Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - August 2007
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Post: Envisioning City Life Along the Rivers
Aug 19, 2007 10:16 PM
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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Lots of New Photos - Stadium, SouthCap, Onyx, Etc.
Aug 19, 2007 9:20 AM
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.

Towing Company Leaves Near Southeast
Aug 18, 2007 1:51 PM
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.")

Raze Application Underway for Old Capper Seniors
Aug 18, 2007 9:17 AM
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.)

Raze Permits for First/N/Cushing Buildings
Aug 17, 2007 10:24 AM

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

Interested in a Near Southeast Walking Tour?
Aug 16, 2007 8:42 AM

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!

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Geospatial Agency's New Home
Aug 16, 2007 8:17 AM

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.

Douglass Bridge Visit - Photos Now Posted
Aug 15, 2007 10:59 AM
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.

Web Site for 801 Virginia Ave.
Aug 15, 2007 8:47 AM
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 admiralcondo.com. 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

Latest on WMATA Bus Garage Move
Aug 14, 2007 1:27 PM
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.

New Photos, Again
Aug 14, 2007 9:48 AM
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.

JPI Acquires Land for Project #4
Aug 14, 2007 9:12 AM
According to GlobeSt.com (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.

More Photos of Stadium Topping Out, Fenty Visit
Aug 14, 2007 9:06 AM
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

Roll Call on the MPD Move
Aug 13, 2007 10:35 PM
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)

Citizens Call for Closure of Trash Transfer Station
Aug 13, 2007 9:27 AM
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.)

Art Back on at the Stadium
Aug 13, 2007 8:39 AM

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

New Web Site for The Yards
Aug 10, 2007 7:43 PM

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

New Page: Historic Photos of Near Southeast
Aug 10, 2007 12:46 PM

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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Extra Stadium Money Not Flowing from Nationals
Aug 10, 2007 10:53 AM
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

Fenty Backpedaling on Canceling the MPD Move
Aug 9, 2007 11:56 PM
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.
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