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1244 South Capitol
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1111 New Jersey
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250 M St.
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225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
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1015 Half Street ('10)
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909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
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Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
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More than five years after the first demolitions at the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex, city officials, developers, and residents gathered at Fourth and L today for a ribbon cutting at what is now known as Capitol Quarter, the mixed-income townhouse development that's been under construction since last year. (Residents actually started moving in this spring, but let's not spoil the party.)
As most readers know by now, the old 707-unit Capper complex is being replaced with what will eventually include 1,500 residential units (with a one-to-one replacement of all 700 public housing units), 700,000 square feet of office space, and 50,000 square feet of retail. Two apartment buildings with 300 units for low-income seniors and moderate income residents--Capper Seniors #1 and 400 M--opened in late 2006 and 2007; four more mixed-income buildings will eventually be built on lots by Canal Park.
My photos of the festivities are posted--and enjoy them, because there aren't many ribbon cuttings in Near Southeast's near future!
I also finally updated my photos along Fifth Street this morning, and at Fourth and I and Fourth and K yesterday and today, making for a pretty striking batch of before-and-afters, especially since these are the first photos I've taken since the framing really took off on the north side of K. Also, digging is now getting started on the final block of phase 1 (Square 797, between Third, Fourth, Virginia, and I), and framing should begin in October or November, with those final first phase homes expected to be finished next spring. When will phase 2 start sales and pre-construction? As soon as they get some money, and everyone knows how easy that is right now....
I will be adding some new mid-block photos to my Capitol Quarter Phase I page, and freshening it up a bit, later today.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

* A reminder that tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 am the DC Housing Authority is holding an official ribbon cutting and grand opening at Capitol Quarter, Fourth and L, with the mayor expected to be in attendance. If the sun is out, I may use this as the motivation to finally get some updated photos of the construction, with the framing in block three (north of K between Fourth and Fifth) now well underway.
* The Post reports on how the many new apartment buildings in the area are aggressively competing for tenants, with the new buildings in Near Southeast apparently leading the way: "The ones around Nationals Park, for instance, collectively have offered the deepest concessions since Delta started tracking rents 18 years ago. Some of those projects gave away the equivalent of four months' rent in concessions, which helps explain why effective rents in the District plunged 7.8 percent in June compared with a year ago. Without the ballpark area, rents fell 4 percent."
* From the BID's newsletter last week: "Mark your calendars for September 19th for the FRONT Door Home Tour & Canal Park Picnic from 10 am - 2 pm. The FRONT Door Tour will feature a variety of unique residents' homes and highlight the Capitol Riverfront as a new residential neighborhood in DC. The event will include a community picnic at the future site of Canal Park (located at intersection of M St., SE and 2nd St., SE) with food, music, and lawn games. The FRONT Door Tour will be free and open to the public. More information to come soon."
And, two items about off-topic projects by Near Southeast developers:
* Monument Realty announced yesterday that its long-planned renovation of Potomac Place Tower on Fourth Street in SW is now going to move forward. From their press release: "Monument Realty acquired the Potomac Place project in 2001 and in 2005 completed construction of a new, 302-unit condominium adjacent to the existing Potomac Place Tower, which was built in 1959. In 2003, Potomac Place Tower was designated a historic landmark by the District of Columbia and in 2005 the residents of Potomac Place Tower elected to convert the property to a condominium. Monument Realty's longstanding history and commitment to the project gave the new lender the confidence to retain its services for the completion of Potomac Place Tower."
* Forest City Washington has been selected by the government of Puerto Rico as the program manager for the redevelopment of a 100-acre portion of San Juan's waterfront district. Residential, hotel, office, retail, public parks, and a marina--sound familiar? (I don't think I mentioned that a few weeks ago the District selected Forest City as an advisor for the redevelopment of Poplar Point.)
 

A slew of upcoming events to pass along:
* On Wednesday (Aug. 19), there's going to be an 11th Street Bridges Open House, billed as an update for Ward 8 residents about the status of the bridge replacement project. (But I'm guessing people from other wards can come, too.) It's from 7 pm to 8:30 pm, at the Union Temple Baptist Church at 1225 W St., SE.
* Thursday (Aug. 20) is the last night of the BID's 80's Outdoor Movies series, with "Ghostbusters" on the bill (rescheduled from a rainout earlier this year). Apparently the BID is planning a four-week fall movie series starting in September; I'll pass more along on that when I get it.
* Next Wednesday (Aug. 26) the DC Housing Authority is holding an official ribbon cutting and grand opening at Capitol Quarter, from 10 am to noon at Fourth and L, with the mayor expected to be in attendance. This is just a little over two years after the ceremonial groundbreaking, held on a sweltering day in June 2007.
* If you're desperate for something to do Wednesday morning but a ribbon cutting isn't your thing, the U.S. Navy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard will host "Pirate or Privateer? War of 1812 Day," a series of demonstrations and lectures on the War of 1812. The program, which runs from 10 am to 2 pm, includes Gun Drills in the replica of the USS Constitution and Sea Chanteys. The event is free and open to the public, though note that there's no parking available inside the gates for visitors.
* The National Capital Planning Commission again has the design of the 11th Street Bridges on their tentative agenda, for their Sept. 3 meeting. It had also been on the tentative agenda for the July meeting, but didn't make the final cut; hopefully that won't happen again, because NCPC always puts together such great reports on the projects it votes on (and posts them on their web site), so it's a good place to get details that have been hard to find elsewhere.
* This is still a few weeks away, but residents might want to mark their calendars that the next ANC 6D meeting, on Sept. 14 will be held in Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. I've been attending ANC meetings off and on for six years, and this is the first one I remember that will be crossing South Capitol Street.
* The next day, Sept. 15, Urban Land Institute Washington is holding its third Urban Marketplace Conference and Expo, which brings together "the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to explore redevelopment opportunities and best practices in emerging neighborhoods and corridors across the Washington metropolitan region." One of the day's discussions, from 3 pm to 4 pm will focus on the ballpark district (and I'm one of the panelists).
All of these are of course on my Upcoming Events Calendar.
 

The DC Housing Authority, which has been unable to find a corner of the financial markets unfrozen enough to buy bonds that in normal times would help pay for infrastructure and redevelopment, is applying for $9.5 million from a nearly $1 billion Housing and Urban Development "Capital Fund Recovery Act" fund that has been created to, among other things, provide "gap financing" for public housing projects, like Capper/Carrollsburg, that are stalled thanks to the problems in the municipal bond market.
According to this "narrative and schedule" that DCHA included with its application to HUD, the money would finance both public infrastructure and private site improvements needed to begin the construction of the second phase of the Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhouse development (the blocks between Third and Fourth south of I), which will have 163 units, 47 of which are public housing rental units (along with 60 market-rate, 39 workforce-rate, and 17 public housing home ownership units). The narrative indicates that the $55 million Capper PILOT bonds approved by the city council last year that were to fund the new community center and infrastructure improvements not only in the Phase II blocks but also on the north and east sides of Canal Park and over to the DPW site never made it into the bond market; attempts to secure loans from both Fannie Mae and Wachovia also were fruitless.
There's a lot of detail in the narrative that I'm not going to try to summarize (I start to glaze over once I get to Low Income Housing Tax Credits [LIHTC] and anything having to do with "leveraging"):, but it does say that if awarded the HUD CFRC grant money, DCHA would immediately have its engineers complete permit drawings, which can then be put into the city's permitting process (estimated to last 90 days), after which infrastructure work can begin--the schedule at the end of the document estimates a start date of Dec. 1. This work would include repair or replacement underground water, sewer, and "dry utilities" lines, new streets, curbs, and gutters, additional lighting, and public landscaping.
The HUD funds would also be used to pay for the land preparation costs and foundation construction of the 47 public housing units, covering a $1 million gap that occurred in the planned Phase II funding thanks to problems in the LIHTC market.
The housing authority says that, if this HUD money is not forthcoming, "over $41 million in economic activity in the District will not be realized," and that "approximately 150 construction and other related jobs will not be created." Plus, the delay in building these 47 public housing units "will continue to frustrate the hopes of former residents to return to their neighborhoods in order to reestablish the deep social roots that existed prior to the demolition of their apartments."
The grants will be awarded later this summer.
The AP Press wrote a few weeks ago about this HUD program, which was expanded in May beyond just the "high performing" housing authorities originally eligible to apply for funds; this $1 billion fund is money beyond the $3 billion in stimulus money that will be going to the nation's 3,100-plus housing authorities via formula-based distributions.
(Boy, I hate to post this at 4 pm on a summer Friday, when people aren't exactly attuned to grant applications. But news is news...)
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More posts: Capper
 

It's been a while since I've posted a big batch of new photos (and be assured that the guilt has been killing me), so I made a couple of quick runs today to rectify this. The showiest shots are to be had at Capitol Quarter, of course, with the houses on both sides of L between Fourth and Fifth now mostly occupied, and those up Fourth and on the south side of K now painted and landscaped. If you want an even fuller set of photos than what's on my CQ page, go to the CQ Phase I Expanded Archive to see all angles of the intersections where construction is either completed or still underway. (The multicolored houses up against the bright blue sky, lit by the summer-solstice-height-sun, show why I tend to wait for sunny days to update the photo archive. Well, that and I'm lazy and am always looking for an excuse to not go take pictures.)
Meanwhile, at Canal Park, I finally got some photos of the sod on the southern block, and the first hints of grass on the other two blocks as the seeding starts to grow in.
And, over at 1015 Half Street, the glass continues to be hung on the northern exterior, so I took some photos of that side of the building. (The southern side looks the same as it did in May, so I happily skipped those photos.) The block does now look a little different from when Nation was there.... (See the expanded archive for additional shots.)
Here's the complete batch of today's photos, but to see their "before"s, as well as the other photos along the way, click the icon. Or you can just browse the Photo Archive by street, direction, and/or date.
 

* Tuesday morning at 10 am the council's Committee on Finance and Revenue is conducting hearings on a bunch of bills, including B18-0299, the "Waterfront Park at the Yards Act of 2009," which would "authorize the Mayor to enter into an agreement to provide for the operation and maintenance of a public park on the Anacostia River Waterfront; to establish a Waterfront Park Maintenance Fund into which certain designated revenues, including certain sales tax revenue, shall be deposited; and to impose a special assessment on properties specially benefited by the park." I'm kind of bleary today, and so haven't yet the proposed act terribly closely, but I can report that one of the potential revenue streams mentioned in the bill is the "naming rights" for the park. (Alas, I don't think I have enough change under the sofa cushions to bid on this.) The hearing is at 10 am in room 412 (and should be on DC Cable 13 and live webcast, though tomorrow's schedule isn't posted yet).
* The latest on Cornercopia--reader DT (who is *gunning* for my free sandwich offer) reports speaking today with the man who will be running with the deli, who said that they are awaiting permits, and hope to open in July. Maybe even July 1.
* Reader MB reports having smelled natural gas a number of times recently in the intersection of Third and Virginia, right before you head north under the SE Freeway underpass. I just drove through there a little while ago and smelled it quite strongly inside my car, even with the windows rolled up. She says she's called Washington Gas a number of times, and it seems to get fixed temporarily, but then returns. She left a message with the mayor's office today. So, if you hear a big BOOM, you'll know what happened, and the Powers That Be can't say they weren't warned.
* Reader CA reported last week having seen a big gathering of people outside the Post plant at 225 Virginia--I saw them myself at around 1 pm today, and it appeared to maybe be a group of young folk involved in the DC summer jobs program, but I don't know for sure. I can say they didn't look like a swarm of developers desperate to sublease the property.
* Lastly, a nearby resident has heard from DDOT and Tommy Wells's office that, within the next couple weeks, the two lanes of parking on Third Street underneath the freeway will be marked as No Parking during rush hours. This should allow for a de-facto creation of left turn and thru lanes for the northbound lanes at the light on the north side of the freeway, perhaps allowing thru traffic to get through the light more quickly and to shorten the backup southward down Third.
 

On Saturday EYA will be opening its new Capitol Quarter Sales Center and two model homes, in the row of houses now being finished along Fourth Street just north of L. They were nice enough to give me a sneak peek this afternoon, and I've posted some very quick photos of the interiors. The models are the Addison II and Banneker II designs, with the sales center in the ground floor of the Banneker. (You'll have to march up to the Banneker's third floor to see all the finishes and options.)
My photos of Capitol Quarter itself are a little outdated (damn rain)--the houses on both sides of L between Fourth and Fifth are now done and owners are moving in, while the houses along Fourth will start having their closings next month. The houses along Fifth are framed but not yet bricked, and foundations are being built in the next block, north of K Street. There's currently 21 houses for sale.
The grand opening is from noon to 4 pm on Saturday, at 1020 Fourth Street, SE, for those of you who need an address for your GPS.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

From the Washington Business Journal: "The D.C. Council may consider withdrawing millions of dollars in subsidies from stalled city real estate projects to publicly finance a convention center hotel. D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi met with members of the D.C. Council on Monday and discussed the list of projects with $704 million in subsidies that have already been passed and could be diverted to the hotel. The list includes the Southwest waterfront, the Arthur Capper / Carrollsburg residential development on the Capitol Riverfront, the mixed-use O Street Market in Shaw and seven other economic development incentives."
The list names both the PILOT fundings for Capper ($55 million) and the Yards ($30 million), though I'm not sure exactly how that would work, given that some of that money is already going to the construction currently underway at Capitol Quarter, the Park at the Yards, and Diamond Teague Park. (Though the $30 million cited for the Yards/DOT PILOT is a lot less than the total $112 million sum received from that PILOT; the Capper $55 million, though, is the full amount of that PILOT.) There's a hearing now scheduled for June 24.
If you want more background on what exactly the PILOT funds are and how they work, here's some old entries of mine to browse.
UPDATE: In the "What Does This Mean for Capper?" department: The funding is in place to finish Phase I of the Capitol Quarter townhomes now under construction (unless the council is *really* grabby), but the Housing Authority has been having a hard time looking for funding for CQ's second phase as well as the four mixed-income apartment buildings slated to be built around Canal Park. So I'm *guessing* that the money the council is wanting to grab would further delay that work? But I'm not sure, because I don't know exactly how much of the PILOT's $55 million is already spent or being spent just on CQ's first phase.
The two parks, as well as some other projects along the Anacostia Waterfront, are tied to what my archives say was a $112 million PILOT from the construction of the US Department of Transportaton HQ. I just confirmed earlier today that Diamond Teague is still on schedule for a mid-July opening, and given all the flourishes (such as the groundbreaking) of the public/private partnership for the Park at the Yards I would think they wouldn't grab that money away. (I was wrong in an early version of this post to say that Canal Park was part of the DOT PILOT; it was originally, but not in the final version, apparently.) The DOT PILOT is also supposed to fund Marvin Gaye Park and Kingman Island; and DMPED said at the time that "Funds could also be used to finance parks and infrastructure at Poplar Point, the Southwest Waterfront, the Southwest Waterfront Fish Market, along South Capitol Street and a pedestrian bridge connecting the Parkside neighborhood to the Minnesota Avenue Metrorail Station."
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More posts: Canal Park, Capper, Teague Park, The Yards, Yards Park
 

Last night the Zoning Commission voted 3-0-2 to give final approval to the Capper zoning requests that have been wandering through the system for nearly a year. The record was reopened to add correspondence between the developer (Capper-Carrollsburg Ventures LLC, which includes the DC Housing Authority), the Marines, and the Navy Yard in reference to security concerns both service branches have about 90-foot buildings being constructed on the site of the old Capper Seniors building at Seventh and M. (Read more about the concerns here.)
The National Capital Planning Commission documents I linked to last week included letters sent by the Marines and the Navy in early April setting out their objections; the NCPC has now posted new letters from the Navy and also Holland and Knight (representing the developers), laying out the wording of the agreement between the parties to install (at the services' expense) surveillance cameras on the top of both the new office building that faces the Navy Yard and the new apartment building that faces the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, and that the developer will provide to the Navy Yard a list of tenants on the fourth through eighth floors of the office building, though "this provision shall not be deemed to grant the Navy any right to approve or disapprove of any tenants in the office building." There's also a requirement to notify the Navy and Marines about any events to be held on the roof decks of the buildings, but "for informational purposes only," without requiring any type of approval. With the Navy agreeing to the wording of this agreement, its objection to the zoning case was withdrawn.
I'll note that there's also reference in these letters to a June 3 letter from the Marines that is not included in the document packet, which seems to indicate that the Marines did not agree to the wording despite the developer's having believed that there had been an agreement. Quoting (see page 9): "In fact, nothing in the Marines' June 3rd letter indicates why the Applicant's proposed conditions are unacceptable, or what remaining concerns the Marines have." There's then this sentence, which seems to be hinting at plans by the Marines for some new development: "The Marines, beyond the scope of the proposed modifications which are the subject of this pending application, have requested a delay to accommodate their entirely new planning initiative." And what would this new planning initiative be? I'm hearing murmurs that the Marines may be looking for more land for more barracks, though I'm not able to confirm that.
In any event, the developer laid out a list of reasons that this zoning approval should not be delayed, and both the NCPC (last week) and the Zoning Commission (last night) gave their approvals for the zoning changes in spite of whatever objections the Marines were putting forth.
There wasn't much discussion of all of this at the Zoning Commission's meeting, but I need an excuse to link to the Video on Demand section of the DCOZ web site, which apparently has been around for months but which I only noticed last night. So, if you want to watch this or any ZC/BZA public meeting going back to November of 2008, they're now there for the taking. (And it's also nice to see how quickly last night's video was posted.)
Now, with these Capper zoning changes approved, the next milestone to watch for will be when the Housing Authority can find financing for another PILOT bond offering to rebuild the infrastructure on the west side of the Capper footprint (including around Canal Park), as well as the mitigation and demolition of the trash transfer station at New Jersey and K. That PILOT financing will also fund the Community Center that has been the subject of much contentious back-and-forth. Are the credit markets unfrozen enough to get this PILOT off the ground? We shall see....
 

Contained in the materials for Thursday's meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission is a document that sheds some light on something I've always wondered about--exactly how does the Navy Yard feel about the planned 90-foot-tall office building right across the street at 600 M, on the site of the old Capper Seniors building? And, concurrently, how do the Marines feel about the planned apartments directly between this new 600 M building and the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters on L Street?
The NCPC board is reviewing the Zoning Commission's approval of the slew of Capper zoning changes that I wrote so much about earlier this year, some of which focus on these two new buildings on the old Capper Seniors site. The Executive Director's recommendation document (which provides some good background if you haven't been following along), refers to letters included in the document to the Zoning Commission from both the Navy and Marines stating that the new buildings on what's known as Square 882 "may pose a safety and security threat to the military personnel at both the Navy Yard and the Marine Barracks and that the there will be a visual impact on the Navy Yard Historic District."
Apparently the Navy, Marines, the DC Housing Authority, and Forest City (developers of 600 M) have tentatively agreed to a few steps to mitigate these concerns: the placement of surveillance cameras on the roofs of the proposed buildings, procedures for notifying the Navy and Marines when the roofs are to be accessed, review by the Marines and Navy Yard of tenants wishing to occupy the third through eighth floors of the 600 M office building, and a "window design to enhance security for Navy and Marines." (On this last point, the document says that "the Navy and Marines would request that the windows facing their sites not be operational," but I wonder how tenants in the proposed apartment building along L Street would feel if none of their windows could ever be opened.) The document says that memorandums of understanding between the housing authority and the Navy and the Marines should be able to be completed within the next few weeks.
Additionally, in its letter to the Zoning Commission, the Navy Yard mentions its belief that "buildings exceeding the currently permitted fifty (50) foot height restrictions located across M Street from the Navy Yard Historic District will negatively impact the view shed from the Navy Yard" and "could potentially compromise the integrity of the Washington Navy Yard Historic District, including the Latrobe Gate." It might be worth noting here that the old Capper Seniors building, built in the 1950s and demolished in 2007, was nine stories high, and so an uninterrupted "view shed" is not something that the Navy Yard has always enjoyed since its arrival in the neighborhood back in 1799.
The NCPC's reason for reviewing Zoning Commission cases in DC is to determine whether the proposed actions would have an "adverse effect" on federal interests, and, in this case, the NCPC staff is advising their commission to vote to advise the Zoning Commission that these Capper cases do indeed meet that "adverse effect" standard. Also, the NCPC staff is recommending that the Zoning Commission delay their final action on this case (scheduled for Monday, June 8) to allow the agreement described above to be finalized.
 

With thanks to Mom for decreeing that my Mother's Day responsibilities had been taken care of last week, I was able to take not one but two treks through Near Southeast on this beautiful Sunday, and have uploaded a pile of new photos. Some--like the ones I took at 909 New Jersey and 55 M--are the last ones I expect to take of certain angles for a long time to come, but I did get some good "change" shots:
There's now a sign up at "The Bullpen" at Half and N (opening Friday?), and I also snuck a shot of the tent and piled-up picnic tables, which you can see on my Akridge Half Street page (scroll down a bit if the link doesn't jump you down). You'll also see updated shots of the garage-less Half and M corner.
It's not very easy to take a picture that well-represents the lack of cyclone fences, but I gave it a shot with a few different angles of the south end of Canal Park. I have to admit that was I was surprised by how much wider the block now seems; when it becomes a real park, with tall buildings on all sides, that extra width will be welcome.
Next up is 1015 Half Street, the 400,000-sq-ft office building now topping out on the old Nation nightclub site. With Half, K, and L being so narrow, it's not a bad idea to step back a block or two to see 1015's impact on the skyline, so check out the Expanded Photo Archive. The next phase of construction should be the hanging of the exterior glass.
It's pretty hard to stay away from the goings-on at Capitol Quarter, as brickwork is all but complete along Fourth between I and K. The Expanded Archive shows all the CQ shots I took today, along with the ones from two weeks ago showing the first completed stretch of homes, on the south side of L between Fourth and Fifth.
You might also see a few new shots of Onyx, 100 M, and Velocity if you visit those pages, and some other images in the random shots at the top (and bottom) of the JDLand home page, since I took a pretty complete set of photos from New Jersey to Half and from M to I. And, without much new construction going on, I don't anticipate taking many photos other than at Capitol Quarter and 1015 Half (and I guess Teague and Canal parks) over the next few months. (I'll also be ready if/when Akridge demolishes the buildings along First between K and L.) So, enjoy these, and take the time to really compare them to their "befores."
 

Between it being Friday and the sun finally being out, I bet everyone's feeling a bit better today. Maybe even Biking to Work! So, a few tidbits:
* The latest Capitol Riverfront BID newsletter is out, with a few items of note. First off, there's a new "branding" campaign going on--"Be Out Front." Look for signs promoting "Front Yard," "Front Office," "Front Door," "Store Front," etc. And they'll soon be launching an equally rebranded web site.
Also, the current estimated population within the BID is 1,584 residents; the newsletter says that there are now more than 2,000 residential units, more than half of which are leased/sold and occupied.
The newsletter also gives the Bullpen's official opening date as May 15, and also mentions that the weekly Tuesday farmer's market at USDOT is now underway, and that the weekly Wednesday lunchtime concerts start on May 20.
* The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is out (hopefully it'll show up online before the meeting itself), and the only Near Southeast item is a presentation by Michael Stevens of the BID--kind of a BID 101 tutorial for the ANC commissioners. Otherwise, it's voting on marathons, bus stops, after-school programs, and also an announcement of a "Southwest Night" at Ft. McNair on July 1. The meeting is at 6th and M streets, SW, at 7 pm. (Maybe next month it'll finally move to the new digs at the new 1D police station at the former Bowen Elementary.)
* The Examiner reports that the 2010 federal budget includes $15 million for "Southeast Federal Center remediation." There's certainly been piles of environmental cleanup there over the years (not surprising when it used to be blocks and blocks of munitions factories).
* EYA has spiffed up its web site a bit--their Capitol Quarter page is worth a visit if you haven't checked it out before.
 

On Monday night, a surprisingly contentious Zoning Commission meeting resulted in the three voting members approving a delay in the deadline for the Housing Authority to file for building permits for the proposed Capper Community Center; however, after some heated exchanges between commissioners, it was decided to vote not for the DCHA's requested deadline of Jan. 1, 2011, but instead a shorter deadline of July 1, 2010.
Commissioner May argued that DCHA had not made a compelling case for why the center isn't going forward, and that the discussion at the March hearing (transcript here, my description here, and a letter from ANC 6D about it all here) on the extension "resonated" with him, and he recalled that the community center was one of the prime benefits for residents when the original Capper PUD was approved. Jeffries, as frustrated and blunt as I've seen him (probably because his term is about to end), said repeatedly that "the world is a different place now," that the developers needed to be given some flexibility to get things done, and that it was not the place of the commission to "be punitive" given the current economic conidtions. Chairman Hood attempted to find middle ground between the two (which begat Jeffries curtly telling Hood "this is a time when you're going to have to take a side"), although in the end all three voted for the July 2010 deadline.
Representatives of the Housing Authority said they'd be trying their best to meet that deadline, but with the difficulties of finding funding for the project, they might very well be returning to request an extension of that July 2010 deadline.
The other requests, including an overall extension of the PUD deadline to Dec. 31, 2013 and a bunch of other items I can't bring myself to write about again, were approved with far less sturm und drang.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center, meetings, zoning
 

I took advantage of this sunny July day (what? April?) to refresh my Capitol Quarter photos, showing the now-partially-occupied first row of townhouses (on L between Fourth and Fifth) as well as the progress in the block to their north. I can also report that foundation digging has now begun on the third CQ block, on the north side of K between Fourth and Fifth.
If you want to see more photos than just the ones on my main CQ page (and given all the change, it's worth it), here's my Capitol Quarter Expanded Archive; and don't forget to click the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see the photos between the Befores and the Afters, like the progression above, showing the southern side of L Street at Fifth, from 2004 to today.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

The latest Capitol Riverfront Connections newsletter from the BID was sent out late last week, with updates on the LEED for Homes plaque presentation last week at Capitol Quarter, an interview with BID executive director Michael Stevens on Newschannel8, and news of a ceremony coming tomorrow (Monday) at 2 pm on the Tingey Plaza at USDOT, where Mayor Fenty will kick off the launch of 28 new artistic bike racks around the city.
Also on Monday, at 6:30 pm, is a Zoning Commission hearing where a first vote could possibly come on the batch of zoning changes being requested for Capper/Carrollsburg to which I've dedicated so many bytes lately.
And, on Tuesday morning at 8:30 am is a dedication ceremony and breakfast fundraiser (also with the mayor) for Diamond Teague Park, being held across the street at the foot of the stadium's grand staircase. Tickets are $50 per person.
 

I am briefly surfacing from the whirlwind that is my "real" life these days to pass along an update from Saturday's workforce housing lottery at Capitol Quarter: the folks at EYA tell me that 58 prospective buyers entered the lottery for the 15 houses that were for sale. (Three additional houses that were being released for sale under the workforce program were snapped up by former Capper/Carrollsburg residents, who had first option prior to the public release).
Also, it can now be said that Capitol Quarter is an actual residential community: the first purchase settlements took place last week, and homeowners have moved in, six years after the old public housing units in that section of the Cappers first began being closed. Settlements are expected to continue on a regular (even weekly) basis until CQ's first phase is completed, in the middle of next year.
If you're looking for an excuse to go see the considerable construction progress (especially since a certain blogger has completely failed lately at providing updated photos), a reminder that on Wednesday at 11 am EYA will be celebrating Earth Day with a ceremony marking the first CQ house to achieve LEED for Homes certification, with a plaque presentation by the US Green Building Council. The proceedings start at 11 am, with a "light luncheon" at 11:30, at the sales office at Fourth and L, SE.
(And, along those Earth Day lines, a last-minute reminder about Tuesday's Anacostia Waterfront Forum, focusing on "Green Waterfront, Green Jobs, Green Living in a Green DC." It's at the MLK Library at Ninth and G, NW, with an open house beginning at 6:30 pm and the forum running from 7 to 8:30 pm. The April "Waterfront Watch" newsletter has more information on the forum, as part of its focus on "Green DC.")
Finally, as a heads up, unless there's big news (or incredibly quick and easy items to post), I'm probably going to be a bit scarce for the next couple of weeks. (Though every time I say that, I seem to end up posting just as much if not more than usual.) I will probably Twitter some, though, since even from within the maelstrom I can probably manage to string 140 characters together every so often--and, if you're on Facebook but not Twitter, you can now see my Tweets directly in your Facebook news feed by becoming a fan of JDLand.com. Who knows--maybe that Profile Page could even become a "social network" of sorts!
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At Monday night's meeting, ANC 6D voted 6-0-1 to approve a letter drafted by commissioners McBee and Siegel responding to submissions by the Housing Authority in the wake of the marathon March 20 zoning commission hearing on the various modifications and extensions being requested for the Capper PUD. As I wrote on the 20th, there was much discussion about DCHA's request to delay construction of the planned community center until at least 2011, and there was also testimony by two former Capper residents that DCHA isn't adhering to what the 2004 zoning order requires in terms of job training and other social services for the former Capper residents.
The letter ANC 6D is now forwarding to the Zoning Commission can be read here, and it addresses in detail the Community Support Services Program (CSSP) and the community center. The DCHA numbers quoted in the ANC letter show an initial CSSP case load since 2005 of 828 cases, with only 394 cases now active due to residents declining to participate, being declared ineligible, or having gone "missing." The letter also says that no further funding for the CSSP program is forthcoming from HUD, and says that the numbers provided by DCHA "do not paint a good picture for a Hope VI Project whose main objective is sustainability and empowerment for the effected community."
As for the community center planned for Fifth and K, the ANC says that its delay "has already done sufficient damage" and that its absence "will fail to address the social and educational needs of the residents." The ANC also notes a lack of any mention of the center in various testimonies by DCHA on their budget and on stimulus dollars coming to the city, saying "we now have no confidence [...] that the Center will ever be built."
The Zoning Commission's next hearing on these Capper doings is expected to be on April 27.
 

[Note: I'm back in town after almost a week away (reminder to self: next year don't skip town the week before the home opener), so apologies if my coverage of the various events and media pieces has seemed even less scintillating than usual. And now I'm going to end the week with one more less-than-perfect entry, which I should have written before I left but didn't do it until now....]
If you haven't been back to Nationals Park or the surrounding Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards neighborhood since last year's Opening Day, here's what you'll see that wasn't completed on your last visit:
* 55 M Street - Right on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, at the head of Half Street, is Monument Realty's 275,000-sq-ft office building, which has been finished in the last few months and which will be home to Artomatic this summer. No office or retail tenants have been announced, although WBJ reported a few weeks back that Gordon Biersch may be eyeing some of 55 M's ground-floor space. The rest of Monument's Half Street site remains a large hole in the ground, with financing for the planned 350 residential units and adjoining hotel directly across from the ballpark nowhere to be found.
* 70 and 100 I Street - Sibling apartment buildings officially known as the Axiom and Jefferson at Capitol Yards first began move-ins in late summer 2008, and their combined 700 units are reported to be about 50 percent leased. (They're the big brick buildings sitting just south of the Freeway.)

* Onyx on First - Another apartment building (though it had been originally planned as condos), Onyx opened at the corner of First and L streets in late fall of 2008. It has approximately 266 units.

* 100 M Street - On the site of the old On Luck cafeteria at First and M, this 240,000-sq-ft office building opened right at the tail end of 2008, and is close to 40 percent leased, with Parsons occupying about one-third of the space. A SunTrust Bank branch is under construction on the ground floor--there's additional retail space where a restaurant could be a possibility, though no deals have been announced.

* 909 New Jersey - Finished mere moments ago (it opened last week), this 237-unit apartment building at New Jersey and I by JPI (developers of 70 and 100 I) is catching eyes with its blue-edged nighttime profile, and is generating piles of "have they signed anyone for their retail space?" messages in my inbox (answer: not that I've heard so far). Baseball fans walking down from Capitol South will also appreciate the wide new sidewalk now just one block south of the freeway.

As for what's currently underway, there's the first phase of townhouses at Capitol Quarter (where the first residents will move in this month and where work will continue into next year), the 200-unit Velocity condo building at First and L, and the 440,000-sq-ft office building at 1015 Half Street (which will be completed in 2010 but will already be cursed for obscuring the view of the Capitol dome from some seats in the ballpark that had it last year). There's also construction continuing at Diamond Teague Park, right across from the ballpark's grand staircase, but the somewhat optimistic timeline of having the water taxi piers completed by Opening Day has now been revised to "midseason."
Work had begun on rehabbing the brown-and-white Pattern/Joiner Shop at the Yards last year (which folks walking to the ballpark from the Nats Express drop-off will see), but financing problems brought the work to a halt early in 2009, and Forest City continues to look for money to restart the project.
The most prominent structure that's disappeared in the past 12 months is the former WMATA bus garage on Half Street just across from the subway entrance, demolished two weeks ago to make way for Akridge's planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development, though that project won't get underway before 2010. (The south end of Akridge's Half Street land is where the [not-a-]beer garden may appear later this summer.)
But, as has been written about extensively elsewhere, as of now there's no new places to eat since last year (though a deli is coming to Third and K in May), and most likely no additional projects will get underway before next year.
So, study this little guide and amaze your friends with your knowledge of what's what as you look at the ballpark's surroundings.
 

Without quite so much new stuff to look at these days, I'm going to do some digging into the Photo Archive, to look at the changes that have come to the neighborhood with a slightly different approach than I usually use, highlighting photos that have tended to disappear from easy view because of the way the archive works. Today it's a survey of what the selected spots looked like in April 2004 and 2005, when construction was underway at Capitol Hill Tower and the US DOT HQ. The Star Market at Second and L (now just called the "little red building") was standing all alone in April 2004 as digging was just beginning on the CHT site, and the profile of M Street was so very different without USDOT looming. There's also some photos from throughout Capper, which was beginning to be emptied out but hadn't become completely boarded up yet.
Remember to click on the beneath any photo to see all the images I've posted of that angle, both before and after these 2004 and 2005 images.
 

The Capitol Quarter folks (EYA and the DC Housing Authority) have just released information on the next offering of "workforce" houses for sale, the program where buyers who make between $80,000 and $115,000 annually and meet a host of other requirements and restrictions can buy a townhouse at Capitol Quarter for under $600,000. If you go to the workforce web site at EYACapitolQuarter.com, you'll find all of the information needed to register and be "certified" as eligible in advance of the April 18 lottery. There will be a maximum of 18 houses for sale in this lottery, though possibly fewer if previous Capper residents exercise their options to buy one.
The first workforce lottery was way back in November 2006, when 176 people entered the lottery for 20 houses.
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