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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Capper
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I took a lot of photos today, but let's start with the ones showing new construction phases underway. First off, we have the first framing at Capitol Quarter (top), where the wood outlines of the first four houses east of the Fourth and L intersection are now up. (At least the photos are more exciting than the ones a few weeks ago of the concrete block foundations.)
Then there's 1015 Half Street, the 410,000-sq-ft office building under construction on the old Nation nightclub site. The crane arrived within the past week or so, and I finally got to a spot where I could see down into the hole to confirm that the first pillars are underway. So, by Thanksgiving, there should be the beginnings of yet another new addition to the skyline.
More photos in the next few days.
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More posts: 1015 Half, Capper, Capitol Quarter, Square 697n
 

* As I mentioned below, the garage that housed both the Merritt and Four Star cab companies started getting brought down today. They didn't get it all on Thursday, but I imagine by sundown Friday the rest will be gone. (See pictures from midmorning, though it's hard to see much in the way of a difference from First and K, since they took out the back of the building and only a smidgen of the K Street facade.)
* Only a few hours after I said that Capitol Quarter framing would start "in the next few days," lumber went up on the first house on the south side of L east of Fourth. (No pictures yet--this weekend!)
* Sometime this week the crane was put up at 1015 Half Street, so we should be seeing vertical construction before too long.
* Building permits for the external renovations to 900 M Street are now winding their way through the bureaucracy. No word yet on any retail tenants.
 

I can't pretend that photos of not-very-high cinderblock foundations coming up along L and Fourth streets are really all that exciting (unless you own one of the houses-to-be), but that didn't stop me from taking a quick batch of new Capitol Quarter photos this morning, despite having to tiptoe around the serious infrastructure work clogging up L and Fifth.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

While the focus lately has been on the start of the Capitol Quarter townhouses, there is more to the redevelopment of the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex. There are the two completed seniors buildings (Capper Seniors #1 and 400 M Street), now providing 300 of the 700 old Capper public housing units that are being replaced. The first phase of Capitol Quarter includes 39 subsidized rental units, and the second phase (which is probably not going to start delivering until 2011) will have another 47 subsidized rentals; this is in addition to the sales of 121 market-rate and 91 workforce-rate townhouses throughout both phases. That leaves a little over 300 public housing units to come, which will be included in the 1,300 apartments expected to be constructed at Capper over the next five years or so.
There are five new apartment buildings slated to be built, three of which along the east side of Canal Park where the temporary parking lots are, and another at New Jersey and K on the trash transfer site. And there is a new plan for a fifth apartment building, on L Street across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (B.E.Q), on the northern portion of the old Capper Seniors footprint.
Under the original Capper plans, there was to be a strip of 61 townhouses built on this spot, but the DC Housing Authority has recognized that these homes would be dwarfed by the B.E.Q. to the north and the two planned office buildings directly behind them at 600 M Street. So DCHA has now filed a request with the Zoning Commission to allow an expansion in the total number of housing units allowed at Capper to 1,747, which would allow the construction of a four-story 189-unit apartment building (with a massing very similar to the B.E.Q.) on this stretch of L Street known as Square 882N. This Zoning Commission request is also looking to expand the number of units in the planned apartment building on the south side of L Street between Second and Third (let's call it Square 769N) to 171 units, as a result of its block-mate 250 M Street having recently gotten approvals to be built higher than originally requested.
I've updated the map and descriptions on my Capper Overview page to reflect these latest plans for the area, and it's worth taking a look at if you're not really familiar with exactly how wide-ranging the Capper Planned Unit Development is. (Reading the 2004 zoning order establishing the PUD and laying out the requirements isn't a bad idea, either.) I should also note that the apartment and office buildings will combine to have about 50,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. There should also be a new community center at Fifth and K, but it doesn't seem to be on the front burner just yet.
Of course, the question then becomes: when? Timelines are always dicey and should be taken with a couple pounds of salt, but it appears that these two L Street apartment buildings (882N and 769N) would be first up on the agenda, perhaps being delivered in 2011. The other two buildings on Second Street would come next, and the anticipated 400-unit building on the trash transfer site would probably be the last one to be built, finishing maybe sometime in 2013. The three office buildings and the second phase of Capitol Quarter townhouses would be sprinkled throughout that time frame as well, with 250 M Street probably being the first office building to get underway, possibly even later this year. (Have I thrown in enough "maybe"s and "possibly"s and "perhaps"s for you?)
At least these plans don't have to wait until school buses get moved!
 

You'll probably need your x-ray specs to really glean any progress from my usual vantage points, but that shouldn't stop you from taking a look at today's batch of Capitol Quarter photos, taken on the blocks bounded by Fourth, Fifth, L, and Virginia. As the above photo shows (there's a bigger version on the project page), foundations are indeed now being dug for the first townhouses, on the south side of L between Fourth and Fifth. And meanwhile, the streets are getting pretty new granite curbs and brick gutters. The blocks north of L now have a lot of "private" infrastructure work underway (meaning, the pipes and whatnot that will run beneath the houses), so all in all there's no denying that, after a long long wait, the heart of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment is now underway. We should be seeing the first hints of structures rising out of the ground next month.
And, if you really really can't get enough of seeing what's happening in that section of the neighborhood, go to the Capitol Quarter Phase I Expanded Archive, where you can see all vantage points. And be sure to click on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon anytime you want to see the complete range of photos from a certain spot (to watch the old Capper buildings come down, then see the weeds grow, then see the beginnings of construction).
UPDATE, 7/25: Within 24 hours of my visit, the first concrete footers were poured.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

With the city council now almost in its summer recess until mid-September (though not before David Catania introduced legislation yesterday trying to raise the sales tax at Nationals Park in what appears to be an attempt to get back at the Lerners for withholding the rent), and with the Zoning Commission and most ANCs taking August off, the pace of bureaucratic-type news in these parts will be slow if not nonexistent for the next few weeks. We've got a Metro board meeting next week that might (or might not) be telling us the developer of the Navy Yard station's 14,000-sq-ft chiller plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L, but otherwise the calendar is all but empty until after Labor Day. (At least I can report that on Monday night ANC 6D voted 7-0 to approve a public space permit by 100 M Street to install sidewalks and city arborist-recommended willow oak and elm trees.)
That said, I should have some interesting items in the next few days, including hopefully an update about everyone's favorite What's the Deal With....? subject. And of course I'll have photo updates every few weeks, especially since it's expected that framing of the first Capitol Quarter townhouses will get underway by early August. But beyond that, expect the pace around here to be more leisurely during the dog days. As it should be!
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* DDOT told me these were coming a long time ago, and a reader whose e-mail I've lost gave me a heads up a few weeks back, but now I've finally visited for myself to see that the ugly cyclone fences on the South Capitol and M overpass have been replaced with pretty gray-painted ironwork.
* You have to look kind of closely, but construction has indeed started at Capitol Quarter, with pretty new curbs being installed on the south side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth. You can see them if you squint at the photos on my Capitol Quarter Phase I page.
* The owner of the Third and K Market at, um, Third and K must be keeping track of what's going on nearby, because there's now a For Rent sign tucked in the door. (Alas, all the info sheets were gone when I got there.) If you've ever dreamed of running a corner market, here's your chance. The market's been closed since about 2006.
* The "Wachovia Coming Soon" sign is back in the window at 20 M, so my building permit reading was on the mark. (It's in the window on the far western edge of the building.)
UPDATE: Speaking of 20 M, GlobeSt.com is reporting (tucked in a piece on LEED Gold certification for 1100 New York Avenue) that several leasing deals are pending for 20 M. So perhaps that's why Wachovia has decided to start moving forward.
* I did a bit of needed housingcleaning to the home page map and project directory--adding in 88 K as a "featured project", demoting 1345 South Capitol to "star-only" status until the project starts moving forward again, and adding a few additional stars for projects like the coming retail renovation of 900 M Street.
I also did some updating of the tabs with the lists of projects--if you don't realize the tabs are even there (look just above the map for "Residential/Office/Retail/Hotel"), take some time during this lazy summer to click on them and be stunned and amazed by the easy access to project information....
 

As I was walking on Third Street toward the ballpark last night, I squinted east down L Street and thought I spied construction equipment on the south side of the street east of Fourth, which is where work is supposed to be getting underway on Capitol Quarter's first townhouses. This spurred me to finally give some long-needed TLC to my Capitol Quarter page: I've now split out onto separate pages the before-and-during photos of the Phase I blocks (between Fourth and Fifth and L and Virginia), the Phase 2 blocks, and some additional photos of the sales center and its street-layout model.
If you're somewhat of a newcomer to Near Southeast, or if you've forgotten what Capper/Carrollsburg used to look like, these pages have a lot of images from 2003 and 2004 that you might find of interest, showing the months when the eastern end of the Cappers was slowly boarded up and then demolished.
If the Phase I page isn't enough for you, I've also created a Capitol Quarter Phase I Expanded Photo Archive, showing every view in the archive of the blocks that make up Phase I. I took a lot of photos last week of the Phase I blocks, so look for the icon, and also remember to click the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon to see all photos between the oldest and the newest ones (especially if you like demolition photos). I'll now be taking photos every few weeks of the Phase I blocks where construction is underway. (This area is substantially larger than the 21-acre tract where I almost killed myself trying to keep track of the ballpark's construction, but hopefully it will be a bit easier to handle.)
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

There was a big pile of news this past week from Near Southeast, so I'll boil it down to bullet points and links in case you couldn't keep up:
* Construction is really about to begin on the first townhouses at Capitol Quarter, now that financing has been closed for the public housing units;
* The first phase of the waterfront park at The Yards got the thumbs up from the Zoning Commission, and is expected to be completed by summer 2009;
* Onyx on First will be opening its first five floors of apartments in late July or early August, and initial rents have been announced;
* 100 M will be substantially completed in November, and tenants should start moving into the office building early in 2009. SunTrust Bank is the first retail tenant, and the developer is looking for restaurants for the other spaces;
* The planned office building at 250 M got Zoning Commission approval for a modification to its design; and
* Street vendors will start popping up for ballgames north of M Street on Tuesday (June 3). You can see the map of where they'll be.
 

On Friday, the DC Housing Authority successfully closed the financing for the 39 public housing rental units scattered within the 121 market- and workforce-rate townhouses at Capitol Quarter. The $5.1 million in bonds and other high-finance actions outside of my limited ability to explain will fund the $10 million in construction costs needed for these Phase 1 rental units, which will be available to persons making between 30 and 60 percent of the area's median income (adjusted for family size).
Because the private financing is already in place for the for-sale townhouses, the closing of this deal and the acquisition of various other approvals, permits, and whatnot allows EYA to start construction forthwith, and they tell me that the construction phase will indeed start tomorrow (Monday) with "land moving." The first buildings should start coming out of the ground in July on L Street between 4th and 5th, behind the 400 M Street apartment building, and residents should start moving in by the end of the year or early 2009. The rest of phase one houses will be built on the blocks between Fourth and Fifth streets and the triangular block bounded by Virginia, I, Fourth, and Third.
EYA also tells me that the next workforce housing release should be coming later this summer.
For more information, you can see my Capitol Quarter project page, or EYA's web site for additional details and contact information.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Word has arrived (and EYA has confirmed) that people who snagged reservations for market-rate townhomes at Capitol Quarter are starting to be brought in to sign actual sales contracts. Those with the earliest reservations (which go back to October 2006) are having their contracts written this week, and over the next few months all reservation holders will do likewise. Construction is still expected to start this summer, with some of the early-reservation-people being told to expect delivery of their houses in early 2009, though perhaps a bit sooner.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

It's not the same as seeing townhouses sprout from the ground, but it might still be worth noting that today's data feed for DC building permits shows a slew of approvals for Capitol Quarter addresses on Fourth, Fifth, and I street addresses....
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

* The New York Times looks at the plans for replacing Capper/Carrollsburg with Capitol Quarter. (They also sent it out via their news service, so it's appearing in lots of papers around the country.) "Bucking national trends and citing what they call 'a moral goal,' District of Columbia officials have pledged to preserve and even expand low-income housing, replacing dangerous projects with new communities that keep both poor and 'work force' residents -- firefighters, teachers and laborers -- in the mix. The redevelopment of the Arthur Capper and Carrollsburg projects, where Ms. Jackson lived, is the first in the country to promise replacement of all low-income units within the same neighborhood[.]" There's a lot of good detail about the public-housing side of the project, along with comments from former residents.
* Here's a few photos that show the fences around the Capper surface lots that I was blathering about yesterday, if you haven't seen them.
* Don't miss yesterday's photos from on high.
* Coming as soon as I can finish writing it, big news about a milestone finally passed for one of Near Southeast's oldest "new developments."
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Caught a break with such beautiful weather today, and so I snagged a new batch of overhead photos from up high at the Courtyard by Marriott. I took the entire batch, both east and west, and have paired them with the first ones I took, in March 2006. It's quite a difference; these are the views that people should see when they're carping about "how the area around the ballpark is one big construction zone" -- yes, it is, but look what that construction has done in just two years. (And think of what the commentary would be if this construction *weren't* happening.) You can also toggle to include all the photos from here in 2007 as well, to watch the process step-by-step.
These photos show the progress of 100 M, Onyx, Velocity, 70/100 I, the changes with the Capper Seniors buildings and all the demolitions (and new parking lots!) at Capper. There's even the first views of 909 New Jersey coming up above ground level. I'm still adding some updated photos to those project pages, but you'll get the idea.
 

* The prettiest darn fences, about four feet high, popped up around parking lots T and U on Third Street within the past two days. An unexpected touch. (I originally said wrought-iron, but now that I think about it, that's not what they are. Just black steel or some other metal I'm not smart enough to recognize. But still cool. Photos to come.)
* The Prince George's Gazette says that Nationals Park "could bring jobs and an economic boon to the southern part of the county."
* This is a few days old, but the US Park Police and the National Park Service say you'd better not think of parking at Anacostia Park during ballgames and other events at the stadium: "The NPS and USPP remind those seeking parking for events at the new Nationals' stadium that parking within Anacostia Park is open to park users only. Parking on turf is illegal within Anacostia Park. Park users are asked to be aware that increased vehicular traffic is anticipated and to make plans accordingly."
* Dr. Gridlock on his Get There blog talks about the "National Trifecta" on March 29--the National Marathon (which wrought all sorts of havoc in Southwest last year), the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Nationals-vs-Orioles exhibition game--that could make for rough driving around the city on that Saturday.
* I've taken enough photos of the stadium scoreboard to last a good long while, but Fox5 has a bunch of shots of the Scoreboard Control Room.
*This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra covers the new parking lots at Capper, and has a preview of the Florida Rock zoning hearing tonight (see renderings and photos here).
 

About five readers in the past week have submitted the same question: What's the Deal With Capitol Quarter? And it's hard not to be wondering that, as one of the first announced projects to revitalize Near Southeast still hasn't seen the start of construction, with a number of target dates having slipped past. (You can read my WTDW Capitol Quarter from December to see the last update.)
EYA told me this week that they're now looking at June or July as when the first townhomes will get underway, a little past the "Spring" start date that was projected a few months ago. As for the "why", I've mentioned before that we shouldn't really be surprised when companies working on projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars aren't spilling their guts to a pesky neighborhood blogger about the reasons for bad news, so I have no answer. But perhaps the new 2008 reality of a much tougher real estate market and the "credit crunch" are playing a part?
This isn't to say that nothing's happening at Capitol Quarter, since work at the site has been chugging along for the past few months. The first phase of public infrastructure improvements, which has been the cause of all the ripping up of Fourth, Fifth, I, K, and L streets, is all but finished (except for some last work along L Street). And work has started on installing "private infrastructure"--the wet and dry utility lines for the new houses--which will be followed by preparing the lots for vertical construction. But of course none of this is terribly flashy work, and until the townhouses start popping up, it's easy to feel like nothing's happening.
It's still anticipated that all the Phase I townhouses will be completed by the end of 2010.
If you want to get caught up on previous WTDW... entries, here they are. To submit a WTDW question of your own, drop me a line, keeping in mind that I don't always get to these right away.
PS: No need to further inundate me with WTDW Canal Park questions. Many people (including me) are way ahead of you. Rumors are flying, and I'm trying to get some answers, so I'll post as soon as I have something.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter, What's the Deal?
 

* We knew he'd been asked, but it's now confirmed that President Bush will be throwing out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Night (March 30). Officials from the team have told me that they've acquired more than 50 magnetometers to handle the security checks for the expected 41,000-person sellout crowd. But it's also one more reason to get there plenty early; the gates will open at 3:30 pm. Barry passes along the message from Stan: Take Metro! Stan also says, as we've heard from multiple sources lately, that the team is continuing to work on some same-day/cash lot parking, though it isn't in place yet. (They've said previously that they're trying to figure out how to offer these spots in a way that would prevent too much additional congestion, perhaps by requiring spaces to be purchased via the Internet beforehand.)
* As for the surface parking lots, work is speeding up (just in time!). Striping and lighting looks to be mostly done on one of the Blue Zone lots at Third and Tingey in The Yards (dull parking lot photo here), and work continues on the two lots along First Street north and east of the ballpark. Ditto for the lots on Capper/Carrollsburg land, all of which are in the Orange Zone. Asphalt is being laid at Lot W at Seventh and M on the old Capper Seniors site (another dull parking lot photo here). Stormwater management systems, gravel, and lighting are in at lots U and T on Third Street between I and L (more not-quite-so-dull photos here and here, both of which show the new signs now posted).
To manage these Capper lots, the DC Housing Authority has chosen UStreet Parking, a certified DC Local, Small, Disadvantaged Business (LSDBE) that handles the parking at RFK, the Convention Center, and many swank spots that geeky old neighborhood bloggers will never see the inside of, such as Love and Ultra. Look for some free parking days in April, along with monthly parking accounts and possibly some cash parking, especially now that the Performance Parking signs (and the enforcement expected to accompany them) have taken away the bountiful free parking on Capper streets that local residents and workers have gotten used to.
UPDATE: And yes, I've gotten an updated version of the Maine Avenue sign. And "Nationals Park" is now added to the Sixth Street and South Capitol Street exit signs, though not yet with the Curly W attached.
 

In our latest edition of What's the Deal With...., reader JD of JDLand.com asks: "WTDW with the old trash transfer site at 900 New Jersey Avenue, that place with the smokestack and all the Department of Public Works operations?"
At Wednesday's marathon capital budget hearing (no, I'm still not done watching it) the agency's director mentioned both the New Jersey Avenue site and the maintenance yard on O Street beneath the 11th Street Bridges as DPW locations that will eventually be moving to make way for development associated with the city's Anacostia Waterfront initiatives. I e-mailed DPW to get some clarification on his remarks, and have been told that the street sweepers that currently operate out of 900 New Jersey will be relocating in November to DPW's Bryant Street, NW, facility, but that other DPW functions are going to remain at New Jersey and K until the Office of Property Management can find them a new home.
This site is eventually supposed to be redeveloped as a mixed-income apartment building under the Capper/Carrollsburg Hope VI plan, but no timeline has been announced. And William C. Smith's plans for a 1-million-square-foot project on the block just to DPW's north, which include reopening I Street between New Jersey and Canal, would seem to need DPW to move out before they can get started.
As I wrote about over the summer, neighbors have been wanting that building closed for a long, LONG time.
 

I wandered around on Sunday for a photo session, wishing that spring would hurry up and get here so that the sun will rise higher during the day and set farther west so that I can stop dealing with the damn glare whenever I face southward.
* I have new images along N Street just north of the ballpark between Half and First, which show the work at the entrance plaza at Half Street, including glass now being installed on the ground floor of the western parking garage, as well as the structures that will make up the entrance gates.
* In fact, I updated all 12 angles of the Half and N intersection, which now that it has its new wide sidewalks, curbs, streetlights, and an initial paving job, is really a stunning testament to 24 months of change, not only on the four corners of Half and N but the blocks to the north as well. It's definitely worth a look.
* I took a lot of photos of the now-demolished Willco stretch along First Street (and gave the project its own page as well), and of course I got all the usual angles of 55 M Street.
* On Half Street between I and K, where JPI's 23 I Street residential project is expected to start this year, a pile of red-and-black advertising banners have been hung on every available surface, and a "JPI Permit Parking only" sign has appeared on the entrance to the former towing company's parking lot on that block. I'm guessing JPI's purchase of the property just closed. I haven't heard anything about potential start dates for this project, or when the Wendy's might close.
* If you browse all the photos I took yesterday, you'll also see a smattering of 70/100 I and 100 M shots as well as images of the two blocks along Third Street where temporary surface parking lots are going in (so now my pictures of those blocks have changed from post-demolition views of nothing to pre-blacktop views of nothing). And the always popular shots from the SE Freeway at South Capitol are updated, too.
And don't forget to click on the icon wherever you see it to see all photos in the archive of a certain location.
 

DCist alerts us to a new documentary, Chocolate City, which looks at gentrification in DC by following the story of the 400 families at Capper/Carrollsburg who have been moved out as part of the Hope VI redevelopment of the project. There will be a screening on Saturday night (Jan. 26) at Busboys and Poets at 2021 14th St., NW at 11 pm, and two other screenings in the next two weeks.
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