peek >>
Near Southeast DC Past News Items: September 2010
In the Pipeline
Community Center
Homewood Suites Hotel
Ballpark Square
Yards/Parcel A
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
1333 M St.
Southeast Blvd.
Florida Rock
1244 South Capitol
New Barracks
1111 New Jersey
Akridge/Half St.
Monument/Half St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
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
Restaurants/Nightlife
 

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





Go to Full Blog Archive
32 Blog Posts
Go to Page: 1 | 2

Here's a bunch of little items that aren't ridiculously newsworthy, but that might be of interest. Since it's Friday and many of you actually have lives, I suggest reading a few at a time, and keep coming back over the weekend until you get through all of them. Some I've already passed along via Twitter (which you can also follow by being a Facebook Fan of JDLand), but some are surprisingly fresh. Here goes:
Top items:
* The process that will beget the new Southwest Waterfront is now underway, and SWill at Southwest: The Fabulous Blog With the Funny Name (did I get that right?) reports on this week's public meeting by the developers. Current plans call for 560 residential units, three hotels totalling 600 rooms, 840,000 square feet of office, 335,000 square feet of ground floor retail, some sort of music hall / museum / maritime education offering, 2,500 underground parking spaces in five garages, and 400-500 marina slips, with 60 percent of the site area being public space.
* Back before 1015 Half Street was a slow-to-finish office building, it was an old industrial building that in 1995 became the Capitol Ballroom and then eventually the Nation nightclub. But from its construction in 1931 until it was sold at auction in 1992, the southwest corner of Half and K was home to the J.E. Hurley Machine and Boiler Works company. And thanks to the Kinorama Flickr stream that took the Twitterverse by storm this week, here's a shot of the Hurley building, undated but probably in the early 1990s. The outlines of the more-familiar Nation building are clearly visible.
* Pastor Mark Batterson, writing about the National Community Church's purchase of the Miles Glass site at 8th and Virginia, says that they are looking at some of the adjacent properties as well. "Our current lot serves our current purposes, but when we think in twenty year terms the additional lots would give us more upside potential."
Calendar items:
* On Friday, Oct. 8, the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Race for the Cure will be holding its opening ceremonies at Nationals Park. It's not just for participants, and friends and family are also being encouraged to attend. Walkers will start arriving around 6 am, with the opening ceremony beginning (with "community stretching" at 7 am). Afterward, the participants will begin their 60-mile walk (though I can't find a map to figure out their route). More information about the opening ceremonies and race here.
* Mayor-in-Effect Vince Gray is having a series of town halls during October, with the Ward 6 one scheduled for Oct. 27 at 8:30 pm at Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol St. NE.
Tidbits:
* Because I'm worried that the Marines' hunt for a new barracks site isn't engendering enough conversation around here, I'll point people to Norm Metzger's report on last week's Community Leadership Group meeting that I wrote about here.
* The Examiner did a Three-Minute Interview with Sam Fromartz of the Virginia Avenue Park's community garden.
* It's time once again for the Capitol Riverfront Perception Survey. Tell 'em what you perceive.
Off-Topic:
* I've written a few times about my interest in Detroit, and whether it can come back from so far down. If you haven't been following along, here's a great essay with lots of photos, written by David Byrne. (Yes, that David Byrne.) (thanks to reader EH)
* And, for the ultimate Friday time-waster, here's my bottlecap chasing cat that thinks he's a dog.
 

The first lottery of workforce-rate homes in Capitol Quarter's second phase is being held on Saturday, and EYA tells me that 62 people have been pre-certified to particpate. The units are available to households with an income between $82,800 and $119,025, along with a substantial amount of other requirements and restrictions for participating in the program. The now-completed first phase of Capitol Quarter has 42 houses that were sold under the workforce-rate program.
As for when construction on Phase II will get started, the big money financing paperwork is nearly complete, which if finished as expected within the next couple of weeks would have the first batch of houses delivered in the May/June 2011 timeframe. When finished, this second phase will add 60 market-rate, 39 workforce-rate, 17 Section 8 ownership, and 47 subsidized rental units to Phase I's tally of 61 market-rate, 42 workforce-rate, 8 Section 8 ownership, and 39 subsidized rental units.
Comments (0)
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

While I officially date the start of my blogging about Near Southeast as being January 2003, that was not when I took my first photos around the neighborhood. In the early fall of 2000, I grabbed a camera (a FILM camera!) and drove south of the freeway, around the neighborhood whose name I didn't know, to take some pictures. I had no plan to do anything with them; in fact, the prints quickly got filed away and I didn't even remember having them until I stumbled across them in 2004. The film I used was bad, so many of the shots barely came out. I don't even know exactly what day it was--judging by the color of the trees, it could be late September or early October. But, despite all of that, the 24 photos I took, now 10 years ago, mark the beginning of my very strange and unexpected odyssey.
I had spent almost no time below the freeway since buying our house on the south side of Capitol Hill in 1995 (the area's reputation and lack of any amenities gave us no reason to). But in 1999 and 2000, the 3rd Street on-ramp for the freeway was being rebuilt, which forced us to drive to South Capitol Street to get on the westbound freeway. We usually crossed over on K Street to New Jersey, and often got a good laugh when we'd see a sign draped on the southeast corner of the intersection touting a new multiunit residential building "steps from the Capitol." "Dear God, who would ever pay big bucks to live down HERE?" I remember saying to Mr. JDLand on more than one occasion. (So much for vision.)
But I was still aware of the changes that were being talked about for the area, along with the first mini-building boom already underway: the construction was almost finished at the Navy Yard to house the NAVSEA operations, and we could see 80 M and 300 M rising up as we drove on the freeway, and I even remember being aware of the streetscape improvements being made to M Street (curbs, bricked medians and crosswalks). So I took a bunch of photos, and promptly forgot about them. And then started the tracking for real in early 2003, this time with a digital camera in hand.
Even though the pictures are pretty cruddy, they're still worth wandering through. Try not to look at the locations, and see if you can figure out where they are; then click on the icon to see what's happened to these spots in the intervening decade.
 

GGW sent out the alert this morning that Google has updated its satellite images of DC, giving us the first overhead images of Near Southeast since Spring 2008. I've added this (somewhat washed out) view to my Satellite Images page, where you can compare it to images from Google and other sources from 1949 (!), 1988, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008. (But you'll also want to visit Google Maps to be able to zoom in on the latest image to get a better view.) Considering that the 2008-10 time frame will be looked back on as the era of the Economic Downtown, there are still plenty of changes to see, including the first phase of Capitol Quarter, the Yards Park and Diamond Teague Park, the construction of the new 11th Street Bridges, and the completion of a number of office and residential buildings north of Nationals Park. (The stadium looks kind of cool from on high as well.) And the lack of schoolbuses at Canal Park!
 

At tomorrow's WMATA board meetings, it's expected that Metro will approve a one-year extension to the 2007 agreement with the Donohoe Companies to purchase the 5,600 square feet of land that makes up the east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station. Donohoe is intending to combine the WMATA land with the 16,400 square feet it owns just to the north (the grassy knoll and parking lot where the Capitol Riverfront Markets have been held this year) to build 1111 New Jersey Avenue, a 220,000-square-foot office building.
But, according to the WMATA documents: "Given the weak economy, it has not been possible to obtain financing to construct the building. A one year extension of the closing date to December 2011 will allow time to respond to evolving market conditions and preserve the contract for both parties." I wrote back in 2007 that WMATA would be receiving $2.3 million for the property, "plus an unnamed additional payment if the approved project is larger 206,000 square feet."
It's not anticipated that the station entrance would need to be closed during construction of the new building, As you can see from the rendering, the escalators and canopy would remain outside of the new building's footprint.
 

A release went out on the wires today announcing that Corporate Office Properties Trust has spent $119 million, including the assumption of a $70.1 million mortgage, to buy Maritime Plaza, the 12-acre site at 12th and M, SE.
This is the third time the site has changed hands since construction on the second office building was completed in 2003, with Bernstein Cos. selling it for $92 million in 2004, and then Brickman Associates reportedly paying $115 million in October of 2005. The site, which has two completed office buildings with 100 percent occupancy, has included plans for two additional 175,000-square-foot office buildings and a 250-room hotel; leasing is handled by Lincoln Property Company. The land beneath the buildings and plans, however, continues to be owned by Washington Gas, as it has been since pretty much the dawn of time.
[The rumors of this sale were reported back in early August, and I'm exhausted from three days of dealing with computer issues after my one-year-old machine up and croaked, forcing me to buy a new box, so apologies for basically just pasting-and-editing my previous entry. I figure no one read it anyway. :-) ]
 

With the opening of the Yards Park, I've needed to get up to the southeast viewing platform at Nationals Park to update my photos of the Anacostia's Near Southeast riverfront, and thankfully I chose this weekend's sunny Saturday to do it. The before-and-afters seen above of the Yards Park footprint are pretty cool, and I've posted enlarged versions of these shots on my Yards Park page (scroll down about five photos to see them). The other before-and-afters of the southeast platform views are here.
It was just a smidgen over three years ago that I first got to look out at the Anacostia River from this vantage point, on a very memorable day while the stadium was under construction, and it's a spot that I really like returning to. With Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park completed, and Potomac Avenue and First Street reconstructed, the view has certainly changed, even if there isn't the overwhelming amount of redevelopment that had been envisioned. (And that includes the still-untouched tracts of land at Poplar Point on the other side of the river.)
So, just for the heck of it, I tossed together a single collage, looking from USDOT and the Navy Yard all the way around to South Capitol Street and Buzzard Point, capturing nicely what this entire stretch of waterfront looks like in the fall of 2010. It's a view that won't change much until the RiverFront/Florida Rock concrete plant site starts getting redeveloped (whenever that might be), but it's still a nice image to have.
And if you want to know what the Capital Bikeshare station at First and N across from Nats Park looks like, here you go.
 

It took me a while to get there, but I finally visited the Yards Park after dark last night, with camera in hand (but not a tripod, so be forewarned about the quality of some of the shots). I think the biggest surprise was how much of a presence Nationals Park is, from its lights to the sounds of the crowd cheering (and they had a lot to cheer about last night). I didn't stay around to watch the final ballpark Friday Night Fireworks of 2010 from the Yards, but I have no doubt that it's a great vantage point, and will be there in April 2011 to check it out myself.
Comments (0)
More posts: The Yards, Yards Park
 

Stan Kasten's announcement today that he's leaving the Nationals at the end of this season has me looking back through the many photos I've taken of him, mainly during the construction of Nationals Park. Without any commentary as to his impact on the Nationals' fortunes on the field, I will say that he was a great "face of the team" during the building and opening of the stadium, and his gregariousness made it easy to get a lot of fun pictures. I tormented him with multiple shots of him on his Blackberry, and also made sure to get the complete series of Hard Hat photos as the ballpark went up, and he indulged me for the most part. (He probably enjoyed having at least one member of the "media" who was more interested in the stadium than in "The Plan.")
So, I've tossed together a quick gallery of my favorite Stan photos, which may provide a moment or two of levity. And I'll also sneak in a quick thanks to Mr. K for letting "just a blogger" be part of the Nats' move to South Capitol Street.
Comments (0)
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Unless you're big on process, RFIs, RFPs, and the potential crafting of legislation, there isn't really much news to report on the Marines' search for a location for a new barracks site to replace the aging and unsecure Building 20 at 8th and I. I was at the Community Leaders Group meeting this morning (as an observer, not a leader), and here's a couple snippets I came away with, although the very process-heavy discussions left me in the dust for much of the session:
What was originally going to be a public planning "charrette" this fall is now going to be a community forum, probably sometime in mid-November, coming after the Marines release a Request for Expressions of Interest to get a first read on the developers who might be interested in formulating a bid. The public forum (and a separate one on the same day for developers and industry types) will center around discussions about the official Request for Proposals that will then be crafted. (See, your eyes are glazing over.)
There are a couple of developers who have already floated ideas to the Marines, including the team of Winfield Sealander and Leon Kafaele, who both own a fair number of the lots on Square 929 and 930 (the two blocks between 8th and 9th and Virginia and M, including the "Quizno's building", although some of the lots along Potomac Avenue have gone through a foreclosure sale). The developers who bid on this public-private venture will need to demonstrate that they control or will control the properties on the sites they are proposing to develop; this would seem to make any proposed use of the Virginia Avenue Park site a bit more interesting.
The Marines are also looking at whether existing legislation covers their needs to get the development underway, or if new legislation needs to be written; if so, it would probably be placed in the next Defense Authorization Act. The if-all-goes-according-to-plan timeline is to get funding in the FY12 federal budget, with construction starting early in FY13. There would also be a NEPA process somewhere admist all of this well.
This has been a lot of words to basically say that there isn't much to pass along yet for people (like me!) who just want to know what's going to happen, and where, and when. But the Marines and the community leaders are clearly very aware of the community opposition to losing the two acres of open space that Virginia Avenue Park represents, though the Marines don't rule out the possibility of plans that would relocate some of the park's uses, even though there no doubt would be opposition to that as well. But of course there's some amount of community opposition for almost every site that the Marines have identified. But with Square 882 now officially marked as "removed from consideration" on the Marines' map, the options for a site seem to be getting pretty narrow.
UPDATE, 9/27: ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger has posted his own fine summary of the meeting, which I should have just waited for rather than trying to do it myself!
 

The "Miles Glass" site on the southwest corner of 8th and Virginia has been vacant and for sale for a number of years now, but in late August it was purchased for $3.5 million, by the National Community Church, the group behind the rehabbed Ebenezers Coffeehouse near Union Station in Northeast. According to their web site, NCC is "one church with [six] locations," broadcasting their Sunday services at multiple locations in addition to Ebenezers, such as the old Tivoli Theater in Columbia Heights and movie theaters in Georgetown, Ballston, Kingstowne, and Potomac Yard.
The church's head, Mark Batterson, wrote on his blog in late August about the purchase of the 8th and Virginia site, which he called "the last piece of property on Capitol Hill." The church is running out of space for services and staff at Ebenezers, he wrote, and since his vision for NCC is 20 locations and more than 100 staffers, they're looking at "going vertical" and constructing a building with about 50,000 square feet of space.
I don't know anything at this point about timing, design, or anything, but I'm guessing because of its location on 8th Street any proposed building will have to go through the city's zoning processes (as well as probably historic preservation and ANC 6B). And it looks like they may be in the very early stages of design themselves, because today is apparently the "visioning charrette" for the new property.
Note that the purchase covers the Miles Glass building and attached garage as well as the vacant lot just to the west. But the adjacent storefronts on 8th Street, including Al's Deli, are not part of the purchase.
As for managing to secure the property, apparently there must have been some divine intervention, because according to Batterson, NCC lost the contract to other parties three times before finally purchasing the site.
 

It's not exactly the biggest news I've written about, but tonight ANC 6B voted unanimously to write a letter in support of CSX's request to the Department of Parks and Recreation to do some minor digging in Virginia Avenue Park as part of its NEPA requirements for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion project. They'll be taking core samples, 1.5 inches in diameter, five feet in depth, about every 200 feet, looking for any archaelogically significant findings. (And, no, these samples won't be taken in the community garden.) If anything is found in the samples, CSX would then need to get new permits to do more extensive digging. There are also two other locations relatively close to the park where they'll take core samples, over by 11th Street.
Steven Flippin of CSX also told the commissioners that the first public meeting required by the NEPA process is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 20, at a time and place to be determined. This will be a "scoping" meeting, laying out the overall parameters of the project and the NEPA process. It will be followed, after a 30-day comment period, by an "alternatives" meeting. After another comment period, the final "overall" meeting about the tunnel project will be held, most likely in February of 2011.
I should also mention that commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg thanked CSX for paying for the new fence at Virginia Avenue Park that has now created the separate-enclosed-space-that-in-no-way-should-be-construed-as-being-an-official-dog-park.
 

I wrote over the weekend about RiverFrontFest, a new arts and music festival that will be held on Saturday, Oct. 9, on Fourth and Water streets near the Yards Park. While tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, the organizers are offering complimentary tickets for residents of Near Southeast. The tickets are limited to two per resident, and proof of residency with ID must be shown. The tickets can be picked up any time between now and Oct. 9 at either Justin's Cafe or Cornercopia, though both businesses ask that if possible people avoid coming to get tickets during the busy 11 am to 2 pm rush times. Here's the flyer with details on the free tickets, which you'll probably also see being handed out in the various apartment buildings in the neighborhood over the next few days.
 

Missed this in yesterday's post on this week's events: WalkingTown DC is this weekend, and among the many (many!) walking and biking tours is once again a Capitol Riverfront BID-branded tour, "Capitol Riverfront: From Navy Yard to Front Yard", on Sunday (Sept. 26) from 10 am to 11 am. The tour, lead by BID executive director Michael Stevens, meets at the New Jersey Avenue entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station.
If you're in really (really!) good shape, you can then zip from this tour to the Stadium-Armory Metro station for a Ward 6 biking tour led by Tommy Wells, "Ward 6 Past Meets the Future Bike Tour." It's a 6.5-mile ride from 11 am to 12:30 pm that will start at Kingman Island and hit Eastern Market and Barracks Row before hitting the parks of Near Southeast (Canal, Yards, Teague, and Nationals) and then continuing on into Southwest.
No reservations are required for either tour. (I'd link directly to the entries for each, but the WalkingTown site isn't set up for that. So here's the lists of Sunday morning walking tours and the biking tours. Start scrolling!)
 

I'm back from spending the past week wandering around Ohio (Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland) and then spending some time in the Detroit area, where my husband grew up and where I lived for a few years as a tyke many years ago. If I was sent back in time 10 years and told to be a city blogger again but that I couldn't do Near Southeast, I would gladly have chosen to document the decay (and perhaps eventual return) of Detroit, because it's really on a scale that is hard for people to understand unless they've spent a lot of time driving all around the city (and not just on the freeways). It also means I would have spent the past 10 years eating plenty of Detroit Pizza at Buddy's and Cloverleaf and having far easier access to a bazillion breakfast options (at the Coneys and other "family dining" establishments) than we'll ever have in the DC Metro area. Plus there's the cider mills.
We also very much enjoyed Columbus, particularly the Short North and German Village neighborhoods (and driving through the Ohio State campus in my University of Florida-festooned car--ha ha!), and my husband also noted the bars and restaurants in the Arena District and asked if that's what will eventually be coming to Half Street. (I then asked him if he ever reads my blog.) Downtown Cincinnati has some great "old stock" storefronts and signage (which we're always big fans of), but we also enjoyed the Kentucky towns of Covington and Newport, right across the river from Cincy's two stadiums. It helped that our hotel was three blocks from the massive Covington Oktoberfest celebration. And yes, we ate chili. Cleveland was mainly a pilgrimmage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for me, but we did wander around to eat in the Tremont and Ohio City neighborhoods, and took a peek at Shaker Heights.
(Are you as worn out from our vacation as I am? We do tend to cover a lot of territory.)
I don't think I deprived you of any big news while I was gone, so, instead, we'll look ahead at a few events this week:
* Today begins the Nats' final homestand of the 2010 season, against the Astros, Braves, and Phillies, with the final home game on Wednesday Sept. 29 at 7:05 pm. And note that this Thursday's game (Sept. 23) against the Astros is a 4:35 pm start, and Saturday's game (Sept. 25) against the Braves is at 1:05 pm. Then you can start looking ahead to the 2011 Nationals schedule, where they get an Opening Day home game on March 31 against the Braves.
* Tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 21) is ANC 6B's monthly meeting (delayed a week to avoid coinciding with the election), and the agenda includes CSX's plans for an archaeological dig at Virginia Avenue Park. The meeting is at 7 pm at the People's Church, 535 8th St., SE.
* Thursday is the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's "Moonlight Ride at Yards Park", which includes an 11-mile ride starting from the Park at 8:30 pm heading west to the Potomac River, and a 6-mile ride starting at 9 pm that will go east over the Anacostia River into Anacostia Park and Historic Anacostia. The rides are free and open to the public, but they ask that you register in advance.
* And, looking ahead a bit, the newly redesigned "Parcel D" residential/retail/grocery development on the southeast corner of 4th and M in the Yards will be presented to the National Capital Planning Commission on Oct. 7.
UPDATE: I guess I should also be mentioning the launch of Capital Bikeshare today, with two locations in Near Southeast, at New Jersey and M by USDOT, and what the map says is another station at First and N, SE, by Nationals Park (which I had heard wasn't coming until next spring).
 

A new arts and music festival is coming to "space adjacent to the" Yards Park next month, named RiverFrontFest (my years of journalism training prevent me from calling it the "First Annual"). On Oct. 9 from 11 am to 7 pm, this event will feature "independent, creative artists and musicians in a fun, vibrant, family friendly setting," which is scheduled to include demonstrations from Trapeze School New York, a breakdance competition, and three stages of bands. There will also be local food and arts and crafts vendors.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the "door" (fence?); proceeds raised through the event will benefit local organizations including the Earth Conservation Corps, Kids Set Sail, and Living Classrooms.
If you're a performer who would like to participate, or an vendor/sponsor/other organization wanting to get involved, or someone wanting to volunteer at the event, the web site has the details, as well as "Festival Vision" page that describes a pretty wide-ranging bar that the organizers are trying to reach.
[It's taken a while, but I think i've puzzled out the "space adjacent to the Yards Park" designation--they say they'll be closing down Fourth Street and Water Street (the "Street" that runs between the Lumber Storage Shed and the Foundry Lofts) as well as "using an adjacent large green space," so I'm thinking this is more over by the Trapeze School and on the streets than anywhere on the park footprint.]
The Capitol Riverfront BID is one of the sponsors, but is not running the event, unlike many of the other parks/arts/happening events around the neighborhood over the past few years. (In fact, it's kind of hard to tell who *is* running it.)
(h/t Examiner and CP)
 

A reminder that the third Opera in the Outfield is scheduled for Sunday (Sept. 19) at Nationals Park. This year it's Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball, for you dweebs who don't speak Italian), simulcast in HD on the ballpark's massive screen. The gates open at noon, with the show beginning at 2 pm, but there will also be lots of pre-show and intermission activities, such as photo opportunities with Screech, giveaways, and the new "Take Me Out to the Opera Songwriting Contest," giving fans the chance to apply opera-inspired lyrics to the old ballpark standby. (The winners will be announced during the "Seventh Aria Stretch," i.e., the second intermission.) Seating is available throughout the ballpark (not just on the outfield), and while reservations are no longer being taken for specific spots, fans can still show up. And, of course, it's free.
Reminders via the Nationals for attendees: Only soft-sided coolers smaller than 16 x 16 x 9 inches and containing individual-size serving food will be allowed; no alcohol will be allowed inside the gates of the ballpark; no chairs will be allowed inside the gates of the ballpark; no strollers or wheelchairs are allowed on the grass of the field; and no throwing items on the field.
And afterward (or before) you can wander two blocks east to the Yards Park if you haven't checked it out yet, or even if you have.
If you're going, I'd also suggest prepping yourself with multiple viewings of this and this before you head out.
 

I've got some stuff going on for most of the week that will leave my blogging pretty light (unless there's big news that I can't bear to leave un-blogged). I'll no doubt pop up on Twitter here and there (passing along important morsels like dreams of city council members cleaning up my yard for me), but otherwise I intend on being pretty quiet, especially while the rest of the blogosphere handles the DC primary elections. (Are you voting today? Get out there, dammit!)
I couldn't make the ANC 6D meeting last night, but Will from across the way was nice enough to tweet a couple of results on Near Southeast-related items. First, the commission voted 4-1 to support a request from the Capitol Riverfront BID to add a couple of additional monikers to the Navy Yard Metro station name. However, while the BID wants the name to be changed to some version of "Capitol Riverfront/Ballpark/Navy Yard", the commission's support was apparently only if "Capitol Riverfront" is not the first part of the new name. Any change from plain old "Navy Yard" still needs to go through DDOT and WMATA for approval. (They also voted to approve adding "Arena Stage" to the "Waterfront/SEU" station name.)
The ANC also voted unanimously to support a requested two-year extension on the PUD for 250 M Street, the William C. Smith office building that's part of the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD. This will be in front of the Zoning Commission at some point soon, so I'll get more info on it them. But it's not really a surprise that they're not expecting to be ready to start construction in the near future.
 

There's nothing about this on the DDOT web site yet, but WTOP is reporting that "serious structural repairs" are required to the South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge, and that there will be overnight closures starting tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept. 15), and that the bridge will be completely closed this weekend, from 9 pm Friday, Sept. 17, through 5 am Monday, Sept. 20. The repairs are being done to the "pins and hangers", which are "essentially the pieces that hold the bridge together." The overnight closures are scheduled for every night from Sept. 15/16 through Sept. 29/30 -- see the complete list for more details.
 

Sep 13, 2010 8:52 PM
People who are on EYA's Capitol Quarter mailing list should be receiving notification within the next day or so (if not already) that the first batch of Phase 2 workforce houses will be released on Saturday, Oct. 2. There will be up to 10 units for sale, available to households with an income between $82,800 and $119,025 (though applicants will need to be pre-certified by EYA, which will begin this Saturday). More information about the workforce program is available from EYA, with all manner of details spelled out in terms of the many requirements and restrictions for participating in the workforce program.
Forty-two workforce rate homes were included in the first phase of Capitol Quarter, and there will be approximately 91 of them when the entire development is finished.
EYA tells me that sales are going pretty strongly for the market-rate Phase II homes, with 22 of them reserved in the 3 1/2 months since Phase II opened.
Comments (0)
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Sep 12, 2010 4:21 PM
A group of neighborhood residents organizing as "Parents on the Capitol Riverfront" have come together over the past few months to lobby the DC public school system and city officials to consider reopening Van Ness Elementary School, which was caught up in the DCPS downsizing at the end of the 2006 school year, after most of its student body moved away with the closing of Capper/Carrollsburg. Elementary school-aged children who live in Near Southeast are now in the boundaries for Amidon-Bowen Elementary School across South Capitol Street in Southwest, which is a bit of a hike from locations like Capitol Quarter.
In a recent e-mail to me, representatives of the group explained their motivation: "A quality school is not only good for the kids, it's a necessary amenity for retaining existing and attracting new residents to our neighborhood. We love our neighborhood and are dedicated to living in DC, but that dedication rests upon the opportunities available for our kids. The amazing Canal Park planned for the neighborhood is great and will be well-used by kids and adults alike, but it takes a school to keep the community of families here."
Over the past few months, the group has met twice in small targeted meetings with Michelle Rhee, as well as with Tommy Wells, and are working to get another meeting scheduled with Rhee that could include all neighborhood parents. There is also apparently a survey from DCPS being distributed by e-mail regarding Van Ness and the number of children in the area, and the parents' group is wanting to be sure that the survey gets to everyone with kids.
DCPS has told them that, in order for a viable elementary to be opened (grades Pre-K3 though 5), it needs to have 250 students. The group says that they've been told that "it might be possible to phase in the school, starting with Pre-K3, Pre-K4 and Kindergarten for the first couple of years and then slowly expanding up through 5th grade," so they are trying to determine exactly how many school-aged children are in the neighborhood, along with possible projections of how many more might arrive over the next five years. They are also looking at whether a large number of parents currently on the waitlist for Brent Elementary might be willing to send their children to Van Ness out-of-boundary, to help increase the number of potential students.
The parents' group now has a Google Group set up, where any interested neighborhood parents can request membership.
The school's location at 5th and M, SE, is one that has been being eyed for a while by various interested parties, and there have been talks in the past about perhaps selling the land with a requirement that the purchaser build a new school close by. Another discussed option has been co-locating a new school building with the long-delayed Capper Community Center. And the Marines have also been looking at the school's land, either as part of their space needs for the new barracks or as a place where other landowners (like the Housing Authority) could relocate planned uses if the Marines were to take their land for the barracks.
The original Van Ness Elementary School, on M Street between 3rd and 4th, opened in 1909, and was for much of its life a segregated school for black children. (You can see it at far right in this photo from 1939.) It was replaced during Integration by the current building at 5th and M in September of 1956, although the old school building at 4th and M (eventually known as the Lenox Annex) remained on the city's property rolls under varying uses. In the 1970s it was a special education school, then an adult education center in the 1990s, but finally the building was demolished in the late 1990s for what has since become the 300 M Street SE office building.
 

Sep 10, 2010 12:40 PM
The three days of opening festivities for the Yards Park are getting underway this afternoon, and so now everyone who wants to check out the nearly six acres of waterfront goodness will get their chance. The weather now looks kind of iffy for Sunday, but today and Saturday were forecasted to be pretty dang nice (except for the clouds that rolled in about an hour ago!), so while there's a ton of activities on tap, be sure to also just take some time to wander the grounds on your own.
And remember that the park isn't done yet--still to come over the next few years will be the renovating of the Lumber Storage Shed into a retail space, along with the construction of two smaller retail pavilions on the grassy lawns just to its east and eventually a marina. The bottom of my Yards Park page has the details, and you can also learn about the under-construction Foundry Lofts apartment building just to the north of the park, and the Boilermaker Shops retail building, which Forest City is now publicly saying is 60 percent pre-leased.
My husband and I bought our house on the southern edge of Capitol Hill in 1995, and there were many times in those first few years that we'd stand on Third Street, looking south under the freeway through a neighborhood we rarely ventured into, and talk about how we could see the Anacostia River flowing by. "Wouldn't it be great," we'd say, "if someday we could be able to walk from our house down to the waterfront, and stroll along the river?" (In the early days, such musings would usually be followed by a beat of silence and then peals of cynical laughter.) But a mere 15 years later (heh heh), we'll be doing just that, probably twice, both late this afternoon and again in time for the Nats Park fireworks to see the park at night for the first time.
With that, I leave the rest of the Yards Park-ing up to you guys. What do you think?
[But, as an advance response to anyone commenting on the current size of the dog run at the park, I'll pass along this statement from Forest City: "We certainly want to be sensitive to the needs of our four-legged friends and their human companions in The Yards Park. As Forest City finalizes its negotiations with DC Water and the District Government, we look forward to working with the community to expand the dog park, if the park is able to expand westward in the future."]
UPDATE: Here's Channel 7's video report on the opening.
UPDATE, 9/12: At the Post's article about the opening, and about What It Means for the rest of the neighborhood.
Comments (0)
More posts: The Yards, Yards Park
 

Sep 9, 2010 10:59 PM
One of the top three questions that gets asked here at JDLand is "When is a grocery store coming to the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards area?" (Well, maybe it doesn't get asked quite like that.) For a number of years there's been a planned grocery space on the southeast corner of 4th and M, as part of the first phase of development at the Yards; but thanks to the Economic Difficulties there hasn't been any recent indication of when (or if) that building might get underway.
However, it seems that the wheels are finally beginning to turn, and Forest City is now starting the process of shepherding a revised design for the site (known as "Parcel D") through the city's planning processes. And it appears that a full-service grocery store could be arriving in the neighborhood by late 2013 or early 2014. While that's not exactly right around the corner, those dates would seem to be an improvement over "someday, we hope."
These new designs replace the original plans for one office and one residential building with a single 220ish-unit apartment building, with 20 percent of the units earmarked as affordable housing. The 50,000 square feet of ground-floor grocery store space would still be at the north end of the block (near the red brick wall and turret), plus there would be additional retail space that would include a three-story fitness and spa facility. (And note that this is new construction, on a currently empty lot--the large red brick Gun Mount Shop just to the east of Parcel D is a separate project known as "Factory 202", designed as condos in the original plans.)
Forest City is hoping that construction could possibly start in early 2012, with a delivery in late 2013 or thereabouts. (But, repeat after me: dates like this are not written in stone.)
No names are officially attached to either big retail space at this time. However, WBJ reported a year ago that Harris Teeter has signed a letter of intent for the grocery store space, and, gosh, Vida Fitness sure is hanging around in the neighborhood a lot these days! Plus Vida said a few months ago that they have plans to open a branch in the Navy Yard area in 2013.
These new designs will apparently be presented to ANC 6D on Monday (a meeting which I, alas, will be missing), plus they are on the agenda for Thursday's Commission of Fine Arts meeting. They should also be going to the Zoning Commission at some point, so more details should become available as the process goes along.
I hope to have renderings of the new design soon, and will update this post when I get them. In the meantime, you'll have to settle for some renderings on my project page of the old original designs for 401 M and 400 Tingey from back in 2007.
UPDATE: Renderings have now been added to my 401 M/Parcel D page. A little taste of Southwest DC in the apartment building design, isn't there? The fitness/spa facility at Fourth and Tingey is much more modern (and I believe it will have space for some additional retail as well).
 

Sep 9, 2010 2:17 AM
It's a busy next few days, so here's a reminder of what's on tap. (Of course, you could just look at my Events Calendar, but....)
* Today (Thursday) is the "Transportation Day" events that are part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's 10th anniversary celebration. Get thee down to 1301 M Street, SE (site of the offices for the 11th Street Bridges project) for the kick-off at 10 am with DDOT director Gabe Klein, and/or attend the open house until 2 pm, which includes bus tours of current AWI transportation projects (like, say, the 11th Street Bridges). Circulator buses will be shuttling to and from the Navy Yard Metro station.
If you're wanting to know more about the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and what's been accomplished up to this point, here's a spiffy "10 Years of Progress" booklet with all sorts of details.
* Friday brings the start of the Yards Park Grand Opening Weekend, starting at 3:30 pm, along with a full slate of events all day Saturday and a few more on Sunday as well--here's the specifics on all the activities for all three days. (UPDATED with a new more detailed flyer showing all the events.)
* The Nats are at home against the Marlins, playing at the usual 7:05 pm Friday and 1:35 pm Sunday times, along with a somewhat rare 1:05 pm Saturday start. It's Fan Appreciation Month, with all sorts of promotions and offerings.
* Sunday, Sept. 12 is the Fourth Annual Youth River Sports Day put on by the Anacostia Community Boathouse, now at their new home just up river from the Sousa Bridge. It runs from 11 am to 3 pm, and is free and open to the public.
* ANC 6D returns from its summer recess on Monday, Sept. 13. The agenda hasn't been released yet, but rumored items include the grant the BID is applying for to beautify the New Jersey Avenue "entrance" to the neighborhood, along with what I hear might be a presentation on a possible renaming of the Navy Yard Metro station. While I haven't heard what the new name might be, I imagine that some variant of "Navy Yard / Nationals Park / Capitol Riverfront" will be on the table. Which means that my last chance to convince people to rename the neighborhood Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards is probably passing by.
* And on Tuesday there's some sort of election. Perhaps you've heard about it. But good heavens, get yourself to the polls and vote. You don't even have to wait until Tuesday to do it.
 

Sep 8, 2010 12:47 PM
As promised, I've updated my Yards Park page to incorporate some before-and-after photos to highlight the transformation of this patch of land from a bunch of nothingness to a waterfront destination. But I'd also suggest looking through my Expanded Yards Park archive for a more complete set of photos that really show how these five acres have changed since 2005. (And I'll be adding more pairs to the expanded archive this weekend, having missed a few spots in my recent visits.) They really are a pretty striking batch of photos, if I may say so myself....
And, in other Yards Park-related news, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (with the BID and Forest City) is sponsoring a "Moonlight Ride at Yards Park" on Sept. 23, which includes an 11-mile ride starting from the Park at 8:30 pm heading west to the Potomac River, and a 6-mile ride starting at 9 pm that will go east over the Anacostia River into Anacostia Park and Historic Anacostia. The rides are free and open to the public, but they ask that you register in advance so that they know how many people to expect. (There's also discounted tickets available for that afternoon's 4:35 pm game at Nats Park versus the Houston Astros, if you want to watch a game with your fellow cyclists before heading out on the ride.)
 

Sep 8, 2010 9:58 AM
Numerous readers have passed along that fences are up and the new dog park fenced-in area appears to be close to opening has opened at the Virginia Avenue Park between 9th and 11th streets, SE, just south of the freeway (and just north of the Spay and Neuter Clinic at 10th and Potomac). I don't have a lot of information about the park, other than it's a project that was launched by the Hill's Capitol Canines group last year (supported by ANC 6B) and has been approved by the DC Parks and Recreation (you can see the application for more details). It's a 10,000-square-foot space, on the eastern side of the park.
If anyone involved in the park is out there and would like to pass along more information, please do, either to me directly or in the comments below. Because, if there's one thing I've found out in the past few years, it's that pretty much every single new resident of the Capitol Riverfront is the proud owner of at least one dog. (I just have a cat who thinks he's a dog.)
UPDATE: Did I say dog park? Why, no, it's not a dog park at all. Just a section of a park with fences put up, that certain residents and users may choose to utilize as a location for corraling four-legged beasts away from other uses in the rest of the park.
 

Sep 7, 2010 2:55 PM
The weather gods smiled on the Southeast Waterfront today, with an absolutely picture-perfect day for inviting scads of dignitaries down to the Yards Park to make some speeches and cut a ribbon. Here's my quick photo gallery of the event, with photos not only of politicians wielding scissors but also plenty of shots of the park itself. I will soon update my Yards Park page with real before-and-afters, but that will take some time.
The 5.5-acre park, a $42 million partnership between the city, the feds (who owned the land until this morning), and the BID (which will be responsible for the upkeep and programming), is very simply like nothing else anywhere in DC. It not only has the pedestrian bridge and the light tower and the water features to gawk at, but it has so many different spaces for strolling, sitting, hanging out, playing, or just staring at the river, with its views all the way down to the Potomac River and further to Alexandria. There were many references during the remarks to Chicago's Millenium Park, and all involved with the creation of the Yards Park clearly see its potential as a "destination" attraction. The BID will be working hard to provide a lot of activities to draw people in, and down the road (if the reality ends up matching the vision), when the Lumber Shed becomes a retail-and-restaurant spot with river views, and the Foundry Lofts and Boilermaker Shops just to the north of the park open and become attractions in their own right, this could be quite a jewel in the city's crown.
Add to that the eventual building of a floating boardwalk that will connect the Yards Park to Diamond Teague Park by the baseball stadium, making it an easy stroll along the river to go back and forth between the two venues, and you can start to imagine the fans streaming out of the ballpark on Friday nights to watch the post-game fireworks firing off above the Anacostia River from the Great Lawn or the boardwalk. (I'm told that the boardwalk is in the design stages, though there's no timeline for when it might be built.)
As for the area east of the park, I'm hearing that there is "progress" in working with the Navy Yard to open its boardwalk (that leads to the Display Ship Barry and 11th Street), but again, no timeline on that.
There was a lot of media present today (especially since both Mayor Fenty and Vince Gray were in attendance), so I'll update this post with whatever stories appear. UPDATE: Here's the press release from the mayor's office. Also there's ABC7's report, which also is about today's other Anacostia River event, where council members (but not Mayor Fenty) showed up to sign a pledge to work with the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up six designated toxic sites along the Anacostia, which include in Near Southeast the Navy Yard, the Yards/Southeast Federal Center, the Washington Gas site east of 11th (more on that from Fox 5, including that the Anacostia Riverkeeper and Anacostia Watershed Society groups are concerned that monies from the city's tax on plastic bags are so far not being directed toward cleaning up the river).
Also, it sounds like the fences at the park will be closed again for the next few days while they get some finishing touches done (the eastern end of the park is still being worked on), but it will then have its Grand Opening Weekend starting Friday at 3:30 pm. And then I can get some nighttime photos, because apparently the park's lighting is something to be seen.
(I've also gotten--and forwarded along--some e-mails from residents grousing about what they see as the less-than-adequate size of the dog park on the park's western edge; I've asked Forest City for more information about the current and future plans for the dog park, and will post about it when I hear back.)
 

Sep 7, 2010 9:09 AM
A few things to pass along as we kiss summer goodbye (yes, I know it technically doesn't end for another few weeks, blah blah blah):
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is applying for a DC Public Art Building Communities grant to get funding to "improve the look, feel and experience of traveling into and out of the Capitol Riverfront along New Jersey Ave., SE, while also creating unique gateway art that represents the identity, sense of place and community in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood." They will be presenting their concepts at the Sept. 13 ANC 6D meeting, with applications being due on Oct. 13. If the project is selected to receive a grant, there would be public meetings sometime next year to "refine" the concepts, with hopes to complete the project by fall 2011. Though I can't imagine why anyone would want to beautify THIS!
* I'm not seeing this on the posted agenda yet, but a reader reports to me that CSX will be making presentations to ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee tonight (Sept. 7) and the full ANC on Sept. 21 about a permit the freight company is apparently requesting to conduct an archaeological survey of Virginia Avenue Park prior to their planned expansion of the tunnel that runs under the park.
* Tonight you might see some folks with clipboards hanging around the Navy Yard Metro station entrances; they will be part of the Public Transportation Takes Us There petition drive by the American Public Transportation Association, trying to convince Congress to pass a long-term surface transportation funding bill. For the point of view of someone who has signed the petition, read this recent Richard Layman post. (I am wondering, and have no answer, whether this is the bill that CSX has been looking toward [along with other public money options] for funding the rest of the National Gateway project, which includes the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.)
* You may have seen commenter MJM referencing recently his newfound obsession with the history of Near Southeast, and now he's put up a blog where you can share in the fruits of his research.
 

Sep 6, 2010 1:25 PM
Tuesday morning at 10:30 am is the grand opening ceremony for the 5.5-acre Yards Park along the Anacostia River, and if you're planning on getting down there for Tuesday's event, or for some of the many weekend offerings, or just for a visit on your own (or if you've already sneaked a peek, like some people), take a moment to appreciate just what a change has come to this formerly barren spot by checking out the photos I took in August 2005 along Third and Fourth streets during a visit to what was at that time still the Southeast Federal Center.
You may be so new to the area that you don't even remember the days of the Lumber Shed's salmon-colored tin exterior, or Building 160 before the work started to turn it into the Foundry Lofts. But what I remember most about that quick visit five years ago (other than how hot and hazy and dusty it was) was thinking about how great it would be to be able to have such a big portion of riverfront available for people to visit and use, instead of having it hidden far behind a red brick wall and lots of cyclone fences. And, even though the site had been tidied up a bit (as shown in the photo below) by the time of the park's groundbreaking ceremony in May 2009, there's also a few photos in that bunch that you'll appreciate even more after you see what this stretch of waterfront has become.
(Don't worry, I'll be putting together a real before-and-after set, but I'm waiting until the park is officially opened, and mostly clear of construction workers and debris, before I create that gallery.)
Comments (0)
More posts: The Yards, Yards Park
 

Sep 3, 2010 11:57 AM
The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, the wide-ranging approach via city and federal investments to revitalize the Anacostia River and its environs, is celebrating its 10th birthday, with a series of events next week tied to the riverfront. Some of them you're already aware of, like the dedication ceremony at the Yards Park on Sept. 7 followed by the "grand opening weekend" of events Sept. 10-12. But there's also some other happenings, including an "Anacostia Conservation Service Event" at Diamond Teague Park at 9 am on Sept. 8, a "transportation open house and tour" at the 11th Street Bridges project office on Sept. 9 from 10 am to 2 pm, along with other events at Kingman Island, Marvin Gaye Park, and the Southwest Waterfront.
[And, should my feelings be hurt that the postcard advertising the celebration that came to our house was addressed to my husband and not me? What, I haven't demonstrated enough interest in the river? :-) ]
UPDATE: Just received a flyer about the Sept. 9 Transportation Day--it will start with a kick-off at 10 am with DDOT director Gabe Klein, then the open house until 2 pm, which includes bus tours of AWI transportation projects. Parking is limited at the open house site (over at 13th and M, SE), so they'll be running Circulator buses to there from the New Jersey Avenue Navy Yard Metro station entrance.
 

Sep 2, 2010 2:41 PM
Two DDOT-related items of note to pass along:
* There's been a couple changes to the route of the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator: "Service on this line has been streamlined near Columbus Circle in front of Union Station, providing a faster trip and allowing passengers to transfer between the Georgetown route and Navy Yard route on Massachusetts Avenue.Stops have also been added on Seward Square (Pennsylvania Avenue at 5th Street SE) on Capitol Hill. Because of construction to begin this fall on Columbus Circle, the stop at Delaware Avenue had to be discontinued for passenger safety."
* Adding to their growing Flickr cache of historic photos, DDOT has posted 23 photos from the construction of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway. They're a bit grainy (they look like they may have gotten water-splattered at some point), but most of them are from the area along Virginia Avenue near 6th Street, SE, so you'll see the old Capper Apartment buildings at 5th and Virginia, along with the Ellen Wilson projects that were north of Virginia. When I get some spare moments, I will of course be grabbing some of these shots to add to my own Historic Photos page (thank you, Creative Commons license!). This is wonderful of DDOT to be posting photos from their archive, and I hope they keep them coming. And other DC agencies with their own photo archives should take note.
 

Sep 2, 2010 12:52 PM
A press release out today from DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton wades into the Marines' search for a location for their new barracks:
"The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released a letter today from Norton to Brigadier General Robert R. Ruark, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics, objecting to the potential sites selected by the U.S. Marine Corps (Marines) as the location to replace the D.C. Marine Barracks known as Building 20. Norton objected to the criteria the Marines seem to be using to narrow site selection, and wrote that conveniences for the Marines appear to have trumped their consideration of other possible sites. She objected to the two potential sites, Square 929, where Dogma runs a dog day care business, and to Square 930, where the community has converted a former drug haven into a park and community garden where residents grow fruits and vegetables.
"In her letter, Norton wrote, 'Your emphasis apparently has been on selecting a site in close proximity to the Marine Annex and Barracks Row, a convenient walk for the Marines, whose training is perhaps the most rigorous of all the armed services. Notions of convenience for your Marines should not supersede important community concerns, including consideration of the convenience for the community and the displacement of important community assets.' "
The release goes on to suggest as a possible location an "empty lot on 5th Street, between K and L Streets, next to the Marine Annex parking lot" -- which would appear to be referencing the current proposed site for the Capper community center.
The Marines are supposed to be having a "charette" in October or November (pushed back from September) to discuss the direction the site search is taking. You can read more about it at the Marines' web site for the project, or browse through my (many) previous entries on the subject.
 
32 Posts:
Go to Page: 1 | 2




Blog/Home
Project Directory
Photo Archive
Event Photos
 
Nats Park
Food Map
What's New
History

 
Demolished Buildings
Historic Photos
Satellite Images
Timeline
 
About JDLand
Message JD
Advertise
Photo Use
 
     © Copyright 2014 JD.