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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Monument Valley/Half St.
See JDLand's Monument Valley/Half St. Project Page
for Photos, History, and Details
In the Pipeline
1244 South Capitol
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Yards/Parcel O
JBG/Akridge/Half St.
Ex-Monument/Half St.
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
Posts on Food/Fun
Retail News
Restaurants/Nightlife
 

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185 Blog Posts Since 2003
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I see that the two new owners on Half Street decided it was time to clear away the traces of the previous occupants and introduce themselves to the neighbors:
Also now appearing on Half Street (below left) is a spiffy logo for Due South, the restaurant coming this year to the Lumber Shed at the Yards. (The restaurant is a Bo Blair enterprise, as is the Fairgrounds, hence the cooperative crossover deal.) And, one block to the east (below right), it didn't take long for Grosvenor to make its F1rst presence known.
(Yes, I finally went out and took pictures. Be prepared for the coming onslaught.)
 

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UPDATE: Well, that was a fun few hours. Sorry about the outage--fingers crossed that we're back. It's the price I pay for keeping JDLand on a shared hosting service. (I actually kind of enjoyed the respite!)
I somehow managed to make it through four hours of Monday night's ANC 6D meeting (yay?). I already gave you the big headline (at least from the JDLand vantage point), but here's some other tidbits:
* DUE SOUTH: After initially applying for a Class CT Tavern license, the southern food restaurant planned for the Lumber Shed agreed to amend the application and change to a CR license as part of the settlement agreement negotiated with 6D. However, the city's liquor license board apparently voted on March 4 to approve a CT license. After much (much!) discussion and consternation about process, 6D voted 4-2-1 to send a letter to ABRA saying that if in fact Due South is being given a CT license, the ANC requests to be reinstated as a protestant to the license application and also moves for reconsideration of the CT order.
* HALF STREET HOLE: A presentation was made on the new plans I posted about for the northeast corner of Half and N, i.e., Monument Valley, i.e., the Half Street Hole, which received a generally positive response from the commission, along with suggestions for a better external differentiation between the condo wing facing N Street and the rest of the building and a request that the new sidewalks be made of softer materials if possible. The commission then voted 4-0-2 to support the project, which is now scheduled for its Capitol Gateway Overlay review on May 28.
* BREW GARDEN AT FLORIDA ROCK: Representatives of MRP Realty and Bardo presented their brew garden/neighborhood park concept. It was very late in the meeting, and so the discussion was hurried, but the commission raised issues based on concerns from when similar aborted attempts were made to use this site in previous years. These ranged from the fact that initial discussions with MPD and DCRA have apparently not yet been had, nor has the BID been talked to (which came up when the MRP/Bardo folks said they were looking to the ANC to "program" the site's offerings beyond the brew garden). One thing emphasized to the commission was that this is not envisioned as a place for baseball fans to come and swill down Bud Light, and that no hard liquor would be served. In the end, with time running out and the somewhat muddled presentation leaving the commissioners a bit quizzical as to exactly what the team is planning to do at the site, no vote was taken.
There was also one item just barely outside the JDLand border region, so you can read SWill on a new residential project planned at 1319 South Capitol, immediately to the north of the Camden South Capitol building and across the street from the ballpark.
Comments (10)
More posts: Alcohol/Liquor Licenses, ANC News, duesouth, Florida Rock, Monument Valley/Half St.
 

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Not quite six months after buying the land on the northeast corner of Half and N streets across from Nats Park currently known as Monument Valley, the MacFarlane/Jair Lynch joint venture has now submitted to the Zoning Commission its new plans for the site, a 10-story building with 461,700 square feet of residential (and possibly hotel) development, combined with at least 60,000 square feet of retail.
Back a couple of lifetimes ago, Monument Realty also planned a residential, retail, and hotel project on this site, so this filing is actually a modification to the previously approved plans. The new designs by architectural firm Hord Coplan Macht, seen in these renderings purloined from the zoning filing, would add at least 23,000 square feet of retail to what had been planned, mostly in the second-floor space along Half Street, as shown in the drawing below, as well as potentially an additional 8,000 square feet on the second floor facing N Street, depending on the all-important "market conditions."
The new project would have either 445 residential units and no hotel at all, or 365 residential units and a 80-room hotel on the north end of the site (down from a 200-room hotel in Monument's designs). The new design includes condos (apparently 130ish of them) in the south wing along N Street, with the rest being rental units.
As in the original designs, there would still be a small street called "Monument Place" running between this building and its neighbor to the north, 55 M Street, allowing the retail offerings to wrap around onto the building's north side--however, in these new plans it would be a pedestrian-only street, negating the need for a curb cut on Half Street.
In addition, the basically-an-alley Cushing Place would still be extended through to N Street, through an opening in the ground floor of the south side of Lynch's building. (If you look closely at the top rendering, you can see it.) There would still be three levels of underground parking with approximately 231 spaces. And there would be all manner of streetscape work to make the sidewalks--and the walk to the ballpark--a bit more inviting than they are now.
For you zoning groupies, there's also one special exception being requested, that the project be allowed to have two roof enclosures instead of one on the south wing of the building that fronts N Street. And note that this is all under the Capitol Gateway Overlay design review process.
These new plans will be presented to ANC 6D on Monday night (March 9), with a zoning hearing date apparently as yet unannounced. My Monument Valley project page has a few of the old Monument renderings, should you wish to compare.
UPDATE: The zoning hearing is apparently now scheduled for May 28.
Comments (13)
More posts: Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., zoning
 

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* 82 I GETS A PERMIT: Add another project to the ready-to-start-anytime lineup. In this case, it's the 234-unit residential project on the northwest corner of New Jersey and I, which as of this morning has an approved shoring/sheeting/excavation permit. They've looked ready for this moment for a few weeks now, so it'll be interesting to see when work gets underway.
* 909 HALF GETS A PERMIT: Late last week 909 Half Street got its shoring permit as well. This is a 380-unit residential building by Ruben Companies and the Related Companies, and at least one resident is sure that activity is already underway at the site on the southwest corner of Half and I, in the wake of construction trailers having arrived within the past few weeks.
This is the first time in my 12 years of JDLand-ing that a project has gotten this far along without making available a least a token rendering of what's coming, so I figured I'd just fill in the blank. Feel free to create your own.
* BALLPARK SQUARE TEA LEAVES: The parking attendant kiosks have disappeared, the gates have been locked, and cars have stopped parking on the former Nats Lot F along the west side of 1st Street south of M. The residential and hotel project known as Ballpark Square has had excavation permits in hand for the southern part of this lot since November--keep an eye out for the arrival of heavy equipment.
(Note that the north end of the block is going to be the 99 M office building--sort of part of Ballpark Square, sort of not. It doesn't have its excavation permits approved yet, though they are in process.)
* FOUR READY TO GO: If you are keeping track, there are now these approved excavation permits for 82 I, 909 Half, Ballpark Square, and the Homewood Suites at 50 M. That's a lot of new digging to kick off 2015--it's also another 940 residential units and 365 hotel rooms about to drop into the pipeline. Already under construction? Residential projects Park Chelsea, 800 New Jersey, Lofts at CQ, Arris, 1111 New Jersey, and Riverfront, plus the Community Center and a Hampton Inn, too.
* MONUMENT VALLEY TEA LEAVES: At Monday night's ANC meeting, a representative from Jair Lynch's development company was there to discuss the revamped plans for the Half Street Hole, aka Monument Valley, which Lynch and partners bought last year. According to reports from the meeting (I wasn't there), the plans are shifting to include 130 condos alongside the rental units, and to scale it all down because it was "too large." SWill was kind enough to tweet a cellphone grab of the design shown to the commission for the northeast corner of Half and N. This will need to go through a Capitol Gateway Overlay zoning review before moving forward, so there will be more opportunities to see renderings and get additional information. Lynch's rep told me after the meeting that the project is expected to be back in front of the ANC "in the very near future."
* THE DEVIL LIVES AT PARK CHELSEA: Curbed DC took a look at the pile of new renderings on the Park Chelsea web site (with a clock counting down to the start of leasing on July 1) and noticed a very familiar someone in a few of them. Clearly this is the week for having a bit of fun with drawings.
 

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The Post's Jonathan O'Connell has posted a story today detailing the rise and fall of Monument Realty on Half Street--how the company snapped up parcel after parcel of land just north of the ballpark footprint during 2004 and 2005, how they spared no expense to market their holdings, and how just as they dug the hole for the residential portion of their project, the economy collapsed, taking with it Lehman Brothers, their big financial backer.
It also gets itno how it's now been sold to the MacFarlane/Lynch partnership, even though "Monument wanted to see the project through as well, but had its hands tied by the Lehman estate, which wanted to sell."
You may recognize some of the photos accompanying the piece, and I also cop to being the owner of all of the "swag" displayed in the article, thanks to attending various Monument shindigs over the years, and thanks also to being an unrepentant pack rat. I spent years holding onto t-shirts, brochures, and even trading cards all because "someday someone might want to see them." And that someday is today!
It's a good read, and I'd say that even if I hadn't provided some assistance.
Comments (4)
More posts: Development News, Monument Valley/Half St.
 

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The final installment of this week's Fence Peeking is a bit more haphazard. Let's start with looking on fences:
(Left) The new Parc Riverside signage has been hung along 1st Street by the sales trailer, though at least I have the River Parc signs recorded for posterity.
(Right) There's a bunch of new signage on the black fences along Half and N, presumably to at least in part draw attention away from the big hole in the ground behind them. One portion of the sign is a map of places to see things, eat food, drink beverages, and spend money, placed by the Capitol Riverfront BID. And it helpfully provides confirmation of the Unleashed by Petco coming to the Boilermaker Shops, and lets the cat out of the bag (ahem) that the pet hospital at Twelve12 will be a Banfield.
(Left) While we wait to see when Willie's is going to open, I did at least finally get a photo of the ready-to-go interior. (Yeah, yeah, the glass isn't technically a fence, but work with me here.)
(Right) Speaking of the spiffy new signage on the black fences across from the ballpark, I finally got an updated photo from on high of exactly what those fences are hiding. Let's imagine the potential interim uses while Jair Lynch and MacFarlane Partners decide what to build -- Urban campground? ATV track? Wildlife sanctuary?
Comments (5)
More posts: banfield, Monument Valley/Half St., photos, Retail, Toll Brothers Lots, unleashed, willies
 

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A few tidbits to throw your way, but first let's start off with one of my favorite photos, taken eight years ago yesterday while standing at 1st and M. You can see more shots from Sept. 17, 2006 in the archive.
* UNLEASHED BY PETCO: It was rumored back in May, and there's still been no official announcement from Forest City, but a building permit issued last week seems to be the final confirmation that Unleashed by Petco is coming to the Boilermaker Shops.
* CSX: The Post reports that "It could be a few weeks before the Federal Highway Administration releases a decision on the proposed expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Southeast Washington." The "Record of Decision" hasn't yet been finalized. In the meantime, the Committee of 100 has let it be known that any decision short of an indefinite delay will result in a lawsuit. (Shocker!)
* HALF STREET: WBJ talks to new Half Street poobah Jair Lynch about his group's plans for the Half Street hole, now that they've bought it from Monument Realty. "While the project is expected to remain a mix of residential, retail and hotel, Lynch said he is now considering condos in addition to apartments, tweaking unit sizes, adding green features and amenities and bringing in a 'completely different retail mix.'" (Longtime area observers note that in Monument's original plans, the two residential buildings at the south end of the block were planned to be condos and apartments. And of course it's easy to "change" the retail mix when there isn't any to begin with.) They hope to get underway by 2016, WBJ says.
* MLB LATE NIGHT WITH METRO: WTOP: "Although the Washington Nationals have clinched the NL East, the team has not reached a deal with Metro to keep trains running past midnight during home playoff games." The Metro policy is that the Nationals would have to pay at $29,500 deposit to stay open an extra hour during the week; some of you may remember that back in 2012, the Nats did not step forward to pay, so Livingsocial offered to foot the bill.
 

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Documents filed today show that Monument Realty, which sunk its teeth whole-heartedly into the Nationals Park-fueled land rush of 2004 and 2005, is exiting Half Street, with the sale of the company's two remaining parcels, best known to baseball fans and residents as the location since 2009 of the big hole in the ground on the east side of the street.
The buyer of the properties is officially Half Street Residential PJV, LLC, which the Washington Business Journal is reporting is a new partnership of MacFarlane Partners and Jair Lynch Development Partners.
WBJ: "MacFarlane already owned a 50 percent stake in the residential portion of Half Street. With local partner Jair Lynch, MacFarlane essentially bought out Monument and Lehman," with an expectation that the "new team will bring this languishing project to life."
The price of the sale is roughly $12.5 million. (UPDATE, 9/17): A follow-up WBJ story on the new owners' plans for the site says that a check was cut for $34 million.
Monument had planned a hotel and 320 units of residential on this site, and went ahead and dug the hole back in 2007 and 2008 as it built the 55 M Street office building at the north end of the block. But the economy tanked, and the "Monument Valley" hole languished (and became quite the urban forest).
This move isn't exactly a surprise: it had looked a few months ago like something was coming, as Lehman had taken back a portion of this stretch of Half Street just as it had with two other Monument properties that quickly ended up being sold: the 50 M site that is soon to be a Homewood Suites, and the lot on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N that JBG is now planning to develop as a residential building.
Monument now is involved in only one property in the neighborhood, the old Domino's site at South Capitol and M that they made initial moves to develop as an office building a few years ago. (But, in what may or may not mean anything, there have been permits issued in recent days for soil borings on that site, which is often a precursor to a sale. I'm not saying--I'm just saying.)
This is the end of quite a chapter in the neighborhood's rise--and the beginning of a new round of toe-tapping about progress on what was once envisioned to be one of the liveliest stretches of street in town. It will be interesting to see how quickly MacFarlane/Lynch move, and what their new plans may be, (And, for that matter, whether Akridge is currently making any moves on its side of Half Street.)
Comments (19)
More posts: Development News, Monument Valley/Half St.
 

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It's a lot of building to knock down, but a milestone of sorts was reached late last week at Building 213 when the demolition punched through from the west to the east, splitting the remnants in two and giving a peek at the vistas to come once it all comes tumbling down.
So I've added a bunch of new photos of the destruction to my Yards Parcel A page, and I also think the destruction is now far enough along to add the 171st entry to my Demolished Buildings Gallery.
In addition, I've scoured the archives and have come up with more than more than 40 vantage points where Spooky Central has been visible from and will be for just a bit longer.
But if you want a few more moments of the building not looking torn apart, go stand about halfway between M and N on first and look eastward above the "Event Parking" sign, as I did above. (I didn't even notice this quirk until I got home and looked at the photo.)
A few blocks away another man-made creation that won't be much lamented is being dismantled, as seen here in its before-and-after, with the Park Chelsea now looming:
Then there's some signage I have needed to officially record, that of the Subway Café and the Big Stick at 20 M (which got its tenant layout building permit approved recently), and the new Homewood Suites banner at 50 M. Plus there's now a tower crane at the Hampton Inn site.
To bring some green to the page, I'll close with this lovely photo of the increasingly lush Monument Valley just north of the ballpark.
And I'll have an even more interesting batch of photos coming soon.
(Click on any of these to launch a mini-slideshow of all of them.)
Comments (1)
More posts: 20 M, Homewood Suites, the Big Stick, Monument Valley/Half St., photos, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards
 

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Documents filed with the Recorder of Deeds within the past few months show that Lehman Brothers has executed the necessary legal and financial maneuvers to take sole ownership of a portion of the infamous hole in the ground on Half Street just north of Nats Park (which I can't believe I didn't until this instant ever think to call Monument Valley).
The site, on the northern part of the hole and just south of 55 M Street, was going to be the hotel portion of Monument Realty's block-long Half Street development.
This is the third time in the past few years that Lehman has taken ownership of property in Monument's once-vast holdings just north of the ballpark. Lehman was one of Monument's investment partners on these properties, in addition to being the lender.
In both of the other cases, the "foreclosure" by Lehman ended up being a precursor to the sale of the property--both at 50 M, bought by investors in May 2013 and now the site of the planned Homewood Suites hotel, and at 1244 South Capitol, bought by JBG in late 2013 and likely to be a residential project. (The company's 55 M Street office building was sold in late 2013 without a Lehman takeback.)
Whether this is another precursor to another sale, we will have to see.
As of now, Monument retains an ownership stake in only two properties in the Ballpark District: the southern half of Monument Valley, where a residential project was planned, and the old Domino's site at One M Street, where back in 2012 Monument had been starting to shepherd an office project through zoning.
Comments (5)
More posts: Development News, Monument Valley/Half St.
 
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