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Finishing the Newest Batch of Photo Updates
Mar 19, 2007 6:01 PM
I gave you new stadium
, Monument Half Street
, and 20 M
photos yesterday; today I've posted new Community Center
and DOT HQ
shots, including some pretty neat ones of the new New Jersey Ave. and Tingey Street intersection
(amazing what bright sunlight can do for a bunch of buildings and fresh asphalt!). I also added to the 20 M
page new shots of the festive scrolling information sign they've installed over the main entrance, as well as the "Coming Soon - Wachovia" sign that I missed by minutes
when taking my pictures on Sunday. You can also see on one page all the photos from yesterday and today
that I've posted.
Other New Photos
Mar 18, 2007 9:56 PM
Still working my way through the pile of pictures I took today.... New shots posted of the ongoing work at the Monument Half Street
site, and also some "substantially complete" shots of 20 M Street
--in a couple photos you can see men working on the far left window on M Street, and a reader gave me a heads up that not more than a few minutes after I came through, they posted a sign saying "Wachovia Coming Soon
." So, if that's indeed the case, that would be the first 20 M tenant we've heard of.
Monument Demolition Continues - Caught on Camera!
Mar 15, 2007 11:53 PM
Another building has bitten the dust on the Monument Half Street
site, and I think everyone can agree it will not be lamented on its death--it's the brown cinderblock building just north of the N Street intersection
, and it's now been immortalized on my Demolished Buildings
page. And, thanks to Camera 2 of the Clark/Hunt/Smoot Stadium Construction Cam
, we can see that it breathed its last between 11:11 and 11:22 this morning, March 15. (I'm pretty sure I'm the only one using that camera to not
watch the stadium construction!) They appear to be working around the temporary WMATA lot that they built just north of the cinder-shed; at the same time, work appears to be nearly complete on the next WMATA temporary lot, over at 1236 South Capitol (formerly home to the neon yellow bungalow
, just south of the storage company).There's a zoning hearing on April 23 for permanent approval of the new temporary lot
(it was approved on an emergency basis
back in November).
Square 699N Hints
Mar 15, 2007 11:31 PM
On Wednesday a "shoring and sheeting" building permit application was filed for 1001 First Street
, which is on the block known as Square 699N
, bounded by 1st, Half, K, and L streets. It was bought in September 2005 by local developer Ron Cohen
for $51 million, and was the home to nightclubs Wet, Edge, and Club 55, along with various other small businesses that slowly moved out until the block was left vacant in September 2006. As for the building permit app, shoring and sheeting is how the walls of a big hole in the ground are held up during excavation (I hope that isn't too technical of an explanation), and is another sign that Cohen is getting his ducks in a row to do .... something .... on this lot, as were the public space permits that were granted in December 2006 for the necessary water and sewer shut-off work on the site. I haven't seen evidence of raze permits, but I only started seeing those in Fall 2006 and it's possible that they were applied for earlier. What I did notice during a drive-by today is that all of the trees on the block--including a pretty huge one at 1st and L
--have been chopped down (I'm pretty sure within the past week). Will we hear word of Cohen's plans soon?
(I was hoping to give you an equally enticing report on a building permit app filed for 83 M Street
, the Normandie Liquors lot at 1st and M
, but apparently it's for the placement of a construction trailer, which I'm guessing is for Monument's Half Street project
, though I don't know for sure. Ah well.)
Site Clearing Continues at Half Street
Mar 12, 2007 4:45 PM
(I was out of town last week, and am also currently under the weather, so I'm only slowly catching up.) At some point during the past week, more buildings on the footprint of the Monument Half Street project
met the wrecking ball, giving us some new additions to my Near Southeast Demolished Buildings
page. There's also getting to be quite a hole already on the north end of the lot, around the Navy Yard Metro entrance at Half and M.
Monument/Half St., staddis
Sale of Half Street Land by WMATA
Mar 12, 2007 8:09 AM
It took awhile to get into the city's Real Property Sales Database
, but it can now be reported
that WMATA sold its land on the east side of Half Street and one parcel on M Street to Monument Realty on Dec. 26 for $15.4 million. This is the land on top of the Navy Yard Metro stop east entrance that's now going to become the first part of Monument's Half Street/Ballpark District
mixed-use development; as part of this deal, Monument is handling the renovation/expansion of the subway station, already underway.
More New Photos
Feb 26, 2007 11:26 AM
In addition to the latest stadium photos that I posted on Saturday, there's also a smattering of new photos on the 20 M Street and Capper Seniors #2 pages, and even the Monument Half Street page (showing the hole in the ground starting to be dug as part of the Navy Yard Metro station upgrade). I also tossed in a few updated photos of the 4th and K and 4th and L intersections into the Photo Archive as well.
Breaking News - Zoning Commission Sends Florida Rock Back to the Drawing Board (But Monument Realty Gets Its Approvals)
Feb 12, 2007 8:36 PM
The long and winding road of the Florida Rock project took a pretty surprising turn tonight, as the Zoning Commission opted not to vote on the second-stage PUD, instead asking the applicant for to come back with an altered design that addresses the commission's concerns: the need for a greater amount of residential within the project (up from the current 40%, with the understanding that this would cut down the amount of office space), better views of and from the stadium (specifically in terms of the views of the Anacostia River from the grand staircase at 1st Street, and also the views of the stadium from the South Capitol Street Bridge), and a somewhat amorphous desire for a better "expression of place" (something that makes the site and the project more identifiable on the waterfront side).
Commissioners Parsons and Jeffries led the discussion about the concerns; Parsons in particular was extremely concerned that the project--which started long ago, well before there was a stadium to the north--would be looked at as a huge missed opportunity if it were approved in its current form. He mentioned how originally there was great emphasis put on the need to keep the axis of Half Street running through the project (see the project map to orient yourself
and understand the discussion), but now that Half Street doesn't exist anymore thanks to the ballpark, perhaps the site could be pushed in at the center to allow more space at its ends and to respond to the stadium. Commissioner Jeffries expressed that this should be much more of a "civic" location (i.e., more for residents and less for office workers), and that there needs to be a better design plan, and that the commission has a responsibility to "get this right." When Commissioner Turnbull said that these requests constitute "major surgery", Jeffries replied that in his view the project needs
major surgery, that incremental changes aren't getting the project where it needs to be.
Next steps? Good question--there was talk about how, when an extension was requested back in 2004, there were concerns that if it weren't granted the Florida Rock people would just leave a concrete plant on this valuable land, and the commissioners expressed a bit of worry about whether they'd do that now--and Commissioner Hood, who was skeptical of these requests at such a late date in the process, said that if he were the applicant, he would leave it as a concrete plant at this point. Yeowch. I will keep you apprised, of course.
Monument Realty's Half Street mixed-use project
was given final approval on a 5-0 vote, with the exception of one variance request. Commissioners Mitten, Hood, and Parsons all remarked on how much they like the project, and Parsons made mention of how responsive Monument was to the concerns expressed by the commission at the January hearing
Florida Rock and Monument Zoning Votes on Monday - AWC Meeting Tuesday
Feb 11, 2007 6:23 PM
Tomorrow (Monday) night is a big Zoning Commission
meeting, with votes expected on both the Florida Rock
second-stage PUD and the Monument Realty/Half Street
project (The 250 M Street
vote has been put off again.) This is available on live webcast
if you're so inclined. If the projects are approved, there's then a public comment period before a final approval vote a few weeks down the road.
Also, the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has just announced a Tuesday meeting "to consider resolutions regarding development agreements with the JBG Companies and the Government of the District of Columbia related to the implementation of a PILOT agreement
for the new US Department of Transportation Headquarters
"--no, I can't really tell you what this means. The meeting can be listened to via teleconference (call 877-529-9893 and enter access code 800). See my Calendar of Events
for times and locations.
Updated Monument/Half Street Renderings, Zoning Docs
Feb 2, 2007 5:05 PM
I've now posted PDFs of some of the Monument Realty submissions to the Zoning Commission
for the January 11 public hearing
on their Half Street/Ballpark District
mixed-use project: you can grab yourself a really large, strong cup of coffee and peruse the opening statement
(1 MB), the traffic study
(3.7 MB, which I linked to
a few days ago) or the architectural drawings
(13.7 MB). I've also snagged the best of the renderings and added them to my Monument Half Street
page. It's expected that the Zoning Commission will vote on this project at its February 12 public meeting, when zoning approval votes are also expected on the 250 M Street
and Florida Rock
For those who aren't well-versed in the zoning process, I should emphasize that these are the submittal documents--at the public hearings, zoning commissioners ask questions and request clarifications
and sometimes modifications, and so what will be voted on isn't necessarily what's seen here. But it's better than nothing!
Traffic Planning in the Ballpark District
Jan 29, 2007 8:24 PM
The February Hill Rag has an article about the "complex challenges" of traffic management
facing Near Southeast and Southwest as development projects
come online over the next few years--including, of course, the new ballpark
, which will draw 40,000 fans 80 times a year. The DC Sports and Entertainment Commission
is required to provide a Traffic Operations and Parking Plan by April 30; there will then be community meetings for discussion (lots of it, I imagine) of the plan, though DCSEC takes pains to note that the TOPP is just for game day-related traffic, and not the entire surrounding area's general traffic flow. Ward 6 council member Tommy Wells is working on a gathering of representatives of the usual suspects (agencies, DCSEC, business and property owners [including the Navy], and community members) to work toward coordinating plans and solutions addressing the flow of people in and out of Southeast and Southwest. Even before the arrival of thousands of baseball fans and other neighborhood newcomers (including the 7,000 DOT
workers scheduled to arrive in Spring 2007), traffic along South Capitol Street is, shall we say, terrible, so coming up with a solution will be an interesting challenge.
If you're interested in traffic issues, you might also want to look at this Transportation Impact Study
(PDF, 3.6 MB; for a taste, here's the introduction and conclusions
) of the area bounded by South Capitol, First, M, and N streets
submitted by Monument Realty
as part of its Dec. 2006 Zoning Commission filings for the 55 M Street project
(which I just got my paws on). While it primarily deals with Squares 700 and 701, section 5 of the study also has an analysis of projected ballpark weekday evening traffic in 2008
. For more background (from a government source), you can also go back and read the 2004 South Capitol Gateway Corridor and Anacostia Access Study
prepared by DDOT.
Two New Entries in the Demolished Buildings Gallery -- Two Old Entries, Too
Jan 28, 2007 4:20 PM
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
WMATA Moving Forward with Bus Garage Relocation
Jan 26, 2007 11:36 AM
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).
Building Permits Approved for 909 New Jersey
Jan 22, 2007 10:38 PM
With the daily Building Permit feed continuing to be on the fritz
, it's back to finding out about approved permits on Mondays, via the Never-Ending PDF File
. Today's news (on pages 182 and 186, for those of you following along at home) is that the building permit has been approved for 909 New Jersey Avenue
, JPI's 244-unit residential project on the block where the Nexus Gold Club recently closed; an excavation permit was approved as well. In one of the articles on the Nexus closing, JPI said it was planning to begin demolition on the site in March. In other permit news, a bunch of soil boring permits were approved (page 183) for the Monument Realty/Half Street
New Monument Half Street Renderings and Web Site
Jan 19, 2007 6:44 PM
Monument Realty has created a web site for its mixed-use project on Half Street
in the Ballpark District, dubbed HalfStreetDC.com
. Not a lot of info there right now (at least nothing that JDLand devotees don't already know!), but there's a contact form to fill out if you're interested in getting information from them as the project progresses. There's also a spiffy rendering showing their vision for Half Street, as seen (I believe) from N Street looking north toward M. They were also kind enough to pass along to me a nice version of the rendering of the 55 M Street office building that will sit atop the expanded Navy Yard Metro station, and I've added that to my Monument Half Street
page as well. (I had a cruddy version of this same rendering posted for the past week or so, nice to replace it with something decent!) My post from last week about the zoning hearing on this project
also has more information.
Monument/Half St., staddis
Navy Yard Station Expansion Groundbreaking
Jan 17, 2007 8:32 AM
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.)
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
If you want video, here's WJLA's report
on the event.
And we'll bring this linkathon to a close with the Examiner story
on the groundbreaking and the expansion.
Post Piece on Nexus Auction; Also, Reaction to AWC Dissolution Bill
Jan 16, 2007 10:20 PM
As I posted last week
, the Nexus Gold Club is auctioning off its furnishings and, more interestingly, its nude dancing license tomorrow (Tuesday
), and today the Post
picks up the story. One piece of news, JPI says that the demolition of the site
(which will eventually be home to the 909 New Jersey Avenue
residential project) will begin in March. On the same page as the Post story
, there's also a box with a short piece on the surprising move by Jack Evans reported last week
to abolish both the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
and the NCRC
Here's an Examiner article
noting that Tommy Wells, the new Ward 6 council member whose district includes a lot of the Anacostia Waterfront, is "not
convinced that legislation proposed Tuesday to dissolve a District organization charged with the redevelopment of the Anacostia River's waterfront is the best way to proceed. [...] Wells campaigned in part on redeveloping the Anacostia's waterfront into a walkable community for families, with green space, shops and restaurants. He said Friday he wondered whether putting Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration in charge of redeveloping the waterfront now is prudent considering his desire to take over the District's schools."
UPDATE, 1/16: The Post reports
that no one ended up bidding on the Nexus nude dancing license, perhaps because the minimum required bid was set at $2 million. But they have a cute little sidebar noting the prices that some of the furnishings went for--the 13-foot brass dancing poles went for $50.
UPDATE, 1/17: Oops, I dropped a rather important part of the Tommy Wells quote above. He is quoted as saying he is "not convinced" the legislation is the best way to proceed.
Monument Half Street Project at the Zoning Commission; Renderings Snagged
Jan 12, 2007 3:22 PM
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.
Monday Night Zoning/ANC Roundup
Jan 9, 2007 5:09 PM
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!
This Week's Events
Jan 7, 2007 8:52 PM
Just a small heads up to highlight some Near Southeast items on this week's calendar
: on Monday (Nov. 8), ANC 6D is having its monthly meeting (now at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at
6th and M SW). The agenda
has not yet been posted, but I do hear that the continuing fight over the Monument Realty request for support for its alley closings at Half and M is again on the schedule--which is kind of interesting, given that the alley closings became law
back in December; there are mumblings I guess about holding up Monument's zoning application, but who knows what's actually going to happen. Also on Monday night is a Zoning Commission meeting
, where the vote on the Florida Rock 2nd Stage PUD
is scheduled to be held. (Note that the vote on the 250 M Street PUD/Overlay Review
was originally scheduled for this meeting, but has been delayed to Feb. 12.) And then, rounding out the week's zoning festivities, Monument will present its Half Street office/hotel/residential project
to the ZC on Thursday evening
. Note that both the Monday and Thursday ZC meetings are available via live webcast
; I may actually be watching Monday's ZC webcast on my PDA while attending
the ANC meeting, which is just wrong
on so many levels. And, to make it worse, these two meetings will no doubt require me to time-shift my watching of the Ohio State-Florida game, so no one spoil the result for me (Go Gators! UF '87). The sacrifices I make.... UPDATE:
Oops, forgot to mention that tonight's (Jan. 8) Zoning meeting is also scheduled to include votes on proposed text amendments to the Capitol Gateway Overlay
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