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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: St. Matthew's Church
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I have not yet seen it with my own eyes, but photographic evidence points to demolition now being underway on St. Matthew's church on the southwest corner of New Jersey and L.
When finished (and it doesn't look like it's going to take long), the church will be the neighborhood's Demolished Building #172 since I started watching back in 2003.
This is a step on the path to construction of Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey apartment building, which should truly commence Any Minute Now.

Some photos from Saturday, taken before I melted into a puddle. (Anything over 80 degrees is kryptonite to me.) Click to enlarge and view as a photo gallery, if you're on a desktop machine, that is.
At Twelve12, where the first residents have begun moving in and Sweetgreen is now open, TaKorean looks to be making progress toward its own launch:
Up above TaKorean, VIDA Fitness's signs have gone up, with an opening looming probably in August.
(And, no photos, but 100 Montaditos at the Boilermaker Shops appears to finally have its building permit.)
Over at 1st and L, fence signage has sprouted for the River Parc apartment building (announcing a web site at, you guessed it,, though there's nothing pertinent there just yet). Plus the leasing trailer is now landscaped and outside the Akridge fence.
In grocery store news, I haven't yet posted photos of the fun artwork hanging on the historic brick wall outside of Harris Teeter's space at 4th and M (below left). And below right, the Whole Foods/800 New Jersey hole in the ground is indeed being dug. (Never say I withhold important information.) Teeter is expected to open this fall, while Whole Foods is not going to be seen before 2017.
But of course, the showiest action in the neighborhood continues to be the long (LONG) farewell to Spooky Building 213, which is starting to edge into How Can We Miss You If You Won't Go Away? territory. But the very south end of the structure began its march into the sunset this weekend, which means that, yes, the bat is about to vanish.
Finally, given the vagaries of both Mother Nature and the summer calendar, it's possible I might not get too many more shots of St. Matthew's church at New Jersey and L, with its raze permit now approved and demolition expected to get underway in the next couple of weeks to make way for 1111 New Jersey. So, maybe a final before-and-after, comparing the view eight years apart:

Today's batch of approved building permits includes a raze permit for St. Matthew's Church at 1105 New Jersey Ave.
It closed a few months ago, and was bought earlier this year by Donohoe, and will be torn down so that its footprint can be part of the new 1111 New Jersey Avenue residential building expected to get underway soon. (It's this project that is the reason for the scaffolding around the east entrance to the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station.)
The project's shoring/sheeting/excavation permit was also issued last week, so the bureaucratic wheels are definitely turning.
(I will eventually start calling it the Gallery at Capitol Riverfront, but give me a little while on that.)
LATE-DAY UPDATE: Look for the razing of the church to begin in the next couple of weeks.
Also, after getting enough questions about it, I'll post confirmation that Ann's Beauty and Wigs is not part of the 1111 footprint, and so will continue to provide for the neighborhood's cosmetic needs.

Finally, the weather and the calendar cooperated, and I spent Saturday taking a slew of photos around the neighborhood. To whit:
* HAMPTON INN: I can report that dirt is indeed being moved (if not necessary removed) from the site of the Hampton Inn on the northwest corner of 1st and N. This is the L-shaped hotel that will wrap around a planned two-story retail building right on the corner (which is not yet under construction). But, in case you weren't around pre-2008 and want to know what this hotel is "displacing," I give to you a peek at the hotel's N Street and 1st Street frontages in their previous lives:
* YARDS/PARCEL N: Men in hard hats operating heavy equipment are now found on most of the block where Forest City's next residential project is planned, south of Tingey and west of 4th. The new photos aren't really all that interesting other than as another tick on the historical timeline, so how about a shot of what the Parcel N lot looked like in 2004 (right), before any of the work on The Yards began.
* PARC/PARK: Toll Brothers's River Parc apartment building at 1st and K is almost topped out (below left). A couple blocks away, WC Smith's Park Chelsea has reached the halfway point of its vertical construction (below right).
* ST. MATTHEWS: While all sorts of newness is erupting around the neighborhood, there is one farewell worth noting, as St. Matthew's Baptist Church as New Jersey and L has left the neighborhood that had been its home since 1905 and the building that had been its home since 1972. Compare how it looked in 2006 (left) to today (right):
This site is part of the footprint for Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey apartment building, and with a raze permit application filed, this corner will probably be emptied before too many months go by. The church has found temporary quarters in Ft. Washington as it looks for a new permanent home.

A little over a year after entering into a purchase agreement, Ruben Companies and the St. Matthew's Baptist Church at 1105 New Jersey have terminated their contract, I have confirmed this evening. Can't tell you a single thing beyond that (no "why," or "what now," or anything else). Ruben continues to own properties at 1100 South Capitol and the former KFC at 1101 South Capitol SW.
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More posts: St. Matthew's Church, Square 743N

(This is the first of three dispatches I'll be posting over the next few days from Monday's ANC 6D meeting. Can you feel the excitement building?)
The developers of the planned office building at 1111 New Jersey came looking for the ANC's support in advance of their Jan. 31 Capitol Gateway Overlay Review at the Zoning Commission. This project has been revised over the past few months after Donohoe was chosen by WMATA to acquire the 5,000-square-foot lot on top of the Navy Yard Metro's east entrance at New Jersey and M--by expanding 1111 New Jersey's footprint to this lot, which fronts M Street, the project became subject to a CG Overlay Review (boring tutorial here). While the WMATA land is being sold to Donohoe, this is in fact a joint development project with WMATA, who I imagine will receive a dollar or two over the coming years once the building is built and leased.
The new design was described by WDG Architecture as 220,000 square feet of office space with 5,700 square feet of ground-floor retail in a glass-facade building. While it uses a smidge of the WMATA land, the project will not be built on top of the station entrance as is happening with 55 M--the station canopy will remain, and a there will be a large public plaza at this "important corner", along with a 60-foot setback with a double line of trees stretching up New Jersey. (Non-obsessive observers might not remember that 1111 NJ's footprint does not include the site of St. Matthew's Church immediately to the north--that lot is being acquired by Ruben Companies for a rumored residential project, where no plans have yet been made, a Ruben rep tells me.)
Donohoe indicated that it plans to go for LEED certification for 1111, and mentioned that some of the ground-floor space would be designed with restaurant uses in mind, though the presenters said they remain aware of the requirements for community-oriented retail and preferred uses in the overlay area.
Beyond the LEED certification, retail, and public spaces, the developer offered no community benefits package to the ANC. Donohoe considers this project a matter of right that requires no additional benefits offerings, a stand which reopened the wounds from back in April when the earlier iteration of this project came before the ANC looking for support for a zoning special exception (and was voted down, though the BZA approved the waiver anyway).
The feelings of the commissioners hadn't changed in the intervening months, and they voted 5-0 not to support the project because of the lack of community benefits. (There was some procedural wrangling about the wording of the motion, but since the church where the ANC meetings are held is absolutely impossible to hear in, I didn't get the specifics--something about voting "not to support" versus voting "to oppose", I believe.)
No timeline for the start of construction was mentioned. Perhaps more information will be forthcoming at the Jan. 31 zoning hearing.
More ANC reports coming tomorrow--I'll have news of Monument Realty's plans for the BP Amoco site at South Capitol and N, followed by the latest in the Florida Rock saga. Stay tuned!
UPDATE: Donohoe was nice enough to pass along the rendering of the new design, which I've added to the top of my 1111 New Jersey page.
UPDATE II: Correcting a smidge of misinformation on the St. Matthew's site.
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Time to dip back into the What's the Deal With...? mailbag, where once again I'm being asked fabulous questions that I don't actually have any answers for. But that hasn't stopped me yet....
* Readers B. and K. are the most recent readers to ask about the Public Space Storage building on South Capitol between M and N, just a few feet north of the ballpark, wondering whether it has any plans to close. I know that Monument Realty was interested in acquiring the building, since it owns the lots just to the building's south as well as all other parts of the block not owned by WMATA, but that was before Metro awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage and its parking lot (on the north side to the storage building) to Akridge. It's certainly a valuable piece of land, and I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that I doubt it will be there many years from now, but as of this point I've heard of no deals.
* Reader R. has asked about Canal Park, which continues to appear stalled, with no public pronouncements on it in months. (And with that "Spring 2008" still displayed for all to see on the sign at Second and M.) Is it still the school buses throwing up the roadblock, which is what we last were told? Is there some new wrinkle? I haven't heard anything, I'm sad to report.
* Reader F. asks about Ann's Beauty and Wig Shop, the dazzlingly pink building sandwiched between St. Matthew's and Onyx at 125 L Street, wondering if it's going to be sold. Ann's came to this block in 2005, after I believe being forced out of Waterside Mall in SW, and the owner has apparently been pretty vehement with potential suitors that she has no intention of selling. Perhaps the pending sale of St. Matthew's to Ruben Companies could change that, but as of now, I've heard nothing.
That's the best I can do for now--absolutely no useful information at all! No doubt there's scuttlebutt on each of these that I'm not privvy to, but I continue to be unsuccessful in my quest to get all city officials and private-sector parties operating in Near Southeast to inform me at all times about all their dealings. It's almost like they think I'm just some sort of powerless pesky neighborhood blogger or something....
Got a WTDW question? (maybe even one that I might know the answer to?) Pass it along. But I'll close with a hint--when it comes to oft-discussed projects around Near Southeast, as soon as I hear information that I can confirm, I post it. (I do tend to stay away from posting rumors, and considering some of the ones I've heard over the years that have turned out to be fabulously incredibly wrong, I don't regret this.) If you haven't seen any updates lately about Canal Park, or Capitol Quarter, or the Post Plant, or any other project, it's because nothing new has come my way. I'm as desperate to post the latest news flashes as you are to read them....

Here's your dreary Thursday morning reading material:
* The Post writes about the labor disputes at the ballpark: "Labor leaders are defending the hiring practices at the construction site of the new Washington Nationals ballpark, saying that efforts to give jobs to D.C. residents have been an 'unequivocal success.' [...] [T]he leader of the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO said the project has been successful in hiring District workers. The letter disputed criticism from some local activists that the ballpark had not come through with jobs for city residents."
* The Examiner, NBC4, WBJ, and the Post write about the presentations last night of the four finalists' plans for redeveloping Poplar Point. Channel 4 also includes a slideshow of the designs and links to information on each plan's community benefits. Apparently one of the propsals includes "an aerial tram that would carry passengers across the river to the new baseball stadium." And Now, Anacostia has some bullet points on the various presentations as well.
* Also from the Post, a District Extra piece on last week's council hearing on the Taxation Without Representation tote boards that some city council members want to put on the Wilson Building and the stadium. (Here's my report on the hearing.)
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post adapts my recent blog posts on the sale of St. Matthew's, the Capper PILOT bill, and the recent Capitol Riverfront BID meeting.
* UPDATE: I should also add this opinion piece in the Examiner by Phil Wood on his impressions of the new ballpark. "If you asked me to describe the place in a single word, I'm ready to answer. Compelling."
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Capper, St. Matthew's Church, Square 743N, Nationals Park

I visited my perch above New Jersey Avenue today and got updated photos looking to the south and west and northwest, which provide quite the overview of the changes in the past 21 months on the blocks I've wittily dubbed North of M (between M, South Capitol, the freeway, and New Jersey). The two links above show you just the oldest and the newest photos for each angle, or you can try these links to see all the photos I've taken of those angles, at about three-month intervals.
Of course, the arrivals of 100 M, Onyx, and 70/100 I are the biggest changes; you can also see that Velocity is building the garage levels and will be above ground by late winter, and that 909 New Jersey's crane is now in place, meaning that vertical construction there is not far off. But thanks to the 100 M/Onyx construction, peeks at the ballpark and Monument Half Street from this vantage point are now pretty well gone.
I also took a few ground-level photos of the New Jersey and L intersection to capture the change in the skyline above St. Matthew's, which is easier to see now that that big old tree has dropped its leaves. You can see just today's ground-level shots, or compare them with past photos.
If none of these billion links tickle your fancy, all ground-level and sky-high photos from today can be seen on a single page.

The Washington Business Journal print edition (online for subscribers only) writes today about news posted here on a week ago [JD waves to WBJ] about St. Matthew's Church signing a contract to sell its property at 1105 New Jersey Avenue to Ruben Companies. Nothing really new in the story--neither side would say the sales price, and Ruben says the type of development on the site remains "up in the air"--but it was mentioned that there was once a contract between the church and Donohoe (developers of 1111 New Jersey next door), but no price could ever be agreed on.
More posts: 1111 New Jersey/Insignia on M, St. Matthew's Church, Square 743N
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