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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: JBG/Akridge Half St.
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One M/10 Van
Yards/Icon Theater
DC Water HQ
New Douglass Bridge
Yards/Parcel O
JBG/Akridge/Half St.
Lynch/Half St.
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
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)
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114 Blog Posts Since 2003
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Hi, you may remember me, I was once a blogger.
I've managed to summon the herculean strength necessary to pull myself out of the summer doldrums, but I'm left with only just enough energy to pass along these tidbits:
* SCARLET L(BR)UNCH: Lunch service at Scarlet Oak is expected to begin around Aug. 13, with a menu that will include more salads and sandwiches, according to City Paper. Brunch service is expected to begin later in August.
* 25 M AGAIN: Many many many moons ago, Akridge unveiled plans for 373,000 square feet of office space in two buildings at 25 M, the southwest corner of Half and M Streets, where the Fairgrounds currently resides. Now, nearly eight years and two property sales later, it's been announced that Akridge and new landowner Brandywine Realty Trust will be developing a 275,000 square feet of office space in one building on the site, which will also include 25,000 square feet of retail. It will be designed by HOK "to create a landmark presence at one of the most visible intersections" in the city, offering tenants "incredible visibility, branding, and communications opportunity." No timeline for this was mentioned. (And we're still waiting to hear what JBG will be doing with the south end of the Fairgrounds block.)
* FOR THE LADIES: There's now a nursing room at Nats Park.
* GARBER ON THE RUN: As astute observers once predicted, former #NavyYard ANC commissioner David Garber has announced his candidacy in the 2016 race for the at-large council seat currently occupied by Vincent Orange.
* TUNNEL OPEN HOUSE: The next quarterly CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel open house is Thursday, Aug. 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St. SE. No formal presentation, but lots of project representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide updates.
UPDATE: Should have also mentioned that there will be fireworks after tonight's Nats game (Aug. 7). The Yards Park is a particularly fine place to watch them, if you haven't already found that out.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., ballpark, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, politics, scarletoak

I see that the two new owners on Half Street decided it was time to clear away the traces of the previous occupants and introduce themselves to the neighbors:
Also now appearing on Half Street (below left) is a spiffy logo for Due South, the restaurant coming this year to the Lumber Shed at the Yards. (The restaurant is a Bo Blair enterprise, as is the Fairgrounds, hence the cooperative crossover deal.) And, one block to the east (below right), it didn't take long for Grosvenor to make its F1rst presence known.
(Yes, I finally went out and took pictures. Be prepared for the coming onslaught.)

Word is hitting the streets this morning that Akridge has now sold its remaining holdings on the west side of Half Street just north of Nats Park, ending an ownership that began in 2008 but that saw the Fairgrounds as its only development.
Back in February, Akridge sold the southern two-thirds of the block-long lot to JBG, and at the time it was said that the company was also "under contract to recapitalize the northern third of Half Street." It turns out that that "recapitalization" was a sale to an affiliate of Brandywine Realty Trust for $20 million, according to WBJ.
Akridge's arrival on this lot began back in 2007 when the company won a WMATA bidding process for what was then the Southeastern Bus Garage site. But Monument Realty, expecting to have the rights to develop the site, was quite unhappy, and sued, which resulted in the settlement that awarded the bus garage site to Akridge for $46.5 million and the adjacent Metro parking lot across Van to Monument for $22.6 million. Monument then sold its holdings on the south end of the bus garage block to Akridge for $9.66 million.
The company got zoning approvals in early 2009 for its Half Street plans, as a 700,000-square-foot mix of two office buildings, one residential building, and 56,000 square feet of retail. But, of course, none of that ever happened, and in the meantime Akridge provided the space for first The Bullpen, then Das Bullpen, then the block-long Fairgrounds site.
Now we wait to see what the plans for the north end will be, now that JBG has said it will be building two residential offerings on its portion near the ballpark.
(And I know the web site response is atrocious this morning. Guess I'm going to have to stop just wishing it will get better, though the support people tell me that a lot of this is supposedly now the fault of another site on the same server, which has two more days to clean up its act or else it'll be shut down. We Shall See.)
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Development News

From WBJ: "D.C. developer Akridge has sold the majority of its Half Street parcel across from Nationals Park to The JBG Cos., which is expected to redevelop the site with two new residential buildings and a large amount of what one executive called "dramatic" retail."
JBG has acquired the southern two-thirds of the block, far better known as the shipper container-ringed location of the Fairgrounds, directly across N Street from Nats Park and also directly across Van Street from JBG's own under-development 1244 South Capitol residential project.
Akridge apparently is maintaining a minority stake in that portion of the site, but JBG will "take over day-to-day development duties." WBJ says Akridge is also apparently "under contract to recapitalize the northern third of Half Street."
After Akridge acquired the site in 2008--which was once home to WMATA's Southeastern Bus Garage--plans were run through the Zoning Fun Factory for two office buildings on the north end of the site and a 280-unit residential building on the south end (along with 55,000 square feet of retail), but WBJ says that JBG's portion of the block is now expected to include two residential buildings, with one office building on the land Akridge still owns along M Street. Plus "dramatic retail."
WBJ pegs the sale price for the JBG portion of the site at $45 million.
This is not unexpected, as news had surfaced back in September that Akridge was looking for a new partner to develop the site.
It also dovetails with the sale of Monument Valley on the east side of Half Street to the MacFarlane/Lynch development team, which is early in the process of bringing residential offerings along its own portion of N Street.
You can look at my Akridge Half Street project page for reminders of what had been planned for the site, though I look at that page (and my Monument Valley page) more as a marvel of the tens of thousands of words I have expended on plans for these sites over the past 10 years.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Development News, jbghalf

Does everyone want some more Half Street news? Last night's Monument Realty news about the east side of the street isn't enough for you? Are you tapping your toes, wanting to know when the shipping containers are going to disappear from the other side of the street?
The Washington Business Journal, having now heard the same rumors I heard a few weeks ago (hence my sneaky comment in my Monument post about "whether Akridge is currently making any moves"), is reporting that Akridge is working to market its Half Street project to potential investors, with the company needing to replace a capital partner "that desires to leave the project." WBJ says that Akridge "expects to have some closure on a new partner by the fourth quarter," and that "All forms of transaction are on the table."
Akridge has been planning since 2008 to build two office buildings, a residential building, and 55,000 square feet of retail on the west side of the street. Whether those plans will stay the same once capital is found, well, We Shall See.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Development News, jbghalf

* The Post writes about Virginia Avenue residents battling CSX on tunnel plans. (The comments section is festive as well.)
* The Navy Yard alerts folks that the 11th & O gate to their part of the Riverwalk will be closed for approximately three weeks because of demolition work on the old outbound 11th Street Bridge. (This means that the Navy Yard Riverwalk itself isn't closed, it just means you can only access it west of 11th Street.)
* Speaking of the old bridge, City Paper writes that this demolition doesn't mean the end of the "recreation bridge across the Anacostia" idea, just that it was determined that it would be better to take off the old bridge deck than to try to maintain it while working on the recreation bridge idea, which will still need financial backing even after the design competition is held this fall.
* Speaking of the river, DDOT has launched as a new online home for information on projects along the river, such as the 11th Street Bridges, the planned new South Capitol Street Bridge and associated corridor upgrades, the Riverwalk, and other projects.
* One tidbit unearthed in the new web site: An environmental assessment is expected to start this fall on reconstructing Barney Circle and transforming the "easternmost dead-end section of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway into a boulevard between the circle and 11th Street, SE."
(As always, follow JDLand on Twitter or Facebook if you want quicker access to these types of tidbits, most of which I sent out over the past week or so.)

As the Fairgrounds prepares to begin its daily hours on May 4, the outdoor event space just north of Nationals Park at Half and M is also starting to promote some of its non-gameday offerings:
* The Truckeroo food truck festival will be back for another year, on five Fridays this summer: May 11, June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, and Sept. 28, running from 11 am to 11 pm each time.
* There will also be a new "Family Day" event, with a promo flyer describing it as having "carnival games and prizes, inflatable and mechanical rides, children's entertainers and live musicians," plus food trucks. Admission will be free, and scheduled dates so far are May 13, May 27, June 3, June 10, and June 24, from 11 am to 4 pm.
All have been added to my Events Calendar, for future reference.
(Perhaps this is also good timing to finally link to this Housing Complex post from last week showing what the site could look like if it ends up with advertising on the sides of the shipping containers, which WCP says Fairgrounds was soliciting.)
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Fairgrounds/Bullpen, Events, Restaurants/Nightlife

Diverse Markets Management, the company which was overseeing the "market" portion of the new Fairgrounds shipping container market and events space on Half Street, alerted its vendors and other exhibitors via e-mail that "[a]fter much deliberation, DMM has concluded it must drop out of this project, effective immediately."
In the e-mail, DMM executive director Michael Berman said he was sorry that the plans didn't work out, having had "high hopes for the venue," but: "Taking a hard look at the site, I believe it cannot support retail, vending, artists or farmers as we had imagined that it might. I think the space is well designed to serve alcohol products and that the stage, sound, and food trucks compliment that use, but the vending and retail aspect does not fit in at all, without a complete redesign, which is not envisioned."
In what is probably related news, the Fairgrounds web site now says that it will be open "daily" (i.e., operating on non-game days in addition to game days) beginning May 4. The food, drink, and entertainment portions of Fairgrounds's operations were not being handled by DMM and presumably will be continuing. I've reached out to Fairgrounds developer Bo Blair to find out whether another vendor will be brought in to try to revive the market aspect of Fairgrounds' plans, and will update with any information I get.
UPDATE: Describing the Fairgrounds team as "disappointed" that DMM pulled out after only five days of business, Bo Blair had this to say via e-mail:
"From the beginning of the Fairgrounds concept, we all were very aware that the retail aspect was going to be a difficult task. Unfortunately, DMM was not the right fit. We are fully committed to moving forward quickly with a host of other vendors, artists, real estate brokers, and entrepeneurs who see the incredible potential to create something unique and interesting on the site. We did not go out and spend over $350,000 and waste an incredible amount of time and effort to have the containers sit empty. We will fill them soon. The other aspects of Fairgrounds, such as the food trucks, The Bullpen, games, and live music have been very well received. We have many events planned for the summer and will be open daily starting May 4th. We look forward to new ideas and concepts to fill the container stores as soon as possible and are excited for the great season ahead."
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Fairgrounds/Bullpen, Retail

This morning I got a quick tour of the inside of the new Fairgrounds space just north of Nationals Park this morning, where the work is buzzing along to get the area ready for Thursday's Nats home opener at 1:05 pm. I talked with Bo Blair of Georgetown Events, and these are the tidbits he passed along:
* The Fairgrounds will open by 11:30 am, with about two-thirds of the footprint being used.
* There will be 10 to 12 food trucks on site.
* Three bands will play throughout the day.
* Ten or so vendors will be set up within the containers on the north end of the block.
Blair expects to keep the larger area of the site open through Sunday (since there are games each day), at which point probably only the main area on the north end of the block (the old Das Bullpen) will be open daily until crowds pick up as the weather (and the team?) improves.
If you haven't been following along, check out my post about the new venture from when it first came to light back in February. The north end is expected to be open daily through the end of the baseball season, while the larger area will open up for bigger events (such as Truckeroo, and the DC Challenge on April 28).
In the meantime, check out the photos, while keeping in mind that it's still kind of messy, and the overcast skies weren't exactly conducive to images that "pop."
UPDATE: The lineup of food trucks: @bbqbusdc @bigcheesetruck @curbsidecupcake @DCEmpanadas @TaKorean @LobstertruckDC @TheFicelle @gofishtruckdc @Sinplicity1 @Dougthefooddude and @surfsidetruckdc. And Fairgrounds's Facebook page says these will be among the vendors: "[B]aseball inspired painters, photography, cool clothes, even baby clothes, crafts from around the world, handmade jewelry, soaps, and great produce, popcorn and pickles! in the farm stand by Half Street."
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Fairgrounds/Bullpen, photos

The shipping container market known as Fairgrounds is having its soft opening today in concert with the 3:05 pm Nats-Red Sox exhibition game, with food trucks available for not only for Nats fans but for residents and office workers, from 11 am to 8 pm at Half and M streets, SE. Red Hook Lobster Pound, DC Empanadas, Curbside Cupcakes, Tasty Kabob, and Big Cheese will all be on site.
The "official" opening is planned for April 12, the day of the Nats home opener. I'm guessing that's when the market will actually open.
UPDATE: I visited the site about an hour ago, and they were still working hard, and the food trucks weren't on site yet. It looks like they'll open up the interior up at the Das Bullpen end of the street, but as I predicted, this is really just a chance to sell some food and drinks. The market portion of the project isn't anywhere in evidence yet.
But at least I took a bunch of photos of the perimeter for you to peek at!
Comments (27)
More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Fairgrounds/Bullpen
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