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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
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* A reminder that Saturday at 1 pm will the very first baseball game played at Nationals Park, between George Washington University and St. Joseph's University. MLB.com has more--and I'll have photos from it sometime Saturday or Sunday.
* MLB.com also has a Q&A with Stan Kasten about the ballpark and other items. "You want all of it to work right, but you know there is going to be a hiccup here and there. We are going to be looking at everything. We'll be getting right back at it that Monday morning [March 31] to see what worked and what didn't work -- to see what we could improve on. Hopefully, we'll have that whole week to improve things even further."
* You can't swing a cat today without hitting news of the Metro Peeps.
* Poor Phil Mendelson. He still wants to use 225 Virginia Avenue for some MPD functions, and the mayor and the executive branch appear to be ignoring him.
* Elephants will be on parade just a few feet north of the neighborhood on Monday morning. No, really. I'm serious.
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More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park
 

A press release just out from the mayor's office announces that National Public Radio will be building its new headquarters at 1111 North Capitol Street--a disappointment to the buildings in Near Southeast that had been courting the company during its search for 400,000 square feet of available space. (The city may be disappointed as well, given that rumors abounded last fall that they were trying to have NPR take over the lease at the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue.)
UPDATE: Here's the Washington Business Journal article on the move.
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More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
 

* Today's Washington Business Journal print edition (subscribers only) is reporting that the Nationals are finalizing a deal that would make Capitol City Brewing the "official local beer and the exclusive brew provider at the new stadium's beer garden." WBJ quotes Cap City's president as saying that the company is also negotiating for additional distribution points inside the stadium.
* From the Post, word that Benedict XVI will now be hauling out the Popemobile for two trips through the streets of Washington, adding public appearances that weren't originally part of the plan for his April 15-18 visit so that people who won't be able to get into the April 17 mass at the ballpark might still have a chance to see him. The routes haven't been finalized. Also, the Post says that information on tickets for the Mass is expected to be released this month.
* National Public Radio, which has been looking at locations in Near Southeast as well as NoMa and Silver Spring to consolidate its offices in 400,000 square feet of space, says it will make its decision by the end of May, according to the Montgomery Gazette, in an article that says Montgomery County has made a formal offer to lure NPR to Silver Spring. It's been rumored that NPR is the "preferred option" for DC officials to take over the city's lease at 225 Virginia Avenue (the old Post Plant).
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More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Nationals Park, Stadium Events
 

A few notes to add to recent items:
* I don't get on the Southeast Freeway on a regular basis, so only yesterday did I see the huge Capitol Yards sign hanging on the side of 70 I, facing the freeway. Oops; would have helped me write Saturday's entry on the new project web site a day or two sooner! UPDATE: And, with good timing, here's a new press release touting the "topping out" of 70 and 100 I Street. They are scheduled to open in summer 2008.
* Both the PSA 105 and MPD 1D mailing lists (registration required) have been discussing the November spate of car thefts, which included not only Near Southeast but Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods. Apparently the three thefts recently listed for the unit block of L Street (which I didn't blog about because I was a little suspicious that there might be a mistake in the data flow) were three cabs stolen from the same lot. Also, 1D commander David Kemperin says that the Auto Theft Unit was deployed to the area, and that "an arrest was recently made for auto theft and other information obtained from an arrest for unregistered auto that may link some of these thefts." If you're interested in ongoing discussions about crime in the area, a subscription to these lists is probably a good idea.
* On Friday I wondered aloud what Phil Mendelson's response would be to Mayor Fenty's press conference on 225 Virginia and the Consolidated Forensics Lab, and, like magic, his complete statement appeared in my inbox. "Learning about today's announcement, I am unsure about what can be considered 'new' news regarding the progress of the Consolidated Forensics Lab and the relocation of various public safety facilities. We learned of the probability of Bowen Elementary School being used to house the First District Police Headquarters at an oversight hearing I held on this issue on September 20th of this year. We also knew then that the administration was looking for suitors for the property at 225 Virginia Avenue, SE; nothing new was announced about this today." Read the rest here.
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, 70/100 I, crime, jpi
 

Live on-site blogging via PDA, so it's brief. No actual deal yet for 225--city will be transferring its lease, not subletting. There are negotiations with several interested parties, handout says. More to come. (See the entry below for background on this press conference.)
UPDATE: Back at a real computer now. The official wording on 225 Virginia in the press release (now online): "Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced that the city plans to transfer its long-term lease of a warehouse at 225 Virginia Ave., SE, to a private entity that will assume the lease's "option to buy," saving the city $19.1 million a year. Although a final deal has not been penned, District officials are in negotiations with several interested parties." The $19 million figure comes from a combination of estimated lease, utilities, and buildout costs that would have been required had the city moved forward with plans to occupy the building.
Tommy Wells spoke as well, noting that the original plans for moving many MPD functions to the building "did not make sense," and thanked the mayor's office for working with him and the communities in both Southeast and Southwest on both 225 Virginia and also keeping the First District station in Southwest. He also said that using the Bowen site for 1D makes sense as well, and said there would be a "community process" to make sure neighborhood concerns about the move are addressed.
DC activist Dorothy Brizill (of DC Watch) was on hand, and asked a number of questions that weren't specifically addressed about the structure of the plans to get out from under the 225 lease; she also asked about the fate of the other MPD functions (the evidence warehouse, etc.) that were going to relocate to 225 Virginia; the mayor said that some will go to Bowen, and there will be news on the other ones to come.
For people interested in the Consolidated Forensics Lab, there were some renderings displayed; the release says that they'll also be available online at www.cfl.opm.dc.gov, but that site doesn't appear to be live yet.
More to come as the media coverage starts trickling in.
UPDATE II: It's not on their web site yet, but WTOP is apparently reporting that not only is NPR one of the groups negotiating with the city (as previously speculated), but that it's the "preferred option" of several officials within the Fenty Administration.
UPDATE, 12/1: Not really much coverage (but you already got most of the scoop here, anyway). The WashTimes got some quotes from Phil Mendelson about the Bowen/CFL moves, which he called "no 'new' news" and labeled himself skeptical that the CFL can be done on the schedule the city is calling for.
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
 

Word is filtering to me that the mayor has scheduled a press conference for 11 a.m. to announce that the city is going to sublease 225 Virginia Avenue--the wording sounds like they've got someone lined up, but I don't know who (we do know that NPR apparently has been looking at the building as a possibility for its new headquarters, but I don't know if they're the ones actually getting the building). The city is paying $6 million a year to rent 225 Virginia (aka the old Star Plant, aka the old Post Plant), so this would actually be a sub-sub lease. And the building's ownership structure itself is very complicated, in a way I don't understand enough to adequately or correctly explain.
Mayor Fenty will also apparently announce, as I speculated yesterday, that the police department's First District station will indeed be moving to Bowen Elementary after it is closed at the end of the school year, allowing the Consolidated Forensics Lab to be built on the site of the current 1D station at Fourth and School, SW. It was the idea of moving 1D to 225 Virginia, hatched in the waning days of the Williams administration, that got the city into the lease in the first place. The plan then expanded to moving a bunch of other MPD functions there as well, including the executive offices and the evidence lockup, but it was scuttled after much community opposition to the traffic/parking issues, plus feelings that it just wasn't the right use for the building given its somewhat residential location. (You can browse my entries on 225 for more background.)
It will be interesting to see Phil Mendelson's reaction to all of this, given that he clearly has continued to hold out hope that 225 Virginia would still be able to be used for some MPD functions.
UPDATE: See this entry for the more updated information from the press conference, and for any subsequent media coverage.
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
 

A few quick items not earth-shattering enough for their own entries:
* The Post reports that there is a group trying to launch a "Congressional Bowl" college football bowl game, where one of the teams would be a service academy, and which would be played at either RFK or Nationals Park. The NCAA should give its answer in May of 2008.
* In a story mentioning the problems being encountered by cities trying to sell municipal bonds because of the "credit crunch" mentions that DC's "A" rating means it is probably going to have to pay a higher interest rate on a $350 million bond issuance next month that will fund, among other things, the rebuilding of the 11th Street Bridges, though the city locked into a low interest rate on the $355 million bond issued last year for the ballpark.
* None of the 24 DC schools proposed for closure in the mayor's plan are in Near Southeast (Van Ness Elementary School closed in 2006), but I'll note that Southwest's Bowen Elementary is on the list, which brings to mind the continued wrangling over the fate of the move of the MPD First District police station off its current location in Southwest to allow for the construction of the new consolidated crime lab. At various times this fall, there has been discussion about 1D moving to a school building in Southwest (after plans to move them to the Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave. SE fell through) and perhaps Bowen's closure clears the way for this. UPDATE: Oops, I missed that Phil Mendelson is quoted about the Bowen closing in today's Washington Times, wondering whether Bowen was picked to be closed because it needs to be, or because the city wants to put MPD there. (Though I remember hearing talk of either Bowen or Amidon as possible closures long before the MPD question.)
* My Ballpark and Beyond column this week talks about the opening of 400 M (Capper Building #2), the rash of stolen cars, and the ballpark liquor license application.
* One more addition: The DC Sports and Entertainment Commission is asking the city council for more money, says the Post, because its budget will suffer thanks to the move of the Nats from RFK to South Capitol Street, thanks to the loss of the $2 million a year that the Nats were paying to the DCSEC for renting RFK. The team will pay $5.5 million in rent at the new ballpark, but that money will go toward paying off the construction bonds.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Alcohol/Liquor Licenses, crime, Nationals Park, Van Ness Elementary
 

Today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal reports that National Public Radio is looking for 400,000 square feet of office space for a new headquarters to replace their current location on Massachusetts Avenue. In addition to sites in NoMa and Silver Spring, the article lists possible Near Southeast locations 1015 Half Street, 1100 South Capitol, and.... 225 Virginia Avenue? The site for which the city signed a long-term lease last year when it planned to move the the Metropolitan Police Department there, before that plan fell apart in late summer? Is this just a mistake by the reporter, or is this a hint at bigger news afoot about the future of the old Post Plant?
Maybe those Capitol views are particularly enticing to the media--two months ago the WBJ reported that CNN is also looking at 1015 Half, 1100 South Capitol, and Lerner Enterprises' proposed building at 1000 South Capitol. (The lower prices on commercial real estate in this part of town probably don't hurt, either.)
 

I had one ear tuned in this afternoon to Phil Mendelson's hearing on space needs for the police department (a follow-up to the Sept. 20 barnburner between him and Office of Property Management director Lars Etzkorn). This time it was Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert in the hot seat, and he stated that plans for using the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue will be "finalized by the end of the year." He called the original plan to use 225 for the First Distrct police station, the evidence warehouse, and other MPD functions a decision by "a well-intentioned prior administration" that he can't advise the mayor to adopt. Mendelson disagreed strongly, and also said a number of times that if the eventual uses for 225 Virginia don't include any of the public safety agencies, then his committee has no jurisdiction, but that as a council member he will be very critical of any plans for the building that don't include the various urgent space needs of the police department.
Albert also talked about the plans for relocating the 1D station--it appears they have a location in mind, but Albert didn't want to discuss it in public. He did say that it is in Southwest, and that it is permanent space, not swing space. He also said that community leaders would be contacted for input before the plan is finalized. Despite skeptical questioning by Mendelson, Albert said that the timeline for a 2011 completion of the new Consolidated Forensics Lab at the current 1D location is still on schedule, and that with the 1D relocation sites being looked at, he's confident that 1D can be moved and built out without jeopardizing the planned start of construction on the lab in early 2009.
Mendelson is clearly frustrated with the decision not to use 225 Virginia, and with the run-arounds he feels he has received over the past few months (he had a long list of questions from the Sept. 20 hearing that he never received answers to), so it will be interesting to watch this continue to unfold.
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
 

I wouldn't have linked to this Examiner article on funding for the proposed Consolidated Forensics Lab normally (since it isn't really a Near Southeast story), but there's a couple of errors in it that need fixing. Here are the two sentences containing boo-boos: "Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration two months ago scrapped plans to build a long-awaited crime lab at the First District police headquarters in Southeast Washington, stalling construction indefinitely" and "In September, Fenty's administration decided not to locate the crime lab in leased space at 225 Virginia Ave. SE, a location that he had chosen five months earlier."
The writer appears to have mixed up the scuttled plans for 1D with the plans for the crime lab; contrary to these statements, there have never been plans to build the lab at 225 Virginia; the plans that were scrapped were the move of the 1D headquarters to 225 from its current home in Southwest, to free the location for the crime lab to be built there. I don't believe (unless things have changed since the ANC6D meeting two weeks ago) that plans to build the lab at the 1D site have been scrapped at all; they just can't build the lab there until they find a new home for 1D.
UPDATE: I'm just now seeing that tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 26) there's a public hearing by Phil Mendelson's Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, "Follow Up on Capital Projects and Space Needs for Public Safety Agencies," which presumably is going to be talking about the combined lab's construction. The last hearing, on Sept. 20, was a pretty tense affair between Mendelson and Lars Etzkorn, director of the Office of Property Management. (I mention tomorrow's hearing because I know Mendelson does still seem to be holding out hope that some MPD functions could still move to 225 Virginia.)
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
 

In other news from Monday's ANC meeting:
* Council Member Phil Mendelson spoke about his concerns that the new consolidated crime lab construction schedule is continuing to slip. The new lab, which is supposed to be built at Fourth and School streets, SW, can't get underway until a new home (temporary or permanent) is found for the police department's First District station currently located there. Up until recently, of course, 1D was supposed to move to the old Post plant at 225 Virginia Avenue, but with that now scuttled, the Office of Property Management is hunting for a new 1D home somewhere in Southwest, perhaps using either the Amidon or Bowen elementary school buildings, both of which are at only 60 percent capacity and could be consolidated by moving the sixth graders to Jefferson Junior High School. Mendelson, "irritated" at how the city is handling the space shuffling, wants the process of finding a new 1D home speeded up, even if it means taking 1D out of Southwest, which of course was viewed as a nonstarter by this ANC that represents Southwest; Commissioner Sobelsohn commended Mendelson on his "bravery" for coming to Southwest and telling the residents they shouldn't have a police station. (It also sounds like Mendelson is still hoping for a return to using 225 Virginia, given his numerous references to the $500,000 checks the city is writing each month to lease the empty building.)
* The Randall School redevelopment project by Monument Realty and the Corcoran Gallery was approved, thanks mainly to a negotiated community benefits package that includes a $200,000 contribution by Monument to the ANC's Community Investment Fund, preferences for ANC 6D residents when filling the affordable housing component of the project, and agreements with the Corcoran to support various neighborhood art projects and arts education offerings for Southwest residents. The vote was 5-0; vice chair Andy Litsky did not vote, after expressing his displeasure with what he sees as Monument's threat to slow down the Navy Yard Metro station expansion when the company did not win the right to buy WMATA's Southeastern Bus Garage. Monument executive vice president Russell Hines, who attended the meeting, reiterated the points he made last week in an e-mail to Litsky, that the station expansion is not behind schedule as has been reported and that Monument is committed to getting the work completed by Opening Day 2008.
* A local resident informed the commission that three historic police and fire call boxes along First Street have recently gone missing. Those with x-ray vision can see them in my photos (up until yesterday) of First and N and First and O, deep in the heart of ballpark construction territory and along the stretch of First Street being renovated by DDOT; the now-missing First and L box is pretty hard to see behind the Onyx fencing. There's an effort called Art on Call, led by Cultural Tourism DC, to find and restore these boxes, and kids from the Earth Conservation Corps have been painting the boxes in Near Southeast and Southwest. Calls are in to the District Department of Transportation to see if the boxes have perhaps just been temporarily moved, or if they're, um, history. (The box at First and K is still in place, at least.)
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Akridge/Half St., ANC News, Earth Conservation Corps, Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis
 

Capitol Hill's Voice of the Hill newspaper has a co-profile of two local bloggers in its new issue--Elise Bernard of Frozen Tropics (covering H Street NE) and yours truly. Descriptions of me and JDLand include "fastidiously issue-neutral" and "almost aggressive in its lack of color"--but those are actually compliments. And there's a photo that perfectly captures my perpetually bemused state, but that might just be because I was suffering through the replay of the 225 Virginia hearing when the photographer arrived (those with x-ray vision can see Phil Mendelson on one of my computer screens). It's kind of a sequel to the piece they did in 2005.
So, since I'm already self-promoting, I'll mention my Ballpark and Beyond column in today's Post, which talks about the possible sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage to Akridge (we'll find out today--the WMATA board meeting is at 11), the new funding for the waterfront parks, and the Garfield Park-Canal Park connector project.
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Akridge/Half St., Canal Park, Metro/WMATA, staddis, Teague Park, The Yards
 

I was out of town during last Thursday's oversight hearing on space needs for public service agencies, and since The Post published a piece the next day on the big news--the confirmation that the police department's move to 225 Virginia Avenue is indeed off--I've been dragging my feet on posting my notes from the hearing, which I watched on a replay Monday night.
Here's what Office of Property Management director Lars Etzkorn said in his opening remarks about 225 Virginia: "While initial plans focused on co-locating several police functions in this leased building, a review of estimates revealed that total improvement costs exceeded the $100 million provided for in the lease. Hard costs alone were estimated to exceed $150 million. In addition, there were issues with compatibility in implementing the full program in the neighborhood. These include MPD's 24-7 operations and parking demands for 658 vehicles. Currently, we are examining potential alternative uses for the space, including the possibility of using it as office space for government agencies."
During questioning by Tommy Wells, Etzkorn said that he anticipates being able to come to council members by the end of October with recommendations on uses for 225; Wells remarked that the city needs to make sure that "we don't stack a bunch of uses" in the building without thinking of their impacts on the surrounding area.
There was a lot of back-and-forth between Etzkorn and Phil Mendelson about whether the police move to 225 is in fact called off--I don't think it's too much of an editorial statement to comment that Etzkorn clearly embraces bureaucracy-speak and well-parsed statements, which frustrated Mendelson to no end during the hearing. When Mendelson asked if everything that was planned to go to 225 is now not going there, Etzkorn's response was "the recommendation is that they not go there." Mendelson pressed repeatedly on 225 remaining an option for various police agencies, given that there are currently no other viable alternatives on new locations coming from OPM (though lots of possible locations are being reviewed). And there were disagreements between Etzkorn and Mendelson about whether the 225 landlord has indeed been told to stop work on the buildout plans, which Mendelson said he'd been told had not been stopped but which Etzkorn said were in fact stopped but that the landlord had been asked to do some pricing of potential other uses for the space.
One other tidbit mentioned in the hearing I had never come across before--there were apparently plans late in the Williams administration to move the headquarters of the Office of Corrections to leased space at Maritime Plaza at 12th and M, SE, but those were called off earlier this year.
And, as I'm finishing up, I see that Voice of the Hill has posted its piece on the hearing (on their newly redesigned web site!), which also covers the issues surrounding the possible move of the MPD 1D headquarters in Southwest, since the hearing did cover more than just the issues surrounding 225 Virginia.
If you're interested in not only the content of the hearing but also in watching the thrust-and-parry between Mendelson and Etzkorn, keep an eye out for any replays of the telecast (look for a Sept. 20 oversight hearing replay).
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Maritime Plaza
 

(Sorry for the earlier problems with this entry; I've been snakebitten these past two days, buit I should be back now.) From today's Post: "The District has formally abandoned its plan to move police headquarters to an industrial building in Southeast Washington that it began leasing in July but plans to use the building for other government offices, officials said yesterday. The statements, made at a D.C. Council committee hearing, were the latest twist in the on-again, off-again project to move the headquarters from the main municipal building downtown to a vacant warehouse at 225 Virginia Ave. SE." I haven't had a chance to watch any replays of this council hearing, but I hope to catch one if available and get more detail as to what was said. One item from the article that might need clarification: it says that "the police headquarters move has been discarded because it would cost more than $100,000 to renovate the building" -- that is indeed the case, but a number closer to $100 million was what had been being bandied about for the cost to renovate the building. One more quote: "Carrie Brooks, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said that Etzkorn asked the landlord to stop the design work for the police headquarters but that the building might be used as offices for other government agencies." If you want background on this on-again off-again move, read the Past News tab on my 225 Virginia page.
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
 

My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra covers the new historic streetscape photos in DDOT's nascent online archive (the print version of the column displays the 1957 South Capitol Street photo with a current one taken from the same location, as I've done on my South Capitol Street page) and the various upcoming council meetings covering Near Southeast-related issues such as Canal Park and the MPD move/not-move to 225 Virginia Avenue.

More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Canal Park, South Capitol St.
 

With the August recess over, the city council is swinging back into action, and there's a number of Near Southeast-related hearings scheduled over the next few weeks. The most interesting one is a Committee on Economic Development public oversight hearing on "Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Transition of Projects on the Southwest Waterfront, Hill East, Poplar Point, Canal Park, and Kingman Island", scheduled for Oct. 1 at noon. The progress of Canal Park (or lack thereof) continues to be of great interest to Near Southeast residents, and perhaps by the time of this hearing there will be some movement on getting the school buses relocated. There's rumors afoot that the buses could be moved to a temporary lot once a long-term home is secured--and apparently there may soon be a contract before the city council approving a new permanent lot in Prince George's County.
Other council hearings over the next few weeks that touch on Near Southeast issues include a Sept. 26 Committee on Finance and Revenue public hearing on B17-0292, "Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Public Improvements Revenue Bonds Approval Amendment Act of 2007" and a Sept. 24 Commitee on Economic Development public hearing on B17-0340, "National Capital Revitalization Corporation and Anacostia Waterfront Corporation Clarification Act of 2007".
There's also a Sept. 20 Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary public oversight roundtable on "Capital Projects and Space Needs for Public Safety Agencies," which I'm guessing may touch on the plans for a new home for the Metropolitan Police Department and whether the move to the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave. is indeed called off--you may recall that one day after the Office of Property Management said that the move was canceled, the Post reported that that the mayor was saying he had made no decision one way or the other.
See my Upcoming Events Calendar for times and locations. Some of these may be available on DC Cable 13 and live webcast.
(Also, as an aside, the ANC 6D agenda for Monday night's meeting is now online.)

More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, ANC News, Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Canal Park, Capper
 

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)
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
 

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.
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
 

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

More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
 

Within the past few weeks I've posted a lot about the MPD move to 225 Virginia Ave. and the falderal over the surface parking lots zoning amendment including Canal Park, but if you can't get enough, the August issue of the Hill Rag has pieces on both items. And a summary of the July ANC 6D meeting, too.
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, ANC News, Canal Park, parking, zoning
 
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