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The Washington Blade has posted "Graham withdraws bill to aid O St. clubs", explaining Graham's realization that he was incorrect in believing that "changing the citys liquor law could clear the way for the O Street clubs that offer nude dancing to move to a zone similar to the one in which they are now located. Graham said he has learned since introducing the bill that the city's zoning regulations prevent the clubs from moving anyplace other than the central business district and nearby streets, and they must obtain a special variance from the D.C. Board of Zoning Appeals to move there." In related news, there's been no word as to whether Judge Zeldon has ruled on the city's request to order the eviction of all occupants of the stadium site.
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More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Nationals Park, zoning

The Washington Blade reports in "Gay groups debate future of O Street gay night clubs" on responses within the gay community to a bill introduced by Jim Graham that "amends the Alcohol Beverage Control Board's licensing regulations to allow nude-dancing permit holders in the stadium's wake a one-time zoning transfer to any commercial zone. Current zoning laws allow the permit-holders only to move to the central business district." The bill will be the subject of a council roundtable on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
More posts: Alcohol/Liquor Licenses, Restaurants/Nightlife, Nationals Park, zoning

The Washington Blade's "D.C. law may block O Street clubs from moving" discusses the current state of affairs for the gay nightclubs in Near Southeast, from the ones in the footprint of the new baseball stadium (like Ziegfield's, Secrets, Follies, Heat, and others) to the ones along K Street (Wet, Edge, plus all-orientation Nation). The ones within the stadium footprint say that a law on the books intended to help them may actually prevent them from moving outside of their current area. Meanwhile, Wet and Edge at Half and K have been told they must vacate this year in order to make way for Ron Cohen's mixed-use project on that block. As for the fate of Nation, I've heard nothing about the existing plans moving forward for a 10-story office building on that site--the building permit was filed more than a year ago, although Potomac Investment Properties indicated at the time that they just wanted to be ready for when the time was right to begin building. However, construction materials and fences have been spotted around the Nation building, and their published events calendar is pretty sparse (plus their concert line hasn't been updated since early November) leading folks to wonder if something is indeed afoot. (If someone wants to whisper about any of this to me, I'll listen!)
More posts: 1015 Half, Restaurants/Nightlife, square 697, Square 699n, Nationals Park

Friday's print edition of the Washington Business Journal reports that developer Ron Cohen has purchased the entire block bounded by Half, K, L, and 1st Streets, SE (square 699N), for $55 million, with plans for a mixed-use project that may include 650 condos, a hotel with condos, a stand-alone 250,000 sq ft office building, and possibly retail as well. Tenants on the block--including the nightclubs Wet, Edge, and Club 55--have been told that the buildings will be razed in late spring 2006. Phase I of the project will have 250 condos, and hopes are to begin construction in October 2006, and to have the entire project completed in four years. A few pictures of the block in its current state are on my South Capitol Street Corridor page (you'll have to scroll down a bit for them--this project will eventually get its own page, but not just yet!).

More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail, Square 699n, Parc Riverside Apts, Velocity Condos

Wednesday's Post reports that apartment developer JPI has contracts for two deals in Near Southeast. Later this month they will close on a two-acre site on the north side of I Street (I believe between 1st and New Jersey, although the article is indicating further west on I), with hopes to begin construction next summer on a 700-unit residential project. Just south of that lot, at First and I, JPI is buying the property that currently houses the Nexus Gold Club (a "gentlemen's club"). Their plans for that block aren't yet firm (because they are still trying to buy some of the neighboring parcels), but more residential space would be a good bet. That transaction won't close until late 2006, to give the Nexus time to find a new location. UPDATE: The article was wrong about the location of the two-acre site, but I was wrong, too--it's at 70 I Street, which is between Half and First streets.

More posts: 70/100 I, 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi

In what the Washington Blade correctly terms a "little-noticed development," a judge dismissed on June 15 the lawsuit brought by Robert Siegel, the owner of several gay nightclubs in the footprint of the new baseball stadium, saying that the suit was premature because the city has not yet begun eminent domain proceedings. According to the article, "[Judge] Alprin declared that if and when the city begins eminent domain proceedings, Siegel has no legal grounds to challenge the stadium financing rules, as he attempts to do in his lawsuit. His only legal recourse, Alprin said, is to contest the amount of compensation the city offers him for his land, with the aim of obtaining a higher compensation." An appeal has been filed in this case, plus Siegel says he intends to file another lawsuit once the eminent domain proceedings begin (expected to be in mid-August). The city has, however, already informed property owners that they must vacate by Dec. 31.

More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Nationals Park

The Near Southeast location of Five Guys is now open for business. This local hamburger joint is a great addition to the neighborhood, so drop in for a bite to eat soon, and tell 'em JD sent you :-). It's located on the 1st floor of 1100 New Jersey Avenue (New Jersey and M streets, SE), on the 2nd Street side of the building, facing the future Washington Canal Park. Operating hours are 11 am - 10 pm Mon-Fri and 11 am - 5 pm Sat-Sun. Here's the menu, and also the Contact/Directions page.

More posts: 1100nj, Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife

Happy 2nd Anniversary to the "Near Southeast" web site! Today's Washington Post had a nice article (registration required) about Andrew Altman and the newly created Anacostia Waterfront Development Corporation, which of course will be a huge driving force in the future of Near Southeast. And, in gastronomic news, "Five Guys Soon" is now scraped into a window on the ground floor of the 2nd Street side of 1100 New Jersey Avenue. Burgers for everyone!

More posts: 1100nj, Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Restaurants/Nightlife

Some fun tidbits:
· CVS, Subway, and Chevy Chase Bank reportedly have secured space in 1100 New Jersey Avenue, and local restaurant fave Five Guys is in negotiations to move there as well;
· The demolition of the first "ribbon" of Capper / Carrollsburg buildings--on 5th Street--is slated to begin in August, while the construction of the first Seniors Building is scheduled to begin in September (I'll believe it when I see it!);
· While the Canal Park will take a while to be designed, chosen, and constructed (ETA 2006), there are plans to remove the buses, take down the fences, and smooth out and sod the area. DC just needs to figure out where to park the buses first... (I've heard that before, too ;-) )
· I've added to the site renderings for planned office buildings in the 'Hood, at 76 L Street and 250 M Street (you'll have to scroll down a bit to see them). And one new construction shot each for Capitol Hill Tower and the DOT HQ (which got me a $100 parking ticket in the process; donations accepted!).
More posts: 1100nj, Canal Park, Capper, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail
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