Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - August 2007
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This Week's Ballpark and Beyond Column
Aug 30, 2007 11:27 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra of the Post covers the recent departure of AnA Towing to make way for DRI's Square 696 development; the raze permits for the old Capper Seniors complex and the buildings just north of the stadium along First and N streets; and the planned opening in September of the new Spay and Neuter Center at 1001 L Street. (I can't believe I made it through a column without a single piece about parking!)

Douglass Bridge Reopened
Aug 30, 2007 9:11 AM
As expected, the Douglass Bridge did indeed reopen overnight, at approximately 4 am, and the traffic cameras at South Capitol and M and at the Suitland Parkway show vehicles moving across newly laid pavement. Channel 4 has a piece on the reopening, as does Channel 5, Channel 9, WAMU (audio only) and WTOP (though it's mostly an updated version of their it's-going-to-open piece from yesterday). And since I missed them yesterday, here's Channel 7 and Channel 4's it's-going-to-open stories.

South Capitol Street Exxon Closing Soon
Aug 29, 2007 11:11 PM
Signs posted in the windows of the Exxon at 1001 South Capitol Street say that the station is closing. (See, I do look across the median into Southwest once in a while.) No date is mentioned on the signs, though I've heard rumors that it's within the next few days, and that the lot has been sold to an unnamed buyer. It might be worth noting--or it might not be--that Ruben Companies owns the other two lots on the block next to the Exxon. Ruben also owns the former KFC/Taco Bell lot in the next block, and the 1100 South Capitol property across the street. If you're looking for cheap cigarettes, the signs at the Exxon say they've got 'em!

Douglass Bridge Reopening Ceremony - Photos Posted
Aug 29, 2007 3:48 PM

This afternoon there was a ceremony marking the pending reopening of the Douglass/South Capitol Street Bridge, with remarks by Mayor Fenty, DC Delegate Norton, Council Member Barry, and others. I'll post photos in a little while, but did want to get the news bullets out first:

* They will start opening the bridge around midnight tonight, but it will take a little while to coordinate the opening of the various intersections on each side of the bridge.
* For the first week or so, no left turns will be allowed through the intersection at South Capitol and Potomac, and the intersection stoplights will be a constant flashing yellow. They want people to get used to the new configuration at its most basic before adding in some of the new "options."
* The intersections with O and P streets probably won't be opened for another week or so as well.
* Work on the medians and sidewalks on South Capitol Street, the railings on the bridge, and other improvements will continue for a few more weeks. The emphasis was on getting the roadway back open, but there is still additional work to be done that can be handled while traffic flows. (But watch for some lane closures during off-hours.)
* (Added) The streetscape improvements along South Capitol won't be completely finished until spring, when the stadium is ready to open.
* Everyone still wants a new bridge. This is stopgap work while the city tries to get the funding for a completely new bridge. Congresswoman Norton remarked that the city's performance in getting this project done early and on budget has not gone unnoticed on Capitol Hill as she works to get the new bridge fully funded.
UPDATE: I've now added a bunch of photos of the new South Capitol-and-Potomac intersection to my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page, and there's also additional photos in the Extended Archive. (Didn't take any new shots further up South Capitol; I'll wait until the streetscape improvements are farther along.) And here's the DDOT announcement of tonight's reopening.
UPATE II: I'll put the links to news coverage of the ceremony here. (There will be a new post tonight/tomorrow for the actual opening.) Here's WTOP's piece. And Channel 9.

Bus Garage Sale Update: No Update
Aug 29, 2007 12:27 PM
Yesterday was the day that WMATA was supposed to open the bids received from developers who want to purchase the Southeastern Bus Garage and its parking lot at 17 M Street (I've archived the Invitation for Bids, which is no longer linked to on their web site). I keep checking around, but have found so far no indication of who the winning bidder is. I suppose it's possible that this might not be announced until the Real Estate, Planning and Development Committee meets on Sept. 13, or even not until the full board meets Sept. 27. If anyone wants to whisper the winner in my ear, I'll listen. And of course I'll keep digging.

Boswell on the Ballpark Parking Issue
Aug 29, 2007 9:22 AM
The Post's Thomas Boswell takes up the stadium parking and transportation issue in this morning's column, "Fans Can't Fill Seats If They Can't Find Spots." He is concerned that the city and the Nationals aren't moving fast enough to get parking lots lined up and ready by Opening Day 2008. He also takes a swipe at the US Department of Transportation for not allowing some of its 800 spaces to be used by the public, an issue that you might recall was brought up at the July 12 National Capital Planning Commission hearing on temporary parking lots at The Yards--the answer basically was "Sept. 11."
If you want to know more about the current plans, my Stadium Parking and Transportation page is a good place to start, with a map showing possible lots, a link to the draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan, and all the news items I've written both here on the blog and in my Ballpark and Beyond columns in the Post on various parking-related issues.
This would also be a good time to note that a public space permit application was filed last week by Lerner Enterprises, to put a parking lot on the land it owns at 1000 South Capitol Street.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Douglass Bridge Opening Thursday
Aug 28, 2007 11:32 AM
Word is out that the Douglass Bridge will be reopened early Thursday morning. More soon.
UPDATE: Here is the media advisory from DDOT; there will be a ceremony with invited speakers on Wednesday afternoon, and then sometime during the overnight hours, before Thursday morning rush, the bridge will be opened to vehicles and pedestrians. It was originally scheduled to reopen Sept. 6, so for those of you counting at home, that means the work will have been completed a week ahead of schedule.
UPDATE II: And here come the torrent of news stories: WashPost, WTOP, Channel 7, Channel 9, Channel 4, Examiner. With more to come, I'm sure.
If you're wandering through here from a web search about the bridge, be sure to check out my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page to see photos from before and during the bridge's rehabilitation.

New Photos and News
Aug 27, 2007 7:19 PM
After a week of days that were either overcast and drizzly or ridiculously hot and humid, today's sunny-and-warm profile gave me no choice but to venture out for a reconaissance mission. My report:
The masses of workers and the well-positioned fences make it nearly impossible to take photos of the current state of South Capitol Street, but I have added a decent photo to my Douglass Bridge makeover page showing the new South Capitol and Potomac intersection, which appears very close to being ready for traffic. Streetlights are in place, curbs have been built, paving has begun, and the historic globe streetlamps are installed all along the length of the bridge.
I also snuck a peek into the huge hole where Monument Realty's Half Street project is underway, and from N Street you can see what appears to be vertical construction is already underway at the bottom of the hole. It's along the M Street portion of the site, which will be home to the 55 M Street office building, which itself will contain the expanded entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. Because that Metro work must be completed by Opening Day 2008, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that they're already pouring concrete and working upward, eight months into construction. The office building itself and the rest of the Half Street Phase I won't be completed until 2009.
And I unexpectedly found Demolished Building entry #138, as the beige garage that has long sat on the northeast side of the Half and I Street intersection bit the dust today, which I'm sure JPI is happy to see, given that 70/100 I Street is growing like a weed right next door.
Speaking of 70/100 I, it got updated photos today, along with Onyx on First and 100 M Street. You can look at those project pages (and their accompanying expanded archives), or you can browse this page showing all photos I've posted from today, which includes a few new shots of Capper Building #2, which I believe is just minutes from opening. And I even finally added a photo of the "Starbucks Coming Soon" sign out in front of the DOT HQ, for the caffeine-deprived.

Weekend Crime Report
Aug 27, 2007 12:09 PM
The MPD First District weekend report by First District Commander Diane Groomes includes a robbery on Friday in Near Southeast. Quoting: "2nd and I St SE at 1615 hrs - as a female citizen was walking down the street -two b/f (teens) jumped out of white car and approached the citizen - they stated hello and then jumped her and grabbed her purse - the females jumped into white car (unk type) and fled with a male driver."
More posts:

The Ballpark Experience, Business at the Ballpark, and Construction Proceeding
Aug 27, 2007 8:32 AM
There are three items related to the new Nationals ballpark in today's Post. In "Hot Dogs, Beer and Business at the Ballpark," the Business section looks at the ritual of using "the forum of sports" to get business deals done, noting that "Entertaining at sporting events has become as much a rite of the business world as the annual review or the PowerPoint presentation" and that baseball "offers a relaxed atmosphere conducive to long, easy conversation." The article says that more than half of the 66 luxury suites at the new stadium have been leased, with their price starting at $150,000 per season.
The Nationals Notebook describes how a contingent of team officials are visiting Houston, Denver, and Los Angeles during the Nats' road trip "in an effort to see more ballparks, from which the team might glean ideas for how to run game operations -- promotions and in-game entertainment -- at the Nationals' new stadium, which will open next spring." Quoting owner Mark Lerner: " 'Just walking around down here, there are reminders of things you don't want to forget,' Lerner said. 'There's in-game stuff, music and all that kind of stuff. But everything from the window where they give out uniforms to [game-day] personnel, to looking at their time-clock system. You learn something every place you go.' " It also confirms the WBJ story from Friday that concessionaire Centerplate has been hired to manage the food service at the new ballpark.
As for this week's ballpark construction update, "The last of the major cranes have left the center of the site, so workers can now concentrate on building the actual playing field. On the main concourse level, there is now a glass storefront at one of the main, high-end restaurants in the park. Drywall framing for the visitors' clubhouse has started. And the new intersection of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue, approaching the South Capitol Street bridge, is also developing, with new curbs, gutters, asphalt, street lights and traffic lines in place."
More posts: Nationals Park

HOK to Design Square 696 Office/Retail
Aug 24, 2007 12:28 PM
Today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal reports that HOK has been hired to design the new four-building 825,000-sq-ft office and retail project by DRI Development on Square 696, the block bounded by First, Half, I, and K. (Well, actually WBJ says it's Nationals ballpark architect HOK Sport that's been hired, but I might think that it's not the sports division of HOK that will be designing this office/retail development, unless there's going to be a soccer stadium on the roof.) DRI now has an information page on Square 696 (also known as "99 I Street"), which says that the project will be developed in four phases, with expected start of the first phase in 2008 and delivery in late 2009; the entire project would be completed in 2012. My Square 696 has some photos if you want to see the block's current state; and it should be noted that this is the block from which AnA Towing decamped last week.

Rumors of a Food Service Deal at the Stadium
Aug 24, 2007 11:59 AM
Also in today's print Washington Business Journal, a report that the Nationals have selected Centerplate to run the new ballpark's concessions and "premium food service," although no one with the Nationals or Centerplate would confirm. The supervisor of the Nationals operation is rumored to be the current general manager of Centerplate's operations at Denver's Invesco Field.
More posts: Nationals Park

Stadium Time-Lapse Video
Aug 23, 2007 2:50 PM
As I've been trying to take some tiny bit of a breather during this late-August lull, I haven't checked the Stadium Web Cam for a few days (horror!), which means I'm late in reporting that there's now a fabulous Time Lapse button you can click to watch the stadium rise from either of the two camera angles available (now labeled "Press Box" and "Centerfield"). And the webcam display software itself has gotten a nice upgrade, too. If you haven't peeked in lately, you'll see that the west parking garage is pretty far along, and work is getting more visible on the east garage.
More posts: Nationals Park

Stadiums and Revitalization
Aug 23, 2007 9:12 AM
Post columnist Marc Fisher writes today about "Ensuring the Promise of DC's New Stadium", noting that "there is nothing automatic about sparking the economic development that stadium proponents cite as the justification for public investment in a ballpark." Fisher traveled to Cleveland, Detroit, and Cincinnati and sees little going on around the new stadiums in those cities, but also cites San Francisco, Denver, and Abe Pollin's Verizon Center at Gallery Place as locations where sports facilities have "added neighborhoods to cities." As for the new Nationals ballpark? "For Washington to do better, it must make certain that developers provide amenities to make the new neighborhood worth visiting and that team owners do their part to make going to a game an experience worth repeating." He also expands on his column in an entry at his Raw Fisher blog.
More posts: Nationals Park

Spay and Neuter Center Ribbon-Cutting on Oct. 4
Aug 22, 2007 2:40 PM
From a Washington Humane Society press release, word arrives that the National Capital Area Spay and Neuter Center currently under construction at 1001 L Street, SE, will be opening in September, and that a ribbon-cutting ceremony has been scheduled for Oct. 4 at 11 am. Quoting: "The new facility will address the desperate need for low-cost spay/neuter of domestic animals in our region with a goal of providing sterilization surgery on up to 75 animals every day, five days a week." The center will also be part of "CatNiPP, the Cat Neighborhood Partnership Program, by sterilizing stray and feral cats to humanely reduce the area's outdoor cat population through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)," a program which aims to "safely trap feral cats, spay or neuter, vaccinate and 'eartip' them, and return the healthy cats to their outdoor homes." Shelters from around the region will transport animals to the facility.
More posts: spayclinic, square 976

AnA Towing Trailer Gone, and Who Might Be Next
Aug 22, 2007 9:24 AM

I see this morning that the green and white trailer that marked the home of AnA Towing near the corner of Half and K is now gone. You may remember my post from Saturday that the lot has closed down and is moving to 2nd Street, SW; I didn't check to see if the trailer has been relocated to their new home. I'm not sure it technically qualifies as a "raze", but I've still added it as #137 on my Demolished Buildings page, making it the 27th building to disappear from Near Southeast in 2007. And I'm guessing that a few more will probably be gone before the end of the year--one definite candidate is the DC Foreign Car garage on K between Half and South Capitol, which was purchased in July for $7.6 million as part of Opus East's $41.5 million acquisition of the 1015 Half Street project, construction of which is expected to begin in October. And, as I recently posted, raze permits are in the pipeline for the old Capper Seniors building at 601 L Street and the low-rise structures on First between M and N.

Al's Deli Building on 8th Street Sold
Aug 21, 2007 12:21 PM
The DC Property Sales database has finished its August recess, and now reports that 1003 8th Street, SE, home to Al's Famous Delicatessen, was bought on July 19 for $620,000 by "1003 8th Street LLC." As of a few days ago, Al's was still open, and I haven't heard about any plans for the site. No sign yet, though, as to whether the old Miles Glass building next door is changing hands, which I thought might be the case after Mac's Tire Service closed at the end of June -- as of now, there's no records in the database indicating that building has been sold, but the database is about a month behind. Here's a photo of the buildings--the building that sold is the four-story one in the middle, and the Miles Glass building is the funky two-story one on the right.
UPDATE, 10/17: Two months later, I finally figure out that the Miles Glass building is actually part of the lot that makes up 1003 8th Street, so it was part of this sale.
More posts: 8th Street, square 906

Walking Tour On for Sept. 9 - Filled Up
Aug 20, 2007 11:17 PM
UPDATE: There's been a pretty good response, and the group is looking sizeable, so I'm not accepting any more people for this tour. Sorry!
Thanks to everyone who's expressed an interest in a walking tour of Near Southeast--I'm now confirming that I will indeed lead this tour, on Sunday, Sept. 9, starting at 10:30 am. My plan is for it to take about two hours to cover a route that's just under two miles, so who knows, it may go quicker depending on how fast our feet and chatter take us. If you've already e-mailed me to let me know you're interested, no need to write again; if I haven't heard from you and you still want to come along, drop me a line, although it's filling up fast. This is all weather permitting, of course.
More posts:

Two L Street Robberies on Friday
Aug 20, 2007 5:18 PM
On Friday there were two robberies in Near Southeast, according to the Weekend Report posted today by First District Commander Diane Groomes on the 1D mailing list. Quoting:
"100 blk of L ST SE at 1600 hours - Anns Beauty supply - owner reports two black males in their early twenties entered - one grabbed the owner and demanded that she give up all the money in the register - she complied and they fled out the door - money taken.
"600 L ST SE at 2220 hours - a family of four was walking down the street - when a black male in his twenties came up from behind with a weapon and stated" Im not joking - I will shoot give up your stuff" - they allcomplied and the male fled South on 7th ST towards M ST."
More posts:

'Investigating Where We Live' at the Building Museum
Aug 20, 2007 1:32 PM
From now through Nov. 25, the National Building Museum is running the exhibition "Investigating Where We Live: The River Has Two Sides." Designed by students in the museum's summer outreach program, it displays photos, drawings, collages, poems, stories, and more about Anacostia, Congress Heights, and the Navy Yard neighborhoods. (Museum location and hours here.) There's also an entry about the exhibition on Tommy Wells's blog.
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