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Nine New Homesites Released for Capitol Quarter
Nov 2, 2007 10:44 AM
Word has just gone out that tomorrow morning (Nov. 3) at 11 am reservations will be accepted for the next nine market-rate houses at Capitol Quarter. Prices range from $610k to $745k, and the offered sites now include lots on the block bounded by Virginia, I, Third, and Fourth. (Contact the sales office if you need more details.) Let the stampede begin!
UPDATE: The line hit the "nine" mark pretty quickly this afternoon, as I understand it. On the downside, word is now getting to some who have reserved homes in previous stampedes that the expected construction start date may be slipping again, perhaps toward the second quarter of 2008, though dates are not in stone. (I'm hearing conflicting things. Will try to sort out.)
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

The Last Days of Old Capper Seniors (With Views from the Roof)
Nov 1, 2007 3:46 PM
As I posted a few days back, the old Capper Seniors building across from the Navy Yard is in its last days, and with hazmat abatement having been completed, the Housing Authority is on schedule to start demolition on Monday. And while I'm sure they had far better things to do, the powers that be were nice enough to escort me up to the roof for a few minutes of camera time to document the skyline from that vantage point. I also took a walk around the block for some last shots of the building, which has stood in this location since the 1950s.
You can see all of the day's photos here, with the overhead shots starting about a third of the way down the page. Remember as always that I use a somewhat wide-angle lens (a Canon Digital Rebel XT with an 18-55 lens for you shutterbugs), so you get to see more in the images at the expense of everything looking smaller and farther away than it really is.
After the demolition is done--it's expected to take two months--there will be a temporary surface parking lot installed. Eventually a 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City will rise on the southern half of the site, and hopefully they'll be nice enough to let me go up on that roof when it's done.
(And I must say that all these roof sojourns are wonderfully ironic, given that my legs go gooey if I even try to walk down stairs that don't have a handrail. So be assured I'm never as close to the roof's edge as it might look in some of these shots. I'm a total chicken.)

The Return of Capitol Quarter Camping
Oct 24, 2007 11:47 AM
It has been observed that a camper has set up shop within the past week or so outside the Capitol Quarter sales center at 4th and L, even though no date has been announced for the next release of market-rate homes. Too bad the weeks of dry weather just gave out! Campers were of course a fixture at the site over the summer, when five house sites were sold each month. It will be interesting to see how long this intrepid soul (and presumably the cadre of friends helping save the camper's place "in line") will have to wait....
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Capper Apartments: Out with the Old, In With the New
Oct 20, 2007 10:23 AM
After being vacant since the beginning of the year, the old Capper Seniors building at 601 L Street is in its final days, with demolition scheduled to begin the first week in November. Once the hazmat cleanup that's been going on is finished, the building, which opened in the late 1950s, will be brought down floor-by-floor (no Vegas-style implosion). I was inside the fences yesterday and between the raindrops got a few pictures of this building, though I hope to get some more before the final curtain.
At the same time the old building is coming down, the 139-unit new Capper Building #2 at 400 M Street is going to be opening its doors to residents. Originally designed as a building for low-income seniors, its profile has been expanded to also include renters who earn up to 60 percent of the area median income (from $38,000 for one person to $54,000 for a family of four). I was given a tour yesterday and got photos of the inside; the first floor has a community room with kitchenette, and laundry, computer, fitness, and conference rooms, and the landscaped interior courtyard also serves as a stormwater management system. The two-bedroom corner units at Fourth and M have some pretty nice views of The Yards and DOT (but I think they're all already spoken for). Twenty of the one-bedrooms and one of the two-bedrooms are for the mobility-impaired. A web site for the building will be launched soon, and there will be a rental office on-site. With Building 2's opening, there are 300 new affordable housing units now available in the Capper Hope VI redevelopment (with Capper Seniors #1 having opened late in 2006), with another 400 to come as mixed-income Capitol Quarter gets underway early next year, and the other mixed-income Capper apartment buildings planned for Second Street loom farther at some unannounced date in the future.

Ballpark and Beyond This Week -- Bridge EIS, Capper Lots
Oct 11, 2007 6:25 PM
With DDOT having put out a press release in the past few hours alerting the media to the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the 11th Street Bridges, I can breathe a sigh of relief that I didn't screw up by having it be the focal point of my Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra. (It's easy to worry that you've done something wrong when news of a $465 million reconfiguration of one of the region's most important commuter routes hasn't been picked up by anyone else. Nice scoop for me, though!) No graphic went along with the column, though, so look at the images I posted here on Monday to understand the design alternative that's been chosen. Next steps would apparently be the actual design, although the EIS process took care of a lot of that, followed by construction.
My column also included the quick blurb about the bids being solicited to build the three temporary surface parking lots at Capper/Carrollsburg.
UPDATED to include link to press release.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Capper

Bids Being Solicited for Capper Surface Lots
Oct 7, 2007 6:06 PM
Tucked deep in the classifieds of Thursday's and Friday's Washington Post were solicitations to build three temporary surface parking lots in the footprint of the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex. The invitations for bids (here and here) are for 1) site grading/storm water systems/paving, and 2) lighting installation; proposals are due on Oct. 26 to DC Housing Enterprises (a subsidiary of the DC Housing Authority). The lots total nearly 234,000 square feet, and are located in two locations: the blocks bounded by 2nd, I, 3rd, and L, east of Canal Park, and the site of the old Capper Seniors building at Sixth and L, SE, which is scheduled to be torn down by the end of this year.
There will be somewhere between 670 and 720 spaces created in these three lots, which are being built to help ease the expected ballpark parking crunch. They were approved earlier this year under a zoning ruling that states the lots can last no more than five years; they will also be open for non-baseball use. The seniors building site is eventually going to be home to a 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City Enterprises, and the blocks lining Canal Park are destined to become mixed-income residential buildings as part of Capper/Carrollsburg's redevelopment.
UPDATED because I found the correct space count for the lots.
More posts: Capper, parking, Nationals Park

Still More New Photos
Sep 18, 2007 2:05 PM
Yesterday morning, after traipsing down to check on the progress of the GPO building's demolition at The Yards, I took a fair number of pictures along Third and Fourth streets in the Capper/Capitol Quarter areas, since it was a gorgeous day and because it had been a while since I updated those photos in my Photo Archive. Here's the complete batch of yesterday's pictures, all on one page--it's mainly photos of a bunch of empty lots, but you can click on the icon under any image to see earlier photos from the same vantage point. There's also some shots of the GPO building, though they didn't seem to be doing any demo work yesterday.
(If you've come to JDLand fairly recently and aren't familiar with my Photo Archive, go give it a spin. You can choose any intersection in Near Southeast and see all the photos I've posted of that location over the past getting-close-to-five-years. And the icon you see on my project pages will show you the archive photos for the vantage point you're looking at. If you're needing to waste a couple of hours, this is the application for you!)

Oversight Hearing on Canal Park, and Other Council Events
Sep 7, 2007 9:27 AM

With the August recess over, the city council is swinging back into action, and there's a number of Near Southeast-related hearings scheduled over the next few weeks. The most interesting one is a Committee on Economic Development public oversight hearing on "Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Transition of Projects on the Southwest Waterfront, Hill East, Poplar Point, Canal Park, and Kingman Island", scheduled for Oct. 1 at noon. The progress of Canal Park (or lack thereof) continues to be of great interest to Near Southeast residents, and perhaps by the time of this hearing there will be some movement on getting the school buses relocated. There's rumors afoot that the buses could be moved to a temporary lot once a long-term home is secured--and apparently there may soon be a contract before the city council approving a new permanent lot in Prince George's County.

Other council hearings over the next few weeks that touch on Near Southeast issues include a Sept. 26 Committee on Finance and Revenue public hearing on B17-0292, "Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Public Improvements Revenue Bonds Approval Amendment Act of 2007" and a Sept. 24 Commitee on Economic Development public hearing on B17-0340, "National Capital Revitalization Corporation and Anacostia Waterfront Corporation Clarification Act of 2007".
There's also a Sept. 20 Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary public oversight roundtable on "Capital Projects and Space Needs for Public Safety Agencies," which I'm guessing may touch on the plans for a new home for the Metropolitan Police Department and whether the move to the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave. is indeed called off--you may recall that one day after the Office of Property Management said that the move was canceled, the Post reported that that the mayor was saying he had made no decision one way or the other.
See my Upcoming Events Calendar for times and locations. Some of these may be available on DC Cable 13 and live webcast.
(Also, as an aside, the ANC 6D agenda for Monday night's meeting is now online.)

This Week's Ballpark and Beyond Column
Aug 30, 2007 11:27 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra of the Post covers the recent departure of AnA Towing to make way for DRI's Square 696 development; the raze permits for the old Capper Seniors complex and the buildings just north of the stadium along First and N streets; and the planned opening in September of the new Spay and Neuter Center at 1001 L Street. (I can't believe I made it through a column without a single piece about parking!)

New Photos and News
Aug 27, 2007 7:19 PM
After a week of days that were either overcast and drizzly or ridiculously hot and humid, today's sunny-and-warm profile gave me no choice but to venture out for a reconaissance mission. My report:
The masses of workers and the well-positioned fences make it nearly impossible to take photos of the current state of South Capitol Street, but I have added a decent photo to my Douglass Bridge makeover page showing the new South Capitol and Potomac intersection, which appears very close to being ready for traffic. Streetlights are in place, curbs have been built, paving has begun, and the historic globe streetlamps are installed all along the length of the bridge.
I also snuck a peek into the huge hole where Monument Realty's Half Street project is underway, and from N Street you can see what appears to be vertical construction is already underway at the bottom of the hole. It's along the M Street portion of the site, which will be home to the 55 M Street office building, which itself will contain the expanded entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. Because that Metro work must be completed by Opening Day 2008, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that they're already pouring concrete and working upward, eight months into construction. The office building itself and the rest of the Half Street Phase I won't be completed until 2009.
And I unexpectedly found Demolished Building entry #138, as the beige garage that has long sat on the northeast side of the Half and I Street intersection bit the dust today, which I'm sure JPI is happy to see, given that 70/100 I Street is growing like a weed right next door.
Speaking of 70/100 I, it got updated photos today, along with Onyx on First and 100 M Street. You can look at those project pages (and their accompanying expanded archives), or you can browse this page showing all photos I've posted from today, which includes a few new shots of Capper Building #2, which I believe is just minutes from opening. And I even finally added a photo of the "Starbucks Coming Soon" sign out in front of the DOT HQ, for the caffeine-deprived.

Raze Application Underway for Old Capper Seniors
Aug 18, 2007 9:17 AM
Along with the Square 701 buildings mentioned yesterday, there are still a few buildings to be razed in Near Southeast (though not many, with 136 of them having already been demolished in the past four-plus years). None of them, however, are as big as the old Capper Seniors building at 601 L Street. All of its former residents have been moved out, and preparations are being made to bring down this building late this year, which will certainly be the most striking of all the demolitions I've watched. In the meantime, as you can see from the latest Approved Building Permit, interior demolition will be starting soon so that asbestos abatement can be taken care of before the building itself can be demolished. In its place there will eventually be a 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City, though no timeline has been announced; you can see a rendering of it on my old Capper Seniors page. In the interim, look for a surface parking lot to help ease the Nationals ballpark parking crunch. (Oh, and check out the new photo on that Stadium Transportation and Parking page. I just couldn't resist. I'm sorry.)

Capper Infrastructure Work Now Underway
Aug 2, 2007 8:06 PM
I'm a few days late with this, but it's still worth marking the milestone that infrastructure work has now indeed begun at Capitol Quarter, on the northwest corner of 5th and L. Considering that the announcement in 2001 of the plans for revitalizing Capper/Carrollsburg was one of the first things that got me interested in goings-on south of the freeway, it's quite satisfying to see that forward movement (beyond just demolition) has finally started.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Capper Infrastructure Work - Not Quite Yet
Jul 24, 2007 10:17 AM
Some people have written me saying that the work to upgrade the infrastructure around Capitol Quarter has begun--but while it's close, I've confirmed that it hasn't actually started yet, although it shouldn't be too long now. This is work on the water and sewer lines--"vertical" construction (i.e., buildng the townhouses) is still scheduled to start in January 2008.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Water and Sewer Improvement Special Assessment
Jul 16, 2007 11:30 AM
With the area in the stadium corridor between South Capitol and First streets apparently in need of significant upgrades to its water and sewer infrastructure, the city council is working on a bill that would create a special assessment to fund the $15.45 million needed for the improvements. It was decided to take care of these upgrades now because the streets that the pipes lie under--South Capitol, Potomac, First, N, and I--are scheduled to be reconstructed in the coming months as part of the streetscape improvement project before the Nationals ballpark opens, and it was thought best to take care of the sewer work now rather than having to dig up newly renovated streets. Landowners (including the city and the U.S. government) would be assessed based on total land area and the gross building area as allowed by zoning for each parcel of land that abuts or benefits from the improvements, and would be able to pay their assessment either in an up-front lump sum or over time. With the city contributing $3 million toward the project up front and another $4.1 million to cover the assessments on public properties, the other landowners will end up funding $8.35 million of the project cost.
The bill was marked up on July 13, and apparently has changed somewhat, but you can read the original version of the legislation here. When the committee report is finalized and the revised bill is available, I'll post them as well.
It should be noted that the water and sewer improvements for the stadium itself have already been taken care of, and similar improvements for The Yards and Capper/Carrollsburg will be handled through their PILOT funding programs.

Links for Today's Ballpark and Beyond Column
Jul 5, 2007 10:24 AM

If you wandered over here from today's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra, here are a few links you might want to follow for additional background: Capitol Hill Tower is the home of the dry cleaners that had the bad first day of business; my Capitol Quarter page has lots of photos and details on the mixed-income townhouse development replacing Capper/Carrollsburg that has generated so much camping activity; I've got plenty of recent exterior and interior photos of the Nationals ballpark and renderings of what it's supposed to look like when it finishes next spring; my 1111 New Jersey Ave. page has details on the Donohoe office building project that will now be expanded after their purchase of the Navy Yard Metro station east entrance; and my Upcoming Events Calendar has links for the pile of meetings and hearings scheduled for next week.

Next Capitol Quarter Release on Sunday - Change in Future Releases?
Jun 30, 2007 11:00 AM
The current batch of campers at 4th and L now have the end in sight, as an e-mail went out this morning announcing that the July release of five market-rate townhouses at Capitol Quarter will happen July 1 (tomorrow) at 11 am. However, if you were thinking about heading down there with tent in hand in anticipation of the next release, this paragraph from the e-mail might be worth digesting: "This will be the last market rate home release until later this year. Once we have established the date and procedures of our next release of market rate homes, we will notify you with this information via email." Sounds like maybe they're changing their release routine? We will have to watch and see.
Also, the lowest base price on the market-rate houses is now just a smidge over $600k, so certainly the prices have responded to the interest!
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Ballpark and Beyond: This Week's Links
Jun 28, 2007 10:09 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post is on Tuesday's groundbreaking at Capper / Carrollsburg, and Monument's purchase of the Sunoco site. If you're visiting here for more information, you can check out my Capper / Carrollsburg overview page for more details and links on the project's redevelopment as well as photos from the groundbreaking, and my Capitol Quarter page has lots and lots (and lots!) of photos showing the area before, during, and after demolition. You can see what Monument Realty is up to at Half and M on my Monument Half Street page.

Capper Groundbreaking
Jun 26, 2007 2:06 PM

For those of you who didn't feel like venturing out into the sauna (hello, DC summer!), I've posted photos from today's ceremonial groundbreaking at Capper/Carrollsburg. The tent was air-conditioned, at least, and there was a bit of a revival feel as DCHA executive director Michael Kelly, Ward 6 council member Tommy Wells, and other officials sang the praises of the federal/city/private partnership that has leveraged a $35 million HUD HOPE VI grant into a nearly $500 million revitalization project. Many former Capper residents were there, clearly excited about what they will be returning to; one woman, whose mother moved into the Cappers when it opened in 1956, spoke of being one of the 55 Capper households in the Community Support Services Homeownership Education and Counseling Program, which will help her to buy a home in the community where she's spent almost her entire life.

As for the timeline, infrastructure work at the site is now getting underway, to be followed this fall by "land development", which for us non-construction types is better known as Moving Dirt Around; the start of the houses themselves (i.e., "vertical construction") is scheduled for early 2008.
And the campers waiting for the next release of market-rate homes? They got to take the morning off, but will be back. You can watch the story Channel 9 did yesterday if you need your camping fix.

More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Capper/Carrollsburg Groundbreaking (and Capper Background)
Jun 24, 2007 10:30 AM
The DC Housing Authority is having a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday (June 26) at 11 am for the first phase of the Capper/Carrollsburg mixed-income townhouses (i.e., Capitol Quarter), at 4th and L by the EYA sales office. This isn't a signal for the actual start of "vertical" construction, though--that won't begin until later this year.
And maybe this makes for a good time to have a refresher on what exactly "Capper/Carrollsburg" is:
In 2001, DC received a $34.9 million Hope VI grant to redevelop the 23-acre 700-unit Capper/Carrollsburg public housing project as a mixed-income development, replacing every one of the low-income units and then adding to them another 700-plus market-rate and workforce-rate rental and ownership units. The redevelopment project is being handled as a joint venture by Forest City Washington, Mid-City Urban LLC, and the Housing Authority.
The townhouse portion of the redevelopment, being marketed by EYA as Capitol Quarter, will have approximately 121 market-rate and 91 "workforce"-rate ownership houses; an additional 65 townhouses will contain 111 subsidized rental units and Section 8 ownership units. The market-rate houses are already being made available for reservations in monthly blocks, with the attendant tent cities popping up at the sales center as hopeful homeowners stake their claims. There was a lottery back in 2006 for the first 20 workforce units; I imagine another will be coming before too long.
Three hundred low-income rental units have already been completed (or are about to be) as part of the new Capper Seniors #1 and Capper Building #2 projects. The rest of the public housing rental units will be included in four mixed-income apartment buildings planned along Canal Park, three on the eastern side of the park between 2nd and 3rd and I and M, and a fourth on the site of the DPW Trash Transfer lot at New Jersey and K. None of these are anticipated to start construction before 2010, so in the meantime, temporary surface parking lots will soon appear on those blocks to help ease the expected Nationals stadium parking crunch.
Additionally, 700,000 sq ft of office space will eventually be built within the Capper redevelopment area; 250 M Street is a 190,000-sq-ft joint venture between William C. Smith and the DC Housing Authority, and although it now has all of its zoning approvals, we just learned a few days ago that Smith is going to wait until the building is 30 percent leased before beginning construction. There will eventually be another 500,000 sq ft of office space developed at 7th and M on the site of the old Capper Seniors building (itself scheduled to be demolished late this year), but with no current timetable for that project a temporary surface parking lot is coming to that site as well. There will also be another 30-45 townhomes built along L Street behind these new office buildings, but those are a long ways off.
Topping it all off, a new 28,000-sq-ft community center is planned at 5th and K, replacing the one demolished earlier this year. It could start construction in 2008, but those plans might change if, say, a developer or the Housing Authority manages to snag from DCPS the Van Ness Elementary School site at 5th and M, which was closed in 2006 and is now administrative space. A new elementary school could be then constructed to serve families as they move into the rebuilt Capper neighborhood, and the community center could be part of the school rather than being a standalone project. But with the changes in the structure of the public schools' governance, who knows when any decision like this could happen, if at all. Just some Sunday morning speculation for you.
(This info has all been available on my Capper overview page, but it's good to get it out front once in a while.)

Background on New Capper Buildings
Jun 21, 2007 10:24 AM
If you are coming here after reading this week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post, here are my information/photo/news pages on Capper Building #2, Capper Seniors #1, the old Capper Seniors building at 6th and L, and the entire Capper/Carrollsburg Hope VI redevelopment. And if you liked all those purty stadium photos displayed next to the column in the print edition, here's my Stadium Construction Gallery for plenty more of those....
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