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Next Capitol Quarter Release on Sunday - Change in Future Releases?
Jun 30, 2007 11:00 AM
The current batch of campers at 4th and L now have the end in sight, as an e-mail went out this morning announcing that the July release of five market-rate townhouses at Capitol Quarter
will happen July 1 (tomorrow) at 11 am. However, if you were thinking about heading down there with tent in hand in anticipation of the next release, this paragraph from the e-mail might be worth digesting: "This will be the last market rate home release until later this year
. Once we have established the date and procedures of our next release of market rate homes, we will notify you with this information via email." Sounds like maybe they're changing their release routine? We will have to watch and see.
Also, the lowest base price on the market-rate houses is now just a smidge over $600k, so certainly the prices have responded to the interest!
Douglass Bridge Closure Countdown Begins
Jun 29, 2007 12:40 PM
With less than a week to go now until early morning July 6, when the two-month closure of the Douglass Bridge
to shorten and lower the bridge's northern portion begins, the media blitz is now getting underway. Here's the DDOT press release summarizing what's going to happen
and what the impacts will be; it's a good link to e-mail around if you need to alert people to what's happening. The Post's Dr. Gridlock is mentioning the release
and summarizing some of the other commuting impacts as well. One tidbit: they're telling people to expect morning delays of around 20 minutes, and afternoon rush delays of between 20 and 30 minutes.
My Douglass Bridge Fixes page
has lots of links, drawings, and graphics explaining exactly what's going to be happening, and of course I will be there with camera in hand throughout the project to capture the changes. But while getting a new boulevard-like South Capitol Street
is A Good Thing, I must take a minute to mourn what will be lost: three of my beloved perches
where I've shot photos of the ballpark's progress
over the past 15 months. (Though, it must be said, those spots would have lost their stadium view eventually anyway with the construction of the "knife-edge" Nationals administration building along South Capitol.)
Lots of New Yards Renderings
Jun 29, 2007 9:23 AM
With many thanks to Forest City Washington, I've posted a bunch of renderings of the four projects
that are on the boards at The Yards
in its first phase of development. These came from the submission on the first phase that FC made in advance of its July 12 presentation in front of the National Capital Planning Commission
, and while they have some nice drawings of the plans that I've written about in the past for renovating three of the historic buildings at the old Southeast Federal Center, the big news is the first hints of what's planned for "Parcel D", currently a parking lot on the east side of 4th Street south of M: it's to be a residential building the south end of the site and an office building on the north end that would have a grocery store
on the ground floor at 4th and M. The drawings also show the additional floors to be added to the brown-and-white Building 160 and imposing red-brick Building 202, both of which have interior atrium/courtyards I never knew about. And there's a few cool renderings of the plans for transforming the very industrial Building 167 that sits right behind the new DOT HQ into retail space. (Plans for the five-acre waterfront park and other areas in the Yards were not part of this submission.)
I didn't get the entire submission, so I'm not knee-deep in details, but everyone should definitely look at these drawings
to see what's coming at The Yards. We should be seeing the beginnings of the streetscape improvements Any Minute Now (which include landscaping that barren area on the west side of New Jersey Ave. south of M), but the completion of the Building 167 retail and Building 160 residential won't happen before 2009, and the Parcel D/grocery store project *could* finish in 2010. So don't pack your bags or write your shopping list just yet.
Dry Cleaners Now Open in Capitol Hill Tower - And Promptly Robbed
Jun 28, 2007 5:32 PM
I haven't seen it with my own eyes yet, but reader Scott reports that Congressional Cleaners has now opened
on the ground floor of Capitol Hill Tower
, on New Jersey north of L. No excuses for dirty clothes anymore!
.... And alas the new kids on the block promptly got robbed at gunpoint this afternoon. No one was hurt, thank goodness. But now everyone in the neighborhood really needs to stop by
and give them some business. And let this be a lesson: never outsource the Welcome Wagon to the Bureau of Prisons.
WMATA Board Approves Navy Yard East Entrance Sale
Jun 28, 2007 11:41 AM
Without any discussion, the Metro board has voted unanimously to select NJA Associates (a subsidiary of Donohoe) to develop the Navy Yard subway station's east entrance at New Jersey and M; there will now be negotiations for the sale itself. You can read my Monday entry
for more background on the plan, or visit my 1111 New Jersey Ave. page
for information on Donohoe's planned office building right next to the station, which the company apparently plans to expand onto this additional land. You can also look at the WMATA documents on the plan
, although they aren't ridiculously heavy on detail. Next steps? Waiting for word of the actual sale, and keeping an eye out for Donohoe's revised design, which will now have to go through a Capitol Gateway Overlay zoning review
since the expanded lot would front on M Street.
Ballpark and Beyond: This Week's Links
Jun 28, 2007 10:09 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column
in the Post is on Tuesday's groundbreaking at Capper / Carrollsburg, and Monument's purchase of the Sunoco site. If you're visiting here for more information, you can check out my Capper / Carrollsburg overview page
for more details and links on the project's redevelopment as well as photos from the groundbreaking, and my Capitol Quarter page
has lots and lots (and lots!) of photos showing the area before, during, and after demolition. You can see what Monument Realty is up to at Half and M on my Monument Half Street page
Project Maps Updated
Jun 27, 2007 2:07 PM
With all the recent news about various projects around Near Southeast (Monument's Sunoco site purchase
, Navy Yard Metro east entrance sale
, 250 M's delayed start
, JPI's plans for 23 I
, etc.), I took the time to update my various Detailed Development Maps
for the Stadium Corridor
, M Street
, and New Jersey Avenue
. The information on these maps is not any different from what you'll find on the homepage in my Project Directory
, but I know some people are more graphically oriented, or maybe would rather look at the proposed projects based on location rather than type. It's just a way to repackage the ridiculous amount of information I have on the site in different ways for different tastes. You can always get to these maps by clicking on the links at the bottom right of my main homepage map or toward the bottom of the right-margin on any of my interior pages.
Ballpark Topping Out Party Scheduled (Updated)
Jun 27, 2007 1:52 PM
In what has to be considered a good sign for the progress of the Nationals ballpark
, a "Topping Out" celebration
has been scheduled for July 11, signaling the completion of the exterior structural steel and the concrete work (or at least signaling that those milestones are reallyreallyreally close). These parts of the construction have to be completed so that the infield can be cleared of machinery and whatnot to allow for the start of digging to build the drainage system. The turf is scheduled to be planted in October.
Speaking of structural steel, eagle-eyed webcam
viewers have already noticed that the installation of the steel started last week and is already pretty far along for the scoreboard
in right-center field, which will be the largest in Major League Baseball (for now, anyway). In addition, the installation of the precast concrete facade has made its way around to South Capitol Street. The western parking garage is also taking shape. (Don't everybody cheer at once.) And I also hear that the first seats were delivered on June 22nd. Watch for the stands to start turning blue!
That didn't take long. Take a look at the webcam
and you can see that the seats started being installed today, in the right-field upper deck at the far left in the photos. (You'll need to zoom in a bit, and peer through the raindrops on the camera lens, or go back to the 1:58 pm photo for a pre-downpour view.)
Douglass Bridge Closure Date Still July 6 (Technically)
Jun 27, 2007 9:32 AM
Thanks to reader Barbara for the heads up that an electronic sign has appeared on South Capitol Street this morning saying that the Douglass Bridge
is going to close at noon on July 5; at the briefing
on the bridge's two-month closure and "Extreme Makeover"
a few weeks ago, July 6 was announced as the date the bridge would close. I'm trying to find out if there has indeed been a change, and will update this post when I have details.
UPDATE: The bridge is closing at 12 midnight (not 12 noon), but at the end of the day July 5; in other words, the very start of July 6. Take your pick--think of it as closing at 11:59 pm on the 5th, or 12:01 am July 6.
Miles Glass Tire Shop Closed
Jun 26, 2007 4:23 PM
Thanks go to eagle-eyed correspondent Mark for passing along the news this weekend that Mac's Tire Service shop in the old Miles Glass building at 8th and Virginia
appears to have closed. I have no details to pass along, as to whether the property's been sold or if the shop just shut down on its own. Anyone with details is of course encouraged to drop me a line
. It's quite a cool building, in a good location on 8th Street
--it would certainly seem to have possibilities, but they'd better not involve demolishing it or getting rid of that festive sign!
UPDATE: I've been alerted that Mac's has not closed permanently, but has moved to 423 Florida Ave. NE.
Jun 26, 2007 2:06 PM
For those of you who didn't feel like venturing out into the sauna (hello, DC summer!), I've posted photos from today's ceremonial groundbreaking at Capper/Carrollsburg. The tent was air-conditioned, at least, and there was a bit of a revival feel as DCHA executive director Michael Kelly, Ward 6 council member Tommy Wells, and other officials sang the praises of the federal/city/private partnership that has leveraged a $35 million HUD HOPE VI grant into a nearly $500 million revitalization project. Many former Capper residents were there, clearly excited about what they will be returning to; one woman, whose mother moved into the Cappers when it opened in 1956, spoke of being one of the 55 Capper households in the Community Support Services Homeownership Education and Counseling Program, which will help her to buy a home in the community where she's spent almost her entire life.
As for the timeline, infrastructure work at the site is now getting underway, to be followed this fall by "land development", which for us non-construction types is better known as Moving Dirt Around; the start of the houses themselves (i.e., "vertical construction") is scheduled for early 2008.
And the campers waiting for the next release of market-rate homes? They got to take the morning off, but will be back. You can watch the story Channel 9 did yesterday
if you need your camping fix.
Monument Realty Buys Sunoco Site
Jun 25, 2007 12:25 PM
Thanks to the weekly update of the public version of the DC Property Sales database (which runs about five weeks behind), I can confirm what has been rumored for a little while now: on May 21, Monument Realty paid $14.26 million for the old Sunoco site at 50 M Street, on the northeast corner of Half and M. There's been no announcement as yet as to their plans for the 15,500-sq-ft site located between 20 M, 80 M, and a US government warehouse, and right across the street from the Navy Yard Metro west entrance and Monument's Half Street extravaganza. Just think--if Monument is the successful bidder later this year for WMATA's Southeastern Bus Garage, they'll control three of the four corners at Half and M. Monument Valley, indeed!
WMATA to Sell Navy Yard East Entrance to Donohoe
Jun 25, 2007 9:01 AM
WMATA's Planning, Development, and Real Estate subcommittee has recommended to the full board
that NJA Associates LLC (a subsidiary of Donohoe
) be picked to purchase and develop the 5,612-sq-ft east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station
at New Jersey and M
. Donohoe already owns 16,406 sq ft directly adjoining this property, and has received zoning approvals for its plans to build the 1111 New Jersey Avenue
office building on the site; however, they would apparently expand the building's design to 206,000 sq ft with the new land acquisition, or go up to as much as 220,000 sq ft if the Zoning Commmission approves. And since the building would front M Street with this expanded configuration, it would also need to go through a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
to make sure it conforms with the design requirements now expected of M Street
Of course, the west side of the Navy Yard station is already getting developed and expanded, as work continues on 55 M Street
, the office building that will fill the northern portion of Monument's Half Street development.
Capper/Carrollsburg Groundbreaking (and Capper Background)
Jun 24, 2007 10:30 AM
The DC Housing Authority is having a groundbreaking ceremony
on Tuesday (June 26) at 11 am for the first phase of the Capper/Carrollsburg
mixed-income townhouses (i.e., Capitol Quarter
), at 4th and L by the EYA sales office. This isn't a signal for the actual start of "vertical" construction, though--that won't begin until later this year.
And maybe this makes for a good time to have a refresher on what exactly "Capper/Carrollsburg" is:
In 2001, DC received a $34.9 million Hope VI grant
to redevelop the 23-acre 700-unit Capper/Carrollsburg public housing project as a mixed-income development, replacing every one of the low-income units and then adding to them another 700-plus market-rate and workforce-rate rental and ownership units. The redevelopment project is being handled as a joint venture by Forest City Washington
, Mid-City Urban LLC
, and the Housing Authority.
portion of the redevelopment, being marketed by EYA
as Capitol Quarter, will have approximately 121 market-rate and 91 "workforce"-rate
ownership houses; an additional 65 townhouses will contain 111 subsidized rental units and Section 8 ownership units. The market-rate houses are already being made available for reservations in monthly blocks, with the attendant tent cities popping up
at the sales center as hopeful homeowners stake their claims. There was a lottery back in 2006 for the first 20 workforce units; I imagine another will be coming before too long.
Additionally, 700,000 sq ft of office space will eventually be built within the Capper redevelopment area; 250 M Street
is a 190,000-sq-ft joint venture between William C. Smith
and the DC Housing Authority, and although it now has all of its zoning approvals
, we just learned a few days ago
that Smith is going to wait until the building is 30 percent leased before beginning construction. There will eventually be another 500,000 sq ft of office space developed at 7th and M on the site of the old Capper Seniors building
(itself scheduled to be demolished late this year), but with no current timetable for that project a temporary surface parking lot is coming to that site as well. There will also be another 30-45 townhomes built along L Street behind these new office buildings, but those are a long ways off.
Topping it all off, a new 28,000-sq-ft community center
is planned at 5th and K, replacing the one demolished earlier this year. It could start construction in 2008, but those plans might change if, say, a developer or the Housing Authority manages to snag from DCPS the Van Ness Elementary School site at 5th and M, which was closed in 2006
and is now administrative space. A new elementary school could be then constructed to serve families as they move into the rebuilt Capper neighborhood, and the community center could be part of the school rather than being a standalone project. But with the changes in the structure of the public schools' governance, who knows when any decision like this could happen, if at all. Just some Sunday morning speculation for you.
(This info has all been available on my Capper overview page
, but it's good to get it out front once in a while.)
Mayor Fenty Tours Ballpark Site; Lots of Details
Jun 22, 2007 11:16 PM
From Saturday's Post
: "Under a clear blue sky perfect for a baseball game, 500 construction workers responsible for one of the most expensive and most important projects in the District took a break yesterday for a quick pep talk. 'The closer we get to next year, the more people are looking at us to bring this project in on time and on budget,' Mayor Adrian M. Fenty told them on his first trip to the stadium site
near the Navy Yard and South Capitol Street in Southeast." And while the article is based around Fenty's visit, the meat of it is really about the handoff of responsibility for ensuring the ballpark opens on time from outgoing DCSEC chair Allen Lew (heading off to try to repair the DC schools) to his replacement, Greg O'Dell.
* "Lew said this week that the ballpark is on schedule, and remains within budget, with no indication that will change."
* " 'I'm going to be involved in this a lot more than I was," said [council member Jack] Evans, who keeps a small countdown clock on his desk, showing the number of days, hours and minutes until the anticipated first pitch at the stadium next April. 'I had kind of taken a step back because of the confidence I had that Allen would get this thing done. There was no need for me to be calling everybody up every week, saying: 'Where are we? Where are we?' But now I'm going to reinsert myself in terms of being in the loop constantly.' "
* "The stadium's steel framework and concrete seating decks are largely in place, as are miles and miles of ducts, electrical wires and pipes. Workers are drilling tens of thousands of holes in the decks to anchor seats. And a 200-foot tower crane has been erected to lift concrete and other materials for construction of a Nationals office building. Next month, workers plan to complete the steel framework for the ballpark's restaurant and main scoreboard and to start putting in the stadium seats. The project's schedule calls for installation of the scoreboard to begin in August. Then, in October, sod will be laid. The grass will take root before going dormant during the winter and then spring to life for Opening Day." [Dedicated readers of JDLand know all this already, of course!]
* "Still, problems remain, including a long-vexing issue that O'Dell will inherit when he takes control of the project. 'The biggest thing still out there,' Lew said, 'is coming up with an inventory of parking spaces
to meet game day requirements.' " (The article says that 9,200 spaces will be needed; the March transporation presentation
Office of Planning documents
have been quoting 4,900 as the maximum needed for a sellout game. I guess when the draft Transporation Operations and Parking Plan comes out [Any Minute Now!], we'll see what the real number is.)
Ward 6 Family Day
Jun 22, 2007 4:48 PM
Tomorrow is the First Annual Ward 6 Family Picnic and Celebrity Softball Tournament
, hosted by council member Tommy Wells; "Join the Nationals' Felipe Lopez, Jesus Flores and Jesus Colome as they play tee-ball with the kids and become celebrity coaches in the Softball Tournament. Plus, we have over a $1,000 worth of raffle prizes to give away (including autographed Nationals' jersey, autographed DC United soccer ball, 100 Nationals' baseball tickets, gift certificates to dozens of local restaurants and businesses, free sponsorship for a 3-day youth soccer camp, and many more)!" The event will take place at the Rosedale Recreation Center at 1700 Gales Street, NE, starting at 10:00 am, with activities running until 4:00 pm. See Tommy's blog
for more details.
Commercial Real Estate News in Near Southeast
Jun 22, 2007 1:03 PM
Today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal has an article summing up what's going on right now with various commercial projects around Near Southeast. (The online article is for subscribers only for the first 30 days; sorry.) Here are the new items:
* William C. Smith is planning to hold off breaking ground on its 200,000-sq-ft building at 250 M Street
until it pre-leases at least 30% of the building.
* Opus East
has leased 80,000 sq ft at 100 M Street
(33% of the building) to government contractor Parsons Corp.
* Lerner's 20 M Street
does not as yet have any office tenants.
* It also mentions that Opus East is planning to build the 440,000-sq-ft office building at 1015 Half Street
(the old Nation site) on spec; but it should be noted that Opus hasn't yet officially announced its purchase of this property or its plans.
(The article also summarizes what's going on at Florida Rock
, using some source materials
that are hard to find anywhere other than here at JDLand. Note to reporters and other professionals using my site: yup, lots of stuff is posted here, and it's all free, but be a grownup and say where you found it.)
In addition, there's an ad in the print edition
giving us our first peek at the Shalom Baranes design for 1100 South Capitol Street
, Ruben Companies's planned 350,000 sq ft office building on the southeast corner of South Capitol and L. There's currently no timeline for development of this project.
The print edition also has a piece
written by GSA about the US Department of Transportation completing its move to its new headquarters
at New Jersey and M. It describes the HQ's interiors and exteriors, and mentions that this project is the largest lease ever executed in DC.
, 1015 Half
, 1100 South Capitol
, 20 M
, 250 M
, US Dept. of Transportation HQ
, Florida Rock
, Square 743N
, square 697
, square 698
Brass Moving to DOT; Blackberrying the Building
Jun 21, 2007 11:00 PM
Friday's In the Loop column in the Post
reports that Friday is moving day for the muckety mucks at the US Department of Transportation, heading to their new digs on M Street
. Says Al Kamen: "Good thing there was a shakedown period [with lower-level staff move-ins having gone on first over the past few months]. Seems the mid-level staff have reported toilets with little pressure and sinks where the water blasted out. (Unclear which is worse.) Some folks apparently got locked in their own offices. But the biggest problem in the two buildings, one eight stories and the other nine, is that cellphones and BlackBerrys didn't work. This was because the structures were built according to post-Sept. 11 government specs, with extra-thick walls and windows. So the buildings are being rewired -- work's almost done, we were told -- so they are almost a virtual cellphone tower and the reception quality will be superb."
Council Actions Today - BID and Ballpark
Jun 21, 2007 1:24 PM
Just a quick sleep-inducing update on actions at today's City Council
legislative meeting (have I mentioned that you people don't pay me enough?):
* Bill 17-0011
, the "Ballpark Hard and Soft Costs Cap Act of 2007," makes permanent the legislation passed in 2006 that set a city spending cap of $630 million. There was some bickering when council member Catania asked to add an amendment updating the soft costs amount in the bill to $117 million from the originally specified $111 million as a result of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission's May 31 report. Council member Evans was quite vehement about not changing numbers on dais without consulting the CFO's office to be sure that even an innocuous-seeming change like this one wouldn't end up having unintended consequences (and he also was miffed that Catania hadn't shown him the amendment before the meeting), but in the end the amendment was agreed to.
Council member Kwame Brown said that a new report by the DC Auditor indicated that the stadium remains on budget at this time, although there items that will need "close attention paid" to them. Catania expanded on that by citing a series of numbers from the auditors' report indicating that the city still has up to $95 million in additional costs when there is only $6.7 million left in the contingency fund; however, $72 million of that is the amount that the eminent-domain'ed landowners are seeking from the city in compensation, which may not be exactly how much they receive once the hundred years' worth of court battles are finally completed. Catania said that the council needs to face these potential problem numbers instead of "putting our head in the sand."
* Finally, Bill 17-0021
, the "Ballpark Parking Completion Amendment Act of 2007," was passed, creating permanent legislation exempting from zoning restrictions the parking garages on the north end of the stadium site
; council member Mendelson asked that before second reading, a sunset provision originally in the emergency legislation that requires the exemption to end by the end of 2008 be inserted into this permanent legislation.
Background on New Capper Buildings
Jun 21, 2007 10:24 AM
If you are coming here after reading this week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post
, here are my information/photo/news pages on Capper Building #2
, Capper Seniors #1
, the old Capper Seniors building
at 6th and L, and the entire Capper/Carrollsburg
Hope VI redevelopment. And if you liked all those purty stadium photos displayed next to the column in the print edition, here's my Stadium Construction Gallery
for plenty more of those....
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