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It's Spring, and the Advertising Signage is in Bloom
Apr 5, 2014 6:46 PM
It ain't quite the cherry blossoms, but this year Near Southeast has spiffy fence signage erupting with full color as spring finally has sprung.
Ground zero for the new offerings is 1st Street between M and N (coincidentally, right where all those fans going to Nats Park will see them!).
Skanska has put up a new fence on the west side of the street and big ads for its 99 M office building (which also now has a web site, and the first clear rendering I've seen of the building). Click to enlarge:
Then, across the street, the Yards folks have unveiled their new logo along with other avatar-ready design elements and hipsteriffic promo photos:
A few blocks away, on the Tingey Street fence that will partially prevent me from watching the construction of Parcel N (boo), ads for the Twelve12 apartment building offer several tweet-appropriate slogans, though I will try to not add a magic marker-ed hashtag to "Find Your (#)Awesome."
I also got updated photos of the under-construction Park Chelsea and River Parc apartment buildings, but since they don't have new pretty signs on their fences they don't make the front page this time.

Catching Up on Progress: Roads and Bridges Edition
Mar 10, 2014 11:43 AM
On Sunday I ventured out for a long overdue survey of the 11th Street Bridges project. While I know that pictures of ramps and flyovers don't elicit quite the swooning that images of new residential buildings do, the changes at street level and above since this project began in 2009 are as wide-ranging as anything else in the area short of probably Nationals Park. Here's what I saw (click on photos to embiggen):
On 8th Street just north of Virginia Avenue, the new ramp to outbound I-695 (aka the 11th Street freeway bridge) looks pretty far along, as seen at right. This ramp has an "early spring" projected opening, and it doesn't appear to be too in danger of missing that.
The lanes to the left of this new freeway entrance carry the outbound I-695 traffic, while the ramp to the right that used to lead to the old outbound flyover and bridge will now be the new exit from the freeway to an intersection at 11th Street SE north of L. You can also see this new exit ramp from 8th and Virginia (below left), running next the footprint of the now-demolished old entrance ramp. The 11th Street interchange still has a ways to go (below right), but is projected to open in early summer.
I also finally checked out 12th Street, which no longer lives quite so deeply in the shadow of the ramp from the old inbound 11th Street Bridge to M Street. The in-water piers of the old bridge are still standing, as you see at left, but otherwise the ramp's footprint has been cleared. (I kind of miss the staircase, though.)
The 12th and O intersection still needs a lot of love even with the embankment gone, but it's at least somewhat less apocalyptic now (below left)--and it will be seeing more traffic with M Street east of 13th temporarily closed, which has also moved the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail route onto its "real" Water Street path. Meanwhile, one block to the north, there's about to be an actual intersection with N Street (below right), allowing for traffic to access 11th Street in either direction without having to go up to M. (You can see the rest of the new 12th and N angles and how they've changed, too.)
So many of the new 11th Street Bridges movements are finished--the bridges themselves, the new inbound and outbound flyovers, the two-way traffic up 11th Street from the local bridge, and the on- and off-ramps at M Street. This also means that the centipede-like old inbound flyover seen in the two photos below can now be demolished like three others before it (the RFK ramps and the outbound flyover), for one final change to the skyline above 11th Street.
It's pretty hard to pull together these changes into a single page, so if you really want to get a feeling for the progression over the past four-plus years, I'd dive into these parts of my photo archive:
* 12th and M, especially looking north and northwest;
* 11th and N, looking north and south; and
I know, it's exhausting. But for someone enamored of striking before-and-after shots, it's a goldmine.
Comments (11)

Photos: Much Catching Up to Do in the Name of Progress
Feb 23, 2014 3:53 PM
Finally, the weather and the calendar cooperated, and I spent Saturday taking a slew of photos around the neighborhood. To whit:
* HAMPTON INN: I can report that dirt is indeed being moved (if not necessary removed) from the site of the Hampton Inn on the northwest corner of 1st and N. This is the L-shaped hotel that will wrap around a planned two-story retail building right on the corner (which is not yet under construction). But, in case you weren't around pre-2008 and want to know what this hotel is "displacing," I give to you a peek at the hotel's N Street and 1st Street frontages in their previous lives:
* YARDS/PARCEL N: Men in hard hats operating heavy equipment are now found on most of the block where Forest City's next residential project is planned, south of Tingey and west of 4th. The new photos aren't really all that interesting other than as another tick on the historical timeline, so how about a shot of what the Parcel N lot looked like in 2004 (right), before any of the work on The Yards began.
* PARC/PARK: Toll Brothers's River Parc apartment building at 1st and K is almost topped out (below left). A couple blocks away, WC Smith's Park Chelsea has reached the halfway point of its vertical construction (below right).
* ST. MATTHEWS: While all sorts of newness is erupting around the neighborhood, there is one farewell worth noting, as St. Matthew's Baptist Church as New Jersey and L has left the neighborhood that had been its home since 1905 and the building that had been its home since 1972. Compare how it looked in 2006 (left) to today (right):
This site is part of the footprint for Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey apartment building, and with a raze permit application filed, this corner will probably be emptied before too many months go by. The church has found temporary quarters in Ft. Washington as it looks for a new permanent home.

Tuesday Tidbits: Speeding on By
Jan 21, 2014 9:00 AM
* TEETER AND VIDA: At last week's BID meeting, Michael Stevens said that Forest City would soon be "handing the keys" to Harris Teeter to begin their build out at the north end of Twelve12. And apparently the Vida Fitness space on the south end of the block will be turned over very soon to its tenants as well. Vida is looking at a summer opening, and Teeter in the fall. And leasing for the apartments themselves should start this spring.
* WHOLE FOODS: Meanwhile, at that other grocery store/residential site, I'm told that some initial infrastructure work is already underway (probably hard to really differentiate it with all the work going on at the Park Chelsea next door). The plan is still for 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods to officially get underway this spring, probably in March (which so often is the month that a developer's thoughts turn to excavation).
* A VIEW OF THE PARK: And, speaking of the Park Chelsea, I can now offer this high-speed photo of the construction from a different vantage point from usual (and no, I didn't walk up onto the freeway):
Of course, this view of the Park Chelsea will only last until 800 New Jersey starts sprouting in the spot in between this construction and the freeway.
* FREEWAY VISTAS: It's been a while since I've updated my skyline-from-the-freeway images, but I did get them this weekend. I would suggest taking a look at the whole lot, but this is probably the best comparison, of January 2005 to the present:
At center of the new image is the River Parc residential building speeding along next to Velocity. But these two don't even tell the entire story of the eight years that passed between them--check out the complete lineup of images from this angle to see the other buildings that went up since 2005 but are now obscured.
But really, check out all the before-and-afters I've taken from the freeway at South Capitol over the past 14 years, and click on the See All Photos of This Angle icons to see the progressions.
* THE CRAZY AUNT AND HER SLIDES: Sunday was the 11th anniversary of that fateful drive around the neighborhood that resulted in some photos on my web site, and then yadda yadda, here we are. So of course I have to point you to those pictures. (Though yes, technically I took my first photos of the area in fall 2000, but those were on bad film and I didn't even rediscover them until 2004.)
***UPDATE***: Adding on to this post with the news that Bluejacket and its much-touted head brewer Megan Parisi have parted ways, according to the Post.

A Sneak Peek Inside Agua 301, Now Opening Dec. 21
Dec 16, 2013 12:14 PM
With Agua 301 now set to open at the Lumber Shed in the Yards Park on Saturday, Dec. 21 (a day later than reported last week), of course I had to get inside with camera in hand to check it out.
I was sidestepping a busy crew of people still getting everything in place, so the images do not have the sheen of a minutes-from-opening space, but you can see the layout and take in the views that the various tables will have. (I even tossed in one "before" photo, which is just a teensy bit different.)
The modern Mexican restaurant will begin with just dinner service, expanding to lunch and then brunch probably at the beginning of next month. And in spring, an additional 44 seats will be available outdoors, along both the southern and western sides of the building.
And this will bring to a close 2013's run of restaurant openings in Near Southeast--it takes some remembering that, one year ago, there was no Gordon Biersch, or Park Tavern, or Bluejacket, or Buzz Bakery, Osteria Morini, or Nando's Peri-Peri.
As for what 2014 will bring, expected openings include Nicoletta, 100 Montaditos, Willie's Brew and 'Que, Sweetgreen, and TaKorean.

Progress and More Progress on 900-Plus Residential Units
Dec 15, 2013 7:40 PM
After not having a new high-rise residential project under construction in the neighborhood since spring 2009, it's sort of amazing to realize there are now three such buildings up out of the ground, with more than 900 new rental units in the pipeline for delivery within the next year to eighteen months. (And there could be another 650 units added to tally if both the Yards/Parcel N and 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods projects get going as expected in the coming months.)
The farthest along is the Twelve12 building at 4th and M, SE, at the Yards, which has its two residential towers topped out and its Harris Teeter space glassed in. Plus, it is also now seeing the glass being hung on the Vida Fitness/retail area at 4th and Tingey:
It will have 218 units, and the first move-ins are expected to happen by mid-year. This project is also where Sweetgreen and TaKorean will be located.
Meanwhile, the Toll Brothers building dubbed River Parc is racing right along, with five-plus of its 13 stories completed, helping to make the southwest corner of 1st and K look a teensy bit different than it did seven years ago:
This building will have 277 units, and is expected to begin leasing toward the end of 2014.
And up near the freeway, at New Jersey and I, the Park Chelsea is moving along, though the vertical progress of this 433-unit building is a bit slower than its smaller brethren. But as of now neighborhood eyes are probably more fixed on the completed paving of the new block of I Street between 2nd and New Jersey, though when the street will actually open to the public is not being trumpeted. (Spring 2014? Late 2014? We shall see!)
I think that, of the three, the Park Chelsea will have the biggest impact on the neighborhood skyline, both from on the ground (as you can now start to see in the various vantage points in the project's expanded before-and-after archive) as well as when looking into Near Southeast from the freeway. (And then it won't be too long until the Chelsea's sibling 800 New Jersey sneaks in just to its north and tweaks the views even further.). The downside is that a lot of views of the Capitol dome from Canal Park and Capitol Hill Tower are going to be lost to progress....
For more information/renderings for each project, and for more photos showing how these construction sites looked before work got underway, check out the Twelve12, River Parc, and Park Chelsea project pages. And join in with me in looking forward to the days starting to get longer, so that I can stop having to deal with the rotten winter sun angle and shadows.

Photos: Morini De-Wrapped, Turret Makeover, New I Street Forming
Nov 11, 2013 11:21 AM
With the news that the window coverings had come off of the Osteria Morini space in the Lumber Shed, I went racing down there with hopes of pressing my camera up against all that glass to get some photos of the opening-any-minute-now restaurant from Chef Michael White. Alas, I arrived during training, and so was THWARTED (because I'm way too shy to have just gone ahead and taken the up-close shots with 40 people staring at me).
I did get at least a couple of surveillance-type shots from a respectable distance, which I posted in a new photo gallery you should check out, but here's a preview:
The restaurant is expected to open next week, perhaps the 19th or the 20th, but at this point we know it will open when it opens.
The photo gallery also has a few other fun shots from the other projects currently under construction (residential buildings Twelve12, Park Chelsea and Toll Brothers's River Parc), such as the turret at 4th and M getting quite a makeover:
Plus, the Park Chelsea has gotten new signage, but more interesting is the outlines now forming of the new stretch of I Street that will run between 2nd and New Jersey when it opens (probably not any sooner than spring 2014):
But just go ahead and check out the full gallery.
Also, while they aren't terribly showy just yet, I have built two more of what I call my Expanded Photo Archives for both the Park Chelsea and River Parc projects, to bring together more before-and-afters from a wider/farther array of angles than I usually display on the project pages. (Yep, I'm partying like it's 2007.)

Inside Bluejacket and Arsenal - In Daylight!
Nov 10, 2013 2:46 PM
This weekend the Bluejacket/Arsenal folks have opened the bar and restaurant for lunch, which turned out quite well when I wandered by the Boilermaker Shops with my camera. I threw together a quick gallery, but here's a sampling:

Toll Brothers Apartment Building Quickly Out of the Gate
Oct 27, 2013 2:41 PM
At 1st and K SE, the neighborhood is getting a great demonstration of how quickly a just-started apartment building project can pop into view if the below-ground infrastructure is already completed.
Toll Brothers bought the site from the Cohen Companies last year, and because Cohen had originally planned a sister building to Velocity on the lot, it had gone ahead and built the garage and other underground necessities at the same time Velocity was built in 2007. But then, well, Phase 2 never actually happened, and the covered garage remained a Tetris-like landscape until Toll came along.
It was at the end of last month that nearby residents started seeing the first hints of work at the site, and now a few weeks later the ground floor of the building is already up, as you can see.
Toll is keeping details about the building pretty close to its vest--unless you're a Velocity resident. That group received a briefing in September and was told that the building will be called River Parc, will have 277 rental units, no retail, and is expected to start leasing next fall with completion in spring 2015.
And Velocity residents were even shown a rendering of the new building (thanks to Jake for grabbing a pic of the poster board, which I've straightened out a bit--UPDATE: and see below for two more).
This stretch of 1st Street between K and L used to be made up of small auto-related businesses, with the buildings facing K having a bit more tawdry offerings, such as the "In & Out Video 'and so much more'". All were demolished in Spring 2007, and now the vista looks a little different, not only on this block but elsewhere:
See my Toll Brothers page for more details and photos.
UPDATE: And now two additional renderings have fallen into my hands, showing the view that the Velocity folks will see across the courtyard (left), and the view coming up 1st Street from L (right):

Checking Out the Changes Along on 11th Street
Oct 24, 2013 3:18 PM
I was otherwise occupied on Sept. 7, the day of the big celebration on the now-completed 11th Street Local Bridge, but I finally wandered down to that neck of the woods a few days ago with my camera to capture the current state of affairs. And one might say that the landscape at 11th and O has changed a bit thanks to this project:
before
after
But there's more than just the newly wide open spaces at 11th and O. The girders for the new flyover that will carry traffic from the Southeast Freeway to the outbound I-695 bridge are all now in place; couple that with the demolition earlier this year of the old outbound flyover, and you have a very different vista at 11th and L than what's been there up to now:
before
after
(The low height of the flyovers above 11th does make that little stretch a bit claustrophobic, though, especially on foot.)
You also now have two-way traffic on 11th between O and M, so that vehicles coming across the local bridge from Anacostia can drive straight north on 11th.
And the dirt-fill-in work for Southeast Blvd. has progressed enough that the west side of 11th at the freeway no longer feels like an overpass, just the regular road.
Plus there's also work at 8th Street and Virginia Avenue to create a new on-ramp and also fashion the new exit to Southeast Blvd./11th Street.
If you don't feel like clicking on each of these photos, just head to my 11th Street Bridges and Southeast Blvd. pages to see them alongside a few other new shots. You may also want to dig into my photo archive to check out the before-and-afters at 11th and the freeway, 11th and L, 11th and M, 11th and N, and 11th and O. Though the photos don't quite seem to do the changes justice, especially if you're someone who has walked those blocks of 11th many times over the past few years.

A Small-Scale Before-and-After on 3rd Street
Oct 21, 2013 3:18 PM
In early 2011, the two-story multi-unit apartment building at 1010 3rd Street, SE (a little south of Cornercopia) was hit by an early-morning fire. Subsequently, a building permit was issued to add another floor, and after close to 18 months of work, the project is now mostly finished. What do you think of the change? (click the photos to enlarge)
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More posts: photos

Catching Up on Photos - Park Chelsea
Sep 29, 2013 4:03 PM
Construction at the 430ish-unit Park Chelsea apartment building at New Jersey and I is now poking out of the ground:
The skyline in this location will be changing quite dramatically over the next few months, but the ground-level view already has evolved a whole lot in eight-plus years, as evidenced when looking westward along the footprint of the can't-open-soon-enough new stretch of I Street between 2nd and New Jersey:
Or, you can look at the change at 2nd and I this way:
before
after
(Told you I was working on something new. More to come.)
See before-and-after photos and information about the project here.

Catching Up on Photos - Twelve12
Sep 29, 2013 4:02 PM
Work is speeding along at Twelve12, the apartment-Harris Teeter-Vida Fitness project at 4th and M at the Yards:
The Teeter portion of the building is even getting some windows:
See before-and-after photos and information about the project here.

Catching Up on Photos - Boilermaker Shops
Sep 29, 2013 4:01 PM
A sunny Sunday peek at new tenants GNC and Nando's Peri-Peri, which both opened in August in the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards:
Or, if you want to see them all in one long-lens shot:
Also in August, it was announced that fast-casual Spanish-small-sandwiches outlet 100 Montaditos will be coming to the Boilermaker Shops as well. And, who knows, maybe someday Bluejacket, Buzz Bakery, and Willie's Brew and 'Que may actually open.
See more new photos, as well as before-and-after photos and information about the project here.

Catching Up on Photos - Toll Brothers
Sep 29, 2013 4:01 PM
Some work appears to be underway on the southwest corner of 1st and K, where Toll Brothers now has building permits for a 13-story, 250ish-unit apartment building. The Tetris-like boxes that have covered rebar and other infrastructure since work was completed on Velocity and the accompanying garage under what's now the Toll site are being removed:
This will allow Toll to begin work on their building more or less at ground level, rather than spending months on excavation and below-ground construction.
See more photos and information about the project here.

Color Images of 1990s Near Southeast From Above
May 31, 2013 9:34 AM
Thanks to a tweet from Martin Austermuhle (back in March, but I've been busy), I've added a new batch of shots to my page of 1990s Photos of Near Southeast.
It's really just one photo taken at helicopter height from the Carol M. Highsmith Archive at the Library of Congress, but since it is available as a 72 MB .TIF, I was able to zoom in for some looks back into the years right before I started my own photo journey. Judging by the landscape, the best I can say is that it was taken sometime between 1992 and 1999.
Go to the page to see all of them (with explanations of what you're seeing), but see if you can figure out what you're looking at in these captionless sneak peeks:
They certainly trump the black and white overhead photos taken at about the same time that are also on my page, though at least those have some views that the trees obscure in these new ones.
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More posts: photos, Rearview Mirror

Photos: Tearing Down, Filling In, Building Out, Building Up
May 27, 2013 9:54 PM
The showiest demolition in the neighborhood in years is coming to an end, and while I haven't been able to document it in the obsessive-compulsive way I would have liked, I did manage to make it to 11th Street this weekend to see the gator tail-like final remnants of the old flyover to the outbound 11th Street Bridges before it completely comes down.
At the same time, I was able to check out the progress on the filling-in of the sunken eastern portion of the Southeast Freeway to build Southeast Blvd., and dang if they haven't already piled the dirt up so that 11th Street is now level with the "land" just to its west.
Needless to say, I had to create a photo gallery of the remants and the progress, where you'll also see that work is speeding along on the new flyover to the outbound I-695 bridge.
But I wasn't just interested in the tearing down and filling in, so I continued down to O Street, where not only is the 11th Street Local Bridge inching ever closer to getting all of its lanes and pedestrian path opened, but the new asphalt Anacostia Riverwalk Trail path to the river has been laid, which also takes you to the spiffy new landing just completed by the riverside. And from that landing you can see the spiffy new overlooks that reach out onto the old bridge piers from the new local bridge. (For the record, I could have easily sidestepped the construction barrels and ventured onto the overlooks, but I am a good little citizen.)
Lots of images of the new trail, the landing, the bridge, and the surroundings are in a second new photo gallery.
If these two galleries aren't enough, you might take some time to browse my before-and-afters all the way down 11th Street, from the freeway to L to M to N to O to the river, as nearly four years of construction have altered the vistas from a maze of flyovers and embankments to, well, a completely different maze of flyovers and embankments. (But the new flyovers are a little lower on the horizon, at least.)
I also checked out the other projects that are in various stages these days, from Twelve12 to the Lumber Shed to the leafed-out and fountain-ed Canal Park to the hole in the ground that will be the Park Chelsea.
There's new pictures on each of those pages, but I also couldn't help myself and pulled together a third photo gallery, with photos from those spots and a few others that were particularly photogenic on a particularly photogenic day. (It even includes my very first visit to the footprint of one of the neighborhood's most central locations. Where might that be?)
[A postscript: I truly think Sunday was the most perfect day for taking pictures in the 10-plus years I've been wandering the neighborhood, with the achingly clear deep blue sky perfectly matched with the late-May sun strength and positions. I ended up walking more than eight miles in three separate treks, and came home with a smidge more than 1,000 photos, about 300 of which are now in my photo archive.]

Capturing How Spring Has Sprung at Canal Park
May 3, 2013 9:39 AM
When last I wandered around Canal Park with my camera, it was cold. And brown. (But skateable!) With Thursday's gorgeous weather surprisingly managing to win a tough battle against my inherent laziness, I took a far warmer and greener walk, and updated my Canal Park page with some springeriffic images.
And, if you really want to see how the three blocks along 2nd Street SE between I and M have changed in the past decade, I invite you to scroll through the many before and afters in my Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive. After all, with my work at the park pretty much done, this might be the last time I have the excuse to make you look at numerous photos of school buses and overgrowth.
Speaking of the buses, I do have one "new" before-and-after I can't resist highlighting.
First, October 14, 2006:
And the same location, May 2, 2013:
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More posts: Canal Park, photos

Vats, Nats, Glass, Concrete, and Rebar
Mar 14, 2013 8:16 PM
I wandered around on Thursday, it was sunny, I had my camera in hand, etc., etc., yadda yadda yadda.
Some items of note (click photos to embiggen):
On your left, hard-to-get evidence of the ongoing work at Bluejacket at the Boilermaker Shops. They've covered up all the eye-level windows, but peeking through the (dirty!) glass above the large door on 4th shows the fermenters now installed on the mezzanine level.
At right, my first viewing of the renovated Team Store at Nationals Park's Center Field Gate.
Below, the Lumber Shed in the sun.
Agua 301's space is to the left, and Osteria Morini's is to the right. (On the ground floor.)
And, everyone's dream come true, a parking garage being born:
Of course, it's actually the parking garage that will be underneath the Harris Teeter in the Twelve12 apartment building at 4th and M, so it's probably allowed. If you want even more photos of rebar and concrete, my Twelve12 page has them.

Full Closure of SE Freeway East of 8th Begins Jan. 31; New Southeast Blvd. Page, and 11th Street Bridges Progress Pics
Jan 30, 2013 11:02 PM
As I wrote a few days back, the portion of the Southeast Freeway between 8th Street SE and Pennsylvania Avenue will be fully closed after the evening rush hour on Thursday, Jan. 31, to both begin work on the new Southeast Blvd. and to demolish the existing outbound flyover ramp and replace it with a new three-lane one.
One thing I didn't mention in that post is that, with these closures Thursday, both the 8th Street SE on-ramp to the outbound I-695 freeway bridge and the 9th Street ramp toward Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed.
As the helpful graphic at right from DDOT shows, if you're wanting to get on I-695 outbound, you'll need to use the ramp on the southeast corner of 11th and M.
Since this closure now makes the Southeast Blvd. project truly seem underway, I've been spurred into an unexpected burst of action, and have created a Southeast Blvd. project page, separate from my recently refreshed 11th Street Bridges page. Right now it's mainly drawings, "before photos," and links to my previous posts on the project, but I will keep it updated throughout the expected 18-to-20-month span of construction:
I also threw together a new 11th Street Bridges Progress Photo Gallery with some new shots from this past weekend, when I traipsed around N and O streets and up on the local bridge for the first time in way too long.
And now I think my guilt over some long-neglected photos is assuaged, at least for a little while.
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