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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Capper Senior Apt Bldgs
See JDLand's Capper Senior Apt Bldgs Project Page
for Photos, History, and Details
In the Pipeline
Homewood Suites Hotel
1111 New Jersey
Yards/Parcel A
1244 South Capitol
Florida Rock
Ballpark Square
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Southeast Blvd.
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
New Barracks
Akridge/Half St.
Monument/Half St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
Posts on Food/Fun
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71 Blog Posts Since 2003
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Apologies for the torrent of words that follows:
* ANC Meetings: The agenda is now out for Monday's meeting ANC 6D meeting. In addition to the Capper apartments time extension request I just wrote about, there will be a discussion of the proposed Single Member District boundaries for 6D. (Ditto on both counts for the ANC 6B meeting the next night.) There is also an agenda item on the proposed renaming of both the Navy Yard and Waterfront-SEU Metro stations, with a DDOT representative. The 6D meeting is at 7 pm in the DCRA offices at 1100 4th St., SW, 2nd Floor.
* Changes to P1/P2/P6 Buses: WMATA has come up with a list of proposed changes to bus routes, and one of them would eliminate the P1 and P2 buses that run along M Street SE during rush hour and would re-route the P6 bus down M Street SE to 4th Street SW, away from its current route that runs along Virginia Avenue and through the southern part of Capitol Hill before heading to Federal Center SW and then across the Mall and into downtown. This could impact the residents of the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE, which has an eastbound stop right on its corner. (I'd also note that the planned closure of Virginia Avenue south of the freeway for two-plus years would necessitate a rerouting anyway.) And, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that this rerouting would have an impact on the JDLand household, since we often use this bus (which stops right at our corner) to get to and from downtown. This is not final yet, with public meetings on this and the other proposed changes still to come.
* NCPC Doings: Last week the National Capital Planning Commission approved by consent Forest City's plans to temporarily put their offices in the second floor of the Lumber Shed building at the Yards Park. NCPC also approved an installation of solar panels at the Navy Yard, while humminah-hummining that though the commission had said back in 2010 that "no future submittals at the Washington Navy Yard will be considered until an updated master plan is submitted," they decided that "this proposal is a minor one that does not increase the population at the installation, does not include any interior space, will have 'no adverse effect' on historic resources and is comprised of elements that reduce the installation's energy consumption." Plus, the report says the commission staff has been meeting with the Navy and expects a draft document for updating the Navy Yard master plan to be submitted to NCPC by the end of this year.
* Beer! And a Cookout: In tastier news, the folks at Harry's Reserve tell me they are now approved to sell single beers, and already are building their inventory of 32-40 oz craft beers, imports, and the like. Meanwhile, the Great Heartland Cookout is happening on Saturday at the Yards Park, benefitting the Fisher House Foundation, which donates "comfort homes" built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers for families of hospitalized service members. Cookout tickets start at $40.
* Crime At Capper, Before and After: The Urban Institute has published "Movin' Out: Crime Displacement and HUD's HOPE VI Initiative" that uses the crime statistics around Capper and other DC rehabilitated public housing communities to show that crime not only remains low in the immediate area after a HOPE VI renovation, but is lower in nearby areas as well. The report is a bit hard to read (I have to admit I gave up pretty quickly), but MetroTrends gives a good summary. You can also look at the crime statistics I've archived since 2005 to see how crimes in the neighborhood have changed over the years, while keeping in mind that the initial move-outs began at Capper in 2003. (The huge spike in Theft from Autos in 2006 was mostly a result of the neighborhood being empty except for the cars of construction workers, which were then pretty easy pickings during the daytime when they were busy at Nationals Park or the other projects at the time.)
* Waah Waah Waah: And, speaking of the crime statistics.... I have been downloading those reports from the city's Data Warehouse on a near-daily basis since they were first made available as XML feeds. I've also been able to get Public Space Permit Applications and Approved Building Permit Applications via XML for a number of years, and the many data feeds that were created are something that the city received numerous accolades for during the Fenty administration. However, the Public Space Permits feed now has not been updated since mid-July, and the Building Permits feed hasn't been updated since August 23.
Multiple e-mails to the data warehouse e-mail address have gone unacknowledged (after years of pretty prompt response, even if it was just to say "we know, we're working on it"). The Twitter accounts for both the Data Warehouse project and for OCTO Labs are equally moribund. I've let DCRA and DDOT know about the problems with the feeds, since they are the originators of the data, but if these data feeds are going to go to seed it's going to be a real loss for having easy access to this sort of data (even if I'm probably one of the few people who's ever bothered to take advantage). And, if the data isn't dying and is just getting worked on, a little bit of communication would go a long way (like, say, replying to any of my e-mails). Hopefully the crime feeds won't suddenly stop working, since that one certainly gets the most interest of any of them. (My complaints about the loss of depth in the city's web site offerings after the big redesign are for another day.) Just wait until OCTO moves into 225 Virginia next year and I can start picketing out front.
 

The snowblown February ANC 6D meeting finally went off tonight, and here's the Near Southeast-related bullet points:
* The Bullpen will be back in action this season, in its same spot on the northwest corner of Half and N across from the ballpark. There were two requested changes to the voluntary agreement between the ANC and the owner: that the bar be allowed to operate until 1:30 am (with alcohol sales ending at 1:00), and that liquor in non-frozen form be allowed alongside the already approved beer, wine, and frozen drinks, both of which are already allowed under the liquor license. The discussion was more contentious about process than it was about content (with commissioner David Sobelsohn arguing strongly that the motion should be tabled until the next meeting, which none of the other commissioners were interested in), but in the end the commission voted 6-1 to approve the extended hours, and that mixed drinks could be served during private events. There were some concerns from commissioner Rhonda Hamilton about the noise at the bar on weeknights, but owner Bo Blair said that live music will always be cut off by midnight.
* There is a move afoot by commission Bob Siegel to carve out some of the curb space in front of Capper Seniors #1 at 900 Fifth Street (which it must be noted is also across the street from his house). The street, which is one way in the block in question (between K and Virginia) gets clogged on a regular basis thanks to shuttle buses, vans, trucks, and other vehicles double-parking while at the building, and the residents want a portion of the curb cut out to allow vehicles to pull out of the traffic lane (like the one in front of the Courtyard by Marriott entrance). DDOT initially rejected the request because it was called a "curb cut," which means something different in traffic parlance, but DDOT's Ward 6 planner Jamie Henson was in attendance and pledged to help the ANC work with the engineering side of DDOT to see what could be done without taking away the sidewalk or the ADA ramps to the building.
* There was supposed to be an update from the Nationals, but no reps from the team were there; ANC chair Ron McBee did report that April 23 will be "Neighborhood Night" at the ballpark, with the first pitch and national anthem being performed by nearby residents and other goodies as well. (I imagine discount tickets will be part of the deal, but nothing was said. The game is against the Dodgers.) McBee also said that the ANC has requested a meeting with DDOT about the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan for this season, to check on how it's all going, but no specific concerns were mentioned. (With the Nats Express no longer shuttling fans to and from parking at RFK, there probably will be a noticeable uptick in traffic this year, even if attendance remains steady.)
* The next 6D meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, and it'll be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, so if you've been dying to go to a meeting but haven't felt like venturing across South Capitol, you'll get your chance. It's also worth mentioning that ANC 6B's meeting the next night includes an update by CSX on the Virginia Avenue project on its agenda.
 

Happy Friday, everyone! It's going to be a golden day! So get yourselves up, you sleepyheads, put a big smile on your face, and go take on the world!
{Yeech. That's enough of that.}
Here's some worthwhile links from the past few days, which have been piling up while I've attended to real life:
* Greater Greater Washington dug through the mayor's FY 2010 budget proposal and says that it would repeal the portion of the Performance Parking Act that sets aside a portion of the parking meter proceeds for the neighborhoods. As I wrote back in January after the quarterly Performance Parking public meeting, "legislation that created the pilot spells out that, initially, 60 percent of the program revenue will be put toward the repayment of the cost of the meters, with 20 percent of the revenue to be used "solely for the purpose of non-automobile transportation improvements in the zone." (The other 20 percent goes to the DDOT's operating fund.) "
* Also on the parking front, Michael Perkins of both Infosnack and GGW takes a long, detailed look at on-street parking around the Navy Yard: "Over the last two months, I've collected occupancy data for three blocks immediately adjacent to the Navy Yard. Between the prices and time limitations, more spaces are going empty than needed." He'll be writing again on the subject--including getting DDOT's reaction--today.
* DCMetrocentric throws open the floor to a discussion of the quality of architecture in Near Southeast. Opinions vary.
* Richard Layman thinks the Circulator replacing the N22 is a waste of money.
* The Post's District Extra on Thursday took a look at the Anacostia Waterfront forums that have been held the past two months, and will continue through June. (April's will be a "Green Living in a Green DC," on April 21.) Here are the presentation slides from the meeting described in the Post piece.
* This 1993 photo from Darrow Montgomery's archive looks to be on the field south of the old Capper apartment building at 900 Fifth Street (where Capper Seniors #1 now stands). The freeway embankment at rear is the giveaway.
 

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!
 

Having driven by this evening, I can report that the last wing of the old Capper Seniors building has come down in the past few days. Nothing left but a big pile of rubble. I'll go back and get photos when it's not, um, DARK.
More posts: 600 M/Square 882/Old Capper Seniors, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs
 

While the plan that Tommy Wells announced last week to address on-street parking around the ballpark and on Capitol Hill is just beginning its trek through the legislative process, the first of the new parking lots that the city and the Nationals will want stadium-goers to use will get underway soon. Building permits have been approved in the last few weeks for temporary surface lots in the Capper footprint at Second and K, Second and L, and Sixth and M, and work on the first two should be starting this month. (The third lot will get started in January, after the wreckage from the almost-completed demolition of the old Capper Seniors building is cleared away.)
At the same time, a Request for Proposals has been issued by DC Housing Enterprises for the management of these lots, offering a one-year contract with up to four one-year renewal options. The RFP, while chock full of selection criteria, required certifications and other specifications, also gives a few details about the planned operations of the lots themselves, which together will have about 670 spaces (or more, if valet parking is used). They will be offering monthly prepaid public parking on weekdays from 6 am to 7 pm, at a rate of not less than $150 per month; some daily parking may be allowed as well.
But users of the lots will have to vacate prior to any Nationals game, since the lots are "expected to be subject to an exclusive arrangement" with the team that gives all spaces over to ballgame parking from two hours before the game until three hours after. And a nice arrangement it is--the DC Housing Authority will apparently receive $10 per parking space per game, whether all spaces are used or not.
The zoning rule passed earlier this year that allowed the creation of temporary ballpark-area lots such as these says that they may also be used for a "seasonal or occasional market for produce, arts or crafts with non-permanent structures," though no plans for anything like that have been announced. The rule also states that the lots can only last until April 2013, since it is believed development around the ballpark will bring plenty of underground parking that will negate the need for these surface lots. The three Capper lots will eventually be replaced with a mix of apartment buildings, townhouses, and office buildings, though start dates for those projects have not been announced.
One block south of Capper, at the Yards, another batch of temporary surface lots are planned, which would have about 700 spaces. Beyond these and the garages with 1,225 spaces on the ballpark site itself, no other stadium parking locations have been publicly identified, though the Nationals have said they have found enough parking spaces for all season ticket holders--they just haven't said where they all are yet. And the city and the team continue to say that Metro will be the best way to get to the ballpark.
You can check out my stadium parking map to see where these new lots are--it also shows the other locations where zoning allows temporary lots, plus existing lots and underground garages where parking could be made available.
 

Before the snow-that-never-was arrived yesterday, I took a quick spin to get some updated photos. There was still a smidgen of sun when I visited the old Capper Seniors site, where only the southwest wing of the huge building remained standing when I was there (but even that could be gone by now). I also wandered along Tingey Street behind the DOT HQ for the first time in a long time to see what's going on with the work at The Yards--they're now preparing to build some temporary parking lots and are doing their infrastructure work before starting the rehabs next year of three existing buildings into residential and retail offerings. I also took some shots along M Street and at Onyx on First and 100 M to take advantage of the overcast skies in those spots, since the building shadows on winter days when the sun's out are almost impossible to work with. Finally, I got updated photos of 55 M Street, the northern portion of Monument's Half Street project, where the section along M Street is now three stories high and a fourth story is underway on the southern edge of the building.
Here's the entire batch of new photos on one page--don't forget to click the if you want to see all photos in the archive from a certain angle. And in case you missed these a few days back, I recently took new overhead photos of the North of M area (looking south and west and northwest), showing quite a change in the last 21 months.
 

Two bills of Near Southeast interest passed their first readings at today's city council meeting, on the consent agenda, no less. (Consent agenda = no discussion or bickering! Yay!) First was Bill 17-0448, which authorizes the closing of the public alley on Square 696 (bounded by Half, First, I, and K), and which had been interesting mainly for the affordable housing trust fund contribution discrepancy that came up during the bill's hearing a few weeks ago, when the developers noted that they expected their contribution to be in the neighborhood of $900,000 and the Office of Planning determined the required sum be closer to $8 million. Apparently the final bill calls for a $1.1 million contribution, which council chairman Vincent Gray said is the largest trust fund contribution ever as the result of an alley closing. The developers also have agreed to create a 20-foot-wide pedestrian right-of-way through the middle of the block to allow for easy access from I Street to the planned public plaza on K Street, though apparently DDOT requested that this right-of-way be upgradable for "motorized access" in the future if necessary. This alley closing will allow DRI Development to move forward with their plans for 800,000 square feet of office space in three buildings with 37,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. There've been noises that the first construction on the site could begin in the summer of 2008, but nothing official has been announced. (The last tenants on the block, in the cab garage at First and K, are expected to move out in February when their lease expires.)
Also passed today was Bill 17-0292, the Capper PILOT funding bill that I just wrote about in detail a couple days ago. This authorizes a bond issuance of up to $55 million that will yield close to $37 million to pay for infrastructure improvements at Capper/Carrollsburg. The bonds will then be repaid by landowners making payments in lieu of property taxes. I should mention that these PILOT funds won't only be repaid by residents of Capitol Quarter--there are two planned office developments totaling 750,000 square feet that are within the Capper PILOT area (600 M Street at the old Capper Seniors site and 250 M Street) that will generate PILOT payments.
Each bill will come before the council again in January for their final votes.
 

Foggy air with low-in-the-sky not-very-bright December sun is not conducive to snappy photos, so this is just a brief update to capture the most pressing changes to the skyline. Demolition started back up this week at Old Capper Seniors: the southeast wing is now gone, and the east wing is getting smacked with the wrecking ball this morning. You can see the demolition from all angles in the old Capper Senior Expanded Archive. I also took a few shots of 55 M's progress (look for the icon in its Expanded Archive).
 

Because I'm not always so successful in getting people to tell me the current status of various projects, I spend a lot of time pouring through documents hoping to get hints here or there, and within the past few days I've uncovered a few new ones. I sent out some e-mails asking for additional information, but those have gone unanswered (waaaaah!), so I'll just post what I've seen, and wait for the various bureaucratic processes to move along to get more information.
The developers of the planned office building at 1111 New Jersey Avenue are having a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review in front of the Zoning Commission on Jan. 31. This review is now required because Donohoe is buying the land on top of the Navy Yard Metro station east entrance, which means that the project's property now "fronts" M Street and must get a review by the Zoning Commission to make sure it follows the design and usage requirements laid out by the CG Overlay. I haven't seen any new renderings yet to know whether the building has grown from its original 146,000-sq-ft design (note: see UPDATE below). No mentions yet of when construction might start. Presumably this design will be presented to ANC 6D, at perhaps its January meeting.
And, in the Questions and Responses posted along with the Capper PILOT underwriters RFP, there's the following statements:
* 250 M Street, the 200,000-sq-ft office building by William C. Smith, "will commence construction on or about May 2008";
* 600 M Street, the 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City on the old Capper Seniors site, "is expected to commence construction in late 2009 or early 2010 -- Stage II PUD process with the District Zoning Commission has already commenced"; and
* 800 New Jersey/120 Canal, the planned 1.1-million-sq-ft mixed use project by William C. Smith on the land north of I between Second and New Jersey (known as Square 737), "will commence Stage II PUD upon transfer of District land in early 2008."
1111 NJ UPDATE: Amazingly, just a few hours later, another document popped up with additional information on 1111 New Jersey: it's for the Dec. 13 WMATA board meeting, a request to execute the sale announced back in June of the 5,612-sq-ft WMATA land at New Jersey and M to "NJA Associates" (aka Donohoe). And it describes the "new" 1111 NJ thusly (emphases mine):
"The Developer proposes to combine the WMATA property with an adjacent 16,406 sf developer-owned site and develop an office building with ground floor retail. Its current proposal to the District of Columbia Zoning Commission is for an approximately 211,000 sf building, a portion of which cantilevers over the WMATA property. At ground level, the proposal includes a wide plaza surrounding the Metro entrance, consistent with the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Framework Plan. The Developer will make modifications to Metro facilities at its own cost and subject to WMATA approval. At present the modifications are expected to be limited to adjustments to the vent shaft and new paving in the plaza area. The existing entrance canopy will remain. The entrance will be protected during construction. The Developer has stated that it does not currently anticipate any need to close the entrance during construction."
WMATA is selling the land for $2.3 million plus an unnamed additional payment if the approved project is larger 206,000 square feet.
 

[bump] Residents are now starting to move into 400 M Street, the building long known around these parts as Capper Building #2. They've launched a web site, 400mdc.com, and the sales office at the building is now open. There's a one-bedroom furnished model, of which one measley photo is posted on my Capper #2 page along with other photos from the building's interior.
The 139-unit building was originally designed for low-income seniors, but its profile has been expanded to also include renters who earn a moderate income of between 50 and 60 percent of the area's median income (AMI). This translates to a household income between $33,000 and $38,000 for one person and $38,000 to $45,000 for two people, and up to $54,000 for a family of four. The rental price is then set at 30% of the household income, which makes the rent for a one-bedroom unit range from $877 to $993 per month. But even with the change to allow renters with higher incomes, the building continues to rent to fixed-income seniors and other residents with lower incomes, placed through the D.C. Housing Authority, in order to maintain an overall income level of 45 percent AMI.
Fifty of the building's units have already been rented, including the four two-bedroom corner units facing the intersection at Fourth and M, which have some nice views of The Yards and the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters. Twenty of the one-bedrooms and one of the two-bedrooms are for the mobility-impaired. As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, the building's first floor has a community room with kitchenette, and laundry, computer, fitness, and conference rooms. Outside there's a landscaped interior courtyard that also serves as a stormwater management system, and is also available for use by the residents of the Carroll Apartments low-income senior-citizens building next door.
Between 400 M and its sibling Capper Seniors #1, 300 new affordable housing units have opened at Capper in the past year. Another 400 units are still to come, at both the mixed-income Capitol Quarter townhouse development, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2008, and at additional mixed-income apartment buildings planned for Second Street, SE (no dates yet announced on those).
 

Thanksgiving weekend is a good time to take photos of the neighborhood, given that traffic is close to nonexistent. (Great weather helped, too.) The showy construction work has now slowed down at 70/100 I, Onyx on First, and 100 M, so after this update I'm now going to scale back the updates to those project pages (and their expanded photo archives). Demolition continues at old Capper Seniors, though not much happened to the building itself in the past week as work appeared to focus on clearing the ground of the debris from the initial work. And 55 M continues along, though it's hard right now to get a feel for the progress from ground level (beyond the festive steel beams along M Street), which is why having the webcam is so handy.
You can see all of the weekend's photos on this page, and of course feel free to click on the icons to see all photos of a certain location to watch the buildings go up (or down, in the case of Capper Seniors).
Then there's the ballpark.
[Long pause. Sigh.]
Taking photos of the stadium's exterior started to be constrained in late summer by the infrastructure work being done along First Street and Potomac Avenue; and by October access to N Street had pretty well been cut off too, again because of the infrastructure work. While I grumbled about the loss of access to those locations, I respect the perimeters of construction sites, and totally understand the need for security to keep people out of the ballpark, and so I stayed north of N. But yesterday, while standing on the northeast corner of First and N streets, on an open public sidewalk outside of the stadium footprint, I was approached by a security guard telling me repeatedly that I was "not allowed" to take photos of the ballpark. (At least I wasn't screamed at through a megaphone, as happened to a correspondent of mine at the same location recently.) This is, of course, ridiculous--there are no laws against taking photographs of anything while standing on public property, and it deserves its own separate rant about stupid attempts to clamp down on civil liberties in public spaces.
But the cumulative effect of the run-ins I've had over the past few months when I am absolutely positively 100% in no way trying to set foot inside the ballpark (my favorite being the time I was shadowed by a guard all the way down South Capitol from N to Potomac and back despite never coming any closer to the ballpark than South Capitol's median) have left me drained and uninterested in continuing the battle. At the same time, I'm dealing with the fallout from a recent memo sent out by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission reminding ballpark contractors and subcontractors that they are not allowed to talk to "the media" without prior approval by the DCSEC, leaving workers who have been nice enough to answer such probing questions as "how many panels make up each row of the HD scoreboard?" feeling that they can no longer be helpful.
I imagine something could be worked out, though right now I'm worn out from all the drama and not quite ready to fight the fight. In the meantime, I'm not going to update any ballpark photos or post news of the stadium other than links to accounts in the ("real") media. (Of course, the vast majority of the exterior work of the ballpark is already completed, so this isn't exactly a breathtakingly brave stand!) Once the roads are reopened, and the ballpark is close to opening, I'll of course get back in gear, but until then I'm taking a breather.
 

I've added some quick photos this morning showing the demolition progress at both old Capper Seniors and 1345 South Capitol Street, which you can see all at once here (though they really benefit from being paired with their before-and-afters, as seen on the project pages and in the expanded Capper Seniors photo archive). The South Capitol Street photos were hurried and ended up being incomplete after yet another run-in with the ballpark's Hired Badge Harry, who screamed at me incessantly for daring to even stand on the curb on the east side of South Capitol Street at O Street while trying to take pictures of the 1345 site, and with my having no interest in getting any closer to the ballpark site behind me. Once I moved a half-inch forward into the gutter, at the mercy of three lanes of high-speed traffic, I was then no longer Public Enemy #1.
UPDATE: I also tossed in a few new photos from the freeway at South Capitol Street, where I was a bit surprised to now see 55 M Street peeking into view in a few of the shots.
More posts: 1325sc, 600 M/Square 882/Old Capper Seniors, Capper, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs
 

During the five minutes it was sunny this afternoon, I managed to get some updated photos of the demolition at old Capper Seniors, where the work is still concentrated on the western side of the building. Within the past day or two the wrecking ball has sliced a hole in the main portion of the building, leaving the old southwest wing standing alone and temporarily making the tower into two buildings. Soon they'll be starting on the still-bricked elevator shaft in the center of the building on the north side. (I wouldn't park my car too close to there for the next few days.) Check the Expanded Project Archive if you want more angles of the progress, though they didn't all get updated today. And remember to click on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon to see all the photos in the archive from a vantage point--the progression of shots looking south at the building from across L Street are pretty intriguing. They've gotten a lot done in eight days....
More posts: 600 M/Square 882/Old Capper Seniors, Capper, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs
 

It started innocently enough. On Sunday morning, when I woke up to find such a brilliant sunny day, I decided to go take a new batch of photos of the demolition at old Capper Seniors to replace the dreary ones from Saturday. Then I started moving away a few blocks, to catch more distant views of the building. Then I decided that there were a bunch of locations where 70/100 I and Onyx on First were changing the skyline that I hadn't captured. Then I realized that it had been a long time since I had taken a complete set of photos of the western side of South Capitol Street at O and P streets, to show the changes since the demolition of the viaduct and all the streetscape improvements. And then of course, while I was there, I had to take a set of shots of the ballpark's western facade. Then there were more shots needed of the changes along M Street thanks to 55 M and 100 M. By the time I was done, I had a ridiculous number of new images up on the site, which you can see all on one page; you can also see most of them paired with past shots by clicking on the "Photo Archive Before-and-Afters" links at the top of that page, like the "South Capitol Street Makeover", which shows the new photos from both sides of the street (along with some older angles I didn't update). After a while they all run together, I know. But they make for some spiffy before-and-afters!
 

After a few days of knocking out the exterior brick walls and windows from the inside by driving Bobcats into them over and over, the showy demolition began at old Capper Seniors this morning, as the wrecking ball started bringing down the western wing of the building. Not the prettiest morning for pictures, but maybe the glum light is apropos. You can look at my main old Capper Seniors page for the basics, or the Expanded Project Archive for photos of the demolition from considerably more angles. (And don't forget to click on the Click to see all available photos of this location. on any of these pages if you want to see the images in between the first and last ones.) It's going to be a slow process, and the demolition is not expected to be finished until the end of December.
The 238-unit building originally opened in 1958 as one of the multiple new high-rises at the Arthur Capper public housing project; but by the early 1970s, crime and drug use and government neglect had already turned the building into such a wasteland that even the then-director of public housing for the city later described it as a "fearsome place" where "there was danger to life and limb to any ordinary citizen who wanted to live there." In 1973, it was finally boarded up, and plans were announced to renovate it into a 292-unit building for elderly tenants, with reopening planned for 1976.
But the renovation plans went awry as well, thanks to battles between the city and the Department of Housing and Urban Development over plans for a health clinic within the new building, along with escalating cost estimates, and fights over the bids on the project. Construction finally began in November 1978, scheduled to take 14 months but eventually stretching to three years as incomplete construction documents and a lack of project oversight by the housing authority brought delays, firings, and lawsuits. In late 1981, it finally reopened, but crime was never eradicated, especially as non-seniors began living in the building. The last of the tenants were moved out early this year, with some choosing to move to the new Capper Seniors #1 a few blocks away at Fifth and Virginia.
While this seniors building at 601 L Street was a home to many people for many years, I'm not sure it's a building to be mourned. It's also now the last remnant of what were once the sprawling Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg projects that stretched from 2nd Street to 7th and from Virginia to L. It's taken seven years, but with this demolition, all Capper/Carrollsburg buildings will be gone.
(As for the other impending demolition, I took a quick spin past 1345 South Capitol this morning and didn't see any action, though some construction equipment has been put in place.)
More posts: 600 M/Square 882/Old Capper Seniors, Capper, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs, crime
 

On Wednesday morning at 11 am, demolition began at the old Capper Seniors building at 601 L Street, SE. And, 24 hours later, a lot of progress has already been made on getting rid of the exterior windows and walls. I was amazed to see that, instead of swinging the wrecking ball, workers are actually working inside the building, driving Bobcats into the brick exterior walls over and over to punch them out, turning the building into a skeleton before the actual bringing down of the skeleton begins. (Don't hit the gas instead of the brake, boys!) I've created an Extended Project Archive for this building, to see the before-and-afters from lots of different angles beyond the basics on the main old Capper Seniors page (which also has some photos taken from the interior of the building last week) so take a look at today's photos to see how the work is progressing.
(And speaking of demolition, fences have now gone up at 1345 South Capitol, and workers there are telling neighbors that demolition could begin tomorrow [Nov. 9]. We'll see!)
More posts: 600 M/Square 882/Old Capper Seniors, Capper, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs
 

You can't tell from the street, but there is some demolition-like work underway today on the roof of the old Capper Seniors building at 7th and M. However, the showy stuff with a wrecking ball will probably start later in the week, perhaps on Wednesday. It would be fab if folks who have a birds-eye view of the building could drop me a line if you see the wrecking-ball-crane getting into place, since the building is out of range of any handy web cams.
More posts: 600 M/Square 882/Old Capper Seniors, Capper, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs
 

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.)
More posts: 600 M/Square 882/Old Capper Seniors, Capper, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs
 

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.
More posts: 400m, 600 M/Square 882/Old Capper Seniors, Capper, Capper New Apt Bldgs, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs
 
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