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While we're all busy looking at the hole in the ground on the east side of Half Street, plans are apparently moving forward across the way: Akridge's 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage site (just across from the Metro station entrance) is now on the Zoning Commission docket for a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review on Jan. 29, 2009.
This project will cover the entire block bounded by M, N, Van, and Half, which is the stretch along which fans walk to Nationals Park from the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station. (Akridge bought the southernmost parcel from Monument Realty back in late August, at the same time it finally closed on its $46 million purchase of bus garage site.) A raze permit application was filed for the bus garage building in September.
There hasn't been much made public yet about this development, other than it will be a mix of office, residential, and retail, and the hearing announcement says that the FAR will be 7.9 and the maximum building height will be 110 feet. In addition to the overlay review (which sets out some firm guidelines for projects along M Street and in the Ballpark District), Akridge is also asking for relief from roof structure requirements, loading requirements, ground-floor retail requirements, and step-back requirements.
It's been reported that Akridge is expecting to begin on the project in 2010; they've hired HOK (designers of the ballpark and the Plaza on K), Esocoff & Associates (Onyx) and StreetSense Inc. to design what an Akridge press release calls a "one-of-a-kind destination." Quoting further: "'Half Street is the city's newest and most unique urban destination,' says Matthew J. Klein, Akridge President. 'This stretch between the Metro and the ballpark has great energy and we look forward to capitalizing on that and other natural amenities like the river, to deliver the area's best urban living, working, shopping, dining, and entertainment project.'"
I've marked this movement by finally giving the site its own project page (now separate from the old "Ballpark District" page). Hopefully in the lead-up to the zoning hearing we'll get a peek at some renderings.

Now winding its way through the DC regulatory process is a raze permit for the former WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, at 17 M Street (directly across from the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station and one block north of Nationals Park). The garage was purchased last month by Akridge, which has indicated that it is planning a 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on the site, perhaps getting underway in 2010. The permit request is currently under review by the city's Historic Preservation Office; ANC 6D would also have been notified.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Development News, Metro/WMATA

I think I Twittered a few days back about a couple of Monument Realty-requested building permits recently approved by the city for construction of a three-story underground garage in the 1200 block of Half Street. I wasn't sure whether this was just Monument getting its bureaucratic ducks in a row, or if it's an indication of movement on the south end of Monument's Half Street project, where a hotel and 340 units of residential are slated to be built just past the getting-close-to-completed 55 M office building.
Then, a few correspondents wrote in today to mention seeing the delivery of a construction trailer nearby to the site, along with a new "Bovis Lend Lease" sign hung on the fence at Half and N. Does this mean construction is about to commence? I've sent a message to Monument, but haven't heard back yet. In the meantime, there's always the Half Street Cam to keep an eye on possible action in that big hole in the ground.
A few folks have also written in about today's WBJ piece on the impact of Lehman Brothers's demise on various projects in the DC area, which mentions that Lehman holds an interest in Monument's Half Street project. This starts to get way above my pay grade, but there are some "Certificate of Satisfaction" land records from the mid-August where Monument appears to have paid off two "purchase money deed of trusts" held by Lehman totaling a little more than $23 million for lots on the east side of Half Street between M and N. (It then did the same a few weeks later for its property on the northwest corner of Half and N, which it then sold to Akridge.) So, perhaps Monument has disentangled itself from Lehman on these properties? (Like I said, this is totally out of my comfort zone, so if anyone wants to explain further or correct me, please drop me a line.)
As always, we shall see....
UPDATED, 9/17: Sometimes, the tea leaves aren't quite saying what they seem to be. Monument tells me that while they are "hoping" to begin the hotel/residential project by the end of the year, the movement seen at Half and N over the past few days is for work related to the office building and other improvements (not defined) on Half Street (perhaps the public space stuff I've been writing about).
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St.

This hasn't been mentioned in the items over the past few days about Akridge's Aug. 27 closing of its $46.5 million purchase of Metro's Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M: On the same day they closed on the bus garage, Akridge bought Monument Realty's land just south of the bus garage for $9.66 million. The site, a conglomeration of five or six lots that Monument cobbled together in 2004 and 2005, totals about 16,000 square feet along N Street between Half and Van, where the Good and Plenty carryout used to stand (for you old-timers).
To add one more Aug. 27 transaction to the mix: Monument also closed on its $22.7 million purchase of the 27,000-square-foot WMATA parking lot nestled between the Public Space Storage building and the old Domino's site, across Van from the bus garage. This is the land (currently Nats Parking Lot M) that Monument was awarded as part of the settlement of their lawsuit over the original awarding of all WMATA land on Square 700 to Akridge.
This means that Akridge now owns all of the west side of Half Street between M and N, while Monument owns the east side of South Capitol between M and N *except* for the Public Storage Building. (See my Monument Ballpark District page for photos.)
As mentioned in the other posts this week on Akridge's purchase of the bus garage, reports are that they are looking at a 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project, beginning perhaps in 2010. Don't know anything more than this at this point. Monument had been working on a residential building at South Capitol and N (land they still own), but I haven't heard if that's still part of their plans.

On the agenda for the Sept. 25 meeting of the city's Public Space Committee: an application by Monument Realty for 1200 Half Street (better known here as 55 M) to install various fixtures in public space around Half Street, described as 23 benches, 9 trash containers, 32 lights, 146 fountains, 8 bollards, and 18 bike racks. (UPDATE: I don't know what the deal is with "146 fountains"--that's what was in the meeting agenda.)
And, on the other side of Half Street, Akridge celebrates its closing on the Southeastern Bus Garage site (mentioned last week) with a press release. According to the Washington Business Journal, construction could begin on the planned 700,000-square-foot mixed-use project in 2010.

From today's WBJ print edition (subscribers only): "D.C.-based Akridge closed on Aug. 27 its $46.5 million purchase of the Metro bus garage site, which rival D.C.-based Monument Realty had intended to include in its opulent Half Street mixed-use development just north of Nationals Park." Akridge has hired HOK (designers of the ballpark and the Plaza on K), Esocoff & Associates (Onyx) and StreetSense Inc. to design what will be a 700,000-sq-ft mixed use development on the west side of Half Street. WBJ says that Akridge is hoping to break ground in 2010. (And, one small correction in the piece: the WMATA land that Monument gets the right to buy via the settlement of their lawsuit against Metro is not at the corner of South Capitol and M--which Monument already owns--but the parking lot just to the south, known as Nats lot M.)
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., Development News, Metro/WMATA

I know nothing more than this right now, but the WMATA board just within the past minute voted unanimously to approve the settlement of the lawsuit brought against them by Monument Realty over the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M. The discussion was all held in executive session, and the audio feed of the vote contained no details of the settlement, but I imagine the media will be picking it up soon. More as I get it, so keep checking back. Read yesterday's preview entry for background on the story.
UPDATE, seconds later: With the darn WBJ RSS feed not working, I missed this from about 40 minutes ago: ""Monument Realty and Akridge will split a key Metro-owned property near Nationals Park under a proposed legal settlement. [...] Monument will pay $22.6 million for a parcel on Van Street SE, while Akridge will pay $46.5 million for the Metro bus garage on the site, said Candace Smith, a WMATA spokeswoman." The Van Street site is the parking lot (Nats lot "M") just south of the Domino's site already owned by Monument. This means that the Public Space Storage building would be the only parcel on the block bounded South Capitol, Van, M and N not owned by Monument. Akridge would not gain control of the entire west side of Half Street with its acquisition of the bus garage: Monument owns the southernmost portion, directly across N Street from the ballpark, up to the alley where the On the Fly vending cart sets up shop.
UPDATE II: Here's the Metro press release.

From WBJ (h/t to reader W), hints that a settlement may be close at hand between Monument Realty and Metro over the lawsuit Monument filed in October after WMATA awarded the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M to Akridge. This is the third Metro monthly board meeting in a row that has "Monument Legal Issues" on the agenda for an executive session, but maybe this time something will actually come out of it.
Back in February a judge granted an injunction to prevent WMATA from continuing with the planned $69.5 million sale of the garage to Akridge, saying that Monument "demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that they were substantially prejudiced when WMATA considered Akridge's nonresponsive bid and participated in improper ex parte discussions with Akridge."

Just like last month, the agenda for the WMATA board of directors meetings this Thursday includes an executive session, and in that executive session is the agenda item "Legal Issues - Monument vs. WMATA." For those of you just joining us, this lawsuit is a result of the bidding process for the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M that awarded the site to Akridge for $69 million--Monument argued that they were supposed to have first dibs on the site after being named "master developer" by the city. A judge awarded a preliminary injunction on the sale in February, saying that Monument has "demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that they were substantially prejudiced when WMATA considered Akridge's nonresponsive bid and participated in improper ex parte discussions with Akridge." I never heard about anything coming out of last month's board executive session when this was supposed to be discussed; perhaps there will be some action needing to be taken this time outside of executive session to give us a hint.
There's nothing else of Near Southeast-interest in the other WMATA board meetings on Thursday, but the Subsequent Agenda for the Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee says that its June 26 meeting will include an action item for approving the term sheet on the Navy Yard Chiller Site at Half and L. A joint development solicitation for this 14,100-sq-ft site was released back in September of 2006. A "developer selection" was supposed to be on the board's agenda back in January, but then disappeared; we'll see if this June item actually holds. The 2006 solicitation described WMATA as "looking for innovative plans . . . that will yield quality developments for the local communities, increase transit ridership, enhance the local tax base and provide a stream of revenue to WMATA for capital needs." Proposals were also supposed to follow the principles of "transit-oriented development" -- "providing safe, walkable, mixed-use communities that emphasize transit connections and reduce auto dependency." While doing all that, the site's developer would still have to replace the chiller operations either on site or somewhere close to the Navy Yard station. has a brief on 1015 Half Street, the 400,000-square-foot office building by Opus East on the site of the old Nation nightclub along Half, K, and L streets. Excavation started last month, and they're looking at a spring 2010 completion date. It will be certified LEED silver at a minimum, and possibly even reach gold status. It's being built on spec, with no tenants signed yet. There's the possibility for ground-floor retail (the zoning for the site doesn't require it), and there will be three floors of underground parking, which I imagine will be available for Nats parking. You can see my 1015 Half page for photos of the site, though I haven't updated them since digging started. (Hope to get a new batch soon.)
Opus is also the developer of 100 M, which is scheduled to deliver this fall. And the GlobeSt article says that Opus is looking around Capitol Riverfront for other opportunities....
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More posts: 1015 Half, Development News, officespace, square 697
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