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Meeting Wrap-Up - 250 M Approved, ANC Thumbs Down on Parking
May 15, 2007 12:11 PM

Let's go around the horn and see what happened at last night's various meetings.

* The Zoning Commission voted to give final approval to the plans for 250 M Street, William C. Smith's planned 190,000-sq-ft office building on M Street just east of what will be Canal Park. The building, which is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Planned Unit Development (and will help fund all the redevelopment at Capper), is expected to start construction at the end of 2007.
* ANC 6D had three Near Southeast items on the agenda--unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend, so I'm giving you the quick and dirty results, and will hopefully have links later for additional details. First, they gave their approval (again) to the 276-unit residential building planned by Camden Development at 1325 South Capitol Street, but this was pretty prefunctory since they approved it a few months back and nothing has really changed except a bureaucratic need to resubmit the plan to the Zoning Commission in a different manner; the ZC hearing is on May 31. Second, they voted not to support Zoning Commission Case 07-08, the request to amend the city's zoning laws to allow temporary (no longer than five years) surface parking lots on certain squares in Near Southeast to help provide parking for the new stadium. There was also a presentation by the DC Housing Authority on what's been happening with Capper/Carrollsburg and the Capper seniors buildings, but of course you've been reading this site religiously and so know it all already.
UPDATE: Apparently the feelings against the parking case ran pretty strong; and I understand that Andy Litsky of the ANC will be testifying in opposition at the Zoning Commission hearing next Monday (May 21).

Nation and Sunoco Sites to Change Hands?
Apr 27, 2007 10:36 AM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only for now), word arrives of two big Near Southeast real estate transactions: Opus East, developer of 100 M Street, is on track to purchase the 1015 Half Street/Nation site from Potomac Investment Properties (the story says Republic Investment, but I don't think that's correct). And Monument Realty is reportedly adding to its vast Hood holdings by buying the old Sunoco lot at 50 M Street. (I have heard rumors of these two items for weeks/months, but it turns out what I was hearing wasn't 100% accurate--score one for waiting for confirmation) The article says that Opus plans to retain the plans for a 440,000-sq-ft office building with retail on the Nation site, and are rumored to be paying $100 a square foot; Monument has not disclosed what it might do with the Sunoco site or what it's paying. The article also has some vague mention of some other transaction on the "corner of Half and K", but doesn't say which corner (the northeast and northwest ones are the two possibilities), or who's buying it. More on these transactions (such as actual prices) as I get it. (And yes, I'll have photos of the Nation demolition as soon as the sun comes out.)
More posts: 1015 Half, 50m, mnorth, Monument/Half St., M Street

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.
More posts: 20 M, Monument/Half St., M Street, Retail, staddis

Article on Light Rail - With Some Clarification
Jan 5, 2007 1:02 PM
UPDATE, 1/5: Adding a link to this piece in today's WashTimes on the Anacostia trolley pilot, which doesn't include much new info, but the Bloomberg piece linked to below has disappeared, so this is good to have; in the meantime, be sure to ignore other pieces like this one that try yet again to say that the Bolling line will connect riders to the baseball stadium by 2008, which is just patently false.
Hat tip to the CHT Shareholder Community blog for finding this Bloomberg article, "Washington Trolleys Go Back on Track in Mass Transit Encore," which discusses the plans that have been in the works since 2003 to bring light rail to DC. One thing that the article doesn't quite make clear--when it's talking about building the first 2-mile line (describing it as "pass[ing] near the Washington Nationals' new downtown ballpark"), it's glossing over the fact that this test line is being built in Anacostia, along the east side of the river, whereas Near Southeast and the stadium are on the west side of the river. You can go to the DC Transit Future web site to learn more about the Anacostia Streetcar Project (the test line) and about the long-range plans. The planned corridors do include M Street SE, the 11th Street Bridges, and South Capitol Street. But this project has had many delays over the years (see my first post on it, from October 2003), the Anacostia test line is already at least three years behind schedule; but at least back in October the Transportation Planning Board allotted $3 million to the Anacostia Streetcar Study and added the first phase of construction to the Constrained Long Range Plan, so it's finally getting some funding. But, In other words, don't plan on buying your tokens just yet :-).

New Stoplights Coming to M Street
Dec 19, 2006 8:48 PM
Even though workers won't be moving into the new US Department of Transportation headquarters until spring (at least, that's the last I've heard), the work on the surrounding streetscapes continues. Over the past couple weeks both 4th Street and the "new" extended New Jersey Avenue south of M Street have been paved and striped--and now there are stoplights installed (but not yet operational) at 4th and M and New Jersey and M. So be on the lookout for those going live (and when they do, let me know). I don't know when 4th and New Jersey will actually open to traffic, I imagine it won't be until DOT opens. As for 3rd Street, which runs between the two DOT buildings, they've done a nice job with making it a pedestrian plaza--and in case you're a long-term visionary, you can note that 3rd Street is still up to the proper standards should it ever be decided to open it to vehicular traffic, in the hazy far-off future when the entire city isn't locked down to the point of ridiculousness.
More posts: US Dept. of Transportation HQ, M Street

M Street Sunoco Now Demolished
Dec 12, 2006 11:01 AM

Correspondent Erik reports that the Sunoco at Half and M, which closed over the summer and saw its underground storage tanks removed soon after, has now been completely demolished. Still no official word on what might be coming to that corner, the rumor of a hotel is all I've heard.... UPDATE: For passers-by wondering about the retro industrial brick building behind the Sunoco--now much more clearly visible from M Street--it's a US Government storage facility.

More posts: 50m, M Street

CG Overlay Hearing Tonight - And Your (Extremely Long) Zoning Lesson of the Day
Nov 16, 2006 11:28 AM

Tonight the Zoning Commission is having a public hearing on case 06-25, a text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay that would include the west side of South Capitol Street in the CG Overlay and also establish a ZC review and approval process for new developments that abut South Capitol (as is currently the case for new projects along M Street). The Capitol Gateway Overlay spells out in extreme detail exactly what the requirements are for developments along South Capitol, M, and in the Ballpark District and over to Buzzards Point, and I suggest that anyone who is interested (or concerned) about the type of development that may be coming to Near Southeast should pour themselves 9 or 10 cups of coffee and read this document. (It's not a complete version because one doesn't currently seem to exist, I cobbled this together from various ZC documents.) The preamble is worth highlighting, to see how the city has spelled out what it envisions for the area:

The purposes of the CG Overlay District are to:
(a) Assure development of the area with a mixture of residential and commercial uses, and a suitable height, bulk and design of buildings, as generally indicated in the Comprehensive Plan and recommended by planning studies of the area;
(b) Encourage a variety of support and visitor-related uses, such as retail, service, entertainment, cultural and hotel or inn uses;
(c) Allow for continuation of existing industrial uses, which are important economic assets to the city, during the extended period projected for redevelopment;
(d) Provide for a reduced height and bulk of buildings along the Anacostia riverfront in the interest of ensuring views over and around waterfront buildings, and provide for continuous public open space along the waterfront with frequent public access points; and
(e) Require suitable ground-level retail and service uses and adequate sidewalk width along M Street, S.E., near the Navy Yard Metrorail station.
From there, you are treated to pages and pages and pages of very specific requirements set out for developers (i.e., items like "Each new building shall devote not less than thirty-five percent (35%) of the gross floor area of the ground floor to retail, service, entertainment, or arts uses ("preferred uses") [...]; provided, that the following uses shall not be permitted: automobile, laundry, drive-through accessory to any use, gasoline service stations, and office uses (other than those accessory to the administration, maintenance, or leasing of the building). Such preferred uses shall occupy 100% of the building's street frontage along M Street, except for space devoted to building entrances or required to be devoted to fire control.")
There is also a separate Southeast Federal Center Overlay, again laying out much detail about what is required and allowed for that development. There's even a great map on the last page that clearly shows the allowed uses, with the 5.4-acre waterfront park and residential-zoned areas being closest to the water (so there's no plan in place to allow office buildings right on the water or even near it; the commercial zones of the SEFC are all along First Street and M Street).
I think even just casual browsing through these documents can be a bit of an eye-opener for people (like me) who don't realize exactly how many requirements are already in place for these two areas. Of course, developers can ask for relief from certain rules (or the city council can just override the ZC altogether), but having documents such as these are a solid foundation. So it's good to know what's in them.
UPDATE: (like you're still reading) The Case 06-25 CG Overlay text amendment hearing was over last night in a flash; the record is being held open until Nov. 30, with action most likely to be taken at the ZC's Dec. 11 meeting.
More posts: M Street, South Capitol St., staddis, The Yards, zoning

Crime Blotter
Oct 2, 2006 7:11 PM
From CrimeInDC.org (saw this a few days ago, sorry for being slow in posting), report of a carjacking on Sept. 19 at 6:16 pm at the Exxon at 1000 M Street: "c1 reports as she was putting air in her front left tire s1 approached her from the rear then pushed her. s1 entered her vehicle at which time s1 and c2 began to struggle with the door. as s1 drove off c1 was hanging onto the driver door."
More posts: crime, M Street

Updated Photos
Oct 2, 2006 3:30 PM

Speaking of taking pictures, I've added some ones to my 100 M Street, 1100 First Street, Capper Seniors #2, and M Street photo galleries. 1100 First in particular has some striking before-and-afters now that trees have been removed along 1st and L streets. I also did some creative cropping of a Sept. 2000 photo of M Street to document (barely!) a solitary rowhouse that used to stand on the 100 M Street lot (where those steps-to-nowhere just west of the alley had been for the past few years, until meeting the wrecking ball over the past few weeks).

New M Street Map, Lots of Photos
Sep 19, 2006 12:12 AM

With construction getting under way at 100 M Street, the "Main Street" of Near Southeast is seeing yet another transformation. Since 1999, six office buildings have gotten underway in the short stretch between South Capitol and 4th streets. So I've (of course) added a new map to my M Street Overview page, detailing what's where and what's coming. And I've added a bunch of new photos as well.

More posts: M Street

Update on M Street Doings
Aug 16, 2006 2:24 PM

It appears that the work being done at 1st and M (wrapping back toward L Street) is plumbing/pipe work of some sort under the street and sidewalks, not any-second-now demolition of On Luck and the other buildings (although I imagine that's not far behind, given that construction on 100 M Street is supposed to start "late summer 2006" according to Opus East). And the Sunoco station at 50 M Street is indeed now being dismantled. But still no announcement of any big deal for that lot.

More posts: 100 M, 50m, M Street, Square 743N

New Additions
Jul 22, 2006 4:31 PM
A correspondent passed along an image from the paperwork filed with the Zoning Commission for the stadium hearing last month, which shows a concept rendering of the now-infamous condo- and hotel-wrapped parking garages on the north edge of the stadium site. I've put it at the top of my Stadium Renderings page, where you can scroll down to remind yourself of the plain parking garages originally planned for that location. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to move all my discussions and photos of this land between N Street and N Place to my Ballpark District page without completely gutting my Stadium page :-). (I think I'll wait until the Ballpark District Master Plan is released.) In the meantime, I also added a couple of new photos to my M Street page, my Capper/Carrollsburg page (celebrating at long last the completion of above-ground demolition on the 3rd/4th/I/Virginia block), and the Capper Seniors #2 page (the 4th and M location is starting to look very different).

Sunoco at Half and M Closed - Hotel Coming?
Jul 13, 2006 9:24 AM
Big surprise this morning--a correspondent reported that the Sunoco at 50 M Street (Half and M) is being dismantled as we speak. (Waah, where will I track gas prices now?) There's been no record of a land sale in the DC Property Sales database (although that currently runs about 6 weeks behind and is only updated right now through late May). However, a call to the station's phone number revealed a change to a new number with a 703 area code, and the person who answered said that Sunoco had sold the land "to a hotel or something." So do we have yet another new development arriving on M Street? More as I get it.
More posts: 50m, M Street, Retail

Closure Approved for Van Ness Elementary School
Jun 29, 2006 11:38 PM
(Apologies for the posting delays, which will continue for about another week) The DC school board has approved the superintendent's plan to close Van Ness Elementary, at 5th and M SE, as part of the plan to shrink the school system's unused space (see the short Post story on the vote). You can read my previous entries on the Van Ness closure here and here.
More posts: Capper, M Street, Van Ness Elementary

Van Ness Elementary School to be Closed
May 15, 2006 2:44 PM
In what shouldn't be a shock at this point, the superintendent of the DC public schools has recommended that Van Ness Elementary be one of six schools to be closed by August, according to the Post ("D.C. Will Close Six Public Schools"). The 90 students that are currently at Van Ness (in Head Start and special-ed courses) would be moved to Prospect Elementary. The school board will hold public hearings on the plan and take a final vote June 28--you can see the Superintendent's Recommendation Report for more information. But keep in mind, as I mentioned in a previous entry: "However, as school board member Tommy Wells explained, the city won't be selling school properties, and the feeling is very strong that an elementary school must remain in Near Southeast. Given that Van Ness's M Street location could be enticing to developers, it's possible that the city would agree to a swap, to have a new Van Ness built somewhere else in the neighborhood in exchange for a developer getting rights to the 5th and M lot."
More posts: Capper, M Street, Van Ness Elementary

250 M Street Coming Soon
Apr 27, 2006 3:20 PM
Another long-planned development project is now moving forward--a correspondent tipped me to a newly posted sign announcing that 250 M Street will be arriving in 2008. This is a 212,500-sq-ft office building by the William C. Smith company, to be built right across the street from the DOT HQ (currently there's a parking lot on that site). It will take up all of the M Street frontage on that block, but won't cover the entire block--there will be an apartment building associated with Capper/Carrollsburg on the rear of the lot, facing L. See the Jones Lang LaSalle database for more information, and check out my tossed-together new page for the project.
More posts: 250 M, M Street

New Office/Residential Project In Planning Stages
Jan 9, 2006 8:09 PM

Just got back from the ANC 6D meeting, where Faison Enterprises was seeking the support of the commission in its request to close two east-west alleys in Square 743N, which is bounded by 1st, New Jersey, L, and M. Faison is in the process of acquiring the entire portion of this block west of the north-south alley (they were cagey about exactly how acquired it is), and displayed its preliminary plans for two structures: a 12-story office building on the northeast corner of 1st and M, and a 14-story, 250-unit residential tower on the southeast corner of 1st and L. This project--designed by Esocoff & Associates--has a lot of miles to cover before shovels could go in the ground, especially since its location comes under the new planning review requirements along M Street as part of the latest (not yet approved) amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay. I'll dig up some more pictures of the lots, but you can scroll far down on both the M Street and South Capitol Street pages to find a shot or two in the meantime. (Oh, the ANC supported the alley closings 6-0; the city council will vote on the proposal on Jan. 27.) More as I get it. UPDATE, 1/13: The DC Council will be holding a hearing on the legislation for this alley closing on Jan. 27 at 10:30 am.

More posts: ANC News, M Street, Onyx, Square 743N

ANC 6D Meeting
Jan 8, 2006 1:17 PM
ANC 6D's January meeting is Monday, Jan. 9, and its agenda is now available. It contains mostly items pertaining to SW (including a presentation by Forest City Enterprises on Waterside Mall, which I know is of interest to many of you), but what caught my eye was this: "Presentation: Variance and Special Exception, 900 New Jersey Avenue SE." Whaa? For those of you who don't know the street grid inside out, 900 New Jersey would be on the east side of the street between K and (the nonexistent) I Street, and is currently occupied by a DC Department of Public Works facility (the one with the tall brick chimney). The DPW site is part of the Capper / Carrollsburg PUD, which calls for a mid- to high-rise residential building on that lot. Are they moving forward with this? Is this something else? Or is it some boring little thing about eventually re-opening I Street, and nothing more? I'm doing some digging, and maybe I'll have an answer before Monday's meeting. But it is intriguing....  UPDATE: The agenda has been changed, and the 900 NJ Ave presentation is no longer there; it has been replaced with a presentation on proposed alley closings on the east side of Square 743, the 1100 block of 1st Street, SE. And apparently the "900 NJ Ave" label was an incorrect reference to the zoning adjustment request for the JPI project, which is not on New Jersey Ave (it's at 100 I Street). So for now, the DPW site is not going anywhere. UPDATE II: These JPI projects have driven me crazy since the beginning. To clarify a bit, JPI is also in the process of buying land on the west side of the 900 block of New Jersey (which includes the Nexus Gold Club), so they do plan on giving a presenation to ANC 6D soon about desired variances and exceptions for that project. But nothing for this second JPI project has shown up yet on any of the zoning calendars....
More posts: 909 New Jersey, ANC News, jpi, M Street, New Jersey Ave., zoning

Oct 2, 2005 5:03 PM

It's been a busy busy weekend here at the Near Southeast page. To reflect the true boundaries of the area I'm tracking, the map at right has been expanded, to 11th Street to the east and to South Capitol and S Streets in the south. I've also added two new pages to the site: the New South Capitol Street Bridge page, and the Near Southeast East End page, both of which have lots and lots of photos, and links to information about what's happening in those spots. I've also finally made my Navy Yard page more than an afterthought, adding many more pictures (although not so many from inside the Navy Yard walls, I don't want a visit from the Homeland Security folks). I know this makes the map smaller and a bit harder to read, but I also needed to leave some space for when more projects get underway. And, in the midst of all that, I added new photos to many of the existing pages: check out the DOT HQ, Washington Canal Park, Capitol Hill TowerFlorida Rock, and WASA pages to see them. (You'll also find a few new pictures on some other pages, but it'd be embarassing to mention them here when there's only one new photo on a page.)

Jul 18, 2005 12:09 PM

I was a bit late with my June progress photos, so I'm mixing things up by posting my July photos earlier than I might have; new images are on available on the DOT, Capitol Hill Tower, Washington Canal Park, and M Street pages. These were taken last week when I accompanied a group from the National Building Museum's Investigating Where We Live summer program around Near Southeast, making the poor kids tolerate my incessant blathering about What This Area Will Eventually Look Like.

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