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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: The Brig Beer Garden
See JDLand's The Brig Beer Garden Project Page
for Photos, History, and Details
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One M/10 Van
Yards/Icon Theater
DC Water HQ
New Douglass Bridge
Yards/Parcel O
JBG/Akridge/Half St.
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Chiller Site Condos
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1333 M St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
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Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
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Lumber Shed ('13)
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225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
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909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
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Marine Barracks ('04)
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21 Blog Posts Since 2003
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While the appearance of a canopy over a front entrance does not signal that an under-construction apartment building is ready to start welcoming residents next week, it's still an interesting progress point to see at both the Park Chelsea and Arris residential projects. There's also landscaping starting to go in along the Park Chelsea's sidewalks on both New Jersey and would-you-just-open-already I Street--plus the leasing countdown clock has remained set for January 2016 for a few months now. As for Arris, the latest word remains "early 2016" for when it will open--and 2016 just isn't as far away as it used to be.
To the east, the not-minor project to do the masonry work and the siding at the 195-unit mixed-income Lofts at Capitol Quarter at 7th Street continues--apologies for only showing the rear of the building when I take a wide shot, but with the trees and the narrowness of L Street it's basically impossible for me to get a good photograph of the front. (Plus the low sun angle from late October through early March makes southern-facing photos a pretty miserable experience with a pretty miserable outcome, anyway.)
At 5th and K, the Capper Community Center's exterior isn't changing too much at this stage, but I'd get the shakes if I tried to not photograph it.
At New Jersey and Tingey, the new trapeze school building's blue-and-white exterior is mostly finished, though I'm such a bad blogger that it didn't occur to me to walk up to the big opening and peek in--but TSNYDC has posted a photo of the inside.
As for the Brig, the beer garden-to-be at 8th and L, the building itself looks pretty well finished now, though the "garden" portion of the venture does not appear to have gotten underway yet. And with two pit bulls on guard (!), I wasn't about to poke my camera through the fence for a better view.
And while I had designs on pressing my camera up against the glass at Buffalo Wild Wings on Half Street, they were having a staff training session when I arrived, and so I chickened out (Bad Blogger Data Point #2). But the gentleman I spoke with there confirmed again the Nov. 16 opening date, saying that the doors will open that day at 10 am--and that they generally have people camping out over Sunday nights to be among the first 100 customers through the door, who are then winners of the free-wings-once-a-week-for-a-year prize. Hope y'all have warm sleeping bags!
Still to come, the skeletons-and-holes report.

For posterity's sake, here's a quick survey of the late-summer state of construction at various sites--hope you like the Douglass Bridge-based views of the Arris and Dock 79 residential projects, for a bit of variety. Arris is close to having all of its exterior glass installed, while Dock 79 is just about halfway through to its eventual 10-floor height.
Otherwise, the masonry work continues slowly at the Lofts at Capitol Quarter (lower left), while the windows are in at the new Community Center (lower middle) and the Brig beer garden at 8th and L does show evidence of progress.

I already looked down this month, now it's time to look up.
* ARRIS: Let's start with the now-topped-out Arris apartment building at the Yards. In addition to its having reached its final height, the masonry work on the five lowest floors of the eastern portion of the site is pretty far along, and windows have started appearing in the second floor.
While the three "pavilions" on the western side (not seen real well in this shot, but check the rendering) will be brick-faced all the way up their eight floors, the east tower's upper fa├žade will be all glass, with an undulation that's obvious even with just the concrete in place.
This building will have 325 rental units and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and is expected to open in early 2016.
* PARK CHELSEA: It certainly won't win the prize as Speediest Construction Project Ever, and the countdown to the start of leasing has changed its target from July 1 to September 15, but work on the 430ish-unit rental building on New Jersey Avenue does continue. You may have seen the forms with the planets-and-the-stars design that have now been hoisted up to their final perches on the roof--I've been told this is based on Johannes Kepler's "star polygon tessellations," which I concede is way too much education for JDLand to normally pass along.
* LOFTS AT CAPITOL QUARTER AND CAPPER COMMUNITY CENTER: They may not be tall, but they are wide--as is my lens, thankfully. If you are wondering about the concrete portion on the western end of the Loft's construction, that's parking for residents of the building's 195 mixed-income units. The two projects, both along L Street between 5th and 7th, should be completed in 2016.
* THE BRIG: I certainly could have used a drink after the 11 miles of walking I did in two passes on Sunday to properly update my photo archive, but while work on the beer garden at 8th and L to be known as The Brig continues, it still has a ways to go before it begins quenching thirsts. But it's interesting to now start to see the outline of its contribution to the "skyline" along 8th.
The links above have lots more information on each project, of course. And I skipped the Hampton Inn in the roundup, but I wouldn't want it to feel left out.

On the northwest corner of 8th and L streets, SE, work is proceeding on the space that will become the beer garden now known as The Brig.
As we found out a few months ago, the design has been scaled back from a restaurant with a roof deck and patio to a more typical beer garden look--a big outdoor space with tables along with a "service" building that has no seating.
As you can see, there is definite progress on the service building, with a mid-year-ish opening looking to be doable.
The driveway at the west side of the lot will allow for food trucks to sell their wares.
The photos give a feel for the amount of patio acreage as well, and show that some noontime shade will come from a group of trees along L Street, though they could maybe benefit from a bit of a haircut (to, ahem, spruce the look up a little).
You can read my past posts on The Brig to catch up on the long and winding road to this point. And this group of before-and-afters shows the lot over the past not-quite-10-years. (And I can't decide if I need to add the corrugated tin shack visible behind the stockade fence in the early shots to my Demolished Buildings Gallery.)
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More posts: The Brig Beer Garden, 8th Street, Restaurants/Nightlife

I could blather on in some kind of forced introduction about how the weatherman sold my camera and me a bill of goods this weekend ("mostly sunny," eh?), and how the low sun and weak light and wispy clouds made for less-than-stellar images, but instead let's just jump in.
We'll start with the photo at right, which shockingly reveals that dirt is actually being moved on the northwest corner of 8th and L, where the beer garden now known as The Brig has been planned for such a long time. Clearly work is in the very early stages, but that's a nice change from no progress at all. It's supposed to open in the spring.
Continuing the tour....
Digging continues at the 1111 New Jersey apartment project (above left), with the shoring at far left helping to give a sense of how far down they've gotten so far. (Spoiler: they have a long ways left to go.) And at the Capper Community Center Building House (above right), the foundation on the south end of the site along L Street is now a pretty sizeable structure.
It's hard to get a decent shot of the Lofts at Capitol Quarter construction, because the building is so long, though the wide open space of Nats Lot W helps. Vertical construction continues at the far east end, at 7th Street, while the western end waits its turn. Here's a big version of the latest image, to make it easier to see. (But remember, you can click on all photos to pop up larger versions.)
From there I wandered to the Yards (after rejoicing that the Hull Street Gate to the Navy Yard was closed, so I was able to take photos of the Lofts construction without hassle). The Arris apartment building is now getting its second floor, from south to north, as seen in the below left shot from the corner of 4th and Water. And a different sort of progress is visible a few feet away, in the windows of the northwest corner of the Lumber Shed.
Not pictured is the lunch stop I made at 100 Montaditos, mainly to watch Mr. JDLand's continued march through the menu.
Meanwhile, the Hampton Inn at 1st and N (above left) continues to stand all but alone (I find myself thinking of it as Near Southeast's grain elevator). I also think I managed to capture a construction milestone when I spied its first installed windows. And, up at New Jersey and I, the Masonry Marathon continues at the Park Chelsea (above right), though it does look like that phase may not last too much longer.
There's one other batch of progress photos I took on Saturday, but you're just going to have to wait a bit longer for those.

Monday's news that "The Brig", the long-planned beer garden at 8th and L, is moving forward caught certain observers flat-footed, especially certain observers who had lost the thread of the project's long road through the city's historic preservation review process, especially as it reappeared during 2013. (Though, to be fair, certain observers were in 2013 distracted by other circumstances.)
But in reading various documents more closely, the equally big news is that the project has gone from a restaurant with a roof deck and patio to a design that's more in keeping with the idea of a real "beer garden" -- the design that will now be built is of a big outdoor space with tables and room to stand around, plus a small "service" building that has no seating.
In 2011, site owners Mark Brody and Alan Gaunoux had planned what I described at the time as a "one-story building with a roof deck, in addition to the proposed ground-level summer garden. The look of the building (which is closer to 1 1/2 stories high) is very industrial, with large multi-paned windows and lots of "wood rainscreening" on the exterior and the roof deck."
The Historic Preservation Review Board's staff report in Feb. 2011 referred to the design's "somewhat chaotic and unfinished appearance," but the commissioners felt that it was on the right track and "was very close" to achieving acceptance. The next month, the owners returned with a "substantially simplified" design, moving to a brick veneer and other changes. This version appeared on the board's consent calendar, with final approval delegated to the board's staff.
And then we fast-forward to April of 2013, when Brody and Gaunoux returned to the HPRB with a scaled-back plan after apparently having "reevaluated their finances." The HPRB staff report described the new version as "largely an open-air 'use' of the existing lot, with a smaller service building rather than the indoor restaurant space previously proposed."
The new design included a one-story stucco building along the northern edge of the property, just for restrooms, storage, a small kitchen, and the bar opening up to the garden. There would be a roof-type structure projecting 10 feet southward to cover the bar area, and a paved area along the east edge of the site that could provide space for a food truck and trash collection. The bulk of the site would be "paved" with flagstone, and there would be a 6'6" "ornamental" metal fence surrounding the site, plus a central pole anchoring string lights that would provide illumination. All of which, according to the board's staff, would improve on the "visually disadvantageous" parking lot now on the site, as seen in the above photograph from March of 2014.
The service building became a focus, with the Historic Preservation Office having "discouraged the applicants from proposing trailers, shipping containers, or portable toilets." In June, a revision of the revised design updated the service building including signage and new fixed shutters on the building's blank wall along 8th Street, plus a "decorative parapet" and cornice along the roof line, similar to what is seen on several of the one-story buildings along Barracks Row.
On July 11, 2013, the board approved these concept plans, and by mid-August a building permit had been applied for, with a scope of work described as "a prepared food shop with an accessory fast food establishment (food truck) for 210 seats and 399 occupants." That permit took nearly 15 months and numerous corrections to get its approvals, with the permit finally being issued last week and the owner saying that he expects to break ground soon.
(And this huge summary doesn't even get into the Class CT Tavern liquor license fight back in 2011!)
So, all in all, it does sound like if you're one who likes your beer garden to be heavy on the "garden," this will be right up your alley. It also sounds like it's perhaps starting small, without too much of an investment, to see whether it catches on.
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More posts: The Brig Beer Garden, 8th Street, Restaurants/Nightlife

A truly unexpected piece of news has just come across the transom, via WBJ: Apparently a permit was issued Friday that will allow the start of construction on the long-planned beer garden at 8th and L, SE.
It will be called "The Brig," and will seat 210 and serve 299, and property owner Alan Gaunoux told WBJ that he "expects to break ground next week." I believe the seating is configured as 99 indoor seats and another 200 outside. (see update, below)
This project has been so dormant that I haven't written a post about it since November of 2011. I thought it was still languishing in the Historic Preservation Review Board process, but apparently all systems must be go, though, as WBJ says, "early versions of the development were scaled back[.]"
You can see the rendering from back in 2011 and read the multiple posts on the project's early days on my project page, though I don't know how much it resembles what will actually be coming. It is still apparently a one-story structure, with a bar, and some food, and perhaps some live music.
UPDATE: I will write another post on this in a few days--I'm looking at documentation that indicates this is definitely a very far scaled back operation in terms of a "building" from what was being looked at in 2011. Puts the "garden" in beergarden.
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More posts: The Brig Beer Garden, 8th Street, Restaurants/Nightlife

It was one year ago today that we heard the first rumblings of plans for a beer garden to be built on the northwest corner of 8th and L, SE. It would have 99 indoor seats and space for an additional 200 customers in a "summer garden," and would offer live music.
The project went through all manner of liquor license wrangling, followed by a lot of work on the design in order to satisfy the Historic Preservation Review Board (which it finally did, in March). At many of these sessions, the owner spoke of wanting to get the project underway as quickly as possible, but since the HPRB approvals in spring, it hasn't seemed like anything has been happening.
However, late last week, when I was playing around with DDOT's new Public Space Permit locator app and figuring out how to import its Occupancy Permit data into my own list of Near Southeast Public Space Permits, I saw that a construction staging area permit had been issued for 720 L St. SE on Sept. 22. Some digging into the city's building permits application also found building permits applied for on Aug. 18, but still not yet approved.
I contacted the owner, Mark Brody, and he tells me that they indeed are working on permits, but "it's taking longer than expected." (I know, this is a shocker.)
So, no timetable for the project's opening at this point, but it appears it hasn't fallen completely off the map.
(And, speaking of the permits feed on the JDLand home page, I've tinkered with both the public space and building permits so that they're now sorted and grouped by address.)
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More posts: The Brig Beer Garden, 8th Street, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail, square 906

The proposed 8th Street Beer Garden is back before the Historic Preservation Review Board, with a "substantially simplified" design that the board's staff has deemed sufficiently compatible with the character of the surrounding Capitol Hill Historic District.
The first floor is now proposed to have a brick veneer (though it's not really shown on the new rendering that the beer garden team was kind enough to pass along), and there have been other changes that HPRB staff say have improved the overall proportions of the building. There's also now a pergola (arbor) on the roof to help with shading on sunny days. Sidewalk seating spaces are also shown, though the developer will have to get a public space permit and work around the bus stop currently at the 8th and L intersection.
There are still a few small issues the HPRB staff would like to see addressed, but they have recommended that the concept be approved by the board, and the project has been placed on the consent calendar for the March 24 meeting. (Though the board may choose to remove it from consent if they have any issues they want to discuss before voting.)
You can see a larger view of this revised design alongside the previous version and some current photographs on my new 8th Street Beer Garden page, which isn't exactly a barn-burner but at least it's something. (It goes hand-in-hand with my new National Community Church page, which has photos of the lots NCC now owns.)
The HPRB meeting is on Thursday at 10 am, and will be available via live streaming or on demand. (Or you could go to the meeting in person, but that's so 20th century.)
UPDATE, 3/24: The consent portion of the agenda passed with no discussion, so the design concept is now considered approved by the board ("as consistent with the purposes of the preservation act"), with final approval delegated to HPRB staff.
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More posts: The Brig Beer Garden, 8th Street, meetings, square 906

When this photo popped up late Tuesday, it seemed like maybe Harry's Reserve at New Jersey and I would be open today, but we're hearing now that it'll be "a day or two," with a grand opening to come in two weeks. In the meantime, everyone's watching 2nd Street between I and M and reporting in about No Parking signs and stakes in the ground as construction on Canal Park seems to get ever closer. So, I guess I have to come up with something to post.
* With all the land now in hand that they were eyeing on Square 906, the National Community Church has filed for a raze permit for the old Miles Glass building at 8th and Virginia, says WBJ. Although the site is within the Capitol Hill Historic District, that in and of itself may not be an impediment to the building being torn down, the article says, since it was constructed in 1963 and "the vast majority of buildings deemed historic on Capitol Hill were erected prior to 1945." Not that any razing will happen anytime soon, but I'm still glad I went and got a bunch of new photos of it last week. (Though I still prefer the photo at right, from my first photo trek in January 2003, when the Miles Glass sign was still there.)
And, in his blog post about the final land purchases, NCC's Mark Batterson tells a story about how the acquired the car garage at 7th and K, given that the owner had refused all previous offers: "On September 15th our staff went over to the property and we laid hands on that auto shop. It felt like an impossible prayer, but we prayed for divine favor. [...] Then on January 15, four months to the day after we prayed on the property, we got a contract."
* Meanwhile, on the south end of the Saints and Sinners block, it looks like the 8th Street Beer Garden will be back in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board on March 24, at least according to the current agenda. At last month's meeting, the designs were described as being "very close," but revisions were requested and board members voted to look at them one more time. It sounded like some of the "busyness" was going to be simplified, so it will be interesting to see the revisions.
(I will say my mea culpas and admit that I sat on these links for way too long because I had grand dreams of getting project pages done for both the NCC and Beer Garden undertakings, but that hasn't happened. Yet.)
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More posts: The Brig Beer Garden, Canal Park, Harry's Reserve, Nat'l Community Church, square 906
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