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10 Blog Posts Since 2003

On January 17, the Zoning Commission will be taking up a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review request from Monument Realty for "One M Street," an approximately 328,000-square-foot office building planned for the southeast corner of South Capitol and M streets, SE, on what old-timers know as the old Domino's site, just to the north of the self-storage building.
The building, which is referred to in the zoning submittals as a speculative development, would have a large lobby entrance at the corner of South Capitol and M and somewhere between 9,000 and 17,260 square feet of ground-floor retail, plus four floors of underground parking with 310 spaces. It would be 12 stories high along M Street, but as seen in the above rendering grabbed from the documents, the height along South Capitol would be lower, because of the "different characters" of the two streets. You can see another rendering of the building, as seen from M Street at Van, here.
This has also been referred to the National Capital Planning Commission for review, and ANC 6D will of course be getting a crack at it as well. There's no estimated timeline mentioned in the zoning documents. (But we know how I feel about "estimated" start dates these days anyway. Show me a shovel in the ground!)
Monument has owned the Domino's parcel on the corner since 2005, and added the L-shaped parcel to its east and south in 2008 as part of its settlement with WMATA over not getting the Southeastern Bus Garage site just to the east. Monument, as most people know, built quite a portfolio of land in the blocks just to the north of Nationals Park in 2004 and 2005, having completed 55 M Street in 2009 and still controlling the rest of the land on the east side of Half Street, along with the old Sunoco site on the northeast corner of Half and M and the old BP/Amoco site on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N.
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More posts: M Street, onem, South Capitol St., zoning
 

Not exactly stop-the-presses news, but I would be shirking my fiduciary duties if I didn't make note of the fact that the all-black building on the southeast corner of South Capitol and M was demolished on Wednesday.
This building was a Domino's Pizza until it closed on Jan. 28, 2008. The lot has been owned by Monument Realty since August 2005, and Monument also owns most of the other lots along that block of South Capitol except for the self storage business. There are no current plans for any development on the site, so expectations should be that its main function will be as a parking lot for the foreseeable future.
And, it's now building #167 in my Demolished Buildings Gallery.
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More posts: M Street, onem
 

The city's building permits feed hasn't been working with perfection of late, so I'm only now seeing some recent permits of interest:
* As many folks have seen (and as I Twittered last week), the asphalt is being pulled up on the southern end of Canal Park (here's a photo from last Friday, taken at Second and M). Two building permits have been approved for the southern two blocks, allowing for "interior cleaning [...] to remove pavement import top soil and plant grass." Hopefully the northern block will get a makeover too. (UPDATE: Commenter Scott says that work on the northern block is already underway.)
* Monument Realty has gotten a six-month extension on the raze permit for the Domino's at South Capitol and M. And, though it's outside my redrawn boundaries, I'll mention that 1244 South Capitol (home to the stalled Camden Development apartment building) got a final six-month extension on a raze permit for that site. (Though I was bummed to see on Opening Night at the ballpark that the little red brick building that had been left standing for so long was finally gone.)
* A final (belated) reminder that the latest Anacostia Waterfront Forum is tonight at 6:30 pm at the MLK Library. The topic is "Waterfronts and the World's Great Capital Cities," with office of planning director Harriet Tregoning.
* The Post wrote a piece in the Sunday Business Section about Bo Blair, the Georgetown Events "restaurateur / entrepeneur." Fun fact: he's paying $25,000 a month in rent for the space on Akridge's land at Half and N.
 

This hasn't been mentioned in the items over the past few days about Akridge's Aug. 27 closing of its $46.5 million purchase of Metro's Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M: On the same day they closed on the bus garage, Akridge bought Monument Realty's land just south of the bus garage for $9.66 million. The site, a conglomeration of five or six lots that Monument cobbled together in 2004 and 2005, totals about 16,000 square feet along N Street between Half and Van, where the Good and Plenty carryout used to stand (for you old-timers).
To add one more Aug. 27 transaction to the mix: Monument also closed on its $22.7 million purchase of the 27,000-square-foot WMATA parking lot nestled between the Public Space Storage building and the old Domino's site, across Van from the bus garage. This is the land (currently Nats Parking Lot M) that Monument was awarded as part of the settlement of their lawsuit over the original awarding of all WMATA land on Square 700 to Akridge.
This means that Akridge now owns all of the west side of Half Street between M and N, while Monument owns the east side of South Capitol between M and N *except* for the Public Storage Building. (See my Monument Ballpark District page for photos.)
As mentioned in the other posts this week on Akridge's purchase of the bus garage, reports are that they are looking at a 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project, beginning perhaps in 2010. Don't know anything more than this at this point. Monument had been working on a residential building at South Capitol and N (land they still own), but I haven't heard if that's still part of their plans.
 

I know nothing more than this right now, but the WMATA board just within the past minute voted unanimously to approve the settlement of the lawsuit brought against them by Monument Realty over the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M. The discussion was all held in executive session, and the audio feed of the vote contained no details of the settlement, but I imagine the media will be picking it up soon. More as I get it, so keep checking back. Read yesterday's preview entry for background on the story.
UPDATE, seconds later: With the darn WBJ RSS feed not working, I missed this from about 40 minutes ago: ""Monument Realty and Akridge will split a key Metro-owned property near Nationals Park under a proposed legal settlement. [...] Monument will pay $22.6 million for a parcel on Van Street SE, while Akridge will pay $46.5 million for the Metro bus garage on the site, said Candace Smith, a WMATA spokeswoman." The Van Street site is the parking lot (Nats lot "M") just south of the Domino's site already owned by Monument. This means that the Public Space Storage building would be the only parcel on the block bounded South Capitol, Van, M and N not owned by Monument. Akridge would not gain control of the entire west side of Half Street with its acquisition of the bus garage: Monument owns the southernmost portion, directly across N Street from the ballpark, up to the alley where the On the Fly vending cart sets up shop.
UPDATE II: Here's the Metro press release.
 

(I'm not sure there's anyone who is wishing more than me that the dang thing would open already....)
* The Examiner looks at Southwest residents just across from the ballpark who are selling the parking spaces that came with their homes to Nats fans for as much as $3,000 a season. But if you park near these houses and don't have a visitors pass (or aren't one of the chosen few who fork over the dough for these private spaces), expect the residents to call DPW to have you ticketed and towed.
* The Post's newly reconstituted DC Wire blog catches up with Ken Wyban, the only resident homeowner on the ballpark footprint to lose his house when the city invoked eminent domain to take over the land. (City Paper talked to him a few weeks ago in their big ballpark Winners and Losers cover story.)
* Reader Sean alerts us that the Express has a special section on the ballpark today too. Looks like a bunch of the pieces are available here.
* Even the Annapolis Capitol newspaper gets in on the fun with its own overview of the ballpark, though they get a demerit for misspelling South Capitol Street and for mentioning the "Southeast neighborhoods west of the ballpark." (Uh.....)
* WTOP talks about the plans for security around the ballpark, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $1.2 million.
* And, just as I'm finishing this up, I see that MLB.com has a new article about the preparations and plans for this weekend's festivities.
Apparently the beautifying of the neighborhood is underway, too--the black fence along Half Street at the Monument hole in the ground now has art on it (see 55 M web cam) as well as banners on the upper floors of 55 M facing the ballpark, and the Stadium web cam shows a "Welcome Home Nats" sign on the side of 100 M. The recent jet-black paint job on the old Domino's at 1200 South Capitol is part of this, too, and look for more Monument Realty "art" around all of its holdings.
 

It's not exactly a stunner, but it's still worth mentioning that a raze permit application has been filed for 1200 South Capitol Street, which is the now-boarded-up Domino's on the corner of South Capitol and M. When the store closed a few weeks ago, Monument Realty told me that negotiations were underway with the Nationals to use the site for a parking lot; I've heard nothing further on that.
And maybe now's a good time to mention that the sales-office-that-never-was for Onyx--the construction trailers deposited last spring just south of Normandie Liquors at First and M but never opened--was demolished within the past week. I had to make a value judgment, but I decided since the office never actually opened it doesn't get the honor of being added to my Demolished Buildings Gallery.
 

Lots of ballpark and other news stories today:
* In case you missed it, last night I posted about the Feb. 9 and Feb. 21 job fairs for part-time and seasonal work at the ballpark.
* Velocity has sold 21 units since opening its sales center in November, according to this press release touting the development as the "fastest-selling new condominium project in the District of Columbia, and one of the strongest sellers in the entire National Capital Area."
* Coverage of Kwame Brown's hearing on the noose incident at the ballpark is available from The Post, ABC7, and NBC4. You can watch the hearing here once it's posted, and read Brown's press release on the hearing.
* The Laborers' International Union of North America, a major supporter of the ballpark's Project Labor Agreement, issued a report saying it should be a model for future projects in the city, and that more than $12 million has been injected into DC neighborhoods thanks to stadium paychecks to local workers. LIUNA says that 72 percent of all apprenticeship hours have been performed by District residents, while 87 percent of all new apprentices are from the District. (The report also touts the ballpark as being on-time and on-budget, though perhaps that budget part refers to the actual construction and not the land acquisiton costs, which have definitely gone over budget.) Reports on the union's numbers are on Tim Lemke's blog and at the Post and ABC7.
* The media apparently got brought in to see the scoreboard on Wednesday, and NBC4 has a piece on it (ABC7 mentions it in its labor piece.)
* Washington Times columnist Tony Knott rails about neighbors of the ballpark who are "coming up with apocalyptic visions" about the 41,000 "Ken and Barbies" coming from the suburbs to the ballpark, writing that urban dwellers who initially are drawn to a city's walking distance to services and entertainment turn against the "crush of humanity", "eventually endeavor to transform their stretch of the urban jungle into the Shenandoah Valley."
* Ballpark and Beyond in today's District Extra is a roundup of short takes from around Near Southeast, including the closing of Domino's and the demolitions on First Street, the Blue Castle's debut on Facebook, Gifford's ice cream coming to the ballpark, and Chocolate City, the documentary about former Capper/Carrollsburg residents and gentrification in Washington.
* Dear Leader picked to throw out the first pitch? (Hint: it's not the Dear Leader you might be thinking of, and it's SATIRE, people.)
 

Thanks to sharp-eyed reader E. for the tip that there's now a sign on the Domino's at South Capitol and M that says they are "moving" to 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue. Monument Realty owns the land--I haven't heard of any plans for developing it (it's a pretty small spot), but perhaps a few stadium parking spaces could be squeezed in. I'm checking to see what might be transpiring....
UPDATE: Monument has told me that they are indeed "currently negotiating a parking deal for the property." Note that it's not a done deal. It's an 8,000-square-foot lot, if anyone's interested in doing the calculations of how many spaces could possibly be placed there (if the Domino's building were demolished).
And I just called the Domino's (because, ahem, I know the number by heart) and they said they're closing Monday (Jan. 28). And really, they're not moving to 15th and Pennsylvania, because that's an already existing Domino's location. The number is (202) 546-3030 if you need to update your speed dial.
 

Thanks to the latest update of the DC Property Sales database, I can now report that the entire block known as Square 696 (bounded by 1st, I, K, and Half) changed hands on April 12; the Pedas family sold its three lots, totaling 54,700 sq ft, for $49.834 million; Potomac Development Corporation received $19.544 million for the 19,600-sq-ft lot on the northeast corner of the block (home to a firewood business for many years). The database lists the buyer as "99 I Street SE LP"; we know from the signs that have gone up that the square is being developed as an office/retail project by DRI Development Services (a wholly owned subsidiary of Transwestern). No details yet on exactly what's coming, or when. (And a hat tip to the Pedas family, who adds this $49.8 million take to the $51.6 million payday they were part of when Ron Cohen bought Square 699N one block to the south in Sept. 2005 and the $4.5 million garnered from their sale of the Domino's lot at the corner of South Capitol and M in August 2005. Apparently you can make some money in this real estate biz.)
With this transaction now official, I've created a DRI/99 I Street page, with not-terribly-exciting photos of the block and my previous news items, and have added it to my main map and project directory.