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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: The Bixby
See JDLand's The Bixby Project Page
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1000 1st St.
Square 696
Yards/Icon Theater
1000 South Capitol
25 M
Chiller Site Condos
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1333 M St.
New Douglass Bridge
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250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
SC1100
Completed
District Winery ('17)
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
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)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
 
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I am probably stepping on the toes of a big controlled PR unveiling, but my interest was piqued when I was followed on Twitter today by @TheBixbyDC.
A little bit of Googling brought me first to the address of 601 L St., SE, and then to this web site, all of which points to an official rebranding of what we've come to know as the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, the 195-unit mixed-income apartment building now under construction at 7th and L Streets, SE.
The content of the site at the moment is minimal, but you can see that they are (rightly) highlighting the building's location "between Capitol Hill and Navy Yard":
"At The Bixby, you'll find an inviting apartment that puts you in the middle of DC, just steps to Capitol Hill and the Capitol Riverfront, yet feels far away from it all when you want to relax. Explore the delights of Barracks Row and the Navy Yard, enjoy a quiet afternoon on your balcony or host an evening with friends on the rooftop."
Those of you with long memories may recognize 601 L St. SE as the address of the old Capper Seniors building, which was demolished eight years ago this month.
The Bixby web site allows you to register to receive more information, but there's no mention on the site yet as to when the building might start leasing.
Note that while Forest City's logo appears on the page, the development itself is a product of the DC Housing Authority, as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment. Forest City is on board to manage the building, which will have 39 public housing units.
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More posts: The Bixby, Capper, Development News, The Bixby
 

A clearly happy and relieved group of city officials, developers, and residents gathered this morning on the parking lot at 7th and L, SE, to ceremonially break ground on the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, the 195-unit mixed-income apartment building that marks the latest phase in the redevelopment of the Capper/Carrollsburg public housing project.
Mayor Vince Gray, DC Housing Authority director Adrianne Todman, Ward 6 council member Tommy Wells, and other speakers all discussed the importance of making sure that residents are not priced out of the District, focusing on the 39 units of public housing that will be included in this project. When this building is completed, DCHA will have replaced 61 percent of Capper's original 707 units of public housing.
A lot of cooks were in the Lofts's $42 million financial kitchen, since DCHA did not use any of the Capper Hope VI funds to get the project underway. Instead, DCHA is acting as a first-time co-developer alongside Urban Atlantic and Forest City Washington, apparently crafting a "unique and complex legal and financial structure" that involves low income tax credits, DC Housing Finance Agency debt purchased by Citi Community Capital, and a short-term loan made by Industrial Bank.
The building is expected to be completed by 2015. You can read more about it here, and on my project page.
And because I'm a sucker for photos of dirt being flung into the air, here's a gallery of images from the event, which included not only the usual lineup of officials but also former and current Capper residents.
As for when "real" groundbreaking will begin, let's just say Any Minute Now. (And Nats fans and commuters should be prepared that Lot W will be cut pretty much in half by this development.)
 

It's getting hard to keep track of all of the projects in the ground around the neighborhood, and now another one is about to be added to the list: the 195-unit mixed-income apartment building christened the Lofts at Capitol Quarter is having a ceremonial groundbreaking on March 5 at 10 am, with the mayor, Tommy Wells, and other luminaries expected to be in attendance.
This project, on the south side of L Street SE between 5th and 7th, is on the site of the old Capper Seniors building, and will displace the northern half of Nats Economy Lot W. It faces the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters building that opened at 7th and L in 2004.
Of course, since this is a ceremonial event, we'll have to see when actual moving of dirt--other than by shovel-wielding VIPs--begins. But financing is in place, permits are approved, and the DC Housing Authority appears raring to go to get this project underway.
When completed, the building will be run by Forest City's residential management arm, and will have a fitness room, roof decks, interior courtyards, and meeting space. It's expected to take about 20 months to complete once construction begins.
This is the third apartment building to rise up as part of the Hope VI redevelopment of the Capper/Carrollsburg housing project, and the first to be mixed income, with at least 38 affordable units to be included.
The "Capitol Quarter" moniker comes from the rows of new townhouses built a few blocks away as part of the Capper redevelopment. In the original plans for Capper's re-do, this site (known as Square 882) was going to be townhouses as well, but was switched to an apartment building in 2009. The south half of the block, facing M Street and the Navy Yard, may someday be the 600 M Street office development, but that does not appear to be happening anytime soon.
 

The neighborhood appears to have (yet) another residential project likely to get underway in 2014, as the DC Housing Authority has finally gotten the financing together for the long-planned 195-unit mixed-income residential building at 7th and L SE, on the site of the old Capper Seniors building.
The building permit for the project was approved a few months ago, and with money now in place, it's expected that dirt should begin to move within a few months ("expected" as always being the key word). This building, which will face the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters across L, will be all rentals, and will have 39 affordable housing units alongside the market-rate offerings.
Documents filed with the Recorder of Deeds refer to the project as "The Lofts at Capitol Quarter." The building will be run by Forest City's residential management arm, and will have a fitness room, roof decks, interior courtyards, and meeting space. It's expected to take about 20 months to complete once construction begins.
Nats fans may be a bit chagrined by this news, though, since the new building will take out a chunk of Economy Lot W, cutting the number of spaces down to 186 once the lot is reconfigured (hopefully by Opening Day).
Note that this building is only on the north side of the block, which is why Lot W isn't disappearing completely--yet. The south side is slated to someday be a sizeable office building, though no start date appears to be anywhere on the boards for that.
This will be the first mixed-income apartment building to come out of the Capper Hope VI redevelopment; the first two apartment buildings completed--Capper Seniors and 400 M--are both all affordable-housing units. Four (or maybe five) additional residential buildings, with another 900-plus mixed-income units including about 285 affordable units, are still to be built before Capper reaches full build-out of its residential component.
This project is now on the 2014 docket along with Forest City's Yards/Parcel N, WC Smith's 800 New Jersey (aka The Whole Foods Building), and Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey, if these developers can make it past my jaded skepticism about announced start dates (well earned during the Lean Years of 2008-2012) and start building.
Already under construction and expected to open in the next year or so are rental projects Twelve12, River Parc, and the Park Chelsea.
And, when the Lofts at Capitol Quarter are completed, the south side of L Street between 5th and 7th will look a little different from what was there before:
 

The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for a time extension to construct the mixed-income apartment buildings it has planned for the north half of Square 882 (the old Capper Seniors block along L Street between 5th and 7th, seen at right) and the north half of Square 769, between 2nd and 3rd on L just east of Canal Park (below, the building at left, next to the proposed 250 M Street).
When the plans for these two buildings were approved by the Zoning Commission in 2009 (see the zoning order), it was required that building permits be applied for by August of this year, with construction to begin by August of 2012. However, attempts at funding either the Square 882 189-unit building or 171-unit Square 769N building the have not thus far borne any fruit, and so a time extension is needed. Between them, the buildings would have 72 units reserved for households making less than 60 percent of the area median income, and the Square 769 building would also have just over 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The Zoning Commission will hear this request at its meeting on Monday night; because there is no request to modify any portion of the PUD beyond the time requirement, this will most likely be handled as a consent calendar item. There will also be a presentation on this request and the state of the Capper redevelopment in general at Monday's ANC 6D meeting. (There was also one given at Tuesday night's ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, but I had a baseball game to watch.) But since the Zoning Commission hearing is at the same time as the 6D meeting, it would seem that there is no anticipated opposition from 6D.
The Office of Planning prepared a short report recommending approval of the time extension, showing that the requirements for an extension have been met. It also quotes the development team as saying that there have been 75 outreach efforts for financing, all unsuccessful. "The inability to secure financing for residential projects, especially those including affordable units, is not unusual in the current marketplace."
If you want to know more about these two planned apartment projects, and the other three mixed-income buildings planned along the east side of Canal Park and on the DPW/trash transfer site, my Capper Apartments page has additional background, as do the scads of blog posts I've written on the various plans. And my main Capper page has the background on the entire redevelopment project.
UPDATE: And, of course, within seconds of my pulling the trigger and posting this entry, I've received a copy of the letter to the Zoning Commission requesting the PUD. Which I'm posting before reading.
 

(There were a number of Near Southeast-related items on Monday night's ANC 6D agenda, so I'm going to break up the reports into a couple of posts. One or two more to come over the next day or so.)
Representatives of the Capitol Hill Day School came to 6D to ask for the commission's support on a zoning case that would allow the school to erect "modular classrooms" on the empty community center lot at 5th and K while their current location at 2nd and South Carolina undergoes renovation. As I wrote last week, the school would occupy the lot starting in June, with the intent of returning to the Dent School building in January 2012. There were a few additional details given last night:
* CHDS has secured 29 spaces in the big parking lot at 7th and L for faculty.
* They will be requesting from DDOT that six of the street parking spaces (half the block) on the east side of 5th in front of the lot be changed to No Parking from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays, to act as a drop-off zone for parents and buses. They will ask parents coming from north of the freeway to drive south on 4th, turn left on L, and then turn left on 5th to pull into one of their four drop-off spots, where kids are guided quickly out of the cars. (You can see this in operation at 2nd and South Carolina.) Their school buses would also operate in those spots during the day. But the spaces would be available for resident parking after 6 pm, before 8 am, and on weekends, with a "minimal" number of nighttime events beyond a Back to School night.
* Headmaster Jason Gray said that the school wants to be "as minimally disruptive as we can, be good community members, and leave the site better than we left it." They'll be landscaping the site (and fencing it), and will clear the lot and clean it up once they move out.
* In return for using this DC Housing Authority lot, CHDS has agreed to fund three scholarships for public housing children to attend the school, though details on how the students will be picked are still being worked out.
The commission voted 6-1 to support the zoning request, with only Commissioner Roger Moffatt voting against. The BZA will hear the case on May 17. If you want to know more about the CHDS renovation project, you can check out their wiki, and they are also keeping a blog on the construction project.
There was also a general update on the progress of the overall Capper redevelopment given by David Cortiella of DCHA. Some bullet points:
* Construction on the second phase of Capitol Quarter is actually a bit ahead of schedule; Cortiella said the first move-ins are scheduled for July/August, but I've heard from EYA that it may be more like May/June.
* DCHA is in the process of building a new lot for DPW so that it can move out of the New Jersey & K site; Cortiella expects this to happen by August, at which time site remediation and demolition can begin, working toward the building of I Street through to New Jersey Avenue (along with all manner of infrastructure work). This would take about 18 months.
* The financing for the mixed-income apartment project on Square 882 (just south of the Marine barracks) has apparently proven difficult to secure, and is still being worked on, with Cortiella saying he "expects" it by the end of the year.
* The community center's financing is dependent on whether a second bond can be floated to get the rest of the $55 million PILOT monies; the $29 million bond sold in 2010 is paying for infrastructure work around Canal Park and the DPW site, and by spring of next year it should be known whether this second bond will be happening.
* The entire project is still on track to eventually provide the 707 units of public housing that were on the site before redevelopment; about 337 have already been delivered.
(Plus, it wasn't mentioned at the meeting, but there's a lottery of up to 11 Capitol Quarter workforce housing units coming March 26.)
 

I was recently successful in pestering David Cortiella, grand poobah of the Capper/Hope VI realm at the DC Housing Authority, into giving me an update on the various projects in Near Southeast that he's currently working on. Here's the latest, while always keeping in mind that dates, especially in These Uncertain Economic Times, are not written in stone:
* At Capitol Quarter, the public infrastructure work on Phase 2 has already started, as people can see by the earth that started being moved in late September on the block bounded by 3rd, 4th, I, and K. The financing for this block's construction is expected to close at the end of this week, which would allow for the completion of the first houses by the middle of next year. The entire Capitol Quarter development is expected to be finished by the middle of 2013.
* On Square 882 (the block bounded by 5th, 7th, L, and M), the Housing Authority continues to work toward the construction of an 189-unit mixed-income apartment building on the north side of the block (along L Street, seen below). Their application for an FHA mortgage loan guarantee was submitted earlier this month, and DCHA is expecting that financing for the project will be in place by the end of the year, with construction starting in late winter or early spring of 2011.
As part of 882's new construction, the existing parking lot (known to Nats fans as economy Lot W) will be downsized somewhat, but not eliminated altogether. DCHA is estimating that there will be 190 parking spaces in the new lot, and that the lot will continue to be available during the construction of the new apartment building. There will probably be some disruptions when the building construction gets underway, but DCHA expects them to be minor. There's no timeline for when the 600,000-square-foot office building that's also part of the Capper Hope VI plans would get built along the M Street portion of the block, so people who use the lot on a daily basis are probably safe to bet on having it for a while.
* Residents may not be aware that DCHA is also involved in the disposition of the current DPW operations at New Jersey and K, since that block is part of the Capper redevelopment and is slated to eventually have a 322-unit mixed-income apartment building on it. A new site for DPW's trucks has been identified (I don't know where), and once DPW drives off the lot for the last time, the environmental assessments and abatement of the site can get underway. And, as much as it pains me to imagine the neighborhood without that smokestack, it's anticipated that the building and the smokestack will be demolished by the end of 2012.
* Some of the money that DCHA recently obtained on the bond markets to pay for the second phase of Capitol Quarter is earmarked to go toward the infrastructure work around Canal Park, and DCHA is working with the Canal Park Development Association get this funded. [I'll note that not much seems to have happened along 2nd Street since the park's ceremonial groundbreaking, which would seem to jibe with the delicate "working with" phrasing here.]
 

Unless you're big on process, RFIs, RFPs, and the potential crafting of legislation, there isn't really much news to report on the Marines' search for a location for a new barracks site to replace the aging and unsecure Building 20 at 8th and I. I was at the Community Leaders Group meeting this morning (as an observer, not a leader), and here's a couple snippets I came away with, although the very process-heavy discussions left me in the dust for much of the session:
What was originally going to be a public planning "charrette" this fall is now going to be a community forum, probably sometime in mid-November, coming after the Marines release a Request for Expressions of Interest to get a first read on the developers who might be interested in formulating a bid. The public forum (and a separate one on the same day for developers and industry types) will center around discussions about the official Request for Proposals that will then be crafted. (See, your eyes are glazing over.)
There are a couple of developers who have already floated ideas to the Marines, including the team of Winfield Sealander and Leon Kafaele, who both own a fair number of the lots on Square 929 and 930 (the two blocks between 8th and 9th and Virginia and M, including the "Quizno's building", although some of the lots along Potomac Avenue have gone through a foreclosure sale). The developers who bid on this public-private venture will need to demonstrate that they control or will control the properties on the sites they are proposing to develop; this would seem to make any proposed use of the Virginia Avenue Park site a bit more interesting.
The Marines are also looking at whether existing legislation covers their needs to get the development underway, or if new legislation needs to be written; if so, it would probably be placed in the next Defense Authorization Act. The if-all-goes-according-to-plan timeline is to get funding in the FY12 federal budget, with construction starting early in FY13. There would also be a NEPA process somewhere admist all of this well.
This has been a lot of words to basically say that there isn't much to pass along yet for people (like me!) who just want to know what's going to happen, and where, and when. But the Marines and the community leaders are clearly very aware of the community opposition to losing the two acres of open space that Virginia Avenue Park represents, though the Marines don't rule out the possibility of plans that would relocate some of the park's uses, even though there no doubt would be opposition to that as well. But of course there's some amount of community opposition for almost every site that the Marines have identified. But with Square 882 now officially marked as "removed from consideration" on the Marines' map, the options for a site seem to be getting pretty narrow.
UPDATE, 9/27: ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger has posted his own fine summary of the meeting, which I should have just waited for rather than trying to do it myself!
 

Monday's Post covers for the first time the Marines' search for a new barracks site, from the point of view of the residents who maintain the Virginia Avenue Garden at Ninth and Potomac, which could be relocated to another section of the park if the Marines choose the area east of Eighth Street. "But the community gardeners, in Capitol Hill style, are mobilizing to save their home. [...] [T]he gardeners say it has taken them years to amend the unforgiving clay soil with nutrients."
The article quotes Capt. Lisa Lawrence as saying, "Our goal is not to take over a neighborhood," and that the Marines are looking at every option. "But we won't be able to please everybody."
Also mentioned is that the DCHA/Square 882 site at Seventh and L "has moved to the bottom of the list," according to Lawrence (presumably in response to this letter). And there's information about what appears to be Tommy Wells's preferred solution, that he's "fighting to keep the garden alive by urging the Marines to tear down the parking lot next to the annex and rebuild it underground, freeing space for a new barracks. Lawrence said a parking lot under a barracks would probably pose a structural challenge. 'We don't have a strong negotiating position," Wells said. "Who wants to take on the U.S. Marines?'"
If you want more background on the Marines' search, I've written a word or two on it over the past few months.
UPDATE: I meant to also include this link to a recent Hill is Home post on the history of the park, tied to whether or not the Marines' plans would conflict with the L'Enfant Plan. (Though I'm not sure Monsieur L'Enfant envisioned a big, honking, elevated freeway, either.)
 

I've been chroncling over the past few months the Marine Corps' search for a spot for a new barracks, which has focused on a number of sites in Near Southeast, including the block bounded by Fifth, Seventh, L and M just south of their newest barracks that used to be home to the old Capper Seniors apartment building. It's been clear in public meetings and various other rumblings that both city planning officials and the DC Housing Authority are very much against the Marines using this site, with plans having been in place for a number of years for this now-empty/parking-lot block to become home to both a 600,000-square-foot office building and a 189-unit mixed-income apartment building (shown above) as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment.
Clearly feeling that the Marines haven't given up on the site as an option despite these plans, DCHA has now sent the Marines a letter officially requesting that the Corps "not continue to propose redevelopment options on the DCHA-owned Square 882 as a future site for its facility needs." The letter explains that DCHA has already secured funds to improve the infrastructure around the square, has spent "substantial predevelopment funds" on design and engineering drawings, and is anticipating beginning work on the residential portion of the site in October. (There's currently no timetable for the office portion.) Further, DCHA says it "recently received an invitation from HUD to submit an application for a FHA loan guarantee to support the planned residential construction on the site," and that this construction is expected to start "this winter."
Nothing in the letter is necessarily a surprise--I've written fairly extensively about DCHA's plans and about the zoning travails they went through before getting a second-stage PUD approval for Square 882 last year, which even included many discussions and agreements with both the Marines and the Navy about security requirements for the new buildings on this block. But clearly DCHA is hoping to be completely removed from the Marines' list of potential sites in the same way that the DC Public Schools (and parents) got Tyler Elementary removed from consideration. But it's also clear from the public workshops that the Marines very much like what Square 882 has to offer them in terms of space and proximity to the other USMC operations in the area.
The Marines are hoping to make a decision on a site by September. You can see all the sites under consideration and the various options on the "Community Integrated Master Plan" web site.
 
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