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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: JBG/Akridge Half St.
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112 Blog Posts Since 2003
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* This morning the WMATA board approved plans to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage and the adjoining Van Street lot to the Nationals. However, it appears that the revenue will now go into Metro's general fund, instead of back into the fund for the new Southeastern Bus Garage at DC Village. See this entry for more info on the lease plan as presented to the board. I may have more on this later today. WMATA is shutting down operations at the garage tomorrow (Friday March 28). The lease for the Van Street lot, with 80 spaces, begins Saturday; the garage itself, which can accommodate about 230 spaces, will be leased starting around April 20. These 310 spaces are all in the $35-per-game Red zone.
* Also on Friday, at 11 am, Metro will be holding a ceremony in honor of the reopening of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station. Whether the station actually opens tomorrow, I don't know. They are saying it will be open Saturday morning for National Marathon spectators. And of course Saturday afternoon for the Nats-O's exhibition.
* A correspondent reports that I Street is now open to traffic between New Jersey and South Capitol. I'm guessing that there's probably still some beautifying to be done, but I was told it would be "driveable" by Opening Day, and that appears to have been met.
* Today it's the WashTimes's turn to publish its baseball and Nationals Park special sections. The Post's special section on the stadium is tomorrow.
* The Nats are showing off the kids' Strike Zone area of the ballpark this afternoon, and letting the media try some of the food that will be sold in the stadium--check back later for photos.
* Today's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post showed some of my photos documenting the makeover of the South Capitol and Potomac intersection--here's the complete batch, from one month before the start of ballpark construction up until a few days ago.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Metro/WMATA
 

Short items:
* 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 yet.
* 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.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Metro/WMATA, New Jersey Ave., square 740
 

* 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.
* If you took a long weekend, you missed a lot of big news: Florida Rock got its preliminary zoning approvals, Metro has a plan to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage and an adjacent parking lot to the Nats, and I took scads of photos: check out the neighborhood from above with my latest rooftop photos, see pictures from Saturday's GW game at the ballpark, and see the exterior of the stadium in a pile of new shots taken yesterday.
* 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....
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Florida Rock, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues, zoning
 

A proposal 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.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park
 

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.)
* Read the damn Ballpark Traffic Management Plan already. And my pages on on-street parking and taking Metro. And the new pages by Metro and the Nationals about getting to the games. (And listen for the radio ads that debuted yesterday urging fans to take Metro.)
* Monument Realty has won a preliminary injunction preventing WMATA from selling the Southeastern Bus Garage to Akridge.
* Watch for announcements of a community meeting about Opening Day on March 12, at the ballpark.
And, a reminder: the parking garages that look so stark in photos from inside the ballpark will have big banners draped on them by Opening Day. So what you see now is not what you're going to see in four weeks.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues
 

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.)
UPDATE: 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."
UPDATE II: Here's a short Post piece on the ruling.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St.
 

* 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.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, Stadium Events
 

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.
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More posts: 55 M St., JBG/Akridge Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., Nationals Park
 

* 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.
* Yesterday's scheduled council hearing on Monument's request to close the alley on Square 700 just north of the closed BP Amoco station was cancelled. No new session has been posted on the calendar.
* 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?
* If you think you're excited about the local food vendors at the ballpark announced yesterday, you should read Marc Fisher.
* UPDATE: 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.
 

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 job fair.
(And I've been under the weather the past few days, hence the somewhat brief updates.)
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., parking, South Capitol St., Nationals Park, zoning
 
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