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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: July 2005
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Nationals Park ('08)
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18 Blog Posts

If you are looking for documents, transcripts, bills, and other items related to the governmental minutiae of the new baseball stadium, DC Watch's Baseball Issues page has a sizeable archive of links worth trolling through.

More posts: Nationals Park

In what the Washington Blade correctly terms a "little-noticed development," a judge dismissed on June 15 the lawsuit brought by Robert Siegel, the owner of several gay nightclubs in the footprint of the new baseball stadium, saying that the suit was premature because the city has not yet begun eminent domain proceedings. According to the article, "[Judge] Alprin declared that if and when the city begins eminent domain proceedings, Siegel has no legal grounds to challenge the stadium financing rules, as he attempts to do in his lawsuit. His only legal recourse, Alprin said, is to contest the amount of compensation the city offers him for his land, with the aim of obtaining a higher compensation." An appeal has been filed in this case, plus Siegel says he intends to file another lawsuit once the eminent domain proceedings begin (expected to be in mid-August). The city has, however, already informed property owners that they must vacate by Dec. 31.


The mammoth transportation bill that's making its way through Congress contains a few nuggets for Near Southeast--$123 million for the rehabilitation of the South Capitol Street Bridge, and $17.6 million for upgrading of the 11th Street Bridge and construction of new ramps for access to M Street, SE.


The July 29 DC Register has published the proposed text amendment (starting on page 2 of the PDF) to the Capitol Gateway Overlay District zoning regulations (Title 11, Chapters 16 and 30 in the DC Municipal Regulations) to allow the construction of the new Nationals baseball stadium, setting forth "the height, floor area ratio, setback, ground floor preferred uses, and parking requirements" as well as other rules for the stadium site. After a comment period of 30 days, the DC Zoning Board will vote on final approval of this amendment, most likely at its Sept. 15 Public Meeting. (Note that once the design of the stadium is unveiled, it too will have to come before the zoning board for approval.) UPDATE: Looks like you need to first visit the main DC Register site before the link to the proposed text amendment will work. Sorry about that! UPDATE II: The Zoning Board has now posted the transcript from the June 2 hearing on this text amendment.

More posts: Nationals Park, zoning

Also from the July 29 Register.... On July 6, the DC Council approved the issuance of revenue bonds of up to $11 million for construction financing for the Arthur Capper Seniors Building II project. This was done on an emergency basis for reasons that make my eyes glaze over when I try to figure them out, having to do with the DC Council's summer recess butting up against the DC Housing Finance Authority's need to close on the project before September or else be penalized by HUD for not using the Hope VI funds in a "timely manner." The text of the resolution is here (go to page 30 in the PDF). UPDATE: Looks like you need to first visit the main DC Register site before the link to the text of the resolution will work.


Saturday's Post had a nice piece by architecture critic Benjamin Forgey, "Stepping Up to the Plate for a Home Run," about the challenges and possibilities faced by the design for the new baseball stadium. It's anticipated that HOK Sport will unveil its design in August.

More posts: Nationals Park

Today's DC Extra in the Post leads with "Envisioning SoHo at the Southeast Waterfront," about Forest City's plans to transform the Southeast Federal Center. As regular visitors to JDLand already know, the SEFC plans are revitalization on a grand scale--2,600 units of housing, 2 million square feet of office/retail/cultural space, and a 5.5-acre waterfront park--but we learn from the article that the project is also on a grand timeline, a proposed 16-year building schedule, with groundbreaking is estimated to be 2 1/2 years away.

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More posts: The Yards

I've ever-so-slightly redesigned the Near Southeast home page, adding a directory of current and future projects. It's information that's always been available on the interior pages of the site, but now with so many projects either started or about to start, I think it's become necessary to have an easy-to-browse list of them... Soon I also plan to categorize the blog entries so that I can display them on their appropriate project pages. Sounds like a good August project. UPDATE: Did I say August? I meant today. You'll now see blog entries pertaining to the individual projects at the bottom of my project/photo pages. This also meant moving most of my photo pages from static .html files to Cold Fusion files, so apologies if your bookmarks have now gone south.

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I keep trying to ignore any of the angst surrounding the acquisition of the land for the new baseball stadium, but I can't--so I'll just be really slow about it, instead! The Post reported on Saturday that a third lawsuit has been filed by landowners at the stadium site seeking to prevent the city from seizing their properties. The article also says that bids for the properties will now begin going out to owners in mid-August, with hopes that the city will control all 14 acres by the end of the year. But the Washington Times reported on Monday that some of the groups bidding to buy the Nats are skeptical that the city will be able to get all its ducks in a row in time for a March, 2008 opening of the new stadium. Quote: "There's just so much to do down there. There's no way it's done for Opening Day 2008," another Nationals bidder said. "You have land acquisition issues, environmental remediation issues, political issues, design issues. It's going to be great when it's done, but these projects are always so complex that it's shortsighted to simply assume it will be done [in 2008]."
More posts: Nationals Park

I was a bit late with my June progress photos, so I'm mixing things up by posting my July photos earlier than I might have; new images are on available on the DOT, Capitol Hill Tower, Washington Canal Park, and M Street pages. These were taken last week when I accompanied a group from the National Building Museum's Investigating Where We Live summer program around Near Southeast, making the poor kids tolerate my incessant blathering about What This Area Will Eventually Look Like.


The National Capital Planning Commission has announced the agenda for its August 4 meeting--included is a request for approval of the text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overview District for the baseball stadium area that was given first approval by the DC Zoning Commission on July 11. The wording of the request for the text amendment: ".... to define 'Ballpark' and Ballpark Area,' to allow a ballpark in Square 702, 703, 704, 705 and 706 and on Reservation 247, between South Capitol Street, 1st Street, N Street, and Potomac Place, SE, Washington, D.C., and to establish a Zoning Commission review and approval process and design guidelines for a ballpark and associated uses." Also on the agenda are two items pertaining to the coming redevelopment of Capper / Carrollsburg: the "dedication of land to establish 2nd and 3rd Places, SE, and to reopen and dedicate a portion of L Street, SE, in Squares 767, 768, 798, 799 and Reservations 17-B, 17-C and 17-D, between I, M, 3rd, and 4th Streets, SE"; plus proposing the closure of "public alleys in Squares 798, 799 and 824, between I, K, 3rd and 4th Streets, SE." This step happens before the requests for closures go to the DC City Council (per DC Code 9-202.02).


Capitol Hill Tower at New Jersey and L SE has what I think is its first ad in Saturday's Post Real Estate section, and has also launched a real web site, now announcing "brand new homes from the high $200s." The amenities list includes an indoor pool, fitness center, concierge, garage parking, pre-wiring for high-speed internet, and ground-floor retail. A priority preview list signup is available as well. The building and is scheduled to be finished in early 2006 (not that you'd know this from the web site); I don't know when move-in dates for the 340+ residences would begin. UPDATE: The residences will be co-ops, not condos. Also, all 340+ units will be market-rate, the affordable housing units originally touted have been removed. (Blah!)

More posts: Capitol Hill Tower

In news that proves I know way too much about the most minute details of Near Southeast, I can report that the overgrown parking lot at 2nd Street between I and K Street just south of the former Post plant has gotten somewhat of a facelift within the past few weeks, with most of the weeds and growth embedded in the fences removed, and the trash in the lot cleaned up. This block will eventually be the northernmost portion of Washington Canal Park, and while I'd like to believe that the cleanup is tied to some sort of movement on the park, I won't really be optimistic until the DC school buses are removed from the other two blocks of the park. Besides, there are still supposed to be public meetings and whatnot before a final design is unveiled; but it sure would be nice if those three blocks were cleared out in the meantime, wouldn't it?

More posts: Canal Park

I've been told by staffers that the relocation of all residents of Capper/Carrollsburg is now complete, and the remaining seven blocks of buildings are empty. I don't know of any date yet for demolition of these buildings; the structures between 4th and 5th Street stood empty for at least a year before they were demolished (and the apartment building at 5th and Virginia was empty for more than four years!).

More posts: Capper

Metro is planning to make changes to the Navy Yard subway entrance at Half and M to better accommodate riders going to games at the new baseball stadium. Currently able to handle 5,000 riders an hour, the west entrance will be modified to serve 15,000 riders an hour; plans include extending the mezzanine to add one staircase and one escalator, increasing the number of Farecard gates and machines, adding a kiosk, and adding new elevators. According to The Post, Metro is also planning to expand bus service to the area.


The DC Office of Zoning had its second hearing on the proposed baseball stadium amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay District last night, July 11. (I swear I checked the agenda within the past few days and it wasn't there, otherwise I would have told you! Honest!) According to a very helpful lady at DCOZ, the proposed amendment was approved with only minor modifications ("wording clarifications"); what happens now is that the revised text will appear in the DC Register (perhaps in the July 22 edition). Thirty days are allowed for comment, with the Zoning Board then acting on final approval after that (perhaps at the September 12th meeting). Note that this is just the zoning for the area--the proposed stadium itself will also have to come before the Zoning Board for hearings and approval. I would point you to the Capitol Gateway Overlay District laws in the full DC Municipal Regulations, but Chapter 16/Capitol Gateway Overlay District is mysteriously not listed in the Zoning Table of Contents!

More posts: Nationals Park, zoning

Monument Realty continues to buy up property in the area surrounding the new baseball stadium land, according to Friday's Post. The DC Real Property Sales Database indicates that Monument nows own 1242-1260 Half Street, 50-68 N Street, and 1236 South Capitol Street, and The Post mentioned contracts for other parcels on the north side of the unit block of N. They have assembled half of the 8-acre parcel they covet for a huge office/residential/retail complex just north of the stadium. WMATA (Metro) owns 3 of the additional acres (at Half and M), and had asked developers for proposals for the land in early May, but withdrew the offer on request of the Office of Planning, who are working on the Master Plan for the area (now not expected to be delivered until the end of the summer, wah!). The article says that the John Akridge Cos. (developers of Gallery Place) is also pursuing deals in the area (but I think it's looking in Southwest, down by Buzzard's Point).


From Tuesday's Washington Times, "Half St. Citizens Continue to Fight Ballpark Bullies," about the landowners within the footprint of the planned new Nationals stadium.

More posts: Nationals Park