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Within the past week, two of the unoccupied buildings in the blocks just north the stadium site were demolished: 1236 South Capitol, that funky neon-yellow bungalow sandwiched between the BP gas station and the Public Storage Building, and 1201 Cushing, a little white ramshackle building behind a wooden fence that you would never have seen unless you ventured down Cushing south of M. (In fact, *I* had never seen it until late last year.) The South Capitol Street site is being cleared so that the WMATA employee parking lot that was just moved a few hundred feet south from next to the Navy Yard Metro Half Street entrance can be relocated again (see my entry about this from back in November). The Cushing lot is the first demolition as the land gets cleared for Monument Realty's Half Street mixed-use project (55 M Street et al). These have now been added to the top of my Demolished Builings Gallery; and if you scroll down the page a good ways, you'll see two additional icons. First, I realized that I needed to include the little building demolished sometime in 2005 that was attached to the west side of Nation; then, while browsing through my photos, I found out that not only had the empty lot on the west side of the Good N Plenty carryout at Half and N contained a rowhouse within the relatively recent past, but that I actually had one photo of it, so it's added to the Gallery now as well. I imagine the Demolished Buildings page is going to get a pretty good workout over the next few weeks. UPDATE: Fixed the bad Demolished Buildings Gallery link. Oops.
 

At yesterday's WMATA board meeting, approval was given to begin working on the replacement of the Southeastern Bus Garage, the red brick building on the southwest corner of Half and M. They've established a $500,000 budget for a three-month feasibility study, which will evaluate the DC government's preferred relocation site for the garage, within DC Village, as well as the possibility of creating an interim facility at the site for an "early relocation." The budget for this is being funded by the sale in October of the parking lot across Half Street to Monument Realty. The bus garage site is one that Monument has been negotiating for, so that it can be the sole developer of that entire block of Half Street. As for the fate of the bus garage building itself, I don't know anything one way or the other, except that during Monument's Zoning Commission testimony two weeks ago, mention was made by Monument's consultant that there are "historic preservation issues" with the bus garage, with what I interpreted as an intimation that whatever is planned for the west side of Half Street will not move forward with the same amount of speed as is seen on the east side. I imagine it will end up at the very least that the facade of the garage will be saved--and it is indeed a pretty cool building, as far as garages go (though It'll be cooler once there aren't Metro buses all around it, though).
More posts: Akridge/Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis
 

(A news item for the three of you who aren't horrifically tired of Navy Yard Metro station expansion groundbreaking news items, a group which doesn't even include me by this point.) If you have cable TV in DC, you can see last Tuesday's station groundbreaking ceremony on DC Cable 16 Friday night at 9:30 pm and at various times over the next week or so.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, staddis
 

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.
 

Thursday night was the Zoning Commission hearing (if you could figure out their calendar to find that out) for Monument Realty's big mixed-use project on Half Street just north of the Nationals ballpark. The webcast started late, and was without audio for a bit, so I missed the beginning, but did manage to see and hear the presentation of the designs. (Bear with me, this will be a long entry, but I know there's much interest in this project.)
I managed to get a few images of the project renderings, which ain't easy over a grainy webcast (I won't divulge my secret method), so be prepared that they have a rather impressionistic 1930s watercolor look to them that isn't necessarily what they're really going to look like. Go to my Monument Half Street page for not only the renderings (not the one at the top of the page, the others further down) but also an updated map that shows how the buildings are laid out.
As expected, the 275,000-sq-ft office building is at Half and M, and will incorporate on its ground floor a renovated entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, which will have large opaque mesh screens with LED lighting to avoid the huge black holes of space that are often seen when buildings sit atop Metro entrances (I think they also need the extra wall space that the screens provide, because the farecard machines and turnstiles will all be on the street level, not down in the station). These will be able to project lights and images and will no doubt be a big focal point.
As you walk south toward the stadium, you would then come to a new street about a third of the way down Half, which they're calling "Monument Street." This would provide a cut-through to Cushing Street (and eventually perhaps to First, Van, and South Capitol as well), and is also being used as a design feature to break up what is currently a 600-foot-long block; and creating it also allows for additional high-value corner retail spaces than if the block weren't broken up.
Monument Street will also be the location of the entrance to the 200-room W Aloft hotel, which has only a small frontage on Half Street but then runs in an inverted L across Monument Street and down Cushing Street. Running the rest of the length of Half Street would be a condominium building, which at the corner of Half and N would then meet a rental apartment building that faces the stadium across N Street between Half and Cushing (which as part of this project will be extended through to N Street). The two residential buildings will contain in the neighborhood of 320 units, and there will be a courtyard nestled between the residential and hotel buildings parallel to Half Street. Three levels of underground parking will provide about 520 spaces, and will be entered via Cushing Street.
The ground floors of all of these spaces will be almost completely taken up with retail (except for the entrance to the Metro station and small entrances that lead visitors to the second-floor lobbies of each building), and there will be a mixture of one- and two-level retail spaces. The two-level space at Half and N, directly across from the stadium, is considered to be the most prime location. There will also be a viewing platform above that retail space for residents to be able to look into the stadium.
It is anticipated that Half Street will be closed to vehicular traffic on game days (as will be N Street between Van and 1st), and because of this the design of Half Street is much more like a pedestrian plaza, with no actual curbs but using various landscape and streetscape tricks of the trade to delineate car space versus sidewalk space.
The plan is to start construction as soon as possible (in fact a Building Permit Application for 55 M Street was filed earlier this week), working from north to south, so that the office building would be finished first (Q2 2009) and then the southern portion of the site would come online in Q3 2009. Earlier comments about perhaps getting the underground parking and some of the retail completed by Opening Day 2008 seem to have gone by the wayside, as it was mentioned that the garages and retail would start to open in Spring 2009. Of course, the Navy Yard station expansion (which Monument is overseeing as well) must be done by Opening Day 2008.
As for the hearing itself, commissioners were a bit divided, some hating Monument Street and others liking it, some not being happy with a second-floor hotel lobby while others were more concerned about having as much retail on the ground floor as possible. They were happy to hear that there is no more parking than the minimum required by law, as apparently the commission feels strongly about not having an overabundance of parking right above a Metro station.
The Office of Planning and the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation both are supporting the application, though OP indicated there is still some work to be done to address their concerns. Also there apparently was a letter from DDOT detailing an almost comically long list of items that they'd like to see incorporated. Monument and DDOT are still needing to meet to discuss those, as well as the streetscape and lighting designs.
Monument indicated that it is needing to move forward with all deliberate haste (especially given the cast-in-stone deadline of getting the Metro station ready by April 2008), and in fact they asked to have the ZC vote on approval be scheduled for Feb. 12. There were a number of issues that the commissioners asked to have addressed in additional submittals, so there will be some midnight oil burned to meet that Feb. 12 date. But I didn't get the feeling that the commission was particularly negative about the project, and certainly weren't hostile. (I'm skipping the minutiae of requested exceptions and reliefs, if that's of great interest to you, you should have watched your own self!)
Worn out yet? Imagine how I feel having had to watch it all! But soothe your soul by going to look at the cruddy versions of the renderings I've posted, and hopefully before long the Gods will smile on me and send me real purty versions of the images I can use instead.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis, zoning
 

News from last night's ANC 6D and Zoning Commission meetings:
ANC 6D and Monument Realty finally reached an agreement on a community benefits package as part of Monument's request for support for its 55 M Street mixed-use project; in it, Monument agrees to a) give preference to ANC 6D residents in the lottery for the project's affordable housing units, b) make a $50,000 donation to be shared between Jefferson and Amidon schools, and c) make a $10,000 donation to a local scholarship fund. There was some grumbling from the audience that Bowden Elementary was left out, but the commissioners made assurances that with all the other projects coming down the ANC 6D pike, Bowden will not be forgotten. With the benefits agreement reached, the ANC then voted to support Monument's zoning review this Thursday night.
At the Zoning Commission meeting, the planned vote on the Florida Rock 2nd Stage PUD was delayed until next month. There were also three votes on amendments to the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay: Case 06-25, expanding the Overlay boundaries, was approved and sent onto the National Capital Planning Commission, with final ZC action probably coming in the spring; and final approvals were given to Case 05-10 (a series of additions and amendments to the Overlay) and Case 06-20 (an amendment officially allowing the WMATA bus lot formerly at Half and O to be moved to Buzzards Point).
And thankfully none of this prevented me from watching my Gators destroy Ohio State! That was the best part of all!

More posts: ANC News, Florida Rock, Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis, zoning
 

A press release from WMATA: "The west entrance of the Navy Yard Metrorail station on the Green Line will close starting Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, through April 2008 due to construction related to the expansion of the station entrance. The east entrance on the northwest corner of M Street and New Jersey Avenue, SE, will remain open. The $20 million construction project is to increase the station's entrance capacity due to its close proximity to the new ballpark that is currently under construction. The west entrance at Half and M Streets, SE, is one block north of the future Nationals' ball park scheduled to open in April 2008. The entrance expansion includes increasing the number of fare gates and fare card machines; relocating the west entrance to the street level; installing a new elevator from the street level to the mezzanine; and installing a new stairway between the mezzanine and the platform. The present mezzanine's capacity can move up to 5,000 passengers per hour. The plan for the new mezzanine is to increase the ability to move 15,000 passengers per hour through the station. Funding for this project is being provided by the District of Columbia in anticipation of being refunded by the federal government." At the same time, Monument Realty's 55 M Street 275,000-sq-ft office building will be under construction above the entrance, as will Monument's other two offerings along Half Street, a 200-key W Aloft hotel and a 350-unit residential building at Half and N. The Monument projects will not be finished before 2009, although they hope to get the three levels of parking (700 spaces) and perhaps some of the 50,000-sq-ft of ground floor retail completed before Opening Day 2008.

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

With thanks to the many eagle-eyed correspondents who passed this along, we can report that demolition has begun at 55 M Street, the southeastern corner of Half and M, currently home to the western Navy Yard Metro Station entrance and soon to be home to Monument Realty's first offerings in Near Southeast--a 275,000 sq ft office building at Half and M, a 200-key W Aloft hotel mid-block, and 350-unit residential tower at Half and N, with 50,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail throughout the project. I talked to the workers on the site, and they said that they will be demolishing the entire length of the block between Half, M, N, and Cushing; I asked about the WMATA employee lot just south of the station entrance, how much longer that lot would be there, and the workers said "not long." This lot is to be moved to Monument's land at 1236 South Capitol (south of the Public Storage Building), but as of a few days ago that land still required its own demolition. Monument's Zoning Commission/Capitol Gateway Overlay Review hearing on 55 M Street is scheduled for January 11, but considering the very tight timeline they're working under (needing to get the upgrades to the Navy Yard station completed before Opening Day 2008, plus their plan to get the three levels of underground parking completed by that date), it's not really a surprise that demolition is moving forward. A lot of moving parts that need to work together just right for success.... (And just FYI, I'm not considering this project "underway" until after they get zoning approval.) UPDATE: I think I see their interim solution for the WMATA parking lot, there's now "WMATA Lot Only" signs on the fenced-in lot a few feet further south on Half Street, they must be planning to move the employee parking there as the demolition works north to south, until the 1236 South Capitol lot is ready....

 

The agenda for last night's ANC 6D meeting wasn't made available before meeting time, so I decided to take a chance and skip the session (even though I normally adore subjecting myself to the psychological equivalent of having 2-inch nails driven into my eyeballs for a couple of hours). And it sounds like I picked a good one to miss, because my sources tell me that once again a fight over an alley closing dominated the proceedings, this time being another go-round on Monument Realty's 55 M Street project on the west side of Square 701. Monument was looking for the ANC's support in advance of their Jan. 11 Zoning Commission hearing; last night the ANC's commissioners voiced concerns (which were also voiced in the past when Monument asked for support for its alley closing bill) that Monument's proffered community benefits package is insufficient--as currently constructed, it includes a $10,000 contribution to the Southwest Neighborhood Association's Scholarship Fund, a $50,000 contribution to the local schools, and a commitment to set aside a certain percentage of the residential project for affordable housing. Monument's standpoint is that this project is a "Matter of Right" development, meaning that there is no requirement that they do anything for the community, but they are doing so, anyway. The discussion has been tabled until the ANC's January 8 meeting, and the commmissioners also passed a resolution asking the City Council to table the alley closing bill (which already passed unanimously last week on its first reading and is scheduled for its final reading and vote on Dec. 19) to allow negotiations to continue. In less fractious news, there was apparently a presentation by WMATA about its Joint Development Opportunities around the Navy Yard station, including their work with Monument at 55 M Street (on top of the Half Street station entrance) as well as the Chiller Plant at Half and L and a small bit of land near the New Jersey Avenue station entrance. Am hoping to get more information about this....
 

In order to start construction ASAP on both the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro entrance at Half and M and mixed-use offerings along Half Street, Monument Realty and WMATA are asking the DC Zoning Commission for an emergency text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay to allow a temporary parking lot for WMATA employees to be built, replacing the one currently atop the Navy Yard station. This new lot would be on South Capitol Street between M and N, on the lot just south of the Public Storage building and just north of the Amoco station (lot 0700 0046 for those of you with parcel maps), and would be accessed from Van Street. The text amendment would restrict the parking lot's life to three years--by that point, Monument's construction along Half Street should completed and WMATA employees would then be able to park in those underground lots. This will come before the Zoning Commission for setdown on Nov. 13; because it is being requested on an emergency basis, the Office of Planning is recommending that the text amendment take effect immediately upon setdown, and is requesting that it be set down for a hearing at the earliest possible date. Good to see that Monument and WMATA are moving fast. UPDATE, 11/16: This text amendment was approved on an emergency basis, which means that it goes into effect immediately and for 120 days, but Monument still has to go to the ZC during that time for a hearing to get permanent approval of the amendment plus approval of the parking lot itself because it lies in a CG Overlay mandatory review area. (See the above entry for more on THAT!)

 

Last month the WMATA board of directors approved a plan to have Monument Realty oversee the $20 million expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M, as part of Monument's construction of an office building on that site. The minutes from the WMATA Planning and Development Committee are now posted, and there was some discussion about how WMATA can ensure that the April 2008 (i.e., Opening Day at the new ballpark) deadline for completion can be met: "Mr. Tangherlini responded that WMATA has included some penalties that involve the contractor providing transportation bridge service to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station if the scheduled completion is not met. In addition there are severe financial and operational penalties for the developer if the station is not complete by April 2, 2008."
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis
 

Today was a bonanza of Near Southeast alley closing requests, as four pending bills received their public hearings in front of the city council "Committee of the Whole" (i.e., Chairman Cropp, the only council member in attendance).
The first was B16-0799, alley closings and new street designations as part of the Capitol Quarter/Capper Carrollsburg project. Nothing really new in the testimony, except that it has been requested that the bill be considered by the council on an emergency basis, in order to help speed the process of getting the project underway. Ms. Cropp called the project "very, very exciting" and seemed particularly enthused by the mixed-income aspect of the project, noting that the city's past creation of "economic ghettos" hasn't worked out well.
Next up was B16-0888, which seeks to reopen H and I streets between 2nd and New Jersey, and to close alleys and streets within those two blocks; I was not aware until today that a portion of this land is actually federal land (Reservation 17A), which is part of the land transfer bill currently pending before Congress. The northern block (Square 737, north of I) is where William C. Smith is planning a mixed-use project, which in their testimony they broke out as two office buildings totalling 600,000 sq ft, two apartment buildings totalling 600 units (with a 10% affordable housing component), 1100 parking spaces, and 80,000-100,000 sq ft of retail space. They mentioned that back when they first bought the land in 1999 they got a letter of intent from Whole Foods to include a grocery store in this location, but then Whole Foods came down and saw that at that point there wasn't a whole lot of development going on, they pulled out; but Smith is still very interested in getting a grocery store in this development. They anticipate beginning work on this project in 2008 and completing it in 2011. As for Square 739 (where the DPW trash transfer station currently resides), it is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment, and plans are for a 322-unit apartment building with 115 affordable units, and also ground-floor retail. They don't anticipate beginning work on the building for at least another 4 to 5 years. Ms. Cropp did express some concerns about where the DPW vehicles will be relocated to, given the lack of industrial land left in the city.
After lunch was B16-0879, Monument Realty's request for alley closings on Square 701 between Cushing, Half, M, and N (in the block just north of the ballpark) as part of their "Ballpark Phase I" project, which also includes the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station at Half Street, which Monument is responsible for as part of their purchase of the WMATA land on the southwest corner of Half and M. New news from the hearing is that there will also be a hotel in addition to the previously announced 275,000-sq-ft office building at Half and M and the 350-unit residential building (mix of rental and condo, with up to 20% affordable housing) at Half and N--Monument is working with W Aloft to develop a 200-key boutique hotel on Half Street. The entire project will have 700 parking spaces, and Monument is planning to begin construction in January 2007 so that these three levels of underground parking (as well as perhaps some of the 50,000 sq ft of planned ground floor retail) can be completed by Opening Day 2008; they will then continue work on the upper floors to have the entire project completed in 2009. UPDATE: I should also note that as part of their plans, Monument will be extending Cushing Place approximately 80 feet, so that it will run through to N Street
Finally came B16-0880, another request from Monument Realty, this time for alley closings on the west side of Square 700, just across Half Street from the Phase I project in the previous alley closing hearing. They are still negotiating with WMATA to attempt to purchase the bus depot land on Square 700, but in the meantime are moving forward with a 115,000-sq-ft/100 unit residential project on the northwest corner of Half and N, on the site of the Good N Plenty carryout (whose lease expires today, it was mentioned). This project will have 12,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail, which, given its location directly across from the stadium plaza entrance, will be quite a prime location. Ms. Cropp was concerned that the project will only have two levels/74 spaces of underground parking (you got the feeling that parking is very much on her mind these days!). There was no stated timeframe for this project, except to say "after Square 701." And of course by then they'll have probably secured the bus depot.
For all of these bills, the next step I believe is getting them on the council consent calendar, for votes to be taken.
Is that enough information? Can I stop now? :-)
UPDATE: These hearings are all available via DC Cable 13's on-demand video offerings.
 

Today's Post writes about the two lots in Near Southeast that WMATA has announced will be made available for private development, the 14,000-sq-ft lot on the Southeast corner of Half and L and a 4,000-ft patch around the eastern entrance to the Navy Yard station at New Jersey and M. Not really too much in the piece that I didn't address in my own entry eight weeks ago when WMATA announced the search, but it's also a nice way to be able to post here that the deadline for developers to submit their proposals is Nov. 17. The article does mention, however, that sometimes these joint development opportunities don't always move like wildfire: "Once WMATA chooses a developer, the proposals must be reviewed by local jurisdictions and the Metro board. Getting the appropriate permits can be a lengthy process. Developers at the Prince George's Plaza Green Line station were selected by WMATA in 2000 but broke ground only last year."

 

At yesterday's WMATA board meeting, a resolution was approved to expand the Navy Yard Metro station at a cost of $20 million (to be paid with federal funds). The changes will be, to quote the Post, to "increase the number of fare gates and vending machines, add two elevators and relocate the station kiosk, fare gates and fare vendors from the mezzanine to the west entrance. The changes are planned for completion before the first home game of the 2008 baseball season." At the same time, the board approved the sale of the WMATA land above the Navy Yard station and the adjoining parking lot to Monument Realty, and also approved a Construction Agreement with Monument, whereby Monument will handle the construction of the station upgrades in concert with it's construction of an office building with ground-floor retail on the corner of Half and M. Monument has also agreed to reserve 20 percent of the residential units in it's other Half Street project for low- and moderate-income purchasers. And buried in the Construction Agreement documents I found a pretty snazzy rendering of Monument's planned building at Half and M, which I've added to my Ballpark District page (scroll down a tad past the map). The Construction Agreement also has detailed drawings of exactly what will be done to the station. You can also read the Sept. 21 WMATA Board Meeting minutes to see the discussion about the sale of the land. Or you can really go wild and listen to the audio from yesterday's meetings. And here's the Examiner's story on the agreements and plans.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park
 

With the latest news about Florida Rock's design modifications, Monument Realty's bid for the WMATA land at Half and M, the still-in-limbo Stadium Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness, and the apparent moving forward by the Cohen, Camalier/Davis, and Welch families to develop their land along First Street, it appears that the Ballpark District is moving forward, despite the AWC's still never having released it's "Development Strategy" for the area. So, fresh off my success with my North of M map, I've created a Ballpark District map to better help keep track of what's happening. Be aware that the boundaries I drew for the new public plaza at the foot of 1st Street are not really based on anything other than trying to remember how it looked in Florida Rock's exhibits to the ANC. And no final design for the traffic roundabout at South Capitol and Potomac has been released yet, either. UPDATE: And, for the heck of it, I just added a page with both maps fused together, creating a pretty nice Stadium Corridor Development Guide. But be prepared to scroll :-).
More posts: Florida Rock, Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis, Square 701
 

WMATA has released a Joint Development Solicitation for two sites in Near Southeast--the eastern entrance to the Navy Yard subway station at New Jersey and M, and the chiller plant on the southwest corner of Half and L. The sites would be offered for long-term leases, with the goal being Transit-Oriented Development: "safe, walkable, mixed-use communities that emphasize transit connections and reduce auto dependency." The 4.400-sq-ft New Jersey and M site is interesting because it butts up against Donohoe's planned 1111 New Jersey Avenue office building, and the JDS states: "The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has indicated a preference for the ground floor area around WMATAs eastern entrance to be an attractive public plaza, complimenting the new development in the area. In this case, development on the parcel would largely occur above the street level." I'm not sure how you create an attractive public plaza that has development above it.... I'm guessing that Donohoe will be quite interested in this land (and their rendering of 1111 NJ does indeed show a very nice plaza). As for the chiller site at Half and L, it's 14,100 square feet, with a 7,700-sq-ft privately owned strip right next to it that combined could allow for a 200,000-sq-ft development (just like 20 M Street just to its south). With two other parcels at the corner of Half and L ready to be developed (the Nation site and the Ron Cohen Square 699N project), I'd imagine this site will garner a fair amount of interest. Proposals are due to WMATA on Nov. 17.
 

Monument Realty has added to it's web site an "Upcoming Projects" page, listing "Ballpark District - Phase 1." This is the project on the east side of Half Street between M and N we've been hearing about, but it's nice to see it "confirmed" on their web site. It's described as 275,000 sq ft of office space (which would be at M Street, above the Navy Yard Metro station) and 450 condos (down toward N Street and the stadium). The site says "more details to come by Spring Training 2007." No word yet on the outcome of the bidding for the WMATA land.
More posts: Akridge/Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument/Half St., staddis
 

The parade of alley closings and street closings/realignments this year in Near Southeast continues, as the National Capital Planning Commission has on its September meeting agenda the proposed closing of a public alley in Square 701 (the square bounded by 1st, M, N and Half Streets, SE--see my cruddy tax parcel map for assistance on where the squares are). I figured that this was going to be the alleys in the footprint of the Monument/WMATA properties, since Monument has made clear it's plans to move forward with developing the land along Half Street, but instead I find out that the alley closings being requested are on the east side of the Square, between Cushing Place and 1st Street, where the land is owned by the Cohen and Camalier families, who have said little about their plans for these properties. Does this mean we'll be seeing development coming to 1st Street south of M soon, too? And believe it or not, as I was writing this very entry, I received word that Monument has now filed it's application for alley closings on the west side of Square 701 as well as one small alley on Square 700 (behind the Amoco Station). Note that neither of these applications request closings of Van or Cushing. These applications follow successful alley closing requests already this year for Square 0743N as part of the 100 M and 1100 1st Street projects, the street/alley closings for the new ballpark, and the closed alleys and new streets for Capper/Carrollsburg--plus there are the still-pending requests to realign the streets in Square 737 in preparation for William C. Smith's big mixed-use project at 2nd and H and the Lerners' request to close a small portion of an alley in Square 697 as part of their 1000 South Capitol office project (no bills for these yet appearing in the DC Council legislation database).

 

From today's Washington Business Journal print version (available online to subscribers only for 30 days), news that Monument Realty, which owns most of the land facing Half Street between M and N not controlled by WMATA, has stopped waiting for the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation to get the Ballpark District rolling and has submitted an unsolicited proposal directly to WMATA to incorporate the Navy Yard Station's Half-and-M entrance and the adjacent WMATA parking lot into an office building that Monument wants to build. Metro then put out a Request for Proposals so that other developers could bid on the land (bids are due by 3 pm Aug. 21). If Monument's bid is successful, they say they can move forward "more promptly" with their plans for an office building with ground floor retail at that spot. AWC doesn't really seem all that concerned; Adrian Washington is quoted as saying "Our goal is to redevelop the ballpark district. We're fine either way." Monument, which would manage the government-funded $15 million expansion of the Metro station, says that they need to get control of the property ASAP in order to be able to have the station upgrades completed by Opening Day 2008. The article also notes that AWC expects to have a land disposition agreement completed by next month for Forest City Washington to purchase a portion of the WASA land at 1st and O; but color me a bit skeptical on timeline announcements from AWC these days.
 

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
 
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