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A correspondent passes along this link, a July 6 story originally from GlobeSt.com (which goes behind a paywall soon after publishing stories), "Monument Details Plans for Half Street." Nothing earthshatteringly new in this piece, but for folks who don't follow every iota of news in Near Southeast like SOME people, it's a good summary of what will be coming to the Ballpark District area just north of the stadium. Monument has bought all available land (the WMATA properties not being for sale) that faces Half Street between M and N, plus all the parcels facing N between Half and South Capitol, and about half of them between Half and 1st. They are planning to begin construction in mid-2007 of their Phase I, which apparently is the land on the east side of Half Street. There will be a 250,000-sq-ft office building on top of the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M, and also a 450,000-sq-ft residential building along Half Street. The article says that "the tone of the street . . . is supposed to be celebratory, urban streetscape, . . . with restaurants on both sides." The news to me in this is that Monument will be able to develop the air rights above the Metro station as well as the WMATA lot in this first phase. Also possibly part of Phase I, according to the article, is a 125,000-sq-ft office building at the site of the Good and Plenty carryout on the northwest corner of Half and M. My Ballpark District page has lots of photos of these sites (now nicely festooned with the bright yellow Monument Realty signs). But we'll find out much more about these plans whenever the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation finally gets around to releasing the Ballpark District Master Plan. And, for those of you who often ask about the land bounded by 1st Street, Cushing, M, and N, I still have no news for you--it's owned by a couple of different families with ties to DC-area development, but no plans have been announced.
More posts: Akridge/Half St., Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Metro/WMATA
 

This week's Washington Business Journal has "Developers, AWC Wrestle with Ballpark-Area Plans" (not yet available online). It mentions (just like someone else!) that the unveiling of the Ballpark District Master Plan is now more than two months behind schedule, and that the lack of plan is hampering what is already a pretty complicated venture, especially when you add in the new potential garages deal with Western Development and the fact that the AWC still has not finished negotiating with either WMATA or WASA to get access to their acreages that are considered part of the Ballpark District. AWC head Adrian Washington says he'll have something ready for the council to approve by fall (though it would then need approval by the Zoning Commission as well), but you wonder if Monument Realty (one of the four Master Developers, and the only one that actually owns land within the Ballpark District) is starting to get just an itsy bit antsy to start building and start recouping their $50 million investment....
 

A sharp-eyed correspondent passes along this press release from WMATA, announcing that Metro is finally removing the buses parked on a leased lot at Half and O, land that was seized by the city via eminent domain for the new ballpark. (The buses will be moving to a lot leased from Pepco at 1st and R, SW, with the city picking up the "costs associated with the move.") With this, all stadium footprint land has been vacated by its (former) tenants. Is the start of demolition still coming May 1 or thereabouts? Haven't heard anything more one way or the other. Tick tick tick!
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park
 

At tonight's ANC 6D meeting (you all owe me!), there was a presentation on the new baseball stadium, by a group including the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, Clark/Hunt/Smoot, and Marshall Purnell of Devrouax and Purnell, the local architects working with HOK Sport on the stadium design. Much of the time was spent going over the renderings (which of course you've already looked at a billion times here on my site!), but there were some items of interest, including a construction timeline of sorts (this is from my notes, apologies if I get any construction-speak wrong):
· Official "construction" is scheduled to begin May 1. (Or within 5-6 days on either side.) Construction will begin at 1st and O, and will work clockwise around the stadium footprint. (The dates below are for when a phase is expected to begin at 1st and O, and then move clockwise around the site.)
· 300,000 cubic yards of soil will need to be removed.
· Pile driving is expected to begin in late May, with concrete work then following, expected to take 9 months in all.
· Structural steel work is expected to begin in early October, and the steel has already been purchased and ordered.
· Structural precast mumblemumblemumble (I'm a rotten secretary) is expected to begin in December, after which seats can begin to be installed, probably in January/February 2007.
· The structure would "top out" somewhere around June or July 2007.
· Construction cranes are to be out of the infield by August 2007, to have time to build the irrigation system and start growing the grass.
Other fun tidbits about the construction: there is a "jog" in the center field fence to echo a similar irregularity in the old Griffith Stadium (where the Senators played). And yes, they are going to try to make some of the lower-level seats "shakeable" like the bleachers at RFK (with perhaps some safety measures actually built in this time). As for concerns about the stadium's lighting, there are only two light towers (in the outfield); the rest of the lights are all on the underside of the stadium's canopy and so are not visible from outside the stadium. As for the current occupants of the site, the asphalt plant at 1st and O Street is being dismantled piece by piece so that it can be rebuilt at whatever location it eventually moves to. Also, they haven't yet managed to get WMATA to move its buses off the parking lot at 1st and O. There is to be a community meeting on April 19 at Friendship Baptist Church in Southwest to discuss the creation of an advisory committee; I'll post more about this when I get it.
More posts: ANC News, Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park
 

Technically, it was a formality (although with this crew, you never know), but the final reading of the stadium lease agreement just passed the city council, 9-4. Will post stories here as they become available.
UPDATE, 9:04 pm: In the meantime, what's next, other than much rejoicing from some quarters and doom and gloom from others? The design should be unveiled soon, and will have to get approval from the Zoning Commission. The city will probably get back in front of Judge Zeldon ASAP to get the ruling to evict the landowners in the stadium footprint. The bonds to actually fund everything will be sold sometime in 4-6 weeks. And MLB will name an owner, maybe by opening day? Then there will be (perhaps in mid-April) news from the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation as to the plans for the Ballpark District--I would hazard a guess that they're going to try real hard to have at least the stretch along Half Street between M and L well-developed with restaurants and retail by Opening Day 2008. Which means that the city and WMATA need to figure out where that Half Street bus depot is going to go. And maybe by early May demolition will begin. And... and... and....
UPDATE, 10:28 pm: Here is the AP story about the votes. Jack Evans is quoted as saying that the city hopes to unveil the designs next week, with a groundbreaking in late April.
UPDATE, 11:26 pm: And the Post story.
UPDATE, 12:57 am: And the WashTimes story, which has this item: "Clark officials already have locked in prices on most of the stadium materials, including steel. Those prices remain valid as long as construction begins before June. Sports commission officials said the construction team can complete the stadium in time for Opening Day in 2008 provided they have access to the land soon. However, the stadium could open as late as July 31 of that season without penalty from the league."

More posts: Akridge/Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis, Nationals Park, zoning
 

Today the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation named two teams of development companies to "enter into exclusive negotiations" to develop mixed-use projects on two sites in the ballpark district. Forest City Washington (developers of Capper/Carrollsburg and the Southeast Federal Center) and Western Development Corporation (Herbert Miller's company, responsible for Potomac Mills and many other projects) lead one team, and Monument Realty LLC (which has purchased many parcels of land along N and Half Streets) and The Cordish Company LLC (developers deeply involved in the Baltimore Harbor) lead the other. What does this mean? Not as much as it sounds right now--the Forest City/Western team will be negotiating with AWC to develop the 6 acres of excess land at the WASA site on 1st Street, and Monument/Cordish will be negotiating for the 3 acres of WMATA parcels along Half Street. However, at this time AWC does not own either of these properties. The teams will be working together (coordinated by Forest City/Western) to create a Development Strategy for the entire ballpark district, which is due to the AWC in draft by March 15, 2006 and in final version by April 15, 2006. The teams have committed to provide payment to the AWC through a combination of up-front payment, annual base rent, and participation in development profits. UPDATE: Here is the mayor's office press release. UPDATE II: The Post's web site now has its story about the announcement. UPDATE III: And here is the AWC's press release. UPDATE IV: Here is the Baltimore Sun's Cordish-centric story.
 

The DC government is negotiating to purchase five acres of land in the area near the new baseball stadium, reports the Post, to help influence the development in the neighborhood by creating a "ballpark district" with restaurants, stores, and residential units. Two of the acres would come from the DC Water and Sewer Authority's land at 1st and O Streets, with another 3.2 acres to be acquired by taking control of the WMATA (Metro) bus depot and parking lot at Half and M Streets. Developers are already snapping up plenty of parcels in the area (specifically Monument Realty, which is assembling the acreage to build 750,000 sq ft of mixed-use offerings in the block north of the stadium), but by controlling some of the most desirable land (the Metro land on Half Street lies directly along the envisioned "promenade" entrance to the stadium), DC can do more to ensure that the stadium area sees the sort of development the city wants, and that the area is made into an attractive destination even on non-game days. And in other news, the article mentions that the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation is close to unveiling its master plan for the waterfront redevelopment. (It also reminds us again that DC will be tendering their offers to landowners in the stadium footprint "within the next several weeks.")

 

Metro is planning to make changes to the Navy Yard subway entrance at Half and M to better accommodate riders going to games at the new baseball stadium. Currently able to handle 5,000 riders an hour, the west entrance will be modified to serve 15,000 riders an hour; plans include extending the mezzanine to add one staircase and one escalator, increasing the number of Farecard gates and machines, adding a kiosk, and adding new elevators. According to The Post, Metro is also planning to expand bus service to the area.

More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park
 

Monument Realty continues to buy up property in the area surrounding the new baseball stadium land, according to Friday's Post. The DC Real Property Sales Database indicates that Monument nows own 1242-1260 Half Street, 50-68 N Street, and 1236 South Capitol Street, and The Post mentioned contracts for other parcels on the north side of the unit block of N. They have assembled half of the 8-acre parcel they covet for a huge office/residential/retail complex just north of the stadium. WMATA (Metro) owns 3 of the additional acres (at Half and M), and had asked developers for proposals for the land in early May, but withdrew the offer on request of the Office of Planning, who are working on the Master Plan for the area (now not expected to be delivered until the end of the summer, wah!). The article says that the John Akridge Cos. (developers of Gallery Place) is also pursuing deals in the area (but I think it's looking in Southwest, down by Buzzard's Point).

More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis
 

According to Monday's Post, WMATA apparently plans to vacate its property on Half Street between N and M Streets (just north of the baseball stadium site and across from the Half Street entrance to the Navy Yard subway station).  They had posted a request for offers, with a deadline of May 13, but they pulled the solicitation two days before the deadline, saying that the District requested that they wait until the master plan for the area is finished, in June. The Post tidbit mentions that Monument Realty had been planning to submit an offer to turn the property into an office, housing and retail complex. (Monument recently completed a $10 million deal that includes land on Half Street just across from the stadium site, and says it is negotiating at least six other deals on the same block.)
More posts: Akridge/Half St., Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park
 
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