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Reminder: Akridge/Half Street at Zoning Commission
Jan 28, 2009 9:30 PM
There's also the Office of Planning's hearing report
for the project, which was prepared a few weeks ago; it says that OP is "very supportive of the project" but was unable to make a recommendation at the time of the report because it required additional information. I believe there's been some back-and-forth between Akridge and the planning office since then, but details will have to come at the hearing. The OP report is a good offering if you want a pretty detailed analysis of how the project stands up against the CG Overlay
requirements as well as explaining the various exceptions and variances being requested.
If you don't feel like schlepping down to the Zoning Commission offices at 441 4th St., NW at 6:30 pm (and there's no one who understands that more than me), you can watch the proceedings on live webcast
(no archived offerings, though). I imagine I might send a Tweet
or two, if there's something worthwhile.
Special ANC 6D Presentation Meeting on Feb. 2
Jan 27, 2009 7:45 PM
With developers of three large projects needing to make presentations, ANC 6D has decided to have a separate presentation meeting on Feb. 2
in advance of its Feb. 9 monthly business meeting. And all three are Near Southeast spectaculars:
* Forest City will be making a presentation about the park at the Yards
(I believe these are the designs for Phase II, which include the various pavilions and the docks and marinas). The National Capital Planning Commission will be taking a look at Yards designs at their Feb. 5 meeting
, and the Zoning Commission hearing on the park's second phase is scheduled for March 2
The meeting is at the ANC 6D offices on the second floor of 1501 Half Street, SW, at 7 pm.
ANC 6D Meeting Monday Night
Jan 9, 2009 9:38 AM
The agenda is out (though not net yet online
) for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, and if you've liked the past few meetings, you'll love this one, because it's pretty much a rehash of recent agendas
: the Capper
PUD modifications (described here
), the Capitol Quarter trash enclosures
(perhaps the fourth time's the charm), and Akridge's Half Street project
, which is going to the Zoning Commission at the end of this month
. (For Southwest folks, the Hogate's liquor license discussion is back, too.) And, although it's not on the agenda now, I'm guessing there might be some inauguration-related discussions. The ANC meets at St. Augustine's church, Sixth and M streets, SW, at 7 pm.
First Tidbits on Akridge's 25 M Project at Half Street
Dec 9, 2008 2:00 PM
It's been more than a year since WMATA first awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage
property at Half and M to Akridge
(and almost six months since the suit brought by Monument Realty over the bidding process was settled
), and at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting there was a first public peek at the designs for this central site being called 25 M Street, on the block just north of Nationals Park
bounded by Half, M, N, and Van. And clearly Akridge is taking this project very seriously, as they arrived at the meeting with an army of people, including heavy-hitter architects Bill Hellmuth of HOK
(who designed the office portion), Philip Esocoff of Esocoff and Associates
(designers of the residential portion), and Jon Eisen of StreetSense
(the group working on the retail).
I don't have any renderings yet (hope to within a month or so), but the ones displayed showed buildings with what Hellmuth described as "much more active facades" that "are not like a K Street monolith." There will be three buildings: two office buildings totaling 363,000 square feet, and a 276-unit residential building at N Street with roof terraces from which residents can look into the ballpark and watch the games. The facades step "out" and "in" (far enough in some places to require a zoning special exception), including some spots in the M Street office building that will allow tenants to look south into the ballpark, too. The general feel is not unlike the Monument designs
for the other side of Half. (And, with a raze permit already requested
, none of this incorporates the existing bus garage building.)
There will also be 56,000 square feet of retail, with a mix of one-, two-, and 2 1/2-story spaces occupying 69 percent of the ground floor, which will require a special exception from the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay
's requirement of 75 percent. They are expecting to have national retailers for the spaces along Half Street, but are planning to look for smaller local "service" retailers for the additional space along Van Street.
They are also creating what they call the "Via," a pedestrian-only "street" that runs from Half to Van between the two office buildings at the same spot in their block as "Monument Street" will be across the way (just south of 55 M
). They are envisioning a "one-of-a-kind" DC destination: a marketplace with stalls and local vendors, where you could get fresh food, "quick-bite" carry-out, etc. (They mentioned Pittsburgh as an example, and I'm assuming they're referencing the Strip District
.) The renderings also showed two glass-enclosed suspended walkways above the Via to connect the two office buildings.
The entire project will be LEED certified (as is now required in DC), though they aren't sure yet what level they'll be shooting for ("the goal is to get as high as we can"). Hellmuth said that HOK is not doing a single building in DC right now that isn't at least LEED Silver, and that all major tenants want to be in LEED buildings.
I didn't get the total number of underground parking spaces, but the residential will have three spaces for every four units. (Monument's project across the street, of similar size, would eventually have about 700 spaces.)
Akridge indicated that their "ideal start date" is January 2010, with construction of the entire 700,000-sq-ft project estimated at 22 months. But there is no firm commitment that it will start at that time (thanks to the Current Economic Situation), plus it could end up being built in phases.
The ANC commissioners seemed receptive to the plans (Bob Siegel said that it gave him a "nice, warm feeling"), though with the usual questions about employment for local residents and LSDBE considerations, and concerns about residents and tenants having to work around ballpark traffic.
Akridge was officially at the ANC to request its support for both the zoning overlay review and the special exceptions
being requested. While some commissioners were ready to vote to give support immediately, others weren't, and so after a number of differing motions that all failed it was decided that representatives of both sides would work together to discuss "issues" so that the ANC can vote on the project at its Jan. 12 meeting. The Zoning Overlay Review hearing is on Jan. 29
And, not that there's much to see yet, but I do know have an Akridge/25 M project page
, mainly with views of the bus garage from various angles.
ANC 6D Doings, Part 1: Artomatic, Nats Express, and Capper PUD Modification Requests
Dec 8, 2008 11:10 PM
Just got back from ANC 6D's meeting, and I'll leave you waiting until Tuesday for the first details on Akridge's Half Street plans
(I don't want to give it short shrift) but here's the other Near Southeast items of the evening:
* Commissioner David Sobelsohn said an announcement is likely coming next week that the city's 2009 Artomatic
festival will be held in ANC 6D, "most likely ANC 6D07" (which is Near Southeast). I know nothing more than that.
* Sobelsohn also introduced a resolution to send a letter to Tommy Wells, DDOT, and other officials expressing the ANC's support for the continuation of free parking at RFK and the Nats Express shuttle buses "to reduce the incidence of illegal on-street parking in ANC 6D by people attending events at Nationals Park." The resolution passed 6-0. A few weeks ago it was reported that Wells wants to discontinue the service
* The DC Housing Authority came requesting the ANC's support for a series of zoning items
having to do with the Capper
PUD, including extending some deadlines and also expanding the number of residential units offered. (You can read all about them here
; I'm too worn out to go into them all again tonight.) There wasn't much discussion of the request itself, because the commissioners were, shall we say, displeased that a huge packet of supporting materials arrived on their doorsteps just last Friday (6D07's Bob Siegel didn't receive his at all, and were unmoved when told it was basically the same information they had received in July.
There was also displeasure expressed about the request to delay the start date for the Community Center
at 5th and K to 2012, with the commissioners wondering what level the DCHA would consider a "critical mass" of residents that would make the center viable. (Only 300 of the planned 1500 units have been built so far, so it would seem that the threshold might perhaps be a bit higher.) But the Housing Authority made clear that obtaining financing for the project is the larger hurdle. The support request will be brought up again at the ANC's January 12 meeting.
* I admit that I didn't stick around for the late-in-the-agenda item on the Capper trash enclosures
. But DCHA mentioned that they had met with the city's Public Space Committee in advance of their monthly meeting, and were making progress on modifications to the design. ANC chair Moffatt asked if the enclosures still exist at all in the new design, and when he got the "yes" answer, that ended the discussion.
ANC 6D Meeting Monday (First Peek at 25 M)
Dec 5, 2008 12:44 PM
for Monday's ANC 6D monthly meeting is out, and the most enticing item is Akridge looking for the commission's support in advance of its Jan. 29 Capitol Gateway zoning overlay review
for its new 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development at 25 M
, on the site of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, in the block directly north of Nationals Park
. At this point, little has been put forth publicly about the project other than it'll be a office/residential/retail mix, and is expected to get underway in early 2010.
Also on the agenda is a third
go-round with the DC Housing Authority over the designs for some external trash enclosures for some of the units at Capitol Quarter
. I wrote about the first discussion here
, and the Hill Rag has the report
on the second one. Will the third time be the charm, or will bad things come in threes? There will also be a status report about the Capper
redevelopment in general.
There's also apparently a letter being brought by Commissioner Sobelsohn to express the ANC's support for retaining the Nats Express shuttle bus that brings stadium-goers to the neighborhood from the parking lots at RFK. I imagine that the ANC will be expressing some level of concern about increased traffic and parking problems if that shuttle service goes away (it was reported last month
that Tommy Wells is in favor of ending it).
The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW.
Connect Barracks Row Presentation on Dec. 18
Nov 28, 2008 9:09 AM
The group of urban planning students at the University of Maryland who have been studying the lower part of Eighth Street will be presenting their "Connect Barracks Row
" findings at a public meeting on Dec. 18 from 7:30 pm to 9 pm at the Navy Yard Car Barn, better known as the Blue Castle, at 770 M Street, SE. You can see the presentation from their Oct. 29 community meeting
and read a little more about the project on their web site
The students' work also got a write-up
in today's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only), which says: "Their findings so far come as no surprise: Walking beneath the noisy highway is undesirable, parking isn't easy to find and there is little reason to go to the site in the first place."
In describing lower Eighth Street, WBJ also says: "A developer had plans to turn one block into housing and residential space, but that plan apparently went nowhere." Sounds like a reference to the original plans for the Admiral at 801 Virginia
, which as I've been writing over the past few weeks has been redesigned as an office building and received its Board of Zoning Adjustment approvals on Tuesday
There's also mention of the hopes by Madison Marquette to turn the Blue Castle into a 99,000-sq-ft retail destination, but no progress has been announced.
BZA Approves Revised 801 Virginia Design
Nov 25, 2008 11:06 PM
This afternoon the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment
approved unanimously two requested variances that will allow 801 Virginia Avenue to go forward as a 19,000-sq-ft office building with 3,000 feet of ground-floor retail. I admit to listening to the webcast with only about half an ear, but the bulk of the discussion seemed to be centered around the applicant's request to only have 17 underground parking spaces instead of the required 30 (17 is still four more than were allotted in the original condo-building design). As I wrote about a few weeks back
, the developers say that groundwater levels and potential soil contamination issues would make it prohibitively expensive to dig two additional levels of parking (and having to have the garage entrance on L Street apparently doesn't help, either).
The 17 spaces will all be assigned to the office tenants, so there will be no parking for retail customers. (There was some discussion of creating overflow parking if necessary at 816 Potomac Avenue, another property owned by the same developer.) The applicant's traffic consultant also laid out the proximity of the site to Metro subway stations and bus lines, and with the request having the full support of the Office of Planning, ANC 6B, and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, the board voted to approve the variances.
No word on when the project might get underway.
Zoning Overlay Review for Akridge Half Street Project
Nov 25, 2008 12:42 PM
There hasn't been much made public yet about this development, other than it will be a mix of office, residential, and retail, and the hearing announcement
says that the FAR will be 7.9 and the maximum building height will be 110 feet. In addition to the overlay review (which sets out some firm guidelines
for projects along M Street and in the Ballpark District), Akridge is also asking for relief from roof structure requirements, loading requirements, ground-floor retail requirements, and step-back requirements.
It's been reported that Akridge is expecting to begin on the project in 2010; they've hired HOK
(designers of the ballpark and the Plaza on K
), Esocoff & Associates
) and StreetSense Inc.
to design what an Akridge press release
calls a "one-of-a-kind destination." Quoting further: "'Half Street is the city's newest and most unique urban destination,' says Matthew J. Klein, Akridge President. 'This stretch between the Metro and the ballpark has great energy and we look forward to capitalizing on that and other natural amenities like the river, to deliver the area's best urban living, working, shopping, dining, and entertainment project.'"
I've marked this movement by finally giving the site its own project page
(now separate from the old "Ballpark District
" page). Hopefully in the lead-up to the zoning hearing we'll get a peek at some renderings.
Mini-Roundup: Metro Station Entrance Closed, Zoning News, Taxation w/out Representation Street Hearing
Nov 16, 2008 5:42 PM
A bunch of items to start the week with:
* Remember that the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M is closed every evening this week from 8 pm until closing, thanks to work on 55 M Street
* On Monday (Nov. 13), the Zoning Commission gave final approval to moving 225 Virginia Avenue
into the Capitol South Receiving Zone, which will allow any construction on the block to have greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR/90-ft-height currently allowed. This was approved with two caveats: that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90 feet to confirm that the building will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face, and that any structure will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park
. Read my entry from the hearing a few weeks ago
for more information.
* On Nov. 24 at 2 pm, the city council will be having a hearing
, the "Taxation Without Representation Street Renaming Act of 2008," which would "designate the portion of South Capitol Street, SE that intersects with N Street SE and Potomac Avenue SE as 'Taxation Without Representation Street, SE." It just so happens that this is the portion of South Capitol Street
that runs alongside Nationals Park
, where the council was thwarted in earlier attempts to install an electronic tote board
showing the federal taxes that DC residents pay while still having no voting representation in the US Congress.
* For weeks I've been meaning to post that Nationals Park made the list of Travel and Leisure Magazine's "Must-See Green American Landmarks
," thanks to being the first LEED-certified professional sports facility.
ANC Agenda, Public Space Permit Feed Returns, School Bus Tea Leaves
Nov 7, 2008 9:59 AM
* The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D
meeting has been sent around (not yet posted online
). They'll be revisiting the designs for exterior trash enclosures on certain Capitol Quarter townhouses
that were discussed and given the thumbs down last month
. Other items include the potential modification of the 70 bus route, the franchise agreement between the city and Verizon for FiOS, and street closures for the SunTrust National Marathon on March 21. The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church, Sixth and M streets, SW.
* Meeting at the same time on Monday (well, starting at 6:30 pm) will be the DC Zoning Commission
, with a vote on the proposal to move 225 Virginia Avenue into the Capitol South Receiving Zone (read about it here
* One thing we've all learned over the years is to not believe anything about the school buses leaving Canal Park
until we actually see them all drive away. But I will note that the DC Housing Authority currently has a solicitation out for a contractor to build surface parking lots at DC Village (which is where the buses are relocating to). Bids are due Nov. 18. I'm hearing "mumbleJanuarymumbleFebruarymumble" as a potential timetable for the departure of the buses, but see sentence #1 of this paragraph.
Brief Zoning Commission Hearing on Post Plant
Oct 28, 2008 10:58 AM
On Monday night the Zoning Commission held a brief hearing on Case 06-32a
, the request by the city to move the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue
into the "Capitol South Receiving Zone," which would allow the block to receive transferable development rights, allowing greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR and 90-ft-height currently allowed.
When this was originally brought before the commission by developer Washington Telecom Associates for setdown two years ago, the Office of Planning indicated that they wouldn't support the request because of concerns about the added density on that block affecting both Canal Park
to the south and Capper/Carrollsburg townhouses
to the east (read the transcript
for more details). Since that time, the city subleased the building (paying $500k a month in rent), but has decided not to use it to house police department functions and so is in the process of finding a developer to take over its sublease (which also has an option to buy).
In their pre-hearing report
and during last night's session, OP said they are now prepared to support the move to the receiving zone, "provided that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90' " which would confirm that the building "will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face to avoid shadowing the lower buildings in Square 797 to the east" and that it "will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park." The OP report says that this lot would not be exempt from the city's inclusionary zoning requirements.
The three commissioners in attendance (Hood, May, and Turnbull) asked a few cursory questions, and noted that there was no report from ANC 6D nor any witnesses in support or opposition. The ZC will vote on this case at its Nov. 10 public meeting.
With the OPM page on the 225 Virginia Request for Expressions of Interest
saying that notification was to have happened yesterday, I thought there was a possibility that this hearing would give us some hint as to who might be taking over the city's lease, but the Office of Planning said they didn't know who the developer might be.
Capper PUD Items at Monday's Zoning Commission
Oct 23, 2008 12:14 PM
On Monday night, the Zoning Commission
briefly took up a group of items having to do with the Planned Unit Development
(PUD) approved for Capper/Carrollsburg
back in 2004. The first was the request that I've written about in the past
to expand the allowed number of residential units in apartment buildings planned for two spots along L Street (between Second and Third behind the proposed 250 M Street
office building and on the north side of the Old Capper Seniors
site). See my previous entry for specifics
There were also requests for three time extensions: to extend the first-stage PUD for an additional five years, to extend the deadline for filing second-stage approvals for the apartment building sites along Canal Park (including the trash-transfer station site) to 2013, and to extend the deadline for filing a building permit application for the planned community center
at Fifth and K to January 2011, with an included extension of the start of construction to January 2012.
The commission voted 4-0-1 to have all of these items come up together on a future date to be determined (as one public hearing and one special public meeting for those of you well-versed in ZC phraseology).
801 Virginia's Switch from Condo to Office
Oct 8, 2008 6:30 PM
At Monday night's ANC 6B
Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, there was a presentation about the new plans for the southeast corner of Eighth Street and Virginia Avenue
, where a few years ago a small group of investors planned a four-story condo building dubbed "The Admiral." As I mentioned a few days back
, the owners are now wanting to switch to an office building that would still have ground floor retail, and are going in front of the Board of Zoning Adjustment on Nov. 25
for some items that need to be addressed as part of this change.
According to the presentation, the new office building would use the same design as the condo building, with a few tweaks (they appear to be wanting to get rid of the turret in the original design
). But because of the switch to office space, the number of parking spaces required goes up to 30, far more than the 13 in the condo design. According to the architects, groundwater and possible soil contamination issues (since a gas station used to be located there) would make digging two extra levels of parking prohibitively expensive, and so they are seeking relief from the 30-space requirement. (And, for those wondering, the garage entrance would be on L Street, not Eighth or Virginia).
Commissioner David Garrison asked about the ownership of the lot (which has been on the market for nearly a year) and about the property's tax status, given that it was listed on the city's tax sale rolls
last month. He was told that the lot has not been sold but that investment partnerships are being shuffled and sold, which should be completed soon, and that the delinquent taxes are to have been taken care of; Garrison asked for some sort of documentation on both before the ANC votes (presumably on Oct. 14) on whether or not to support the zoning exception requests.
801 Virginia Office Bldg Plans Coming to ANC 6B
Oct 3, 2008 4:33 PM
I wrote a few days back
about the appearance of a zoning variance request for a new office building at 801 Virginia Avenue
, site of the once-planned Admiral condo project that fell by the wayside last year. The Board of Zoning Adjustment will be taking it up on Nov. 25
, and I now see this request on the ANC 6B
docket, first at its Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on Oct. 7, and then in front of the full ANC on Oct. 14
. Both meetings are at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE. (As always, all these dates are on my nifty Near Southeast Events Calendar
, brought to you by Google Calendar with all sorts of bells and whistles to either subscribe to an RSS feed
of calendar updates or add the events to your own Google Calendar
or other iCal
Housing Authority at the Zoning Commission, Asking to Expand Number of Residential Units at Capper
Sep 9, 2008 1:09 PM
"Under the original Capper plans
, there was to be a strip of 61 townhouses built on this spot, but the DC Housing Authority has recognized that these homes would be dwarfed by the B.E.Q. to the north and the two planned office buildings directly behind them at 600 M Street. So DCHA has now filed a request with the Zoning Commission
to allow an expansion in the total number of housing units allowed at Capper to 1,747, which would allow the construction of a four-story 189-unit apartment building (with a massing very similar to the B.E.Q.) on this stretch of L Street known as Square 882N. This Zoning Commission request is also looking to expand the number of units in the planned apartment building on the south side of L Street between Second and Third (let's call it Square 769N) to 171 units, as a result of its block-mate 250 M Street
having recently gotten approvals
to be built higher than originally requested."
As for last night's Zoning Commission presentation, there was a feeling apparently that it wasn't clear enough, so DCHA will be returning in early October with additional details.
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