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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Florida Rock
See JDLand's Florida Rock Project Page
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Homewood Suites Hotel
1111 New Jersey
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1244 South Capitol
Florida Rock
Ballpark Square
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Southeast Blvd.
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Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
New Barracks
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Capper Apts.
250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
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1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
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1015 Half Street ('10)
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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)
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Marine Barracks ('04)
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Monday (Nov. 19) is the monthly Zoning Commission meeting, and Florida Rock (or, "RiverFront on the Anacostia") is one of the agenda items. I *believe* it's going to be a request for a new hearing on the project's revised design, which I first posted here in June, and which received favorable comments from the Zoning Commission in July. (This is a modification to the second-stage PUD, for those In The Know.) The meeting is at 6:30 pm, and will be shown via live webcast.
As always, this monthly zoning meeting overlaps with ANC 6D's monthly meeting; I haven't yet seen an agenda for that meeting, so at this point, I'm going to commit myself to finding out what's up with Florida Rock. (I knew I shouldn't have given the entire JDLand staff the week off at Thanksgiving.)
If you're arriving late and don't know what Florida Rock is, the project page will give you most of the scoop. But the short version is that it's the nearly six acres of land directly south of the ballpark, on the Anacostia River. The developers have been working for nearly 10 years to get this property transitioned away from the concrete business currently there to a 1.1 million square foot mixed-use waterfront destination.
At the February meeting where approval of the design was expected, the Zoning Commission unexpectedly sent the architects back to the drawing board, wanting a greater amount of residential space in the project, better views to and from the ballpark, and a better "expression of place." And now the developers are hoping to get this project moving forward, so that perhaps the first phase--an office-building with ground-floor retail and a public plaza on the easternmost end of the site, next to Diamond Teague Park--could get underway in 2008. The rest of the project, with a hotel, residential building, office building, public spaces, retail, and the riverwalk along the Anacostia, could take a while to be completed, especially given that the western portion of the site is probably not going to be ready until the current Douglass Bridge is demolished and the new new Douglass Bridge is built.
You can see the latest renderings, along with some watercolors and much more detailed descriptions of the revised design, on the project page.
UPDATE: The ANC agenda is now online, and other than the ballpark liquor license application that I wrote about a few weeks ago, there's no pressing Near Southeast news listed.
 

The draft agenda for tomorrow's (Nov. 15) monthly meeting of the Commission on Fine Arts indicates that there will be a presentation of a revised design for Diamond Teague Park. The city initially brought the park in front of the CFA back in September, where according to the meeting's minutes the design was met with a number of concerns about its "fussy and timid" small-scale design when compared to the grand scope of the ballpark across the street; it was described as "overly focused on small elements that are conceptually inappropriate within the large-scale context." (And I'm not sure that the landscape architect's response that the grand staircase of the ballpark should be reduced in size in order for it to better relate to this new smaller park was the best reply.) A post-meeting letter from the CFA after the meeting outlined the revisions the commission was seeking.
I suggest reading the CFA minutes, which give a very detailed description of the initial plans for the park as well as the back-and-forth between the commissioners, Judi Greenberg of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and landscape architect Jonathan Fitch; you can look at these original park designs on the web site of Fitch's Landscape Architecture Bureau, by navigating through all the Flash ridiculousness to Projects, then Green, then Diamond Teague.
According to the minutes, the plans are to build the park in three phases, starting with the commercial and recreational piers and the central portion of the park (on the one section of land the city currently owns); later phases would be dependent on Florida Rock's development of its planned public plaza abutting Teague Park and the development of the southern portion of the WASA site as well as the construction of a floating boardwalk to connect the park to the waterfront park at The Yards (scheduled for completion in 2010). If you're interested in the water taxis that the city envisions docking at Teague Park, the minutes have a lot of detail about how their operations would work; apparently a lot of coordination is going on with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, though there's yet to be any design released by the Corps for public comment.
There was a fair amount of discussion about whether the park's scale can accommodate the large number of visitors that will be drawn over by the ballpark and by the proposed water taxi piers, as well as questions about whether the park should even be built if WASA (right next door) is not addressing sewer overflow issues. (Lovely.)
Six weeks later, on Nov. 1, the park went through another of its many required reviews, this time by the National Capital Planning Commission, which "commented favorably" on the park's design without discussion; the staff recommendation document has a black-and-white site plan for the park that does seem to have been reworked in response to the CFA comments, but I don't know for sure if that's the same design being presented to the CFA on Thursday.
I won't be able to go to the CFA meeting, so hopefully I can get some information on what transpires without having to wait too long, although so far the city has held information about the park very close to its vest. In the meantime, you can look at my pictures of the site and see what little background links and info I've been able to scrounge up.
UPDATE, 11/19: The CFA did approve this revised design at the 11/15 meeting.
 

I don't know how I missed this (I'm going to blame my RSS reader), but back in September the Commission on Fine Arts was shown a design for Diamond Teague Park, the new public space being planned for the foot of First Street across from the ballpark. Just posted on the CFA web site is a letter from the commission to Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, whose office is now handling the park's creation, laying out some problems that the commission had with the initial design. The letter led me to the web site of Landscape Architecture Bureau, which is designing the park, and I found deep in it some sitemaps and renderings of the park that look to be of the initial design shown to the CFA. (What is it with architecture and design firms and their insistence on building Flash sites that make it impossible to link directly to anything? Aaaaargh! Stop it! Stop it!!!!)
I've added one of these drawings to my Diamond Teague page so that you don't have to spend a bunch of time digging to find it, and on it you can see "the small triangular subdivisions and narrow walkways to the floating docks" that the CFA described as "fussy and timid and not in scale with the stadium and its visual connection to the river."
The city seems to have responded quickly, because a revised design for the park is now on the CFA agenda for its Thursday, October 18 meeting. (A pretty speedy turnaround--does this mean they are trying to get something done with the park to coincide with Opening Day 2008?)
Even if the specifics of the design change, I'm guessing the general layout will remain the same. The map shows a water taxi pier to be built near the Earth Conservation Corps pumphouse, and the floating bridge connecting this part of the riverfront with the waterfront park at The Yards. I'm also interested to see on this site map that apparently Potomac Avenue is going to be extended east of First Street, to then turn north on a line with a new "1 1/2 Street" that will eventually run parallel to First Street in The Yards.
(As for Florida Rock next door, there had originally been rumors that it was going to have a setdown hearing at this month's Zoning Commission public meeting, but it's not on the agenda, and appears to have been delayed at least until November.)
UPDATE: I've removed the sitemap of the park, after having heard that it's an older design that doesn't show what the proper boundaries of the park will be, especially on the western side that abuts the Florida Rock property. Hopefully we'll be able to see a copy of the newer design they're working on soon.
 

The developers of the Florida Rock site immediately to the south of the new ballpark have been spending the past few months working to flesh out the new design unveiled back in June, and apparently will be going to the Zoning Commission on Oct. 15 for setdown of their new application for a second-stage PUD. (If you understood almost nothing in that last sentence, don't worry about it.) That means a full hearing on the new design could possibly happen before the end of 2007, and if the bureaucratic gods align, perhaps work could begin on the first phase of the project in 2008. I've received a few new renderings showing a bit more detail, and have added them to my Florida Rock page (I'm not ready to start officially calling it RiverFront on the Anacostia just yet). Look for the icon to see them.
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning
 

Once again venturing reluctantly into the world of live human beings, I went to last night's Zoning Commission meeting. Here's a wrapup:
* After waiting a month to get input from the Office of Planning, the ZC gave some guidance on Florida Rock's revised plans for its 5.8-acre site on the Anacostia. The phrase uttered most often was "on the right track" -- each commissioner mentioned something in the new designs that they weren't completely crazy about (the glass "campanile" viewing tower on the east building seemed not to have wowed them), but they were mainly complimentary, making clear that the new design was an improvement over the last go-round and is closer to what the ZC wants to see on the site. (Read my entry from February for more background on the ZC's objections to the last design.)
This was not any sort of decision-making stage--the Florida Rock developers were wanting to make sure that they didn't expend vast amounts of energy pursuing a design that would end up again being nixed by the commission, and now with the sense that their latest idea has the ZC's support, they can work on their designs in more detail and apply for a modification to their second-stage PUD, which would then have a public hearing. I don't have any idea at this point what the time frame on this would be.
* Camden Development's planned 276-unit residential building at 1325 South Capitol Street was looking for a vote to approve its PUD, after a hearing a few weeks ago when Commissioner Turnbull complained that the western side of the building (facing Southwest) wasn't designed well enough given how "on display" it will be, and Commissioner Hood wanted more information on how the affordable units would be allocated throughout the building. So tonight, after some revised submittals, it came before the commission for a vote to approve its design--and Commissioner Turnbull complained that the western side of the building wasn't designed well enough given how "on display" it will be, and Commissioner Hood wanted more information on how the affordable units would be allocated throughout the building. In other words, neither felt that their concerns from last time had been addressed, and so have requested further filings before a scheduled vote on July 30.
* In an easier item, the commission voted 5-0 to give final approval to the design of the planned office building at 250 M Street. But, as reported a few weeks ago, developer William C. Smith has indicated that they are waiting for the building to be about one-third leased before starting construction.
* Finally (yay), the commissioned approved for setdown (meaning there can be a hearing) on Forest City's request for various amendments to the Southeast Federal Center Overlay as part of their plans to develop The Yards. These requests address some pretty darn technical issues in the overlay and are pretty baffling, even for obsessives like me, so I will just point you to the Office of Planning report if you really want to know what's happening. Please note that this is not the case requesting surface parking lots at The Yards--it's having its hearing on July 26.
 

With the calendar inching toward DC's annual August shutdown, there's a boatload of meetings and hearings on the agenda this week as everyone tries to get their work done before heading for the beach. Here's a not-very-detailed rundown, so follow the links if you want more detailed information:
* Monday starts bright and early with the "public hearing and preliminary finding" by the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District application, in Room 301 of the Wilson Building, 10 am.
* The Zoning Commission's monthly public meeting on Monday night includes a final vote on the plans for the 250 M Street office building and a first vote on the 1325 South Capitol Street residential project. In addition, there's a new case looking for various amendments to the Southeast Federal Center overlay; here's the Office of Planning report spelling them out. The commission is also scheduled to address Florida Rock's request for guidance on its revised design, which has the support of the Office of Planning. The meeting is at 6:30 pm at One Judiciary Square (Suite 220 South), but also can be watched via live webcast.
* At about the same time, ANC 6D is having its monthly meeting, and will be having a presentation and vote on Forest City's July 26 zoning hearing to allow temporary surface parking lots at The Yards. This meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 6th and M Streets, SW. (Having to make a choice, I'm opting for the zoning meeting, so it might take a little while before I find out what happened at the ANC.)
* Tuesday's city council meeting at 10 am will include a final vote on the bill to create the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District.
* On Tuesday night WMATA is having a public hearing on the proposed move of the Southeastern Bus Garage from its current location at Half and M to a new facility at DC Village in Southwest. (It's probably geared more toward residents near the new location.) There's an open house at 5:30 pm, and the hearing itself starts at 6:30, at 2700 Martin Luther King Dr. SE.
* The Nationals ballpark is having its "Topping Out" party on Wednesday at noon.
* WMATA's Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee is meeting in executive session on Thursday morning to address something having to do with the Southeastern Bus Garage, but they're not saying what.
* Thursday also sees the National Capital Planning Commission meeting that Canal Park fans mobilized for, with the NCPC's agenda including the zoning commission case approving temporary surface parking lots on various blocks in Near Southeast that include Canal Park in their boundaries. There's also a presentation on the the first phase of The Yards. The meeting is at 12:30 pm at 401 9th St., NW, Suite 500.
* Wrapping up the week (pant pant pant) is a city council Subcommittee on Economic Development hearing on the transition plans for folding in the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; it's in the council chamber at the Wilson Building at 10 am, and may also be broadcast on DC cable channel 13 and via streaming video.
And then I will spend the weekend alseep.
 

I've been posting over the past couple days all sorts of new photos: first off, there's the usual update to the exterior views in the Stadium Construction Gallery's main page and the more detailed north-south-east-west pages. The big change is the arrival of the scoreboard steel on the First Street side, which has also helped to give the stadium its more rounded feel when looking at it from the north. And, if you know what you're looking for, you can see the first real shots of progress on the west parking garage at Half and N, although it's still kind of hidden by trees and construction equipment. There's also my final shots from up on the South Capitol Street viaduct north of Potomac Ave. (waaaah!).
You can also see some new shots from inside the stadium, where you can get a better view of the scoreboard's progress and also of the seats being installed in right field. And the outfield restaurant is moving along as well.
I got a big surprise when I rounded First Street onto Potomac Avenue Saturday morning--all of the trees and growth on the south side of Potomac were removed this week, and the fence marking Florida Rock's property was moved back, in preparation for the widening of Potomac Avenue. I posted a bunch of new pictures showing the change on my Florida Rock page, but I'm not sure the photos do it justice. And of course it's about to change even more late this week when the Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover starts.
And finally there's a lot of new shots from various locations north of M that I took on Thursday, catching things like a new "Capitol Yards" sign at 909 New Jersey, progress on the Velocity Condos sales center, and even the new sidewalks on the northern portion of New Jersey Avenue if you have x-ray vision. It's hard to see in the photos, but the vertical construction at both Onyx on First and 70 I Street is now right at street level, so in the coming weeks expect those buildings to burst on the scene. You can see all these non-stadium updated photos compiled here if you don't want to poke around on the project pages.
That ought to keep everyone busy during a slow vacation-tinged week....
 

Today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal has an article summing up what's going on right now with various commercial projects around Near Southeast. (The online article is for subscribers only for the first 30 days; sorry.) Here are the new items:
* William C. Smith is planning to hold off breaking ground on its 200,000-sq-ft building at 250 M Street until it pre-leases at least 30% of the building.
* Opus East has leased 80,000 sq ft at 100 M Street (33% of the building) to government contractor Parsons Corp.
* Lerner's 20 M Street does not as yet have any office tenants.
* It also mentions that Opus East is planning to build the 440,000-sq-ft office building at 1015 Half Street (the old Nation site) on spec; but it should be noted that Opus hasn't yet officially announced its purchase of this property or its plans.
(The article also summarizes what's going on at Florida Rock, using some source materials that are hard to find anywhere other than here at JDLand. Note to reporters and other professionals using my site: yup, lots of stuff is posted here, and it's all free, but be a grownup and say where you found it.)
In addition, there's an ad in the print edition giving us our first peek at the Shalom Baranes design for 1100 South Capitol Street, Ruben Companies's planned 350,000 sq ft office building on the southeast corner of South Capitol and L. There's currently no timeline for development of this project.
The print edition also has a piece written by GSA about the US Department of Transportation completing its move to its new headquarters at New Jersey and M. It describes the HQ's interiors and exteriors, and mentions that this project is the largest lease ever executed in DC.

 

If you're visiting here after reading this week's Ballpark and Beyond column on the plans for Florida Rock, here's my page with more background and photos on the project. (And thanks for dropping by!)
More posts: Florida Rock
 

Last night there was scheduled to be a discussion at the Zoning Commission's public meeting about Florida Rock (aka "RiverFront on the Anacostia"); the developer and architect had requested guidance from the commission about whether the project's new design is what the commission was looking for when it asked for revisions back in February. However, chair Carol Mitten announced that the agenda item was being deferred to the commission's July 9 public meeting, so that the Office of Planning can submit comments on the plans. That'll teach me to drag myself down there and show up in person instead of just hanging out at home watching the webcast!
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning
 

I've now added to my Florida Rock page the new proposed site map and some watercolors illustrating the revised design of "RiverFront on the Anacostia." As I said yesterday, the architect has written to the Zoning Commission asking if these new plans are in line with what the ZC was looking for when it sent the planners back to the drawing board in February (by the way, here's the transcript of that meeting); the commission will be addressing this letter at its Public Meeting on Monday, June 11. It would be expected that then more hearings would be held on the new designs later this year.
I've tried to highlight the changes and new features of the plan beneath each of the new images, but apologies in advance if my text comes up short; I'm not exactly known for flowery prose and colorful descriptions.
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning
 

When last we left the planned redevelopment of the Florida Rock site that sits on the Anacostia River just south of the new baseball stadium back in February, the Zoning Commission had surprisingly sent the architects back to the drawing board, concerned with how the project's design was fitting in with its new neighbor to the north and with the its now-prime location as a gateway to the Capitol Riverfront area. It's been quiet for a few months, but I received word today that Florida Rock Properties and Davis Buckley Architects and Planners have a revised design for this project, as well as a new name--RiverFront on the Anacostia--and are requesting that the Zoning Commission review the new plans (described as "a holistic re-thinking", especially of its public spaces) to confirm that they "respond positively" to the concerns expressed by the ZC back in March.
There are still two office buildings, a residential building, and a hotel, but the configuration has now changed to create three distinct public spaces, including a large new commercial public plaza called "The Pitch" (with sculptures of a pitcher and catcher on a grassy mound) directly across from the grand staircase of the ballpark and next to the proposed Diamond Teague Park. There is also a "multi-story transparent atrium space" called "Potomac Quay" linking Potomac Avenue to the riverfront, and a large oval "Piazza Cascade" with a central water feature that is at the center of three of the four buildings on the site. The esplanade and bike path running along the riverfront remain unchanged.
Although the overall density of the development remains unchanged (4.4 FAR for those of you in the know), residential space is now 557,700 square feet or 2.2 FAR, which is 50% of the density (up from 40%); to achieve this, the residential building and the hotel building (which in the new plan would have two residential floors on top) would be 130 feet high; the east office building by "The Pitch" would be 92 feet high, and the west office building 112 feet. The amount of retail has also been expanded, to 85,000 square feet.
I hope to have electronic versions of the new site plan and some early watercolor imaginings of the revised design within the next day or so, and when I post them I'll include better descriptions of what the new design is hoping to accomplish. (Yes, I'm looking at hard copies right now, so I can see all these designs and you can't. Nyaaah! But hopefully you won't have to wait too long.)
The Zoning Commission has put this request for review of the new plans on the agenda for next Monday (June 11); if the commission indicates that the revised design is on the right track in terms of how it responds to the issues that the ZC brought up in February, then there would be a hearing scheduled on this proposed modification for the second-stage PUD, probably in the fall.
UPDATED to fix the incorrect amount of total residential space, which is 557,700 square feet.
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning
 

On Monday (May 7), DDOT is having a media briefing to announce that construction has begun on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. This is the first phase, and so doesn't actually include the planned portion of the trail through Near Southeast (from the 11th Street Bridges to the Frederick Douglass Bridge)--according to the AWC page and a meeting AWC held a few weeks back, I believe what's now being constructed is Phase I, the trail on the west side of the Anacostia from the Navy Yard to the National Arboretum. Phase 2 will be on the east side of the river, from Poplar Point to Pennsylvania Avenue, and Phase 3 (the Near Southeast portion) is probably looking at a 2010 date (when the Waterfront Park at the Yards is completed, and they can build the pedestrian bridge to link that park to Diamond Teague Park and Florida Rock.
UPDATE, May 7: A post-briefing press release says that the section of the Riverwalk now under construction is a two-mile stretch that will run from the Navy Yard east to Benning Road. There's also a link to a fact sheet on the trail (albeit from June 2006) that has a map of the planned trail and other information. And here's a WTOP piece on the new section.
 

Thanks to reader Scott for snagging this press release off the wires [links mine]: "Patriot Transportation Holding, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, Florida Rock Properties, Inc. ("FRP"), continues to pursue its efforts to obtain approval of a final planned unit development application for its Washington, D.C. property located on the banks of the Anacostia River across Potomac Avenue from the new baseball stadium being constructed for the Washington Nationals. In response to comments recently received from members of the District of Columbia Zoning Commission, FRP is seeking to refocus the proposed project to respond to the concerns raised. FRP believes that its proposed project, which had previously received preliminary approval, will complement the new stadium and will contribute to the overall redevelopment of the baseball stadium district. At this time, Patriot is uncertain when the Zoning Commission will act finally on the FRP application or what action the Commission may take." If you read on, you'll even get a nice little explanation as to how Florida Rock Properties, Florida Rock Industries, Patriot, and Vulcan Materials are connected (or not connected). It's like they wrote it just for me! For background, read these previous posts.
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning
 

Yesterday it was announced that Florida Rock Industries was acquired by Vulcan Materials for $4.6 billion in cash and stock (h/t to reader Mark). Like all good citizens of the 21st Century, my initial reaction was "Very nice, but how does this affect ME?" The Florida Rock property along the Anacostia River is actually owned by FRP Development (aka Florida Rock Properties, not the company just acquired by Vulcan) which is a subsidary not of Florida Rock Industries, but Patriot Transportation Holding Inc. Whaaa? Here's how it shakes out, according to the Patriot company profile at Reuters: "Florida Rock Properties, Inc. owns real estate, of which a substantial portion is under mining royalty agreements or leased to Florida Rock Industries, Inc. (FRI), a related party." You can get a feel for how these separate-but-related companies are intertwined by reading these transactions summaries. But to go back to the original question, of how the Vulcan Materials acqusition of FRI might impact the Anacostia riverfront Florida Rock project--I have no idea, but will watch for tidbits and hints.
UPDATE: I would have hoped this went without saying--no, this story is NOT reporting that the Florida Rock site across from the stadium was sold for $4.6 billion. It's a story about big companies acquiring other big companies. And that one of those big companies has interests in a site in Near Southeast.
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In other news from the same press release announcing the interim AWC CEO: "Yesterday, the District of Columbia, AWC and the JBG Companies signed a Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) agreement to secure the development of the US Department of Transportation headquarters, a JBG-owned property. The PILOT will fund $140 million in infrastructure investments for the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. The revenue stream from the agreement will be dedicated to support District issued bonds. These projects include: Southeast Federal Center, Anacostia Metro, Reservation 13, Ward 7 Waterfront, Marvin Gaye Park, [and the] Southwest Waterfront." See previous posts on this PILOT agreement here, here, and here.
That $140 million must be burning a hole in the AWC's pocket, because they've already posted an RFP for a Construction Manager for several AWC capital projects: "The total construction value for these activities is up to $140 million." There is a good tidbit buried in the accompanying press release, that AWC intends to break ground in 2007 on both Washington Canal Park and on the first phase of Diamond Teague Park, the planned 39,000-sq-ft public plaza at the terminus of First Street on the banks of Anacostia, nestled between Florida Rock, the Earth Conservation Corps, WASA, and the Nationals ballpark. (And who is Diamond Teague? Read this NOW With Bill Moyers transcript from 2004.)
 

Today's Washington Business Journal print edition (available online to subscribers only) addresses Monday's Zoning Commission decision to request large-scale changes to the Florida Rock development plan (which the WBJ had trumpeted merely a week ago as being on the cusp of approval), saying that the recommendations for a redesign "were news to the developer and the Anacostia Waterfront Corp., which has been involved in the project-planning process. 'We were astounded,' says David Briggs, FRP's representative and land-use attorney at Holland + Knight. FRP plans to meet with the District's Office of Planning to determine its next course of action. The Office of Planning is expected to reconnect [JD: recommend?] incorporating the commission's suggestions unless the developer wants to leave the site as is -- a concrete mixing and gravel storage area."
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning
 

The long and winding road of the Florida Rock project took a pretty surprising turn tonight, as the Zoning Commission opted not to vote on the second-stage PUD, instead asking the applicant for to come back with an altered design that addresses the commission's concerns: the need for a greater amount of residential within the project (up from the current 40%, with the understanding that this would cut down the amount of office space), better views of and from the stadium (specifically in terms of the views of the Anacostia River from the grand staircase at 1st Street, and also the views of the stadium from the South Capitol Street Bridge), and a somewhat amorphous desire for a better "expression of place" (something that makes the site and the project more identifiable on the waterfront side).
Commissioners Parsons and Jeffries led the discussion about the concerns; Parsons in particular was extremely concerned that the project--which started long ago, well before there was a stadium to the north--would be looked at as a huge missed opportunity if it were approved in its current form. He mentioned how originally there was great emphasis put on the need to keep the axis of Half Street running through the project (see the project map to orient yourself and understand the discussion), but now that Half Street doesn't exist anymore thanks to the ballpark, perhaps the site could be pushed in at the center to allow more space at its ends and to respond to the stadium. Commissioner Jeffries expressed that this should be much more of a "civic" location (i.e., more for residents and less for office workers), and that there needs to be a better design plan, and that the commission has a responsibility to "get this right." When Commissioner Turnbull said that these requests constitute "major surgery", Jeffries replied that in his view the project needs major surgery, that incremental changes aren't getting the project where it needs to be.
Next steps? Good question--there was talk about how, when an extension was requested back in 2004, there were concerns that if it weren't granted the Florida Rock people would just leave a concrete plant on this valuable land, and the commissioners expressed a bit of worry about whether they'd do that now--and Commissioner Hood, who was skeptical of these requests at such a late date in the process, said that if he were the applicant, he would leave it as a concrete plant at this point. Yeowch. I will keep you apprised, of course.
UPDATE: Monument Realty's Half Street mixed-use project was given final approval on a 5-0 vote, with the exception of one variance request. Commissioners Mitten, Hood, and Parsons all remarked on how much they like the project, and Parsons made mention of how responsive Monument was to the concerns expressed by the commission at the January hearing.

More posts: Florida Rock, Monument/Half St., staddis, zoning
 

Tomorrow (Monday) night is a big Zoning Commission meeting, with votes expected on both the Florida Rock second-stage PUD and the Monument Realty/Half Street project (The 250 M Street vote has been put off again.) This is available on live webcast if you're so inclined. If the projects are approved, there's then a public comment period before a final approval vote a few weeks down the road.
Also, the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has just announced a Tuesday meeting "to consider resolutions regarding development agreements with the JBG Companies and the Government of the District of Columbia related to the implementation of a PILOT agreement for the new US Department of Transportation Headquarters"--no, I can't really tell you what this means. The meeting can be listened to via teleconference (call 877-529-9893 and enter access code 800). See my Calendar of Events for times and locations.
 

Today's Washington Business Journal has a piece (subscribers only for 30 days) detailing the arduous journey of the 1.1-million-sq-ft Florida Rock project over the years (which JDLand readers are intimately familiar with already!): "Finally, its time has come. At least that's what developers of 100 Potomac Ave. SE -- which is along the Anacostia River and smack across the street from the new baseball stadium being built -- are hoping. FRP Development of Sparks, Md. started the redevelop process for the 5.8-acre site more than a decade ago. And now is waiting a final decision on the project plan from the District Zoning Commission Feb. 12. If approved, the plan would go to the National Capital Planning Commission review and come back for final action in April. It also would finalize one of the integral pieces of the Anacostia waterfront redevelopment, which has been one of the city's goals for decades. [...] The plan, as it is now, is for development of 1.1 million square feet spread over four buildings: 600,000 square feet office, more than 60,000 square feet retail, 160 apartment units and a 235-room hotel, all with 1,087 below-ground parking spots. In addition, the project will be set back 75 feet from the waterfront and will have a river walk that would provide public access to the river. " As for a timeline? "If the approval goes through, FRP Development will start work on the office/retail buildings on the eastern side and closer to the ballpark first, which could be as soon as next year, Briggs says. The rest of the project would be a phased development that could take another 10 years to build out because construction of the third and fourth buildings would have to wait until the District completes building the new [Frederick Douglass] bridge." You can see renderings and drawings on my Florida Rock page (with updated ones hopefully coming soon).
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning
 
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