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New Marine Barracks
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Southeast Blvd. ('15)
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Camden South Capitol ('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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In a blissfully short 26-minute hearing, the city's Zoning Commission approved tonight the series of amendment requests to allow the Trapeze School New York to set up shop on Parcel O at the Yards, on the southeast corner of Fourth and Tingey.
The commissioners seemed satisfied with the information they had in the Office of Planning report and the submissions from Forest City and the Trapeze School, and asked few questions (Chairman Hood was clearly trying to move things along). This is a temporary approval, allowing the Trapeze School to be at the Yards for five years, or longer if a Special Exception is later granted. The text amendments also waved the on-site parking requirement for the school, with new commissioner Konrad Schlater saying he was "comfortable" with it because parking "is definitely overbuilt" in the area around the ballpark. ANC 6D had voted 7-0 in support of the case as well. It's now expected that the National Capital Planning Commission will address the Trapeze School at its Oct. 1 meeting.
No date for the opening of the school in its new home was mentioned, though it was explained that Forest City was trying to expedite the process since the school is having to vacate its home at the old convention center site. There will still be building permits to be filed for and approved before the tent can be lifted.
Toward the end of the hearing, Ramsey Meiser of Forest City gave a bit of an update on the other projects in the first phase of the Yards. Here's the latest:
* They are continuing to work with the city's Housing Finance Agency to get the money together to (re)start on the Foundry Lofts, with a hoped-for completion date of late 2010 or early 2011.
* The Boilermaker Shop could open in 2011; this dovetails with what a commenter in this thread reported hearing over the weekend, although earlier today Forest City would not officially confirm for me any scheduled start date for the project, only that some retail tenants have been signed, but that Forest City can't name them publicly just yet. (Maybe in October.)
* The first retail in the Park at the Yards (in the old Lumber Shed building) could open in 2012; the park itself is expected to open next summer.
* "Parcel D", on the southeast corner of Fourth and M, is the site of the expected Harris Teeter (though Meiser didn't name them, saying only "a grocery store," since neither Forest City nor Harris Teeter have confirmed this rumor yet), and is now apparently going to be a residential building instead of office, which had been hinted at recently. It's expected delivery date is currently 2013.
* The Factory 202 lofts building at Fifth and M is not expected before 2014.
And all that's just the first phase! Meiser also said that Parcel N, the site of a surface parking lot on the southwest corner of Fourth and Tingey, would probably be the first project of Phase 2. But no date on that yet.
If you want to watch the hearing, visit DCOZ's On Demand Video page.
 

After seeing the raze permit approval earlier this week for 156 L Street, the former Star Market (aka the "Little Red Building"), I contacted the building's owner for an update on his plans. Mr. Park (whose father used to own Bernstein's Liquors at Half and M SW) says that his plans are now to build just a liquor store; previous plans to include a second-floor deli have been set aside. He's hoping to get a building permit for a new structure within the next month or so, and expects construction to take about five months. So possibly the store could open next spring, though hopefully readers are becoming suitably cautious when hearing development timelines.
I know neighbors at CHT and the Marriott have been working on agreements with the store, but I haven't heard where they stand; anyone in the know please give everyone the scoop, in the comments. And keep an eye out for demolition of the old building, which should take about 10 minutes once it starts.
 

Pulling together smallish items from hither and yon:
* Last night saw the first arrival of a commercial water taxi at Diamond Teague Pier; WTOP covered the trip, which is a good thing, since I neither rode the boat nor stood on the dock to watch it sail in. I suck.
* A stroll through the city's building permits feed (which alas isn't as easy or useful as it used to be, since they pile every single permit into the feed over and over, rather than just posting new/updated ones) uncovered that back in August, a raze permit was issued for 156 L Street, home of the old Star Market and better known as the "Little Red Building"; the owner has spoken of plans to build a new two-story structure that would be a combination liquor store and deli. I haven't heard of any timeframe for the demolition, new construction, or store opening.
* From And Now, Anacostia, a heads up that today's Kojo Nnamdi show will include a segment called "Paris on the Anacostia: A Provocative Idea for DC's Waterfront," which will discuss the idea of *narrowing* the Anacostia River, "with the goal of bringing in new businesses, training new workers, and completely changing the relationship between folks East and West of the River." It'll be available online here.
* Tomorrow night (Thursday) is the second Outdoor Space Movie at Canal Park; this time it's Star Wars. The Force will be with you, starting at 7:30 pm.
* And Thursday night is also the deadline for pre-registration for ULI Washington's Urban Marketplace conference and expo on Sept. 15. Among lots of other sessions about urban development, it includes a panel discussion about the ballpark neighborhood, with Michael Darby of Monument Realty, Matthew Klein of Akridge, Michael Stevens of the BID, Harriet Tregoning of the Office of Planning, and me. It'll be a barn-burner!
* Saturday night is the second annual Opera in the Outfield at Nationals Park; the Washington Times previews it here. It's the Barber of Seville; but don't be alarmed when the first lines aren't "Welcome to my shop/let me cut your mop, let me shave your crop/Daintily, Daintily!"
* Forest City announced its second-quarter earnings, for those who know how to decipher these things. It does mention the Park at the Yards, still listing the completion date of the first phase as summer 2010. And their outlook? "While some see signs of a potential end of the recession, we are taking a conservative course based on what we can observe and are experiencing directly: continued weak fundamentals and little improvement in overall near-term conditions. As a result, we remain very cautious going forward. We expect the second half of the year to be challenging for our Company and for the entire industry, and we do not anticipate meaningful improvement in market conditions in the near or mid-term."
* I don't think I've officially linked to Cornercopia's Twitter feed, if you haven't seen it yet. (And there's my Twitter feed, too, of course.)
 

Tonight WBJ is reporting that Harris Teeter--which has long been rumored to be the grocery store planned for the southeast corner of Fourth and M at the Yards--has signed a letter of intent, though Teeter isn't confirming.
But don't start making your shopping list just yet--even before the Economic Difficulties, Forest City wasn't expecting to open a building on that parcel before 2011, and that date now looks tough to meet. But there are hints in the article that maybe Forest City is rethinking the plan to have an office building topping the grocery store: "We are currently evaluating the overall development program on that parcel, which may result in a revised mixed-use concept," is the quote from Forest City's Ramsey Meiser.
 

Quick post: here's notice, on page 14 (and I'm told this was posted on the building today) of Cornercopia's application for a "substantial change" to the existing liquor license from the old Third & K Market--the new owners are looking to be open (and selling alcohol) on Sundays from 9 am to 6 pm (the old market was closed Sundays), and they're also looking to extend the weekday hours to 7 am to 10 pm (with alcohol sales starting at 9 am). A hearing date for anyone objecting to the change in the license has been set for October 5.
Readers are flooding me with mistaken "they're open!" messages as well as "they told me they'll be open on [x] day!" messages, so, just to be fair--if you're gunning for the free sandwich as the first reader to report that Cornercopia is open, I'll be asking to see your receipt to verify that the market was indeed doing business. (You can send a picture of it from your cellphone!) This is to prevent the I-drove-by-and-it-looked-open messages....
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More posts: Alcohol/Liquor Licenses, cornercopia, Retail
 

I personally don't have anything new to report on Cornercopia (I'm starting to feel a bit of deja vu to all the "no, really, the school buses are leaving soon" statements I heard from 2003 to 2009), so I'll just pass off to two readers who couldn't bear the suspense and visited the store themselves this weekend, then wrote/Tweeted what they heard (and I'll note that there's been varying reports between "they have all their permits" versus still needing their liquor license):
First, reader J reported via e-mail: "They are going to open sometime next week (the exact day was not disclosed). They will be open from 7 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week. Besides the gourmet deli, they will have produce, fresh sushi delivered daily (not sure where it's coming from), limited frozen items, milk/eggs/cheese, sodas, gourmet beers, and a lot of wine. In fact, they are going to have a back room full of wine. There were a lot of rows of canned goods, pastas, etc. as well. They are doing a last push right now with painting, stocking, etc. All permits are in, just waiting on a few other things. There will also be an ATM inside the store, though they will accept all major credit cards. They said when they open, the credit card machine may not be working quite yet, though. Other than that, they are all excited about joining the neighborhood."
Then, mhoffy tweeted an unintended followup: "met the owner of cornercopia yesterday and he said he is working on a contract with Sticky Rice for sushi. Yay!"
Will it happen this week? We shall see....
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More posts: cornercopia, Retail
 

* This Sunday (July 19), there's going to be a "Grill-Off" at Nationals Park before the 1:30 game against the Cubs. Phil Bucco, who oversees the menus at the ballpark, will be competing against Teddy Folkman, the executive chef at Granville Moore's. It'll be an Iron Chef-like challenge, where the chefs won't know the ingredient they're working with beforehand. The event starts at noon, but the first-come first-served seats (in the Nats Family Fun Area) can be grabbed starting at 11 am, when the gates open. Plates will be judged at 1 pm.
* On Tuesday, July 21, the BID is hosting a "Mental Mapping" event, where they're asking residents to "Sketch out your shopping route to assist in a study about neighborhood retail needs." It's at Capitol Hill Tower at 6:30 pm; RSVP to rsvp@capitolriverfront.org.
* On Saturday, Aug. 8, the 3rd Annual Youth River Sports Day will be held at the Anacostia Community Boathouse, from 10 am to 2 pm. Rowing and paddling instruction, guided river tours, and more will be offered; my photos from last year's event give a taste of the activities.
* This is a ways off, but SWDC Blog reports that the next ANC 6D meeting, on Sept. 14 (no August meeting) will be held in Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. I've been attending ANC meetings off and on for six years, and this is the first one I remember that will be crossing South Capitol Street.
* Even farther off (well, the next day), Urban Land Institute Washington is holding its third Urban Marketplace Conference and Expo, which brings together "the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to explore redevelopment opportunities and best practices in emerging neighborhoods and corridors across the Washington metropolitan region." One of the day's discussions will focus on the ballpark district (and I'm one of the panelists). Early-bird registration ends July 31.
* In non-event news, Fox 5 reports on how the Nationals' problems on the field "are making the city's $700-million stadium look like a bad investment." To wit: "Before the stadium was built, the city projected average attendance at 34,708 per game and tax revenues from tickets and merchandise of $15.1 million for this season. The reality, average attendance is about 23,213, ranking the Nationals 24th out of 30 teams. Based on attendance figures through June, the city now estimates tax revenues of about $8.9 million. The office of the Chief Financial Officer says tax revenues could increase because average attendance has improved slightly since June." However, "The office of the Chief Financial Officer estimates the city will raise $50.2 million through its Ballpark Revenue Fund, more than enough to make the $32-million bond payment on the stadium with money left over. The bulk of that however does not come from the Ballpark itself, but rather from a utility tax and a business tax in the city."
* Since I was out of town this weekend, I missed all the Elton/Billy hullabaloo. Here's a pile of reviews and blog posts having to do with the big show.
* For your (off-topic) Real Estate Development Collapse reading pleasure, a long piece on Williamsburg, NY: "Most unsettling are the cases of the developers who seem to have vanished, leaving behind so many vacant lots and half-completed buildings--eighteen, to be precise, more than can be found in all of the Bronx--that large swaths of the neighborhood have come to resemble a city after an air raid."
 

I haven't gone anywhere, I just have barely any news to pass along these days. This is the best I can do:
* As I tweeted last week, I heard from the owner of the Cornercopia Deli at Third and K, saying that the "wheels are turning a little more slowly" than they had hoped, thanks to red tape. No opening date, but that shouldn't stop you from leaving your thoughts in the comments about what you'd like to see sold in the store--and maybe we can get Mr. Oh himself to say hello...
* Here's a post from WBJ's Breaking Ground blog with Opus East's schedules and statement of financial affairs, as a result of its Chapter 7 liquidation filing late last week. (The documents are pretty much Greek to me, but maybe those with some experience in the area might find them interesting.) The city's recorder of deeds database also shows eight liens filed against Opus's 1015 Half project from late May through June 24, and construction does appear to have ground to a halt.
* In Friday's print Washington Business Journal, Missy Frederick writes that sports bar The Greene Turtle is looking to open five more locations by the end of 2009, with two of them in DC, "particularly near Capitol Hill or by one of the college campuses." Hmmm, what neighborhood with a fair amount of already available retail space (and a guaranteed influx of sports fans) is "near Capitol Hill"? (But I'd note that the biggest available retail spaces in Near Southeast, on the ground floors of 100 M and 55 M, are in buildings where the owners [Opus East and Monument Realty] are in rough patches; does that make signing a retail lease less enticing, or more? On the other hand, the ballpark has all that empty retail space along First Street....)
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More posts: 1015 Half, cornercopia, Retail, square 697
 

With thanks to reader JW for the eagle eyes, I can pass along that there is now a "Domino's Coming Soon" sign in the window in one of the three retail slots at 900 M Street, the beige building that was recently a dialysis center but originally was a Hudson car dealership. (Out of date photos here; guess I'd better get over there this weekend.) The leasing company has said they are looking for national tenants for the spaces--I haven't heard if there are any leases signed for the other two units. (Though my mind always wanders back to this story from last August that mentioned a Dunkin Donuts franchisee scouting locations near the Navy Yard.)
Now, will people consider this "new" retail in Near Southeast, or just a restoration of the old order? After all, Domino's used to be one of the few food options in Near Southeast, at its original outpost at South Capitol and M, until it closed in early 2008. (That site is owned by Monument.)
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More posts: 900m, Restaurants/Nightlife, M Street, Retail
 

* Reader S. reports in from Nats Park that filming is happening there today on the Owen Wilson baseball movie. S. is an extra, and says that Owen is there, but hasn't seen any other stars yet.
* The Navy Yard Museum is presenting "American Girl Day" on June 27, saluting the series of books that has taken the youngsters by storm. Valerie Tripp, one of the authors, will be signing books, and there will be hands-on activities, prizes, and more. RSVP required; it runs from 11 am to 3 pm. See the flyer for more.
* Two readers confirmed my Tweet yesterday that the "Taxation Without Representation" street signs have now been posted on South Capitol Street between N and Potomac.
* The new owner of the Little Red Building at Second and L formerly known as the Star Market is moving on getting the existing liquor license changed to allow more than just beer and wine (a process originally started by the previous owner). My intern reported that the sign now posted says that the deadline for filings on the case is July 20 and the hearing is (I think) August 10; however, the hearing notice hasn't yet appeared in the DC Register, and the ABRA web site is woefully out of date these days.
* Greater Greater Washington discusses attempts to get USDOT security to back off from hassling photographers; I've had problems there for years, even though there is no law prohibiting the photographing of federal buildings. (They even hassle me when I'm taking photos of The Yards, which, to be gentle about it, is *really* none of their damn business.)
* I hear that the Cornercopia Deli is still about three weeks from opening; we'll see if that date holds. And yes, my free-sandwich offer to the first reader who alerts me to the deli actually being open for business still stands.
* There's a couple sales/leasing events at Velocity and Onyx over the next few days that readers have alerted me to; but if those sorts of tidbits are of interest to you, you'll want to check in with the BID; I'm going to shy away from adding those type of shindigs to my already overburdened lineup of items I track.
 
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