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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Onyx
See JDLand's Onyx Project Page
for Photos, History, and Details
In the Pipeline
1000 1st St.
Yards/Parcel L
The Garrett
Square 696
Yards/Icon Theater
1000 South Capitol
25 M
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
New Douglass Bridge
More Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
SC1100
Completed
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('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)
 
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* I STREET REDESIGN: ANC Commissioner Meredith Fascett reports that DDOT is hosting a meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, on proposed plans to redesign I Street SE to make it work better for pedestrians, bicyclists, and even vehicles. It's at 6:30 pm in the lobby at 70 I Street (70 Capitol Yards). Meredith wrote back in August about the early discussions for safer bike lanes, crosswalks, parking adjustments, and more.
* BIXBY RIBBON-CUTTING: Apparently there will be a ribbon cutting at the 195-unit mixed-income Bixby at 7th and L on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
* NATS PARK BILLBOARDS: On Dec. 6 the DC Council gave first approval to the proposed large display boards at the ballpark, though the Hill Rag reports that the count has dropped to five boards from 10, lowers the allowed brightness, and prohibits them from facing toward South Capitol Street, the Anacostia River, M Street, and 1st Street between M and N.
* ONYX SALE, AGAIN: A reader reports that the tell-tale binder appeared in the lobby of the Onyx apartment building recently, indicating that AvalonBay has contracted to purchase the 260-unit building for $95.5 million. (The binder contains the offer required by DC law for the tenants to instead buy the building themselves, if they have $95 million in coins under their sofa cushions.) The building last sold in 2013 for a smidge over $82 million.
* SWEET BABY JAMES: It's been announced that James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt will be playing Nats Park on July 14, 2017. Tickets are on sale now.
* TUNNEL DOINGS: Most folks are probably aware that 3rd Street is now closed at Virginia Avenue for the next several weeks. If you are wanting more info on the current status of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, the last "Coffee with Chuck" of 2016 is Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 8 am at the construction office at 861 New Jersey Ave. SE. Hard to believe that most of the structural work on the new companion tunnel is finishing up, with work moving to "track level"--preparing the railroad bed, installing cross ties, etc. (Good timing to be in the enclosed spot during the winter.) But of course this is not the end of the project, as work will then shift to the reconstruction of the existing 100-year-old tunnel.
 

Here's a few more items that came across the transom while I was on my annual Hiding Out in Wyoming and Montana trip:
* Residents of Onyx have filed paperwork with the city under the Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act and are investigating options to buy the building themselves, after news came a few weeks back that the building is under contract to be sold for $82.5 million. If the city accepts the filing, the tenants' group would then have 120 days to come up with a competing offer. See the tenants' press release for why the group is pursuing this, including its hope that buying the building, which opened in 2009, will "reverse problems which plagued the area for years - poor housing conditions, rent increases, and attempts by developers to force residents out of the District." (If they succeed, I guess I'll have to stop using my standard joke about tenants looking in the sofa cushions for millions of dollars in spare change to buy their buildings.)
* DC Water has leased 16,450 square feet of office space on the 7th floor of 80 M Street through 2019 (GlobeSt.com). With or without telescopes for spying on the Main Pumping Station a few blocks to the south?
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is having an Urban Design Framework Plan prepared, to "examine the quality of the public realm in the BID and develop strategies for a comprehensive framework and public investment plan in the right-of-way." They've also commissioned a Retail Analysis Study "that will provide forecasts on future retail demand and absorption possibilities." Because if there's one thing a neighborhood can never have enough of, it's studies and analyses. (BID newsletter)
* The Earth Conservation Corps is offering "bird of prey demonstrations" on Friday nights through Sept. 28 at Diamond Teague Park, from 5:30-7:30pm. (via e-mail, no link!)
* Another rumination on Near Southeast's development timeline, at GGWash. As I've said many times--of course things were happening in Near Southeast before the ballpark (I wouldn't have started this blog in 2003 otherwise). But to not recognize that the ballpark sped up *plans* considerably is to not have watched the 18-month landrush in 2004 and 2005 after the ballpark's location was announced, when so many little lots between 1st and South Capitol south of the freeway were snapped up by the big guns. And to say that the ballpark didn't drive development right after it opened is to neglect the worldwide financial market near-collapse, and the years needed to recover from that. But I bet there's a lot of retailers and developers looking at the Nats this year and rueing that they didn't make their move already.
* So, in line with all that, check out nine years ago today, windshield edition.
* Cat with Natitude, Guga edition. (I don't think I'll tell him about the bird of prey demonstrations.)
 

Hot on the heels of the sales (completed and pending) of JPI's three "Capitol Yards" buildings, there's another notice in another lobby that a neighborhood apartment building is under contract to be sold. This time it's Onyx on First, the 266-unit apartment building on the southeast corner of 1st and L, which was developed by Faison with an assist from Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund and opened in late 2008.
The sale price is listed on the form as $82.25 million, with the buyer being ERP Operating Limited Partnership, which is the operating partnership of Equity Residential, owner of a slew of DC-area buildings including 425 Mass and 2400 M, as well as a huge slate of properties around the country. (As an aside, the company was started by Sam Zell, a name that certainly has resonance for folks in the newspaper biz.)
Onyx went on the market more than a year ago, but that initial offering didn't result in a buyer so it was re-offered later last year. The notice to tenants specified that there are only 11 units currently unoccupied.
As we all learned during the JPI sales, it's required by DC law that residential buildings of more than five units under contract to be sold be offered to residents to purchase. (Insert here my standard joke about looking in the sofa cushions for $82 million in spare change.)
JPI's Axiom and 909 buildings were sold for around $95 million each, with the the Jefferson's contract price/purchase price for tenants listed at about $165 million.
Onyx's next-door neighbor, the office building 100 M, was put up for sale in March. (Which is apparently just now news to WBJ, though I had heard rumors that it had been taken off the market after that original offering, so maybe this is a new push.)
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More posts: Development News, Onyx, Square 743N
 

* 1015 Half Buyer: On Friday the Post debuted a "What's Going On With....?" feature at their new Where We Live Real Estate blog (reminds me of my old "What's the Deal With...?" days), and the first item was on the empty office building at 1015 Half Street. One tidbit not mentioned there, or at JDLand before now, is that apparently Prudential Real Estate Investors is buying the building, with the deal supposed to be closing this month, according to Bisnow. Bisnow says that the deal was always for Prudential to buy out Bank of America's stake in the building when it was finished, even back when it was Opus East doing the developing, not current receiver Douglas Wilson Companies.
* Onyx Sale: The Onyx on First apartment building never sold when it first went on the block back in March, and a second offering apparently closed in December. Perhaps there will be news soon.
* Navy Yard Riverwalk Closure: It was announced on Twitter last week that the Navy Yard Riverwalk will be closed from Jan. 5 to Jan. 17 to install fences around the piers. (What? You thought I meant the entire Riverwalk and not just the portion controlled by the Navy Yard? Why ever would you have thought that?)
* Winter Classic Rumoring: I guess if you haven't been following along for the past couple of years, the notion of an NHL Winter Classic in DC and at Nationals Park could be news to you, but at this point there's nothing new actually being reported, since no official announcement has been made.
 

With an instruction to residents to Please Don't Panic, I'll pass along the news that Onyx on First, the 266-unit apartment building at 1100 1st St. SE, is up for sale. With a brochure touting "Excellent Transportation Infrastructure, Phenomenal Employment Opportunities," and "Shopping and Entertainment Options Abound," the sellers look to be trying to get in on what is clearly a rebounding multifamily market in DC.
Apparently there's no price set for the sale, and with a building that's 92 percent occupied with what looks like pretty high average rent numbers, I imagine investors will be taking a close look. The eventual sale (should there be one) could also be an interesting barometer of how "the markets" view the neighborhood. Proposals are due April 14.
The building, originally planned to be condos but converted to apartments during the construction phase, was developed by Faison and the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund and completed in 2009. It was built the same time as its neighbor 100 M, the office building that recently bought for $57 million in a foreclosure sale. Onyx is on the same block as the New Jersey Avenue entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, two blocks north of Nationals Park, and one block west of the Courtyard by Marriott that is being bought for $68 million. And, of course, just across the street from the Market Deli.
You can see my Onyx project page for photos and more information.
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More posts: Development News, Onyx, Square 743N
 

* Just out from DDOT (press release now online), a new "Where's My Bus" app for the Circulator buses. Go to circulator.dc.gov (it's formatted for cellphones and PDAs, but works in any browser), pick your line and stop, and find out how far away the next bus is. (Here's the information for the 4th and M stop, heading toward Union Station.) They say an iPhone app will be coming will be coming later this summer.
* From the BID's newsletter (which I'm not finding on their redesigned web site), the latest update on residential leasing and sales for the second quarter of 2009: The buildings known as Axiom and Jefferson (at 70 and 100 I) and Onyx on First are at a combined 60 percent leased for the 960 units in the three buildings; 909 New Jersey (which opened in early April) has 25 percent of its 237 units leased. The Capitol Quarter townhouses are listed at 88 of 113 units sold (though I'm not sure how the public housing rental and for-sale units figure into that number), and Capitol Hill Tower is reported as being 80 percent sold. No numbers are reported for Velocity Condos, which according to a presentation by Michael Stevens last week is supposed to open in late August or September. All told, the BID says there are an estimated 1,863 residents in the Capitol Riverfront.
* A WBJ piece from today's print edition on Willco Cos.'s new $100 million fund says that the company "does not plan to dip into the fund for development projects in the pipeline, such as its 700,000-square-foot mixed-use project adjacent to Nationals Park, at Square 701, the intersection of M and First streets SE. That project is in pre-development mode right now without a major tenant; Willco doesn't expect to kick off construction until it sees 'signs of life in that neighborhood,' Goldblatt said." This lot is probably better known as Nats Parking Lot F, and the former home of Normandie Liquors and other small businesses.
 

I know people have noticed that JDLand's coverage (and quality) has taken a nosedive in 2009--some of it is because of life at My Real Job is particularly hectic in this era of big change (and plummeting revenue), but I can also now finally reveal that my free time for the past few months has been swallowed up by my planning and executing a huge 100-guest surprise party for my mother, which finally went off without a hitch on Sunday morning. With that wrapped up, I will now try to remember exactly how I used to do things here. I'll start tentatively:
* Despite a few readers being told that the Bullpen beer garden at Half and N would open on May 1, it hasn't yet opened. I haven't heard any new date.
* From Friday's WashBizJournal: "Dozens of high-profile projects are facing liens from hard-pressed contractors. In just one week of March, Forest City Washington was slapped with a $191,460 lien for work done at its Yards project near the baseball stadium, while Faison Enterprises Inc. and Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds LLC got hit with a $118,674 lien at the nearby Onyx Apartments."
* The Board of Zoning Adjustment calendar for June indicates that Donohoe has filed for a time extension on the special exception it received back in 2007 for its planned office building at 1111 New Jersey Avenue. The original order expires in December unless building permit applications are filed before then; Donohoe's request for an extension would appear to indicate that that won't be happening this year.
* The National Capital Planning Commission has its May meeting on Thursday, and one of the items up for approval is a $63 million planned modernization and 50,000-sq-ft expansion of building W-200 at 11th and N at the Navy Yard. This NCPC document gives a wealth of information about the plans for W-200, but also includes this interesting tidbit:
"[S]taff strongly recommends that the Commission require the Navy undertake and coordinate with NCPC development of an updated WNY master plan, including a transportation management plan that demonstrate how the WNY parking ratio meets NCPC's Comprehensive Plan goals, and submit that plan to the Commission prior to submitting any new project." The Navy Yard's last official master plan update was in the 1990s.
* A postcard that was delivered to our house this morning listed 309 K St. SE (one of the remaining old townhouses) as being scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure auction this month; however, the auctioner's web site says the property has been removed from the auction. Starting bid was going to be at $50,000.
* Speaking of that block of existing homes, someone has finally begun to renovate the old multi-unit building at Third and L that has been vacant for as long as I've been watching the neighborhood. A local resident has leased it and is turning it into Casa degli Angeli, a nautical-themed "month-to-month" bed and breakfast.
 

[Note: I'm back in town after almost a week away (reminder to self: next year don't skip town the week before the home opener), so apologies if my coverage of the various events and media pieces has seemed even less scintillating than usual. And now I'm going to end the week with one more less-than-perfect entry, which I should have written before I left but didn't do it until now....]
If you haven't been back to Nationals Park or the surrounding Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards neighborhood since last year's Opening Day, here's what you'll see that wasn't completed on your last visit:
* 55 M Street - Right on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, at the head of Half Street, is Monument Realty's 275,000-sq-ft office building, which has been finished in the last few months and which will be home to Artomatic this summer. No office or retail tenants have been announced, although WBJ reported a few weeks back that Gordon Biersch may be eyeing some of 55 M's ground-floor space. The rest of Monument's Half Street site remains a large hole in the ground, with financing for the planned 350 residential units and adjoining hotel directly across from the ballpark nowhere to be found.
* 70 and 100 I Street - Sibling apartment buildings officially known as the Axiom and Jefferson at Capitol Yards first began move-ins in late summer 2008, and their combined 700 units are reported to be about 50 percent leased. (They're the big brick buildings sitting just south of the Freeway.)

* Onyx on First - Another apartment building (though it had been originally planned as condos), Onyx opened at the corner of First and L streets in late fall of 2008. It has approximately 266 units.

* 100 M Street - On the site of the old On Luck cafeteria at First and M, this 240,000-sq-ft office building opened right at the tail end of 2008, and is close to 40 percent leased, with Parsons occupying about one-third of the space. A SunTrust Bank branch is under construction on the ground floor--there's additional retail space where a restaurant could be a possibility, though no deals have been announced.

* 909 New Jersey - Finished mere moments ago (it opened last week), this 237-unit apartment building at New Jersey and I by JPI (developers of 70 and 100 I) is catching eyes with its blue-edged nighttime profile, and is generating piles of "have they signed anyone for their retail space?" messages in my inbox (answer: not that I've heard so far). Baseball fans walking down from Capitol South will also appreciate the wide new sidewalk now just one block south of the freeway.

As for what's currently underway, there's the first phase of townhouses at Capitol Quarter (where the first residents will move in this month and where work will continue into next year), the 200-unit Velocity condo building at First and L, and the 440,000-sq-ft office building at 1015 Half Street (which will be completed in 2010 but will already be cursed for obscuring the view of the Capitol dome from some seats in the ballpark that had it last year). There's also construction continuing at Diamond Teague Park, right across from the ballpark's grand staircase, but the somewhat optimistic timeline of having the water taxi piers completed by Opening Day has now been revised to "midseason."
Work had begun on rehabbing the brown-and-white Pattern/Joiner Shop at the Yards last year (which folks walking to the ballpark from the Nats Express drop-off will see), but financing problems brought the work to a halt early in 2009, and Forest City continues to look for money to restart the project.
The most prominent structure that's disappeared in the past 12 months is the former WMATA bus garage on Half Street just across from the subway entrance, demolished two weeks ago to make way for Akridge's planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development, though that project won't get underway before 2010. (The south end of Akridge's Half Street land is where the [not-a-]beer garden may appear later this summer.)
But, as has been written about extensively elsewhere, as of now there's no new places to eat since last year (though a deli is coming to Third and K in May), and most likely no additional projects will get underway before next year.
So, study this little guide and amaze your friends with your knowledge of what's what as you look at the ballpark's surroundings.
 

It certainly doesn't feel like it's the case, so you might be surprised to find out that the District of Columbia thinks that Near Southeast is worth about $1.5 billion more than it was a year ago, at least in terms of the latest tax assessments now available. With a total assessment last year of around $4.5 billion for the blocks bounded by the SE Freeway, South Capitol Street, and the Anacostia River (to just west of the Sousa Bridge), this bump up edges the neighborhood's "worth" to just over $6 billion.
A chunk of that change is coming from the first official assessment of Nationals Park, valued at $999,982,800 (geez, Mr. Tax Assessor, just round it to $1 billion and be done with it), a rise of nearly $650 million from the assessed value of just the land last year. Blocks that saw projects get completed in 2008 (70/100 I, 100 M and Onyx, and 55 M) got hefty bumps in their valuations, while other spots (20 M, the Capper blocks, USDOT, Maritime Plaza) saw their assessments go down.
I created a report comparing 2008 and 2009's numbers overall and by block, though I wouldn't swear to the exactness of each number down to the penny (but they're probably close enough).
As for the trend of the overall valuation of Near Southeast over the past nine years, it's still *up*:
2001: $221,096,652
2002: $428,312,487
2003: $640,209,280
2004: $771,006,345
2005: $894,123,520
2006: $1,781,481,650
2007: $2,539,618,280
2008: $4,467,137,880
2009: $6,004,334,490
UPDATE: Here's a link to a map of the square numbers, in case a bit more visual assistance would be helpful.
 

* On Friday at 10:30 am the mayor will be hosting a groundbreaking at Diamond Teague Park; construction started back in December (photos on my project page from a few weeks ago show the piers and ramps around the pumphouse have already been dismantled). The timeline as described to me at the end of January is that the new piers are to be ready by Opening Day, with the landscaping and land-based improvements to be completed by July; we'll see if those dates are still operative at tomorrow's event.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID newsletter says that JPI's 909 New Jersey is "set to open ahead of schedule in April." The "909 at Capitol Yards" official web site has floor plans and more information.
* Also from the BID newsletter (which isn't posted on their web site, otherwise I'd link to it), some occupancy numbers for the three buildings participating in this weekend's "Luck of the Draw" art extravaganza: Velocity has sold 52 of its 200 units (which is still right around the 25-percent mark reported back in July of last year); 100 I Street is 25 percent leased (it was reported at around 16 percent leased in December), and Onyx on First is 27 percent leased (after having been 8 percent leased in December).
* The BID also has the list of public events over the next few weeks at the Navy Yard. (I used to be on a mailing list for these and would add them to my calendar, but that ceased a while ago and the Navy Museum's own web site calendar hasn't been updated since last year.)
* Off-topic, but DC United says they're moving to Prince George's County.
* And Now, Anacostia has more on the legislation introduced today by Tommy Wells to place a five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags with the goal of helping to clean up the Anacostia River. (There's also a web site, trashfreeanacostia.com.)
 
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