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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: South Capitol St.
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In the Pipeline
Community Center
Homewood Suites Hotel
Ballpark Square
Yards/Parcel A
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
1333 M St.
Southeast Blvd.
Florida Rock
1244 South Capitol
New Barracks
1111 New Jersey
Akridge/Half St.
Monument/Half St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
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)
Posts on Food/Fun
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This afternoon's Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair appeared to be very well attended, at least during the 90 minutes or so I was there. (Even Marion Barry showed up.) There were three long tables of displays and information from city agencies, commercial developers, and non-profit organizations, and Near Southeast was well-represented--JPI, Velocity, Monument Half Street, Williams C. Smith (250 M Street), Forest City (Capper/Carrollsburg, The Yards), the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association, and the ballpark all had people on hand. (There was also plenty of swag--hope you didn't miss out on your DC WASA lanyard!)
Two news items I came across:
* First, confirmation that 250 M Street will start construction in either late spring or early summer, although they don't yet have any office or retail tenants to announce.
* Second, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street (including a new Frederick Douglass Bridge) is going to be released on February 8, with a public comment period to follow. There are two build alternatives that would reconstruct South Capitol Street and the Suitland Parkway (and its interchange with I-295), but neither has been identified yet as a "preferred" alternative. (No design from the four options for a new Douglass Bridge has been chosen yet, either.) There will be public meetings in late February about the Draft EIS, and the web site will be updated soon with information on the draft. I'll write more about this when the Draft EIS is officially released, but it's this study that will decide whether a big traffic oval is built at South Capitol and Potomac, and whether the South Capitol/M interchange could be reconfigured into an "at-grade" intersection (i.e., no more tunnel).
I should have asked about the status of the reconfiguration of the 11th Street Bridges now that that EIS is complete, but I could never get close enough to the table to talk to anyone. (See update below.)
Other developments such as the Southwest Waterfront and Hill East had displays as well, but since my brain can't process anything outside of my borders, you'll have to hunt down information on those projects elsewhere.
UPDATE: I'm finally looking through the pile of flyers I picked up, and here's a few timelines in the official brochure for the event (they're called "targeted schedules", so best not to pen them in just yet):
* Douglass Bridge Replacement: Begin construction Spring 2010, complete in Winter 2015.
* 11th Street Bridges Replacement: Begin construction Spring 2009, no completion date listed.
Also, the 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City at the site of the old Capper Seniors building at 600 M has a Spring 2009 start date in one of Forest City's flyers. The other Yards start/completion dates in the brochures are on target with what I've written about previously (see my Yards Phase I page for details).
 

Reminding everyone that tomorrow (Sat. Jan. 26) from 1 to 5 pm is the Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair, which will "provide information to residents about the billions of dollars worth of development and transportation projects underway along the Anacostia Waterfront. [...] District government staff, developers, public officials and non-profit partners will be ready to discuss the status in developing and planning of highly anticipated projects including Hill East Waterfront, the Anacostia Riverwalk, Poplar Point, replacement of the 11th Street Bridges, The Yards and the replacement of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge."
The event will be at St. Coletta's, 1901 Independence Avenue, SE, which is next to RFK, and across the street from the entrance to the Stadium-Armory Metro station. I don't know what the parking situation will be. Questions should probably go to DDOT at (202) 673-6813.
Yes, I'll be there, roaming around desperately hunting for new tidbits, so say hi if you see me--I'll be the rapidly aging redhead in glasses. (That should narrow it down.)
 

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

Back on Friday, WTOP posted "Soccer Stadium at Poplar Point Could Help Nats Parking," which will warm the heart of commenters and others who are starting to agitate for the idea of using Poplar Point for parking, and perhaps even building a pedestrian bridge across the Anacostia between there and the ballpark. City Council chair Vincent Gray is quoted as floating the idea: "You could park over at Poplar Point, come across a pedestrian bridge, or otherwise be transported the short distance to the baseball stadium." Of course, it would need to be a really *high* pedestrian bridge, to allow for naval traffic along the river (remember, the Douglass Bridge is a drawbridge). There's already a newly revamped pedestrian walkway on the Douglass Bridge that now makes it a lot less nail-biting to walk over, but it's a pretty long walk.
 

DDOT has sent out a release (not yet online) advising that the stoplights on South Capitol Street at O and P (alongside the ballpark) are about to be activated. "Both signals went into 'flash' mode last Tuesday to alert motorists and pedestrians of their imminent arrival. The signals are scheduled to move into full-color operation mode on or about Tuesday, January 22, 2008. The new signals will enhance pedestrian safety and will be coordinated with neighboring signals. The new signals will also allow intersecting traffic to navigate safely." I haven't been by to see if the entrances to O and P from South Capitol were opened this week and, if not, if the activation of these signals means that they will be....
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More posts: South Capitol St.
 

At Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, Monument Realty presented its request for the ANC's support in closing a 2,417-square-foot alley that runs between South Capitol and Van streets not far north of N Street. This alley is north of the now-closed BP Amoco and south of what is now a WMATA employee parking lot on land owned by Monument (there used to be a neon yellow bungalow there, until late 2006). Christy Shiker of Holland & Knight told the commissioners that the Amoco property--which faces the ballpark's western parking garage--is too small to develop on its own, but with the alley closed and the lots combined, Monument would build a 130-foot-high residential building with approximately 150 to 200 units plus 14,000 square feet of ground-floor (or perhaps two-story) retail. Monument is not committing at this time to pursuing LEED certification for this building.
Shiker then described the community benefits package that Monument was offering to the ANC in return for the loss of this public space, including a $50,000 contribution to the community fund, the retail, First Source employment preferences, and an affordable housing component that would match whatever is called for whenever the city's Inclusionary Zoning mandates are finally hammered out. Monument would also work toward agreements on ANC6D resident preferences, to be determined with the ANC at a later date.
This became a sticking point, with Commissioner David Sobelsohn concerned about giving the ANC's support for this project merely on promises to make agreements later. Shiker pointed out that Monument has made these agreements before for their other Ballpark District projects, and also that the ANC will have another crack at the project when down the road it undergoes its mandatory Capitol Gateway Overlay Review. But Sobelsohn still felt that the ANC was being handed a "take it or leave it" proposition.
An audience member asked if Monument would be planning to build a temporary parking lot if the alley closing is approved, but Shiker said that Monument's goal is to develop the land, that they "want a building, not a parking lot." (Though one must admit that that is some pretty plum stadium-parking territory.) There were also questions about the Public Space Storage building just to the north (echoing my WTDW entry from last week), but Monument's representatives said that they didn't think the storage company would be moving.
Commissioner Bob Siegel moved to support the alley closing with further negotiations on the proposed benefits package as the project proceeds, but the ANC voted 2-2-1 and so the resolution did not pass.
The alley closing bill is B17-0552, and Shiker told the ANC that she expected a public hearing in late February, with perhaps council action in March or April. No date for actual construction of the project was mentioned.
Coming tomorrow--a recap of the Florida Rock portion of the ANC meeting, though you don't have to wait until then to see the latest project renderings that were presented. But my long-winded summary of what was said during the meeting will have to wait a bit longer.
 

Just announced is an upcoming Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair, presented by the city on Saturday, January 26 from 1 to 5 pm, "to provide information to residents about the billions of dollars worth of development and transportation projects underway along the Anacostia Waterfront. [...] District government staff, developers, public officials and non-profit partners will be ready to discuss the status in developing and planning of highly anticipated projects including Hill East Waterfront, the Anacostia Riverwalk, Poplar Point, replacement of the 11th Street Bridges, The Yards and the replacement of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge." (It's like JDLand.com come to life!)
Also: "The Information Fair will allow residents, business owners and interested parties to review, discuss, question and comment on these and other projects which are under construction and/or study."
The event will be at St. Coletta's, which is across the street from the entrance to the Stadium-Armory Metro station.
UPDATED to add the link to the announcement.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, riverwalk, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, The Yards
 

In the past few days I've mentioned the start of construction on the first of the temporary surface parking lots at Capper and the transformation of an existing lot at 1100 South Capitol into a monthly lot managed by Colonial Parking. Today I see that the dirt is being dug up at 1000 South Capitol, which had a public space permit approved a few weeks ago for the construction of a parking lot. This property is owned by Lerner Enterprises (yes, the same Lerners that own the Nationals) and they have eventual plans for an office building on the site, but it shouldn't be a surprise that they would give this land over at least temporarily to the Ballpark Parking Cause.
Additional dispatches from today's drive-around:
* Equipment has arrived on site at 1345 South Capitol, presumably for the start of excavation for this 276-unit residential project across the street from the ballpark.
* The DC Foreign Car Shop at 31 K Street and the buildings along First Street and N north of the ballpark are still standing;
* A very affable-looking "Hospitality Ambassador" from the Capitol Riverfront BID was answering questions with a smile at the Navy Yard Metro entrance;
* The amount of construction and roadwork from New Jersey Avenue west to South Capitol really is unbelievable. (I rarely drive through the neighborhood during the day on weekdays, so most of you long-suffering residents and commuters are already well aware of this.) But seeing it in full swing just reinforces my New Year's resolution to restrict my photo treks to Sundays, when the commotion is taking its Day of Rest.
UPDATE: One more tidbit: a permit has been approved to remove the underground storage tanks at the BP Amoco at South Capitol and N. I had thought that maybe it was only temporarily closed because of the construction on N Street, but this probably means it's gone for good. As for what might appear in its place--the land is part of Monument Realty's vast holdings north of the ballpark, but no development plans for the site have been announced. In the meantime, I bet it would be a handy spot for a parking lot!
 

Time to dip back into the What's the Deal With...? mailbag, where once again I'm being asked fabulous questions that I don't actually have any answers for. But that hasn't stopped me yet....
* Readers B. and K. are the most recent readers to ask about the Public Space Storage building on South Capitol between M and N, just a few feet north of the ballpark, wondering whether it has any plans to close. I know that Monument Realty was interested in acquiring the building, since it owns the lots just to the building's south as well as all other parts of the block not owned by WMATA, but that was before Metro awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage and its parking lot (on the north side to the storage building) to Akridge. It's certainly a valuable piece of land, and I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that I doubt it will be there many years from now, but as of this point I've heard of no deals.
* Reader R. has asked about Canal Park, which continues to appear stalled, with no public pronouncements on it in months. (And with that "Spring 2008" still displayed for all to see on the sign at Second and M.) Is it still the school buses throwing up the roadblock, which is what we last were told? Is there some new wrinkle? I haven't heard anything, I'm sad to report.
* Reader F. asks about Ann's Beauty and Wig Shop, the dazzlingly pink building sandwiched between St. Matthew's and Onyx at 125 L Street, wondering if it's going to be sold. Ann's came to this block in 2005, after I believe being forced out of Waterside Mall in SW, and the owner has apparently been pretty vehement with potential suitors that she has no intention of selling. Perhaps the pending sale of St. Matthew's to Ruben Companies could change that, but as of now, I've heard nothing.
That's the best I can do for now--absolutely no useful information at all! No doubt there's scuttlebutt on each of these that I'm not privvy to, but I continue to be unsuccessful in my quest to get all city officials and private-sector parties operating in Near Southeast to inform me at all times about all their dealings. It's almost like they think I'm just some sort of powerless pesky neighborhood blogger or something....
Got a WTDW question? (maybe even one that I might know the answer to?) Pass it along. But I'll close with a hint--when it comes to oft-discussed projects around Near Southeast, as soon as I hear information that I can confirm, I post it. (I do tend to stay away from posting rumors, and considering some of the ones I've heard over the years that have turned out to be fabulously incredibly wrong, I don't regret this.) If you haven't seen any updates lately about Canal Park, or Capitol Quarter, or the Post Plant, or any other project, it's because nothing new has come my way. I'm as desperate to post the latest news flashes as you are to read them....
 

Sometime within the past few weeks, the surface parking lot at 1100 South Capitol Street has come under the management of Colonial Parking. The spiffy new sign (and the Colonial web site) indicate that it is open for monthly parking only, at a rate of $80 a month. It's on the site where Ruben Companies plans eventually to build its SC1100 office project, but no start date has been announced for that.
As for whether it could possibly be one of the lots that the Nationals are planning to use for season ticket holder parking, I have no information on that, but it's certainly interesting that this lot has suddenly gotten big-time management....
And, in case you didn't see it mentioned in my photo update yesterday, work has begun on the Capper parking lots along Third Street. Some PVC pipes are piled up on the two blocks, and some trench digging is underway at Third and I.
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More posts: 1100 South Capitol, mnorth, parking, South Capitol St.
 

Digging in the DC land records database late on a Friday afternoon (isn't that what everyone does to get ready for the weekend?), I see that the ExxonMobil Corporation deeded its land at South Capitol and I in November to the ExxonMobil Foundation. There's nothing stated in the deed about any planned uses for the land, except to spell out restrictions on future uses and requirements for cleanup since the site may have contaminated soil. As for the foundation itself, a little blurb describes it as the "primary philanthropic arm of the Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States. The Foundation and the Corporation engage in a range of philanthropic activities that advance education, health and science in the communities where ExxonMobil has significant operations." Is this the prelude to selling the land (assessed at $16 million in 2008) and having the foundation get the proceeds? Or is something else afoot?
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More posts: exxon697n, South Capitol St., Square 697n
 

In case you've already grown tired of the ballpark photos I posted on Monday showing the eastern and southern sides of Nationals Park, I've now updated the South Capitol Street images, too. (The northern views will have to wait until the reconstruction of N Street eases.) The main Ballpark Exterior Photo Gallery is now in pretty good shape after a short span of neglect (but as I said the other day, I think I needed the break).
I also took some new photos to capture the progress at 55 M Street, plus the completion of demolition at 1345 South Capitol.
If you don't feel like clicking around on all those links, here's all the photos I've posted in the past week. Try not to be blinded by those blue skies!
A few other items of note: The BP Amoco station on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N has fences up around it--I can't believe no one let me know! It's owned by Monument Realty, and I haven't heard about any near-term plans for the site. This leaves only one gas station in Near Southeast--the Exxon way over at 11th and M. There used to be three gas stations on South Capitol, now there aren't any. (And I've lost yet another source for my Gas Prices page. Waah!)
Also, new fences have gone up around the 1015 Half Street site, taking up one lane on K Street and on Half Street. Some exterior work was done to the DC Foreign Car building, but the little building is still there. For now.
I hope to get updated photos of 70/100 I and the pile of rubble that used to be old Capper Seniors within the next week. There's just too much activity to document these days--I've got to break it up into manageable pieces....
 

Time again to dig into the What's the Deal With....? mailbag. Reader BH has asked about the two boarded-up gas stations and the old KFC along South Capitol Street, wondering when they're going to be demolished.
I have no answer, alas, for the former Exxon station on the east side of the street at I, which has been closed since May 2006 after its owner pleaded guilty to double-billing government contractors for more than $120,000; JPI was apparently somewhat interested in acquiring it so that they could build 23 I on the entire block, but that doesn't seem to have happened.
The KFC/Taco Bell closed in June after being bought by Ruben Companies, which has long-term plans for an office building on the site, to match their SC1100 on the east side of the street and 21 L Street to the north. However, they are not planning to demolish the KFC anytime soon, and in fact are looking to rent the space to a food-related business in the near-to-medium term.
The second Exxon, on the west side of the street south of K, closed at the end of August. The rumor was that the lot was going to be sold, but so far no transactions have shown up in the DC property sales database. (Ruben owns the other two-thirds of that block, which is the 21 L Street site.)
(I went 1 for 3 on this. Yeeech. This is what I get for not anticipating that WTDW.... questions wouldn't necessarily be ones I know the answers to! But I'm willing to keep trying--if you have a WTDW.... question, pass it along. Be advised, though, that I'm posting these as I can get to them, so submissions may not get addressed right away.)
 

An advisory from DDOT is out today about off-peak lane closures at the Douglass Bridge over the next few months: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) throughout the coming two months will continue its highly publicized repair and restoration of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (also known as the South Capitol Street Bridge) and the adjoining South Capitol Street corridor. [...] The next phase of construction work includes railing installations, touch-up painting of railings, bolt torqueing, steel repairs and sidewalk repairs."
The upcoming lane closures are described thusly:
* One outbound lane on the bridge will be closed to traffic from 6 am until 2:30 pm on weekdays until mid-January 2008.
* One inbound lane on the bridge will be closed to traffic on weekdays from 10 am until 5 pm until mid-January 2008.
* There will be weekend lane closures (no full closure, just lane restrictions) on the bridge in both directions from 7 am to 5 pm until December 23, 2007.
 

During my poking around on the DC Office of Cable Television web site recently, I discovered that many of the groundbreakings and other events in Near Southeast this year that have been broadcast on the city's cable channel 16 are also available On Demand; the same goes for council hearings, available on Channel 13's On Demand page. (I kinda sorta knew that the On Demand stuff was there, but when I checked it many moons ago, it didn't seem quite so complete, so I hadn't looked back in on it for a while.)
So if you've missed any of the following four-star telecasts from 2007, you can watch them at your leisure:
* The July bill-signing ceremony at the Earth Conservations Corps pumphouse where the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation were officially abolished;
* JPI's June "groundbreaking" for its four projects along I Street ("Capitol Yards");
* The January groundbreaking marking the start of the Navy Yard Metro renovation and Monument's Half Street project;
* And pretty much any ceremony anywhere in the city the mayor was at since the beginning of the year, plus a lot of other presentations and events. (Be sure not to miss the Reporters' Roundtable "Snitching Debate.") Check the dropdown boxes on the On Demand page for the offerings. I've added the above links to all of the various project pages in case you're desperate to find them again someday.
Two of the most recent shindigs haven't gotten added to the lineup yet--the Oct. 22 kickoff ceremony for the Capitol Riverfront BID (in which you can find out where the "Traveling Roadshow" moniker originated), and the mayor's remarks at the Nov. 13 turf unveiling at the ballpark. Ditto with the Waterside Mall Demolition program, which is currently playing on Channel 16 but hasn't yet made it to On Demand. But perhaps they'll show up eventually.
 

I just can't bear to go completely dark for too many days in a row, so here's some light reading for your post-turkey haze:
* These are almost a month old now (oops), but the Hill Rag has an opinion piece on the plans for the 11th Street Bridges, plus an article on the community concern on Capitol Hill and in Southwest over the planning for ballpark parking.
* Today's Washington Business Journal looks at the plans for the return of streetcars to DC, a very long-term project that could eventually have light rail running down M Street SE and across both the 11th Street and Douglass bridges. But that's a loooong ways off--first they have to finally get a long-delayed test line in Anacostia off the ground, and then the H Street NE corridor would be next. There used to be a good web site on the project at DCTransitFuture.com, but that site is now hijacked with a fake blog, so the best I can give you is this DDOT page with a few links.
* There's also a WBJ article on PNC Bank securing the naming rights to the Diamond-level seats (the second priciest) and the club lounge at the ballpark. Still no word on naming rights for the stadium itself, though a few weeks ago we heard that there might not be a sponsor during the inaugural season.
 

Word has just come out from DDOT that there will be lane closures on the Douglass Bridge this weekend, weather permitting: "Two inbound lanes on the bridge will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. on Saturday, November 17 until 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 18. [and] Two inbound lanes on the bridge will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. on Saturday, November 17 until 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 18." The advisory also says that the outbound sidewalk will now be closed for repair, and the the inbound sidewalk will now be opened to pedestrians and bicycles, which makes me really happy because now I'll finally get back some of my photo perches that have been inaccessible since late June.
 

Nov 12, 2007 3:38 PM
Word has just arrived from someone with a front-row seat that demolition has now begun at 1345 South Capitol, across the street from the ballpark. Glad I got those final pictures yesterday! I'll get shots of the rubble in the next day or so. A blurb in Friday's Washington Business Journal print edition said that the excavation marking the beginning of construction on the new residential building planned on this site should start in December.
More posts: 1325sc, South Capitol St.
 

Nov 12, 2007 10:11 AM
It started innocently enough. On Sunday morning, when I woke up to find such a brilliant sunny day, I decided to go take a new batch of photos of the demolition at old Capper Seniors to replace the dreary ones from Saturday. Then I started moving away a few blocks, to catch more distant views of the building. Then I decided that there were a bunch of locations where 70/100 I and Onyx on First were changing the skyline that I hadn't captured. Then I realized that it had been a long time since I had taken a complete set of photos of the western side of South Capitol Street at O and P streets, to show the changes since the demolition of the viaduct and all the streetscape improvements. And then of course, while I was there, I had to take a set of shots of the ballpark's western facade. Then there were more shots needed of the changes along M Street thanks to 55 M and 100 M. By the time I was done, I had a ridiculous number of new images up on the site, which you can see all on one page; you can also see most of them paired with past shots by clicking on the "Photo Archive Before-and-Afters" links at the top of that page, like the "South Capitol Street Makeover", which shows the new photos from both sides of the street (along with some older angles I didn't update). After a while they all run together, I know. But they make for some spiffy before-and-afters!
 

Oct 31, 2007 2:22 PM
DDOT has cancelled plans to close two outbound lanes on the Douglass Bridge from 7 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 3 and 4). So now you can take a weekend jaunt and buzz the new South Capitol Street and its renovated bridge without backups!
 
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