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Updated Florida Rock Project Map
Feb 5, 2007 12:46 PM

The architects of the Florida Rock project (Davis Buckley Architects and Planners) have generously passed along an updated "map" showing the layout of the 5.8-acre site that sits between the Nationals ballpark and the Anacostia River. The project will have 600,000 sq ft office space, 92,000 sq ft retail, 160 residential units, and a 235-room hotel, spread across four buildings. There will also be a waterfront esplanade, and the eastern edge of the site (where a big portion of the retail will be located on multiple glassed-in floors) will be the western border of the new 39,000-sq-ft First Street Plaza that the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation is planning for the foot of First Street. The Zoning Commission is scheduled to vote on the Florida Rock second-stage PUD on Feb. 12; the project would take a number of years to be completed, but hopes are that construction would begin on the eastern portion in early 2008. And stay tuned, there hopefully will be new renderings of the buildings themselves within the next few weeks.

More posts: Florida Rock, Teague Park, zoning

Updated Monument/Half Street Renderings, Zoning Docs
Feb 2, 2007 5:05 PM
I've now posted PDFs of some of the Monument Realty submissions to the Zoning Commission for the January 11 public hearing on their Half Street/Ballpark District mixed-use project: you can grab yourself a really large, strong cup of coffee and peruse the opening statement (1 MB), the traffic study (3.7 MB, which I linked to a few days ago) or the architectural drawings (13.7 MB). I've also snagged the best of the renderings and added them to my Monument Half Street page. It's expected that the Zoning Commission will vote on this project at its February 12 public meeting, when zoning approval votes are also expected on the 250 M Street and Florida Rock projects. UPDATE: For those who aren't well-versed in the zoning process, I should emphasize that these are the submittal documents--at the public hearings, zoning commissioners ask questions and request clarifications and sometimes modifications, and so what will be voted on isn't necessarily what's seen here. But it's better than nothing!
More posts: 250 M, Florida Rock, Monument/Half St., staddis, zoning

Monday Night Zoning/ANC Roundup
Jan 9, 2007 5:09 PM

News from last night's ANC 6D and Zoning Commission meetings:

ANC 6D and Monument Realty finally reached an agreement on a community benefits package as part of Monument's request for support for its 55 M Street mixed-use project; in it, Monument agrees to a) give preference to ANC 6D residents in the lottery for the project's affordable housing units, b) make a $50,000 donation to be shared between Jefferson and Amidon schools, and c) make a $10,000 donation to a local scholarship fund. There was some grumbling from the audience that Bowden Elementary was left out, but the commissioners made assurances that with all the other projects coming down the ANC 6D pike, Bowden will not be forgotten. With the benefits agreement reached, the ANC then voted to support Monument's zoning review this Thursday night.
At the Zoning Commission meeting, the planned vote on the Florida Rock 2nd Stage PUD was delayed until next month. There were also three votes on amendments to the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay: Case 06-25, expanding the Overlay boundaries, was approved and sent onto the National Capital Planning Commission, with final ZC action probably coming in the spring; and final approvals were given to Case 05-10 (a series of additions and amendments to the Overlay) and Case 06-20 (an amendment officially allowing the WMATA bus lot formerly at Half and O to be moved to Buzzards Point).
And thankfully none of this prevented me from watching my Gators destroy Ohio State! That was the best part of all!

More posts: ANC News, Florida Rock, Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis, zoning

Redesigned AWC Web Site; First Street Ferry Pier
Jan 8, 2007 11:26 AM
A nice pick-me-up on this dreary Monday morning--the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has unveiled a redesigned web site, and it's certainly more pleasing to the eye. There's a page listing all of their projects, including pages on the South Capitol Waterfront & Ballpark District and Washington Canal Park in Near Southeast as well as the Southwest Waterfront, Poplar Point, Hill East, Kingman Island, and others. One new item from the South Capitol page, that the 40,000-sq-ft public plaza we've started hearing about planned for the foot of First Street at the waterfront will include a new ferry pier. Lots of people interested in the ballpark and Near Southeast in general have been wondering whether ferry/water taxi options would be incorporated, and I had always seen general discussions that they would, but this is the first specific description I've seen for a planned location of such a pier. Yay! (But I'm guessing we won't be seeing it by Opening Day 2008.) For more information (what little I have) on the First Street Plaza, see my Florida Rock page (whose developers have pledged $3.7 million toward the plaza's design and implementation costs, for what is expected to be a $15 million project); my Canal Park page has info and photos on that project as well.

This Week's Events
Jan 7, 2007 8:52 PM
Just a small heads up to highlight some Near Southeast items on this week's calendar: on Monday (Nov. 8), ANC 6D is having its monthly meeting (now at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 8th 6th and M SW). The agenda has not yet been posted, but I do hear that the continuing fight over the Monument Realty request for support for its alley closings at Half and M is again on the schedule--which is kind of interesting, given that the alley closings became law back in December; there are mumblings I guess about holding up Monument's zoning application, but who knows what's actually going to happen. Also on Monday night is a Zoning Commission meeting, where the vote on the Florida Rock 2nd Stage PUD is scheduled to be held. (Note that the vote on the 250 M Street PUD/Overlay Review was originally scheduled for this meeting, but has been delayed to Feb. 12.) And then, rounding out the week's zoning festivities, Monument will present its Half Street office/hotel/residential project to the ZC on Thursday evening. Note that both the Monday and Thursday ZC meetings are available via live webcast; I may actually be watching Monday's ZC webcast on my PDA while attending the ANC meeting, which is just wrong on so many levels. And, to make it worse, these two meetings will no doubt require me to time-shift my watching of the Ohio State-Florida game, so no one spoil the result for me (Go Gators! UF '87). The sacrifices I make.... UPDATE: Oops, forgot to mention that tonight's (Jan. 8) Zoning meeting is also scheduled to include votes on proposed text amendments to the Capitol Gateway Overlay (cases 05-10 and 06-25).
More posts: 250 M, ANC News, Florida Rock, Monument/Half St., staddis, zoning

Zoning News
Dec 10, 2006 9:23 AM
On Thursday night there was a zoning hearing for William C. Smith's planned 250 M Street office building (approval requests for both a second-stage PUD and a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review). There was a bit of concern from the commissioners about the ground-floor corner of the building that faces Canal Park and they've asked to see more renderings. Despite that, it's anticipated that the proposed requests will go up for approval at the ZC's January 8 meeting (the same day that the Florida Rock project may get a vote on its request for a second-stage PUD approval). In the meantime, the Public Hearing notice was published for a Jan. 11 CG Overlay Review for what we'll now call 55 M Street, Monument Realty's planned 750,000-sq-ft office, residential, hotel, and retail project that lines all of Half Street between M and N. They're looking for some relief in regards to setbacks, lot occupancy, private residential recreation space, and loading. See the hearing notice for information on how to participate in the process.
More posts: 250 M, Florida Rock, Monument/Half St., staddis, zoning

Florida Rock Zoning Hearing
Nov 28, 2006 10:57 AM
The planned 1.1-million-sq-ft Florida Rock development at 1st and Potomac Avenues (across the street from the new Nationals ballpark) had another Zoning Commission hearing last night, to address some of the concerns expressed by the ZC at the first hearing in September, chief among them the design of the east end of the east office building (see map to orient yourself), which commissioners felt disrupted the line of sight to the Anacostia River from the stadium's grand staircase and viewing platforms. This section of the building--which will house a signficant portion of the project's retail offerings--has now been redesigned so that one will be able to see the Earth Conservation Corps pumphouse from the center of the staircase. This eastern end of the development also faces the new planned First Street Plaza, a 40,000-sq-ft public park to be placed at the terminus of First Street, to draw people to the riverfront. Florida Rock is proffering $3.7 million toward the design, construction and maintenance of this park that the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation will develop (total cost estimated to be $15 million). The record is being held open for two more weeks, so look for a vote on the project at the January 8 meeting; I hope to have updated renderings showing the redesigned east building by that point. As for a timeline, Florida Rock estimates that construction on the first phase--the east office building--would begin in early 2008; there has been no announcement from the AWC as to any sort of timeline on the First Street Plaza (which presumably also depends on the acquiring of the WASA land on that site).

Upcoming Zoning Hearings
Nov 26, 2006 5:36 PM
Just a reminder (in case you don't stay glued to my Calendar of Upcoming Events) that tomorrow (Monday Nov. 27) is the continuation of the Zoning Commission's hearing on Florida Rock's 2nd Stage PUD. It's available via live webcast starting at 6:30 pm. There are also three more Near Southeast ZC hearings in the next few weeks and months: on Dec. 7 is the zoning hearing for William C. Smith's 250 M Street office building, which could be interesting because the discussion at the July 10 ZC meeting about this project (starting on page 72 of this transcript) showed the ZC members to be, one could say, somewhat skeptical of the building's initial design. Then, on Jan. 11, Monument Realty will have its Half Street office / hotel / residential development zoning hearing. Finally, on Feb. 22, the Camden Development residential project at 1325 South Capitol Street will have its Capitol Gateway Overlay Review. Interested members of the public should note that there are mechanisms built into the zoning hearing process for public comment, and if you feel strongly one way or another about a project, this is a time when you should make yourself heard. Visit the Zoning Commission web site for additional details. (Of course, the time when I decide to highlight this public participation aspect of the zoning process is when only one of these four pending ZC hearings actually has a Public Hearing Notice--containing the instructions for participating--posted on the ZC calendar.)
More posts: 250 M, Florida Rock, Monument/Half St., South Capitol St., staddis, zoning

New Florida Rock Renderings
Sep 27, 2006 10:49 AM

I've posted some new renderings and the revised site map for the Florida Rock project, with many thanks as always to the generous folks at Davis Buckley Architects for passing them along. The two new images of the east office building at 1st and Potomac highlight the three floors of glass-enclosed retail that has now been added to this location; you can also see on the site map the proposed 39,000-sq-ft public plaza at the foot of First Street. This east building would be the first phase of Florida Rock's development, with construction beginning if all goes well in early 2008. The project has another hearing in front of the Zoning Commission on Nov. 27 (here's my entry on how the first one on Sept. 18 went).

More posts: Florida Rock, Teague Park, zoning

Florida Rock's Zoning Commission Hearing/WASA Site News
Sep 19, 2006 1:02 PM

The Florida Rock mixed-use project had a second-stage PUD hearing at the DC Zoning Commission on Monday night; I missed the first 90 minutes, so I can't really give you a solid feel for how it all went; I did detect a fair amount of concern about the easternmost building of the project, an office building (now redesigned to include three floors of retail) at the terminus of First Street, specifically how it impacts the views of the river from the "grand staircase" of the ballpark. There were also still apparently some issues to be resolved with DDOT, the Office of Planning, and the AWC's new plan for a 39,000-sq-ft plaza at the foot of First Street. The Florida Rock folks will be back in front of the Commission in November to address the concerns brought forward. One interesting tidbit did sneak in during Adrian Washington's testimony--he said that the plans for the Ballpark District portion of the WASA site (AWC and Forest City are still in negotiations to acquire the land) is for it to be all residential, perhaps as many as 800 units. If that Ballpark Development Strategy ever sees the light of day, we'll get more details, I'm sure.

Another Day, Another New Map
Sep 12, 2006 4:34 PM
With the latest news about Florida Rock's design modifications, Monument Realty's bid for the WMATA land at Half and M, the still-in-limbo Stadium Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness, and the apparent moving forward by the Cohen, Camalier/Davis, and Welch families to develop their land along First Street, it appears that the Ballpark District is moving forward, despite the AWC's still never having released it's "Development Strategy" for the area. So, fresh off my success with my North of M map, I've created a Ballpark District map to better help keep track of what's happening. Be aware that the boundaries I drew for the new public plaza at the foot of 1st Street are not really based on anything other than trying to remember how it looked in Florida Rock's exhibits to the ANC. And no final design for the traffic roundabout at South Capitol and Potomac has been released yet, either. UPDATE: And, for the heck of it, I just added a page with both maps fused together, creating a pretty nice Stadium Corridor Development Guide. But be prepared to scroll :-).
More posts: Florida Rock, Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis, Square 701

ANC Approves Changes to Florida Rock PUD
Sep 12, 2006 11:34 AM
In advance of the Sept. 18 Zoning Hearing, representatives on behalf of the development project at Florida Rock made a presentation to last night's ANC 6D meeting on some changes that they've made to their design after consulting with the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation as the AWC works to create a Ballpark District around the stadium. One big change is a 52,000-sq-ft increase in the amount of retail planned for the site, now pegged at 92,000 sq ft. Much of it will be along Potomac Avenue, facing the stadium, but also in the first three stories of the office building planned for the eastern part of the site, at First Street--it's in this location where the AWC is now envisioning a 39,000 sq ft public plaza, with some of the WASA waterfront land being used for this park (Florida Rock has offered to contribute $3.5 million to the design, development, and initial maintenance of the plaza). It would serve to far better connect the stadium to the Anacostia River, and with the retail there as well, it's hoped it could be a destination that would draw many people down to the southern side of the stadium. Florida Rock has also been able to tweak the design of the western side of their land (which for now is under the old Frederick Douglass Bridge), and will now be able to build a large pedestrian pier sticking out into the Anacostia in that area. They've also been able to "twist" the upper floors of a the buildings to allow for much more open views. Building heights, density, and the 75-ft-deep esplanade along the riverfront all remain the same. In a stunning display of unanimity (for them), the ANC passed a resolution in support of the changes 6-0. I hope to have updated renderings and site maps of the new design within the next few weeks.

ANC 6D September Meeting Agenda
Sep 1, 2006 8:21 AM
The agenda for the September ANC 6D meeting has been released; items of Near Southeast interest include a vote on the request for alley closings on the east side of Square 701 and also a presentation on changes in the Florida Rock PUD in advance of it's Sept. 18 zoning hearing. (Perhaps the Square 737/739 alley closing will get added to the agenda as well, it was supposed to be referred back to the full commission from the Development Committee for this meeting.) The meeting is on Sept. 11 at 7 pm at 65 I Street SW.
More posts: ANC News, Florida Rock, WC Smith/Square 737, staddis, Square 701, zoning

Hotels in Near Southeast
Jul 19, 2006 7:24 AM
Today's WashTimes has "Hotel Industry Gathers Momentum in Near Southeast", keyed to today's "opening" of the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. (They're having a grand opening party tonight, but of course the hotel actually opened to customers in March.) The article mentions three other hotel projects on the boards, at Florida Rock (That's "FRP Development" in the story), Herb Miller's garage-wrapper plan just north of the stadium, Half and L (the Ron Cohen project, which I've heard nothing about for quite some time), and Maritime Plaza (east of 11th Street). The project it doesn't mention is the rumored sale at 50 M Street of the Sunoco station to a hotel developer of some sort--still no confirmation of that anywhere.

Florida Rock Returns to Zoning Calendar
Jul 11, 2006 1:33 PM

The second-stage PUD hearing for Florida Rock has now been scheduled for Sept. 18, having been originally slated for December 2005 but then postponed. Reading the two announcements (Dec. and Sept.), it doesn't look like there's been any significant changes to the application (though it might be hard to tell from these documents). My Florida Rock page has renderings of the plans for the development, taken from the documentation provided to the Zoning Commission last year. Note that this PUD was supported by ANC 6D 7-0 at it's November 2005 meeting--at this meeting, it was predicted that construction would begin in 2007 (moving east-to-west), but I don't know if that's still operative.

More posts: ANC News, Florida Rock, zoning

Stadium Construction Webcam
Jun 15, 2006 12:57 PM
The folks at Clark/Hunt/Smoot have launched a nifty webcam showing the ballpark construction site (as viewed from what looks to be the cement tower on the Florida Rock property south of Potomac Avenue). Looks like it updates around every 15 minutes. Hope this hasn't put me out of business :-).
More posts: Florida Rock, Nationals Park

New Page; New Photos; New Slideshows
Mar 13, 2006 1:46 PM

Here today, I am righting a wrong that has left me filled with guilt for years--I'm finally adding a page on my site about the Earth Conservation Corps's Old Capitol Pumphouse location, tucked away between Florida Rock and WASA on the edge of the Anacostia River. See the ECC's own web site for more information about what this group does for local youngsters and also for the river. (They certainly will have a front-row seat to the stadium!) And while I was out, I snapped a couple of shots to add to the WASA page as well as the Capper Seniors page, with construction on both #1 and #2 proceeding along. I also updated the Capper Seniors #1 slideshow. Just because.

UPDATE: I got on a slideshow roll this afternoon, and updated and enlarged the three existing ones (DOT, Capper Seniors #1, and Capitol Hill Tower), and then added two more Capitol Hill Tower slide shows, including one of the project's southeast corner, so you can watch the Star Market go from stand-alone to oppressed neighbor. So go play with them.

At Last, Updated Pictures
Dec 27, 2005 12:53 PM
It's a beautiful sunny day, so I went on a photo expedition. (Except that trying to take pictures toward the south at this time of year is almost impossible, no matter what time of day.) Check for new photos on my DOT HQ, Capitol Hill Tower, Capper Seniors, Florida Rock, M Street, and 20 M pages. As always, the  icon is your guide.

ANC 6D December Meeting
Dec 8, 2005 8:44 AM

ANC 6D has released the agenda for its December 12 meeting. Items of Near Southeast interest include: an update from DDOT on traffic and parking and the new baseball stadium; an Office of Planning presentation on the proposed text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay; a Public Space Permit Application for an emergency generator at Capper/Carrollsburg; and a ABC License Renewal for the 3rd and K Market. The meeting is at 65 I Street SW, at 7 pm. UPDATE: Agenda now posted. UPDATE II: You can read a report on ANC 6D's November meeting (with discussions of Capper/Carrollsburg, the stadium, and Florida Rock) in December's Hill Rag (page 5 of this PDF).

Zoning Commission Items
Dec 6, 2005 11:36 AM

Zoning Commission news: the expected Dec. 8 hearing on Florida Rock's second stage PUD has been cancelled, with plans for a new date in Spring 2006. Also, the new proposed amendment to the Capital Gateway Overlay has been approved for setdown (hearing date TBD); here is the Office of Planning's report and draft of the proposed text change that was submitted to the Zoning Commission for discussion.  If you have comments or questions or additional input, contact Joel Lawson at the Office of Planning.

More posts: Florida Rock, staddis, zoning
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