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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.
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.
1111 New Jersey
, 880 NJ/Park Chelsea
, Square 701
, WC Smith/Square 737, stmatthews
, Toll Brothers Lots
, The Yards
Zoning News: Yes to Vet, and Capper Hearing to Come
Feb 14, 2014 12:16 PM
Now that I've come out of my snow bunker (being a weather geek is a terrible disease), I'll pass along these notes from the past week or so in Zoning Land:
As I wrote a week or so ago, a vet is a potential tenant
's retail space on Tingey Street, but before a lease can be signed, "veterinary boarding hospital and veterinary hospital uses" needed to be added to the SFC overlay's allowed uses, subject to a number of conditions (no more than 50 percent of the tenant space can be for boarding, that any animal legally sold in the District can be boarded, incidental boarding of animals for convalesence is allowed, order and waste handling requirements, and that grooming and supplies can only be "accessory" uses). There was some back-and-forth about the word "incidental," and it was agreed that that wording be better phrased before the final vote.
Forest City does not announce tenants until a lease is executed, so the name of the potential vet has not been released.
: On Feb. 10, the commission voted to "set down" for a full hearing the Housing Authority's request to modify the Capper
PUD to allow 30 of the affordable housing units planned for squares 739, 767 and 768 to be transferred outside the Capper boundaries
to the block where the Park Chelsea
is currently under construction. (See the this map
culled from the Office of Planning Report
to help you visualize.)
The planning folks have a number of issues
they want DCHA to address before the hearing on this modification, but not among them is the biggest issue that ANC 6D has with Square 767: that the Housing Authority is thinking about a plan
that would change the original plans for a single 147-unit mixed-income building to two buildings, one a market rate-only condo building and the other an affordable housing-only building. (This plan is not mentioned in the housing authority's filings with the zoning commission.)
During the discussion, commission chair Anthony Hood noted that ANC 6D is "one of the ANCs that this commission knows is very engaged," which was in reference to the strongly worded letter the commission received
with 6D's concerns that they and the community still need to be "appropriately briefed" about DCHA's plans, and that the commission be able to "fully vet our concerns with them regarding the request for modification." Hood also said, "Let's make sure the next vote we see shows that everyone is working together."
Concurrently, the commission's vote also deferred action on DCHA's parallel request for a five-year extension to the PUD covering these same three squares, saying that the extension request decision hinges on the modification case's decision. The Office of Planning is recommending just a two-year extension
, and zoning commissioner Marcie Cohen said that DCHA needs to provide much more detailed information on the steps taken up to this point to secure financing, since it is her opinion that the initial filing doesn't seem show a "compelling need" for an exemption.
The hearing date isn't yet set, and DCHA will have to go to ANC 6D (and probably 6B as well) in order to request support before its zoning commission appearance. The Housing Authority and 6D have had a pretty contentious relationship over the years in regards to the Capper redevelopment, and it's unlikely that the deliberations over this zoning request will change that.
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.
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.
* 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.)
: 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
800 NJ/Square 737
, 880 NJ/Park Chelsea
, WC Smith/Square 737, teeter
, The Yards
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.
Tidbits: Whole Foods Dough, Blue Castle For Sale, Yards Doings
Dec 13, 2013 2:29 PM
* WC Smith has lined up $87 million in financing for its planned apartment building at 800 New Jersey Ave.
, better known as the home-to-be of Whole Foods. Construction is expected to start next year, just north of the currently climbing Park Chelsea
The party also celebrated the "groundbreaking" of the Yards's next project, the 325-unit residential building just east of the Foundry Lofts on Parcel N
, but until the heavy equipment shows up and starts digging up the existing parking lot on the site, let's just note that the actual work should be getting underway sometime soon. But in the meantime, you can gaze upon the latest rendering
of the project (this is looking toward the northwest, up 4th from Water Street).
UPDATE: I also should have mentioned that Forest City is now expecting an official mid-January move of its offices to the 2nd floor of the Lumber Shed (hence the visible work underway up there).
Whole Foods Makes it Official; Updated Rendering
Oct 23, 2013 8:48 AM
I guess Whole Foods figured that waiting another month for an official announcement after yesterday's flurry of news was a little unnecessary, because this morning there is an official release--and a new rendering, with all the appropriate signage (click to embiggen
). The under-construction Park Chelsea
is visible to the right, so this view is of the corner of New Jersey and H.
The William C. Smith release:
"Washington, DC - Developer WC Smith has signed Whole Foods Market to anchor the retail portion of its $443 million development in the District’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. The 36,000 square foot store will be located on the first floor of the second of three residential buildings the company has in development on New Jersey Avenue SE, two blocks from the Navy Yard Metro station.
"'We are delighted to welcome Whole Foods to the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood,' said Chris Smith, chairman and CEO of WC Smith. 'Their dedication to healthy living and commitment to community dovetails with our mission of creating green, sustainable communities for residents of the District of Columbia.'
"The first component of the new development, a 432-unit luxury apartment building known as Park Chelsea
, is currently under construction with a projected fall 2014 delivery date. Construction on the second building
is scheduled to begin early in 2014, with a 2017 opening of the Whole Foods Market and delivery of 336 residential units. The residential units will offer 10 foot ceilings and a commanding view of the Capitol and the monumental skyline. Completion of the third Class A residential building will bring the unit total to over 1,100 for the development.
"All of the buildings will provide on-site parking and will be highly amenitized with club rooms, rooftop pools, and exercise facilities. Additionally, each site will offer a unique amenity space for use by residents of all three buildings. Those amenities include an indoor lap pool, an all-purpose gymnasium, a demonstration kitchen, and a 15,000 square foot courtyard. The development is within walking distance of both the Navy Yard and Capitol South Metro stations and adjacent to newly created Canal Park with water features, ice skating rink, public art, programmed activities, and Park Tavern restaurant."
UPDATE: The separate joint release with Whole Foods is a little long to cut-and-paste, but there's this quote:
"'Washingtonians asked and we listened,” said Scott Allshouse, Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic regional president. “People who live and work in Southeast have been requesting a Whole Foods Market for some time. We are thrilled about finding the right fit given the combination of factors that go into deciding on a new location.'"
Whole Foods Signs Lease for 800 New Jersey Avenue
Oct 22, 2013 9:55 AM
A mere 11 years after the notion was first floated, there is apparently finally a signed contract
to bring a Whole Foods grocery store to 800 New Jersey Avenue SE
. Though the chain isn't expected to make an official announcement until next month, a representative of WC Smith told Monday night's ANC 6D meeting of the news.
Note that the store won't be at the Park Chelsea
, WC Smith's apartment building currently under construction at 880 New Jersey. This will be a new apartment building just to the north, running along the to-be-rebuilt H Street
between New Jersey and 2nd, immediately south of the freeway. It's expected to have 330ish units and all the usual amenities. But with construction not currently expected to start until spring 2014, and the timeline of the buildouts of both the building and the interior work for the store, you probably won't be buying your quinoa there before 2017.
The neighborhood's other grocery store, Harris Teeter, is currently under construction at the Twelve12 apartment project
in the Yards, and is now expected to open in the fall of 2014.
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:
(Told you I was working on something new. More to come.)
See before-and-after photos and information about the project here
Tidbits from the Multi-Unit Residential Dwellings Department
Apr 10, 2013 9:11 AM
A few items that are small, but worth passing along:
* Forest City has put up fence signs around the Twelve12
construction site, showing new sleeker renderings of the exterior. The signs also announce the official web site, Twelve12dc.com
, which is pretty much just a placeholder at this point, but does at least show two of the new renderings, including the one at right that I pilfered. (I asked for the other drawings on the signs, but Forest City isn't ready to release them yet. Waah.) This is the 220ish-unit rental project
at 4th and M that will be home to both Harris Teeter and Vida Fitness when it's completed in spring 2014. And if you look through the fences, you can see that the northern end of the construction, near M Street, is already about up to ground level.
* Construction at the 432-unit Park Chelsea
at New Jersey and I continues to move along, and the two tower cranes should be up on the site by late May/early June. While the increasingly large hole on the site makes it look like they are excavating the entire block, folks at William C. Smith tell me that they dug beyond the building's actual footprint to make excavation easier, and will be filling it back to the property line as construction continues. Also, they have now cleared and smoothed out the small hill that used to exist between the old Canal Street and New Jersey Avenue, so that you can even see a dirt-road version of H Street running from 2nd Street west to New Jersey. (It would help if I had new pictures of what I'm talking about to match to the old ones
, but soon.)
* Technically outside of my borders, but yesterday there was a ribbon cutting
at the new Camden South Capitol apartment building
at South Capitol and O, across from Nationals Park. The 276-unit building begins leasing its lower floors today, with rents ranging from $1288 per month for the smallest studio to $3225 per month for a 2BR/2BA unit. The web site, which includes floor plans, is available here
. I used to follow this project back when it was getting underway, so you can see my before-and-afters of the site
going back to 2006, though I haven't gotten into the ballpark yet to get the true "afters" from there.
Park Chelsea Financing Secured, Now Officially Underway
Nov 9, 2012 3:35 PM
While there's been a lot of work going on at the site since the beginning of the year, it's only now that it can truly be said that work has begun on the 432-unit Park Chelsea apartment building
at New Jersey and I Streets, SE.
Developer William C. Smith has closed on a $100 million construction loan (which they are calling the largest one secured for a DC residential project this year), and if you look down on the site from on high, you can definitely see earth being moved, separate from the huge shafts built over these past few months to facilitate the relocation of deep infrastructure beneath the site. (There was also that whole demolishing of the trash transfer station
just to the south of the project's footprint, since a small corner of that old building extended onto the Park Chelsea land.)
The cost of the entire project is pegged at $150 million.
The Park Chelsea is expected to deliver late in 2014, and will have three levels of below-grade parking, both indoor and outdoor pools, a rooftop garden with a dog park, an electric car charging station, and a "state of the art bike storage and maintenance area." It's also just the first phase of the development of the entire block bounded by New Jersey, 2nd, H, and I, which is expected to have 1,200 residential units and 75,000 square feet of retail when it is all completed; plus, H and I streets will be built through between 2nd and New Jersey. It's also just a few steps away from the so-close-to-opening-you-can't-believe-it Canal Park
The Park Chelsea is now the second new-construction multi-unit residential building to start in Near Southeast in 2012, along with Forest City's Twelve12
apartment building (home also to Harris Teeter and Vida Fitness
) at the Yards.
Update on Work at Trash Transfer/Park Chelsea Sites
Jun 19, 2012 12:37 PM
Last week a demolition permit
was approved by DCRA for the ramp to the old trash transfer/DPW building on New Jersey Avenue between I and K
, and over the weekend it looked like the appropriate heavy equipment was starting to move into place.
It's no secret that most everyone is itching to see the entire building get demolished--and that's not just residents, but also developer William C. Smith, which can't truly begin construction on its 433-unit Park Chelsea apartment building
just to the north until the trash transfer building is gone.
The demolition of the ramp is a piece of the puzzle, though. The digging currently happening north of the trash building
is WCS relocating some deep (deep!) utilities along New Jersey Avenue and in the footprint of what will eventually be the new I Street, and demolishing the ramp will allow that work to continue. Once the utilities are relocated, and the clearing of the area along the new I Street is completed, WCS can start the full excavation for the apartment building and the construction of I Street.
The DC Housing Authority is handling the razing of the building itself, since it is on the footprint of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment
. (Plans call for a 300ish-unit mixed-income apartment building to eventually be built there.) Demolition isn't too far off. Really. Truly. But best to not attach any time frame beyond "near term" to it.
DPW: Move From New Jersey Ave. Scheduled for March 31
Feb 8, 2012 9:37 AM
File this under Sometimes Twitter is Actually Useful:
On Monday, DDOT was plugging a "Parking Chat"
being held with their head Terry Bellamy and the top dogs at DMV and DPW, and asked readers for "parking questions."
Because I can't ever resist being a smart ass, I replied
: "My parking question: When will DPW be parking its truck fleet on Okie St. NE instead of New Jersey Ave. SE? :-)" (See that smiley? I was at least acknowledging I was being a smart ass.)
"The move is scheduled to take place on March 31st."
As I've written a number of times, this move needs to happen so that old trash transfer building at New Jersey and K can be demolished, which will allow for the transfer of a smidge of that property to William C. Smith so that they can begin work on the Park Chelsea
apartment building on the block just to the north. It will also clear the way for the punching through of I Street from 2nd Street to New Jersey Avenue, which WC Smith will handle as part of the Park Chelsea construction.
This is a later time frame than we had last heard (which is nothing new for this spot), but it sounds like they certainly do expect to be moving at the end of March.
WC Smith Announces 880 New Jersey as Park Chelsea Apartments
Jan 13, 2012 10:31 PM
Developer William C. Smith is announcing today that the apartment project we've been referring to as 880 New Jersey
will be called the Park Chelsea, and is expected to get underway sometime during the second quarter of this year. And there's even a rendering
now, and an official web site
As I reported a few months ago
, it will be 13 stories, with 433 units, which I understand will be broken down as 58 studios (about 466 avg sq ft), 281 one-bedrooms (606-738 sq ft), 92 two-bedrooms (1094 sq ft), and 2 three-bedrooms (1788 sq ft). There will be a courtyard garden, club room, gym, pilates/yoga studio, Jacuzzi, and 75-foot indoor lap pool on the ground floor. Then, up on the roof there will be a second pool along with the now-ubiquitous lounging/grilling area, as well as a "community garden" and dog exercise area. There will also be 1,500 square feet of "convenience" retail space on the ground floor, and three levels of underground parking. (They previously mentioned to me a bicycle entrance to a sizeable storage room separate from the car parking areas--I'm assuming that's still part of the plans, but I haven't confirmed.)
It's easy to notice
that site clearing that has begun along New Jersey--this is the start of the pre-construction infrastructure work that Smith needs to do in order to relocate some very very deep pipes beneath the block. The company also tells me that they expect DPW to be moving out of their site just to the south of 880 New Jersey about a month from now, which can begin the chain reaction of getting the old trash transfer building demolished so that lots can be split and land transferred along the to-be-built I Street axis. Vertical construction on 880 NJ can't begin until all of that happens, so that will be a pretty easy-to-watch guide to when real work on the new apartment building can begin.
Once started, construction should take about two years.
This is the first phase of Smith's plans for Square 737
, seen at right back in 2008. Originally the company had planned two residential buildings and two office buildings, but now they're looking toward filling the block with apartments, totalling around 1,200 units in four buildings. (And note that the entire four-building project is "matter of right," so there will be no zoning reviews or PUDs.) It's anticipated that there will be greater amounts of retail in the two buildings that will front 2nd Street, near Canal Park
and across from 225 Virginia
While this will be William C. Smith's first apartment project in Near Southeast, they have been working in the neighborhood for a number of years, and literally working here since 2004 (when they opened 1100 New Jersey Avenue and moved their offices there). They have also been a big player in the creation of Canal Park
, and are part of the Capper
PUD team as the developers of the planned 250 M Street
Landscaping Tip: Clearing Brush Can Really Make a Difference!
Jan 8, 2012 4:58 PM
New Jersey Avenue, south of the freeway, looking east, before and after the clearing of brush and trees that happened late last week:
A slightly different angle, looking south-southeast:
(That's 225 Virginia/200 I
in the background, if you're bewildered at what you're seeing in this new view.)
(This is the first in what will be an avalanche of new photos over the next few days, after I drove around for about two hours grabbing scads of shots that I have been guilt ridden about not getting to. Rather than trying to put them up in one overwhelming post, I'll be passing them along in manageable bites.)
Tidbits: Some SoCap Bridge $, Half Street 'Thinking', DPW, More
Nov 21, 2011 9:32 AM
I've tried over the past few months to clampdown on runaway Tidbits posts, but these are some pretty small tidbits, so I think I'll let them through:
* Half Street
: According to the Post
, Monument Realty and investment partner Victor MacFarlane "are now thinking about when to begin" developing the rest of their Half Street project
. The southern portion of Monument's side of Half Street (the east side--you know, where the big hole in the ground is) was originally designed with both a hotel and a residential building. And there's still no word from Akridge on a start date for their side of Half Street
(the Bullpen side).
* DPW Move
: While the timeline for getting DPW into their new home on Okie St. NE and out of their New Jersey and K site has slipped (shocker!), things are still moving forward, and I'm hearing that they should be moved early in 2012. But this delay is not as yet impacting William C. Smith's plans
for a new apartment building
just to the north--various permits have recently been approved, and WCS expects to start some deep infrastructure work, along with some clearing and grading along New Jersey Avenue north of I, sometime in December. (But WCS needs DPW out before too long because a smidge of DPW land crosses what will eventually be the new I Street and onto the WCS property.)
: Is it just me, or does this article
seem like it was written in 2009? It's a bit odd to trot out version 83 of the "there's no food in Near Southeast" story when there are leases signed for at least 10 new eateries to open in the next 12 months: Lot 38 Espresso at the old Little Red Building site (Any Minute Now!), Potbelly and Kruba Thai
in the Foundry Lofts
by spring, the Park Tavern
at Canal Park
by summer, and six choices
at the Boilermaker Shops
by the end of 2012. Not to mention probably another couple places in the Lumber Shed
, perhaps a big one
at 100 M, and a Harris Teeter
in 2013. But I still predict that, when the slew of What's Happening Around Nationals Park stories come pouring out in advance of Opening Day 2012, the focus will still be on the lack of movement along Half Street (see Tidbit #1).
* New Bridge:
Don't forget the dedication ceremony for the Yards/Teague bridge
on Tuesday at 1:30 pm on the Yards Park side of the bridge. In addition to the mayor and DC Water chief George Hawkins, the organizers are also expecting Eleanor Holmes Norton, Naval District Washington Commandant Rear Admiral Patrick Lorge, USDOT deputy secretary John Porcari--and the Racing Presidents!
Summer Doldrums Tidbits on All Sorts of Subjects
Jul 14, 2011 2:13 PM
All sorts of little items that you mostly already know about if you follow JDLand on Twitter
. But I'll start with some new items at the top:
* Still no word from Akridge about when they may get underway with their 700,000-square-foot mixed-use project on Half Street
just north of Nationals Park (where the Bullpen and its beergarden sibling Das currently reside), but I will note that in May they filed for building permits for two nine-story and one eleven-story building on the site, matching their announced plans
. The permits haven't been approved yet, and once they are they are good for one year, but can then be renewed.
* William C. Smith told me a few weeks ago that they expect to be doing some infrastructure work on their Square 737 site
this fall (sewer, water, etc) before starting on their 430-unit apartment building
there next spring, and I hear that the bidding process for that site work is now underway. (This also means to not get *too* excited when you see dirt getting moved there late this year.) And, speaking of 880 New Jersey, ANC 6D voted 7-0 on Monday night to support WC Smith's request for a circular driveway, a new curb cut on 2nd Street to access underground parking, and the general public space plan.
* Tonight (Thursday) is the Congressional Baseball Game
at Nationals Park, Republicans vs. Democrats. The $10 tickets might be worth it just to see if there are any bench-clearing brawls.
* The speculation is underway about the venues for upcoming baseball All-Star Games, with the previous conventional wisdom
about Nationals Park
being in line for perhaps the 2015 event taking some hits
, with the lack of development progress around the ballpark being cited as a prime reason.
* If you're all fired up to game out the new ANC/SMD districts, here's all the data you might want
, from the Office of Planning. And remember that the ANC 6D redistricting
"listening" session with the Ward 6 task force is on July 28 at 6:30 pm. There wasn't really much news out of the initial public meeting on Monday night, other than that while the 2,000-plus-or-minus-100 population levels per single member district aren't a legal requirement, there's still clearly a desire to have SMDs be as similar in size as possible. And, also, that an SMD can't be looked at in terms of how its size has changed (or will change) since the census data as of April 1, 2010 was recorded.
* I'm going to go ahead and post this now, but check back later today (or look for a Twitter heads up) for more Market Deli demolition photos, which I will wander down to get at some point.
A moment of silence, please, as the Market Deli has now been added to the Demolished Buildings Gallery
, as building number 161 and 162 that have been torn down since I started photographing the neighborhood. And the three garages on the north end of the block are in their final hours, with demolition underway on the southernmost one.
First Details on WC Smith's 880 New Jersey Apartment Project
Jun 20, 2011 5:47 PM
With the DC apartment market continuing to perform strongly (perhaps even too strongly
), and with Near Southeast's existing rental buildings continuing to be successful in attracting tenants, it would seem to follow that developers who have been long planning new residential projects in the neighborhood would be making moves to get their projects underway. And that's what's happening with William C. Smith & Co., which has been working on the initial plans for a 13-story, 430-unit apartment building at 880 New Jersey Ave. SE
, just south of the freeway on the southwest corner of their Square 737
site that they've owned since 1999.
WCS isn't ready yet to release renderings of the building, though they did show me an early design by Esocoff and Associates
(who also designed Onyx
and who are working on Akridge's Half Street
residential building), showing a brick/masonry structure with a lot of "articulation" (i.e., not a big flat box) and with double-height windows. Some anticipated amenities include an indoor pool as part of its fitness center (which could also have spinning and yoga rooms), in addition to the now-all-but-standard rooftop pool, and a bicycle entrance to a sizeable storage room separate from the three levels of underground parking. There will also be an interior courtyard that the building wraps around.
One amenity that this building won't have is a Whole Foods Grocery store, after that plan collapsed earlier this spring
. There will be a small amount of "convenience" retail (1,500 square feet), on the southeast corner of the building.
There are a couple of items that need to happen before construction can get underway, starting with the move of the Department of Public Works out of their site at New Jersey and K to a new location on Okie Street in Northeast, the construction of which can now proceed thanks to the council passing last week emergency technical legislation
allowing a portion of Capper PILOT monies
to be used for off-site construction (though another bill still has to pass to actually allocate the funds). Then the DC Housing Authority needs to demolish the trash transfer building (a raze application permit having been filed
last week), at which point WC Smith will purchase the portion of the trash transfer site that juts across and north of the I Street footprint, as seen at right; the Smith site is on the right side of the photo.
It is hoped that DPW will relocate by early fall and that DCHA will get the site cleared by the end of 2011; WCS is targeting April 2012 for the start of construction on the building itself, with the project expected to take 24 months. (It should be mentioned here that this is not the apartment building planned for the trash transfer site itself; that will be a Capper mixed-income building, with no current start date announced.)
WCS will also be building the new stretch of I Street that will run between 2nd Street and New Jersey Avenue, as well as punching H Street through to New Jersey on the north end of Square 737. (And no, this won't drive out the horse stables nestled under the freeway just north of H.) They are expecting that the new block of I Street will have two travel lanes, two bike lanes, and two parking lanes. And this stretch of New Jersey Avenue will get the wide landscaped sidewalks that are seen in front of the other new developments on the street.
This is the first phase of Smith's plans for Square 737, seen at left from above, back in 2008. While originally the plan had been for two residential buildings and two office buildings, the current realities of both markets have the company looking toward filling the block with apartments, totalling around 1,200 units in four buildings. (And note that the entire four-building project is "matter of right," so there will be no zoning reviews or PUDs.) They are anticipating greater amounts of retail in the two buildings that will front 2nd Street, near Canal Park
and across from 225 Virginia
If you want to see more photos of Square 737 and get additional background, check my project page
and previous posts
. And, given that Smith's representatives say that they are "very excited to get started" on the development, hopefully renderings of 880 New Jersey and additional details will be available in the next few months.
While this will be William C. Smith's first apartment project in Near Southeast, they have been committed to the neighborhood for a number of years, having constructed 1100 New Jersey Avenue in 2004 (which is where their offices are). They have also been a big player in the creation of Canal Park
, and are part of the Capper
PUD team as the developers of the planned 250 M Street
Whole Foods Tax Abatement Dead; Is the Entire Deal Kaput?
May 1, 2011 5:15 PM
The Washington Post is reporting
that developer William C. Smith is "no longer seeking" a proposed $8 million tax abatement to bring Whole Foods to a planned 375-unit apartment building at 800 New Jersey Ave., SE
, and that in fact the news coverage of the proposal
may have killed the deal altogether.
The article quotes a statement from Whole Foods saying that the company "was not involved in any tax break or lease agreement negotiations" with WC Smith, and Michael Stevens of the BID is quoted as saying "I used to know that Whole Foods wanted to be in the neighborhood. After that article, I don't know anymore."
Whether the entire Whole Foods deal is truly dead or there's just some steam being let off is not 100 percent clear in the article, though it quotes an anonymous source as saying that Whole Foods could still end up somewhere in the area and is "fielding entreaties from other developers."
This is/was not the only grocery store planned for Near Southeast, with Forest City including supermarket space in the apartment building that it has planned for 401 M St., SE
at the Yards
, which could be getting underway late this year or early in 2012. (Standard statement whenever mentioning this: it's long been reported that Harris Teeter will be occupying that space, but neither Forest City nor the grocery chain have ever publicly announced a deal.)
Pre-Monday Tidbits (Van Ness Meeting Reminder, Links)
Feb 28, 2011 9:47 AM
* I imagine most interested parties do not need to be reminded that tonight at 6 pm at 900 5th St. SE is the meeting with DCPS to find out what they plan to do with Van Ness Elementary
. With laser-like precision, they picked a date when I absolutely can't be there, so anyone who wants to pass along the news as it's happening, please do. (I will be keeping an eye on Twitter.)
And, two recently Tweeted
links that might be of interest:
* The DC Fiscal Policy Institute takes a look
at the possible $8 million tax break
to bring Whole Foods to New Jersey Avenue, asking "why it makes sense for the District to continue putting money into an area that has seen tremendous public investments and is already on the cusp of development" and why the project would require a special subsidy to move forward, since they say that "Whole Foods already would qualify for a set of tax incentives on grocery-store development, including a 10-year property tax break on the store itself."
WC Smith Looking for $8M Tax Break to Bring Whole Foods to 800 New Jersey Avenue
Feb 14, 2011 10:06 PM
From Tuesday's Washington Post
, confirmation at last at what has been reported since 2002, but with a bit of a twist:
"Whole Foods Market and a D.C. real estate firm are interested in building a new store in Southeast Washington near Nationals Park, but the developer says that luring the grocer would require $8 million in tax breaks. William C. Smith and Co. is proposing a 39,000-square-foot Whole Foods for 800 New Jersey Ave. SE
as part of a building that would include 375 apartments."
More: "Smith said the $800,000 annual tax break would cover requests by Whole Foods including an additional level of underground parking, extra elevators and higher ceilings on the bottom floor. Without the tax break, he said, he would either wait to develop the site or build a smaller apartment building with little or no retail."
Tax breaks for developments are being requested more frequently during this Era of Economic Difficulties, but the city's own financial troubles, and the amount of assistance that has been going to Ward 6 in comparison to other parts of the city, may make a request like this a tough sell, the article
There are already plans to bring a not-officially-named grocery store (*cough*Harris Teeter*cough*) to the neighborhood perhaps in 2013 at 4th and M
in the Yards. This Whole Foods site, though, would also be a draw not only for Near Southeast residents but for folks on the south side of Capitol Hill, given its location just on the other side of the Southeast Freeway. You can see some photos of the site here
WC Smith has been planning a four-building, 1.1-million square foot office/residential/retail project on this block (Square 737) for some time. The transfer of a small plot of land known Reservation 17A was finally completed last year from the Feds to the city, clearing a long-time bureaucratic hurdle to getting the site redeveloped. (This will also allow I Street to be built through between 2nd and New Jersey once the DPW building just to the south is demolished, which may happen this year.)
There has been chatter over the past few months that Smith was pitching the entire site for the 1.1-million-square-foot Department of Homeland Security lease that GSA currently has out for bid--this movement on getting a residential building started might seem to signal a shift from that possibility, along with being another indication that developers are sensing Near Southeast is a strong residential market.
This lot is next to 225 Virginia Avenue
, the old Star/Post plant that is hours away
from starting its transformation into 200 I Street, which will be home to three city agencies when its "re-skinning" and renovation is completed within the next two years.
(A note: The article says that WC Smith purchased the land from the Post in 2000 for $50 million; I think a decimal point got lost somewhere, because DC Property Records say that the lot, which used to be home to an old warehouse
owned by the Washington Star and then the Washington Post, sold for $50,000 in December 1999. That number might not be right either, but considering that even now, in a completely changed neighborhood 11 years later, the 800 New Jersey land is assessed at just over
$58 million, I doubt that Smith paid $50 million. [UPDATED
because I looked at only one assessment record instead of three.] The WC Smith parcels were assessed at about $2.5 million in 2001, the oldest records that I have.)
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