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Starting Wednesday May 28, the Capitol Riverfront BID and US DOT developer JBG are launching a 10-week lunchtime concert series, to be held every Wednesday at noon on the Southwest Plaza behind DOT at New Jersey and Tingey. Quoting from the press release: "Capitol Riverfront Concerts is a ten week summer concert series with lively and diverse musical artists, performing everything from original pop to Latin Jazz, R&B, bluegrass, Caribbean and more. Bring your lunch or enjoy a special outdoor grill menu provided by the U.S. DOT cafeteria."
Folks desperate for outdoor recreation space in the neighborhood might note this line from the release: "The concerts are part of a growing number of programs that you will see in the Capitol Riverfront as several new parks begin to open next spring 2009." (There could indeed be three parks opening in some capacity next year, if previously announced [or hinted at] timelines hold: Canal Park, the waterfront park at The Yards, and Diamond Teague Park.)
Here's the flyer with the lineup of performers, and a map if you can't quite figure out where the plaza is. I've also added the schedule of performances to my own Near Southeast Upcoming Events Calendar.
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, US Dept. of Transportation HQ

Handy timing: not long after my long and wordy survey of retail space that will be coming online in Near Southeast over the next few years, the Capitol Riverfront BID has released a Retail Opportunities map, showing basically the same data in a purty graphic format, for those of you who prefer colors to prose....
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Retail

From the folks at the Capitol Riverfront BID, word that the Farmers' Market is returning for its second year, starting May 6 (tomorrow!) and running through Nov. 18, from 10 am to 2 pm each Tuesday. They've moved the location slightly--it's now at Third and M Street, SE, on the pedestrian plaza between the two US DOT buildings.
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, US Dept. of Transportation HQ

The spring 2008 edition of WalkingTown DC includes a tour of "Capitol Riverfront: the New Neighborhood Around the Ballpark," on Saturday, April 26, from 10:30 am to noon. The description: "Alongside the Nationals ballpark, between the Anacostia River and the U.S. Capitol Building, a new cityscape is emerging - the Capitol Riverfront. Visit industrial buildings where the Navy once produced weapons ammunition and landmarks such as the blue castle trolley barn and beaux-arts WASA building. Learn how new development projects are transforming the Capitol Riverfront into a business center, urban neighborhood, and entertainment district." It's being led by the executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District as well as a representative of Forest City Washington (developers of The Yards). Meet outside the New Jersey Avenue exit of the Navy Yard Metro station. (As for this whole "Capitol Riverfront" versus "Near Southeast" thing--technically, Near Southeast is a subset of it, since the Capitol Riverfront BID also includes Buzzards Point. And I'm just remaining kinda old school about it all, too.)
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Events

Dec 13, 2007 10:32 AM
Here's your dreary Thursday morning reading material:
* The Post writes about the labor disputes at the ballpark: "Labor leaders are defending the hiring practices at the construction site of the new Washington Nationals ballpark, saying that efforts to give jobs to D.C. residents have been an 'unequivocal success.' [...] [T]he leader of the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO said the project has been successful in hiring District workers. The letter disputed criticism from some local activists that the ballpark had not come through with jobs for city residents."
* The Examiner, NBC4, WBJ, and the Post write about the presentations last night of the four finalists' plans for redeveloping Poplar Point. Channel 4 also includes a slideshow of the designs and links to information on each plan's community benefits. Apparently one of the propsals includes "an aerial tram that would carry passengers across the river to the new baseball stadium." And Now, Anacostia has some bullet points on the various presentations as well.
* Also from the Post, a District Extra piece on last week's council hearing on the Taxation Without Representation tote boards that some city council members want to put on the Wilson Building and the stadium. (Here's my report on the hearing.)
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post adapts my recent blog posts on the sale of St. Matthew's, the Capper PILOT bill, and the recent Capitol Riverfront BID meeting.
* UPDATE: I should also add this opinion piece in the Examiner by Phil Wood on his impressions of the new ballpark. "If you asked me to describe the place in a single word, I'm ready to answer. Compelling."
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Capper, St. Matthew's Church, Square 743N, Nationals Park

Dec 5, 2007 6:54 PM
Braving the flakes of snow, the fledgling Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District held its first general membership meeting today, which included the election of its Board of Directors. From looking at the list of the 21 new board members, it seems the BID has made sure that every major developer in Near Southeast and Buzzards Point is represented on the board. Five "at-large stakeholders" were also named, allowing organizations who are a big part of the neighborhood's future but who don't actually own land within the BID's borders to be included in the BID's activities. This group includes representatives of the Nationals, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, and Forest City Washington (developer of The Yards). One actual resident of the neighborhood was elected, too. (Hi Darryl!) At subsequent meetings the directors will get down to the board-ly business of electing a chair and vice chair and populating and executive committee and additional committees on Marketing/Public Relations, Economic Development, Transportation and Access, and Public Realm. Anything else you could possibly want to know about the BID's governing structure can be found in the bylaws.
The press release about the meeting also reports that the six "clean team members" have collected more than 1,200 bags of trash around the BID, and two "hospitality/safety ambassadors" have provided "over 50 informational assists."
UPDATE: WBJ writes a blurb from the press release, too.
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID

Nov 23, 2007 9:26 AM
During my poking around on the DC Office of Cable Television web site recently, I discovered that many of the groundbreakings and other events in Near Southeast this year that have been broadcast on the city's cable channel 16 are also available On Demand; the same goes for council hearings, available on Channel 13's On Demand page. (I kinda sorta knew that the On Demand stuff was there, but when I checked it many moons ago, it didn't seem quite so complete, so I hadn't looked back in on it for a while.)
So if you've missed any of the following four-star telecasts from 2007, you can watch them at your leisure:
* The July bill-signing ceremony at the Earth Conservations Corps pumphouse where the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation were officially abolished;
* JPI's June "groundbreaking" for its four projects along I Street ("Capitol Yards");
* The January groundbreaking marking the start of the Navy Yard Metro renovation and Monument's Half Street project;
* And pretty much any ceremony anywhere in the city the mayor was at since the beginning of the year, plus a lot of other presentations and events. (Be sure not to miss the Reporters' Roundtable "Snitching Debate.") Check the dropdown boxes on the On Demand page for the offerings. I've added the above links to all of the various project pages in case you're desperate to find them again someday.
Two of the most recent shindigs haven't gotten added to the lineup yet--the Oct. 22 kickoff ceremony for the Capitol Riverfront BID (in which you can find out where the "Traveling Roadshow" moniker originated), and the mayor's remarks at the Nov. 13 turf unveiling at the ballpark. Ditto with the Waterside Mall Demolition program, which is currently playing on Channel 16 but hasn't yet made it to On Demand. But perhaps they'll show up eventually.

Nov 5, 2007 1:27 PM
Today the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District (which covers both Near Southeast and Buzzards Point in Southwest) has launched an interactive map, allowing users to browse the neighborhood's developments, attractions, retail, parks, and transportation options. [Insert self-pitying comment about watching my readership flee here.] You can click on points of interest or additional details and distances to other attractions, or filter the map to only display different types of data.
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID

Oct 26, 2007 9:44 AM
I don't normally do this, but I've got a bunch of pretty small items, so I'll just run them together:
* There's finally a small piece in the big media about the plans to redo the 11th Street Bridges, from WTOP. Nothing new, except that DDOT hopes to begin the construction in 2009, contingent on that pesky little thing called federal funding.
* Monday's kick-off ceremony for the Capitol Riverfront BID is making its debut on DC Cable 16 tomorrow (Saturday), at 3 pm, with additional showings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday also at 3 pm. If you don't have cable, you can watch its feed via streaming video.
* I've now posted Monument's 90-second animation of what the east side of Half Street will look like when finished. If it goes by too fast (or if you can't get it to work), you can see the stills I took from it on my Monument Half Street page. There's no sound, and in order to make it small enough to download in less than 12 hours, the quality is lower than the crystal clear original. But you'll get the idea.
* You may notice that the map at right on my homepage has acquired a bunch of new stars. Showing that razor-like sharpness I'm known for, I took just under five years to figure out that I could display projects on the map even if I didn't have enough room for them under the "selected projects" lists at left. But at least the stars are color-coded! Just hover your mouse over them, and you'll get the descriptions. And don't forget that you can also click on the tabs above the map to get to the directory of all completed, under construction, and in-the-pipeline projects. Now I just need to work on freshening up some of the neglected interior pages of the site; I'll do it during all that spare time I have.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Capitol Riverfront BID, Monument/Half St.

Oct 22, 2007 12:46 PM
This morning the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District held a kick-off celebration on the 10th floor of 20 M Street, the latest stop on the 2007 Traveling Road Show of Near Southeast groundbreakings. Mayor Fenty, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Council Member Tommy Wells, and others saluted the changes happening in Near Southeast--and fans of Canal Park will be happy to know that Wells took time to stress the importance of getting the park built, not just from a greenspace standpoint but also because of its stormwater management operations. Renderings of the projects underway were displayed on easels throughout the room, most of which are available as well here at JDLand. There were also diplomas presented to the first graduates of the "Clean Team" program, the blue-jumpsuited workers now starting to be visible around the neighborhood as they work to keep the streets and sidewalks clean, no mean feat when the entire area is basically one big construction zone. For more about the BID, visit their web site. I took some pictures of the proceedings, a few of which I've tossed up on a page (opting for speed rather than depth of coverage). And I also took the opportunity to get some updated overhead shots of the neighborhood from the 20 M vantage point, which I'll be posting along with the rest of the photos I took this weekend as soon as I can finally get through all of them.
UPDATE: Not sure how much coverage there will be of the event, but here's a brief on it, and on the BID itself. And here's the press release from the mayor's office.
UPDATE II: And a story from the Washington Times. Quick reminder on what the BID is here for: "Business leaders said they were willing to agree to pay thousands of dollars in taxes to fund the BID.[...] The money will fund basic cleaning and security efforts as well as marketing and coordination of transportation and parking."
UPDATE III: An audio piece on the BID from WAMU-FM.
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID

Oct 19, 2007 5:29 PM
On Monday (Oct. 22), there's going to be a "signing ceremony" to officially enact the law creating the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District (Near Southeast and Buzzards Point). Mayor Fenty will wield the pen, and the Usual Suspects are expected to be in attendance (Eleanor Holmes Norton, Tommy Wells, other council members, developers, nosy bloggers, etc.). It's at 20 M Street at 10 am.
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID

Sep 24, 2007 10:52 AM
This morning the DC Council Committee on Economic Development is having a public oversight hearing on "Projects Managed by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development" (it's being broadcast live on DC Cable 13 and live webcast, if you're interested). The hearing is still ongoing, and is addressing many projects around the city, but there were two Near Southeast-related items in Deputy Mayor Neil Albert's opening statement that I thought were worth passing along now.
First, it's been decided to not continue to use the old Anacostia Waterfront Corporation space at 1100 New Jersey Avenue after all, and so the expanded Deputy Mayor's office will be split between the Wilson Building and the old National Capital Revitalization Corporation office space at 2020 M Street, NW, and the office moves should happen this week.
Second, Deputy Mayor Albert mentioned Canal Park, saying that "coordination of the site survey, and various site management plans including erosion and stormwater management are scheduled to begin in the next month." He also said that his office is in discussions with the Office of Property Management to relocate the school buses currently occupying two of the park's three blocks to other sites in the city, and that he "expects to have a solution soon." Canal Park is one of the items specifically on the agenda for an Oct. 1 oversight hearing, so hopefully there will be more concrete news then.
If there's additional news from today's hearing, I'll update this entry.
UPDATE: Nothing earthshattering from the rest of the hearing (which, admittedly, I've been listening to with one ear, since the vast majority of it has been on topics outside of Near Southeast). In answering council member Wells's concerns about who will be in charge of the upkeep of the new parks being planned, Deputy Mayor Albert mentioned possible public-private partnerships with the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District for Canal Park and the Earth Conservation Corps for Diamond Teague Park, though he stressed that neither of these have been officially decided on. Wells also asked about whether there's thoughts of creating a Water Authority to help streamline decisions that will have to be made that effect the rivers (such as water taxis, ferry piers, possible new boathouses, etc.); Deputy Mayor Albert said that they've hired a consultant to help them decide how to handle these issues. And, one last tidbit--Albert mentioned that there will be a groundbreaking at The Yards in mid-October.
(If you're interested in Poplar Point or the Southwest Waterfront or the West End library deal, you might want watch for a replay of the hearing broadcast, because those subjects were much discussed. Marion Barry made clear he was not pleased with how the city has handled Poplar Point, and said that he and the Ward 8 community "will oppose any Poplar Point proposal that doesn't include a stadium.")
UPDATE II: Here's a Washington Business Journal blurb on today's hearing, focusing on the savings to the city from the consolidation of the AWC and NCRC functions in the Deputy Mayor's office.

Sep 20, 2007 8:03 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra covers a number of items I wrote about here on the blog recently: Metro's lack of decision on relocating the buses at the Southeastern Bus Garage, the WalkingTown DC Fall Edition tour of "Capitol Riverfront," the demolition of the GPO building at the Yards, and the proposed 12-unit condo project at 1006 Seventh Street.
More posts: Akridge/Half St., Capitol Riverfront BID, Metro/WMATA, square 906, The Yards, Yards/Parcel H

Sep 16, 2007 9:49 PM
The folks at the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District (covering Near Southeast and Buzzards Point) have posted a small online questionnaire about the current state of the area and priorities for service as the BID gets itself up and running, if you feel like spending a few minutes passing along some feedback and opinions...
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID

Sep 12, 2007 4:21 PM
On September 29, the WalkingTown DC Fall Edition, presented by Cultural Tourism DC, will offer 45 free walking tours in neighborhoods all across the city, and one of them is in Near Southeast. (Pardon me, "Capitol Riverfront." Bah.) Here's the description: "Between the Anacostia River and the US Capitol Building, alongside construction of the Nationals' ballpark, a new cityscape is emerging based on a unique nautical history: the Capitol Riverfront. Explore the industrial buildings of the Yards where the Navy once produced ships' instruments and ammunition. Move on to the Washington Canal and the new environmentally sustainable Canal Park, then visit the historic Pump Station that previously supplied power to the Capitol. End the tour with a boat ride along the river." It will be led by Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District. The tour starts at 10:30 am at the Navy Yard Metro station entrance at New Jersey and M. There's also tours of Poplar Point, the Southwest Waterfront, Barracks Row, Capitol Hill, etc. etc.; the list of tours is on the WalkingTown DC web site, and here's a press release with additional information.
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Events

Aug 8, 2007 11:12 AM
The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District has launched its "real" web site today, at The BID covers all of Near Southeast, plus Buzzards Point, and the web site contains information about the neighborhood, renderings of upcoming projects, maps of development plans, and links to news stories. In other words, just like my site! So perhaps I'm now on the road to being muscled out of business.....
UPDATE: I should note, after hearing a few questions, that the "Berdor's" rendering on the site's homepage is from renderings for The Yards's Building 167 (the old Boiler Maker's Shop), showing what the exterior of the building might look like after its renovation into a retail space. It doesn't mean (necessarily) that a certain national bookstore chain is coming to that spot, at least not that's been announced. And, if it were, it probably would fix the typo in its sign. :-)
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID

A few weeks back I linked to a new video created by the Washington DC Economic Partnership showcasing all of the plans for the Anacostia waterfront, not only in Near Southeast but also the other areas along the Anacostia River. Since then, the WDCEP has launched a full web site devoted to this "Capitol Riverfront" area, with details on the various projects in the pipeline. While there's not much there about Near Southeast that you can't already find on certain obsessive-compulsive web sites, there's a good deal of information and renderings about planned projects in Southwest and Anacostia. (And you can watch the video again, too.)
Note: this is not the web site for the new Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District--that site is still under development, though it will probably feature much of the same information, specific just to Near Southeast and Buzzards Point.
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID

The city council has approved today the creation of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, covering all of Near Southeast as well as much of Buzzards Point in SW. They enacted not only the permanent legislation but also an emergency bill allowing the BID to be created immediately, rather than waiting for the permanent legislation to wind its way through Congress. (Check out my previous BID entries for more background on what a BID is.) Welcome to the neighborhood, BIDders....

More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID

With the calendar inching toward DC's annual August shutdown, there's a boatload of meetings and hearings on the agenda this week as everyone tries to get their work done before heading for the beach. Here's a not-very-detailed rundown, so follow the links if you want more detailed information:
* Monday starts bright and early with the "public hearing and preliminary finding" by the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District application, in Room 301 of the Wilson Building, 10 am.
* The Zoning Commission's monthly public meeting on Monday night includes a final vote on the plans for the 250 M Street office building and a first vote on the 1325 South Capitol Street residential project. In addition, there's a new case looking for various amendments to the Southeast Federal Center overlay; here's the Office of Planning report spelling them out. The commission is also scheduled to address Florida Rock's request for guidance on its revised design, which has the support of the Office of Planning. The meeting is at 6:30 pm at One Judiciary Square (Suite 220 South), but also can be watched via live webcast.
* At about the same time, ANC 6D is having its monthly meeting, and will be having a presentation and vote on Forest City's July 26 zoning hearing to allow temporary surface parking lots at The Yards. This meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 6th and M Streets, SW. (Having to make a choice, I'm opting for the zoning meeting, so it might take a little while before I find out what happened at the ANC.)
* Tuesday's city council meeting at 10 am will include a final vote on the bill to create the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District.
* On Tuesday night WMATA is having a public hearing on the proposed move of the Southeastern Bus Garage from its current location at Half and M to a new facility at DC Village in Southwest. (It's probably geared more toward residents near the new location.) There's an open house at 5:30 pm, and the hearing itself starts at 6:30, at 2700 Martin Luther King Dr. SE.
* The Nationals ballpark is having its "Topping Out" party on Wednesday at noon.
* WMATA's Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee is meeting in executive session on Thursday morning to address something having to do with the Southeastern Bus Garage, but they're not saying what.
* Thursday also sees the National Capital Planning Commission meeting that Canal Park fans mobilized for, with the NCPC's agenda including the zoning commission case approving temporary surface parking lots on various blocks in Near Southeast that include Canal Park in their boundaries. There's also a presentation on the the first phase of The Yards. The meeting is at 12:30 pm at 401 9th St., NW, Suite 500.
* Wrapping up the week (pant pant pant) is a city council Subcommittee on Economic Development hearing on the transition plans for folding in the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; it's in the council chamber at the Wilson Building at 10 am, and may also be broadcast on DC cable channel 13 and via streaming video.
And then I will spend the weekend alseep.

Just a quick sleep-inducing update on actions at today's City Council legislative meeting (have I mentioned that you people don't pay me enough?):
* B17-0208, creating the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District that would cover all of Near Southeast and Buzzards Point, passed on the consent agenda on its first reading. There will now be a Public Hearing and Preliminary Finding on the BID application by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on July 9. The bill's second reading will be on July 10. (See my previous BID entries for background.)
* Bill 17-0011, the "Ballpark Hard and Soft Costs Cap Act of 2007," makes permanent the legislation passed in 2006 that set a city spending cap of $630 million. There was some bickering when council member Catania asked to add an amendment updating the soft costs amount in the bill to $117 million from the originally specified $111 million as a result of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission's May 31 report. Council member Evans was quite vehement about not changing numbers on dais without consulting the CFO's office to be sure that even an innocuous-seeming change like this one wouldn't end up having unintended consequences (and he also was miffed that Catania hadn't shown him the amendment before the meeting), but in the end the amendment was agreed to.
Council member Kwame Brown said that a new report by the DC Auditor indicated that the stadium remains on budget at this time, although there items that will need "close attention paid" to them. Catania expanded on that by citing a series of numbers from the auditors' report indicating that the city still has up to $95 million in additional costs when there is only $6.7 million left in the contingency fund; however, $72 million of that is the amount that the eminent-domain'ed landowners are seeking from the city in compensation, which may not be exactly how much they receive once the hundred years' worth of court battles are finally completed. Catania said that the council needs to face these potential problem numbers instead of "putting our head in the sand."
* Finally, Bill 17-0021, the "Ballpark Parking Completion Amendment Act of 2007," was passed, creating permanent legislation exempting from zoning restrictions the parking garages on the north end of the stadium site; council member Mendelson asked that before second reading, a sunset provision originally in the emergency legislation that requires the exemption to end by the end of 2008 be inserted into this permanent legislation.
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, parking, Nationals Park, zoning
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