Detail on What's Coming for the South Capitol Street Bridge
Jan 24, 2007 10:10 AM
Dr. Gridlock's Get There blog has an entry
about the upcoming work on the South Capitol Street/Frederick Douglass Bridge
, confirming that as expected
the bridge will be closed in July and August to demolish the existing viaduct
between Potomac Avenue and O Street, so that drivers coming off the bridge will arrive at street level three blocks further south than they now do. This will give South Capitol Street
a much nicer appearance, and will mean that the new Nationals ballpark won't have an ancient bridge ramp
rubbing up against its western facade (right now at O Street the viaduct is not much more than about 20 feet from the edge of the stadium). There will also be new signals at some of the intersections. The blog post also mentions the first of the weekend closures of the bridge coming up this weekend, with the inbound lanes closing between 10 am Friday and 4 am Monday, detouring traffic to the 11th Street Bridges. (But alas, the demolishing of the viaduct will take with it two of my
favorite stadium photo perches, though at least by summer most of the exterior work should be completed.) UPDATE:
Here's a short piece from WTOP
about the plans for the bridge.
Official DDOT Notice of First Douglass Bridge Closures
Jan 17, 2007 7:44 PM
"As part of ongoing improvements to the Frederick Douglass Bridge
(sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will perform periodic off-peak bridge maintenance repairs beginning Friday, January 26, 2007.
"These periodic weekend repairs include expansion joint replacement and under-the-bridge steel repair work. Work will also involve painting and replacing handrails and installation of new lighting.
"Due to the nature of these repairs, DDOT will temporarily close the northbound/inbound lanes starting at 10 am on January 26. The lanes will reopen on Monday, January 29 by 4 am--in time for morning rush hour. During the closure, inbound drivers will follow signed detours on I-295 North to the 11th Street Bridge providing direct access into the District.
"DDOT encourages the use of Metro as a transportation alternative. Pedestrian and bike access will remain on the bridge during the weekend closures. All closures may be subject to change and are weather permitting. In the event of inclement weather, lane closures will be rescheduled to the following weekend."
First Heads Up on South Cap Bridge Closures
Jan 16, 2007 8:23 PM
No doubt there will be more official announcements coming from DDOT, but in my quest to get you information lickety-split, I point you to this post on the MPD 1D message board: "The Frederick Douglass Bridge main span and approach ramps will undergo significant repair work during this year, effective this month. Repair work consists of steel repairs, deck joint replacement, concrete repairs and painting of bridge thus these repairs necessitate the closure of the bridge which will effect the ingress and egress of DC residents, DC govt employees. Traffic will be advised by a Changeable Message Sign Board daily that drivers should use the 11th St. Bridge as a major detour route during times the Douglas bridge is closed. The following schedule has been tentatively put out -- please share with coworkers, neighbors." It shows scheduled weekend closures (from Fridays at 10 pm to Mondays at 4 am) on various dates starting Jan. 26, and also mentions that the entire span will be closed from after July 4 through the end of August--I believe (but do not know with 100% certainty) this will be the dismantling of the viaduct so that the bridge exit onto South Capitol Street reaches street level at Potomac Avenue rather than O Street. As I said, I know more will be coming from DDOT, and I'll post it as soon as I have it. I'll also put all the scheduled closures on my Calendar of Events once they come from DDOT.
South Capitol Street Construction
Jan 11, 2007 10:17 AM
Apparently the sign announcing construction on the South Capitol Street Bridge
has reappeared, and I'm hearing that this is the beginning of the rehab work on the existing bridge. (No, not the construction of the new one, that won't begin before 2011!) There won't be lane closures right away, but look for some probably on weekends in the near future. DDOT
hasn't yet posted anything about it on its web site--when they do, I'll post, of course.
Article on Light Rail - With Some Clarification
Jan 5, 2007 1:02 PM
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 :-).
Demolition Underway at 55 M
Dec 19, 2006 7:49 PM
With thanks to the many eagle-eyed correspondents who passed this along, we can report that demolition has begun at 55 M Street, the southeastern corner of Half and M, currently home to the western Navy Yard Metro Station entrance and soon to be home to Monument Realty's first offerings in Near Southeast--a 275,000 sq ft office building at Half and M, a 200-key W Aloft hotel mid-block, and 350-unit residential tower at Half and N, with 50,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail throughout the project. I talked to the workers on the site, and they said that they will be demolishing the entire length of the block between Half, M, N, and Cushing; I asked about the WMATA employee lot just south of the station entrance, how much longer that lot would be there, and the workers said "not long." This lot is to be moved to Monument's land at 1236 South Capitol (south of the Public Storage Building), but as of a few days ago that land still required its own demolition. Monument's Zoning Commission/Capitol Gateway Overlay Review hearing on 55 M Street is scheduled for January 11, but considering the very tight timeline they're working under (needing to get the upgrades to the Navy Yard station completed before Opening Day 2008, plus their plan to get the three levels of underground parking completed by that date), it's not really a surprise that demolition is moving forward. A lot of moving parts that need to work together just right for success.... (And just FYI, I'm not considering this project "underway" until after they get zoning approval.) UPDATE: I think I see their interim solution for the WMATA parking lot, there's now "WMATA Lot Only" signs on the fenced-in lot a few feet further south on Half Street, they must be planning to move the employee parking there as the demolition works north to south, until the 1236 South Capitol lot is ready....
Alley-Closing-Palooza Comes to a Close: Everything Passes
Dec 19, 2006 4:19 PM
With no debate, the four Near Southeast alley closing bills
that have been snaking their way through the DC legislative process in 2006 were passed at today's city council session, with both emergency and permanent bills being passed (emergency bills allow the statutes to take effect immediately, allowing the closings to be considered law as the permanent bills await mayoral and congressional approval). To recap, this batch included the closing of alleys on the west side of Square 701 between M, N, Cushing, and Half (at Monument Realty's 55 M Street
site); the closing of alleys and the creation of streets named 2nd Place, 3rd Place, and an official designation of a portion of L Street, all part of the Capitol Quarter
footprint; the closing of alleys and the eventual reopening of H and I streets between 2nd and New Jersey to make way for W.C. Smith's 1-million-sq-ft mixed-use project at 800 New Jersey; and finally the closing of alleys on the east side of Square 700 (between Half, Van, M, and N), where Monument will eventually add to their Half Street domination. That makes seven Near Southeast alley closings and street changes put on the books in 2006, when you include the stadium
street closings, the Willco land on the east side of Square 701 (M, N, Cushing, and 1st) and the Square 743N west-side alley closings that allowed the start of construction on the 100 M Street
office building and the Onyx on First
residential tower. There's one more potential alley closing wandering around out there somewhere, and that's for Lerner's 1000 South Capitol Street
office building; representatives came before ANC 6D way back in April
, but (believe it or not!) a squabble broke out about an acceptable community benefits package in return for the ANC's report, and nothing's been heard on this since.
1000 South Capitol
, 100 M
, Capitol Quarter
, Monument/Half St.
, South Capitol St., Square 743N
, square 697
, Square 701
Razing in the Offing
Dec 15, 2006 4:47 PM
I've finally uncovered a roundabout way to find out about pending raze permits (right now, raze permit applications are not tracked or listed in any way on DC.gov--waaah!). The city's Historic Preservation Office sends out via e-mail weekly permit reports for the entire city (the HPO is contacted by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to confirm that building/raze permits aren't for buildings with some landmark status or other hold). Recently mailings have indicated that raze permits are in process for 1015 Half Street (Nation) as well as most of the buildings on Monument Realty's properties along Half, N, and South Capitol Streets (26, 30, 32, and 68 N Street, 1241 and 1243 Cushing Place, and 1236 South Capitol). This reports from HPO don't mean that razing is imminent (for instance, the Monument Realty raze permit requests came through HPO in mid-October), but do show that plans for demolition are more than just theoretical. UPDATE: I knew I forgot something when I posted this; I meant to include that, while I haven't seen a raze permit, a correspondent has reported that tenants told him that the beige brick building at South Capitol and O SW is scheduled to be demolished just after the New Year, to make way for the 1325 South Capitol 244-unit residential building.
South Capitol Street/I-395 Ramp Closures Dec. 4-7
Nov 28, 2006 3:57 PM
From DDOT: The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) advises motorists that the exit ramps from South Capitol Street to both I-395 northbound and southbound will be closed for maintenance from Monday December 4 through Thursday December 7 from 8 pm to 4 am. The below detour will be set-up to guide motorists:
Northbound I-395 traffic should continue north on South Capitol Street crossing under I-395. Traffic should then turn left onto Washington Avenue and turn left onto the ramp for northbound I-395 at D Street
Westbound I-395 traffic should continue north on South Capitol Street crossing under I-395. Traffic should then bear left onto Washington Avenue and turn left onto C Street. Traffic should then turn left onto Second Street and then bear left onto the ramp for Southbound I-395.
South Capitol St.
Upcoming Zoning Hearings
Nov 26, 2006 5:36 PM
Just a reminder (in case you don't stay glued to my Calendar of Upcoming Events
) that tomorrow (Monday Nov. 27
) is the continuation of the Zoning Commission
's hearing on Florida Rock
's 2nd Stage PUD
. It's available via live webcast
starting at 6:30 pm. There are also three more Near Southeast ZC hearings in the next few weeks and months: on Dec. 7
is the zoning hearing for William C. Smith's 250 M Street
office building, which could be interesting because the discussion at the July 10 ZC meeting about this project (starting on page 72 of this transcript
) showed the ZC members to be, one could say, somewhat skeptical of the building's initial design. Then, on Jan. 11
, Monument Realty will have its Half Street office / hotel / residential development
zoning hearing. Finally, on Feb. 22
, the Camden Development residential project at 1325 South Capitol Street will have its Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
. Interested members of the public should note that there are mechanisms built into the zoning hearing process for public comment, and if you feel strongly one way or another about a project, this is a time when you should make yourself heard. Visit the Zoning Commission web site
for additional details. (Of course, the time when I decide to highlight this public participation aspect of the zoning process is when only one
of these four pending ZC hearings actually has a Public Hearing Notice--containing the instructions for participating--posted on the ZC calendar
Exxon Digging at South Capitol and I
Nov 22, 2006 10:03 AM
Reality is always a few days ahead of bureaucracy, so the Building Permits Feed
is telling us what our eyes have already seen, that digging is going on at the closed Exxon station at South Capitol
and I streets, excavating the underground gas storage tanks. I've heard no rumors about any impending development or sale of the land, but will of course post anything I hear (and if you know something about what's happening there, feel free to tell me
). The station closed in May 2006
, not long after its owner pleaded guilty to fraudulently double-billing government contractors more than $120,000 and was sentenced to 12-18 months in prison.
South Capitol St.
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.
(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.
Zoning Filing to Move WMATA Parking - Update: Approved
Nov 16, 2006 11:09 AM
In order to start construction ASAP on both the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro entrance at Half and M and mixed-use offerings along Half Street, Monument Realty and WMATA are asking the DC Zoning Commission for an emergency text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay to allow a temporary parking lot for WMATA employees to be built, replacing the one currently atop the Navy Yard station. This new lot would be on South Capitol Street between M and N, on the lot just south of the Public Storage building and just north of the Amoco station (lot 0700 0046 for those of you with parcel maps), and would be accessed from Van Street. The text amendment would restrict the parking lot's life to three years--by that point, Monument's construction along Half Street should completed and WMATA employees would then be able to park in those underground lots. This will come before the Zoning Commission for setdown on Nov. 13; because it is being requested on an emergency basis, the Office of Planning is recommending that the text amendment take effect immediately upon setdown, and is requesting that it be set down for a hearing at the earliest possible date. Good to see that Monument and WMATA are moving fast. UPDATE, 11/16: This text amendment was approved on an emergency basis, which means that it goes into effect immediately and for 120 days, but Monument still has to go to the ZC during that time for a hearing to get permanent approval of the amendment plus approval of the parking lot itself because it lies in a CG Overlay mandatory review area. (See the above entry for more on THAT!)
New Renderings, Updated Pages
Nov 13, 2006 2:47 PM
updated its web site recently to include a rendering of 1015 Half Street
, the 440,000-sq-ft office building by Potomac Investment Properties slated for the Nation site at Half and L. (I'd give a link directly to their page on 1015 Half, but like so many architecture firms, their site is so overly Flash'ed that there's no way to get you there.) They also had a rendering for 1325 South Capitol Street
, the 244-unit residential project across from the stadium by Camden Development. (As expected, I'm wavering in my resolve to stop my coverage at the South Capitol Street median, and will now track anything that fronts South Capitol, even if the address is in Southwest.) These renderings--along with the one I found last week for 1000 South Capitol
(the proposed 320,000-sq-ft office building by Lerner Enterprises on the same block as Nation)--spurred me to do some freshening of both my North of M
and South Capitol Street
pages, adding a lot of new photos and views.
Lerner Site Redesign - 20 M Now Delivering in Spring 2007, 1000 South Capitol Rendering
Nov 8, 2006 11:13 PM
within the past few days launched a very nice (and very much needed) redesign of their web site
. The 20 M Street page
(which isn't really the official project web site, that's 20MStreetSE.com
) says that the building will be available in Spring 2007 (an earlier date than the Fall 2007 originally given), and gives much detail about the project's "green" features. It also lists Cushman & Wakefield
as the commercial leasing agents, which I believe is a new development. There's also a page for 1000 South Capitol Street
, a proposed 320,000-sq-ft office building on South Capitol between K and L (the parking lot next to Nation). No start date, but there's a rendering, the first I've seen for this project (and you know how excited I get when I unearth renderings). 1000 South Cap has been on the boards for years, but other than a request for an alley closing at an ANC6D meeting earlier this year (which was referred to the development committee), there's been no evidence of movement. See my own 20 M
and North of M
pages for photos, etc.
Douglass Bridge Work - Not Yet
Nov 6, 2006 8:33 PM
Today is the "on or about day" that the flashing signs on South Capitol Street
said would mark the beginning of work on the South Capitol Street Bridge
--however, the start has been delayed while DDOT makes changes to its plans. Will alert you to anything I hear.
Sign Announcing South Capitol Street Work - Update
Oct 30, 2006 10:23 AM
An electronic sign has appeared at South Capitol
and I streets, warning of road work beginning on or about Nov. 6. There's been nothing about it announced yet anywhere on the DDOT web site
, and I haven't heard anything about it through the grapevine; a correspondent reported earlier in the week that he had contacted DDOT to ask when the work would begin to remove the South Capitol Street viaduct between Potomac Avenue and O Street, and he was told that it wouldn't start before early next year, perhaps no later than April. I e-mailed DDOT to ask for confirmation, but have received no reply. There are plans for lots of streetscape improvements
along South Capitol in addition to the removal of the viaduct, so perhaps this is the beginning of that work. Will post here as soon as I find out more. UPDATE:
A correspondent passes along information received from DDOT that the signs are marking the beginning of the project to rehabilitate the South Capitol Street Bridge
, which includes doing steel repairs and railings, and painting of the steel beams, which is what will begin Nov. 6, and which will necessitate lane closures. This DDOT communique with a resident also said that the lowering of the viaduct between Potomac and O would not start until July 2007, and which will see the entire bridge closed while the work is done. Will continue to keep my eye out for the official press releases from DDOT
on the work.
Near Southeast Projects in the Long-Range Transportation Plan
Oct 23, 2006 10:22 AM
Monday's DC Examiner reports
: "The Transportation Planning Board added more than $1 billion in projects for the District to the region's long-range transportation plan, according to officials.
The stratagem, called the Constrained Long Range Plan
, estimates about $4.5 billion will be available each year for the next 24 years to complete projects in Maryland, Virginia and the District. Projects can only be added to the board's long range plan if there is a solid funding mechanism in place. " Three of the DC projects
will impact Near Southeast: the rehabilitation of South Capitol Street
including transformation of the street into an at-grade boulvard from I Street to N Street and the construction of a new Frederick Douglass Bridge
(costing $625 million and completed in 2015); the reconfiguration and reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges
(costing $377 million and completed in 2011); and $3 million for the Anacostia Streetcar Study, which would run light rail across the 11th Street Bridges from Anacostia down M Street
SE to South Capitol Street. (The first phase of actual construction of the Streetcar Project has been added to the CLRP as well.) Here's an explanation of the CLRP
as well as the Transportation Improvement Plan
, which describes the schedule for federal funds obligated to state and local projects.
Two Just-Outside-the-Boundaries Tidbits
Sep 27, 2006 9:59 AM
There are projects immediately adjacent to Near Southeast that I won't be tracking with my usual level of obsessive-compulsiveness (no photos, dedicated pages, etc.), but I will mention big milestones if I hear about them. And so first is the announcement of a pending public meeting by the AWC on October 10 on the Poplar Point Site Development Plan process--this is the 70-acre on the Anacostia on the east side of the South Capitol Street Bridge, just across the river from Florida Rock, where possibly a new DC United stadium may be built. (Note that the transfer of this land from Federal to District control is still pending in Congress.) The other project is 1325 South Capitol Street SW, on the western side of the street between N and O (in other words, directly across from the stadium). GlobeSt.com reports (hat tip to reader RR) that Camden Property Trust is planning a 244-unit 210,000-sq-ft building on the site, with construction to start in Q2 2007. (I know, it's just across the dang street from Near Southeast, and maybe by the time the project starts I'll cave and decide to track anything that actually fronts South Capitol. Because there aren't enough projects for me to track :-).)
1100 South Capitol Starts to Move Forward
Sep 14, 2006 9:05 AM
In June, The Lawrence Ruben Company
added to the 24,000-sq-ft lot it has owned at the corner of South Capitol and L since 2004, paying (according to DC land records) $4.843 million to buy 9,000 sq ft of the St. Vincent de Paul church's parking lot. I'm told the Ruben Co. has hired the Shalom Baranes
architecture firm (which is also working on the huge Southeast Federal Center
project) to design a 330,000-sq-ft office building for this location (1100 South Capitol Street). Most likely, Ruben will not move forward on construction until they sign a tenant for the building. Check my North of M
page (and it's spiffy new map!) to see what other projects are on the boards in this getting-ever-more-crowded section of Near Southeast.