Near Southeast DC: Past News Items
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ANC 6D Meeting Tonight; Monument Half Street Withdraws Public Space Approval Request
Sep 15, 2008 11:55 AM
* Tonight is ANC 6D
's monthly meeting. Alas, no agenda
has been released yet, so I can't tell you what might be happening. (And I can't go, so I won't be able to tell you what happened.)
* We'll have to wait a little longer to find out what exactly was meant by that "146 fountains" part of the public space improvement application by Monument for 1200 Half Street (aka 55 M
) that I posted a few weeks back
--they've asked for a postponement and are no longer on the Sept. 25 Public Space Committee agenda. The draft agenda had said: "Application by M.R./BR Residential #1A, LLC for installing various fixtures in public space ( 23-benches, 9 trash containers, 32 lights, 146 fountains, 8 bollards, 18 bike rack all located around Half Street in public space."
ANC 6D Meeting Monday Night
Jul 13, 2008 1:50 PM
I'm back from a week in Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota, where I took all sorts of photos
despite the fact that there were almost no buildings under construction. And what better way to get back in the blogging saddle than to post notice of Monday's ANC 6D
meeting. The agenda
has one Near Southeast item, which is a public space permit for 100 M Street
(for trees, a driveway, and sidewalk paving). The rest of the agenda includes a presentation by the Office of Planning on a zoning study of Southwest, a resolution on the proposed moratorium on "singles" (alcohol, not unmarrieds), and admin minutiae in conjunction with some events planned in Southwest. The meeting starts at 7 pm, at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M Streets, SW. I'll be the one in the audience griping about not still being out west.
ANC 6D Monthly Meeting Agenda; Parking Tweaks
Jun 6, 2008 11:41 AM
It's that time of the month again (wait, that didn't come out right). Monday night is ANC 6D's monthly meeting, and the agenda has now been posted
. (Yay!) No specific Near Southeast items are included, but there will be a discussion of changes that are coming to the Performance Parking Plan
, some of which were telegraphed at the community meeting last month
and described in the latest Hill Rag
These parking plan changes include an earlier end on weeknights and making Sundays free for the metered parking on the commercial strips north of the freeway. There have also been changes made already to the multiple-guest pass system (for all those dinner parties and book clubs that everyone on the Hill is apparently having every night)--residents don't need to gather visitors' car and license info anymore, they can just go to the 1D or 1D1 police stations and pick-up one-day passes that can be filled out at home.
I won't be able to be at the ANC meeting, but I'm sure it will as always be a scintillating and uplifting discussion of the issues.
Yards Park Phase I Gets Zoning Approval
May 31, 2008 7:19 AM
In what chair Anthony Hood remarked might have been the Zoning Commission's first-ever landscape architecture-only case, the Zoning Commission on Thursday night approved the design for the first phase of the waterfront park at The Yards
, the nearly 6-acre green space along the Anacostia River on the site of the once walled-off Southeast Federal Center. My project page
has a number of the renderings that were displayed during the presentation, and additional descriptions of what's planned for the site can be found in these two
Representatives of Forest City said that they are committed to opening the first phase of the park in the summer of 2009
. The second phase, which will include the renovation of the Lumber Storage Shed and the construction of other retail pavilions and buildings, is expected to come before the Zoning Commission this fall. Phase 3 will be the piers and marinas. Somewhat surprising was the news that the floating boardwalk connecting the Great Lawn on the western side of the park to Diamond Teague Park
and the ballpark
is now going to be built by the city as part of the construction of Teague rather than by Forest City as part of this park.
Much of the discussion by the zoning commissioners (that I saw--I watched from home in my fuzzy slippers and the webcast went wonky a few times in the middle) centered around the pedestrian bridge that runs across the bulkhead and the new freshwater canal. Its very "forward" design---described by Commissioner Etherly as an "aggressive architectural play" and by vice chair Jeffries as a "Slinky," a moniker that I'm sure the developers would probably prefer to not catch on--was not met with universal acclaim. The commissioners did seem recognize its intended role as a piece of art and one of the iconic elements of the park. Jeffries emphasized--and others agreed--that because the designs for the buildings and for the "art tower" are coming at a later date, the bridge is setting the stage for the rest of the architecture at the park, and that the future designs must play off what the bridge has started.
Peter May did not like the bridge (though I missed a lot of his comments because of the webcast problems). He expressed a worry that the bridge, along with the not-yet-designed art tower and whatever's planned for Poplar Point, could create a series of "Look at Me" moments along the Anacostia, all trying to compete for attention. "The 'Look at Me' moment for a waterfront park should be the river itself," he said.
There were also discussions of the lighting plans, and concerns as to whether or not the bridge has a railing (it does). Jeffries asked a lot about the vegetation planned for the different sections of the park, and expressed a wish for some landscaping that is a bit more "wild" in nature, to which Forest City seemed receptive.
There were letters of support from ANC 6D, which voted 7-0 on May 12 to approve the plans, as well as from the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the National Capital Planning Commission, which approved the park's design back in February
. So, in the end, the commission decided to go ahead and vote for approval of the plans immediately, although the issuance of the final order is subject to the commission receiving some new renderings showing more clearly the railing on the bridge. The vote was 4-0-1, with commissioner Turnbull not present.
Monday ANC Meeting Agenda Items
May 11, 2008 3:37 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting has been sent around (although not posted on their web site
, sigh), and it has a couple of Near Southeast items. There will be a presentation on the plans for the Waterfront Park
at The Yards, in advance of a May 29 Southeast Federal Center Overlay District
Review covering new structures that will be built to house retail pavilions at the park. There's also apparently a public space permit application from the Onyx folks at 1100 First Street for a fence along L Street, plus garden masonry piers and light fixtures. And the developers of the 250 M Street
office building are back again, after having not gotten very far at last month's meeting
with their request for support for a second-stage PUD modification at a May 28 zoning hearing
to increase the building's height (but not its square footage) from what was originally approved, since the commissioners wanted a new round of community benefits in return for their support, which W.C. Smith balked at given that the project isn't requesting to take any new amount of public space. We'll see if there were any negotiations since then. The meeting will be at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW.
Thursday Meeting Preview (WMATA, Yards, Five Guys)
Apr 23, 2008 10:36 AM
A somewhat busy Thursday (April 24) is on the boards:
* We might be getting some news on the state of Monument Realty's lawsuit against WMATA over the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage
to Akridge--the WMATA Board of Directors is meeting
at 11 am, and the agenda for their executive session
includes "Legal Issues - Monument vs. WMATA." I know nothing beyond that.
* Forest City's plans for the office/residential/retail project at 401 M Street
will be getting a Southeast Federal Center Overlay District
Review in front of the Zoning Commission
at 6:30 pm at Suite 220 South, 441 4th St., NW; you can also catch it via live webcast
, if it's working. Read more about this from my ANC 6D wrapup last week
and an earlier entry on the project
* And, if you want to make your voice heard about the public space application by Five Guys for a sidewalk seating area, the Public Space Committee
will be bringing it up at its monthly meeting, at 941 North Capitol Street, NE, 7th Floor, starting at 10 am. This is the application that ANC6D refused to support last week
because of the lack of a community benefits package for the "loss of public space."
Pope Day Arrives in the Hood; This Week's Column
Apr 17, 2008 8:56 AM
So, the faithful are streaming toward the ballpark
as we speak. Although the 55 M cam
showed the upper decks pretty empty with about 90 minutes to go, Channel 9 (already on the air
with its coverage of the mass) gives a better view of the tens of thousands already inside. (48,000 people are expected.) How's everyone faring, either trying to get out of the neighborhood or into it for work? Or is everyone just staying home? And, for those reading this later today who went to the mass, how did your trip go?
In other news, my Ballpark and Beyond column this week
is yet another one about stadium parking, taken mainly from my Monday night post about ANC 6D's muted reaction
to parking and traffic issues (along with the Zoning Commission's approval of having additional lots built in Southwest if landowners want them). I also tossed in a quick roundup of the private cash lots springing up.
Zoning Approval for Possible Additional Surface Lots; ANC 6D Says Little About Ballpark's Debut; Community Meeting about On-Street Parking
Apr 14, 2008 11:12 PM
On Monday night, without much discussion, the Zoning Commission gave approval to the request to add additional blocks
in Buzzards Point to the zoning amendment allowing temporary surface parking lots
near the baseball stadium
. The commissioners who spoke mentioned the need to give the Nationals the flexibility the team was seeking to be able to build new surface lots as development possibly takes away the lots currently in use. The vote was unanimous, although Commissioner Turnbull stated for the record his concern that lots north of Potomac Avenue, closer to the residential portion of Southwest, could introduce significant traffic. As of now, the Nationals have announced no plans to use any lots at Buzzards Point this season.
At about the same time the Zoning Commission was voting, ANC 6D
was discussing how the first few games at the ballpark went, in terms of traffic and parking impacts on Southwest and Near Southeast. And, for a group of people who, shall we say, have not been shy over the past few years about voicing fears as to how the new stadium would impact their neighborhood, the reaction was surprisingly muted. Visitor parking passes did not seem to get to all residences, additional signage needs to be installed, issues with left turns and parking enforcement on G Street, SW will need to be addressed, and there were questions about whether the parking restrictions on M Street could be eased, but overall the commissioners seemed to feel that there had been no major issues. Commissioner Robert Siegel, who represents all of the ANC east of South Capitol, proclaimed himself "very pleased." (Though Commissioner David Sobelsohn did remark that things "will go smoothly as long as the Nationals keep losing.")
The meeting itself was pretty sparsely attended, with few of the residents who have been vocal about potential problems at previous meetings on hand. Only a couple people in the audience spoke up about any issues they'd had or seen, and did so without much emotion. The discussion was over in probably about 15 minutes. If you've ever attended an ANC 6D meeting, you know how astonishing this is.
Tommy Wells will be having a community meeting to look at how the new on-street parking regulations are working
, both for residential streets and the retail stretches along Pennsylvania Avenue and Barracks Row, on May 7 at 7 pm
, at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church (Fifth Street and Seward Square, SE).
There's other items to report from tonight's meeting, but I'll write about those in an entry to come.
Monday Meetings; Parking Signs; Birds-Eye View
Mar 9, 2008 3:18 PM
* I mentioned this a few days back
, but why not pass along another reminder that Monday at 7 pm is the ANC 6D monthly meeting
, with presentations and votes on 401 M Street
, the ballpark traffic management plan
, and the South Capitol Street Draft EIS
, plus a briefing by the Nats on the Opening Day "Fan Fest" activities. To get in on the fun, go to St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 6th and M St., SW, starting at 7 pm.
* If the ANC isn't your bag, you can watch the Zoning Commission take up again
the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
for Donohoe's planned office building at 1111 New Jersey
. It's a continuation of the last hearing
, which revolved mostly around whether the garage access would be from New Jersey or from the alley. The hearing starts at 6:00 pm
, and 1111 is also on the public meeting agenda at 6:30 pm, which perhaps is a display of optimism that Donohoe and DDOT will have the garage issue straightened out and the review ruling can be made. Watch the webcast
, if you're so inclined. (I'm going to be missing both of these meetings, so it might be a few days before I can get the scoop on them.)
* The new Enhanced Residential Parking Permit
signs, which allow non-Zone 6 parking only on one side of the street in certain areas near the ballpark
, continue to get installed. They came to my street north of the freeway within the past day or so.
* I thought I did good with last week's find of a November 2006 satellite photo
of the neighborhood, but reader JK has upped the ante with the "Bird's-Eye View" option at Microsoft Live Search
, showing not-real-high-up images from March 2007. But be careful when you're scrolling around--if you go to fast, the images flip back to shots from early 2003. (Which is festive in its own fun-house kind of way.)
Hearings on First New Buildings at the Yards; Ballpark and South Capitol EIS Also on ANC 6D Agenda
Mar 7, 2008 8:49 AM
Beginning the trek through the approvals process are the first new-construction buildings
planned for The Yards
--a 320,000-square-foot office building at 401 M Street
and a 170ish-unit apartment building to its south at 400 Tingey Street
. They would both have ground-floor retail, but it's what's planned for 401 M that will probably have everyone's attention, because a grocery store
is proposed for that space, just inside the historic wall and sentry tower on the southeast corner of Fourth and M. (No, which grocery store it could be hasn't been announced yet.) Recent documents have said that 401 M could begin construction in late 2008, with delivery in 2010; the residential building's start depends on "market conditions." (Uh-oh.) A few more early renderings are on my 401 M/400 Tingey page
. (See my Yards First Phase
page for information on the retail
projects that are getting underway this year.)
There's a Zoning Commission Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review
of the plans scheduled for April 17
, and ANC 6D will be voting on whether to support the project at its March 10 meeting
Also at Monday's ANC 6D meeting
will be presentations and votes on plans for the Opening Day Fan Fest at the ballpark
, the ballpark Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan
(formerly known as the TOPP), and the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement
. I attended Wednesday night's public meeting on the Draft EIS, and while the slides from the meeting haven't yet been posted on its web site, the DEIS's executive summary
is a good substitute for the information that was available at the meeting--you can read my summary of the plans as well
. There wasn't much public comment (maybe seven or eight speakers), and the concerns seemed to be more about making sure DDOT does a good job of handling the inconveniences and resident issues as a result of the planned changes, rather than any real opposition to the plans themselves. The public comment
period ends March 31, and the Final EIS is expected to come out late this year.
Alas, I won't be able to attend this ANC meeting that's so chock full of Near Southeast goodness. But I'm guessing that spending that evening watching the Roger Federer-Pete Sampras exhibition at Madison Square Garden might be a bit more enjoyable.
Performance Parking Bill Passes; Additional Zoning Hearing on Southwest Lots on March 24; Public Meeting on Traffic and Parking March 12
Mar 5, 2008 2:50 PM
(I'm having so much fun with posts on home plate's arrival at the ballpark
, ballpark food
, and raze permits
that I hate to kill the buzz with a post on parking, but alas it must be done.)
Yesterday the city council passed an emergency version of Tommy Wells's Performance Parking pilot plan
, which will be used to regulate curbside parking on streets near the ballpark (as well as in Columbia Heights, along with a new taxicab zone pilot in Adams Morgan and a Visitor Pass pilot in Mount Pleasant). I've got the text of the bill as passed
, and there's much more detail than was in the draft version of the bill (though not the detail that everyone really wants, namely the rates and fines), so definitely look at it if you're looking for additional information. A few items that jump out at me (though I'm hoping that Tommy's office sends out a release soon with more info):
* The pilot is only for two years.
* The mayor gets to set the rules, fees, and fines for the zones, but the council gets to set the zones themselves.
* Parking fees cannot be increased by more than 50 cents in any one-month period (or more than once per month).
* Councilmembers and ANCs must be notified of any fee changes at least 10 days in advance.
* "The Mayor shall publish a web site that includes the following: pilot zone boundaries, rules/regulations, information about how to use new parking fee technologies, and a parking pilot project manger's name and contact information." (Until then, you can look at my page
on the curbside parking regulations around the ballpark.)
* DDOT has to submit a plan to the council and the ANCs with zone-specific parking management targets and with details on parking charges.
* DDOT has to conduct quarterly public meetings to provide updates on the parking management targets and to receive public comments on the program.
* The mayor has to submit an annual report on the parking pilots with all sorts of statistics.
Speaking of parking, the March Hill Rag has a roundup
on the parking plans for the area (similar to my page
). And I've been very remiss in not reporting that Feb. 21 Zoning Commission hearing
on allowing additional temporary surfacing parking lots in Southwest was continued to March 24 after representatives of DDOT were not in attendance to discuss traffic management plans for the new lots. The Hill Rag has a summary of the Feb. 11 ANC meeting
where there was much unhappiness about these potential new lots.
Bad link to bill text fixed.
DDOT is now announcing a public meeting on March 12 from 6 to 8:30 pm at 20 M St., SE,
for "residents and business owners and operators to review and comment on the most recent version of the Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan
(often referred to as the Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP)). DDOT will also offer their appreciation to the area residents and business owners for their support and patience during the recent street upgrades in the South Capitol corridor. The meeting is an open workshop that will highlight the numerous parts of the overall transportation and parking operations that will be in effect during events at the new stadium. The TOPP was originally drafted to address concerns by residents on the expected increase in vehicular movement during stadium events in the southeast and southwest neighborhoods surrounding the ballpark. Representatives from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (DCSEC) and the Nationals will also be available to address concerns and answer questions." (This is the meeting that was described in testimony at the city council last week as being "at the ballpark." I guess they used "at the ballpark" in the same literary way one could say that the Navy Yard Metro station is "at the ballpark." Ah well.)
Zoning Amendment for Parking Lots in SW; Residents Not Happy
Feb 13, 2008 2:35 PM
At Monday's ANC 6D
meeting (which I missed because I had three meetings on my calendar for that night and the ANC never released an agenda for me to know whether I should go or not), there was apparently a big discussion of Zoning Case 07-08A
, scheduled to be heard on Feb. 21, which seeks to allow temporary surface parking lots for no more than five years on a series of blocks in Southwest, mainly in Buzzards Point (squares 603, 605, 658, 661, 662, 662E, 664, 664E, and Square 658, Lot 7 for those of you with tax parcel maps handy, or look on the last page of this
). A temporary emergency version of this text amendment passed with no discussion back in October
; the Feb. 21 hearing is to make the amendment good for five years.
When the original case (07-08
) establishing the ability to build temporary lots on a number of blocks in Near Southeast was passed, parking lots did not automatically appear on every block covered in the amendment. However, ANC 6D and residents of Southwest are apparently viewing this new amendment as the city going back on a promise to not build any parking lots in Southwest. Here is the ANC 6D resolution
I've been at meetings over the past few months where city and team officials have said that there would be no ballpark parking offered in Buzzards Point this season
because of the lack of sidewalks, streetlamps, and other improvements; the Office of Planning report
for Case 07-08A says: "The Nationals have advised OP that, to date, no agreements with owners of individual lots have been reached so it is not likely that any of the temporary parking will be located on these sites prior to opening day in 2008[.]" I'm checking with the Nationals to see if this has changed. But certainly Buzzards Point would be still be viewed as a prime location for additional surface parking, if it's needed.
1111 New Jersey - Where to Put the Garage
Feb 1, 2008 10:39 AM
Last night the Zoning Commission heard the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
case for 1111 New Jersey
, Donohoe's now 220,000-square-foot office building on the northwest corner of New Jersey and M. The Office of Planning report
laid out how the project properly adheres to the requirements of the CG Overlay, and there was actually very little discussion by the commissioners of the building's design or landscape (save for a few questions about the width of the sidewalk on M Street, which is wider than what the CG Overlay calls for, because of various hardware for the Navy Yard Metro station below).
What took up the bulk of the discussion was whether the building's parking garage should be accessed via New Jersey Avenue or via the block's alley that runs north-south between L and M (which is shared with 100 M
, and whatever gets built on the St. Matthew's site). The original design had the garage driveway on New Jersey, but DDOT is asking that it be moved to the alley because of both a desire to not have curb cuts on a major state street like New Jersey and because the alley is an existing curb cut where pedestrians expect vehicular flow. But the commissioners were uniformly unhappy with the alley solution, given the narrowness of the alley (14 feet), the heavy amount of traffic there will be, and the very awkward garage entrance/exit that Donohoe has had to come up with in order to make the alley entry work. Donohoe didn't appear to be especially happy with the alley solution, either, but DDOT was pretty firm in their desire to have it there.
The record was left open, and DDOT and Donohoe said they would continue to work on the garage issue. A ruling on the overlay review could come at the March 11 Zoning Commission meeting.
Chairman Anthony Hood also briefly touched on ANC 6D's opposition
to the project because of a lack of a community benefits package--Hood said that this project is not a PUD, and any desires to have amenities packages be part of CG Overlay reviews should have been dealt with when the Overlay was created, so the ANC's opposition was viewed as not germaine.
Monday's Public Meetings (Parking, Half Street)
Jan 29, 2008 1:47 PM
Last night ANC 6D
held a special public meeting to decide whether or not to support Tommy Wells' Performance Parking bill
when it has its council hearing on Wednesday
. I was unable to attend, but reports from my vast network of moles indicate that the ANC will be supporting the bill, albeit it while "expressing strong concern" over some still-outstanding issues. (We'll find out what those are during Andy Litsky's testimony at the hearing.) The ANC vote was 4-2.
At almost the same time, the Zoning Commission held a brief special public meeting to take up the series of minor modifications
that Monument Realty requested to its design for the east side of Half Street (yes, the area that's already under construction
). I talked about these in slightly more detail a few weeks ago
when this first came to the Zoning Commission; the ZC declined to approve these as part of its consent agenda at that meeting because the commissioners wanted a little bit more clarification, which they got in the filings for this second hearing. The only question that came from the dais was why Metro nixed the wire mesh panels with LED lights that Monument had originally envisioned as the walls around the Navy Yard station entrance at Half and M--the reply was that, in addition to weatherproofing concerns, Metro wanted its security people to be able to see into the station by shining a light from a car on the street, instead of having to go into the station. The wire mesh is now being replaced with a glass "frit" (yes, I had to look it up
, too) that will be backlit with the lighting scheme Monument wants. With that, the commission approved the request 5-0; all the minor modifications are explained in the Office of Planning report
Ballpark and Beyond This Week - ANC Wrapup
Jan 24, 2008 10:52 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column
is a shortened summary of last week's ANC 6D meeting; but here's the links to my more detailed reports on the what transpired at that meeting with 1111 New Jersey
, an alley closing request
by Monument Realty, and Florida Rock
And, since it's been a busy week, you might have missed my 2008 State of the Hood
, which rises above all the daily minutaie to look at what's happened in Near Southeast in the last 12 months and what's coming in 2008; if you're coming late to the party and are looking for an overview, take a few moments to browse it.
ANC 6D Report #3: Newest Florida Rock Design
Jan 18, 2008 1:35 PM
The last Near Southeast item on Monday's ANC 6D meeting was a request for the commission's support of the latest design of RiverFront on the Anacostia
, better known as Florida Rock. This is the nearly six acres of land directly south of the ballpark
, on the Anacostia River, where developers have spent 10 years trying to transition away from the concrete business currently operating there to a 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use waterfront destination. They came close to an approved design in 2006, but in February 2007 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."
After nearly a year, a revised design is ready to go to the Zoning Commission for approval. It now includes 323,000 square feet of residential space, 80,000 square feet of retail and 465,000 square feet of office space.
Some of the ideas floated early in the redesign process
have been modified or removed, most notably "The Pitch", the plaza directly across from the ballpark
's grand staircase and adjacent to the planned Diamond Teague Park
. This space no longer has pitcher and catcher statues but is instead now a "festive" open plaza that will be more "integrated" with Teague and will help with the expected flow of ballpark visitors coming to and from the water taxi piers that someday may materialize out by the little red brick pumphouse.
Also, the residential and hotel buildings have had their heights grow to 130 feet, to allow for the extra square footage the zoning commission wanted. But the hotel's top two floors will now be "pure residential".
As for when some movement will actually be seen at the site, David Briggs of Holland & Knight set out a timeline
based on zoning approvals, construction drawings, and the vaunted DC permitting process that estimates the start of construction on the first phase (the eastern office building) in probably fall of 2009
He mentioned a number of times the amount of pressure
that Florida Rock is under to shut down the concrete plant and to build temporary parking lots, but he explained that the site currently makes money for its company and shareholders, and there's little interest in closing it down sooner than necessary. (Briggs did say that a temporary landscaping
of the eastern plaza, next to Diamond Teague, could be a possibility once the zoning approvals are received, but that the underground parking for RiverFront does extend beneath that plaza, and so excavation and construction work will need to be done there.)
It should be noted that this timeline is really about the first two phases (the eastern office building and the 160-unit residential building), because the western office building and the hotel can't be built until the construction of a new Douglass Bridge
allows Florida Rock to use its land that is currently occupied by the old bridge. (The year 2016 was tossed around as a possible date for when these later phases could get started.)
Community benefits remain similar to past presentations, including an estimated 25 units of workforce housing, anticipated LEED certification for the buildings, First Source and LSDBE hiring, and a combined underground loading dock for the three western buildings, as well as the more basic amenity of replacing a huge concrete plant with shiny new buildings and access to the waterfront. The ANC has always been enthusiastic about this project, and this time around was no different, with the commissioners voting 5-2 to support the new design. The Zoning Commission hearing, for what is officially considered a modification to the project's second-stage PUD, is scheduled for March 20.
I'm really trying to just hit the newsiest items here--definitely take some time to look through my RiverFront
page (have to stop calling it Florida Rock sometime) for much more detail on the current design. And read all the archived news items
, too, if you want a better feel for the twists and turns this project has taken.
ANC Report #2: Monument Alley Closing Request
Jan 17, 2008 5:44 PM
At Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, Monument Realty
presented its request for the ANC's support in closing a 2,417-square-foot alley that runs between South Capitol and Van streets not far north of N Street. This alley is north of the now-closed BP Amoco and south of what is now a WMATA employee parking lot on land owned by Monument (there used to be a neon yellow bungalow
there, until late 2006). Christy Shiker of Holland & Knight told the commissioners that the Amoco property--which faces the ballpark
's western parking garage--is too small to develop on its own, but with the alley closed and the lots combined, Monument would build a 130-foot-high residential building
with approximately 150 to 200 units plus 14,000 square feet of ground-floor (or perhaps two-story) retail. Monument is not committing at this time to pursuing LEED certification for this building.
Shiker then described the community benefits package that Monument was offering to the ANC in return for the loss of this public space, including a $50,000 contribution to the community fund, the retail, First Source
employment preferences, and an affordable housing component that would match whatever is called for whenever the city's Inclusionary Zoning mandates are finally hammered out. Monument would also work toward agreements on ANC6D resident preferences, to be determined with the ANC at a later date.
This became a sticking point, with Commissioner David Sobelsohn concerned about giving the ANC's support for this project merely on promises to make agreements later. Shiker pointed out that Monument has made these agreements before for their other Ballpark District projects
, and also that the ANC will have another crack at the project when down the road it undergoes its mandatory Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
. But Sobelsohn still felt that the ANC was being handed a "take it or leave it" proposition.
An audience member asked if Monument would be planning to build a temporary parking lot if the alley closing is approved, but Shiker said that Monument's goal is to develop the land, that they "want a building, not a parking lot." (Though one must admit that that is some pretty plum stadium-parking territory.) There were also questions about the Public Space Storage building just to the north (echoing my WTDW entry from last week
), but Monument's representatives said that they didn't think the storage company would be moving.
Commissioner Bob Siegel moved to support the alley closing with further negotiations on the proposed benefits package as the project proceeds, but the ANC voted 2-2-1 and so the resolution did not pass.
The alley closing bill is B17-0552
, and Shiker told the ANC that she expected a public hearing in late February, with perhaps council action in March or April. No date for actual construction of the project was mentioned.
Coming tomorrow--a recap of the Florida Rock
portion of the ANC meeting, though you don't have to wait until then to see the latest project renderings
that were presented. But my long-winded summary of what was said during the meeting will have to wait a bit longer.
ANC Doings -- 1111 New Jersey CG Overlay Review
Jan 16, 2008 1:42 PM
(This is the first of three dispatches I'll be posting over the next few days from Monday's ANC 6D
meeting. Can you feel the excitement building?)
The developers of the planned office building at 1111 New Jersey
came looking for the ANC's support in advance of their Jan. 31 Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
at the Zoning Commission. This project has been revised over the past few months after Donohoe was chosen by WMATA
to acquire the 5,000-square-foot lot on top of the Navy Yard Metro's east entrance at New Jersey and M--by expanding 1111 New Jersey's footprint to this lot, which fronts M Street, the project became subject to a CG Overlay
Review (boring tutorial here
). While the WMATA land is being sold to Donohoe, this is in fact a joint development project with WMATA, who I imagine will receive a dollar or two over the coming years once the building is built and leased.
The new design was described by WDG Architecture
as 220,000 square feet of office space with 5,700 square feet of ground-floor retail in a glass-facade building. While it uses a smidge of the WMATA land, the project will not be built on top of the station entrance as is happening with 55 M
--the station canopy will remain, and a there will be a large public plaza at this "important corner", along with a 60-foot setback with a double line of trees stretching up New Jersey. (Non-obsessive observers might not remember that 1111 NJ's footprint does not include the site of St. Matthew's Church immediately to the north--that lot is being acquired by Ruben Companies
for a rumored residential project
, where no plans have yet been made, a Ruben rep tells me.)
Donohoe indicated that it plans to go for LEED certification for 1111, and mentioned that some of the ground-floor space would be designed with restaurant uses in mind, though the presenters said they remain aware of the requirements for community-oriented retail and preferred uses in the overlay area.
Beyond the LEED certification, retail, and public spaces, the developer offered no community benefits package to the ANC. Donohoe considers this project a matter of right that requires no additional benefits offerings, a stand which reopened the wounds from back in April
when the earlier iteration of this project came before the ANC looking for support for a zoning special exception (and was voted down, though the BZA approved the waiver
The feelings of the commissioners hadn't changed in the intervening months, and they voted 5-0 not to support the project because of the lack of community benefits. (There was some procedural wrangling about the wording of the motion, but since the church where the ANC meetings are held is absolutely impossible to hear in, I didn't get the specifics--something about voting "not to support" versus voting "to oppose", I believe.)
No timeline for the start of construction was mentioned. Perhaps more information will be forthcoming at the Jan. 31 zoning hearing.
More ANC reports coming tomorrow--I'll have news of Monument Realty's plans for the BP Amoco site
at South Capitol and N, followed by the latest in the Florida Rock
saga. Stay tuned!
Donohoe was nice enough to pass along the rendering of the new design, which I've added to the top of my 1111 New Jersey page
UPDATE II: Correcting a smidge of misinformation on the St. Matthew's site.
ANC and Zoning Commission Reports - Coming Soon
Jan 14, 2008 11:48 PM
Having pledged to pace myself a bit better over the next three months so that I don't have to cover Opening Day from a padded room, I'll be posting the results of Monday night's ANC 6D and Zoning Commission meetings in drips and drabs over the next few days. So stay tuned, especially if you're interested in Florida Rock
, or Diamond Teague Park
, or Monument Realty's projects north of the ballpark
, or 1111 New Jersey
, or 250 M Street
This of course means that all the local media outlets checking in at JDLand looking for leads and tips will have to wait too. (The information is all free, of course, but some small hat tip some day would be nice. Although I do enjoy being an assignment editor of sorts....)
Stadium Traffic and Parking Plan Hearing Summary
Jan 11, 2008 10:11 PM
Having just about reached my limit when it comes to writing about stadium parking
, I'm going to cut to the chase and pass along the biggest items from today's hearing by the Committee on Economic Development on parking and traffic issues at the new Nationals ballpark
. (It's a torrent of words, so I've bolded the most important items.)
The session began with ANC representatives testifying about the community's concerns that no traffic and parking management plan has yet been unveiled
, and with not many days to go (no one was sure whether it was 82 or 81 or 80 days--it's actually 79, but I didn't pipe up), neighbors are getting increasingly nervous that plans and signage won't be ready by Opening Day. While Tommy Wells's proposed Performance Parking plan
could eventually become the mechanism for handling on-street parking near the ballpark, it won't be able to be in place by Opening Day, and so residents want to know how parking is going to be restricted to prevent stadium-goers from descending on nearby streets in search of free parking and bringing what has frequently been referred to as "controlled chaos
Kwame Brown became frustrated when trying to find out who is actually in charge of coordinating all the government agencies who have a hand in the ballpark and communicating information to the public--"Who do I call? Who's driving the train?
" he asked a number of times. After much back and forth with Greg O'Dell of the Sports and Entertainment Commission and Judi Greenberg from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, it was finally agreed that DDOT is now in charge of organizing and implementing the stadium's traffic and parking plans
Determining this was a good step for this hearing that had been convened to discuss those plans, except for one small detail--council member Brown's Committee on Economic Development does not have oversight responsibilities for DDOT, so no one from the agency was in attendance
(Apparently there had been plans to hold this hearing jointly with Jim Graham's Committee on Public Works and the Environment, which oversees DDOT, but that did not come to pass.)
It was said that DDOT will be unveiling the traffic operations and parking plan next week
, though of course no one from DDOT was actually there to confirm or deny this.
Greg McCarthy of the Nationals testified about the team's continuing efforts to plan for the onslaught of fans
, ranging from the mailing next week of parking information to season ticket holders to a planned media onslaught beginning in February to educate stadium-goers about the best ways to get to the park. (Short version: Take Metro! Walk! Bike! Park in Metro parking lots! Don't drive to the ballpark unless you've already got a parking pass!
There still is no signed agreement
between the Nationals and the city for use of RFK as free satellite parking for non-season-ticket holders
, though clearly both sides anticipate it will get done, especially since the Nationals are working out the best routes for the free shuttle buses they plan to provide from RFK to the new stadium. (But Kwame Brown did not seem too enthused that the city might not be getting any revenue from the parking spaces.)
The team anticipates having 5,000 spaces for season ticket holders available in lots within walking distance to the ballpark--and, other than one lot that sits on the west side of South Capitol Street underneath the freeway, all lots will be in Southeast
and none will be in Southwest.
Tommy Wells focused a number of times on the idea of the neighborhood embracing the ballpark
as part of its culture and part of the character of the community. How neat it will be for residents to be able to walk to games, he said, expressing his hopes that the ballpark is a positive experience for both fans and residents. (Putting the stadium there "was not a hostile act
by the government," he said). He also spoke of how the stadium's on-time and on-budget completion should be a real celebration for the city, but that he doesn't want it to become known as the "ballpark with a traffic catastrophe.
My favorite moment of the hearing was when discussion turned to how exactly the onslaught of papal groupies will be handled when the Pope comes to the ballpark on April 17: I realized that all this time I had assumed Pope = Mass = Sunday
, when in fact the event will be on a Thursday morning
, which will make traffic and parking that much more of a challenge. Start planning your vacation day now.
Other items of interest
* Charter buses are expected to be parked across the South Capitol Street bridge during games.
* The Nationals have secured 4,000 of the 5,000 spaces they are eyeing near the ballpark, and expect to have the other 1,000 by Opening Day. There will be about 3,000 spaces at RFK, in Lots 7 and 8, and the team will be running a test of the RFK shuttle buses on Friday.
* There will be 130 handicapped parking spaces in the two lots on the ballpark site.
* The Navy Yard Metro station is expected to be ready by Opening Day.
* The Nationals will be responsible for clean-up around the ballpark and surrounding streets after games, most likely through an augmentation of the Capitol Riverfront BID's "clean teams".
* There are still plans for two job fairs to be held in Southwest, perhaps on Feb. 9 and 23 at Greenleaf Rec Center.
There's probably other items I missed that some people might be interested in, but I think that's more than enough for a Friday night.
It's anticipated that a joint hearing of both the Committee on Economic Development and the Committee on Public Works and the Environment--which oversees DDOT--will be scheduled soon.