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MPD Not Moving to 225 Virginia Ave
Aug 8, 2007 4:01 PM
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.
Here's the Post's piece
on the decision (there will probably be a more complete one later today/in tomorrow's paper).
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.
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.
Capitol Riverfront BID Web Site Launched
Aug 8, 2007 11:12 AM
The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District has launched its "real" web site today, at capitolriverfront.org
. 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.....
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. :-)
More on the Sale of the Former KFC/Taco Bell Site
Aug 6, 2007 11:13 PM
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.
Community Events This Week
Aug 6, 2007 9:42 PM
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.
Canal Park Project Manager Not Part of AWC Shift
Aug 6, 2007 7:20 PM
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).
Ducks Boat Ramp in Buzzards Point
Aug 6, 2007 9:00 AM
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.
Photos Updated Again
Aug 5, 2007 6:13 PM
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
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.
11th Street and Douglass Bridges 'Structurally Deficient'
Aug 5, 2007 10:09 AM
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.
AWC Staffers Getting the Word Today; And Whither Canal Park?
Aug 3, 2007 2:22 PM
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
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.)
11th Street Bridges Rehab in 2009?
Aug 3, 2007 11:50 AM
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....
TOP on TOPP
Aug 3, 2007 10:15 AM
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."
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.
Capper Infrastructure Work Now Underway
Aug 2, 2007 8:06 PM
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.
Stadium On Time; DCSEC Wants it More On Time
Aug 2, 2007 12:42 PM
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.
Douglass Bridge Update from Dr. Gridlock
Aug 2, 2007 9:22 AM
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."
Another Week, Another Column About Parking
Aug 2, 2007 8:58 AM
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
Stadium to Fully Comply with ADA
Aug 2, 2007 8:51 AM
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."
Reminder: TOPP Open House Thursday
Aug 1, 2007 4:26 PM
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
New Capitol Riverfront Web Site
Aug 1, 2007 12:12 PM
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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