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Within the last few days, a sign has popped up in a ground-floor window on Capitol Hill Tower's New Jersey Avenue frontage announcing "Congressional Cleaners Coming Soon." Word was out many moons ago that this dry cleaner would be moving to CHT, but finally it looks like it's not far off. (There have been some recently approved building permits that pointed in this direction as well, but the sign is even better evidence.) So soon you'll be able to add dry-cleaning to the list of every-day tasks available in Near Southeast, along with banking (Chevy Chase bank at New Jersey and L), eating (Five Guys, Subway, Wendy's, McDonald's, and Sizzlin' Express), and of course, all of your beauty supply and wig needs.
More posts: Capitol Hill Tower, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail
 

It took awhile, but the demolition of the old Nation nightclub at 1015 Half Street is finally all-but-complete. (They left the three-story shell up for quite a while, but it's finally gone.) You can see Nation befores-and-afters on my 1015 Half Street page, or check how the Half and K and Half and L corners have changed over the past seven weeks (with the additional demolition happening on Square 699N across the street from Nation). And Nation is now immortalized as #136 on my Demolished Buildings page.

More posts: 1015 Half, Restaurants/Nightlife, square 697
 

With Edge, Wet, Secrets, Ziegfield's, and the other adult nightclubs having now been gone from Near Southeast for quite some time, I'm going to stop giving updates on their progress as they try to find new homes. If you're wanting to keep up with the latest, check out Frozen Tropics, who has been adding a number of entries over the past few days on the plans for some of the clubs to move to Northeast.
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

A couple of quick links in quick succession:
"Stadium Legal Expenses Mounting" from the Examiner, about the escalating legal costs still being incurred from the battles over the taking of the stadium land via eminent domain (Kwame Brown says the $611 million spending cap is not in danger even while the council introduces legislation to pay Venable LLP up to $3.8 million over the next two years to continue to work out the lawsuits by displaced landowners still pending.)
To cleanse the palette from that, you can read about the new 47-ft-by-101-ft high-definition video screen (scroll to the bottom of the page) that the Nationals will be installing, the second-largest one in baseball. The Nationals' owners ponied up the additional $2.8 million to upgrade from the smaller scoreboard that the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission was paying for.
Yesterday a DC Council subcommittee approved B17-0109, "The One-Time Relocation of Licensees Displayed by the Ballpark Amendment Act of 2007", which if passed would allow Ziegfield's and Heat (which closed because of the stadium's eminent domain land takeover) and Edge/Wet and Club 55 (which weren't on the stadium footprint but closed in Sept. 2006 to make way Square 699N's redevelopment), to relocate in Ward 5 near Mt. Olivet cemetery. The Post reports that Ward 5 council member Harry Thomas will oppose the bill, and that his office heard from more than two dozen residents yesterday complaining about it. You can also read a couple of pieces from last week about the bill being introduced.
Also, there isn't really anything new in it, but just for archiving sake (or for those of you coming in late), here's a quick blurb from Costar on the Metropolitan Police Department's planned move to the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia. Here's my previous entry on the move, for more background.
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Restaurants/Nightlife, Square 699n, Nationals Park
 

For those of you interested in the plight of the gay nightclubs with nude dancing that have left Near Southeast and their attempts to reopen elsewhere in the city, today's Washington Blade has an update on a new bill introduced by Jim Graham to attempt to fix a zoning issue that stalled an attempt by Wet/Edge to reopen (with "straight" nude dancing) in Northeast. UPDATE, May 8: Here's a short Examiner piece on Graham's expectations of meeting resistance when trying to get his bill passed.
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Square 699n, Nationals Park, zoning
 

Thanks to the eyes on the ground for the news that Nation is indeed now being demolished--I'm out of pocket for another day or so, but will have a full report on all the North of M demolition (including also Square 699N and the Nexus/909 New Jersey site) by the end of the weekend.
More posts: 1015 Half, 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi, mnorth, square 697, Square 699n
 

Today's demolition news: Edge/Wet and Food and Friends on Square 699N are just about gone. The Nexus Gold Club has lost its rear wall and its innards have been mostly scooped out. And a new entrant has possibly appeared in the Demolition Derby--innard-scooping appears to be going on as well at Nation/1015 Half Street (which now has a "Wrecking Corporation of America" sign hung on its fencing). I took photos of some of these sites this morning (although this 967th overcast day in a row hampered the results): check the New Jersey and I, New Jersey and K, and 1st and L angles in the Photo Archive to see the before-and-after comparisons of those corners, or see all the shots from today in a single group. I also skipped ahead a few hours and added the three all-but-gone structures to the Demolished Buildings Gallery--there must be something about April, because we've had 17 buildings bulldozed in the last 18 days (will Nation be added to the list before the month is out?). UPDATE: Just clarifying, there's no heavy machinery or obvious demolition going on at Nation yet--but a medium-sized hole has been punched in one outer wall, some doors were opened, and it looked like the interior has been newly stripped down.
And while it doesn't really qualify as a demolition, I'll also pass along that the temporary WMATA employee lot on the Monument Half Street site has now been closed and is being dug out (they received their Certificate of Occupancy for the new lot one block over on South Capitol last week)--this means that the entire Monument site on the east side of Half has now been cleared--and no time is being wasted with excavation, as you can tell if you go peek at the massive hole already dug around the Half and M Navy Yard Metro entrance or watch the digging at the lower left of Stadium Construction Camera #2.
 

The sudden whirlwind of demolition in Near Southeast continues, as today work started on bringing down the Nexus Gold Club, but not until after the bulldozing of its neighbor, the old Four Star Cab brick townhouse at New Jersey and K (whose own neighbors were demolished almost exactly a year ago). This block will be home to 909 New Jersey Avenue, JPI's 230-unit residential tower; it should be noted that the A1 Tires garage on the southwest corner of the block (at 1st and K) shows no sign of selling out to JPI, so it appears for now that 909's residents will have no problem getting car repairs. (Glass half full!)
In the meantime, across the way, demolition proceeds apace on Square 699N, as all buildings along 1st Street between K and L have now been brought down, including the festive gold, green, white, and cranberry garage on the corner of 1st and L. Only Food and Friends and Edge/Wet remain standing; if you have respects to pay to them or the Nexus, you'd better do it tonight or tomorrow morning.
All this means three new entries on my Demolished Buildings page, with space being saved for Nexus and the others. And as soon as Mother Nature remembers that it's April and not November, I'll post pictures of the new streetscapes.

More posts: 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi, Retail, Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

The DC Property Sales database has a lag time of 6-8 weeks, so pretend today is February 1--that way I can tell you that Just Yesterday the sale was completed of the Nexus Gold Club land to developer JPI, for $7.85 million. They also purchased 920 First Street (the little grey auto repair garage next to the Nexus) for $2.45 million. In 2005 and 2006 they purchased other properties on this block (Square 738) for about $2.64 million, so they've now spent just under $14 million to get 18,000 square feet of land for what will be 909 New Jersey Avenue, a 230-unit residential tower schedule to start construction Any Minute Now. Note that the owner of the garage right on the northeast corner of 1st and K has steadfastly refused to sell (and has some choice words for JPI if you talk to him), so it will be interesting to see how that section of the site shakes out. Considering his neighbor got $2.4 million for 2,186 square feet of property, who knows how much he has turned down for his lot of the same size. There's one other lot on the block still not owned by JPI (925 New Jersey, 1412 sq ft), but I haven't heard anything about purchase problems with that lot, and it was covered by a zoning variance JPI received in 2006.
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi
 

On Wednesday a "shoring and sheeting" building permit application was filed for 1001 First Street, which is on the block known as Square 699N, bounded by 1st, Half, K, and L streets. It was bought in September 2005 by local developer Ron Cohen for $51 million, and was the home to nightclubs Wet, Edge, and Club 55, along with various other small businesses that slowly moved out until the block was left vacant in September 2006. As for the building permit app, shoring and sheeting is how the walls of a big hole in the ground are held up during excavation (I hope that isn't too technical of an explanation), and is another sign that Cohen is getting his ducks in a row to do .... something .... on this lot, as were the public space permits that were granted in December 2006 for the necessary water and sewer shut-off work on the site. I haven't seen evidence of raze permits, but I only started seeing those in Fall 2006 and it's possible that they were applied for earlier. What I did notice during a drive-by today is that all of the trees on the block--including a pretty huge one at 1st and L--have been chopped down (I'm pretty sure within the past week). Will we hear word of Cohen's plans soon?
(I was hoping to give you an equally enticing report on a building permit app filed for 83 M Street, the Normandie Liquors lot at 1st and M, but apparently it's for the placement of a construction trailer, which I'm guessing is for Monument's Half Street project, though I don't know for sure. Ah well.)
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Monument/Half St., Square 699n, staddis, Velocity Condos, Square 701
 

With the daily Building Permit feed continuing to be on the fritz, it's back to finding out about approved permits on Mondays, via the Never-Ending PDF File. Today's news (on pages 182 and 186, for those of you following along at home) is that the building permit has been approved for 909 New Jersey Avenue, JPI's 244-unit residential project on the block where the Nexus Gold Club recently closed; an excavation permit was approved as well. In one of the articles on the Nexus closing, JPI said it was planning to begin demolition on the site in March. In other permit news, a bunch of soil boring permits were approved (page 183) for the Monument Realty/Half Street site.
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi, Monument/Half St.
 

Thanks to correspondent John for passing along news that slipped through (no advisories from Metro or the Mayor's office, darn them!). Tuesday (Jan. 16) at 10 am Mayor Fenty will be making remarks at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Navy Yard Metro station's expansion project. This is to increase the station's capacity from 5,000 riders an hour to 15,000, and is to be finished by Opening Day 2008, while work continues above it on Monument Realty's mixed-use project along Half Street. And maybe after the mayor's remarks, everyone can parade over en masse to the Nexus Gold Club auction. (And I do see now that the event is buried on the Mayor's schedule. I thought that religiously checking the News Releases and the Advisories was good enough, alas.)
UPDATE, 1/16: Here's Metro's press release summarizing today's event.
UPDATE II: There's also now a post on the Post's DC Wire blog (I know, it stunned me, too) about the groundbreaking, and some background on how exactly the $20 million to cover the station expansion was found; I imagine this will be similar to whatever story is in tomorrow's paper, though hopefully without the somewhat misleading "More DC Stadium Spending Woes" title. ("Woe" would be if the station weren't expanded before Opening Day; paying for it is just a shell game that governments go through all the time, and it's not like it really has anything to do with the stadium itself.)
UPDATE III: If you want video, here's WJLA's report on the event.
UPDATE, 1/17: And we'll bring this linkathon to a close with the Examiner story on the groundbreaking and the expansion.
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi, Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis
 

As I posted last week, the Nexus Gold Club is auctioning off its furnishings and, more interestingly, its nude dancing license tomorrow (Tuesday), and today the Post picks up the story. One piece of news, JPI says that the demolition of the site (which will eventually be home to the 909 New Jersey Avenue residential project) will begin in March. On the same page as the Post story, there's also a box with a short piece on the surprising move by Jack Evans reported last week to abolish both the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the NCRC. UPDATE: Here's an Examiner article noting that Tommy Wells, the new Ward 6 council member whose district includes a lot of the Anacostia Waterfront, is "not convinced that legislation proposed Tuesday to dissolve a District organization charged with the redevelopment of the Anacostia River's waterfront is the best way to proceed. [...] Wells campaigned in part on redeveloping the Anacostia's waterfront into a walkable community for families, with green space, shops and restaurants. He said Friday he wondered whether putting Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration in charge of redeveloping the waterfront now is prudent considering his desire to take over the District's schools."
UPDATE, 1/16: The Post reports that no one ended up bidding on the Nexus nude dancing license, perhaps because the minimum required bid was set at $2 million. But they have a cute little sidebar noting the prices that some of the furnishings went for--the 13-foot brass dancing poles went for $50.
UPDATE, 1/17: Oops, I dropped a rather important part of the Tommy Wells quote above. He is quoted as saying he is "not convinced" the legislation is the best way to proceed.
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi, Monument/Half St.
 

Thanks to correspondent Garrett for passing this along--next Tuesday (Jan. 16), Nexus Gold Club will be auctioning off all its fixtures, furniture, and equipment, followed by its coveted nude dancing license (one of only 20 remaining in DC, with no new ones being created anymore). The auction is being held at the club, 900 First Street, starting at 11 am. From the license auction page: "It should be noted that this year, the Seller has successfully relocated his other nude dancing license and intends to reopen the Nexus Gold Club at the new location." The Nexus has closed to make way for 909 New Jersey Ave., JPI's 244-unit residential tower that is supposed to start construction soon.
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi
 

Rumors and other tea-leaf-reading seem to indicate that the Nexus Gold Club will be closing after one last bash on New Year's Eve (the sign on their front door that used to show their hours now says only that there's a big party New Year's Eve, "Wear Black"). Rumors also indicate that the last night for seeing de-clothed ladies (employed by the club, at least) is Saturday, Dec. 30. It will most likely be demolished early in 2007 as work gets underway on the 238-unit residential tower at 909 New Jersey, JPI's second project in Near Southeast. If Nexus does indeed close on New Year's, it means that every nightclub operating in Near Southeast back on Jan. 1, 2006, will have shut down (Ziegfield's, Secrets, Follies, Heat, Club Washington, Wet, Edge, Club 55, Nexus). Somewhat of a bellweather of a changing neighborhood, one might say.
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi
 

The Washington Times (worried about potential undesired neighbors at its offices on New York Avenue) is reporting that the gay nightclubs Edge and Wet, which operated at Half and L until September, want to move to 2046 West Virginia Ave. NE, not far from where its old neighbor Club 55 is trying to move (3350 New York Ave.). ANC 5B is opposing both moves.
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

Washington City Paper surveys the state of the strip club business in DC, and describes the difficulties that nightclubs formerly of Near Southeast--Wet/Edge, Club 55, and the O Street gay nightclubs owned by Robert Siegel--have had trying to relocate elsewhere in the city. One big item that needs better explanation in the story--the Nexus Gold Club isn't just "contemplating" leaving Near Southeast, the land it sits on is soon going to become JPI's 909 New Jersey Avenue residential tower, and the scuttlebutt continues to be that Nexus will be closing by the end of the year.
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi, Square 699n, Nationals Park
 

A quick note here that strip club Club 55, which left its location at Half and K last month, is looking to move to 3350 New York Ave. NE. The neighbors (including the Washington Times) aren't happy about the idea.

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More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Square 699n
 

This is not something I'm going to continue to track, but I know some readers are interested in knowing if former Near Southeast nightclubs Wet and Edge are going to reopen somewhere else. There is an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration hearing on Dec. 13 on Wet/Edge's petition to move their operations to a new location at 2046 West Virginia Ave., NE. So if you're wanting to know more, you might want to keep an eye on the ABRA web site and its calendar (which doesn't get updated much in advance of the weekly hearings).
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Square 699n
 

I heard from two people this weekend saying that the Nexus Gold Club (the last night club, and also the last strip club, left in Near Southeast) was either closing immediately or had in fact already closed. Terrified that I had missed a critical piece of news, I marched up to the front door (ignoring the gales of laughter coming from throughout the neighborhood) and made my inquiries, and was told by an unidentified staffer that Nexus is still open, with December still being the rumored closing date. Coming to that location will be 909 New Jersey Avenue, a 238-unit residential project by JPI. (I did notice the last time I drove past the 900 block of 1st that the tire alignment shop right next to the Nexus appeared closed in the middle of a workday. While last I heard the A1 auto shop directly on the corner of 1st and K was not selling to JPI, perhaps it's next-door neighbor has decided to move on; no property sale has been recorded through late August, the most recent records available in the city's online sales database, but perhaps that's changed.)
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi
 
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