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Positive Nature 'Bucket Fundraiser' Saturday and Sunday; Bus Garage Sales Office Closes Thursday
Mar 25, 2008 10:47 AM
* Positive Nature
, the program for at-risk youth that is in danger of losing its rented space at 1017 New Jersey Avenue because of a sharp increase in its property taxes, is looking for volunteers to help with a "massive bucket fundraiser" on Saturday and Sunday as fans arrive for the first games at Nationals Park
. They have been working on raising $200,000 by the end of March. The fundraiser info, which came via e-mail, isn't posted on their web site
* Metro says via press release
that the sales office at the Southeastern Bus Garage will close on Thursday (March 27), in advance of the garage itself shutting down operations the next day. And WTOP is reporting today on the proposal to lease the bus garage and its parking lot to the Nats for parking, but you can find far more detail about it all in my post from Friday
than you will in WTOP's blurb.
Fourth Street Now One Way; Visitor Passes; Ballpark and Development; Recent Headlines Again
Mar 24, 2008 7:44 AM
* Within the past week, Fourth Street between the SE Freeway and M Street has been signed and striped to become one-way southbound. It's always been one-way southbound north of the freeway, but extending that another four blocks seems to be a bit of a surprise.
* If you live in Southwest or on Capitol Hill and received in the past few days a nondescript envelope
addressed to "Ward 6 Resident" from DDOT, don't throw it out (like I almost did)--it's your Visitor Parking Pass
. Guard this with your life.
* As soon as I swear off
chasing every little story on the ballpark unless it somehow relates to the neighborhood, both the Post
and the Examiner
come out with stories this morning doing just that, talking about the development that's exploded in Near Southeast over the past few years. (And thanks for the hat tip, Michael.) Sayeth the Post, on A1: "Nationals Park
opens this weekend and appears nearly complete. But it's surrounded for blocks by a construction zone. [...] Despite appearances, this is just the way District leaders hoped it would be: a ballpark set amid a vast Southeast Washington neighborhood in the middle of one of the biggest overhauls in city history. Some 500 acres are to be transformed, spreading south from Capitol Hill to the Anacostia River, sweeping away an accumulation of old auto body shops, sex clubs and debris-filled lots[.]" If you've read either of these stories and are looking to know more about all the development underway around the ballpark, I invite you to look at the big ole' map
at the top right of my home page--moving your mouse across it gives you the basics on each project, and clicking the map takes you to pages chock full of additional details and photos.
* This is part of something bigger I'm working on that's not quite ready, but if you want to travel back to see how things used to look where Second Base now sits
, here's your time machine
. You're facing north, then you'll turn clockwise to catch the views in all directions....
Nats to Lease WMATA Garage and Lot for Parking; Bus Operations Ending Friday?
Mar 21, 2008 4:35 PM
will be going before the WMATA board next week to allow the Nationals to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage
at Half and M (just across from the about-to-reopen Navy Yard subway station west entrance one block north of the ballpark) and an adjoining surface parking lot just across Van Street. This would happen once the Metrobuses are relocated
, which apparently is supposed to be by Friday, March 28
The lease for the Van Street lot would start the next day, and the garage itself would be available on April 20 (after Metro takes a few weeks to remove equipment). For the first 12 months, the Nats would pay $27,370 a month to lease the garage and $9,500 a month to lease the Van Street lot. If they were to decide to lease them until 2010, the rates would be slightly higher.
This money would be used to offset operating expenses associated with the garage's closure, and could bring WMATA nearly $900,000 in revenue if the leases were to run until April 2010.
The unknown, of course, is what will happen with the sale of the garage site, which of course was originally awarded to Akridge for $69.25 million but which is now tied up in a lawsuit
brought against WMATA by Monument Realty. The parking lease with the Nats does allow for cancellation by either party with 30 days notice.
The WMATA Planning, Development and Real Estate committee will vote on the propsal first on March 27, and, if it's approved, the full board will vote on it later that same day.
For Nats fans who might be wondering, the garage and lot are both in the Red Zone, so would cost $35 per game to use.
If the garage is indeed closing next week, there will be much rejoicing by pedestrians who've been dodging the buses for years, including distracted neighborhood bloggers trying to grab photos while standing in the middle of the Half and M intersection.
The Scoreboard, and Recent Items Re-Linked
Mar 4, 2008 7:34 AM
One quick outbound link this morning, to The Post's piece
on the scoreboard at Nationals Park, in advance of today's official unveiling.
Plus, here's a few links for recent items that you might have missed in the flurry of posts around here these days:
* I posted new photos of the ballpark exterior
, including the Center Field Gate at Half and N. (I'll probably have new interior photos later today, though the weather doesn't look to be that much better than the last time I was inside, on that icky dreary day
* Watch for announcements of a community meeting
about Opening Day on March 12, at the ballpark.
Breaking: Monument Realty Wins Preliminary Injunction on Southeastern Bus Garage Sale
Feb 29, 2008 4:58 PM
I've been passed the news that a judge has granted
Monument Realty's request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting WMATA from taking "any further action to dispose of"
the Southeastern Bus Garage
. The two sides are to file recommendations on further proceedings by Wednesday at noon, and the injunction stays in effect until the court orders otherwise. Monument filed suit in October
, asking that the planned sale be invalidated.
(Adding that this shouldn't, as best I can tell, delay the removal of the buses from the garage by Opening Day, since just yesterday the WMATA board approved a plan to fund the relocation
of the buses with monies from other accounts and from the District, and not from any proceeds of the expected sale of the garage site.)
I now have a PDF of the ruling
, which gives a lot of background on how the bidding process for the garage site was handled by WMATA. My background in law is slim to none, so I'm wanting to be very cautious about how I characterize all this (I'm sure there will be plenty of media coverage coming soon), but the ruling does state that Monument has "demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that they were substantially prejudiced when WMATA considered Akridge's nonresponsive bid and participated in improper ex parte discussions with Akridge."
Morning Roundup: Pope Tix Day, Metro Items
Feb 29, 2008 8:54 AM
* Today's the day that the Archdiocese of Washington is announcing the distribution of tickets for the April 17 Mass by Pope Benedict at Nationals Park to churches in the District and suburban Maryland. The Post reports
on the pleas that church officials are receiving from parishioners desperate to get one of the hottest tickets in town. A spokeswoman says they've received nearly twice as many requests as there are tickets. There are even raffles where the winner gets a ticket
to the Mass.
* Metro has decided to create a one-day "Pope Pass"
for $9 for the estimated 25,000 Pope-goers who will be arriving at the ballpark on the subway. (Normally one-day subway passes can only be purchased after 9:30 am, but because of security concerns, those going to the Mass are going to be arriving much earlier than the 10 am start time.)
* Metro's board gave final approval to expanding the hours of the N22 bus route
that runs between Union Station, Eastern Market, and the east entrance of the Navy Yard station at New Jersey and M. It will now run on evenings and weekends to help shuttle stadium-goers between those locations. And the board also gave final approval of some money-shuffling that will allow the closure of the Southeastern Bus Garage
at Half and M. More on both of these items can be found in these two entries
* And, in one final Metro item, the Post reports
that council member Jim Graham says "he has been contacted by Washington Nationals representatives who wanted to know if the name of the Navy Yard Station could be changed to reflect the name of the corporation that buys the larger naming rights of the stadium." Answer? No way. Uh-uh. Nope. Forget it.
Monument: Half Street Construction Not 'Stopped'
Feb 27, 2008 11:36 AM
After reading this in Tom Boswell's column
today--"On the other side of Half Street is a huge block-long hole, several stories deep, where construction by Monument Realty has stopped"--I contacted Monument to find out if this is indeed the case.
(For those just joining us, a little background: Monument owns the entire east side of Half Street
between M and N, just to the north of the ballpark
, and is currently building the 55 M Street office building on the north end of the site, on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, which was expanded as part of the office construction. The south end of the block is slated to be a 200-room hotel and a 340-unit residential building, and is current a half-block-long excavated hole.)
Monument executive vice president Russell Hines has told me that construction drawings for the the hotel and residential part of Half Street are being finalized, and construction will begin in late spring or early summer, with completion in late 2009 or early 2010. The entire block was excavated early in 2007 because it made economic sense to do it all at once, but that because of the need to complete the subway station improvements by Opening Day, the 55 M construction was "accelerated" and the hotel/residential part of the project is just now "catching up." In fact, Hines says, work on the office building is continuing, with the building "topping out" in the next week or so. (You can check the web cam
for up-to-the-quarterhour progress.)
Hines also wanted to make clear that what Boswell called a "legal battle between two developers" over the Southeastern Bus Garage
site is in fact litigation between Monument and WMATA, not Monument and Akridge.
Roundup: Pope Tix, Bus Garage, Cancellations
Feb 26, 2008 8:38 AM
* The Post
says that 14,000 tickets to the April 17 Mass at Nationals Park
will be distributed to 120 Catholic diocese outside of the Archdiocese of Washington, with the Diocese of Arlington getting 6,000 and the Archdiocese of Baltimore getting 2,500. And on Friday, parishes that are part of the Archdiocese of Washington will find out how many tickets they're getting--parish priests will then decide how to distribute tickets within the parish.
* The Examiner has a story
about the Southeastern Bus Garage
site and that the Nationals and Metro are in talks to provide 350 gameday parking spaces at the garage (plus three nearby WMATA-owned parking lots, though that's not specified in the article). The only real news in the article is that a judge is expected to rule this week on Monument Realty's lawsuit over the sale of the garage site to Akridge. For more background, read all my posts
on the bus garage saga.
* And the agenda
for Thursday's WMATA Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee does not include anything on the joint development of the chiller plant site at Half and L, as had been anticipated back in January
. Maybe next month?
I've gotten word that the long article in the March Washingtonian on the ballpark is now online
. The other related article, about residential developments planned around the stadium, won't be posted for a couple of weeks. So you'll just have to go buy it, I guess. And perhaps you too can then be like the poor soul at Safeway on Sunday reading that article, who got accosted by a pesky blogger in line in front of him pointing to a name on the page, saying, "That's me." Thankfully he didn't call security.
Ballpark and Beyond Column This Week
Feb 21, 2008 9:40 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column
in today's District Extra of the Post covers last week's release
of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement
for South Capitol Street
, the impending closure
of Metro's Southeastern Bus Garage
at Half and M, tonight's zoning hearing on allowing additional temporary surface parking lots
in Southwest, and a reminder
about today's ballpark
(And I've been under the weather the past few days, hence the somewhat brief updates.)
WMATA Gives Initial Approval to N22 Bus Expansion, Southeastern Bus Garage Closure
Feb 14, 2008 5:12 PM
A bit on the run this afternoon, so I have to be brief: today Metro's Finance, Administration, and Oversight committee gave approval to two items I wrote about earlier this week
: the plans to expand to nights and weekends the N22 bus service
that shuttles between Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard Metro station (the Post says
until 10:30 on weeknights--hope that's late enough for baseball), and to move around some money to allow for the closure of the Southeastern Bus Garage
at Half and M. Here's the WMATA press release
on the garage closure, and do read my previous entry
for additional details and links to WMATA documents. These two items are expected to be given final approval by the full WMATA board on Feb. 28.
Stadium parking aficianados should note that the closure of the bus garage--in addition to lessening the chance for "encounters" between buses and pedestrians--will open up two existing lots in the "Red Zone
" just north of the ballpark, as well as space within the garage itself and just to its south. Also, WMATA has been using a surface parking lot at Buzzards Point that would be vacated with this move. There's no word at this point on when exactly the garage will be vacated, and if the space will be used for parking this season.
Metro: Proposals to Expand the N22 Bus Line and Vacate the Southeastern Bus Garage
Feb 12, 2008 12:19 PM
The agenda is now out
for Thursday's meeting of Metro's Finance, Administration and Oversight Committee, with votes on two items of interest to Near Southeast and to ballpark-goers:
* WMATA is proposing to expand
the weeknight and weekend service of the N22 bus
that currently shuttles between Union Station
(and its Red Line Metro stop) and the Navy Yard station
at New Jersey and M via Eastern Market
(and its Orange/Blue Line stop) and the Washington Navy Yard. The buses would run every 10 minutes, and on nights and weekends the route would eliminate the loop to 12th and M streets, SE (see the map on page 2 of the current timetable
), in order "to provide a shorter and faster route to the ballpark." The District of Columbia is apparently going to pay $432,000 to cover the cost of the additional service from March through August. If approved, the expanded service would begin in March. The agenda documentation doesn't say what times the expanded service would end on weeknights or operate on weekends. Read the agenda packet
* The city is also apparently offering to cover the costs of relocating the buses out of the Southeastern Bus Garage
at Half and M (one block north of the ballpark), as part of a $1.39 million monetary shuffling that WMATA is proposing
to undertake because the $69.25 million sale of the site to Akridge still has not been finalized. DC would cover the relocation costs until the sale is completed, and presumably by doing this the buses can get out of the garage by March 30. Read the agenda packet
for more details. The city is extremely interested in getting the buses out of the way, not only because trying to operate that garage with hordes of pedestrians on their way to and from games would be a disaster waiting to happen, but also because the Nats might be able to squeeze a couple hundred more $35 Red Zone parking spaces
out of the garage land and the two lots adjoining it across Van Street (one to the north and one to the south of the Public Storage building).
These are just preliminary votes; if approved on the 14th, they would then go in front of the full WMATA board for final approval on March 28.
WMATA Still Planning to Leave Bus Garage Soon; Latest on Navy Yard Station
Feb 7, 2008 6:43 PM
For those (like myself) who have been wondering: John Catoe, Metro's General Manager, said at Wednesday's mammoth City Council capital budget oversight hearing
that the agency is planning to be out of the Southeastern Bus Garage
at Half and M by "the beginning of baseball season."
He only briefly mentioned "legal issues" about the site's sale
to Akridge that they "hope to have resolved" within a few weeks, and didn't say anything about what plans Akridge might have for the site.
Catoe also said (a couple of times) that the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station will be ready for Opening Day
. If you've been sneaking peeks at it from the 55 M web cam
(the station entrance is at bottom center), you've seen some concrete poured over the past couple of days for the floor and also the arrival of the escalators' steps.
(I've made it about half way through my recording of the six-hour-plus meeting, listening with one ear when I can spare a few moments. I still haven't gotten to the testimony from the Sports and Entertainment Commission and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, which might also yield a tidbit here or there.)
I'm not the only one reporting on the station's status today. Friday's Post has a piece
with the latest: "[T]he station renovation is back on schedule, with all of the inside work to be finished by the end of this month. Work is also proceeding at street level, where the kiosk, ticket machines and turnstiles are to be installed. Fans will come up three escalators or one of the new elevators into the office building's lobby. One wall will be open, fenced with chain link, as construction continues." It also has some tidbits that people are always asking about, such as: "Metro plans 14 extra trains on game days
." And there's this: "Metro is also considering flat-panel TVs at the station entrance, which would post train information and perhaps carry video telecasts of the games." (Hmmmm.) The article also mentions WMATA's Nationals page
, which was announced a few weeks back
WTDW: Another Thrilling 'I Don't Know' Edition
Jan 10, 2008 8:12 AM
Time to dip back into the What's the Deal With...?
mailbag, where once again I'm being asked fabulous questions that I don't actually have any answers for. But that hasn't stopped me yet....
* Readers B. and K. are the most recent readers to ask about the Public Space Storage building
on South Capitol between M and N, just a few feet north of the ballpark
, wondering whether it has any plans to close. I know that Monument Realty
was interested in acquiring the building, since it owns the lots just to the building's south as well as all other parts of the block not owned by WMATA, but that was before Metro awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage
and its parking lot (on the north side to the storage building) to Akridge. It's certainly a valuable piece of land, and I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that I doubt it will be there many years from now, but as of this point I've heard of no deals.
* Reader R. has asked about Canal Park
, which continues to appear stalled, with no public pronouncements on it in months. (And with that "Spring 2008" still displayed for all to see on the sign at Second and M.) Is it still the school buses throwing up the roadblock, which is what we last were told? Is there some new wrinkle? I haven't heard anything, I'm sad to report.
* Reader F. asks about Ann's Beauty and Wig Shop
, the dazzlingly pink building sandwiched between St. Matthew's
at 125 L Street, wondering if it's going to be sold. Ann's came to this block in 2005, after I believe being forced out of Waterside Mall in SW, and the owner has apparently been pretty vehement with potential suitors that she has no intention of selling. Perhaps the pending sale of St. Matthew's
to Ruben Companies could change that, but as of now, I've heard nothing.
That's the best I can do for now--absolutely no useful information at all! No doubt there's scuttlebutt on each of these that I'm not privvy to, but I continue to be unsuccessful in my quest to get all city officials and private-sector parties operating in Near Southeast to inform me at all times about all their dealings. It's almost like they think I'm just some sort of powerless pesky neighborhood blogger or something....
Got a WTDW question? (maybe even one that I might know the answer to?) Pass it along
. But I'll close with a hint--when it comes to oft-discussed projects around Near Southeast, as soon as I hear information that I can confirm, I post it. (I do tend to stay away from posting rumors, and considering some of the ones I've heard over the years that have turned out to be fabulously incredibly wrong, I don't regret this.) If you haven't seen any updates lately about Canal Park, or Capitol Quarter
, or the Post Plant
, or any other project, it's because nothing new has come my way. I'm as desperate to post the latest news flashes as you are to read them....
WMATA Approves Plan for New Bus Garage, Navy Yard East Entrance Sale
Dec 13, 2007 2:47 PM
While the main stories in the media coming out of today's WMATA board meetings will no doubt be the approval of fare increases
, my focus was on other action items:
* The board also approved
the plan to build a new 114-bus garage at DC Village
to replace the Southeastern Bus Garage
at Half and M, contingent on not only a series of land transfers between the city and WMATA but also on the $69.25 million sale of the current bus garage site to Akridge, since the proceeds from that sale are necessary to both fund the new garage and the interim costs associated with continuing the old garage's functions until the new site is ready. Marion Barry spoke forcefully in support of the move, speaking not only of his constituents' strong support for building a new facility in Ward 8 but also that the current garage is "in the way of progress," situated as it is smack in the middle of the fledgling Ballpark District.
No timeframe for closing the current garage was discussed by the WMATA board, and it was only mentioned in passing that Monument Realty's litigation surrounding the sale of the old garage is still pending. WMATA employees who I've talked to at Half and M in recent days have said they were initially told the garage would be vacated this month, then were told it would be next month, and are now being told that there's no firm date planned.
If indeed WMATA is not planning to close the garage before Opening Day, it will need to come up with plans for moving their buses in and out of that space while dodging tens of thousands of pedestrians, or how they'll shut down the garage during game times. It would also mean that the garage's possible use as a temporary parking facility would be off the boards.
Monument Reiterates Navy Yard Metro On Time
Oct 29, 2007 8:48 AM
From the Post
: "Monument Realty
, which has filed a federal lawsuit against Metro over a land dispute, said Friday that the expansion of the Navy Yard station
near the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium
would be completed on schedule. Executives at the District company had threatened to slow work on the project because the transit agency plans to sell land near the stadium
to another development company, Akridge
. Jeff Neal, a Monument principal, said in a written statement that the project would be completed before the start of the 2008 baseball season. 'We have worked diligently and transparently to develop an aggressive timeline,' he said. Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for Metro, said, 'We have every reason to believe that they will fulfill that pledge.' " Monument also stated that the station would be done on time a few weeks ago
in a letter to ANC6D vice chair Andy Litsky and others, which I posted here
. You can see my Monument Half Street page
for more information on the station expansion as well as 55 M Street, the office building that Monument is constructing on top of it. (There's also the Half Street Web Cam
for tracking the progress, but it's been offline for the past few days. UPDATE
: It's back now.)
New Half Street Renderings Posted
Oct 24, 2007 8:17 PM
has created a high-tech animation
of what its under-construction project on the east side of Half Street will look like when completed; some images captured from the animation are now on my Monument Half Street page
. (I'm waiting to find out where the animation will reside, and hopefully will be able to link to it.) Compare the drawings of the Half and M corner with the latest shots from the Half Street construction web cam
, and you'll see that the steel beams are now being put in place that make up the distinctive pattern around the Navy Yard Metro entrance. (But don't look too closely at what's shown for the west/right side of the street, since that's the site of the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage
, which Monument thought it was going to acquire but which has been won by Akridge
with a $69.25 million bid. And which is now subject of a Monument lawsuit
I've now got a low-bandwidth version of the animation
posted. Please note that in order to not have it be huge file that you'd need an afternoon to download, the animation is not as sharp as the original.
More ANC 6D Doings
Oct 16, 2007 8:43 AM
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.)
Monument Replies to ANC on Navy Yard Metro Schedule
Oct 12, 2007 9:37 AM
An e-mail has just been sent by Russell Hines of Monument Realty to Andy Litsky, vice chair of ANC 6D, in reply to Litsky's Wednesday e-mail
that asked for Monument to withdraw what has been publicized as a "threat" to slow down the completion of the Navy Yard Metro station's expansion
in response to WMATA awarding the Southeastern Bus Garage
site across the street to Akridge. Litsky had said that he would oppose Monument's proposed redevelopment of the Randall School site in Southwest if Monument did not pull back.
Hines's e-mail, which was cc'ed to the commissioners of ANC 6D as well as myself and Tommy Wells and WMATA board members Jim Graham and Marion Barry (all of whom had received Litsky's original e-mail) says that the Metro Station is currently on schedule, and asks that the Randall School project be judged on its own merits. Here's the paragraph that is probably of most interest, describing Monument's view of current state of the renovation's schedule:
"Second, Mr. Neal did not threaten to slow the renovation of the Metro Station. At the time the letter was written, the District of Columbia had asked Monument to spend its own money to accelerate the completion of the Metro Station. The project had suffered from a variety of delays, including delays that were caused by actions or inaction by other public entities; however, there was no consensus on the impact to the final completion date. Mr. Neal was objecting to spending more money to accelerate the project and pointing out that it was an unreasonable request given WMATA's recent position on the disposition of the bus garage. In short, WMATA wanted to take further advantage of Monument's resources without making any effort to reciprocate by entering into negotiations with Monument as had been promised. Furthermore, by the time this article was written, Monument had already worked with the contractor on a plan and schedule that addressed any perceived or actual delays in the completion of the Metro Station. WMATA officials had this information when they made the false claim that the Metro Station was seven weeks behind schedule. We have since met with District and WMATA officials to discuss this schedule and all parties appeared satisfied. Why WMATA continues to put out inaccurate information about the schedule or let inaccurate reporting go unchallenged is beyond me. I should also point out that when Monument took on this responsibility last December, it was considered a very difficult schedule -- in fact, WMATA staff conceded that they would probably not have finished on time even if they simply installed fare gates at grade and built the standard Metro canopy over the entrance."
Here's a Washington Business Journal piece
with additional quotes from Jeff Neal of Monument refuting the "slow down" issue. (And, gosh, I wonder where WBJ saw the Litsky letter?)
Monument Files Suit Against WMATA
Oct 11, 2007 5:08 PM
The Post is reporting
that Monument Realty filed a lawsuit today against WMATA, asking that the planned sale
of the Southeastern Bus Garage
at Half and M to Akridge be invalidated, arguing that "it deserves the property because it has been working with Metro and the District government for three years as 'master developer' of the area, with the implicit understanding that Metro would sell Monument the land." If the court were to not invalidate the sale, Monument wants $100 million in damages. I haven't seen the documents myself (though I hear one of my JDLand maps is used as an illustration), so I don't know whether the previously implied threats
to slow down the Navy Yard station renovation are addressed anywhere.
Here's the link to the basic information on the lawsuit
, though you'll need a subscription to PACER if you want to read the lawsuit documents themselves.
ANC Commissioner Warns Monument on Navy Yard Metro Renovation Threats
Oct 11, 2007 12:13 AM
When word broke a few days back that Monument Realty
had lost the bidding for the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage site
at Half and M, the Post described
a letter from Monument principal partner Jeffrey T. Neal to WMATA that threatened a slow-down in Monument's work on the renovation and expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station if the company was not awarded the garage site as it felt it had been promised. (It has also been reported that Monument is already seven weeks behind schedule on the project.) This station is of course the lynchpin of the city's plans to get stadium-goers to and from Nationals Park
, particularly in the near-term before the parking situation
is sorted out.
Now, with Monument's plans for developing the old Randall School site on I Street in Southwest about to come up before the Zoning Commission
vice chairman Andy Litsky has written a sternly worded letter to representatives of Monument and its Randall partner the Corcoran Gallery of Art, cc'ed to Tommy Wells and WMATA board members Jim Graham and Marion Barry, that boils down to this: "[U]nless Mr. Neal and Monument Realty withdraw this threat -- in writing and in advance of our vote on Monday night
-- I will oppose this PUD at the ANC and in testimony before the Zoning Commission." He goes on to say: "The time has finally come for District residents and policy makers to stand up to developers who use threats and lawsuits as leverage in one part of the city and yet expect -- and often receive -- support for their special projects, PUDs and city tax incentives in another. Enough is enough."
You can read the entire letter here
(I PDF'ed the e-mail without the headers so as not to blab a bunch of e-mail addresses to the world). The ANC meets on October 15; the Zoning Commission hearing is Nov. 8.
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