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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Development News
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1244 South Capitol
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New Douglass Bridge
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JBG/Akridge/Half St.
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Chiller Site Condos
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1333 M St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
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Just crossing the wires: "Chesapeake Lodging Trust announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the 204-room Courtyard Washington Capitol Hill/Navy Yard located in Washington, DC for a purchase price of $68 million, or approximately $333,000 per key." The hotel, at New Jersey and L, SE, opened in spring 2006 along with its next door neighbor, the Capitol Hill Tower co-op; both were developed by Valhal Corp. (whose principals then formed Ranger Properties in 2007). It will apparently remain a Courtyard; no word of what if any impact this sale would have on Capitol Hill Tower.

This was referenced in the flurry of stories on the company a few weeks ago, but Monument Realty has now officially announced that they have signed a 10-year 50,000-square-foot lease with the Federal Aviation Administration at 55 M Street, the building on top of the Navy Yard Metro station just north of Nationals Park. With this lease, DDOT's 150,000-square-foot lease signed last fall, and two other smaller tenants, the 275,000-square-foot building is now 85 percent leased, with only three smaller office suites remaining (as well as all of the building's ground-floor retail space).
The press release says that the FAA is expected to move into their new spaces on the 8th and 9th floors in April, and that DDOT is expected to complete its move to the fourth through seventh floors during the second quarter of the year.
As for the rest of the Monument Half Street project, which as designed includes a 200-room hotel and 332 residential units and plenty of ground-floor retail to the south of 55 M, the press release quotes executive vice president Douglas Olson as saying that they are"actively working to move forward with Monument's next phase of Half Street."
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More posts: 55 M St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., officespace

Flying around the Twitterverse yesterday and today has been a pile of links to "In Washington, a Historic Retail Strip is Revived," a New York Times article on Barracks Row, with a big focus on the portion of it south of the freeway often called "Lower 8th."
A quote: "But like many cities around the country, Washington is stuck with the consequences of allowing a highway to slash through an urban neighborhood. In 1962, the Southeast Freeway bisected Barracks Row. 'That became the moat,' said Michael Stevens, the executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, which has helped to promote development around the new ballpark. 'It created a large physical barrier.'"
The article, which has a festive accompanying photo of Madison Marquette representatives outside of the Blue Castle, mentions the Lower 8th Visioning Report that I wrote about last week, and also the National Community Church's plans to build a church and performance space at the corner of 8th and Virginia, which the head of Barracks Row Main Street is quoted as saying "will definitely be a catalyst for development. We have a number of investors who just didn't want to be first."
Speaking of which, NCC's Mark Batterson has posted on his blog today that their Capitol Hill campus "footprint is finalized," which I would guess means that the deal has closed for the auto-repair garage at 7th and K that I mentioned NCC was trying to acquire (if in fact that's the lot they're looking at, because it's never been said publicly). Batterson also says NCC is "doing another set of conceptual drawings," and that with the site finalized "we're full-steam ahead with designs." And: "Looking forward to initiating meetings with Historic Preservation, ANC, Riverfront Bid, Barracks Row Main Street, Office of Planning, etc. I think our development will be a catalyst for and part of the renaissance that will happen in that part of the city."
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More posts: Development News, 8th Street, Nat'l Community Church, square 906

I keep saying I'm never going to take any more photos of politicians at microphones, but who can resist them slinging sledgehammers? This morning there was a brief ceremony officially kicking off the redevelopment of 225 Virginia Avenue, turning what was the old Washington Star building and then Washington Post printing plant into 200 I, a 320,000-square-foot LEED Gold office building housing three city agencies. Here's a slew of photos, not only of the ceremony but also a few images from inside the building, as well as two renderings of what the lobby will look like when it's completed.
Though the sun was out, the assembled guests (and gate-crashers!) probably wished this little shindig had been held yesterday, when it was about 25 degrees warmer. But at least it made for a quick event, which didn't seem to bother anyone too much.
The renovation is expected to be complete and tenants moved in by the second quarter of 2012. The Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Child and Family Services Agency will all be occupying the building, and there may also be some "incubator retail space" on the ground floor's southwest corner. There will also be an art gallery in the new lobby that will open out onto I Street and Canal Park, showcasing works from the Arts and Humanities commission's collection. There will also be 180ish parking spaces on site, some in the building's basement but about 100 of them in a two-level parking deck on the 3rd Street side of the building (where the current surface lot is). And the loading dock will now be just west of 3rd, on Virginia.
The building was bought by the city for $85 million in 2009, and then leased it to StonebridgeCarras in a 20-year lease/leaseback agreement to fund the construction. You can check out my 225 Virginia project page for lots (and lots!) of background on this building, though the page isn't quite up-to-date with today's stuff. Yet.
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More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Development News, officespace

In my post about the Bier Garden plans for the northeast corner of 8th and L, SE, I promised a couple of extra tidbits about Lower 8th Street. To wit:
* Rumors abound that the National Community Church has acquired the auto repair garage at the corner of 7th and K/Virginia, SE, but despite someone saying otherwise at Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting, I'm told that no deal has been completed as yet. But even that at least confirms my not-terribly-hard-to-guess suspicions that NCC would be eyeing that lot for their new coffeehouse/performance space/offices, since they now own the land to both the east and south of the site. The garage's lot is 5,300 square feet, and was assessed in 2010 for just under $1.5 million.
* Madison Marquette, the developer who owns the Blue Castle at 770 M St., SE and is also now a partner in the redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront, is entering into a joint venture with the ICP Group, owner of the gray building (with Quizno's) at 8th and Potomac and other Square 929 properties that have been suffering from extended financing troubles. WBJ reported on this in late January, noting that those familiar with the deal "say Madison and its 'fairly deep pockets' will take over as lead developer for all the parcels." This also presumably gives Madison access to ICP's properties on Square 929, just across 8th Street from the NCC/Bier Garden block and to the north of the Quizno's block.
Squares 929 and 930 have been the subject of a lot of discussion as one of the sites that the Marines might be looking at as a location for their new barracks, because a development team could submit a proposal for a public/private partnership on that site if they controlled all properties on those two blocks. (This assumes the Marines do decide to go the public/private route; they could instead build additional barracks space on their existing land at 7th and L or manage to acquire some other government-owned site, such as the old Capper Seniors/Square 882 site, which is owned by DCHA but which seems to be stalled in its attempts to get funding for the mixed-income apartment project on the north side of the block.) There's also the Navy's potential plans to expand outside their walls, which could include some of the close-by lots along 8th or maybe the old Exxon site at 11th and M.
In fact, in an e-mail to me last month, ICP President Leon Kafele referenced these possibilities by saying that the joint venture with Madison Marquette will "position [ICP's] assets to better respond to the Marines Corps and Navy Yard supply and demand for a BEQ, retail, and office space on or around lower 8th Street Barracks Row." And Madison has mentioned in public meetings that the Blue Castle could become home to some of the "shared uses" that the Marines are hoping to have be part of any new barracks venture.
So, with NCC and the Bier Garden making moves on Square 906, Madison Marquette increasing its presence by making deals on Squares 929 and 930, and the Navy and Marines in the mix as well, does this mean that Lower 8th is starting to perk up? And, how will any new projects tie in with the Lower 8th Street Vision Report developed by the Capitol Riverfront BID along with all manner of representatives of Barracks Row, the Navy and Marines, business owners, and local residents?
I haven't written much about the whole vision thing, especially once the discussion of the Marines' land needs began to focus south of the freeway and it became clear that until they decide what they're doing about their barracks, any real discussion of what Lower 8th may look like in the future is very much up in the air.
That said, the vision report has mostly general recommendations that aren't exactly controversial: "Encourage a Mix of Uses," "Historic Preservation is a Must," improve the underpass to encourage pedestrians to come down from north of the freeway, address parking/circulation issues, and others.
But there is one concrete suggestion in the report: increasing height and density limits on some of these squares. The current 45-foot limit on 8th would be maintained for new structures, but greater heights (65 to 85 feet) could then allowed 20 to 30 feet behind existing historic 8th Street structures.
You can see on page 17 of the report some drawings of what the Bier Garden corner at 8th and L would look like with a 45-foot building on the site, and there are other drawings depicting height changes on the following pages, including allowing the less-historic western side of the Blue Castle to be built up higher.
The Bier Garden's one-story-plus-roof-deck design would seem to be not exactly what the visioners envisioned, but the developer has said he anticipates it to be a temporary structure (though that's not a guarantee). There's been no public opposition to the Bier Garden from the BID or Barracks Row Main Street--but no letters of support, either.
It will be interesting to see what the National Community Church comes up with for their design, and whether it'll try to take advantage of the desire for larger building heights set out in the vision document, if that idea ends up being embraced by the city.
And, there's still the Marines' decision to look for, which could be the biggest driver of all for redefining Lower 8th.

The Bullpen, the outdoor bar and festivities spot that has operated just across the street from Nationals Park during stadium events since 2009, is making plans to open a "Beer Garden" at the northern end of their current block, at Half and M streets, SE, facing the western entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. (See my high-quality graphic at right.) With 79 picnic tables holding eight people each, it would have a seating capacity of 632 people, and would offer draft German beers (and perhaps other European beers) along with German sausages, kielbasa, and other light (ahem) fare.
"Das Bullpen" [copyright JD] is being envisioned as having a very different atmosphere from the current Bullpen, with the beer garden not having game areas with lots of kids running around. There would be no amplified music, and it would operate during the same hours as Bullpen 1.0 (which will be remaining open this year as well). It would have its own entrance, right across from the Metro station's entrance, and would be fenced in and partially covered/tented in the same way as the existing Bullpen.
At an ANC 6D ABC subcommittee meeting tonight, a Bullpen rep explained that Akridge, the owners of the entire block bounded by M, N, Half, and Van, has informed the Bullpen owners of plans to begin construction perhaps as early as October of this year on the southern end of the block, where Bullpen 1.0 is located. (There seems to have been some sort of "hint" that if the Bullpen wants to have a shot at a permanent home in the new ground-floor retail spaces that will be available when the block is completed, they need to expand to this additional area this year.) If Akridge's plans are unchanged from what went through the zoning process a few years ago, the southern end of the block would be a 300-unit residential building with ground-floor retail. You can see renderings on my Akridge Half Street page.
As you can see on my cruddy map, there will still be substantial parking available between the two locations. (For old-timers, this new site is where WMATA's old Southeastern Bus Garage entrance was located.)
The Bullpen's lawyers are trying to determine whether this constitutes an expansion of the current operation, to allow Das Bullpen to open under their existing liquor license, or whether a new license (and then a new voluntary agreement with the ANC) will be needed. More to come, I'm sure.
UPDATE: And it should be noted that this is a completely separate venture from the Bavarian Beer Garden plans at 8th and L, SE. Beer gardens to the left! Beer gardens to the right!
UPDATE II: To clear up any confusion, they are intending to have Das Bullpen open this spring, with Bullpen 1.0 open as well through the end of the 2011 baseball season.
UPDATE III: Another clarification: The new site has no official name yet. "Das Bullpen" is purely my invention, because I wanted something catchy to describe it.

Both the Washington Post and the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) came out with stories this week chronicling the rise and fall and now re-rise of Monument Realty. They both describe Monument's high-flying ways during the real estate bubble of the early 2000s with "high-risk, high-return deals and an aggressive, cowboylike approach to development that rubbed the old guard the wrong way," followed by their near dissolution thanks to the collapse of their backer, Lehman Brothers. But thanks to some new deals around the region with different financing partners, Monument appears to be rebounding.
There's not been an announcement from Monument that I've seen, but the WBJ article says that Monument has signed the Federal Aviation Administration to a 55,000-square-foot lease at 55 M Street, which I believe would bring the building to about 90 percent leased. (At the time Monument announced their deal to lease 150,000 square feet to DDOT, they said the 275,000-square-foot building's office space was 70 percent leased.)
However, in detailing what it says are $500 million in new Monument projects around the Metro area leveraged from a $10 million deal with Atlas Capital Group, WBJ makes no mention of any intentions for construction to get underway on Monument's remaining Half Street plans just north of Nationals Park. The well-known hole in the ground, dug in 2007 when 55 M was built, is eventually supposed to be 330 residential units and a 200-room hotel, which you can see a rendering of on my project page or on Monument's Half Street web site. Monument also owns all of the land on the east side of South Capitol between M and N except for the self storage building, as well as the 50 M street lot on the northeast corner of Half and M.
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More posts: 55 M St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., officespace

This has been hinted at throughout the fall, and property records now reflect that the National Community Church/Ebernezers folks have added to the Miles Glass site on Virginia Avenue they bought in August by purchasing an empty lot around the corner on 7th Street, SE, for $875,000 in December. This now gives them about 19,000 square feet of land on Parcel 906, if my math is correct.
If you look at the satellite view of the block, you can see how NCC's holdings--the Miles Glass building, the empty lot just to its west, now and this separate empty lot on 7th across from the Marine Barracks--are connected. And one certainly has to wonder if the car shop on the corner of 7th and K/Virginia, now surrounded by a single landowner, is going to be staying in that spot much longer. (The other empty lot on the block, at the lower right, is where the Bavarian Beer Garden may be going in, creating the Saints and Sinners stretch along 8th.)
If you haven't been following along, the church's head, Mark Batterson, wrote on his blog in late August about the purchase of the 8th and Virginia site, saying that church is running out of space for services and staff at Ebenezers near Union Station, and since his vision for NCC is 20 locations and more than 100 staffers, they're looking at "going vertical" and constructing a building with about 50,000 square feet of space. They have been doing some "visioning" to figure out their plans for the site, and Batterson told City Paper in November about ideas of "two performance spaces, one at about 500 seat capacity and another at a thousand, with at least one level of underground parking to handle the crowds," but nothing specific has been announced yet.
The empty lot on 7th was once going to have a small apartment building constructed on it, but was foreclosed on in 2009 and sold for $400,000 at auction.
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More posts: Development News, 8th Street, Nat'l Community Church, square 906

On the heels of Monday's news of a new tenant for 20 M St., SE, Lerner Enterprises has just announced another 20,000-square-foot lease, bringing the building to 97-percent occupancy. This tenant is Systems Planning and Analysis (SPA), which will be occupying the 8th floor. They are expected to move in this spring, and will join the Bureau of Land Management, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the Columbia Group as the building's office tenants; Wachovia Bank at this point is the building's only retail tenant. 20 M was completed in March 2007.
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More posts: 20 M, Development News, officespace

Lerner Enterprises has just passed along the news that The Columbia Group has signed a lease for 20,039 square feet at 20 M St., SE, bringing the building to about 84 percent leased. The company--which does "technical services support" for the US military--is expected to move in this spring, and will be occupying space on the 7th floor. The other tenants--the Bureau of Land Management and Booz Allen Hamilton--are expected to start moving in in January.
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More posts: 20 M, Development News, officespace
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