75 Blog Posts Since 2003
Go to Page:
No Movement on the Post Plant; Teague Murder Still Unsolved
Jan 2, 2009 9:08 AM
A few items to catch up with from my lazy past few weeks:
* The Examiner looks (again)
at the city still paying $500,000 a month in rent for 225 Virginia Avenue
(aka the old Post Plant) even though there are no plans to use it, which apparently continues to drive
Phil Mendelson nuts. The city requested expressions of interest
from developers to take over the lease in the fall, but has yet to announce any deal. The Examiner piece frames the continued payments for an empty building against the District's budget shortfalls: "The last thing Fenty should do, Mendelson said, is 'dump the building below cost' just to escape the lease. 'It makes sense to me to use it,' he said." If you want the entire sordid past of the city's relationship with this building, browse through my 225 Virginia news items
* Also from the Examiner, a story last week on how the murder of Diamond Teague remains unsolved
: "Diamond Teague was 19 years old and going from the rough streets of D.C. on to college when he was gunned down on his Southeast Washington front stoop, and police are still looking for his killer. Teague had earned a scholarship to the University of the District of Columbia by helping with projects for the Earth Conservation Corps, a nonprofit organization for disadvantaged youth. Teague was the drummer at Galilee Baptist Church and an avid basketball player, and friends and family said he had managed to avoid the street life and violence that had marred his neighborhood." The park named in his honor
is expected to open this spring.
Mini-Roundup: Metro Station Entrance Closed, Zoning News, Taxation w/out Representation Street Hearing
Nov 16, 2008 5:42 PM
A bunch of items to start the week with:
* Remember that the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M is closed every evening this week from 8 pm until closing, thanks to work on 55 M Street
* On Monday (Nov. 13), the Zoning Commission gave final approval to moving 225 Virginia Avenue
into the Capitol South Receiving Zone, which will allow any construction on the block to have greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR/90-ft-height currently allowed. This was approved with two caveats: that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90 feet to confirm that the building will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face, and that any structure will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park
. Read my entry from the hearing a few weeks ago
for more information.
* On Nov. 24 at 2 pm, the city council will be having a hearing
, the "Taxation Without Representation Street Renaming Act of 2008," which would "designate the portion of South Capitol Street, SE that intersects with N Street SE and Potomac Avenue SE as 'Taxation Without Representation Street, SE." It just so happens that this is the portion of South Capitol Street
that runs alongside Nationals Park
, where the council was thwarted in earlier attempts to install an electronic tote board
showing the federal taxes that DC residents pay while still having no voting representation in the US Congress.
* For weeks I've been meaning to post that Nationals Park made the list of Travel and Leisure Magazine's "Must-See Green American Landmarks
," thanks to being the first LEED-certified professional sports facility.
Semi Off-Topic: 1960s Home Movies of Capitol Hill (and Southwest)
Nov 2, 2008 6:16 PM
(A little diversion while everyone's waiting for Tuesday.) Those few hardy souls who've scrolled down on my 225 Virginia
page may recognize the photo at left, which is a picture of my brother on the swingset in Garfield Park in 1964, with 225 Virginia (then the Washington Star building) at rear, and with the Southeast Freeway under construction. In playing with the family movies this weekend (having gotten them transferred to DV tapes from Super 8 film), I found about a minute of footage from that same day
, briefly showing the Star Plant along with the rest of Garfield Park.
This led me to a few other clips I think some DC readers might get a kick out of--they're not of Near Southeast, but various streetscapes and parks pretty close by, on the south side of Capitol Hill. Here's three minutes showing
both the 100 block of E Street, SE (where we lived) and Marion Park at Fourth and E in 1966 or 1967. You can clearly make out "Turtle Park" as well as the 1D1 police station at Fifth and E in the background. (It's *possible* that the E Street footage is from the January 1966 blizzard, but the Marion Park footage can't be from that storm, because the little blob in white is me, and I didn't come along until the summer of 1966. And yes, that makes me old.) Also note that at about the one-minute mark you see the original location of Weisfeld's Market at 131 E, before it moved to Fourth and E (and eventually became the Capitol Supreme Market).
Then there's my brother and I running around
in Folger Park at Second and D on Easter, 1968. I like this footage because in the background is Brent Elementary at Third and North Carolina under construction, and a beautiful old school building on the same lot that's no longer there.
Finally, there's this clip from Second Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
, in 1964, which back then was not the Madison Annex of the Library of Congress but was a wide-open park. This brief pan shows you the block where FedEx and Le Bon Cafe are now, along with the church at Second and C and the townhouses along there, around to the Cannon House Office Building, the Capitol and the Library of Congress. (Sorry the streaming quality isn't better.)
(These aren't *completely* outside of the JDLand mandate. They're befores, after all.)
And, amazingly, in my grandmother's
home movies (which I've never seen before today), I found footage from 1969
of my parents playing tennis on the courts just south of the freeway on the west side of South Capitol, at I. A pretty neat (if brief) pan of the Southwest skyline (and the freeway, and the South Capitol ramp) from that spot.
225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
Brief Zoning Commission Hearing on Post Plant
Oct 28, 2008 10:58 AM
On Monday night the Zoning Commission held a brief hearing on Case 06-32a
, the request by the city to move the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue
into the "Capitol South Receiving Zone," which would allow the block to receive transferable development rights, allowing greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR and 90-ft-height currently allowed.
When this was originally brought before the commission by developer Washington Telecom Associates for setdown two years ago, the Office of Planning indicated that they wouldn't support the request because of concerns about the added density on that block affecting both Canal Park
to the south and Capper/Carrollsburg townhouses
to the east (read the transcript
for more details). Since that time, the city subleased the building (paying $500k a month in rent), but has decided not to use it to house police department functions and so is in the process of finding a developer to take over its sublease (which also has an option to buy).
In their pre-hearing report
and during last night's session, OP said they are now prepared to support the move to the receiving zone, "provided that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90' " which would confirm that the building "will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face to avoid shadowing the lower buildings in Square 797 to the east" and that it "will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park." The OP report says that this lot would not be exempt from the city's inclusionary zoning requirements.
The three commissioners in attendance (Hood, May, and Turnbull) asked a few cursory questions, and noted that there was no report from ANC 6D nor any witnesses in support or opposition. The ZC will vote on this case at its Nov. 10 public meeting.
With the OPM page on the 225 Virginia Request for Expressions of Interest
saying that notification was to have happened yesterday, I thought there was a possibility that this hearing would give us some hint as to who might be taking over the city's lease, but the Office of Planning said they didn't know who the developer might be.
FiOS Agreement, 225 Virginia Choice This Week?, and Recognizing a Nice Shout-Out
Oct 13, 2008 9:52 AM
A few items to quickly get posted before I disappear back down the rabbit hole
* As has already been mentioned in some places
, the bill to approve a FiOS franchise agreement with Verizon has been introduced to the city council
(the agreement itself was announced in early August). The city's press release
says that "Verizon plans to begin designing and upgrading its network in the District to all fiber optics and could begin offering its fiber-optic-based FiOS TV service in the District within about a year"--the question is whether the neighborhood that a few months ago
saw a sign proclaiming "1st Neighborhood in DC to Offer Verizon FiOS
" will indeed be one of the first areas to get it. (The 70/100 I
apartment buildings have said that they are pre-wired for FiOS.)
* Proposals to take over the city's lease at 225 Virginia
(the old Post Plant) are due by no later than noon on Wednesday. The OPM page on the offering
indicates that the winner will be notified by Oct. 27--it seems like a pretty swift decision timeline, but I'll note that Oct. 27 also happens to be the day of the Zoning Commission hearing on the proposed shift
of the 225 lot to the Capitol South (or is it Capitol Gateway) Receiving Zone.
225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
Deadline for Post Plant Replies Pushed to Oct. 15; Hints on Trash Transfer Station Status
Oct 3, 2008 10:10 AM
* One of the results of the case that's coming before the Zoning Commission on Oct. 27
that seeks to add the plant's block to the Capitol South Receiving Zone would be to allow the property to receive transferred development rights, which allows for increased density (i.e., add some floors on top), though the page notes that "[a]dditional height is expected to be subject to some design review by the Office of Planning."
* The building is not a historic building, and the city will not be seeking any historic landmark designation for it.
There's also this: "The trash transfer station located at 900 New Jersey Avenue, SE is expected to be relocated by September, 2009." I get asked a lot about What The Deal Is with the trash transfer station, so here's a bit of a roundup:
The city is working on moving the current DPW operations out of the building to other locations around the area, with that September 2009 mentioned above now being the official timetable (though perhaps some of the functions will be gone sooner than that). In the meantime, the city is still waiting for the little plot of land on the edge of the transfer station known as Reservation 17A to be transferred to District control from the Feds. (That land will then be transferred from the city to William C. Smith to round out the land that will be home to their 1.1-million-sq-ft 800 New Jersey Avenue project.) This transfer has been hung up for almost two years (it's part of the same transfer
that would give Federal land at Poplar Point and in Hill East to the city), but there may be some movement soon.
The next step once DPW has left and the land transfer is settled would be for the city to start the infrastructure work, environmental cleanup, and demolition around the trash transfer site (including the new section of I Street to be built between New Jersey and Second), which will be paid for via another PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) plan that requires financing via the bond and credit markets--you know, those same bond and credit markets that are wheezing just a wee bit right now.
[All together now:] We shall see....
City Still Working to Get 225 Virginia Off Its Hands
Sep 11, 2008 10:11 AM
Did anyone see some people traipsing around the old Post Plant
this morning? There apparently was a site visit was scheduled at 9:30 am as part of the city's move to unload its sublease of the building. The Office of Property Management now has a page devoted to 225 Virginia
, with some additional overview documents and rough sketches of how the building could be re-adapted. It also mentions that the original Sept. 26 deadline for responses to the Request for Expressions of Interest
is going to be extended, by not less than a week. UPDATE:
The deadline is now set for October 3.
For those who haven't been following along, in late 2006 the city signed a sublease for the building with the intent of moving many functions of the police department there. But in the summer of 2007 OPM decided not to go forward with the move, leaving the building empty and the city paying over $500,000 a month in rent. They are looking for some developer to completely assume the sublease, that also contains an option to buy the building outright.
225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
Merritt Cab Being Demolished Today
Aug 21, 2008 10:17 AM
With thanks to reader J. for the tip, I can report that the cab garage on the northwest corner of First and K is getting demolished today. This is where the DRI/Transwestern Plaza on K
may be getting underway this fall. (I'm posting this from my cell, so links will have to wait 'til later.) UPDATED
with a link and a tiny before and after photos above. I've also added it as #153 in the Demolished Buildings gallery
OPM Releases 225 Virginia RFEI
Aug 15, 2008 5:22 PM
It may have been late late on a Friday afternoon, but the city did what it said it would
and released a Request for Expressions of Interest
for 225 Virginia Avenue
, looking for someone who wants to sublease (with an option to buy) the 421,000-square-foot building that was once the Washington Star printing plant, until it folded in the early 1980s. The Post used it as a printing plant until 1999, when it sold the building to the William C. Smith Company, who sublet it to Washington Telecom Associates, who sublet it to the city in 2006. (Got that?)
Quoting from the RFEI: "The District's primary goal, in issuing this RFEI, is to assign its leasehold interest, including the purchase option, in 225 Virginia Avenue, SE. The District's secondary goal is to enable the site to be used and redeveloped at its private sector highest and best use." The city currently leases the building for $6.5 million a year; the option to buy can be exercised for $80 million prior to the third lease year.
Proposals are due by noon on September 26, with October 13 listed as the notification date.
225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
DC Getting Out from Under Post Plant Lease? (Updated)
Aug 14, 2008 12:39 AM
Fox5 News blows the lid
off of 225 Virginia Avenue
, telling the world what us smart people have known for a while
about the old Post plant, saying that "DC taxpayers would be outraged to know a building that the city government spent millions on has been left sitting vacant": "The building was supposed to consolidate five public safety functions into one building to increase efficiency of the police department. A year ago the Fenty administration changed their minds on the plans, so the multimillion dollar building is just sitting there, empty. The city spent an additional 1 million for the plans to renovate and has, to date, paid more than $6.5 million in rent." Monthly rent is $500,000.
However, there might be some actual news at the end of the piece: "By the end of the week, the Office of Property Management will request someone else take over the lease and option to purchase the vacant building." The Mayor announced the city's intent to do exactly this back in November 2007
(back when the District was wooing NPR for the building before losing them to NoMa) so perhaps this story suddenly appearing now means they've found someone. We'll see.
You can read my 225 Virginia news items
if you want more of a history on the plans to move MPD (and then not move MPD) there. (Though I bet Phil Mendelson still hasn't given up hope.)
It turns out my crack about Phil Mendelson was more on-target than I might have imagined--the Fox 5 story (and this more complete one in today's Examiner
) were spurred on by a press release from Mendelson noting the one-year anniversary of the city deciding to not move MPD to 225 Virginia and castigating the city for the money being spent on the building. It's not yet posted on Mendelson's site
, but it includes this quote: "At this point, I hope the administration won't be so desperate that they will make a bad situation even worse by trying to unload this property in a sweetheart deal with some developer in return for tax or zoning promises." The Examiner indirectly quotes city spokesman Sean Madigan as saying that the city "plans to seek" developers' interest, so an actual deal is not immediately forthcoming--there's going to be a Request for Expressions of Interest to look for within the next few days, I guess.
(This is also a good lesson in how news stories are so often driven by press releases, without any indication of their existence. Boo.)
Mendelson's comment about "zoning promises" also reminds me to finally mention that within the past week the request to add 225 Virginia to the Capitol South Receiving Zone has suddenly popped back onto the Zoning Commission's calendar (now scheduled for Oct. 27
), after lying dormant since early 2007.
Quick Items on Ballpark, Peeps, and Elephants
Mar 21, 2008 3:41 PM
* 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."
NoMa Gets NPR HQ
Mar 5, 2008 1:38 PM
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
225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
Quick Links: Cap City Beer at the Ballpark, Pope, NPR
Feb 8, 2008 8:49 AM
* 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).
Monday-Morning Follow-Ups on JPI, Stolen Cars, 225 Virginia
Dec 3, 2007 9:37 AM
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
Notes from the 225 Virginia Press Conference
Nov 30, 2007 10:58 AM
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.)
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.
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.
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.
225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
Mayor to Announce Plans for 225 Virginia, MPD 1D
Nov 30, 2007 9:27 AM
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.
225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
Quick Notes: Bowl Game at the Ballpark?, School Closings, More
Nov 29, 2007 8:58 AM
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.)
* 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.
NPR Looking at Near Southeast (and Elsewhere) for New Home
Nov 16, 2007 6:18 PM
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.)
Plans for the Post Plant to be Determined 'By the End of the Year'
Oct 26, 2007 3:00 PM
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.
225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
Crime Lab Not Ever Planned for 225 Virginia Ave.; Another Council Hearing (Update)
Oct 25, 2007 8:56 AM
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.
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.)
225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I
Go to Page: