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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: August 2007
In the Pipeline
1244 South Capitol
Yards/Parcel O
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
JBG/Akridge/Half St.
Ex-Monument/Half St.
Yards/Parcel A
Southeast Blvd.
Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
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)
100 M ('08)
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)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
Posts on Food/Fun
Retail News

Rearview Mirror
Blog Archive
Demolished Buildings
Historic Photos & Maps
Past Events Timeline
On the Hill, '59-'69
From Above, '49-'08
Gas Prices Gallery

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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!)

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.

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!

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.


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.

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

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.

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.

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."
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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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.


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

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.
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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."
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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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Monday's Post has a huge overview of all of the coming development plans along the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, entitled "Envisioning City Life Along the Rivers." There's also a big interactive map showing the locations of planned projects and their approximate completion dates, along with animated 360-degree panoramic photos showing what the area looks like currently.
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With Saturday being one of those glorious clear days, I of course raced out with camera to make the rounds. 70/100 I, Onyx on First, and 100 M continue to rise, so the usual photos of those are now posted. The Stadium Construction Gallery is updated with views of the ballpark's northern and western vistas, which are changing markedly thanks to the work being done on the parking garages and on South Capitol Street in conjunction with the Douglass Bridge work.
And while you might think it's pretty much become rote for me to watch these changes, I must admit that when I scurried very briefly out into the middle of South Capitol Street at P Street to grab a shot or two, I was just about overcome by what it's all starting to look like. The holes are cut for the new South Capitol median, the curbs are being put in place for the new wider sidewalks, and the stadium's fake-limestone (I'm sorry, "precast concrete") exterior just pops in the late afternoon sun. Check my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page photos that try to capture the new vista, along with a new Expanded Project Archive that I built if you can't get enough of looking at the before-and-afters of this stretch of road.
UPDATE: Oops, forgot to add the obligatory link to all the new photos on one page. There are also some additional here-and-there shots of spots that needed fresh photos.

The departure of "light industrial uses" from Near Southeast continues, as within the past week or so AnA Towing has closed its lot on Half Street between I and K. A sign is posted indicating that they've moved to 1620 2nd Street, SW, down in Buzzards Point--which did not please the two young folk I ran into who were there trying to claim their car at the old lot. AnA's block was purchased back in April for $64 milliion by Transwestern subsidiary DRI Development, who have posted signs announcing an office/retail project. With the clearing out first of the firewood company at 1st and I and now AnA, this leaves just Four Star Cab and Merritt Cab at First and K occupying the block. No word yet on when the DRI project (99 I Street) might get underway. You can see my Square 696/99 I Street page for photos and more information. (UPDATED to correct the appellation of "AnA.")

Along with the Square 701 buildings mentioned yesterday, there are still a few buildings to be razed in Near Southeast (though not many, with 136 of them having already been demolished in the past four-plus years). None of them, however, are as big as the old Capper Seniors building at 601 L Street. All of its former residents have been moved out, and preparations are being made to bring down this building late this year, which will certainly be the most striking of all the demolitions I've watched. In the meantime, as you can see from the latest Approved Building Permit, interior demolition will be starting soon so that asbestos abatement can be taken care of before the building itself can be demolished. In its place there will eventually be a 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City, though no timeline has been announced; you can see a rendering of it on my old Capper Seniors page. In the interim, look for a surface parking lot to help ease the Nationals ballpark parking crunch. (Oh, and check out the new photo on that Stadium Transportation and Parking page. I just couldn't resist. I'm sorry.)

In what can't be considered a surprise, raze permit applications were filed in June for the remaining buildings along N, First, and Cushing just north of the stadium. This site is where three landowners are coming together to develop a combined office, residential, and retail project that would stretch from M Street to N, and is next to the big hole in the ground where Monument Realty's Half Street project is underway. (The raze permit for Normandie Liquors at First and M, part of the same development site, was filed separately.) No word on when the demolition or the development will get started, but I would imagine there's some interest in seeing these buildings demolished before Opening Day 2008. You can see more photos of these buildings on my Ballpark Distrct page and in the Photo Archive.

More posts: staddis, Square 701

With so many projects now really moving forward, I'm thinking that it might be fun to lead a walking tour of Near Southeast, if there's any interest. I've done a couple before for Nationals fans, but would open it up this time to anyone who wants to come along and doesn't mind a lot of walking through construction dust.
I'm aiming for around 11:0010:30 am on Sunday, September 9, doing the loop around the stadium and up the "new" South Capitol Street, and past the various buildings under construction north of M Street, and maybe into The Yards and toward Capitol Quarter. In other words, be prepared to hike a pretty fair distance--I imagine it might take about two hours to do the whole thing.
But first I need to gauge whether there's enough people interested, so if you think you'd want to do something like this, let me know by sending a quick note via my contact form. I'll make an official "go/no-go" announcement soon, depending on whether there appears to be critical mass or not.
UPDATE: I'm being reminded that Sept. 9 is opening day for the Redskins, at FedEx field at 1 pm. So I'm shifting the idea back a half-hour to a 10:30 start time; and of course, if people need to peel away earlier than that, that's fine.
UPDATE, 8/21: Just like that, I officially made the tour a "go," and it filled up. If you missed out this time, sorry!

More posts:

It was reported in Wednesday's Post that a contract has been awarded to build at Ft. Belvoir the new home of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the super-secret, don't-even-think-of-pointing-that-camera-at-this-building agency that currently occupies the windowless white box at First and M. As part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan, NGA must be moved to Ft. Belvoir by Sept. 15, 2011; and they actually have pretty detailed page about the move on their web site, if you want to know more. It estimates that workers at what's known as Building 213 at The Yards/Southeast Federal Center would be moving in late 2010 and 2011. Once they're gone, that very valuable lot at First and M would be redeveloped as office space as part of the later phases of construction at The Yards, presumably without the high fences and gun-toting guards.


The folks at DDOT were nice enough to let me tag along today on a visit to the Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover, and of course I took a whole pile of photos. Check back later today to see them--I need time to plow through the hundreds I took to find the one or two that are actually any good.
UPDATE: I've now added photos from today to the Makeover page (look for the icon). I might keep tinkering, though.

It must be admitted that lately I've spent most of my Near Southeast on-the-ground time west of New Jersey Avenue, given that all of the active projects are in that area. So I'm embarrassed to see that there's now fence drapes around the lot at 801 Virginia Avenue, advertising a new web site for this condo-and-retail project, at There's not really much more there than a somewhat balky Flash video and a preview list registration form, but if you're interested in this 40,000-sq-ft project that is slated to have 17 residential units (with parking) on top of ground-floor retail and some office space, take a look. There's also the web site of the realtor selling the commercial space, for additional detail. I've updated my own 801 Virginia page with a few new photos as well.
More posts: 801va, 8th Street

Yesterday Metro posted an update on its Southeastern Bus Garage Replacement page, announcing that "WMATA staff will be recommending to its Board of Directors that, rather implementing the [construction of a new bus garage at DC Village] through three phases, WMATA should design and construct the ultimate 250-bus facility at the outset with an opening in late 2010." Because Metro and the city both very strongly feel that WMATA should be out of the current Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M before the opening of the baseball stadium in April 2008, Metro is now starting an analysis of four alternative plans to make this happen: leasing/upgrading an existing crane rental facility on W Street, NE; upgrading the Carmen Turner Facility and using the Landover Bus Garage in Landover, MD; leasing and developing land on Howard Road, SE; or reassigning the 114 buses currently at the garage to other facilities. (Option #5 is staying at Half and M.) They've posted an Alternatives Analysis presentation, and will be having public meetings and briefings as they work through the options to make a decision. If you're interested in the plans for the new garage at DC Village, the project overview slides on the project page might be of interest.
In the meantime, Aug. 28 is the scheduled date for Metro to pick the developer with the winning bid to purchase the Half and M site.

The new buildings now coming out of the ground, adding one floor a week, are keeping me busy, so there are updated photos again on the Onyx on First, 100 M, and 70/100 I project pages. I also took some new photos of the 909 New Jersey site, as the hole being dug there gets deeper. And I ventured across to Poplar Point for the first time in a while and got a long-range photo comparing the northern end of the Douglass Bridge after the lowering/demolition of the northern part of the approach, which are now on my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page. You can also browse all the new photos on a single page.

According to (story free for seven days), JPI as expected has completed acquisition of the eastern two-thirds of the block bounded by I, K, Half, and South Capitol, comprising the Wendy's lot and the lot to its east, with plans to build what is being called "Jefferson at the Ballpark," a 416-unit residential building at 23 I Street. This will be JPI's fourth building on I Street, joining 70/100 I and 909 New Jersey, which are all already under construction. Construction on 23 I is expected to begin in August 2008, and will raise JPI's total number of units in Near Southeast to 1,350. According to the article, this building will be "green," and will have a dog run and large open courtyard. For what the block currently looks like, check my not-terribly-exciting 23 I page. When the DC Property Sales database ends its summer vacation (apparently even web sites get to take August off in Washington), I'll tell you how much JPI paid for the 43,313-sq-ft lot, last assessed at $21.7 million.

The official web site for the new Nationals ballpark has posted some photos from the July 11 Topping Out ceremony (and the actual lifting of the beam the next day) as well as from a visit by Mayor Fenty a few weeks earlier. Their Stadium Construction Cam, of course, never sleeps--check out the continuing progress on the parking garages and outfield restaurant on Camera #1 and the admin building on Camera #2. And if you can't get enough pictures of the stadium, you can always browse my unofficial web site, including the photos I took from the topping out.
More posts: Nationals Park

Those of you who have a subscription to Roll Call might be interested in "Speaking Up Pays Off on Capitol Hill," which discusses how public input from Capitol Hill residents can alter the city's development plans, with much of the piece centering around how citizen feedback seems to have helped scuttle the planned move of the police department to 225 Virginia Ave. The July 18 public meeting--which I summarized here--did get many issues about the move raised to the Office of Property Management, even though director Lars Etzkorn probably needed a few stiff drinks when he got home that night after the pummeling the plan took. But is the move truly off? There's been no news one way or the other since the Post wrote the not-so-fast piece (which no other news outlets have followed up on), so at this point we're probably going to have to wait until the DC government starts back up again, after Labor Day. (h/t to reader B for the link)

To those who ask me from time to time when the Department of Public Works' operations at the old trash transfer station at New Jersey Avenue and K Street might be closed down, I offer this quote from the Post: "As a result of a hearing granted representatives of the East Washington Citizens' Association, the Commissioners yesterday announced that they would endeavor to change the location of the present garbage transfer station, and K Street and New Jersey avenue southeast, provided the arrangement does not call for the expenditure of too large a sum of money." Said M.I. Weller, vice president of the association, " '[O]ne or two improvements of large dimensions are in progress in our section of the city, and really we can spare the garbage transfer station.' "
Oh, wait. This report is from April 7, 1905.
Neighbors protested about the "noxious fumes" for many years, and finally an "odorless, dust-free" station was built, opening in July 1949. That building still stands on the site today, though it hasn't been used as a trash transfer operation for some years.
(Plans from the current century call for a mixed-income 322-unit apartment building to be built on the site as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Hope VI public housing redevelopment, but construction probably won't start before 2010. This site has also been eyed as a possible location for parking as part of the shoe-horning of MPD into the Post Plant, which may or may not still be happening in some fashion.)

From Monday's Examiner: ""District government leaders are now in general agreement that commissioning and purchasing artwork for the Washington Nationals' new ballpark will not violate the $611 million stadium construction cap. Mayor Adrian Fenty has moved to shift $770,000 from the city's equipment leasing fund and into the budget of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which will use it to purchase artwork, including sculptures, for the 41,000-seat stadium. [...] The arts commission has issued three "calls for artists" this year for projects tied to the stadium -- for bronze figures, for "garage enhancements" and for a "suspended installation" in the main concourse. The art will be temporary and eventually moved to another location[.]"

More posts: Nationals Park

After months of a placeholder site, a new information-filled web site for The Yards was launched today (maybe they don't want the world to know, but I happened to stumble across it, so I'm spilling the beans). The biggest news I unearthed while browsing around is that they're saying that the 5.5-acre waterfront park (or at least some portion of it) is scheduled to be open in summer 2009, a year earlier than some previous dates I had heard. There's also a nice map showing the three phases of the project, with the initial projects I've described on my Yards page coming online in 2009 and 2010--the retail renovation of the Boilermarker Shop and 170 apartments at the Pattern Joiner Shop [and the park] scheduled to be completed in 2009, and the office building at 401 M Street (with a grocery store), 271 condos at Building 202, and 180 apartments in a new building at 4th and Tingey all expected in 2010. Phase two would be more residential and retail buildings opening between 2011 and 2013. Phase three would be the portions of the site along First Street and west of New Jersey.
If you want to know what it all looks like now, of course, my Yards pages can help you with that.

More posts: Retail, The Yards, Yards Park

Having watched the JDLand spouse go bonkers lately pouring through old photos of Washington DC that are available on the web (mainly at the Library of Congress web site), I decided to hop on the bandwagon and pull together what photos I could find online of Near Southeast through the years onto a new Historic Photos page. They're mostly overhead shots, though there are some street level ones (especially of streetcars near what is now the "Blue Castle" at 8th and M). I posted just a few representative shots, so follow the links beneath the photos if you're interested in seeing more images, especially of the Navy Yard (on the Naval Historical Center web site) and of DC's streetcars (at Dave's Rail Pix site). I also was recently sent a few photos from the archive of the old Alley Dwelling Authority (the precursor to the DC Housing Authority); hopefully the rest of those 1930s photos (showing slums in the old Ellen Wilson area and Southwest) can eventually be posted where folks can get to them.
And soon I'll start posting on the blog from time to time short excerpts of old Washington Post news items from the neighborhood to continue the walk down memory lane. (My degree is in history, so it's rather amazing it's taken me this long to do this. I guess all the current events have kept me plenty busy.)
UPDATE: One item of interest I've uncovered today: In the overhead shot from 1939 on the Historic Photos page, you can see a big building at 4th and M streets; I've determined that this is the original John P. Van Ness School, which was opened in 1909. The current Van Ness school, at 5th and M, replaced the old one in 1956.

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From Friday's Washington Times: "The Washington Nationals have contributed less than $8 million toward the construction of their new ballpark in the District, though club officials publicly said the team would spend as much as $50 million on stadium improvements. The $611 million, city-funded ballpark along South Capitol Street is on schedule to be completed by March of next year, and it appears likely the stadium will be built with just a handful of upgrades and enhancements from the Nationals. The team's contributions include between $2.5 million and $3 million for an expansion of the ballpark's center-field restaurant, about $2 million to improve the stadium suites and about $3 million to upgrade the scoreboard and video display." The article goes on to highlight the various statements from team officials over the past few months about the size of possible contributions, but also lists the type of outlays the team may be making that will contribute to the ballpark-going experience.
More posts: Nationals Park

If Wednesday's news that the city had decided against the planned move of many functions of the Metropolitan Police Department to the old Post Plant Department at 225 Virginia Ave. was a shocker, then tonight's headline is doubly so: "Police Move is Not Off After All," says Friday's Post. "Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's office said yesterday that the city has not abandoned plans to move police headquarters into an industrial building the city is leasing in Southeast Washington -- contradicting statements made by the District's top property official. [...] [A Fenty spokeswoman] said that the mayor had made no decision and that statements to the contrary were premature and made without his knowledge or approval."
City council member Phil Mendelson, quoted yesterday as saying that calling off the move was a bad idea, is quoted as saying that he thinks that OPM director Lars Etzkorn would not have made Wednesday's announcement without getting approval from the mayor's office, and that he believes "maybe the administration is changing their mind, and that's good." The article does quote the mayor's spokeswoman as saying that the deal to lease the building still "could make sense for the city but not necessarily the police department. We're figuring out what our best option is."
In other words, this news doesn't appear to mean that the MPD move is back on. But we'll wait and see what the principals say next. And then wait a few days to see what they then say after that. And then perhaps wait a few more days to see if it changes again.

Oops, totally forgot to link to today's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra, which covered the concerns about getting the school buses off of Canal Park, and the news item about the Ride the Ducks company looking to build a boat ramp down at Buzzards Point. (What can I say--I got a year older today, so clearly in my advanced years I'm getting forgetful.)
More posts: Canal Park

A press release from the DC Office of Property Management (h/t to reader C and the City Paper):
"Lars Etzkorn, Director of the DC Office of Property Management (OPM), today announced that OPM has canceled the move of major elements of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to the former Washington Star/Post printing facility at 225 Virginia Avenue, SE. 'We have found this deal to be too expensive for the District,' Etzkorn said. 'Fortunately we realized before it was too late that forcing three dissimilar police functions in this building (a local police station and its cell-block, a warehouse for secure evidence storage along with regular office space) is not cost-effective. In addition, we have found the facility to be inconsistent with the adjacent neighborhood. OPM is now studying the future of the building.' When the lease was signed in December 2006, the following MPD elements were planned to move to 225 Virginia Avenue, SE: evidence storage, violent crimes, narcotics and special investigation, special operations, the superintendent of detectives, MPD Headquarters and the First District Station now in Southwest." (emphases mine)
Wow. More to come, I'm sure.
UPDATE: Here's the Post's piece on the decision (there will probably be a more complete one later today/in tomorrow's paper).
UPDATE II: The Washington Business Journal ads a bit of info. (Though it's also a good exercise in journalism literacy for lay folks of how news items get written off of a press release in such a way that it appears the writer interviewed someone when they actually didn't.) Meanwhile, the Voice of the Hill does it right (and adds still more detail). And, for the heck of it, here's my summary of the July community meeting that let OPM and MPD know in no uncertain terms how strongly residents were against the plan.
UPDATE III: The Post's expanded piece for Thursday's paper is now up, noting that the city is on the hook for $542,000 a month in rent for 225 Virginia, but that while there's a cost for holding the building and not moving the police into it, "That cost is not going to drive bad decision-making. It is more important to protect long-term interests of the District of Columbia," according to Lars Etzkorn. And apparently council member Phil Mendelson (who chairs the Public Safety Committee) was not consulted on this decision. The priority now is to find a new home for the 1D station, so that the new Consolidated Crime Lab can be built at 4th and School SW as planned.


The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District has launched its "real" web site today, at The BID covers all of Near Southeast, plus Buzzards Point, and the web site contains information about the neighborhood, renderings of upcoming projects, maps of development plans, and links to news stories. In other words, just like my site! So perhaps I'm now on the road to being muscled out of business.....
UPDATE: I should note, after hearing a few questions, that the "Berdor's" rendering on the site's homepage is from renderings for The Yards's Building 167 (the old Boiler Maker's Shop), showing what the exterior of the building might look like after its renovation into a retail space. It doesn't mean (necessarily) that a certain national bookstore chain is coming to that spot, at least not that's been announced. And, if it were, it probably would fix the typo in its sign. :-)

About a month ago I posted about the closure of the combo Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell at 1101 South Capitol Street, SW, noting that the site had been purchased in late May for $5.5 million by "URA Ventures", another name for Urban Realty Advisors. So, when I saw a couple days ago the signs that have now gone up at the site (on the corner of South Capitol and L) touting leasing opportunities, with "Ruben Companies" in big letters at the top, I was a little a'skeered I had screwed up. But with some e-mail inquiries and some digging in the DC Land Records (you all owe me $8), I've determined that URA borrowed the bucks from Ruben Capital Holdings to buy the site. So they're one big happy co-venture. According to the folks at Ruben, long-term plans for the site call for an office building.
This deal helps the Ruben folks to corner the market on properties on the southern two corners of South Capitol and L, since they are also developing a 350,000-sq-ft office building across the street at 1100 South Capitol. (Ruben also owns two-thirds of Square 648, bounded by South Capitol, L, Half, and K streets SW, but since neither of those two lots touch South Capitol Street, I'm blissfully ignoring them.)
While reading the deed from the KFC sale, I came across one paragraph that I'm sure is no surprise to folks in the biz but struck me as pretty funny. In completing the deal, the buyer agreed agree that, for the next 20 years, "no portion of the property shall be used for the operation of any facility deriving 25 percent or more of its gross sales of prepared food from the sale of (i) Mexican food; (ii) chicken or chicken products, including without limitation chicken wings; or (iii) pizza, pasta, Italian sandwiches, or other Italian food products; or (iv) hamburgers or (v) seafood. The foregoing food use restrictions shall not apply to: a) full-service, sit-down, dine-in restaurants, which offer alcoholic beverages and do not offer fast food over the counter or by means of a drive-through service or b) food service facilities which are intended for the use or convenience of tenants or occupants of improvements constructed on the property, or their guests or invitees, provided the food service provider shall not be a national or regional (i.e., more than 10 outlets) quick service restaurant concept." So, if you were hoping for a new fast-food joint in that spot, you're going to be disappointed.

Better late than never, here's two events this week that might be of interest:
Tuesday, Aug. 7 is "National Night Out", which promotes police-community partnerships. Police Service Area (PSA) 105, which covers southern Capitol Hill and Near Southeast, is having a baby parade at 6 pm at the 1D1 substation at 5th and E, SE, followed by a flashlight walk around the neighborhood at 7 pm.
On Wednesday (Aug. 8) Tommy Wells and DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee are having a town hall on education, at 8 pm at Maury Elementary School (1250 Constitution Ave. NE). The goal of the meeting is to provide an opportunity to meet the new Chancellor and get information on her plans for the future of D.C. Public schools.

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The word is now out that Carol Anderson-Austra, the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation's project director for Canal Park, is not among those AWC staffers moving over to the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. As I mentioned in my "Whither Canal Park?" entry of a few days ago, the park itself appears to be at an impasse thanks to the issue of moving the school buses, so I'm sure residents and interested observers will be looking forward to word from the DMPED folks as to how they're planning to move the park forward.
Speaking of the move of AWC to DMPED, DC Cable Channel 16 is replaying the ceremony from a few weeks ago when Mayor Fenty signed the bill transferring AWC and the NCRC to city control. It's on this week on Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 pm (also available via streaming video if you don't have DC cable).
More posts: Canal Park

It's not the water taxi ramp at the foot of First Street that baseball fans have been waiting for, but the Ride the Ducks amphibious boat tour company has applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a 180-foot boat ramp on the east end of T Street SW in Buzzards Point. (At first I thought this was outside my self-imposed Near Southeast boundaries, but a glance at the ramp's proposed location shows that it's technically east of South Capitol Street and in my realm after all.) There's a public comment period until August 27, so if this is something you're interested in, read the very detailed public notice for more information and for instructions on where to forward your input.
This is not the "DC Ducks" company that's been operating around the DC area for a number of years now--"Ride the Ducks" currently has operations in six cities, including Baltimore.

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I couldn't bear the icky gray photos I had to post last week with the overcast weather, so I went out again this morning and took a new batch of icky gray photos. So check the main Stadium Exterior Construction Gallery as well as the north/south/east/west additional views. The most striking change at the stadium in the last week is the work near Half and N on the west parking garage, which now has its fake limestone facade that matches the stadium.
I also added a couple shots of the Douglass Bridge extreme makeover, although this time there aren't really any new pictures of the bridge, but some updated shots of South Capitol Street, which has now been paved from the freeway south almost to P Street. (And kudos to the nice construction worker who told me about "this really cool site on the web" that's tracking the construction.) I also updated a few shots on my main South Capitol Street page (the first comparison is the most striking). Both of these pages are getting away from me a bit, and so are going to need some TLC to clean them up during this August lull, but today I opted for speed.
And I also updated the Onyx on First and 70/100 I Street pages again, with Onyx now having another floor added in the last week. And I managed to find a couple new 70 I angles to make up for my lack of access to I Street. (Speaking of I Street, I should note that in the past few weeks the old firewood lot that will eventually be part of the 99 I Street development has been cleared out. And, for that matter, I don't think I've mentioned that digging has truly begun at JPI's 909 New Jersey Ave. residential project.)
You can also just browse all of today's photos on a single page, and click the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see older photos in the archive of a certain location.

The surveys of DC-area bridges in the wake of the Minneapolis collapse continue, and today the Post reveals that both the South Capitol Street/Frederick Douglass Bridge and the 11th Street Bridges have been designated "structurally deficient", along with 13 other bridges in DC. But, before you panic: "It is a broad designation that covers major deterioration in a bridge's key components but is not a list of teetering bridges." And, of course, the Douglass Bridge is getting repaired now, with hopes for a new bridge in the coming years, and the 11th Street Bridges are scheduled for an overhaul in 2009. The Post also has another bridge-related piece on how construction of steel bridges has changed over the years, with the Douglass Bridge used as an example.
(For one more Douglass Bridge-related link, the Dr. Gridlock Get There blog entry from Thursday about the progress of the Extreme Makeover was excerpted in today's paper.)

I'm hearing scuttlebutt that today is the day that staffers at the being-dismantled Anacostia Waterfront Corporation are finding out whether they and their jobs are being migrated into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. So tread lightly around 1100 New Jersey this afternoon, because the mood may not be all sunshine and roses.
As always, the question on many peoples' minds is, how will this transfer affect AWC projects in Near Southeast? And Canal Park always seems to be at the top of that list. While the commotion has now subsided over whether zoning changes had suddenly paved the way for ballpark parking on the Canal Park site, residents and activists are starting to be concerned that the city may not be moving with enough speed to get the school buses off the site and get the park built by its announced completion date of Spring 2008. I wrote a few weeks ago about testimony to the city council that negotiations to get the buses removed were continuing, but that no deal had been struck.
But now word is out that the city is working to create a new citywide school bus parking lot in Prince George's County, and there's rumor and speculation that the Canal Park buses would not be moved until that lot has been created. An open question is whether pressure from local leaders could persuade the city to find a temporary location for the Canal Park buses while waiting for the PG County site to come together, so that the park could move forward. The park is in ANC 6D's territory, and of course city councilman's Tommy Wells ward.
To make Canal Park fans feel slightly better, here's the just-posted minutes from the June 21 Commission on Fine Arts meeting, which, if you scroll way way way down, include descriptions of the public art for the park by sculptor David Hess that the CFA reviewed and approved. (Alas, no images.)

In a Post article today surveying the state of DC-area bridges in the wake of the 35W Bridge collapse in Minneapolis, there is this little item of note: "For instance, there are plans for a major overhaul and redesign of the 11th Street Bridge beginning in 2009, according to [DDOT] spokesman Erik Linden." The Environmental Impact Study completed last year came up with a number of potential reconfigurations of the 11th Street Bridges to allow for traffic to exit and go northward on DC-295 (instead of having to cross the Anacostia on Pennsylvania Avenue and then make that hair-raising left turn). Visit the 11th Street Bridges EIS web site if you're interested in what the plans are, although we're still waiting for the official announcement of which configuration has been chosen.
And, of course, in the wake of Minneapolis, the two-month closure of the Douglass Bridge for not only the reconfiguration of its north end but also considerable work on its deck and undersides might be seen in a different light now....

WTOP has a piece on last night's stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan open house, emphasizing that planners are still looking for 5,000-7,000 parking spaces, and that street parking anywhere near the stadium on gamedays will get you ticketed and towed. Ken Laden of DDOT is quoted as saying that they're hoping 50% of stadiumgoers will arrive via Metro; and the article says that "Metro is preparing for that crunch. The transit agency says it will add up to 18 additional cars on game days during the pre- and post-game peak hours."
UPDATE: Speaking of parking, if you haven't checked in lately, the Stadium Construction Cam shows great progress in the past few days on the west parking garage on the north end of the ballpark site.

More posts: parking, Nationals Park

I'm a few days late with this, but it's still worth marking the milestone that infrastructure work has now indeed begun at Capitol Quarter, on the northwest corner of 5th and L. Considering that the announcement in 2001 of the plans for revitalizing Capper/Carrollsburg was one of the first things that got me interested in goings-on south of the freeway, it's quite satisfying to see that forward movement (beyond just demolition) has finally started.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

From today's Washington Times: "The head of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission yesterday said he would like to increase the pace of work on the Nationals' new ballpark to ensure that it is completed in time for Opening Day of next season. Commission CEO Greg O'Dell said he has asked the stadium construction team, led by Clark Construction of Bethesda, to boost the number of workers at the site from 720 to the maximum of 900." And yet: "The project is on time and on budget[.]" The blurb also mentions that the commission is looking into non-baseball uses for the ballpark (such as concerts), since the city has the rights to use the stadium for 18 events each year.

More posts: Nationals Park

Dr. Gridlock got a tour of the Douglass Bridge makeover on Wednesday, and reports about it today on his Get There blog (with pictures). Next milestone? "They are a few days away from the concrete pour that will connect the lowered roadway to an approach slab that will bring it down to street level. The workers also will install new lighting on the bridge, finish removing the old, ugly railing along the sides and replace it with something more decorative, and finish the deck repair and paving. 'Come back in two weeks and you'll be amazed at the changes,' [DDOT acting associate director Ardeshir] Nafici said." (Not mentioned by the Doctor but worth plugging again: the M Street overpass will also be getting the new, more decorative railings in place of the current chain link fence.) There's also paving going on along the northern stretches of South Capitol Street.
Overall, "Nafici says that's been going remarkably well, and the bridge reconstruction is on schedule. They say they'll be done by their deadline of Sept. 7, but are hoping to finish up before that."

I'm pretty sure that this blog has posts about more than just parking lots, but it sure doesn't seem like it lately in my Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post, as this week's items are about the draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan and the various Zoning Commission votes in the past week on temporary surface lots at The Yards and other locations around Near Southeast. You can also check out Stadium Parking page for more background on the scrambling to find enough parking spaces for ballpark goers, and my Yards page for more information and renderings about the plans for its redevelopment. And if you're interested in the TOPP, don't forget the open house tonight from 6 to 8 pm at 20 M Street, SE.

Thursday's Post reports that the new Nationals ballpark "will have wheelchair seating in nearly every section and will fully comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act," which "requires sports arenas to reserve 1 percent of their seating for wheelchairs with affixed companion seats." The Justice Department pushed stadium architects HOK Sport to include more disabled seating in the luxury suites, while architects with the Paralyzed Veterans of America recommended "inconspicuous, wheelchair-accessible seating throughout the stadium -- from luxury boxes to the cheap seats" along with "designs that make the ticket booths and concessions more accessible."
More posts: Nationals Park

Just a reminder (as I scramble desperately for fresh content during the August Dead Zone) that tomorrow night (Thursday, Aug. 2) is the open house on the new ballpark's Transportation Operations and Parking Plan. There will be information stations "manned by DDOT, Sports Commission and traffic consultants to allow residents to learn about Traffic Operations and Parking; Transit, Pedestrian Access and Bikes; and Residential Parking Permits, [and] Curbside Management (including shuttle and charter buses)." If you haven't peeked at it yet, here's the TOPP executive summary, or, if you're in need of 8 or 10 hours of light reading, the complete 58 MB version (summary, contents, and appendices). Or you can read my quick impressions from a few days ago.
The open house is at the new 20 M Street office building at Half and M, SE, from 6 to 8 pm.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

A few weeks back I linked to a new video created by the Washington DC Economic Partnership showcasing all of the plans for the Anacostia waterfront, not only in Near Southeast but also the other areas along the Anacostia River. Since then, the WDCEP has launched a full web site devoted to this "Capitol Riverfront" area, with details on the various projects in the pipeline. While there's not much there about Near Southeast that you can't already find on certain obsessive-compulsive web sites, there's a good deal of information and renderings about planned projects in Southwest and Anacostia. (And you can watch the video again, too.)
Note: this is not the web site for the new Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District--that site is still under development, though it will probably feature much of the same information, specific just to Near Southeast and Buzzards Point.
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