11 Blog Posts
Holiday Weekend Events: Baseball, FreedomFest, and More
Jun 29, 2011 10:32 PM
With July 4 being nice enough to fall on a Monday this year, the three-day holiday weekend is particularly chock full of events, with plenty of goings-on in Near Southeast. Here's a rundown. (Though, judging by how sparsely populated my office already is, just on Wednesday, I'm not sure how many people are left in town to read this.) And, for neighborhood residents, even if none of these events are on your dance card, you still might want to be prepared for heavier than normal crowds wandering around.
* For a headstart on the weekend, there's two events on Thursday, June 30. Ryan Zimmerman will host his 2nd annual "Night at the Park
" fundraiser for his zIMS Foundation
, which raises money for Multiple Sclerosis. It starts at 6 pm, and tickets are still available. Country star Rodney Atkins will be performing, as will David Blaine (for the VIP ticketholders). More details at the official web site
* A few blocks away, in what could be considered a bit of counterprogramming, the Capitol Riverfront BID's Outdoor Movie Series
will be showing "Shakespeare in Love
," starting at 8:45 pm at Tingey Plaza behind USDOT.
* On Friday, the weekly Yards Park concert series
rhythm and blues by the group Special Occasion
rhythm and blues band Framewerk [my boo-boo, sorry], from 6 to 8 pm.
* The weekend at Nationals Park
will be a busy one, starting with Saturday's doubleheader against the Pirates, the first of the Nats' upcoming 11-game homestand leading into the All-Star brealk. The first game (which won't be broadcast on TV, by the way), is at 3:35 pm, with the second game starting at 7:05 pm or later. The $2 tickets are sold out, but tickets bought for Saturday get you in to both games. And, bang zoom, there will be fireworks
after the second game, "presented by Marvel Studios' new motion picture Captain America: First Avenger." (Might be interesting to wander to the Yards Park to watch from there, to see if it's a good vantage point.)
Sunday's 1:35 pm Pirates game is also "Nickelodeon Day" at the ballpark, with all sorts of family-friendly activities featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.
And, on Monday, July 4, the Nats will be hosting the Cubs at 1:05 pm, which will probably be a hot ticket. There's a series of special ticket offers for this "Patriotic Series
* Meanwhile, on both Sunday and Monday, the National FreedomFest concert
will be in full swing at the Yards Park
, from 2 pm to 9 pm on Sunday and 1 pm to 9 pm on Monday. The organizers say there will be more than 40 bands and DJs on five stages, along with food vendors, craft vendors, and more. Tickets start at $25, and are available via the web site
, along with more information about the lineup and other details.
(Note that the concert and the baseball, running at the same time, may make finding spaces in the neighborhood surface parking lots a bit tougher than usual.)
As always, if you want continuing updates on these sorts of events, my Near Southeast Businesses/Organizations
Twitter list, which are also displayed in a box on the JDLand homepage, will give you all the news and late-breaking tidbits.
Tidbits: ANC Redistricting, Canal History, Greenspace, 8th St. Deal
Jun 29, 2011 1:29 PM
After all the big news of late, downshifting into a Tidbits post doesn't really seem like much fun, and of course if you're following me on Twitter
(or checking out the Twitter box on the JDLand home page every so often), you've already been alerted to many of these. But, onward:
* If you're wondering how the ANC redistricting process will work (especially since the ward version was so much fun!), here's the official memo
on the procedures going forward. As in previous years, ANC single member districts will have populations between 1,900 and 2,100 residents. Census Tract 72
, which covers all of Near Southeast and so includes all of ANC 6D07 plus the small number of houses from 7th Street east to 11th that are in ANC 6B04, was counted at 2,794 residents
in the 2010 census.
The Office of Planning has
the census-block-by-census-block numbers
, but, ahem, I don't actually know which blocks are which, though if I had to guess by looking at the numbers and how the blocks are organized, I'd say that 6D07 probably came in at 2,743 and south-of-the-freeway 6B04 at 51. Ish. (Perhaps an ANC version of the GGW Redistricting Game isn't far off!) It isn't enough to split 6D07 into two single member districts, but it also can't stay as is. The question will also loom large as to whether new boundaries will split the neighborhood even more between ANC 6B (Capitol Hill) and 6D (Southwest), or move it all into one or the other. UPDATE:
Thanks to IMGoph in the comments, I got a look at the map, and it appears the actual residential split is 2,767 to 27. Read my comment for details. I'll make a map at some point.
And here's a quick and dirty map
, showing block by block what the census folks recorded the neighborhood's residential population at, as of April 1, 2010. As I mention in the comments, the residential buildings west of 2nd Street SE add up to 2,054 residents, perfectly within the numeric requirements for an SMD. But how SMDs will actually be divvied up is anyone's guess right now, beyond the fact that there's no way the vast bulk of Near Southeast will continue to be in just one SMD.
Council members are supposed to appoint their ward task force members by Friday, with progress reports due on Aug. 1 and Sept. 1. The entire process has to be completed by the end of 2011.
* The Hill is Home has posted
the first of a two-part look at the history of the Washington Canal, which used to run along where Canal Park
is under construction. (Speaking of which, I grabbed a quick cellphone shot from above the park last week showing the work on the southern block
, where the foundation for the pavilion is being built.)
* Housing Complex writes
about the deal finally being finalized for Greenspace
to move into the empty retail spaces in the 1st Street facade
of Nationals Park
, creating a "12,000-square-foot center for green building and design." This has been in the works for nearly two years
, but even though there was a "launch" of the space on Tuesday (which I didn't hear about until people at the event started live-tweeting it
), Housing Complex says that the project won't come to fruition until Greenspace "is able to raise another $600,000 in cash and in-kind contributions, adding up to the $2 million necessary to build out what's currently a blank shell." Perhaps someday, when Florida Rock
is built out to the south and later Yards
phases along 1st Street are completed, the "real" retail envisioned for this portion of the ballpark will come to pass. Here's the press release on the Greenspace project
* Madison Marquette, owner of the Blue Castle at 770 M St. SE
, has now apparently completed a joint venture deal with local landowners ICP Group for all ICP's various properties
on the east side of 8th Street south of the freeway, including the gray building at 8th and Potomac that houses Quizno's and the other properties along the 800 block of Potomac, and others. No news as to what might be done on those blocks, though if the new Marine Barracks site
search ever crops back up, a group owning all of the land on Squares 929 and 930 could conceivably submit a proposal for a public-private partnership.
Coming later today, an equally bulleted post highlighting the slew of upcoming events in the neighborhood, both for this holiday weekend and beyond.
Forest City Announces Restaurants at the Yards; Teeter Confirmed
Jun 27, 2011 8:48 AM
A press release went out this morning with the news that so many residents and office workers have been waiting for: the initial list of restaurants that will be opening at the Yards
, along with confirmation that Harris Teeter is coming to the building at 401 M Street
At the Foundry Lofts
apartment building currently heading toward completion, there will be a Potbelly
, plus Kruba Thai and Sushi
, from the operators
of Teak Wood Thai and Sushi, Regent Thai, and Galae Thai and Sushi. Both are expected to open in the first quarter of 2012. (Pre-leasing of the residential units is expected to begin in August
, with move-ins starting in October.)
The Boilermaker Shops
, the 1919-era building nestled between the Foundry Lofts and the US Department of Transportation, will have a number of different offerings:
* There will be Buzz Bakery
, a full-service bakery, coffee shop, and "dessert lounge," plus an as-yet-unnamed craft brewery
, both operated by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group
, the people behind the Evening Star Cafe, Vermilion, Rustico, Tallula, EatBar, Columbia Firehouse, Birch and Barley, and ChurchKey.
* Austin Grill Express
, a "casual, funky Tex-Mex restaurant drawing on the experience of Austin Grill to deliver a unique menu and environment."
("be right burger").
* Huey's 24/7 Diner
, a "classic diner experience." (But will it actually be open 24/7?)
It's expected that Huey's, Austin Grill, and BRB will open in the fall of 2012, with the others in "late 2012."
And, at the 401 M Street
residential building (the only one of the three buildings that is 100 percent new construction), a Harris Teeter
will be coming to the ground floor, which has been rumored for a number of years but is now finally confirmed. The press release says it will open in 2013, though for that to be the case, they need to start work on the building pretty much, um, now.
UPDATE, June 2012:
Because this post is linked to in so many places, it's necessary to update that in late June 2012 it was revealed that Austin Grill Express and BRB would not be coming to the Boilermaker Shops after all. However, Willie's Brew and Que sportsbar had been announced as another tenant in late 2011
Weekend Events: E.T., Concert, Ward 6 Family Day, Blood Drive
Jun 23, 2011 3:14 PM
A few items on the events agenda for this weekend that might be of interest. (And the Green Line is the only subway line that *won't* be having track work
this weekend, so you might as well take advantage). The lineup:
* You can actually start your weekend tonight (Thursday), with E.T. as the offering in the Summer Outdoor Movie Series
. It's at Tingey Plaza (behind USDOT, at New Jersey and Tingey), starting at either 8:45 pm or sundown (can't ever quite figure out what "8:45 pm/sundown" signifies--whichever comes last?).
* On Saturday (June 25), Tommy Wells is hosting his annual Ward 6 Family Day
, bringing it to the Yards Park
for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, and will have free food, live music, and all sorts of activities (including "arts and crafts projects to build boats to race in the water park"). There will also be a Diaper Drive (no, really), accepting both unopened and open packs of diapers. There's more information on Tommy's web site
* If you want to add some additional community service to your Saturday, either before or after Family Day you can head to Nationals Park
for the first of their two summer blood drives
. The drive is from 8 am to 4:30 pm in the conference center, and "in exchange for their generous donation, those who donate blood will receive two tickets to a future Nationals game and a limited edition Adam LaRoche t-shirt." Appointments are required
: Interested donors should call 1-866-BLOODSAVES (256-6372) or visit inova.org/donateblood, click 'schedule an appointment', then 'donate blood' and enter sponsor code 7665. (The next drive will be on August 27.) Read the Nats press release
for more info.
* And the Yards Park
events actually spill over into Monday, when at 10 am Mayor Gray will be giving
an "update on his job creation and economic development agenda" at the Lumber Shed. (Probably no music or dancing at this one.)
First Details on WC Smith's 880 New Jersey Apartment Project
Jun 20, 2011 5:47 PM
With the DC apartment market continuing to perform strongly (perhaps even too strongly
), and with Near Southeast's existing rental buildings continuing to be successful in attracting tenants, it would seem to follow that developers who have been long planning new residential projects in the neighborhood would be making moves to get their projects underway. And that's what's happening with William C. Smith & Co., which has been working on the initial plans for a 13-story, 430-unit apartment building at 880 New Jersey Ave. SE
, just south of the freeway on the southwest corner of their Square 737
site that they've owned since 1999.
WCS isn't ready yet to release renderings of the building, though they did show me an early design by Esocoff and Associates
(who also designed Onyx
and who are working on Akridge's Half Street
residential building), showing a brick/masonry structure with a lot of "articulation" (i.e., not a big flat box) and with double-height windows. Some anticipated amenities include an indoor pool as part of its fitness center (which could also have spinning and yoga rooms), in addition to the now-all-but-standard rooftop pool, and a bicycle entrance to a sizeable storage room separate from the three levels of underground parking. There will also be an interior courtyard that the building wraps around.
One amenity that this building won't have is a Whole Foods Grocery store, after that plan collapsed earlier this spring
. There will be a small amount of "convenience" retail (1,500 square feet), on the southeast corner of the building.
There are a couple of items that need to happen before construction can get underway, starting with the move of the Department of Public Works out of their site at New Jersey and K to a new location on Okie Street in Northeast, the construction of which can now proceed thanks to the council passing last week emergency technical legislation
allowing a portion of Capper PILOT monies
to be used for off-site construction (though another bill still has to pass to actually allocate the funds). Then the DC Housing Authority needs to demolish the trash transfer building (a raze application permit having been filed
last week), at which point WC Smith will purchase the portion of the trash transfer site that juts across and north of the I Street footprint, as seen at right; the Smith site is on the right side of the photo.
It is hoped that DPW will relocate by early fall and that DCHA will get the site cleared by the end of 2011; WCS is targeting April 2012 for the start of construction on the building itself, with the project expected to take 24 months. (It should be mentioned here that this is not the apartment building planned for the trash transfer site itself; that will be a Capper mixed-income building, with no current start date announced.)
WCS will also be building the new stretch of I Street that will run between 2nd Street and New Jersey Avenue, as well as punching H Street through to New Jersey on the north end of Square 737. (And no, this won't drive out the horse stables nestled under the freeway just north of H.) They are expecting that the new block of I Street will have two travel lanes, two bike lanes, and two parking lanes. And this stretch of New Jersey Avenue will get the wide landscaped sidewalks that are seen in front of the other new developments on the street.
This is the first phase of Smith's plans for Square 737, seen at left from above, back in 2008. While originally the plan had been for two residential buildings and two office buildings, the current realities of both markets have the company looking toward filling the block with apartments, totalling around 1,200 units in four buildings. (And note that the entire four-building project is "matter of right," so there will be no zoning reviews or PUDs.) They are anticipating greater amounts of retail in the two buildings that will front 2nd Street, near Canal Park
and across from 225 Virginia
If you want to see more photos of Square 737 and get additional background, check my project page
and previous posts
. And, given that Smith's representatives say that they are "very excited to get started" on the development, hopefully renderings of 880 New Jersey and additional details will be available in the next few months.
While this will be William C. Smith's first apartment project in Near Southeast, they have been committed to the neighborhood for a number of years, having constructed 1100 New Jersey Avenue in 2004 (which is where their offices are). They have also been a big player in the creation of Canal Park
, and are part of the Capper
PUD team as the developers of the planned 250 M Street
Raze Permit Application Filed for Trash Transfer Site
Jun 16, 2011 8:42 AM
Just arrived this morning is a copy of the raze permit application for 900 New Jersey Avenue SE
, far better known as the trash transfer site, where the city's Department of Public Works has operated out of for many years. The block is part of the footprint of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment
, and is slated to eventually become a 320-ish-unit mixed-income apartment building.
Its demolition will allow for the construction of I Street between 2nd and New Jersey, which also paves the way for William C. Smith to be able to start on its planned residential project just to the north at 800 New Jersey
The DC Housing Authority will be handling the demolition, which won't happen until a new DPW home is constructed in Northeast, though they are hoping that the move happens before the leaves start to fall. And then there will need to be environmental abatements on the site, which has had trash-related operations on it for a long long time
A Few More Nats Park Photos (Eateries Etc.), and Other Tidbits
Jun 15, 2011 9:29 AM
I wandered down to Nationals Park
last night to take in the atmosphere of not only the four new eateries, but also the return of Ryan Zimmerman. It was a healthy crowd (26,700+), and only about half of them seemed to be in line at Shake Shack and the other new food concessions (though by later in the game, the non-Shake Shack options had no lines).
I took another slew of photos
(since the original batch
from Monday's preview event proved to be pretty popular) mainly trying to get shots of these new "iconic
" ballpark features from various angles, along with a few other shots of interest. As you can see in the shot at right, you can look at Blue Smoke and Box Frites with the Yards Park
"iconic" pedestrian bridge and Navy Yard riverwalk directly behind, or with an east-of-the-river vista
. I also grabbed a view of the progress on the bridge
between Diamond Teague Park and Yards Park, my first shots of Das Bullpen, and both the sunset and the moonrise. And they would have all been even better if I had brought the official JDLand DSLR camera and not my less-than-fabulous point-and-shoot. Browse the gallery
, and then mock me for leaving in the top of the 7th inning.
* On Sunday morning a group of volunteers descended on the empty lot just east of the Velocity
condo building to turn it into a demonstration rain garden
. It's a project of the DC chapter of the Surfrider Foundation
, and is being funded by REI
and the Cohen Companies
(developers of the block), among others. They are having a meeting at Velocity on June 20 at 6 pm to discuss the project, and there will be another work day on the site on Saturday, June 25. The project's blog
has photos and a lot of details; it's officially named the David Stemper Memorial Rain Garden, in honor of a Surfrider volunteer
who passed away in 2010.
* The BID says
that the next Truckeroo
food truck festival at Half and M SE will be on Friday, July 15.
* Last week CSX sent a letter
out to residents who live near Virginia Avenue introducing the plans to rehab the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. (It was probably quite useful for people who don't read JDLand!)
First Look at New Nationals Park Eateries (Shake Shack et al)
Jun 13, 2011 10:45 PM
On Monday night the Nationals unveiled
for an invitation crowd the four new concession options brought to Nationals Park
by the Union Square Hospitality Group. Shake Shack
(which has already taken Dupont Circle by storm), El Verano Taqueria
, Blue Smoke Barbecue
, and Box Frites
are side-by-side along the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk in Center Field, and will be open 2 1/2 hours before every game. (There will also be $5 "happy hour" beer specials on the Scoreboard Walk, starting 2 1/2 hours before every game for the rest of the season.)
The area behind the scoreboard has also been "refreshed," with new furniture, plants, trees, herbs (really!), and synthetic turf to give a "backyard" feel. There are also 14 "shade sails" now erected over the area to help keep fans waiting in line for the new eats from falling over in the heat; the sails are supposed to reduce ambient temps by up to 20 degrees, and also provide UV ray protection of up to nearly 94 percent.
The Nationals are hoping that this revamped spot becomes an "iconic" area at the ballpark, with COO Andy Feffer explaining that the stadium already has "cool clubs," but they are private and not open to everyone as these will be. As for whether they will be able to handle what could be quite a crush of hungry foodie fans, Feffer said "We shall see," while noting that since the USHG folks have existing operations at Citi Field in New York, "if anybody's prepared, these guys are."
And, is there a chance that these four stands could ever open to the public on non-gamedays? Feffer says they've talked about it, and that it's a possibility down the road, when the area's worker-and-resident population expands further.
I took a slew of pictures
of the food and signage (two of my favorite photo subjects, even surpassing shots of buildings!). The eateries will open to fans on Tuesday at 4:30, before the 7:05 Nats-Cardinals game. (As always, 400 $5 tickets are available at the box office on game day.) The photo gallery
also includes photos of the menus
if the suspense is too much to bear.
Photo Update: 225 Virginia's New Clothes, Townhouses A'Poppin'
Jun 12, 2011 2:53 PM
While the number of photos I took
while in Spain and Italy should have been enough to tide me over for quite a while in the camera department, the guilt at not having taken Hood photos since APRIL (!) shoved me out the door on hot and hazy Sunday morning (ick) for a walk around the major activity zone between 2nd and 4th Streets.
The re-dressing of 225 Virginia/200 I/Old Post Plant/Old Star Plant
continues, with most of the north face now sporting the building's new look; some windows have even been installed on the east front, facing 3rd Street. It's expected that the exterior work will be done by early 2012, with tenants from three city agencies starting to move in about a year from now. My 225 Virginia project page
has a guided tour of the project, or you can take the virtual walk-around-the-block
for a bigger batch of before-and-after photos to watch the building's transformation from Big White Monolith to 21st century office building.
In the meantime, work is speeding along at Capitol Quarter
, where the block bounded by 3rd, 4th, I, and K (bisected by the soon-to-be-birthed 3rd Place) has construction in all phases, from the nearly completed houses at 3rd and I
to the new framing at 4th and I
, and foundations now poured at 4th and K
. And, as briefly mentioned a few days ago, the trailer that housed the original sales center at 4th and L
is now gone. If you just want the short version of Capitol Quarter's second-phase transformation, check out my Capitol Quarter project page
, otherwise you can take the virtual walk
around the blocks now under construction for a boatload of before-and-afters.
As always, remember that the
icon on any page gets you to the full batch of photos I've taken at any location. Or, if you're interested in only a certain location, you can use my Photo Archive map to get right to it. The entire set of 178 photos I posted today can be seen all at once, too, if you're so inclined.
(And, as an aside, let me send my huzzahs to Microsoft for getting fixed in IE9 whatever it was in IE8 that would cause the browser to stop displaying local hard drive images after a certain amount of page loads, causing me to having to restart the dang thing eight or nine times during each photo archiving stint. [It's pretty much the only thing I still use IE for.])
Foundry Lofts to Start Pre-Leasing Aug. 15, Open in October
Jun 10, 2011 12:43 PM
Just out from the Foundry Lofts Facebook page
, a note saying "Mark your calendars Foundry Lofts fans! Pre-leasing starts August 15th, and we'll be opening this October!"
This is the old Pattern Joiner Shop on the southeast corner of 3rd and Tingey in the Yards
, behind the US Department of Transportation
building and just north of the Yards Park
. Work to transform the 1918 structure into a 170-unit apartment building first began in 2008, but stalled later that year because of funding issues; work then re-started last August when new financing for the affordable housing units in the building was secured
The building will also have ground-floor retail, with announcements on tenants expected "soon
UPDATE: With a hat tip to reader mikescorpio in a different JDLand comment thread, here's the prices that the Foundry Lofts Facebook Info page list: "1-Bedrooms from $2,100s, 2-Bedrooms from $2,700s, Penthouses from $3,400s. Apartments Available October 15, 2011, Penthouses Available December 15, 2011."
Back from Across the Pond; Lots of Tidbits While I Recover
Jun 8, 2011 9:09 AM
I'm back in DC, having spent 11 wonderful days
in Madrid, Barcelona, and cruising across the Mediterranean to Pisa, Florence, Rome, the coast south of Naples, and Mallorca. Needless to say, while I checked in on the news back home from time to time and tweeted an item or two if the timing was right, I wasn't following developments closely, and I'm pretty out of the blogging groove at this point. So I'm going to start back slowly with some easy items.
: The city council voted Tuesday to approve a redistricting map that, as expected, keeps Near Southeast in Ward 6. This continues to make Marion Barry extremely unhappy, and the Examiner reports
that he'll be "asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to open a Justice Department review of proposed new D.C. ward boundaries because, Barry says, they violate residents' civil rights." There's still a final vote to be had on the plan, probably on June 21. As for the last-minute changes that ended up keeping much of Ward 6 intact (moving Reservation 13 to Ward 7 instead of other areas), you can read Tommy Wells's blog
for more details.
: The Navy Yard announced last week
that its portion of the riverwalk along the Anacostia River, running from the 11th Street Bridges to the Yards Park
, will now be open from 5:30 am until "official sunset," seven days a week and including holidays; though there will still be closures as needed, which are announced on the Navy Yard Riverwalk Twitter feed
. (I admit that I got a bit of a kick passing along this news via Twitter
while riding on a train north of Rome.)
* DPW Move
: The council passed emergency technical legislation
on Tuesday that allows Capper PILOT funds
to be used to build a new location for DPW operations in Northeast, which means that they should be moving from the 2nd and K site this fall (before "leaf season").
* Ward 6 Family Day
: Tommy Wells's yearly event for Ward 6 residents will be held on Saturday, June 25
, and will be at the Yards Park
for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, with "free food, live music, games and activities for the whole family as well as raffles featuring gift certificates from local businesses and sporting memorabilia from the Wizards, DC United and Washington Nationals."
* ANC 6D
has its next meeting on Monday, June 13, at 7 pm at Arena Stage. The agenda
is light on Near Southeast items, with only a resolution by David Garber about Near Southeast bike stations and requests by Cornercopia and Harry's Reserve to be exempted from the ban on the sale of "singles."
* Food Truck Festival: Bo Blair, the owner of the Bullpens and the organizer of Truckeroo on June 3, said in an e-mail that the event was a "massive, incredible success," with somewhere between 17,000 and 18,000 attendees and "zero problems." The next date for the event will be announced soon.
* Construction and Destruction
: Construction has stalled on the Little Red Building v2.0 at 2nd and L
, which ANC commissioner Garber says
is a "building permit issue that is in process of being resolved - construction should start back 'soon.'" Meanwhile, the "re-dressing" of 225 Virginia
is well underway, with the new exterior walls being hung on the north side of the building. And if it hasn't already happened, the trailer
that was the original sales office for Capitol Quarter
is being torn down, since construction of townhouses is now underway on that block. (Photos to come, at some point.)
And, since this just came across Twitter: Dan Steinberg reports
that Shake Shack and the other new Nats Park restaurants will open next Tuesday, the beginning of the homestand vs. the Cardinals.
225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
, Alcohol/Liquor Licenses
, ANC News
, Capitol Quarter
, Trash Transfer Site/DPW
, Foundry Lofts/Yards
, Harry's Reserve
, Little Red Bldg/Lot 38 Espresso
, Navy Yard
, JDLand stuff
, The Yards