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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: September 2005
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12 Blog Posts

More than half of the owners of land within the stadium footprint are planning to fight the price offers they've received from the DC government, according to the Post's "Battle Brewing for Stadium Tracts." Two examples of owners going to court because the offers they've received are too low: land assessed at $241,000 given a purchase offer of $1.2 million, and land assessed at $654,000 given an offer of $1.8 million. The article also mentions the problems some of the owners are having trying to find new locations for their businesses. UPDATE: The print version of this article (in the 9/25 Post) was accompanied by a map showing all of the parcels, their 2005 tax assessments, and what the city has offered; however, this graphic hasn't been posted on the web site. UPDATE II: I've created a list showing all the stadium parcels along with their 2005 assessments and the city's purchase offer. The city has offered $97 million to the 33 landowners, for land that was assessed in March of 2005 at not quite $39 million. (entry bumped up because this is an interesting list)

More posts: Nationals Park

I've been away for more than a week, so I apologize if my news items have been slow--I'm still catching up on some things, hope to get back up to speed soon. In the meantime, I'll pass along that the DC Zoning Commission approved the Capper Seniors #2 building, approved for setdown the Capper/Carrollsburg 2nd stage PUD (which I believe means that basically they've agreed that they should have a hearing at a later date), and deferred the final vote on the stadium text amendment to the Capitol Gateway overlay, presumably until their October meeting. I'd be able to give you more details on all this, but I mistakenly believed the DCOZ web site when it said that Zoning Commission meetings are streamed live, and, well, this one most assuredly wasn't. Waaah!


The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has posted the draft summary of its Ballpark District Urban Development Strategy (PDF). This is an important document that should be read by anyone interested in the development plans around the stadium. It defines the Ballpark District as 60 acres surrounding the baseball stadium site, including the two blocks north of the stadium site, the western portion of the Southeast Federal Center, a few acres of the WASA site, the Florida Rock site, and additional land at the foot of South Capitol Street (currently owned by Douglas Jemal). The document describes its vision for a "vibrant mixed-use waterfront district":

· Shops, and restaurants and entertainment venues along Half Street, First Street and the Anacostia River;
· An engaging pedestrian environment with strong linkages to and along the waterfront;
· Major public gathering spaces along Half Street, at the ballpark, and at the foot of First Street at the river;
· A grand promenade along the Anacostia River and Potomac Avenue;
· Upper-level offices, hotel rooms and housing that create a diverse population of residents, workers and visitors; and
· A state-of-the-art ballpark that contributes to the life and identity of the neighborhood.

In all, the AWC envisions 465,000-785,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant uses, 350,000-1.6 million sq ft of office space; 1,900,000 to 3,600,000 sq ft (1570 to 2980 units) of housing; and 7,000 to 8,000 parking spaces. (We also find out that the traffic circle being planned as the terminus for the new South Capitol Street Bridge will be called "Potomac Circle.")  Vision documents are wonderful things, I look forward to living long enough to see what the reality actually ends up being :-).


Anyone who's lived in DC for any amount of time will be stunned to read today's Post story, "As Stadium Clock Ticks, DC Officials Bicker," detailing the difficulties of getting a design for the new baseball stadium agreed upon. Much of the trouble revolves around the desire (pushed most vehemently by Jack Evans) to have views of the Capitol Dome from as many seats at the stadium as possible. More from the story: "Evans argued that a view beyond center field of one of the city's signature buildings would give fans a sense of place and provide grand shots for national television cameras. At Evans's urging, city planners recently stopped work by Lerner Enterprises on construction of a 130-foot office building on M Street SE, one block north of the stadium. People familiar with the matter said the move angered the company, founded and run by Theodore N. Lerner, who is among those bidding to buy the Nationals. City officials said late last week that they will allow the company to resume work because it has abided by city building regulations. Company officials declined to comment. Evans also has discussed limiting the heights of buildings being planned by Monument Realty, which owns land on N Street SE that abuts the stadium site. City planners worried that such a move would inadvertently harm the creation of an entertainment and shopping district around the ballpark, which has been promised by another powerful player, the Anacostia Waterfront Corp." The article also says that groups are bickering over who has final say on the design. The stadium is supposed to begin construction in March, 2006.


The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has released a Request for Expressions of Interest, looking to partner with one or more developers to build retail and other entertainment offerings on the 25 acres surrounding the new stadium site. Plans would have to mesh with the AWC's Ballpark District Master Plan, which is supposed to be unveiled no later than Sept. 23, according to the Washington Business Journal, which also says: "The master plan is expected to call for the creation of First Street SE as the principal retail street for the area. Half Street SE would act as the "gateway" for the ballpark and offer retail and other entertainment uses." The RFEI also mentions the desire for "a distinctive waterfront destination at the river's edge at First Street, SE and Potomac Avenue with density and programmable public open spaces to assure the neighborhood's success on game days and non-game days." Responses are due by Oct. 21.


The DC Office of Zoning has posted its agenda for the Sept. 15 meeting, and it includes the stadium text amendment for the Capitol Gateway overlay, as I expected. But they're taking up other Near Southeast items as well, both having to do with Capper/Carrollsburg. I'm not 100% versed in zoning minutiae (I might have made it to the 30% mark by now), so I'll just parrot what the site says, that the Capper/Carrollsburg 2nd Stage Planned Unit Development (PUD) and Modification is on the agenda. I believe that a second-stage PUD means a specific, fully engineered, plan for the site is being submitted for approval. So I hope that's something we can get a look at pretty soon. I would also think that this submittal means that the project may be kicking into a higher gear soon, as also evidenced by 15 building permit requests submitted at the end of August for addresses within the Capper/Carrollsburg boundaries.

There's also an additional agenda item for "Capper/Carrollsburg Venture LLC -- Senior Building," which I believe is a revision of the design of Capper Seniors #2, because the design submitted in 2003 included a blank wall along M Street, which is a zoning no-no in this area. The need for this vote was discussed at the Jan. 12, 2004 meeting, and is probably why the project's building permit application has the zoning section marked "Hold for Correction." (Yes, my head hurts, too.)

Speaking of second-stage PUDs, while wandering around on the web trying to educate myself on this topic, I found this 1999 National Capital Planning Commission document, showing the detailed plans for Florida Rock. However, that was then and this is now, and in December the Zoning Commission will be again taking up Florida Rock's second-stage PUD. So we'll have to wait and see what changes have been brought by six years (and a baseball stadium next door).


I will admit that I have tended to focus on news west of 7th Street, SE, ignoring the small additional sliver of Near Southeast south of the freeway between 7th and the 11th Street Bridge. (Some would argue that the land east of the 11th Street Bridge, including Maritime Plaza, is also part of Near Southeast, but I'm putting my foot down and deeming that Hill East.) But I promise now to add those few blocks to their rightful place on this site (if not on the map at right, at least not yet!). So, with that, a few items:
· The land at 801 Virginia Avenue (the southeast corner of the 8th and Virginia intersection, currently occupied by an auto repair shop and a gas station), was bought in early August for $2.5 million. According to August's Voice of the Hill (see page 5) (along with a correction on page 3 in its September issue), the developer is planning a four-story building with 15 residential units, with retail spaces along 8th Street. ANC 6B has approved the project along to the Historic Preservation Review board. More as I get it.
· The DC Department of Transportation has scheduled two public meetings on the East Washington Traffic Relief Program, a six-year, $263-million project to build four ramps on the east side of the 11th Street Bridge, two of which will provide direct connections between the 11th Street Bridge and the Anacostia Freeway. The meetings, Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, are both "scoping" meetings to begin preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for the project (the Notice of Intent to prepare the EIS was published in the Sept. 13 Federal Register).  See the EIS project web site (which was just launched sometime in the last 12 hours, it was "coming soon" when I first looked this morning!) for more information. This March 26, 2005 press release from the mayor's office gives more details on the project, as does the Middle Anacostia River Crossings Transportation Study site.

Speaking of bridges and environmental impact statements, I've only now stumbled across both the South Capitol Street Bridge Study web site and,  two efforts that ran concurrently over the last six months as part of the project to replace the Frederick Douglass Bridge. (I've only been checking the DDOT Public Meetings page on a daily basis for weeks now, sure would have been nice if one of their announcements had ever mentioned these URLs!) Both sites have lots of links and information, and should be required bookmarks for anyone interested in the replacement (and most likely realignment) of the South Capitol Street Bridge. Materials from the summer meetings of these projects are available, as is a mammoth, crash-your-computer PDF showing two of the proposed alternate alignments. I believe these two stages are pretty much over, so I'll try to keep you posted on the next phases.


A couple of items so small I can't actually believe I'm posting them, but here they are anyway:
· It's not on the schedule for this Thursday's meeting, but it's quite possible that the DC Zoning Commission will vote on final zoning approval for the stadium text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay. UPDATE:  Okay, now it's on the schedule.
· A "notice of environmental cleanup" sign in front of the property acquired by JPI on I Street says that the project will be two 13-story buildings with 700 residences and 600 parking spaces. Also, despite the fact that signs on the lot say 70 I Street, and that the tax parcel information is for 70 I Street, and that the lot is west of 1st Street, and that there's not one but two other lots on I with the "100" address, JPI is insisting on calling this 100 I Street. So I give up. Uncle. I'll call it 100 I Street. Under protest.
· Fences have gone up around the remaining abandoned Capper/Carrollsburg buildings, between 4th and 2nd Streets. No sign of impending demolition.
· A reader reports that pre-construction sales at Capitol Quarter (i.e., Capper/Carrollsburg) are now being delayed until Summer, 2006.
· The demolition a few weeks ago of the retaining walls behind the Carroll Apartments was not the beginning of construction of Capper Seniors #2 (the "wraparound" addition to the Carroll Apartments)--DCHA is still looking for a contractor for the project, so this is not likely to begin before the end of the year.
· For those of you wanting to know about any progress on Washington Canal Park, I've checked and there's officially No Progress.

The Post reports that have purchase offers have gone out to the 33 owners of the properties that the DC government needs to acquire for the new Nationals stadium. Owners have 30 days to sell, or the city will begin eminent domain proceedings, at which point a judge will determine the fair market value to pay the owner, and the property will be acquired. The article mentions that "some owners" are saying that the offers are too low, although the only example given is an owner of a car-repair shop, whose land was assessed at $507,000 this year, who was offered $1.74 million for his 9,500-sq-ft property. As the article notes: "Real estate experts say that the city's offers are expected to be well below what property owners just beyond the ballpark site are getting from private developers who are speculating that the area will be a hot spot once the stadium is completed. Under eminent domain laws, the District is not required to make offers that take into account the financial impact of the proposed stadium." (If you're one of these property owners, and you want to whisper in my ear what the city is offering you, I'll listen!)

More posts: Nationals Park

Eakin-Youngentob has christened its Capper / Carrollsburg redevelopment "Capitol Quarter." EYA will be building more than 240 market rate, for-sale homes, and also 130 affordable for-sale and rental homes, with pre-construction sales expected to begin in Spring, 2006.  If you're interested in this project, be sure to sign up for their Preview List, as list members usually get the first word on sales.

More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Today's DC Extra in the Post  profiles Paul Devrouax and Marshall Purnell, the local architects who are partnering with HOK Sport to design the new Nationals stadium. From the article: "HOK Sport has more than 300 employees and is internationally renowned for its stadiums and arenas. It is relying on Devrouax & Purnell, which has about 30 employees, to complement its expertise by providing an intimate knowledge of the city. [...] The involvement of Devrouax and Purnell in the ballpark is important for another reason: As black architects in a white-dominated field, the duo has been working for decades to put their stamp on the city." And, since I know you're wondering, there's still no date announced for when the design will be unveiled.

More posts: Nationals Park

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