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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: July 2008
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82 I Street
1244 South Capitol
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1333 M St.
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225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
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Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
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Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
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While the focus lately has been on the start of the Capitol Quarter townhouses, there is more to the redevelopment of the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex. There are the two completed seniors buildings (Capper Seniors #1 and 400 M Street), now providing 300 of the 700 old Capper public housing units that are being replaced. The first phase of Capitol Quarter includes 39 subsidized rental units, and the second phase (which is probably not going to start delivering until 2011) will have another 47 subsidized rentals; this is in addition to the sales of 121 market-rate and 91 workforce-rate townhouses throughout both phases. That leaves a little over 300 public housing units to come, which will be included in the 1,300 apartments expected to be constructed at Capper over the next five years or so.
There are five new apartment buildings slated to be built, three of which along the east side of Canal Park where the temporary parking lots are, and another at New Jersey and K on the trash transfer site. And there is a new plan for a fifth apartment building, on L Street across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (B.E.Q), on the northern portion of the old Capper Seniors footprint.
Under the original Capper plans, there was to be a strip of 61 townhouses built on this spot, but the DC Housing Authority has recognized that these homes would be dwarfed by the B.E.Q. to the north and the two planned office buildings directly behind them at 600 M Street. So DCHA has now filed a request with the Zoning Commission to allow an expansion in the total number of housing units allowed at Capper to 1,747, which would allow the construction of a four-story 189-unit apartment building (with a massing very similar to the B.E.Q.) on this stretch of L Street known as Square 882N. This Zoning Commission request is also looking to expand the number of units in the planned apartment building on the south side of L Street between Second and Third (let's call it Square 769N) to 171 units, as a result of its block-mate 250 M Street having recently gotten approvals to be built higher than originally requested.
I've updated the map and descriptions on my Capper Overview page to reflect these latest plans for the area, and it's worth taking a look at if you're not really familiar with exactly how wide-ranging the Capper Planned Unit Development is. (Reading the 2004 zoning order establishing the PUD and laying out the requirements isn't a bad idea, either.) I should also note that the apartment and office buildings will combine to have about 50,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. There should also be a new community center at Fifth and K, but it doesn't seem to be on the front burner just yet.
Of course, the question then becomes: when? Timelines are always dicey and should be taken with a couple pounds of salt, but it appears that these two L Street apartment buildings (882N and 769N) would be first up on the agenda, perhaps being delivered in 2011. The other two buildings on Second Street would come next, and the anticipated 400-unit building on the trash transfer site would probably be the last one to be built, finishing maybe sometime in 2013. The three office buildings and the second phase of Capitol Quarter townhouses would be sprinkled throughout that time frame as well, with 250 M Street probably being the first office building to get underway, possibly even later this year. (Have I thrown in enough "maybe"s and "possibly"s and "perhaps"s for you?)
At least these plans don't have to wait until school buses get moved!
 

Earlier this month the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the Office of Planning had a public meeting as part of their work to create a master plan for "Boathouse Row," the stretch of marinas, docks, and boathouses along the west/north bank of the Anacostia River northeastward from the 11th Street Bridges. I'm only now finding out about this process, so apologies for not posting about it sooner, but you can see the documentation from the public meeting and also an earlier advisory committee meeting if you want more information. I've got a small smattering of photos of the area closest to the 11th Street Bridges, but must admit that I haven't so far spent much time venturing further along to document what's there. (I'm lucky I can keep up with everything west of Seventh Street!)
 

* City Paper reports on a lawsuit that had been brought by three street vendors "seeking to halt the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs' current practice of assigning vendors to sites outside the stadium via a lottery." The judge ruled against the vendors' request for a preliminary injunction against DCRA yesterday.
I did notice yesterday for the first time four semi-permanent kiosks on the edge of USDOT's Southwest Plaza, on New Jersey Avenue at Tingey Street, where before last night's Phillies game a couple of vendors were plying their wares. I'm not sure when these kiosks were installed--I'm guessing sometime within the past few weeks? And perhaps they're used during the day, too, for non baseball-related vending? This would probably be the result of the council's emergency legislation to add more 14 more vending spots closer to the ballpark. I didn't make the walk down Half Street to see if any vendors were in place there last night--anyone have any sightings of other new vending locations?
* This is a few days old, but the NYTimes has a report on how Nationals Park's ads from ExxonMobil have raised the ire of environmentalists: "When the Washington Nationals' season opened in March, the team unveiled a stadium any environmentalist could love -- the country's first certified green major professional sports stadium, with energy-conserving lights and water-conserving plumbing. Now, the team is the focus of protests from environmentalists who say their issue is not with the stadium, but with the Nationals' advertising relationship with the oil giant ExxonMobil. The company's logo appears prominently on the left-field wall and is frequently featured on the stadium's scoreboard. Despite the stadium's recognition for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design by the U.S. Green Building Council, ExxonMobil's involvement has erased any good will, say the leaders of Strike Out Exxon, a combination of environmental, civic and religious groups. The groups want the Nationals to end their advertising arrangement with the company."
UPDATE: One more link about the ballpark: Bayer's helping to keep the cherry trees healthy!
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

Within the past couple of months, the Star Market (better known as the Little Red Building on the northwest corner of Second and L) has been sold, for a not-little sum of $900,000. This is the third sale of the building since I've been watching--it sold in October 2004 for $220,000, and then again in June 2005 for $580,000. The previous owner had plans to tear down the building and replace it with a "fine wine and spirits" shop, and I understand that it's anticipated the new owner's plans are similar, though nothing concrete has been passed my way. No timeline or details beyond that.
(The photo above is one of my favorites--it's from January 2003, showing the Star Market back when it was a lonely outpost without a hotel attached to it.)
 

As I scrounge around the interwebs in a desperate search for news, I see that on June 27 the Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the city's permit application for Diamond Teague Park, the 39,000-sq-ft public park planned for the land where First Street ends at Potomac Avenue, on the banks of the Anacostia River across from Nationals Park. The office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development tells me that the receipt of this permit allows the city to complete the design of the park, which will include water taxi piers surrounding the little red brick pumphouse used by the Earth Conservation Corps. While there's still DC and National Park Service permits to be acquired, the city expects to begin construction on the first phase of the park this fall--yes, this means that the water taxi piers would be completed by Opening Day 2009, if all goes according to the current schedule. The second phase of the park will come if and when WASA vacates the southern portion of its property. See my Diamond Teague project page for recent renderings of the park's design and photos of the site. The park is named for an Earth Conservation Corps volunteer who was murdered in 2003.
(Stay tuned over the next few days for some additional interesting tidbits I've unearthed from digging through public records.)
 

Not sure exactly when this happened, but sometime within the past few days the Wendy's on I Street between South Capitol and Half streets, SE, has finally closed down, after being rumored to be coming Any Minute Now since May. JPI has announced plans for its fourth Capitol Yards residential building on the site, a 420-unit "loft-style" building called 23 Eye that would also have ground-floor retail. Previous statements from JPI had pegged the start of 23 I's construction this fall--I haven't heard whether that's still the plan.
 

The skies were threatening during my visit, so these aren't the most shimmering photos, but I do now have a big batch of new photos from the areas along the Anacostia River that by the end of next year should be transformed into the nearly six-acre Waterfront Park at the Yards. Right now it's mainly a lot of dirt, so I suggest spending some time looking closely at the rendering at the top of the page to orient yourself to the locations of the various photos and what the vistas should eventually look like. (The map at the top of my main Yards overview page is helpful, too.) I also got some photos inside the Lumber Storage Shed, that oddly terra cotta-colored building near the water's edge which will be having its corregated tin exterior stripped and replaced with glass as it's turned into a retail pavilion.
I've also posted some additional photos in the archive at spots where intersections will exist later this year when River and Water streets are created and when Fourth and Fifth are extended down toward the water. (Again, look at the map.) Really, these photos are nothing more than placeholders, but I just had to have the "befores" in order to be able to enjoy the "afters" someday....
(And don't miss my photos posted a few days ago of the interior of the Boilermaker Shop and of the latest progress on the Pattern Shop Lofts building.)
 

* No big news out of yesterday's WMATA board meetings--the board gave Metro staff the go-ahead to negotiate a deal with a developer for the 14,000-sq-ft Navy Yard chiller plant site at Half and L, but didn't say in public session who the developer is or what the project might be. The only tidbits in the resolutions were that the project should be LEED certified and that it should be required to make a contribution to the city's affordable housing fund (both of which, I believe, would be the case anyway given the city's new green building and inclusionary zoning laws unless there's some WMATA loophole I'm unaware of).
* I imagine all the local blogs will be talking about this AP story today on DC's levee system. To tie it to the neighborhood, one of the things currently happening at the Yards is that they're building up the ground level in places to make sure that it's above the 100-year flood plain.
* What's the Sports and Entertainment Commission doing now that the ballpark has opened? The WashTimes takes a look.
* The Nationals have announced their promotions and ticket packages for the rest of the season. They'll finally be back at home starting Tuesday after what seems like forever. See my Events Calendar for the schedule of home games through the end of the season.
* NBC4 interviews one of the coworkers of the two men killed on the open-top bus on the way to Nationals Park.
* DC Metrocentric focuses on Near Southeast by pelting me with questions.
* Off-topic, but readers might be interested in this WashTimes overview of the plans for and the current status of redevelopment in Southwest.
 

You'll probably need your x-ray specs to really glean any progress from my usual vantage points, but that shouldn't stop you from taking a look at today's batch of Capitol Quarter photos, taken on the blocks bounded by Fourth, Fifth, L, and Virginia. As the above photo shows (there's a bigger version on the project page), foundations are indeed now being dug for the first townhouses, on the south side of L between Fourth and Fifth. And meanwhile, the streets are getting pretty new granite curbs and brick gutters. The blocks north of L now have a lot of "private" infrastructure work underway (meaning, the pipes and whatnot that will run beneath the houses), so all in all there's no denying that, after a long long wait, the heart of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment is now underway. We should be seeing the first hints of structures rising out of the ground next month.
And, if you really really can't get enough of seeing what's happening in that section of the neighborhood, go to the Capitol Quarter Phase I Expanded Archive, where you can see all vantage points. And be sure to click on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon anytime you want to see the complete range of photos from a certain spot (to watch the old Capper buildings come down, then see the weeds grow, then see the beginnings of construction).
UPDATE, 7/25: Within 24 hours of my visit, the first concrete footers were poured.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

* From Wednesday's Post: "ACC Commissioner John Swofford confirmed yesterday that the inaugural Congressional Bowl, to be held Dec. 20 at Nationals Park, will feature the conference's ninth-best team, 'assuming we have nine teams [bowl] eligible.' Approved by the NCAA in May, the Congressional Bowl will be the first college football bowl game in the District. Assuming it is bowl eligible, Navy will take on an ACC team. Teams must win at least six games to be eligible for a bowl game. Last season, eight of the 12 ACC teams qualified for bowl games."
* I missed this last week, but the ballpark was host on July 17 to another battle royale: "They gathered together just south of the Capitol dome, silhouetted by the setting evening sun, to play a game of baseball. U.S. Representatives from across the aisle and across the country donned uniforms local to their districts and immersed themselves in America's pastime Thursday at Nationals Park. The city's new stadium played host to the 47th annual Congressional Baseball Game sponsored by Roll Call."
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Last week the folks at Forest City were gracious enough to take me on a behind-the-fences tour of the The Yards, so that I could stock up on "before" photos before too much more work gets underway. The first stop was Building 167, also known as the Boilermaker Shop, on the northeast corner of Third and Tingey streets behind the US DOT HQ. This steel-and-glass industrial workshop (such a rarity for Washington) was built in 1919, and by the end of 2009 Forest City expects it to be transformed into a 46,000-square-foot retail space, with a new loft-like mezzanine in the middle of the building that will provide additional square footage without sacrificing the wide-open feel of the high glass-lined ceiling. I have wanted to get inside this building for a long time, so I'm glad to now have photos in advance of the shop's makeover, which you can see on my Boilermaker Shop page along with renderings of what's coming.
Across the street at the old Pattern Joiner Shop, interior demolition work continues, along with the removal of all the windows and the white paint from the building's exterior. We didn't get to go inside, but I've still posted some updated photos, which you can compare to shots from the past three years to see what's been done in just a few months. By late 2009 this will become the Pattern Shop Lofts, with 170 apartments, ground-floor retail, an interior courtyard, and two new floors on top.
I also snagged some photos from a few other locations, too, and I'll get those posted soon.
And, if you're wondering What's the Deal With the big hole punched in the historic red brick wall on M Street east of Fifth--apparently that's the start of the necessary work to create 5 1/2 Street, SE (no, I'm serious), which will run between the big red brick Building 202 (to be turned into condos by 2011) and Building 74 (forecast to be converted into townhouses in a future phase of the Yards). Here's an overhead photo of the spot in question, taken from the roof of the old Capper Seniors building before it came down last year.
 

The agendas for Thursday's various Metro board meetings have been posted, and, barring a last-minute change, it looks like the Planning, Development and Real Estate committee will finally be taking up the awarding of the Half and L "chiller plant" site for the Navy Yard Metro station to a developer. It's going to happen in an executive session (the agenda says nothing more than "Term Sheet on Navy Yard Chiller Site"), so it could be possible it's not yet a done deal. They've been trying to bring this up at the board since February; the solicitation for bids for the 14,100-sq-ft site happened nearly two years ago.
 

Jul 18, 2008 12:11 PM
Despite my preference to not ever actually step foot outside in Washington during the summer, I wandered around on Thursday afternoon and got updated photos of 909 New Jersey, Velocity, Onyx, 100 M, and 55 M. I especially enjoy the view that's now developed looking up First Street at M(above), where you see five new buildings in the same vista where 80 M stood all alone less than three years ago.
If you've really got some time to kill today, check the Photo Archive for before-and-afters of these intersections that have changed so much: 1st and I, 1st and K, 1st and L, 1st and M, Half and M, Half and L, Half and K, New Jersey and K, New Jersey and I. Or, just start clicking around on the Archive Map to look at other spots.
Coming soon, photos from a few locations I've never had access to until now....
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More posts: mnorth, Square 743N
 

Jul 18, 2008 8:51 AM
An e-mail went out late yesterday announcing that Axiom at Capitol Yards (better known around these parts as 100 I Street) is now open for business, almost exactly one month after older sibling Jefferson/70 I went live. Axiom, with about 246 units, has a more modern design in comparison to Jefferson's "warehouse/industrial" look, but has many of the same amenities, such as a roof pool, fitness center, "resident pub," etc. (I've got interior photos from about two months ago, which I hope to get updated soon--I almost took a photo yesterday afternoon of the main entry that now has an "Axiom" sign above it, but I thought to myself, "Oh, I'll just wait until it's officially open." Oops.)
The official web site is at AxiomCapitolYards.com, and leasing has been underway for a few months. And, like all younger siblings, Axiom's debut into the world will probably be less of an event, with fewer announcements, parties, photos, home movies, birthday presents, etc. (Do I sound bitter?)
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More posts: jpi
 

Jul 17, 2008 12:54 PM
Yes, it's time once again for What's the Deal With.... Canal Park? Now that the ballpark's open and people have stopped asking me about the baseball that was originally planned for the roof of the Red Loft, I can safely say that there is no question I receive more often than this one. Here's the latest:
Over the past few months, the Canal Park Development Association has been resurrected, and is now being led by Chris VanArsdale, a local lawyer-turned-green-developer. An agreement is being worked on with the city that will allow the CPDA to take on moving the park forward, a task that ended up in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development after the demise of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation.
Of course, there will be no moving forward of the park until the dang buses are gone. The timeline being put forward by DMPED is now "December or January" for the departure of the buses, since a new location has been found (*cough*DC Village*cough*) but a lot still must be built. (It's at this point that I'm always required mention that it was in October 2003 when I first heard the city had been given 90 days to get the buses off the park site.) The park's blocks would then be graded and temporary sod planted until the park itself is built.
So, when will the park actually be completed? You didn't actually expect anyone to tell me that, did you? However, indications are that once the license agreement between the CPDA and the city is finished, we'll get a better sense for what's left to be done and when it all could happen.
In the meantime, while twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next news tidbit, take a look at the designs and plans for the park, which came as the result of a 2004 design competition held by the city. Are they still holding up? Discuss. (Hey, it's summer, I've got to do something to perk up the energy around here.)
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Jul 16, 2008 3:20 PM
Reader AW was nice enough to pass along news of a fence banner along Half Street, SE, just south of 70 I that is shouting "1st Community in DC to Offer Verizon FIOS!" (This is the high-speed fiber optic TV/internet service that is available throughout the 'burbs.) I went to verizonfios.com, and did some address searching via the Check Availability page, and got positive results for 70 I, 100 I, and 1000 New Jersey (Capitol Hill Tower). However, if you click one of the addresses and continue along, you're then told that FIOS TV isn't yet available for that address, but FIOS high-speed Internet is. (As I posted back in June, JPI has been marketing 70 and 100 I as "pre-wired" for FIOS.)
UPDATE: Read this entry's comments to see that, not surprisingly, "First Community to Offer FIOS" isn't quite what it seems just yet. But if there's any neighborhood in the city where the infrastructure work could already have been done to get fiber in place, it'd be the one that's being entirely rebuilt from scratch....
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More posts: Capitol Hill Tower, jpi
 

Jul 16, 2008 9:21 AM
With the city council now almost in its summer recess until mid-September (though not before David Catania introduced legislation yesterday trying to raise the sales tax at Nationals Park in what appears to be an attempt to get back at the Lerners for withholding the rent), and with the Zoning Commission and most ANCs taking August off, the pace of bureaucratic-type news in these parts will be slow if not nonexistent for the next few weeks. We've got a Metro board meeting next week that might (or might not) be telling us the developer of the Navy Yard station's 14,000-sq-ft chiller plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L, but otherwise the calendar is all but empty until after Labor Day. (At least I can report that on Monday night ANC 6D voted 7-0 to approve a public space permit by 100 M Street to install sidewalks and city arborist-recommended willow oak and elm trees.)
That said, I should have some interesting items in the next few days, including hopefully an update about everyone's favorite What's the Deal With....? subject. And of course I'll have photo updates every few weeks, especially since it's expected that framing of the first Capitol Quarter townhouses will get underway by early August. But beyond that, expect the pace around here to be more leisurely during the dog days. As it should be!
 

Jul 14, 2008 11:13 PM
From Tuesday's Post: "Yes, the Nationals are riddled with injuries and the team is among the worst in Major League Baseball, which resumes its schedule Thursday after tonight's all-star game. The team's owners, the Lerner family, are in a messy dispute with the city, which financed the $611 million ballpark. The stadium, meanwhile, is developing a happy following. The reviews so far: generally good. Getting to the ballpark, along the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, is fairly easy most nights and weekends. The stadium is winning praise for its sightlines, scoreboard and atmosphere. Food prices are another matter." And there's this: "Neighbors who worried about fans clogging streets are breathing easier. 'As of now, I think it's been managed well, especially by the team,' said Andy Litsky, a Ward 6 neighborhood leader. 'It's not as bad as we anticipated.' " On the other hand, the lack of a parking/transit/traffic catastrophe as predicted by so many for so long has left JDLand all but devoid of content....
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Jul 13, 2008 1:50 PM
0807 Wyoming 635 Mount Rushmore 0807 Wyoming 490
I'm back from a week in Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota, where I took all sorts of photos despite the fact that there were almost no buildings under construction. And what better way to get back in the blogging saddle than to post notice of Monday's ANC 6D meeting. The agenda has one Near Southeast item, which is a public space permit for 100 M Street (for trees, a driveway, and sidewalk paving). The rest of the agenda includes a presentation by the Office of Planning on a zoning study of Southwest, a resolution on the proposed moratorium on "singles" (alcohol, not unmarrieds), and admin minutiae in conjunction with some events planned in Southwest. The meeting starts at 7 pm, at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M Streets, SW. I'll be the one in the audience griping about not still being out west.
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More posts: 100 M, ANC News, Square 743N
 

Jul 12, 2008 9:07 AM
On Friday night one passenger was killed and another seriously injured when the open-top double-decker bus they were riding in went under an overpass while the two were apparently standing up. The news reports of the accident are all over the map--they were going to the game, they were heading back to RFK from the game, they were on the Southeast Freeway, they were on I Street near 9th, it was the 11th Street overpass. Here's the Post story, Channel 9's story, and last night's Fox 5 story, before it was confirmed that one passenger had died. On the Ballpark Guys thread discussing the accident, fans report seeing the westbound freeway closed during the accident investigation, which would seem to indicate that the bus was going to the game.
UPDATE: The Post reports late on Saturday that the second victim has died as well.
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

Jul 11, 2008 12:24 AM
From the Post: "More than midway through the baseball season, the Washington Nationals' owners have failed to pay $3.5 million in rent for the District's new ballpark, contending that the state-of-the-art stadium is still incomplete. Besides withholding rent, the team is demanding damages of $100,000 a day, dating from March 1. The team and the city are also at odds over the timing of sales tax payments on tickets, with the Nationals paying game-by-game and the city wanting tax revenue from pre-sold ticket packages upfront." The dispute will be going to arbitration.
UPDATE: Here's some additional details from Tim Lemke's blog at the WashTimes, including how Mayor Fenty reacted in it'll-all-work-out fashion today on WTOP. Ditto from the Post's DC Wire.
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Jul 10, 2008 7:02 PM
I'm out of pocket for a bit, so I'll just quickly mention that the National Capital Planning Commission's National Capital Framework Plan was unveiled today, with all sorts of visions about reworking and improving various areas of the city. Here's the section of the report dealing with South Capitol Street (I must admit to wishing they'd update their drawing to one that has a realistic depiction of Nationals Park). Much of this section is really just a restatement of the goals announced in their 2005 report on South Capitol Street. Here's the Post's article on the new framework plan. (UPDATED to fix broken link.)
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Jul 10, 2008 8:56 AM
This is kind of old, but I only heard about it after the fact--on July 1, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton held a "Capitol Riverfront BID briefing" at the US DOT HQ as part of her continuing efforts to encourage federal agencies to move to "developing" areas of DC. We heard last week that the Department of Agriculture is looking around down here, and perhaps the FBI as well. Here's Norton's press release on the briefing--I'm interested in the paragraph near the bottom listing the area's coming amenities, where it says "two first class supermarkets are planned." We know that there's space for one in the ground floor of the proposed office building at 401 M Street at The Yards, which isn't scheduled to be completed until 2011--I don't know about any firm plans for another one.
 

Jul 7, 2008 7:19 PM
According to the Post's DC Wire blog, the final chapter of the Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness saga has now been written: "Developer Herbert Miller has settled his $40 million lawsuit against the District government over the failed plan to build two 13-story condominium towers just outside Nationals Park. Under the settlement, the city will pay Miller's Western Development $2 million and the company will drop its legal grievances, according to Miller's son Ben, who is now the company's president." Above is the design for the condo/garages, and here's my various entries on the Miller plan. While you look at those links, think about the current four-story parking lots in the outfield and imagine them with another eight stories on top. And no centerfield plaza, either.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park
 

Jul 4, 2008 8:51 AM
From today's Washington Business Journal print edition (subscribers only): "The Department of Agriculture, in search of 330,000 square feet, has been poking around the ballpark district. Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, says the government has heard proposals from Opus East LLC, planning 411,000 square feet of offices at 1015 Half St. SE, and the mixed-use project planned for First and M streets SE by Potomac-based Willco Cos., which will have 350,000 square feet of offices. The agency is looking to relocate 1,255 employees from seven other locations, at a max rate of $47 per square foot." The Willco space is the current location of Nats parking lot F, on the southwest corner of First and M; and of course Opus isn't *planning* office space at 1015 Half, they're already digging the hole. The blurb also says that the FBI is looking for 180,000 square feet of new space, and that Akridge pitched their as-yet-untapped three-block space on Second Street SW in Buzzard Point.
Also in the WBJ, a story on two small investors who spent 18 years amassing a batch of 23 small properties in Southwest, who are finding that the new ballpark still hasn't brought anyone calling to meet their $12 million asking price for the lots, which are encircled by the Syphax Gardens and James Creek public housing developments. They apparently are hoping that the city would decide to redo the two projects (a la Capper), but the DC Housing Authority says that they don't currently have the funding, and that the residents would have to be really supportive of any redevelopment plans as well.
 

Jul 3, 2008 9:40 PM
Not that there's probably anybody left in town (*tap* *tap* -- is this thing on?), but just in case, here's a few items before I downshift into low-posting holiday mode over the weekend and into next week:
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's Post covers some of the latest news on retail (i.e., banks) I've posted here over the past few weeks (Wachovia at 20 M, SunTrust at 100 M, plans for 900 M). There's also a blurb on the month-old news of the zoning approvals for the Waterfront Park at the Yards. The column normally appears in just the District Extra, but If you live in Prince George's County, you got a crack at it this week as they snuck it in on page 11 of the P.G. Extra, too. But note that we're scaling way back on how often the column will appear (probably just monthly from now on) since the news isn't flowing as fast and furious-ly as it was last year.
* No one's invited me to the roof of any of the sparkly new Near Southeast buildings to watch the fireworks. I'll say it: I'm miffed. I do and I do and I do for you people, and this is the thanks I get.... [/sarcastic martyr mode off]
* I've tinkered again with the big homepage map, trying to have it make a little more sense. I've added checkmarks for the completed projects, and turned the list of projects down the left side (marked on the map with boxes) into only ones that are under construction or ones which the developers have done an especially good job of making me believe they'll start soon. The rest of the map is a whole lot of stars marking proposed projects. And they're all color-coded to differentiate between office, residential, and recreational/retail.
My real desire is to completely redesign the homepage, but I haven't had any inspirations come to me yet. Although, in the meantime, I've added another three random before-and-after photo pairings down on the bottom right of the homepage (after you do a lot of scrolling), just to fill some space. I also expanded my Neighborhood Blogs list of links.
Happy 4th, everyone!
 

Jul 3, 2008 2:32 PM
Rumors of this first came my way over the weekend, and now WBJ has the somewhat official word, in this article about the closing of a $60 million construction loan to allow the completion of the 200-unit Velocity condo building at First and L streets: "Rockville-based Cohen Cos. is currently negotiating a deal with a first-class hotel operator for Phase II and is in negotiations for a full building user for the 280,000 square-foot, Class A office building in Phase III." Phase II, on the north side of the block, facing K Street, was originally planned to be a twin of the building currently under construction; the three levels of underground parking are already built, which presumably would speed up any sort of construction timetable for a hotel on that spot. Phase III is the section of the block facing Half Street. The article also says that the condo building is currently 25 percent leased.
 

Jul 2, 2008 9:44 PM
A letter arrived in the mail at JDLand HQ today (how old school!) from DDOT director Emeka Moneme, saying that DDOT "has heard your concerns regarding the hours of enforcement for the enhanced Residential Parking Permit (RPP) program in your neighborhood. I am pleased to announce that as a result of the success of our campaign to encourage transit use and based upon community feedback, DDOT has decided to modify the hours of enforcement for all residential streets within the following boundaries[,]" which is basically all residential streets east of South Capitol, west of 9th St., SE, and south of Pennsylvania Avenue. Beginning June 23, the hours on these residential streets in Near Southeast and Capitol Hill were changed to Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 9:30 pm, with no enforcement on Sundays. West of South Capitol Street, in Southwest, RPP rules remain the same (7 am to midnight seven days a week), except for ending these restrictions on M Street SW.
Also, according to the updated Multispace Meters Rates and Hours of Operation sheet from DDOT, parking at the green multispace kiosks in Near Southeast is no longer off-limits during stadium events. It now costs $2 for the first hour, $8 for the second hour, $8 for the third, and $2 for the fourth. This equals the cost of most of the cash lots operating near the ballpark. (See that sheet for the updated rules for Pennsylvania Avenue SE and Barracks Row.) I haven't paid close enough attention over the past few weeks to see if this meter change has been in effect since before June 23--but clearly the ample parking and well-flowing traffic near the ballpark has lessened the original fears that allowing on-street parking north of the ballpark would bring a crunch of drivers circling looking for spaces. ($4 gas might be helping that, too.)
I've posted on my Stadium Parking page the updated map from DDOT showing these changes and the explanations of the parking restrictions around the ballpark as they now stand, after these alterations. I suppose I should get off the sofa and go see if the street signs here on my Capitol Hill residential block have been updated to show these new hours, but I'm lazy tonight. Still worn out from last night's fast-forwarding extravaganza, I guess.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park
 

Jul 2, 2008 12:53 PM
Since I know you all want to know this.... From a Tommy Wells press release: "On Tuesday, July 1, Council voted to approve the 'Southwest Waterfront Financing Act of 2008.' The legislation provides $198 million in a combination of tax increment financing (TIF) and payment in-lieu of taxes (PILOT) financing for the long awaited Southwest Waterfront project. [...] The legislation provides the necessary financing for the public infrastructure on the Waterfront; just part of the overall $1.5 billion project. The public investment enables the project to move forward with the neighborhood's vision for a waterfront that will rival the excitement of other major metropolitan areas and will deliver investment, jobs, affordable housing and community services to the residents who have driven this public process for almost 15 years. [...] The legislation will come before Council for a final vote on July 15, 2008. A companion piece of legislation to address land disposition issues is awaiting a public hearing by the Committees on Economic Development and Workforce Development and Government Operations."
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Jul 1, 2008 9:46 PM
At the end of a long day of legislating, the City Council this evening passed an emergency bill to expand the number of spots for vendors on the streets near Nationals Park. I haven't seen a copy of the bill, but apparently it specifically mandates 14 new vending slots, seven of them on Half Street between M and N, and other specific slots on N Street and on First between N and N Place. This was done because of what council member Graham referred to as the "cruel joke" of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs placing the original 28 vending slots in locations that can't charitably be called "near" the stadium. (See the map to judge for yourself.) As mentioned in this morning's entry, the Nationals are not in favor of vending south of M Street, considering it competition.
Council members Cheh and Wells opposed the measure, saying that the council should not insert its own judgment if DCRA and DDOT consider these locations to be a "threat to public safety" because of the construction in the area and the movement problems that there could be in case of a mass egress from the ballpark (like if Zimmerman busts the Capitol dome again). Wells tried to say that the council perhaps doesn't know better than DCRA how to apportion space for vendors; council member Barry explained how he walked the area around the ballpark with vendors and police officers, measuring out locations, sidewalk sizes, etc. Originally council member Catania said he would not support the bill because of the "haphazard" way that the new slots would be awarded to vendors (Barry took offense to "haphazard," but I think he was misunderstanding what Catania was referring to, which was the lottery system and not the identifying of new slots).
Barry asked for the vote to be deferred, and at 7:50 pm, it returned to the agenda, with some tweaked wording--the mayor has until June 21 to add these 14 new positions and hold a lottery for them that will allow the winners to have the spaces until the end of the year. (The lottery for the original 28 spaces will be handled as before, with new drawings held every month for the spaces.) Council sources tell me that the original version of the bill required that 14 new slots go to RFK vendors only--the amended version allows any qualified applicant to enter the lottery for these spots. This gave Catania what he needed to support the bill; Cheh and Wells renewed their objections. In the end there were enough votes to pass the bill on an emergency basis.
Catania was strongly in favor of preferences for District residents, but those have proven problematic when attempted in other areas. However, Barry said that he and Catania and Graham will work on ways to get a residential preference, perhaps by leasing the slots, which would then allow the city to use Local, Small, Disadvantaged Business (LSDBE) rules. More to come, I'm sure.
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Jul 1, 2008 9:29 AM
Today is the city council's monthly legislative meeting, and since they don't have one in August, this one--like all July ones--has an agenda a mile long, with a few items related to Near Southeast:
There's an emergency bill to correct a problem with the 2005 bill that transferred Tingey Street to the city--a drafting error apparently drew the road through part of the Pattern Shop Lofts.
And the "Taxation Without Representation Federal Tax Pay-Out Message Board Installation Act of 2007" (Bill 17-0028) is finally getting a vote--this is the bill that would put electronic tote boards on the Wilson Building and the ballpark showing the federal taxes that District residents pay while still having no votiing representation in Congress. You can read more about it here and here--I don't know if the bill being voted on today has the same language as the original one introduced in 2007, since the council was told pretty clearly by the Sports and Entertainment Commission that the stadium's lease agreement states that the Nationals control the signage on the stadium's interior, exterior, and perimeter, and the DCSEC's outside counsel feels that this tote-board bill "could conflict" with the lease.
But first up, on the consent agenda, is the bill to close the alley between South Capitol and Van just north of the old BP Amoco station on N Street across from the ballpark. This request is coming from Monument Realty, so they can combine the Amoco lot with the parking lot to the north of the alley and develop the site as a residential building with somewhere between 180 and 210 rental units, with 15 or 16 of them being affordable units priced at between 50 and 80 percent of the area median income. There would also be about 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
I failed my fiduciary duty to ever post a summary of the hearing on this bill held back in May, but most of what was said at the council hearing wasn't too different from the presentation about the closing to ANC 6D in January. Monument's representatives told the council that they would expect to start the project approximately 18 months after receiving the alley closing (depending on market conditions, of course), meaning it wouldn't deliver before 2011. Monument is not so far committing to any sort of LEED certification for the building (though I imagine that changes if they don't build it before the city's new green building laws go into effect). The project would also need a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review by the Zoning Commission.
The hearing starts at 10 am, and can be seen on DC Cable 13 or via streaming video. I'll update this entry later today with the various outcomes.
UPDATE: I haven't started watching the proceedings yet (I'll be spending my evening fast-forwarding through them), but the Post's DC Wire blog has an entry on another bill of interest being brought up today, to improve upon the locations carved out for street vendors near the ballpark (here's the map). Some council members want the vendors much closer (presumably, along Half and N streets), which the Nationals and MLB are not much in favor of. Other council members say that bringing the vendors closer should wait until the construction near the ballpark is completed. We'll see what happens with the bill today.
FAST-FORWARDING UPDATE: What more could I want to do with my evening than to sit here speeding through 8-plus hours of city council proceedings? Here's what I'm finding:
* The Square 700 alley closing passed its first reading on the consent agenda.
* The Tax Pay-Out Message Board bill passed its first reading--Chairman Gray said that the second message board would be built "on public space near the Washington Nationals baseball stadium," which gets around the problems I described above with the original bill. Apparently Chairman Gray had discussions with the Nationals earlier this year about putting the sign at the ballpark, and the Nationals did not indicate any sort of desire to have the sign, so the compromise was hatched to put it on public land near the ballpark (I'm trying to find out where). Marion Barry pronounced himself "appalled" at the Nationals' refusal to put up the sign at the city-funded ballpark, calling the team "not good citizens." The sign at the Wilson Building is to be erected in time for the 2009 presidential inauguration, so that the entire parade can march right past it.
* The "Tingey Street, SE Right of Way Amendment Emergency Act of 2008" passed its first reading, so the street will no longer run through Building 160. Whew!
* I'm going to address the vending expansion bill in a new entry. Check back later for that.
 
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