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A press release put out by Eleanor Holmes Norton this morning says that the General Services Administration "has entered into formal negotiations with the District of Columbia government regarding property located at 49 L St. SE[.]"
The proposal apparently is to exchange both the L Street building and its land for various streetscape and construction improvements to be performed by the District along of Martin Luther King Avenue adjacent to St. Elizabeths. "In return, the District would own 49 L Street SE in fee simple with full rights and ownership over the property."
Quoting the quote from the EHN release: " 'This exchange takes GSA further with work necessary to complete the DHS headquarters,' Norton said. 'In the process of moving a DHS priority, GSA has found a way to dispose of the long-underutilized 49 L Street SE by exchanging it for construction services from the District.' "
This is the building that residents have eyed as possibly becoming the Half Street Market, envisioning the building as a "public venue for a food market, restaurant, and flexible community space." (The group recently posted a new video rendering of their reimagining.)
As the release says, this is still in the negotiations stage, and even if the city does get the building there will then be I imagine a process about how to handle the site, but it's the first sign of movement since the flurry of activity about the building and the market idea back in 2013.
Comments (2)
More posts: Development News, halfstmarket
 

Earlier this month, the team developing a planned mixed-income apartment building that is part of the Capper/Carollsburg redevelopment was one of 18 awardees named to share a $142 million pot* helping to fund affordable housing units in the city.
The building, as yet unnamed and generally just referred to by some variation of the oh-so-attractive "Square 769N Residential" moniker, is planned for the northern part of the block bounded by 2nd Place, 3rd, L, and M, next door to the recently discussed 250 M Street office building. It will be 11 stories, and will include 34 units of public housing in its 171 rental units. There will also be about 4,100 square feet of ground-floor retail. (The above image shows the block as seen from Canal Park, with the apartment building at left and 250 M at right.)
This funding is not enough to get the building's construction jump-started, but a) it's better than no funding at all and b) it probably helps move the process toward full funding forward.
It has already spent plenty of time in Zoning Land, having received its second-stage PUD approval back in 2009 followed by time extensions in 2011 and 2013.
This is one of four** large mixed-income apartment buildings still to be built as part of Capper's redevelopment, with two more planned for the other blocks along the east side of Canal Park plus one on the old trash transfer site at New Jersey and K.
* For sticklers, this award is part of the 2014 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) awards from the Housing Production Trust Fund.
** It could be five, since the Housing Authority is looking at splitting some units out from one planned mixed-income rental building (not this one!) into a second market-rate condo building. But there has been no public indication of movement one way or the other on that, and a planned Zoning hearing this fall has been pushed back to at least early 2015.
Comments (4)
More posts: Capper, Capper New Apt Bldgs, Development News, sq769napts
 

While the Parc Riverside leasing office has been open for a few weeks now, I'm only just now getting caught up with their status and offerings.
Move-ins are being billed as starting around Dec. 1, at least if you go by the Craigslist ads for low-floor units posted in the past few days. The base prices as published give the rate for 1 BR/1 BA units as being between $1,970 and $2,165, going up to 2 BR/2 BA ranging from $2,385 to $3,485. The Craigslist ads include two studios priced at $1,600 and $1,770, and on all units advertised there are showing a current one-month-free deal. (Parking and storage units extra.)
The building isn't open for tours yet, but there's PDF floor plans on the official web site.
However, if you're looking for something a bit more three-dimensional, they've created virtual tours of five upper-floor units (hence the killer views depicted): a studio, a junior one bedroom, a one bedroom, a one bedroom/den, and a two-bedroom penthouse.
The office, in the trailer across from the building on the southeast corner of 1st and K, is open seven days a week.
(By the way, this is the first rental apartment building in DC for Toll Brothers.)
Comments (4)
More posts: Development News, Toll Brothers Lots
 

ANC 6D ventured across South Capitol Street into Southeast for its meeting on Monday night, with enough items of interest on this side of the street to draw even me to attend. The rundown:
BALLPARK SQUARE: Grosvenor and McCaffery Interests, developers of this hotel/residential/retail project along the west side of 1st Street north of N Street, say that they hope to start construction before the end of the year, though at this point the building permits are still pending. The 325-unit apartment building and 170-room hotel (operator not yet announced) are expected to take about two years to complete once construction gets underway. Their "intention" is to construct at the same time the separate two-story retail pavilion nestled between the arms of the Hampton Inn on the corner of 1st and N, with an eye toward completing it before the 2016 baseball season, though no tenants have been secured at this point.
Once construction begins, the existing sidewalk will be blocked, with pedestrian traffic expected to be moved to a covered structure in the 1st Street parking lane (and bike lane), though the final configuration is still under negotiation with DDOT, with the Nationals offering input as well, given the site's location just north of the ballpark.
Also, note that the 99 M Street office building planned for the north end of this block is being developed separately by Skanska and is on its own schedule, separate from these projects. (Building permits are filed, not yet approved.)
250 M: WC Smith is asking the Zoning Commission for a second third extension to the second-stage PUD for its long-planned 230,000 square foot office building, which was originally approved in 2007, then revised in 2008, and given its first extension in 2010 (and another in 2012). This would push the required date to file for a construction permit to Sept. 2016, with construction being required to commence by Sept. 2017. WC Smith's representatives noted the current state of office development basically requires a building to be 70 percent leased before financing can be procured, but that recent activity in the office leasing market "gives us hope" (especially with about 33 million square feet of GSA leased space turning over in the next few years.) Smith's Brad Fennell said that the company is "committed to the site," feels that office space "is the right use for this spot," and has been working hard to find potential tenants. (All of which is laid out in more detail in the zoning filing.)
The ANC supported the request for an extension 6-1, with Roger Moffatt voting against.
Fun fact for readers who haven't been around for this building's history: it is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Planned Unit Development. It would only occupy about half of the block bounded by 2nd Place, 3rd, L, and M--the north end of the block is slated to someday be a Capper mixed-income apartment building.
(In other WC Smith-related news, I was told that the company hopes/expects to begin pouring the slab at the bottom of 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods in two months or so.)
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL: JBG came to the ANC looking for its support for this project's Capitol Gateway Overlay Review, which I wrote about in detail a few weeks back and which is scheduled for Nov. 13.
There have been some small tweaks to the design, along with now an additional variance request to have two 20-foot and two 30-foot loading bays, since original plans to have a 55-foot bay and two smaller bays has run afoul of the teensy width of the block's alley and of Van Street, where the bays will be located. Otherwise, this remains designed as an apartment building with 290ish units and about 26,000 square feet of retail.
The ANC voted to support the project 7-0.
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More posts: 1244 South Capitol St., 250 M, ballparksquare , Development News, Square 701
 

Last week the Zoning Commission heard Forest City's request for more height (and thereby additional density) in what is being called "Yards West," specifically four sites along N Street between 1st and New Jersey.
The early questions from the commission centered mainly around Peter May's contention that granting this density--which the applicants refer to as an additional 1.0 FAR but which May was happy to always refer to as "264,000 square feet"--was akin to "incentivizing something that's going to get built anyway." May expressed that the additional height and additional density were "perfectly appropriate" but that he was "not seeing the greater good that comes out of this," i.e., what Forest City would be providing in return.
Initially May zeroed in on proposed language he felt was too weak, that the eventual review of any building proposed along the Yards West M Street frontage would ensure that its design and site plan would "facilitate the provision of a public entrance to the Navv Yard Metrorail Station" on the southwest corner of New Jersey and M. (He also mentioned as an aside concerns he said he had heard recently that the explosion in residential development in the neighborhood instead of office projects was restricting the amount of available evening and weekend garage parking for stadium events.)
But then ANC 6D chair Roger Moffatt testified, noting that while the ANC voted 6-0 to support Forest City's request, it did so while strongly encouraging the Zoning Commission "to require units have more than two bedrooms as a condition of this added height and density." He continued: "ANC 6D supports growing DC into a larger population, but we don't want to exclude families who have children from being able to live in our section of the District. We believe this is an issue whose time has come and we hope that Zoning will take a step in the right direction here tonight."
A light bulb then seemed to go on, with each commissioner supporting May's request that Forest City work with the Office of Planning and the Office of the Attorney General to come up with stronger language not only on the Metro issue but on a "greater mix." Marcie Cohen spoke of families being pushed out of the city, and that Forest City needs to offer "compelling evidence" that there is no market and will be no market for units with more than two bedrooms. Michael Turnbull discussed how if a family has a boy and a girl "you are looking at a three-bedroom unit to make things work" and that "two children is not unreasonable for a lot of families."
While agreeing with the desire to have the language of the proposed text amendments looked at, commissioner Robert Miller did say that the board shouldn't treat lightly that granting the additional density would result in an additional 350 residential units to the area beyond what's already allowed, 70 of which would be affordable housing units, which is "something we need."
Finally, chair Anthony Hood admitted that the commission hasn't concentrated on the issue of units with more than two bedrooms ("I don't call it derelict because I'd call myself derelict"), and that it is something that the board needs to "start looking at this in other projects across the city." However, he seemed a bit skeptical that anything could really come of taking the extra time for the Office of Planning to work on the language in this particular case to achieve that end: "Let's see what happens. Make me wrong."
This case is scheduled to be back in front of the commission in late November.
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More posts: Development News, Parcel A/Yards, zoning
 

I fear I am going to be run ragged by the scope of construction 'round these parts over the next few years. Fitbit tells me I took about 15,000 steps across two outings to snag this slew of photos, and I still didn't quite get everything I wanted. But let's see what's going on. (As always, click on any image to enlarge it, and then page through the slideshow of all of them).
At 1015 Half Street, the new CBS Radio space along L Street is moving along, with a ticker now hung on the building (below left) and the ground-floor studio space being built out (below right).
There's four holes in the ground in various stages of construction, though alas I missed getting pictures of the Arris apartment building at the Yards, which has reached ground level and so should be starting the showy part of its progress within the next few weeks. The Lofts at Capitol Quarter are about at ground level on the east end of their not-at-all-level footprint at 7th and L (left), while digging down down down continues at 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods (right). (The third one, the new 1111 New Jersey apartment project, isn't all that much of a hole just yet.)
(Speaking of 800 New Jersey, I noticed that the rebuilt-but-not-open H Street has had its asphalt laid and is now a good nine inches or more higher than where it meets 2nd Street. Preparation for that intersection and Virginia Avenue to be bumped up with the construction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel?)
Getting close to topping out is the Hampton Inn at 1st and N (left). And, apropos of nothing (but needed here for layout purposes), a photo of the signage for the Subway Café at 20 M Street, which sounds to not be too long from opening.
And wrapping up the tour, here are the two buildings nearest to completion, the Parc Riverside at 1st and K (left) and the Park Chelsea on New Jersey Avenue (right), seen from one block to the south because it's So Freaking Big.
Now, everyone chime in and tell me what I missed.
If you want more photos of these projects (and who wouldn't?), just follow the links to the project pages.
 

Given that the plan to redevelop the Florida Rock site along the Anacostia River just south of Nationals Park has been in the works for about 15 years now, it's worth giving a post to the news that yesterday a permit was issued to allow the initial excavation, shoring, and sheeting for the 350-unit apartment building that will be the first phase of the 1.1 million-square-foot mixed use project that's now known as RiverFront on the Anacostia.
There's been no announcement of construction financing (see update), or any sort of "Hey, we're starting!" missive, but snarky observers can no longer point to the lack of even an initial permit as a signal that the project might be about to get underway. The permit for the actual vertical construction of the building is still in process, however.
UPDATE: From GlobeSt., via a reader, showing that I was off by 24 hours: "MRP Realty and Florida Rock Properties have secured a $65 million construction loan provided by First Niagara's Commercial Real Estate Group for the development of a mixed-used residential building on the Anacostia Waterfront. Yvonne Ulrich, vice president of the Plymouth Meeting, PA-based lending group, managed the transaction for First Niagara."
This construction financing release also says that the apartment building will be called "The Riverfront." And a delivery date of Sept. 2016 is mentioned.
This building will go up at the far eastern end of the site, next to Diamond Teague Park, expanding the existing public plaza and offering some retail there as well. I wrote more about the design back in 2012, though admittedly the final zoning approvals for the project came during my hiatus and so I didn't watch too closely.
When will work start? All together now: We Shall See....
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More posts: Development News, Florida Rock
 

The Post's Jonathan O'Connell has posted a story today detailing the rise and fall of Monument Realty on Half Street--how the company snapped up parcel after parcel of land just north of the ballpark footprint during 2004 and 2005, how they spared no expense to market their holdings, and how just as they dug the hole for the residential portion of their project, the economy collapsed, taking with it Lehman Brothers, their big financial backer.
It also gets itno how it's now been sold to the MacFarlane/Lynch partnership, even though "Monument wanted to see the project through as well, but had its hands tied by the Lehman estate, which wanted to sell."
You may recognize some of the photos accompanying the piece, and I also cop to being the owner of all of the "swag" displayed in the article, thanks to attending various Monument shindigs over the years, and thanks also to being an unrepentant pack rat. I spent years holding onto t-shirts, brochures, and even trading cards all because "someday someone might want to see them." And that someday is today!
It's a good read, and I'd say that even if I hadn't provided some assistance.
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More posts: Development News, Monument/Half St.
 

Though my feelings are desperately hurt that I had to find out about this via a Twitter .jpg, I'll still pass along Donohoe's announcement that the Gallery at Capitol Riverfront project is now officially underway, thanks to the formation of a joint venture with MetLife, Inc.
This is the 324-unit apartment building planned for 1111 New Jersey Avenue, where site clearing work has been on-going since the demolition of St. Matthew's church a few weeks back. (So don't feel bad if you thought it already was underway.)
There will be three levels of underground parking, 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and a lineup of amenities that are now more or less standard in new "luxury" developments: a penthouse clubroom/pool/deck, a second clubroom and lounge on the ground floor, a courtyard on the second floor, a fitness center, a pet spa (!), secure bike storage, and private balconies.
The Gallery won't have the Metro station built into its ground floor like, say, 55 M, but there will be a landscaped pedestrian plaza running the 125 feet from the building's front door to the subway entrance at New Jersey and M.
Delivery is expected in the summer of 2016.
It now joins the cavalcade of residential projects in the neighborhood, with Twelve12 open, River Parc/Parc Riverside leasing, and the Park Chelsea, Arris, the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, and 800 New Jersey in various stages of construction. That's a smidge over 2,100 new rental units coming from 2014 through 2016.
And who will be next? {eyes glancing furtively toward Florida Rock and 82 I.}
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More posts: 1111 New Jersey, Development News, New Jersey Ave.
 

It always seemd a little odd that Toll Brothers chose "River Parc" as the name for the new apartment building now in its final stages on the southwest corner of 1st and K--after all, there's been the mid-century goodness of the River Park townhouses and apartments over in Southwest since, well, the middle of the 20th century.
A few weeks ago, promotional signage went up across street from the new building, trumpeting RiverParc.com, and all systems seemed go. However, a reader passed along the news today of an e-mail from Toll Brothers announcing that River Parc is now the Parc Riverside.
River Parc/Parc Riverside, which according to the e-mail is now expected to deliver in November, does now have a functioning web site, with floorplans, lists of amenities (hey, everyone gets a garbage disposal!), and a few new renderings, but not the rental prices that I'm sure people would like to see at this point.
And now I shall go do a River Parc/Parc Riverside search-and-replace all across my site.
UPDATE: And, oops, I guess I should have included that the leasing office will open this coming Monday, Sept. 22.
Comments (9)
More posts: Development News, Toll Brothers Lots
 

Does everyone want some more Half Street news? Last night's Monument Realty news about the east side of the street isn't enough for you? Are you tapping your toes, wanting to know when the shipping containers are going to disappear from the other side of the street?
The Washington Business Journal, having now heard the same rumors I heard a few weeks ago (hence my sneaky comment in my Monument post about "whether Akridge is currently making any moves"), is reporting that Akridge is working to market its Half Street project to potential investors, with the company needing to replace a capital partner "that desires to leave the project." WBJ says that Akridge "expects to have some closure on a new partner by the fourth quarter," and that "All forms of transaction are on the table."
Akridge has been planning since 2008 to build two office buildings, a residential building, and 55,000 square feet of retail on the west side of the street. Whether those plans will stay the same once capital is found, well, We Shall See.
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More posts: Akridge/Half St., Development News
 

Documents filed today show that Monument Realty, which sunk its teeth whole-heartedly into the Nationals Park-fueled land rush of 2004 and 2005, is exiting Half Street, with the sale of the company's two remaining parcels, best known to baseball fans and residents as the location since 2009 of the big hole in the ground on the east side of the street.
The buyer of the properties is officially Half Street Residential PJV, LLC, which the Washington Business Journal is reporting is a new partnership of MacFarlane Partners and Jair Lynch Development Partners.
WBJ: "MacFarlane already owned a 50 percent stake in the residential portion of Half Street. With local partner Jair Lynch, MacFarlane essentially bought out Monument and Lehman," with an expectation that the "new team will bring this languishing project to life."
The price of the sale is roughly $12.5 million. (UPDATE, 9/17): A follow-up WBJ story on the new owners' plans for the site says that a check was cut for $34 million.
Monument had planned a hotel and 320 units of residential on this site, and went ahead and dug the hole back in 2007 and 2008 as it built the 55 M Street office building at the north end of the block. But the economy tanked, and the "Monument Valley" hole languished (and became quite the urban forest).
This move isn't exactly a surprise: it had looked a few months ago like something was coming, as Lehman had taken back a portion of this stretch of Half Street just as it had with two other Monument properties that quickly ended up being sold: the 50 M site that is soon to be a Homewood Suites, and the lot on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N that JBG is now planning to develop as a residential building.
Monument now is involved in only one property in the neighborhood, the old Domino's site at South Capitol and M that they made initial moves to develop as an office building a few years ago. (But, in what may or may not mean anything, there have been permits issued in recent days for soil borings on that site, which is often a precursor to a sale. I'm not saying--I'm just saying.)
This is the end of quite a chapter in the neighborhood's rise--and the beginning of a new round of toe-tapping about progress on what was once envisioned to be one of the liveliest stretches of street in town. It will be interesting to see how quickly MacFarlane/Lynch move, and what their new plans may be, (And, for that matter, whether Akridge is currently making any moves on its side of Half Street.)
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More posts: Development News, Monument/Half St.
 

The next step in the process to redevelop the Metro "chiller site" on the southwest corner of Half and L streets, SE, is expected later this week, with the WMATA board set to vote on the term sheet for the sale of the site to MRP Realty and CAS Riegler.
It was announced back in June that WMATA had chosen MRP/CAS's plan to redevelop the site with a 126-unit condo building with 6,000 square feet of retail.
The term sheet lays out the requirements of the sale, which include the preservation of the existing chiller plant operations at or below grade level, chiller plant cooling towers on the building roof, and 500 square feet of office space for ten years for Metro staff. In addition, Metro will have five parking spaces at the building, which is currently designed to have 55 parking spaces for the 126 units.
The documents prepared for Thursday's vote include the above drawing, showing the new building as seen from the northeast corner of Half and L. (That's 20 M at left and 1015 Half at far right.)
However, because nothing ever moves swiftly with this site, this vote just means that WMATA and MRP/CAS can then negotiate the full Joint Development Agreement, setting the terms for the purchase of the site, construction of the project, and continued WMATA operations on the site. It's not expected that agreement will come back to the WMATA board until spring--and then the closing of the sale of the site would be 24 months after that approval, which pushes the timeline into 2017.
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More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Development News, Metro/WMATA
 

I admit, it's been a while since I've done any wandering south of the freeway (newcomers to JDLand may not be aware that I don't actually live in the neighborhood I've been photographing for the past 11 1/2 years). So on Saturday morning I went out to check on the progress in various locations.
Thanks to the demolition of Spooky Building 213 (STILL not done!), it was at New Jersey and M where I was able to catch my first glimpse of exactly how behind I've gotten. My exact words can't be printed on a family blog, but I quickly hustled down to 1st and N to document the vertical construction of the Hampton Inn, now five floors above ground.
The developers are looking to have the 168-room hotel open by mid-2015, and clearly they aren't dilly-dallying.
And if you're wondering about the space in between the wings of the hotel, where the white fence is, that's not part of the Hampton project--it's an annex of the big Ballpark Square residential/hotel/office/retail project that will be filling up the rest of 1st Street between M and N. As you can see on the project page, a two-story retail building is planned for that site.
As for a before-and-after of the Hampton Inn site, let's go to the north side of N Street, just across from the stadium's Parking Garage C, and see the difference:
A bit of a change from the Quality Carryout.
And when I say that the Spooky Building 213 demolition isn't done, here's all that's left, other than rubble. So close. So very close.
Comments (3)
More posts: Development News, hamptoninn, photos, Square 701
 

These are all items I had hoped to write about more fully, but at this point I'd better just pass them along.
* FLORIDA ROCK: MRP Realty is now in control of the land at the Florida Rock site that will become the 350-unit apartment building that is the first phase of RiverFront on the Anacostia. A $65 million loan is expected to be finalized soon, and the developers say that the project will "commence construction by late summer 2014." (WBJ)
* BEVY OF PERMITS: If you browse the teeny type in the right margin of the JDLand home page, you'll already know that building permits have been approved in the past few weeks for the apartment projects at 1111 New Jersey and 1331 4th Street (aka Parcel N at the Yards, aka Arris). A tenant layout permit has also been approved for CBS Radio's first-floor performance studio at 1015 Half Street. Also, fresh off its zoning approvals, developers of the Homewood Suites at 50 M have filed for shoring/sheeting/excavation permits.
* LATEST ON 1333 M: Late last year plans were filed with the Zoning Commission for a three-building, 673-unit residential project on M Street east of the 11th Street Bridges. After some delay, a Dec. 1 hearing date has been set, and WBJ takes a look at recent filings, including some new renderings.
* THE YARDS, ONE PIECE AT A TIME: "Rather than purchase all 42 acres up front, Forest City buys each parcel from the General Services Administration as it is ready to build. The latest: The $28.37 million acquisition of 1331 Fourth St. SE, site of the 327-unit Arris apartment project." Total land costs so far across the Yards? $46 million. (WBJ)
* TUNNEL LATEST: With a council hearing about the project coming on Aug. 26, the Federal Highway Administration has postponed its final decision on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel until at least Sept. 15. But the delay is affecting residents and businesses. (WaPo)
* SCHOOL BOUNDARIES: The planned reopening of Van Ness Elementary next year passes another milestone, as its boundaries get included in the city's revamped map, released earlier this week. The final boundaries cross into Southwest south of M Street, shifting some students over to Van Ness from Amidon-Bowen, "to better align school building capacity with population and with boundary participation rates, and to support racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, where possible." (WaPo)
 

Materials filed with the Zoning Commission earlier this month are giving a first glimpse at JBG's plans for 1244 South Capitol Street, on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N, just across from Nats Park's Parking Lot C.
It will be a residential building with 290ish units and about 26,000 square feet of retail, and the renderings indicate that the design by architect Eric Colbert and Hariri Pontarini isn't a "typical" Washington DC box-like building. Images show the building's west side, facing South Capitol Street, with only six floors of height at its middle, allowing the interior courtyard to be open to South Capitol from the 6th floor on up, breaking up the pure U-shape that is so often employed 'round these parts. A few more views (click to enlarge):
At left is a stylized version of the view that you'd see standing at Van Street one block west of the Center Field Gate, looking toward the big self-storage building and points to the northwest. At right is a closer view of the South Capitol Street facade and the courtyard, upper floors, and roof. (Note that in these three drawings you can see hints of Akridge's proposed Half Street residential building on the perimeter, though that's not appearing to be getting underway anytime soon.)
The 26,000 square feet of retail will of course warm the hearts of stadium-goers, and the filing indicates that the retail spaces will wrap around on three sides of the building. This rendering depicting the corner of South Capitol and N (with a certain dome in the distance) shows two stories of retail along both streets, with more ground-floor spaces designed along Van Street.
There would be 176 parking spaces on three levels below ground for vehicles and and 100 spaces for bikes. Residential units would range from studios to 2 BR/den. The courtyard and 6th-floor open space would have plantings and seating areas, while the roof would have a pool, lounge areas, and a bocce court (!). These plans also show "rooftop dining" at the far northwestern corner. (And will residents be able to sneak a peek at games while hanging out poolside? The image up top seems to show an angle for that to work, but it's hard to tell if the entire field would be visible.)
The design will get its Capitol Gateway Overlay District Review hearing on November 13, and it will be interesting to see how the Zoning Commission members react to the design.
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More posts: 1244 South Capitol St., Development News, zoning
 

On Monday night, the Zoning Commission voted to approve the design for the proposed Homewood Suites hotel on the northeast corner of Half and M, just across from the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station.
According to the Washington Business Journal, "Commissioners were not thrilled with the hotel design, specifically the rooftop trellis, but it wasn't a 'show stopper' for any member of the panel."
The commission also okayed the 175-room hotel's plan to only have 40 parking spaces (instead of the mandated 53), but to get that approval, developer Englewood LLC agreed to various transit-related requirements, including offering full-day Circulator passes to guests, designating a "transportation coordinator," partnering with Bikeshare, and installing an information screen in the lobby showing transit status.
Earlier reporting said that it was hoped that construction could begin later this year or early in 2015, though building permits still need to be secured.
While the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L has had the Near Southeast hotel market to itself since 2006, this Homewood Suites is not the only new entrant--a168-room Hampton Inn at 1st and N is already under construction, and an additional 170-room hotel is expected in that same block once "Ballpark Square" gets underway.
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More posts: Homewood Suites, Development News, zoning
 

The empty lot on the northwest corner of New Jersey and I with the address of 82 I Street is the latest entrant in the latest wave of residential news in Near Southeast, as public records show the 20,000-square-foot site has been sold for what the deed says is $12.25 million.
The Washington Business Journal reports that the lot was purchased by Greystar with plans for a 234-unit apartment building, with what they say is an October 2014 start date, though they'd better start filing building permit applications soon to meet that date.
WBJ also has a rendering of the building, designed by R2L and echoing its neighbors, the 70/100 I buildings and 909 New Jersey,
If it does start this year, it joins a number of other residential projects underway, including its neighbors-to-be across the street the Park Chelsea and 800 New Jersey, along with River Parc one block to the south, Arris at the Yards, the Lofts at CQ at 7th and L, and (presumably) 1111 New Jersey down the block (with Twelve12 now considered substantially completed, as move-ins have begun).
I do wonder if at some point we'll hear the story of the deeds exchanged between the previous site owners and CSX earlier this year for small plots of land, in what appears to be the wake of a lawsuit filed by CSX.
(And I'm irked because I had been hearing rumors of this for weeks, and had been checking public records religiously looking for confirmation. Then as soon as I leave town, boom.)
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More posts: 82i, Development News, New Jersey Ave.
 

I mentioned this the other day in reporting on the new oyster bar coming to the Lumber Shed next year, but in case people didn't read to the end of that post (gasp!), I'll pass along that the 327-unit apartment building under construction at 4th and Tingey in the Yards finally has a name: Arris. And a new web site, though there isn't much there as of now.
The project is now beginning its vertical construction, and is expected to be completed in late 2015. It will also have 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
The above rendering is the angle from 4th and Water, looking to the northwest. The shorter side of the building is the one that will face the Foundry Lofts, with the taller half facing 4th. Additional renderings are on my now-Arris project page.
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More posts: Development News, Arris/Parcel N/Yards
 

City Paper's Aaron Wiener has a piece out looking at how office buildings are turning out to be a smaller part of the Capitol Riverfront development pie than had originally been envisioned.
Some numbers from the article: "As of last year, according to the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, 50 percent of the eventual office development in the neighborhood was built out. By 2017, the BID projects, that figure will be 51 percent—an increase of just one percentage point over four years. In the same time period, the BID forecasts, residential development will have jumped from 24 percent to 47 percent, hotel development from 16 percent to 58 percent, and retail development from 22 percent to 50 percent."
The neighborhood cut its teeth in the late 90s and early 00s on office projects along M Street, so much so that officials such as Eleanor Holmes Norton warned of ending up with a "concrete canyon" that would be empty at night and on weekends. By the time Capitol Hill Tower opened in 2006 as the first new residential building in the neighborhood, seven office buildings had already gone up or were under construction. Since then, four more office projects have been completed, compared to 10 new multi-unit residential buildings (plus five more currently underway).
Wiener pegs his story on the transition of Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey project from a 190,000-square-foot office building (seen above in its original incarnation) to now a 394-unit apartment building that is expected to get underway in the coming months. However, long-time observers can point to multiple other projects where offices were the original plan. Let's go to the roll call:
* Yards Parcel D: You know that Harris Teeter at 4th and M you are tapping your toes for? Originally it was going to be in the ground floor of a 320,000-square-foot office building, paired with a 170ish-unit residential building at 4th and Tingey, when plans were first unveiled in 2007. It was in 2010 that developer Forest City then announced that the entire block would be residential and retail.
* Florida Rock Phase 1: When I started following the neighborhood lo these many years ago (i.e., 2003), the project known as Florida Rock was already well into its decade-long trip through zoning, with the eastern-most building on the site planned to be a 275,000ish-square-foot office building. But after stalling out around 2008, the first phase was recast in 2011 as a 350-unit apartment building that could be getting underway Any Minute Now.
* 50 M: This never got all that far, but after Monument Realty snagged the old Sunoco site at 50 M Street in 2007, the developer did market a 135,000-square-foot office building at the site. Now, after the land was sold in 2013, it's the location of the planned Homewood Suites hotel. (Interestingly, though, my initial posts about the sale of the property in 2006 mentioned rumors of a hotel.)
I don't have any renderings, but over on Square 737, home of the Park Chelsea and the spot where the Whole Foods will be, WC Smith had plans for that block to be home to both 600,000 square feet of office space and and 600 units of residential (though the company wanted a grocery store there ever since it acquired the land in 1999). By 2011, the plans had gone to nearly 1,200 residential units and no office space.
And original plans for the Yards had plans for office buildings on the H and I parcels (on the south side of N just east of 1st, where the big parking lot is), but now it's looking like there will be residential buildings on that site, possibly even within the next few years.
There's plenty of office developments still on the boards for the neighborhood--but while a few will no doubt eventually get started, will others eventually turn into apartments, or hotels, or gather dust for years to come? Or with so many residential projects underway/about to be, is there a housing bubble in the neighborhood that may take a few years to be worked through? We shall see. Time will tell. No one knows for sure. Reply hazy, ask again later.
UPDATE: Dang it, I forgot one! There's the huge project being considered down at 1333 M Street, which was announced in 2010 as an 815,000-square-foot office/hotel/retail project, but is now all residential (673 units) and retail.
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More posts: Development News
 
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