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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Capitol Quarter
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I haven't seen it with my own eyes yet, but a couple readers reported yesterday (as I Twittered) that Capitol Quarter vertical construction has now begun on the north side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth, across from the units already well underway. (There's also a rumor that bricking will begin on those first townhouses soon.) The foundations have been underway on this block for a while, so I'm assuming it's the showier framing work that has begun. I'll give them a day or two to make some progress, and will get photos this weekend.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

I was unfortunately unable to get to Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, thanks to an avalanche of Inauguration-related work at my real job that couldn't wait, plus there was the arrival yesterday afternoon of my brother's third child, Teddy. (And if you think you've got it bad over the next week, light a candle for him--he's Washington correspondent for the Cox Radio Network, and has to cover all of the inauguration while tending to a newborn and two other kids under the age of five who will be wondering what that squirming, crying package is that arrived at the house.)
Anyway, I've been able to find out that the ANC gave its support to Akridge's planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on Half Street between M and N, subject to the finalization of the community benefits package. I wrote a long entry after last month's ANC meeting describing Akridge's designs for the project, if you want all the details. I hope to get renderings within the next few weeks, in advance of the January 29 Capitol Gateway Overlay Review.
I hope to find out soon whether the illustrious Capitol Quarter trash enclosures discussions have been brought to a close.
(And I hope to make it to tonight's ANC 6B meeting, which will have a briefing on the South Capitol Street EIS. But only if work doesn't intervene again.)
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More posts: Akridge/Half St., ANC News, Capper, Capitol Quarter, inauguration09
 

The agenda is out (though not net yet online) for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, and if you've liked the past few meetings, you'll love this one, because it's pretty much a rehash of recent agendas: the Capper PUD modifications (described here), the Capitol Quarter trash enclosures (perhaps the fourth time's the charm), and Akridge's Half Street project, which is going to the Zoning Commission at the end of this month. (For Southwest folks, the Hogate's liquor license discussion is back, too.) And, although it's not on the agenda now, I'm guessing there might be some inauguration-related discussions. The ANC meets at St. Augustine's church, Sixth and M streets, SW, at 7 pm.
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More posts: Akridge/Half St., ANC News, Capper, Capitol Quarter, inauguration09, meetings, zoning
 

I don't dare tally up how many photos I've taken over the past 12 months, but suffice to say it's a lot. That didn't stop me from a quick lunchtime trek around the neighborhood to grab my final pictures of 2008, with a starkly blue sky as an end-of-year gift. Here's a boatload of before-and-afters for your perusal:
I started at Capitol Quarter, where the first three townhouses at Fourth and L are already framed, wrapped, and window'ed (I imagine the developers are trying to get those units finished as close to "on schedule" as possible). Here's the before-and-afters for the intersection's southwest corner; be advised that taking southward-facing photos in winter is no fun at all, so apologies for all glare, skipped angles, etc.

I next ventured to The Yards (USDOT security guards be damned!) for updated photos of the Foundry Lofts construction, where most of the framing of the two new top floors appears to be finished. And both Third and Tingey streets are now nicely paved and curbed, which you can see along with the Foundtry Lofts construction in these Third and Tingey photos, and also in shots from one block west, at what someday will be Second and Tingey. And, for the heck of it, here's a few new New Jersey and Tingey images. (Remember to look for the icon, as always.)
And, acting on tips from alert readers, I checked out the Third and K Market, which is now being gutted. There was no one around to answer any questions as to what is up, but seeing work getting done a few months after a For Rent sign went up (and quickly disappeared) would seem to be a good sign....?

I also went to First and M, where workers at 100 M have now given back one lane of M Street and told me that the median east of First will be rebuilt soon (as the one west of M recently was). The silver bullding against the unbelievably blue sky makes for a nice tableau in these updated photos.
There are also a few updated shots of 909 New Jersey, taken mainly from the First and I intersection, which is also notable for the nice little fence and landscaping that's now gone in across the empty lot to the east of 100 I, visible in many of these new photos.

Will that tide everyone over until the new year? I know I'm now good for a while....!
 

* As Tweeted on Saturday night (after cheering my Gators onto victory), framing has indeed begun on Capitol Quarter v2.0. They're not exactly the most thrilling photos (it was some tough almost-winter lighting conditions), but if you need proof, here they are, with their befores.
* Yet another mid-month event announcement to pass along--on December 16th, 17th, and 18th, the BID is putting on a Holiday Market at 1100 New Jersey Avenue. It will run from 11:30 am to 6 pm, and will feature "local artisans selling handcrafted jewelry, pottery, crafts, watercolors, photography, and more."
* Looks like maybe the 3rd and K Market might be stirring. I haven't heard anything official (though we saw that "For Rent" sign in the door a few months back), but there's been a slew of permits and the concrete surrounding the building has been torn up to apparently do some re-pointing of the bricks near ground-level.
* Less pleasant news from the same block--looks like there was a fire just within the past few days in the second floor of one of the rowhouses on Third Street--the top-row windows are gone, and there's black soot across the upper part of the front of the house. Anyone know what happened?
* I finally gave the new camera its first Hood workout on Sunday morning, despite the 40-mph winds and "variably sunny" weather that provided some icky overcast shots followed seconds later by brilliant blue-sky vistas, though it must be said that this model does a much better job of handling backlit buildings than my previous one. (And it was too dang cold to think about sticking around waiting for clouds to clear.) I'll post them in separate entries over the next few days. Got to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the decent content nowadays.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D monthly meeting is out, and the most enticing item is Akridge looking for the commission's support in advance of its Jan. 29 Capitol Gateway zoning overlay review for its new 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development at 25 M, on the site of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, in the block directly north of Nationals Park. At this point, little has been put forth publicly about the project other than it'll be a office/residential/retail mix, and is expected to get underway in early 2010.
Also on the agenda is a third go-round with the DC Housing Authority over the designs for some external trash enclosures for some of the units at Capitol Quarter. I wrote about the first discussion here, and the Hill Rag has the report on the second one. Will the third time be the charm, or will bad things come in threes? There will also be a status report about the Capper redevelopment in general.
There's also apparently a letter being brought by Commissioner Sobelsohn to express the ANC's support for retaining the Nats Express shuttle bus that brings stadium-goers to the neighborhood from the parking lots at RFK. I imagine that the ANC will be expressing some level of concern about increased traffic and parking problems if that shuttle service goes away (it was reported last month that Tommy Wells is in favor of ending it).
The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW.
 

For those who haven't wandered by Fourth and L recently to check out what's happening at Capitol Quarter, I can report that new slabs have been poured, and vertical construction should get underway (again) next week. (If you haven't been following along, this is a second start for these townhouses, after the initial construction in August showed foundation problems and resulted in the demolition of the first units that were underway.)
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

The front page of Tuesday's Post has "Building Slowdown Turns Grand Visions into Vapor," a look at projects in the DC area that are on hold because of the slumping economy: "The economic boom of recent years promised to deliver gleaming homes and high-end retail to struggling and newly forming neighborhoods across the Washington region. But that quest is running headlong into a withering economic slowdown and paralyzed credit markets, bringing new construction to a virtual stop and fueling anxiety among those who dreamed that their neighborhoods were the next frontiers."
Among the examples in the article are three delayed projects near the ballpark--WC Smith's 250 M Street office building, the residential and hotel portion of Monument's Half Street project, and also the Corcoran's Randall School development at Half and I, SW (which Monument pulled out of recently): "Perhaps no area is more central to the District's long-term ambitions than the streets around Nationals Park. At every opportunity, Fenty talks of a cosmopolitan destination featuring new parks, offices, stylish apartments and restaurants, all of it along the Anacostia River. Yet, how soon that vision materializes is fraught with uncertainty."
(Full disclosure: I provided a bit of basic status on ballpark-area projects for the piece, hence the "contributed" line.)
Some additional perspective: Certainly there's a slowdown afoot. (It's almost like there's some sort of cycle of boom and bust in commercial real estate!) I've been joking that I should just put a "Gone Fishin'" sign up here at JDLand during 2009, and come back in 2010 to see what's cooking, because other than the first offerings at the Yards and perhaps Canal Park {cough}, I'm not expecting much to get underway in the next little while. On the other hand, Capitol Quarter is moving forward, 1015 Half Street is now out of the ground, Diamond Teague Park is expected to open in the spring, and 100 M and 55 M and 909 New Jersey and Velocity will all be opening their doors before long, and perhaps the lure of another season of baseball will get some retail into the empty ground-floor spaces of those buildings and 20 M.
So, it's not like tumbleweeds are blowing down M Street or vines are growing on buildings a la Logan's Run--and it would be hard to make the case that it's the neighborhood's fault or the stadium's fault when the entire region is feeling the pain. The expectation would be that when the market improves, development in Near Southeast should pick up again. But we'll all just have to wait and see, won't we?
 

On Monday night the Zoning Commission held a brief hearing on Case 06-32a, the request by the city to move the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue into the "Capitol South Receiving Zone," which would allow the block to receive transferable development rights, allowing greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR and 90-ft-height currently allowed.
When this was originally brought before the commission by developer Washington Telecom Associates for setdown two years ago, the Office of Planning indicated that they wouldn't support the request because of concerns about the added density on that block affecting both Canal Park to the south and Capper/Carrollsburg townhouses to the east (read the transcript for more details). Since that time, the city subleased the building (paying $500k a month in rent), but has decided not to use it to house police department functions and so is in the process of finding a developer to take over its sublease (which also has an option to buy).
In their pre-hearing report and during last night's session, OP said they are now prepared to support the move to the receiving zone, "provided that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90' " which would confirm that the building "will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face to avoid shadowing the lower buildings in Square 797 to the east" and that it "will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park." The OP report says that this lot would not be exempt from the city's inclusionary zoning requirements.
The three commissioners in attendance (Hood, May, and Turnbull) asked a few cursory questions, and noted that there was no report from ANC 6D nor any witnesses in support or opposition. The ZC will vote on this case at its Nov. 10 public meeting.
With the OPM page on the 225 Virginia Request for Expressions of Interest saying that notification was to have happened yesterday, I thought there was a possibility that this hearing would give us some hint as to who might be taking over the city's lease, but the Office of Planning said they didn't know who the developer might be.
 

Here's a brief wrap-up of Near Southeast-related items from last night's ANC 6D meeting (though the folks following my Twitter feed got some pithy tidbits in real time):
* JPI was there requesting support for a public space permit to put up a sign at 909 New Jersey. If you've been thinking that this apartment building looks pretty far along, you're correct: the JPI rep said that they're looking to deliver the first units in February. The building has 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, of which 4,000 is expected to be leased to restaurants. The discussion about the sign permit devolved into concerns about the main staircase on New Jersey Avenue splitting up the public space, which DDOT's public space committee has already approved but which ANC members weren't sure they'd ever seen. The vote on the sign permit request was 4-0-2 in favor of asking DDOT to postpone the decision on the sign as a protest against the sign and NJ Ave public space permits not having been done together.
* EYA and the DC Housing Authority presented their request for ANC support for some new brick "screens" on certain public housing units at Capitol Quarter that won't have alley access and so will need to have their trash and recycling cans placed by the buildings' fronts. There are nine corner buildings in Capitol Quarter with 27 public housing units that will need these screens, though there are also corner buildings at CQ that are not public housing, and there are additional public housing units that are not in these corner buildings. But the ANC felt that these trash screens would make the affected units easily identified as public housing, which would negate what commissioners described as the "concept of Hope VI" where you're not supposed to be able to "tell the difference" in market-rate and public-housing units from the outside. There were also concerns about units with windows above the trash enclosures (i.e., the smell and also having to look out at the trash bins). The rep from DCHA asked the ANC to table the request for support rather than oppose it (so that EYA and DCHA could come back with some revised designs), but the ANC voted 5-0 to oppose the request anyway.
Both these public space permits are on Thursday's agenda of the city's Public Space Committee.
There was also to be a discussion of the stadium Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, but it got moved to late in the agenda, and it sounded like it was going to be just in terms of the impact on Southwest, so I will admit that I didn't stick around.
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More posts: 909 New Jersey, ANC News, Capper, Capitol Quarter, jpi
 

For those who haven't wandered past themselves, I've posted a few photos of the post-demolition landscape at Capitol Quarter--this was done because of structural problems uncovered in the foundations, which EYA decided were severe enough to require the demolition of the existing work rather than just trying to patch it or shore it up. If you want to see how the construction went up and then came down, here's all the photos of the southeast corner of Fourth and L taken this year.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

I Twittered this about a half-hour ago, but I thought I'd let the Web 1.0 folks know that demolition is underway on the south side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth, taking down the framing and foundation of the Capitol Quarter townhouses that are going to have to be redone. (Why? Read this.)

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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

* The ANC 6D agenda for its meeting on Monday Oct. 20 has been sent around (though not yet posted online). There will be a discussion of the Ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan as it relates to Southwest, plus public space requests for building signage at 909 New Jersey and "Brick Walls for Trash Enclosures" at Capitol Quarter. (These are also on the Oct. 23 agenda of the city's Public Space Commitee.)
* The short list for a design/build team to reconstruct the 11th Street Bridges is out--Shirley Design-Build LLC, Skansa/Facchina, Archer Western Contractors LLC, Perini/Parsons Joint Venture, and KCA Constructors Joint Venture. According to the procurement schedule, a draft RFP should already be out (haven't found it online), and final RFP should be issued by the end of the year, with a contract signed with the vendor by June 1, 2009.
* Metro announced yesterday that 53 percent of baseball game attendees this year arrived at Nationals Park via Metrorail. That's 1.8 million bodies, averaging 23,000 people entering and exiting the Navy Yard station at the 80 home games in 2008. (It apparently doesn't count people who took the bus or walked down from Capitol South.) In the last two years at RFK, only 38 percent of attendees took the subway. Marc Fisher has some thoughts on it all (including some questions on Metro's math).
 

You may have noticed that work seemed to stop a few weeks ago on the new townhouses at Capitol Quarter. Here is the official statement given to me by EYA:
"Several weeks ago we noticed several locations with cracking in the foundations at Capitol Quarter. We immediately put construction on hold, and contacted several geotechnical engineering firms to analyze the situation. While several repair solutions were suggested, we felt the wisest decision to ensure the integrity of the homes was to change foundation designs, and start over with a new enhanced design. Even though this meant removing the framing on several started homes, we feel this solution provides the future residents the confidence of owning structurally sound homes."
Homeowners in these first blocks along L are being told to expect their move-in dates to slide 30 to 60 days as a result of the need to demolish the existing foundations and frames and start construction over again.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

I took a few quick pictures on First Street and Fourth Street on Saturday, to capture 909 New Jersey and Capitol Quarter in the late-afternoon sun--you can see all of them with their befores here.
I also finally got to some other shots to fill in two glaring holes in my portfolio, but it might be a couple of days until I get those posted. Until then, you'll just have to guess.
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More posts: 909 New Jersey, Capper, Capitol Quarter, jpi
 

From EYA: "Capitol Quarter will accept contracts on our next 5 market rate homes on Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 11:00 a.m." (I'm on my cell, so can't link right now. Go to eya.com for details.) UPDATE: Okay, I'm back. The five homes are being offered in the $630,000 - $645,000 range. Here's my Capitol Quarter page, just because I can't ever pass up an opportunity to link to it.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Sep 12, 2008 2:51 PM
This is one of those real estate-section puff pieces, not a straight news story, but it's a quiet Friday so I'll link to the WashTimes's "New in DC: Batter, and Buyers, Up,"which gives an overview of Capitol Quarter. If you're looking for a summary of what's there, it runs through all the basics. For photos and lots more information, my Capitol Quarter page has plenty to keep you occupied.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Aug 31, 2008 11:44 PM
It was too pretty of an afternoon to pass up a new batch of photos at Fourth and L, to document 10 days' worth of framing work on these first Capitol Quarter townhouses. (I'm sure the novelty of this construction will wear off soon. Hopefully before my camera gives out.)
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Aug 24, 2008 8:36 PM
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
 

Aug 21, 2008 9:12 PM
* 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.
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More posts: 1015 Half, 900m, Capper, Capitol Quarter, Retail, Plaza on K/Square 696, square 697
 
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