Jan. 14 Public Meetings (And One from Last Night)
Jan 11, 2008 3:18 PM
Agendas are out for two public meetings on Monday night (Jan. 14) that have Near Southeast items of interest:
*ANC 6D's agenda
includes presentations and requests for support on the following: a new request for an alley closing on the southern end of the block bounded by Half, M, N, and South Capitol (B17-0552
, "Closing of a Public Alley in Square 700"); the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
for 1111 New Jersey Ave.
, which will be at the Zoning Commission on Jan. 31; and new design/modified second-stage PUD for RiverFront on the Anacostia
(Florida Rock), which is expected to go to the Zoning Commission in the next few months. The meeting is at St. Augustine's Church, 6th and M Streets, SW, at 7 pm.
* The Zoning Commission will hear requests for "minor modifications" to William C. Smith's 250 M Street
project and Monument's Half Street
project; alas, I haven't been able to find out what these modifications are. That meeting is at 6:30 pm at 441 Fourth St., NW, and is also available via live webcast
I should also mention here that last night the Zoning Commission voted preliminary approval of a series of text and map amendments
at the Yards
, most of which are far too dull for even me to get into; read the hearing announcement
if you want more details.
This Month in the Hill Rag
Jan 9, 2008 3:00 PM
January's Hill Rag
is now online, with a number of articles on Near Southeast-related issues (most of which I've covered here in recent weeks). There's a big piece
on Tommy Wells' Performance Parking Pilot Plan, though it was written before yesterday's official introduction
of the legislation
. Their Loose Lips-type anonymous columnist "The Nose" also talks about the parking plan
, dubbing Tommy Wells "The Pimp of Parking." (Lovely.) There's also a piece spelling out the Capitol Hill Restoration Society's objections
to DDOT's plans to renovate
the 11th Street Bridges. And there's a wrapup of the December ANC 6D meeting
, where representatives of the Nationals pledged much cooperation with the neighborhood and the ANC voted to support the ballpark's liquor license (I wrote about this meeting here
Update on Ballpark Liquor License Application
Jan 2, 2008 4:18 PM
A hearing had been scheduled
for today in front of the Alcohol and Beverage Control board
about the ballpark
's liquor license application; but I've been told that no one filed a protest about the application, so the public hearing was cancelled. The ABC board still must review the application and rule on it, presumably in the near future. For a little more background, read my post from last month
about the ANC's decision to support the application--there were concerns that a protested ABC license might spur either the city council or the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission to enact a license outside of the ABC's regulatory reach.
Ballpark and Beyond, and Stadium-Related Tidbits
Dec 20, 2007 9:06 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column
in the Post is my summary of ANC 6D's deliberations
on the ballpark
liquor license. It also references a meeting held last night between community leaders and city and team representatives (though my deadline was before the meeting, so the column couldn't actually include anything *from* the meeting).
The meeting included updates on the road improvements in the area and the Navy Yard Metro station
upgrades, both of which are still on track to be basically done by opening day (the Metro station might "still need another coat of paint", it was said, but will be "serviceable").
The Nationals are still working out their parking plans, not only in terms of the lots near the ballpark but also the satellite parking at RFK, and all the additional planning that goes with it (traffic flow, signage, shuttle buses, drop off/pick up locations, etc.). It appears as of now that there might not be season-ticket-holder lots in Southwest at all, not even at Buzzards Point. There was also mention that stadium-goers will not be funneled through the South Capitol Street exit of the freeway--the team is going to try very hard to move fans through all the other close-by freeway exits, but not South Capitol Street.
Circulator buses will not be part of the transit plans for the first season. But they're planning plenty of bike racks around the ballpark perimeter, and are also still working on a bicycle "valet" parking service.
Also, there's tentative plans for two stadium job fairs, possibly on Feb. 2 and Feb. 26 (details still being worked out).
And, everybody knows that the first few games will be "a challenge."
The general tone of the meeting was more cooperative and collegial than some of these meetings have been in the past (maybe because Tommy Wells was there for the first part and everyone wanted to be on their best behavior). There's plans for more meetings and workshops between these "stakeholders" (I really hate that word) to try to hammer out the best plans for traffic, pedestrian flow, and "curbside management" (aka on-street parking) before it's all then unveiled to the community at public meetings. There was also agreement that the group should get together after the first homestand in April to talk about what works/what doesn't.
Speaking of public meetings, here is the official announcement
about the Jan. 11 city council Committee on Economic Development oversight hearing on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium." It contains information on how to testify at the hearing, if you're so inclined.
ANC Supports Yards Zoning Changes
Dec 11, 2007 12:17 PM
It's nowhere near as exciting as a liquor license
at the ballpark
, but I should still pass along that the ANC voted 4-0-3 to support Forest City Washington's request for map and text amendments
at The Yards
that is going in front of the Zoning Commission on Jan. 11. (The three abstentions were because those commissioners had not received the packet of explanatory materials before the meeting.) The amendments are all pretty technical (larger setback along the Yards's boundary with the Navy Yard, clarifications about ground-floor retail requirements, etc.). You can see the amendments spelled out in the Zoning Commission hearing announcement
ANC Votes to Support Stadium Liquor License
Dec 10, 2007 9:50 PM
I just got back from ANC 6D's monthly meeting, where the commissioners voted 6-0 (with one abstention) to support the application by Volume Services Inc. for a "CX Arena" liquor license at the new ballpark. This single license would cover all concessions at the stadium, including kiosks, restaurants and boxes, and at individual seats.
The ANC had asked representatives of the Nationals and concessionaire CenterPlate to discuss potential issues with alcohol sales at the ballpark in greater detail, but it became a more freewheeling discussion between the team officials, who are trying to assure nearby residents that the team wants to be a good neighbor, and the commissioners, who feel that the community has received very little communication up to now from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and other city agencies about traffic, parking, and other stadium-related issues.
Nationals senior vice president for business affairs Michael Shapiro spoke a number of times of the Nationals' "sincere desire to become a member of the community," and that they want the neighbors "to be proud" of the new ballpark. Shapiro and director of ballpark operations Matthew Blush offered to meet on a regular basis with community leaders, which appeared to be well received by the commission's vice chair Andy Litsky, who described the ANC's dealings with the Sports and Entertainment Commission on ballpark-related issues over the past two years as a "horror show."
Greg McCarthy, who is senior director of the Nationals' ballpark district dealings, spoke about parking and traffic issues, explaining that season ticket holders will be assigned to specific lots and will be given detailed instructions on the correct routes to use, to prevent the cut-through traffic and circling for on-street parking that the team says it will be actively discouraging. The commissioners made clear that parking issues remain a huge concern for residents, and that they want to hear specifics soon about how gameday parking will be handled.
Shapiro and Blush described upcoming outreach efforts such as bringing neighborhood kids to the ballpark for batting practice, getting jobs at the stadium for local residents, and having ambassadors and security outside the ballpark itself before and after games as part of making "the building work for the community." Commissioners and audience members were particularly interested in job opportunities at the ballpark, with the hope that the Nationals will go beyond "hanging out a sign" to actively recruit nearby residents.
As for the liquor license, Shapiro indicated that most of the rules in place at RFK (such as no alcohol sales after the seventh inning) would be in place at the new ballpark, and suggested that the Verizon Center would be used as a guide for how to handle alcohol-related issues for non-baseball events such as concerts. (I'm guessing that liquor sales might not be an issue at the first non-baseball event at the new stadium, which is scheduled to be the April 17 mass by Pope Benedict XVI.)
With some concerns that protesting or otherwise hindering this application might spur the sports commission or the city council to issue a liquor license outside of the city's Alcohol Beverage Control jurisdiction, the ANC gave its support. The license hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.
In the meantime, the DCSEC, the Nationals, and community leaders have another meeting scheduled for Dec. 19.
Community Papers, Canal Park Connector, Other Quick Tidbits
Dec 1, 2007 9:05 AM
This morning's quick hits:
* Out of my realm, but I'll still pass along that the four short-listed development teams will be presenting their proposals for Poplar Point
at Dec. 12 at 6:30 pm at Birney Elementary School, 2501 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave., SE.
Florida Rock Back at the Zoning Commission
Nov 19, 2007 12:02 AM
Monday (Nov. 19) is the monthly Zoning Commission
meeting, and Florida Rock
(or, "RiverFront on the Anacostia") is one of the agenda items. I *believe* it's going to be a request for a new hearing on the project's revised design, which I first posted here in June
, and which received favorable comments
from the Zoning Commission in July. (This is a modification to the second-stage PUD, for those In The Know.) The meeting is at 6:30 pm, and will be shown via live webcast
As always, this monthly zoning meeting overlaps with ANC 6D
's monthly meeting; I haven't yet seen an agenda for that meeting, so at this point, I'm going to commit myself to finding out what's up with Florida Rock. (I knew I shouldn't have given the entire JDLand staff the week off at Thanksgiving.)
If you're arriving late and don't know what Florida Rock
is, the project page will give you most of the scoop. But the short version is that it's the nearly six acres of land directly south of the ballpark
, on the Anacostia River. The developers have been working for nearly 10 years to get this property transitioned away from the concrete business currently there to a 1.1 million square foot mixed-use waterfront destination.
At the February meeting where approval of the design was expected, the Zoning Commission unexpectedly sent the architects back to the drawing board
, wanting a greater amount of residential space in the project, better views to and from the ballpark, and a better "expression of place." And now the developers are hoping to get this project moving forward, so that perhaps the first phase--an office-building with ground-floor retail and a public plaza on the easternmost end of the site, next to Diamond Teague Park
--could get underway in 2008. The rest of the project, with a hotel, residential building, office building, public spaces, retail, and the riverwalk along the Anacostia, could take a while to be completed, especially given that the western portion of the site is probably not going to be ready until the current Douglass Bridge
is demolished and the new new Douglass Bridge
You can see the latest renderings, along with some watercolors and much more detailed descriptions of the revised design, on the project page
Hearing on Bridge Projects
Nov 16, 2007 2:30 PM
Here's my in-depth learned summary of today's city council hearing on proposed bridge projects
in the city, about 98 percent of which focused on the future plans
for the 11th Street Bridges
* Some people are against it.
* Some people are for it.
The three-hour hearing should be posted soon on the Channel 13 On Demand lineup for this week
, if you want to see for yourself the specifics. But really, it all boils down to arguments over capacity, over whether local streets will see a reduction in cut-through commuter traffic, and differences between Capitol Hill residents and advocacy groups and east-of-the-river residents and advocacy groups, none of whom spoke with any sort of uniform voice.
And since no one spoke about any of the preferred design's impacts on Near Southeast specifically (of which there are a few
, mainly the revamped interchanges at 11th and M), I'll just leave it to others to go into more detail.
ANC 6D Presentation Meeting Tonight
Nov 5, 2007 1:49 PM
Apologies for the late notice, but tonight ANC 6D
is having an "presentation meeting", to break out the issues that people and organizations want to bring in front of the ANC but which don't require an official vote. This is an attempt to shorten the monthly business meetings, which can run for hours and kill numerous brain cells of all in attendance. The meeting will be at 25 N Street, SW, at
either 7:00 or 7:30 pm
(now confirmed). Items on tonight's agenda include WASA talking about lead pipe replacement in the neighborhood and an update on Arena Stage construction and schedule.
There's also going to be a presentation by a group called the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Eastern Washington, who are raising questions about the various road and bridge projects planned along the Anacostia and who have been contacting city officials over the past few months requesting that a new "traffic mobility study" be undertaken. (Here's their flyer and a copy of a letter to Mayor Fenty
they sent back in August.) I imagine this group will also be interested in the Nov. 16 hearing before the City Council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment on "Major Bridge Construction Projects in the District
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.)
Another Zoning Request for More Ballpark Surface Parking Lot Locations
Oct 16, 2007 9:18 AM
With Opening Day 2008 inching closer, the cobbling together of parking at the new ballpark
is apparently turning out to be a greater challenge than constructing an on-time on-budget stadium. So this week the city put in another zoning amendment request to allow more temporary surface parking lots, this time covering eight squares in Southwest, all between P, T, 2nd, and South Capitol streets. (See my Stadium Parking page
for a map with the new lots highlighted.) You can read the Office of Planning's report on the new case
(07-08A) for more detail.
On Monday night the Zoning Commission approved this request on an emergency basis, meaning that the zoning change takes effect immediately, lasting 120 days while a hearing is scheduled and a permanent amendment is voted on.
As with the original amendment approved earlier this year
, the lots can last no more than five years, are required to be available for public parking during non-game times, and must have District Department of Transportation approval of their traffic routing plans to ensure that access to the lots is not directed along I, P, or Fourth streets, SW. There's also a new requirement being added with this latest request, that a minimum of five percent of the spaces in these lots be reserved for a car/ride-share program.
These new lots are still subject to the cap of 3,775 total spaces laid out in the first amendment, unless special exceptions are obtained after the cap is reached from the Board of Zoning Adjustment on a per-lot basis. As with the squares covered earlier this year, it's not expected that lots will suddenly sprout on every one of the locations covered in the request; the main goal appears to be additional flexibility in finding possible spots for the needed spaces.
A separate zoning action a few months ago approved three temporary surface lots totaling under 800 spaces at The Yards, across the street from the stadium. There are also apparently negotiations underway about using the lots at RFK and providing shuttle service to the new ballpark.
There are other locations within a few blocks of the ballpark that will no doubt become temporary parking lots as well--one example is the Lerners' recent permit applications to build a lot on land they own at 1000 South Capitol Street.
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, when this new zoning amendment was discussed, commissioners mentioned rumors of additional lots perhaps coming to the recently closed KFC and Exxon locations on the west side of South Capitol. But these blocks are not in the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay, and so don't require the special approval needed for the squares in the previous amendment requests. And these additional locations still require the Nationals to contract with the landowners, which might not always be an easy negotiation.
The ANC commissioners did not bring up many concerns about this new request, other than asking for confirmation that the traffic controls in the initial amendment cover these new lots, which Judi Greenberg of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development assured was the case.
Commissioner Ron McBee said that he hopes to organize a town hall meeting for Southwest residents about all the parking plans when they are more concrete, and vice chair Andy Litsky reminded Greenberg that the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission is supposed to be meeting with community leaders to address ballpark-related concerns, but that there hasn't been a meeting in six months.
The zoning commission's approval of the emergency action came with little discussion, perhaps reflecting that most of the potential issues with these temporary lots were hashed out in the first request.
Time should solve many of the initial parking issues around the ballpark; right now there are seven office and residential projects already under construction around Near Southeast that by 2008 and 2009 will have multiple levels of underground parking that could potentially be available for gametime, just as with the lots are in the buildings around the Verizon Center. Most of the squares in these recent zoning requests, along most every other block between South Capitol and Second, will also eventually be home to buildings with underground parking.
UPDATE: An e-mail sent out today to Nationals season ticket holders says that 2008 ticket package information will be sent out "in the next month or so", and that a "comprehensive transportation package will also be sent to all season ticket holders shortly after you have received your seat location information." Presumably the "transportation package" means parking plans for season ticket holders (and maybe a really good Metro map!).
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.)
ANC 6D Oct. 15 Agenda Posted
Oct 12, 2007 3:12 PM
The agenda is out for Monday's ANC 6D meeting
; the big item is the aforementioned
vote on Monument Realty's plans for redeveloping the Randall School at Half and I, SW; also, Council Member Phil Mendelson is slated to talk about the MPD move (I don't know if this means just the 1D station issues, or everything that surrounded the now-aborted use of 225 Virginia Avenue
). Also, there's an agenda item about a Southwest Neighborhood Association
town hall meeting on ballpark parking
, but I can't tell if that's just to announce the town hall meeting, or if it already happened. The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 6th and M, SW.
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?)
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.
New 12-Unit Condo Project on 7th Street
Sep 12, 2007 12:59 PM
On Tuesday night, ANC 6B gave its support for a planned 12-unit five-story condo project to be built on the vacant lot at 1006 7th Street (between K and L, across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters). All the units will be two bedroom/two bath, and there will be six parking spaces on the site as well. The ground floor has about 650 sq ft of commercial space, though it's not yet decided whether it will be retail or office space. The architect was kind enough to pass along the very early technical drawings, which I've now posted. There's still a lot of bureaucracy for this project to wade through, including its Historic Preservation Review Board hearing on Sept. 27, as well as the vaunted DC building permit process. But they hope to break ground quickly after all the ducks have been put in a row.
(You can see the change that has already come to the rowhouses next to the lot if you scroll a bit down my 8th Street page
Square 696 Alley Closing Gets ANC Support
Sep 11, 2007 11:04 AM
Last night a request to close the alley that runs between I and K streets parallel to Half and First on Square 696 was on the ANC 6D agenda
. But first there was three-and-a-half hours of discussion and debate on various Southwest issues, including the Randall School, Waterside Mall, the Nassif Building, and more--at least, I think
that's what they were talking about, because the acoustics at St. Augustine's Church are so horrendous that everyone could have been describing their summer vacations for all I know.
Finally, at about 10:30, representatives of DRI Development
and architect HOK
gave a brief summary of their plans for the block, which are still very much in the early stages, but were described as "something other than your standard box." The plans show three office buildings (not four, as we've heard up to now) all with ground-floor retail, connected by a "galleria"-type lobby in the center. There would also be an 8,000-sq-ft public plaza opening up to K Street, to give open space to not only the office workers but also the residents of the four buildings surrounding Square 696.
As part of the alley closing request, DRI and its development partner Jamestown Properties are offering a $100,000 payment to the Near Southeast/Southwest community fund, a promise that the building will be LEED certified (a vegetated roof is part of the plans), and the 8,000-sq-ft open space of the plaza to replace the 8,000-sq-ft of "public space" being lost by the alley closing.
The ANC commissioners were quite pleased with what they heard, congratulating the developers on working with the commission on the benefits package before presenting their alley closing request. Commissioner McBee suggested that perhaps some public art could be included at the plaza, as well as public wifi. The final vote was 6-1 in favor of the project, with only Commissioner Skolnik opposing.
DRI was kind enough to pass along the preliminary site plan, which I've added to my Square 696 page
. The alley closing request will now wind its way through the city council.
Oversight Hearing on Canal Park, and Other Council Events
Sep 7, 2007 9:27 AM
With the August recess over, the city council is swinging back into action, and there's a number of Near Southeast-related hearings scheduled over the next few weeks. The most interesting one is a Committee on Economic Development public oversight hearing on "Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Transition of Projects on the Southwest Waterfront, Hill East, Poplar Point, Canal Park, and Kingman Island", scheduled for Oct. 1 at noon. The progress of Canal Park (or lack thereof) continues to be of great interest to Near Southeast residents, and perhaps by the time of this hearing there will be some movement on getting the school buses relocated. There's rumors afoot that the buses could be moved to a temporary lot once a long-term home is secured--and apparently there may soon be a contract before the city council approving a new permanent lot in Prince George's County.
(Also, as an aside, the ANC 6D agenda for Monday night's meeting is now online
ANC 6D September Agenda - Square 696 Alley Closing
Sep 5, 2007 9:57 AM
ANC 6D (covering Southwest and Near Southeast) will have its monthly meeting on Sept. 10, and the draft agenda (now posted online) includes a request to support the closing of the alley that bisects Square 696 (bounded by Half, I, K, and First) as a first step in DRI Development's plans to redevelop the entire block. As I posted here, DRI and development partner Jamestown Properties are planning a four-building office and retail project, to be constructed in four phases, starting in 2008 and ending in 2012 or later.
Non-Near Southeast agenda items include a discussion of the plans for the old Randall School at Half and I, an update on the plans for the Nassif building where the US Department of Transportation used to live, and a discussion of the apparent resolution between community members and the developers of the old Waterside Mall of the massing of the building facades facing M Street SW. The meeting is at St. Augustine's Church, 6th and M streets, SW, at 7 pm.