130 Blog Posts Since 2003
Go to Page:
DDOT's Move to 55 M Still in the Works
Jul 21, 2010 10:15 AM
updates its story from a few months ago
to basically say, yes, DDOT is still planning to move to 55 M Street
, Monument Realty's building on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard station. The city council has until close of business today (Wednesday) to decide if it wants to hold up the plans, and apparently the council's budget office is taking a close look at the lease, since it will cost DDOT about $6.9 million per year over 10 years to consolidate all of its workers in Near Southeast, compared to the $3.1 million it's paying now to lease space in multiple buildings.
just two blocks to the east, M Street SE would turn into Transportation Row if DDOT does indeed come to 55 M.
First Rendering of 'Reskinned' 225 Virginia
Jul 19, 2010 3:04 PM
The city's Department of Real Estate Services (formerly OPM) has put out a solicitation
to sublease 50,750 square feet of below-grade space at 225 Virginia Avenue
as a data center. While that may be terribly interesting to some people, probably the item of greater interest is the rendering on the first page, which is the first glimpse of the "reskinned" building, showing the current gray windowless monolith rebuilt into a more open structure that actually resembles an office building. The rendering is from the building's southwest corner, so the SE Freeway (not shown) would run "behind" the building. You can just barely see Capitol Quarter townhouses
at far right, making that Third Street.
The solicitation also says that construction is expected to begin in November of this year and last 15 months, with development being handled by StonebridgeCarras
while the city continues to own the land. When completed, three city agencies will occupy the building--the Commission on Arts and Humanities, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer [hence the data center stuff], and the Child and Family Services Agency. If you see people wandering around the site on Tuesday, it's a site tour for parties interested in the data center colocation. Responses to the solicitation are due to the city on July 30.
If you're just joining the story now, feel free to read my past 225 Virginia posts
to catch up on the many twists and turns this building has seen over the past few years. (h/t DCMud
DDOT Rumored to be Moving to 55 M Street
May 7, 2010 9:42 AM
Oh, I've wanted to post this rumor for so long (and have hinted at it on Twitter) but never could bring myself to pull the trigger when I couldn't get anything out of Monument or DDOT or any first-level source. But, here's WBJ
going where I wouldn't (subscribers only): "[The District Department of Transportation] has signed a letter of intent and is close to a deal on a 10-year lease for 150,000 square feet in Monument Realty's Half Street building at 55 M St. SE
, according to sources." Neither Monument nor DDOT would confirm to WBJ either, with DDOT spokesman John LIsle quoted as saying, "We are hoping to move this year. It may be ambitious, but that is our goal."
Originally DDOT was going to move to the Anacostia Gateway project, but that was cancelled a few months ago. WBJ says that, between DDOT's space and existing tenant Sayres and Associates (who apparently will be adding another 10,000 square feet to their lease), 55 M will be about two-thirds leased.
Another Waterfront Project on the Boards
May 6, 2010 11:49 AM
Thanks to one of the National Capital Planning Commission's fabulous documents
, we're starting to get first hints of plans by the Cohen Companies
for what they are describing as a three-building, 815,000-square-foot office, hotel, retail project on the very eastern end of M Street, nestled between Boathouse Row
and the CSX tracks east of Maritime Plaza
. It's so early in the process that it's not even on Cohen's New Projects page
, but City Paper's Housing Complex blog has learned
that the company will be putting together a planned unit development application to the Zoning Commission "over the next six to nine months." (No financing is lined up, though, so don't look for digging to start anytime soon.) See the NCPC document for some early drawings
and some basic information on how they envision the offerings of the three buildings.
(Cohen Companies, by the way, is the developer of Velocity
Back in 2003-ish, there were plans for this site to be a townhouse development (see page 15
), but those never got off the ground partly because of zoning issues
, which then begat an attempted rezoning of the area in 2004
that failed. But rezoning of the site will have to be back in the forefront when this project's PUD application hits the zoning committee, since the space is still zoned "M" (industrial).
The project is in front of NCPC because of Cohen's request to close "paper street" segments of Virginia Avenue, M, and 14th streets. This is a part of a settlement between 1333 M Street, SE, LLC and the city from a lawsuit over waterfront development in South*west*, where the Cohen Companies are agreeing to release their claims in exchange for three small pieces of government land at 1333 M SE as well as the city's support in requesting the street closures. (The street closures themselves have been approved by the city council as bill B18-0572
, and are expected to become law later this month.)
The NCPC is objecting to the street closures; and thankfully Greater Greater Washington has been writing in detail on the case, so I'm just going to throw it over to them
for all the nitty gritty, because it's way out of my league. (Read also this GGW entry
about connecting this area to the neighborhoods to its north if/when the remnants of the freeway to Barney Circle are removed.) But, again, the NCPC staff recommendation report
is also a great read for not only the NCPC's concerns but also for the history of the area under review and other details. The NCPC board is meeting this afternoon, and we'll see what comes out of the session (I assume GGW will be hot on the trail).
If you've never ventured down that way, my East M page
has a few not-particularly-current photos of the location (I don't get there very often myself), along with more images of Boathouse Row
. When the project begins to wind its way through the zoning process, I'll get more on the ball. The city's 2009 Boathouse Row Planning Study
is also a good spot to learn more about the area.
Thanks to commenter Evan, I'm reminded that I should have included the additional information that, because this is part of the old Washington Gas (and I think Steuart Petroleum) site, there are some serious remediation issues to be addressed, which are mentioned both by Ron Cohen on page 25 of this 2003 ZC transcript
and on page 19 of this 2004 ZC transcript
(saying that the contaminated soil is 11 feet down). Remediation is also mentioned in the 2009 Boathouse Row Planning Study
and in this EPA document
(under "Washington Gas and Light"). Oh, and the EPA's 1999 record of decision
on what cleanup remedies would be needed. It should be noted that both Maritime Plaza buildings were completed after this document. (This is all before my time, so I'm researching on the fly.)
Here's a WBJ article
(subscribers only for 7 days) on the NCPC angle; it also reminds that, outside the monumental core of the city, NCPC's rulings are purely advisory.
1015 Half Starting Again (Again) (Again)?
May 3, 2010 1:17 PM
We went through this back in early March
, when sharp-eyed JDLand readers passed along indications of work re-starting at the stalled 1015 Half Street
office building project, with a Skanska sign going up at the skeleton. But it disappeared soon afterward, along with the workers that had briefly materialized. But last Tuesday, faithful Tweeters again reported signs of life at the work site, and now WBJ is reporting
that Skanska USA Building
is indeed about to re-start construction, expecting to finish the 440,000-sq-ft office and retail project by the end of the year.
No tenants have been announced. See my 1015 Half page
for more details on the long and winding road this project has taken.
Movement at 1015 Half Street
Mar 9, 2010 10:07 AM
Some alert readers reported today via e-mail and Twitter that there is renewed activity at the site of 1015 Half Street
, where construction of the 440,000-sq-ft office building was halted in the middle of 2009 when owner Opus East went bust and liquidated
. (The Douglas Wilson Companies
was named receiver for the property in August
.) I've heard no official announcements, but the many liens against the property were settled in January, and apparently people are on-site, and a new fence and "Skanska" sign are now up at Half and L, so we'll see if the project is in fact moving again.
Construction Starting Again at 1015 Half
Oct 3, 2009 11:47 AM
I'm hearing that the Douglas Wilson Companies
--a San Diego developer specializing in "distressed properties and crisis management" that was appointed in late July as receiver for both 1015 Half Street
and 100 M
--is getting construction moving again at 1015 Half (along with "aggressively" marketing and leasing of the building). Also, a "disposition strategy" for 100 M is expected to be in place later this month. This appears to be Wilson's first foray into the DC market, though the company also has branches in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, and San Francisco. This San Diego Business Journal profile
of Wilson and his company gives a bit more info not only on the organization but on the role of a receiver in dealing with distressed properties. The two buildings hit the skids when Opus East collapsed and liquidated.
Opus East Files for Chapter 7 Liquidation
Jul 1, 2009 6:55 PM
Opus East, the development company whose portfolio includes the already completed 100 M
and under construction 1015 Half
office buildings, filed on Wednesday for Chapter 7 liquidation, according to the Washington Business Journal
. The article mentions the falling through of Opus's deal to sell 100 M to MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors earlier this year as part of the company's woes, and the building is part of the bankruptcy filing and liquidation. The 1015 Half Street
project, expected to finish late this year or early next year, is presumably part of it as well. No tenants for the 440,000-sq-ft office building have been announced.
Tough Times for Opus East and Monument Realty
Jun 19, 2009 9:05 AM
Two pieces from today's Washington Business Journal, both for subscribers only, tell of difficulties for two of Near Southeast's developers:
* Opus East
, which birthed 100 M
and the under construction 1015 Half
, is "teetering on the verge of bankruptcy
" because the "U.S. General Services Administration has refused to pay the developer for 'even one penny' of the more than $35 million the company has invested in erecting a new federal building in College Park." Its parent company, Opus Corp., is exploring bankruptcy or restructuring for Opus East and Opus West--two other Opus companies went into Chapter 11 this spring. The article also says that Opus East's deal with MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors of Detroit to buy 100 M fell through in May; but 1015 Half is, for now, "continuing in full swing."
* And Monument Realty
is having trouble
, though not on Half Street
--"At the end of May, at least three contractors filed suit in D.C. Superior Court to enforce more than $1.3 million in mechanic's liens the contractors filed against the last of three condominium buildings Monument is building at Potomac Place Tower near the Southwest waterfront. [...] At least one of the contractors is asking the court for a forced sale, if necessary, to collect amounts due."
JPI East, Akridge Principals Form New Company
Jun 12, 2009 10:25 AM
From today's Washington Business Journal
(subscribers only), news that Jim Butz and Greg Lamb of what was once JPI East have taken over what was left of that company (down to 22 employees from 380 a few years ago) and are partnering with Matt Klein and other principals at Akridge to create the Jefferson Apartment Group. Butz and Lamb "continue to hold a partnership stake in JPI [Multifamily]'s holdings," which includes 70 and 100 I
and 909 New Jersey
. The article says that Jefferson Apartment Group is "already targeting five properties" in DC, Philadelphia, and Boston, and "is in the early stages of planning and zoning new developments in Fairfax Count and Philadelphia," but doesn't mention what may be happening with 23 I
, the fourth JPI property in Near Southeast on the Wendy's site at Half and I.
Tenants Coming to 20 M and 55 M?
Jun 5, 2009 12:17 PM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal
(subscribers only), news that two as-yet-unoccupied office buildings in Near Southeast may be close to securing tenants. WBJ says that Monument Realty is "in discussions" with Booz Allen Hamilton to lease more than 30,000 square feet of space at 55 M
(currently home to Artomatic
), though Booz is apparently also looking at Lerner's 20 M
across the street and the under-construction 1015 Half
a block to the north.
The article also says that an "undisclosed federal agency is on the cusp of announcing" a 100,000-sq-ft lease at 20 M
. I have heard murmurings of some outfit moving to 20 M--if someone wants to whisper in my ear who it is, I'm listening
Fun With Permits; Meeting Reminder; Bullpen
May 19, 2009 9:38 AM
The city's building permits feed
hasn't been working with perfection of late, so I'm only now seeing some recent permits of interest:
* As many folks have seen (and as I Twittered
last week), the asphalt is being pulled up on the southern end of Canal Park
(here's a photo from last Friday
, taken at Second and M). Two building permits have been approved for the southern two blocks, allowing for "interior cleaning [...] to remove pavement import top soil and plant grass." Hopefully the northern block will get a makeover too. (UPDATE:
Commenter Scott says that work on the northern block is already underway.)
* Monument Realty has gotten a six-month extension on the raze permit for the Domino's at South Capitol and M
. And, though it's outside my redrawn boundaries, I'll mention that 1244 South Capitol
(home to the stalled Camden Development apartment building) got a final six-month extension on a raze permit for that site. (Though I was bummed to see on Opening Night at the ballpark that the little red brick building that had been left standing for so long was finally gone
* A final (belated) reminder that the latest Anacostia Waterfront Forum
is tonight at 6:30 pm at the MLK Library. The topic is "Waterfronts and the World's Great Capital Cities," with office of planning director Harriet Tregoning.
* The Post wrote a piece in the Sunday Business Section about Bo Blair
, the Georgetown Events "restaurateur / entrepeneur." Fun fact: he's paying $25,000 a month in rent for the space on Akridge's land
at Half and N
Demolition Underway at Old Bus Garage
Mar 28, 2009 6:50 PM
Don't know if the work started on Friday or today, but a late-evening drive down M Street brought the surprise news that demolition is now underway on the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage
at Half and M. The demo is starting at its southeastern end (closer to N Street), and I can't imagine it'll take too long to dismantle the building. There's scaffolding now in place for a pedestrian walkway along the garage's M Street face. This is the first demolished building of 2009 in the neighborhood, and the 154th since I started photographing the neighborhood. (Browse the previous 153 via my Demolished Buildings gallery
.) The bus garage site, now owned by Akridge, is slated to be replaced with 700,000-sq-ft of office, residential, and retail offerings, with construction perhaps beginning in 2010.
When I was circling the block to check the extent of the demolition (made more difficult by Half Street currently being closed so that infrastructure work can be done), I drove past the Center Field Gate at the ballpark
and saw that the blank concrete wall that used to be the northern face of the Red Porch restaurant is now floor-to-ceiling windows, looking onto the plaza.
(Not Quite So) New Photos: 1015 Half, 55 M
Mar 27, 2009 4:15 PM
I was remiss in not mentioning earlier this week that I also posted updated photos on Saturday of the construction underway at 1015 Half Street
(you old-timers can enjoy the shots of Nation one more time) as well as the all-but-completed 55 M
Street (though the utilty work on Half Street prevented me from getting any photos other than of the northern part of the building).
For additional photos other than the ones on the project pages, check the Photo Archive for Half and I
, and M
, Van at M
, and Cushing at L
(which will also show you updated pics for other nearby projects, like Velocity
Four Renderings of Akridge's Half Street
Mar 9, 2009 10:28 AM
With thanks to the folks at Akridge
, I at last have some renderings of their planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on Half Street, which I've added to my project page
and paired with the "before" photos of the same location. These are the plans that were approved by the Zoning Commission last month
, and you can read my more detailed description
of the project for additional information. Construction could begin in 2010.
Zoning Commission Approves Akridge Half Street
Feb 26, 2009 7:51 PM
On Monday night, the Zoning Commission gave final approval to the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
of Akridge's Half Street project
, on the site of the old WMATA bus garage at Half and M. Normally this would be where I would link to my entry with a detailed description of the late January hearing on this review--except that I couldn't find it. And as I thought back, it then dawned on me that I didn't actually write one. I think I was waiting to see if maybe I could get some renderings (which I've failed at), and then life sped onward. Oops. Feel free to ask for your money back.
The 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project could get underway in early 2010. The bus garage will probably be demolished pretty soon, to clear the space for stadium parking.
Reminder: Akridge/Half Street at Zoning Commission
Jan 28, 2009 9:30 PM
There's also the Office of Planning's hearing report
for the project, which was prepared a few weeks ago; it says that OP is "very supportive of the project" but was unable to make a recommendation at the time of the report because it required additional information. I believe there's been some back-and-forth between Akridge and the planning office since then, but details will have to come at the hearing. The OP report is a good offering if you want a pretty detailed analysis of how the project stands up against the CG Overlay
requirements as well as explaining the various exceptions and variances being requested.
If you don't feel like schlepping down to the Zoning Commission offices at 441 4th St., NW at 6:30 pm (and there's no one who understands that more than me), you can watch the proceedings on live webcast
(no archived offerings, though). I imagine I might send a Tweet
or two, if there's something worthwhile.
First Tidbits on Akridge's 25 M Project at Half Street
Dec 9, 2008 2:00 PM
It's been more than a year since WMATA first awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage
property at Half and M to Akridge
(and almost six months since the suit brought by Monument Realty over the bidding process was settled
), and at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting there was a first public peek at the designs for this central site being called 25 M Street, on the block just north of Nationals Park
bounded by Half, M, N, and Van. And clearly Akridge is taking this project very seriously, as they arrived at the meeting with an army of people, including heavy-hitter architects Bill Hellmuth of HOK
(who designed the office portion), Philip Esocoff of Esocoff and Associates
(designers of the residential portion), and Jon Eisen of StreetSense
(the group working on the retail).
I don't have any renderings yet (hope to within a month or so), but the ones displayed showed buildings with what Hellmuth described as "much more active facades" that "are not like a K Street monolith." There will be three buildings: two office buildings totaling 363,000 square feet, and a 276-unit residential building at N Street with roof terraces from which residents can look into the ballpark and watch the games. The facades step "out" and "in" (far enough in some places to require a zoning special exception), including some spots in the M Street office building that will allow tenants to look south into the ballpark, too. The general feel is not unlike the Monument designs
for the other side of Half. (And, with a raze permit already requested
, none of this incorporates the existing bus garage building.)
There will also be 56,000 square feet of retail, with a mix of one-, two-, and 2 1/2-story spaces occupying 69 percent of the ground floor, which will require a special exception from the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay
's requirement of 75 percent. They are expecting to have national retailers for the spaces along Half Street, but are planning to look for smaller local "service" retailers for the additional space along Van Street.
They are also creating what they call the "Via," a pedestrian-only "street" that runs from Half to Van between the two office buildings at the same spot in their block as "Monument Street" will be across the way (just south of 55 M
). They are envisioning a "one-of-a-kind" DC destination: a marketplace with stalls and local vendors, where you could get fresh food, "quick-bite" carry-out, etc. (They mentioned Pittsburgh as an example, and I'm assuming they're referencing the Strip District
.) The renderings also showed two glass-enclosed suspended walkways above the Via to connect the two office buildings.
The entire project will be LEED certified (as is now required in DC), though they aren't sure yet what level they'll be shooting for ("the goal is to get as high as we can"). Hellmuth said that HOK is not doing a single building in DC right now that isn't at least LEED Silver, and that all major tenants want to be in LEED buildings.
I didn't get the total number of underground parking spaces, but the residential will have three spaces for every four units. (Monument's project across the street, of similar size, would eventually have about 700 spaces.)
Akridge indicated that their "ideal start date" is January 2010, with construction of the entire 700,000-sq-ft project estimated at 22 months. But there is no firm commitment that it will start at that time (thanks to the Current Economic Situation), plus it could end up being built in phases.
The ANC commissioners seemed receptive to the plans (Bob Siegel said that it gave him a "nice, warm feeling"), though with the usual questions about employment for local residents and LSDBE considerations, and concerns about residents and tenants having to work around ballpark traffic.
Akridge was officially at the ANC to request its support for both the zoning overlay review and the special exceptions
being requested. While some commissioners were ready to vote to give support immediately, others weren't, and so after a number of differing motions that all failed it was decided that representatives of both sides would work together to discuss "issues" so that the ANC can vote on the project at its Jan. 12 meeting. The Zoning Overlay Review hearing is on Jan. 29
And, not that there's much to see yet, but I do know have an Akridge/25 M project page
, mainly with views of the bus garage from various angles.
Zoning Overlay Review for Akridge Half Street Project
Nov 25, 2008 12:42 PM
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
) 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.
Raze Permit Application Filed for Bus Garage
Sep 26, 2008 6:51 PM
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.
Go to Page: