
* Don't forget the Metro track work this weekend, and the impacts it's going to have on getting to the ballpark. Read Metro's press release for how it will handle getting fans to and from Saturday's and Sunday's games. (Dr. Gridlock's posted about it again this morning.)
* Now that the ballpark is open, some are wondering what the need is to keep the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission running; read this WBJ piece for a good overview.
* Today's Post has a big article on what DC is going to look like in the future, saying that "the overarching key to redefining Washington resides along the miles of undeveloped land that borders the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, terrain slated for at least four new neighborhoods that District officials and developers hope will be built during the next 20 years," and mentioning the Ballpark District, Southwest waterfront, Poplar Point, and Hill East as the new destinations that could "counterweight" the Mall. (A nice rendering of the vision for the Southwest waterfront is included, too.)
* Ballpark concessionaire Centerplate had a rough first quarter of 2008, reporting a net loss of $11.2 million.
* A columnist from Idaho likes Nationals Park.
* Patriot Transportation Holdings sent out its earnings announcement, which has a nice summary of where the Florida Rock project stands, mentioning that the National Capital Planning Commission gave its "no adverse effect on federal interests" stamp to the project at its May 1 meeting (here's the report). May 22 is the date that the Zoning Commission is expected to give final approval.
* Remember the Community Benefits Fund that was a big part of swaying council members to approve the financing for the stadium? City Paper takes a look at what Mayor Fenty is doing with the money.
* The Nats are holding a youth baseball clinic at the ballpark for more than 100 children from Prince George's County on Saturday morning (May 10) at 10 am. (No link yet.)
* I had to laugh when I read this Post article about the opening of the new Southern Maryland Blue Crabs ballpark last week, since it read an awful like what we all thought we'd see after Opening Night at 1500 South Capitol: "[A]n otherwise celebratory Opening Night last Friday was marred by traffic jams and a significant parking shortage that left some people to walk more than a mile to the new ballpark. 'It was horrible to get here,' said Jane Thomas, who parked on Route 488 and estimated it took her 45 minutes to reach the stadium from her La Plata home. 'They're going to have to figure out what to do about that traffic, because I want to come to games, but I won't do it if it's always this bad.'"
 

May 8, 2008 2:32 PM
From the greatest source of news ever: "An 8,976-foot foul ball off the bat of Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman crashed through the U.S. Capitol Building rotunda Sunday afternoon, prompting both the Nationals and the opposing Pittsburgh Pirates to gasp, turn to each other in shock, and immediately run full speed out of Nationals Park. 'As soon as I hit it, I knew it was headed straight toward Capitol Hill--I just kept saying to myself, 'Not the dome, not the dome, not the dome,' Zimmerman said.
"Both teams, all four umpires, and the 32,457 fans in attendance winced in horror, however, as the ball kept carrying, made a loud smashing noise, and left a gaping hole in the rotunda's neoclassical architecture. 'We are so dead,' Zimmerman added. As the teams grabbed the bases and scrambled out of the stadium, the Pirates yelled to the Nationals that they were in "big trouble." The Nationals refuted that claim, screaming that 'if [Pirates left-fielder] Jason [Bay] could run at all, he would've tracked down the ball and caught it' before it struck the 200-year-old structure, which stands 1.7 miles from the ballpark.[...]
"According to eyewitnesses in the Capitol, the ball smashed into the dome at about 3:35 p.m., tore through the Apotheosis Of Washington--a 150-year-old, 4,664-square-foot fresco painted on the inside of the rotunda--and broke the arm off of a National Statuary Hall sculpture of William Jennings Bryan. The ball then bounced into the Senate Chamber, where it interrupted a vote on a $542.5 billion defense authorization bill, and landed directly in the mashed potatoes of early-dinging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), covering him with gravy and prompting him to exclaim, 'Zimmermaaaaannn!'
"Although McConnell had no evidence at the time that Zimmerman was responsible for the damages, he was the chief suspect, as he is the only National able to hit the ball farther than 300 feet. Furthermore, Zimmerman dented McConnell's 1998 Buick LeSabre last week when he overthrew first base by 15,000 feet on a routine grounder."
(Read the entire thing, and don't miss the "photo.")
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May 8, 2008 11:13 AM
The Post has a piece about last night's community meeting assessing the first 30 days of the new Performance Parking plan that restricts curbside parking in Near Southeast, Southwest, and southern Capitol Hill, so I get to skip the basic roundup (yay!); there were also reporters from other outlets there, so I'll link to those as they appear, though the ABC7 report is so full of errors that I will pretend I didn't see it. I'll just hit a few points that stood out for me (keeping in mind that my focus is south of the freeway):
* Some people don't like it, some people do. But I guess you want to know more than that.
* It sounds like the midnight end time for the restrictions will be gone within a few weeks--it's just a question of where they move it to (9:30 seemed to be the number that Tommy Wells came back to a number of times). It sounds like they're already making that move along Pennsylvania Avenue and Barracks Row, after the restaurant and bar owners reported a massive drop in their business in the past month. (On the other hand, businesses with primarily daytime traffic, such as Moto Photo, say that their numbers have improved with the new restrictions, since turnover of spaces is improving; apparently the double-parking has dropped off a lot, too.) Because the specifics of the plan weren't written into the legislation (leaving it up to the Mayor), changes can be made on the fly, without having to go back to the council.
* A lot of people want the restrictions to only be in effect on event days (ballgames, concerts, etc.), though there was then some consternation about how people would *know* it's an event day. Beyond that, Tommy explained a number of times that this plan isn't just about baseball, it's about trying to get ahead of the massive influx of visitors and development in the area over the next few years, and having strategies in place to prevent these neighborhoods from going the way of Adams Morgan or Georgetown. But, when people see that a number of the Nats parking lots are less than full during games, they feel that the entire parking plan is a "solution in search of a problem."
* Even though the signs say that restrictions are enforced starting at 7:30 am seven days a week, the director of DPW said that Sunday enforcement begins at 1 pm. Churches have been given a number of visitor parking passes, and the long-simmering battle between churches and residents over parking was a big undercurrent at this meeting. Tommy says he will meet with every church and its surrounding neighbors to hammer out ways for problems to be addressed.
* A lot of Capitol Hill Tower folks were at the meeting, but I've learned my lesson and will say little about their parking issues (since I get sniped at no matter what I say). As with most multi-unit residential buildings in the city, CHT residents do not get residential parking permits to allow them to park on streets. They do have an underground garage, but there is a battle between some residents and the building's developer over how the garage is being handled. Some have now been given visitor parking passes to allow them to park on nearby streets.
* Tommy says the parking lot under the freeway at 8th Street should be available for public parking by the end of the summer. (I will file this in my large I'll-Believe-It-When-I-See-It folder.) And he's definitely eyeing the little-used "W" surface lot at the old Capper Seniors site at 7th and M as perhaps employee parking for Barracks Row, though no specifics were mentioned.
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May 7, 2008 11:07 PM
(Remember when I used to do two of these a day?)
* Tim Lemke blogs about today's Sports and Entertainment Commission meeting, including that the ballpark "punch list" is down to about 11,000 items from the original 27,600, though there's only 15 "top priority" and 200 "high priority items." Also, the Nats haven't yet started paying their rent, because they say the DCSEC still owes them some required actions. (But once those actions are completed, the Nats will owe all rent from Opening Day onward.)
* From a few days ago, a press release touting the Sports Commission's "purchase of 14,600,706 kWh of renewable energy credits (RECs)," offsetting 70 percent of the electricity use at the LEED Silver-certified ballpark.
* Yahoo gnashes its teeth over attendance. And a bad review of the ballpark comes in from Johnstown, PA. (h/t BPG)
* One of the biggies of Nats blogging is calling it quits--Chris Needham of Capitol Punishment. Great run, Chris, sorry to see you go. My site stats will suffer greatly from the loss of your coveted What to Read Today links.
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May 7, 2008 9:44 AM
* A reminder that tonight is Tommy Wells's community meeting to get feedback on how the new on-street parking regulations are going in Near Southeast, Southwest, and on Capitol Hill. It's at 7 pm at the Capitol United Methodist Church, at 5th and Seward Square, SE (on the south side of the Square). I'm sure it'll be a blast.
* Metro is needing to do replace a switch at Mt. Vernon Square, necessitating four weekends worth of major delays on the Yellow and Green lines, starting this weekend and going through June 8. Here's Metro's press release detailing how service will be impacted, and how they will attempt to handle the crowds at Nationals Park during the May 10 and 11 and June 7 and 8 home games: "People attending these games should add more time into their schedules if riding or connecting to the Yellow and Green Line as there will be longer waits for trains before and after the games." This quote from WMATA in today's Post story is a little more stark: "If fans 'leave the stadium and keep walking straight to Half Street [the Navy Yard station entrance closest to the stadium], there will be such a backup that they won't be able to walk around the crowd.' " Fans are being told to build in 30 to 45 minutes into their trips.
There will be special shuttle trains between Navy Yard and L'Enfant Plaza, along with shuttle buses starting at the end of the seventh inning that will run between Navy Yard and Federal Center SW. Plus, the N22 shuttle from New Jersey and M to Eastern Market and Union Station will run every five minutes. Read the press release for further details; here's Dr. Gridlock, too.
 

May 6, 2008 3:24 PM
I've been waiting a loooooong time for this particular set of before-and-afters. With thanks both to Mother Nature for the beautiful day (after a rainout last Thursday) and to the Nationals for indulging me, I now have a set of before-and-afters for the old intersection of Half and O streets, SE. And, as you can see from above, it's a little different.
The intersection died almost exactly two years ago, replaced now by second base and shallow centerfield. I cannot vouch for 1000-percent matches between the old and new angles (I didn't bring a GPS with me to pinpoint my positions, and ground level is now about 15-20 feet below where it was in 2006), but I think it's close enough for you to get the idea. The two shots above are (top) looking north and (bottom) looking west, with the old black Ziegfield's building visible in both "before" shots. But you can see all of the angles (in bigger images) here.
UPDATE: And, since the archive photos are kind of small, here's some larger images of the view from around second base. I'll figure out how to add them into my official ballpark galleries later....
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May 6, 2008 5:10 AM
Word has arrived (and EYA has confirmed) that people who snagged reservations for market-rate townhomes at Capitol Quarter are starting to be brought in to sign actual sales contracts. Those with the earliest reservations (which go back to October 2006) are having their contracts written this week, and over the next few months all reservation holders will do likewise. Construction is still expected to start this summer, with some of the early-reservation-people being told to expect delivery of their houses in early 2009, though perhaps a bit sooner.
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May 5, 2008 11:22 PM
I've been meaning to mention this after hearing about it last week, but it wasn't until I saw this article in Tuesday's Post that I actually believed it--on Tuesday evening (May 6), there is a high school baseball game being held at Nationals Park, between my alma mater Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and arch-rival Whitman (at least they were arch-rivals back in MY day). Go Barons! Admittance is free, with gates opening at 5 pm for a 6 pm game.
The Post article explains that the teams are using the stadium for free, but they must each sell a minimum of 250 tickets to future Nationals games. This isn't necessarily sitting well with the organizers of the May 31 DC High School Baseball Classic, an all-day event "capped by an all-star game and a matchup of the District's top public school team and one from a top D.C. private school," at a cost of $36,129. (The B-CC game is expecting 200-300 fans, while the DC Classic is expected to have 5,000 people in attendance.)
Sayeth the Post: "The two games offer a look at how the Nationals are opening the $611 million, publicly financed facility for community use. The D.C. Classic will be one of the 18 days annually that the team, per its lease agreement with the city, operates the stadium for D.C. Sports and Entertainment. Tonight's game between B-CC and Whitman is not one of those days, but is the first of a pilot program the team is developing with an aim similar to the D.C. Classic -- generating interest in baseball among the area's youth."
(As for non-baseball uses of the ballpark, commenter Sam pointed out today that the Eagles's web site now shows a concert at Nationals Park on July 26, with tickets going on sale May 19. This after the WashTimes broke the story on Sunday about the show being under negotiation.)
 

May 5, 2008 10:07 AM
From the folks at the Capitol Riverfront BID, word that the Farmers' Market is returning for its second year, starting May 6 (tomorrow!) and running through Nov. 18, from 10 am to 2 pm each Tuesday. They've moved the location slightly--it's now at Third and M Street, SE, on the pedestrian plaza between the two US DOT buildings.
 

May 4, 2008 10:09 PM
I was out of town for about half of this homestand, so today was my first time at the ballpark for a day game when the weather was good--and it wasn't just good, it was picture-perfect. So I had no choice but to take a big pile of photographs, not only of the game itself but of the kids running the bases afterwards. Here's the gallery.
I also added a bunch of these sunny day photos to my main Ballpark Interior photo gallery, because I just couldn't bear to look at those cold and damp photos from late March and early April anymore. If you haven't wandered through my ballpark interior photos lately (and why would you when the dang park is open and you can go see for yourself?), you'll find that I've done a fair amount of tinkering with the pages to better split out the huge numbers of photos. I've also done some work to expand the Under Construction Gallery (yes, I'm pining for my glory days already), showing progressions of images of the field, seats, scoreboard, and other parts of the ballpark under construction.
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May 4, 2008 9:19 AM
From the WashTimes: "It appears that Don Henley's 'Boys of Summer' -- the Eagles -- will likely play the first concert to be held at Nationals Park, on July 26. Although no such date appears on the Web site for the Eagles' summer tour, a VIP ticket request form obtained by The Washington Times lists an Eagles show on July 26 at the new baseball stadium in Southeast. Washington Nationals officials confirmed talks are taking place for such a show. 'It remains a discussion,' team President Stan Kasten said. 'There really isn't a deal yet. But there is no question we would like to be in the big concert business. We hope to know one way or another soon.' "
In other stadium events, I was amazed to find out at few days ago that this Tuesday (May 6) will see a high school baseball game between my alma mater Bethesda-Chevy Chase and rival Whitman; gates open at 5 pm, game starts at 6 pm. Admission is free. Go Barons!
And Saturday night was the big Nationals Dream Foundation gala at the new National Harbor in Prince George's County. One of the beneficiaries of the foundation's largesse is the Earth Conservation Corps (as announced a few weeks ago).
 

May 2, 2008 11:48 PM
Those of us at the Nationals game tonight got an unexpected fourth-inning stretch when some of the banks of floodlights went dark. There were two banks of lights out on the first-base side, and two more on the third-base side along with the large lightpole by the third-base foul pole. MLB.com says that it took about 25 minutes to get them working again. The delay to get the lights fixed plus the slow pace of the game caused the cancellation of the planned postgame fireworks display, to the chagrin of chanting fans. But they cancelled them for you, ballpark neighbors! They didn't want to disturb you! (Anytime a game ends later than 10:50, the fireworks get cancelled.) All of this and an 11-4 loss did not make for a cheery evening, but at least the weather was nice!
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May 2, 2008 3:17 PM
When I went out yesterday to get photos of the demolition getting underway at 23 I, I also took a fair number of photos along the way on First, Half, New Jersey, I, and K, even though the weather was less than optimal. (Some day I'll get bright blue skies again.) The ones of 909 New Jersey show how it's now almost three stories above ground, and they hint at how much this 12-story building is going to change the northern end of New Jersey Avenue.
You can see all the shots paired with their befores at these links: New Jersey at I and K, First at I and K, and Half at I and K (where those with xray specs might be able to make out the excavation work underway at 1015 Half). The icon is a bit misleading on some of these, because it's still showing for pics taken in April that I didn't update this time around (but perhaps you missed them in the ballpark whirlwind, anyway). And use the See All Photos of This Angle icon to see the range of photos between the "before" and the "after." I hope to get some more photos this weekend, weather permitting.
 

May 2, 2008 10:09 AM
With the ballpark now humming along like it's been here forever (Tom Boswell has a litany of good things to say in today's Post) , interest is starting to turn toward what sort of retail/restaurant options are going to come to the neighborhood, and when. For your Friday time-killing pleasure, I've tossed together a quick a survey of what's either available now or will be coming within the next two years. (I'm not including already existing retail; I'm just looking at where new stuff could arrive.) As of now, I've seen no announcements of tenants for any of these spaces, but maybe if residents, workers, and ballpark fans clap their hands and wish real hard....
* 20 M - Completed in March of 2007, its 11,000 sq-ft of ground-floor retail space would seem to be an enticing location (just across the street from the Navy Yard subway station's ballpark exit), but so far there's been no takers. "Coming soon" signs that were in the windows last year for Wachovia and Kinko's are now gone.
* Capitol Hill Tower - A 7,000-sq-ft restaurant space in the ground floor of this co-op building has been advertised ever since the building opened in 2006, but no takers so far.
* 100 M - The 240,000-square-foot office building at First and M is scheduled to be completed later this year, and they're offering 8,500 sq ft of "corner restaurant/retail space" with "great ceiling heights, storefront and outdoor seating." (There's no ground-floor retail planned for Onyx on First in the same block.)
* 55 M - The first part of Monument's Half Street project is this 275,000-sq-ft office building now under construction at Half and M (it's the building on top of the subway station entrance). It has over 10,000 sq ft of retail spaces on Half, M, and Cushing, and should be completed by mid-2009. (See retail spaces 1 through 4 on this page at the official web site.)
* 909 New Jersey - For the folks who choose to walk from the Capitol South Metro station, the under-construction residential building at New Jersey and K is going to have 6,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail space when it's completed in summer 2009.
* Velocity - The ground floor of this 200-unit condo building at First and L will have retail (I can't find how much), and will be finished by late 2009.
* The Yards - By the end of 2009, the renovation of the old Boilermaker Shop at Third and Tingey into a 46,000-sq-ft retail space should be completed, and there is also 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space planned for the Pattern Shop Lofts building on the south side of Tingey, which should have its conversion into a rental building completed by the end of next year as well. Both of these are situated on the route that most Nats Express users walk along to get from the shuttle stop at 300 M to the ballpark. (But will the Nats Express run after this year?)
* Half Street Part 2 - The southern part of the east side of Half Street north of the ballpark is going to be a combination of a 200-room hotel and two residential buildings totaling 340 units, with about 40,000-sq-ft of ground floor retail to entice the throngs that walk along Half Street before and after games. (See retail spaces 5 through 8 on this page at the official web site.)
* 1015 Half - Opus East hasn't yet committed to whether there will be ground-floor retail in this 410,000-sq-ft office building at Half and L, though about 10,000 sq ft of space will be there.
* 23 I - If this 420-unit apartment building does indeed begin construction in September of this year, there could be 15,000 sq ft of retail available at Half and I by the end of 2010.
That's about 200,000 square feet of space to be filled within the next few years--and this doesn't include the retail spaces in the ground floor of the baseball stadium along First Street (who knows when those will be occupied). It's possible other buildings slated to have ground-floor retail could pop up between now and the end of 2010--1111 New Jersey and 250 M are the main candidates.
And there will also could be more offerings at the Yards by 2011 (including that grocery store planned for 401 M as well as the Lumber Storage Shed and other to-be-built pavilions at the Waterfront Park). And maybe the first building at Florida Rock, across from the ballpark's grand staircase, could be done by the end of 2011. But this is getting a little too far down the road....
 

May 1, 2008 12:48 PM
Thanks to reader E. for the tip that demolition work is underway today along Half Street between I and K, where the little gray Alpha Towing building stands; as of earlier this morning, the brick wall was apparently down. This is the site of JPI's planned 23 I Street apartment building, which is expected to start construction by early fall. I don't yet know the fate of Wendy's next door, which is also part of the 23 I site and which was supposed to be closed down as of today. I will go check it out as soon as the rain stops. (This frickin' weather, I am so tired of it. And it scuttled plans I had today for something cool, which hopefully will happen next week--you'll have to wait to find out what it is. So do a sun dance!)
UPDATE: Yup, all gone. Building #152 demolished since 2003. Wendy's is still open, though, and one of the workers there told me they're open through the end of June. I've added a few new photos on my 23 I page to show the changed landscape as of this afternoon. (The sun appeared about 20 minutes later. Damn you, Old Sol!)
 

May 1, 2008 9:12 AM
GlobeSt.com has a brief on 1015 Half Street, the 400,000-square-foot office building by Opus East on the site of the old Nation nightclub along Half, K, and L streets. Excavation started last month, and they're looking at a spring 2010 completion date. It will be certified LEED silver at a minimum, and possibly even reach gold status. It's being built on spec, with no tenants signed yet. There's the possibility for ground-floor retail (the zoning for the site doesn't require it), and there will be three floors of underground parking, which I imagine will be available for Nats parking. You can see my 1015 Half page for photos of the site, though I haven't updated them since digging started. (Hope to get a new batch soon.)
Opus is also the developer of 100 M, which is scheduled to deliver this fall. And the GlobeSt article says that Opus is looking around Capitol Riverfront for other opportunities....
 
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