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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Square 699n
See JDLand's Square 699n Project Page
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In the Pipeline
Homewood Suites Hotel
1111 New Jersey
Yards/Parcel A
1244 South Capitol
Florida Rock
Ballpark Square
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Southeast Blvd.
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
New Barracks
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
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
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
Retail News
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94 Blog Posts Since 2003
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From the Capitol Riverfront BID, word of a Happy Hour on Thursday (Feb. 21) being given by the Velocity Condos folks (so they just might possibly want to give you all the scoop about their offerings). It's at Sonoma (223 Pennsylvania Ave., SE) from 6 to 8 pm. There's also another one scheduled for March 13.
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More posts: Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

While hopefully you've already wandered through the pile of new stadium exterior photos I posted over the weekend, those aren't the only new pictures I grabbed during my camera time on Saturday and Sunday. Get your clicking finger going:
* The Velocity condo phase 1 building on L Street west of First is now one floor out of the ground, so that will now be added to my regular rotation of photo updates. For those who haven't been following along, this is a 200-unit condo building that will eventually be joined by a twin on the north side of the block (running along K Street). However, they decided to dig the entire parking garage and below-ground structures for both buildings at once, which is why only half the block is now rising above ground level. The other portion will be landscaped over until Phase 2 begins. (Phase 3, which will run along Half Street where the sales center is now located, could be either an office building or a hotel--I haven't heard of any decision being announced.)
* The Normandie-less corner at First and M has now been immortalized in digital imagery, and goodness gracious, has that spot changed. (Ditto for the other end of the block, at First and N.) This stretch is on its way to becoming temporary surface parking until Willco Construction moves forward with its reported office/residential/retail project on that site (no timeline).
* The road work on First Street continues, and on Saturday they put down the first asphalt between L and M (in front of Onyx and 100 M). Looking south and north you can see how much wider the street has now become. You can also see the windows starting to be hung at Onyx and at 100 M. Meanwhile, First north of L continues to be a war zone. They *say* it'll all be done (I Street, too) by Opening Day. First Street and Potomac Avenue appear to be pretty much done except for the striping.
* 55 M is almost topped out. As we heard a few days ago, they say the Metro entrance in 55 M's ground floor will be ready by Opening Day, too.
* How much has M Street changed in five years? Take a look. (This should be one of those list-the-differences-in-the-pictures contests.)
* Or you can just look at all the photos from Saturday and Sunday on one page (including the ballpark shots), though I cannot be held responsible for any sensory overload you may experience. Imagine how I feel, especially considering that what I've posted is probably only about a third of the photos I actually took....
 

Lots of ballpark and other news stories today:
* In case you missed it, last night I posted about the Feb. 9 and Feb. 21 job fairs for part-time and seasonal work at the ballpark.
* Velocity has sold 21 units since opening its sales center in November, according to this press release touting the development as the "fastest-selling new condominium project in the District of Columbia, and one of the strongest sellers in the entire National Capital Area."
* Coverage of Kwame Brown's hearing on the noose incident at the ballpark is available from The Post, ABC7, and NBC4. You can watch the hearing here once it's posted, and read Brown's press release on the hearing.
* The Laborers' International Union of North America, a major supporter of the ballpark's Project Labor Agreement, issued a report saying it should be a model for future projects in the city, and that more than $12 million has been injected into DC neighborhoods thanks to stadium paychecks to local workers. LIUNA says that 72 percent of all apprenticeship hours have been performed by District residents, while 87 percent of all new apprentices are from the District. (The report also touts the ballpark as being on-time and on-budget, though perhaps that budget part refers to the actual construction and not the land acquisiton costs, which have definitely gone over budget.) Reports on the union's numbers are on Tim Lemke's blog and at the Post and ABC7.
* The media apparently got brought in to see the scoreboard on Wednesday, and NBC4 has a piece on it (ABC7 mentions it in its labor piece.)
* Washington Times columnist Tony Knott rails about neighbors of the ballpark who are "coming up with apocalyptic visions" about the 41,000 "Ken and Barbies" coming from the suburbs to the ballpark, writing that urban dwellers who initially are drawn to a city's walking distance to services and entertainment turn against the "crush of humanity", "eventually endeavor to transform their stretch of the urban jungle into the Shenandoah Valley."
* Ballpark and Beyond in today's District Extra is a roundup of short takes from around Near Southeast, including the closing of Domino's and the demolitions on First Street, the Blue Castle's debut on Facebook, Gifford's ice cream coming to the ballpark, and Chocolate City, the documentary about former Capper/Carrollsburg residents and gentrification in Washington.
* Dear Leader picked to throw out the first pitch? (Hint: it's not the Dear Leader you might be thinking of, and it's SATIRE, people.)
 

It was time this weekend to catch up on photos for a bunch of locations, including the most aged batch of them all, the views of the ballpark's northern footprint along N Street, which haven't been updated since September, so you can now have your fill of photographs of imposing parking garages. The curbs and historic streetlamps are now in, and N Street has been paved from South Capitol to Half, and it looks like the paving east to First isn't far behind. So even though the half-shadow half-sunlight conditions weren't the best to work with, I took full updates of the First, Half, Cushing, and Van intersections along N, all of which you can see here.
One thing that really struck me today for the first time is just how wide First Street is becoming, as you can see in this batch of northward-looking photos. I also saw that all the businesses on the west side of First south of M have now vacated--as you can see above, it's odd to see those old about-to-be-demolished buildings with sparkly new sidewalks and streetlamps in front of them.
I also trudged around the road construction along First Street north of M as best I could to update photos of 100 M, Onyx, and 70/100 I, and also got a good new batch of 55 M photos as well as the always showy views from the freeway at South Capitol. And I finally got the last set of old Capper Seniors photos to show that the building is indeed gone. And heaven help me I even took a photo of the new sign advertising the Square 696 project, and also a few shots barely showing that work started this week on the first Capper parking lot at Third and I (because there's nothing more exciting than documenting the construction of a parking lot). There's just too much change, and I couldn't stop until it had all been documented! Aaaiiiieeeeee!!!!
For those of you brave enough to try, here's all the photos from the past two days on one page. (Thank heavens I've done a lot of work over the past year or so to automate the update process as much as possible.) Don't forget to click on the icons to see all photos of a location over the years....
 

I visited my perch above New Jersey Avenue today and got updated photos looking to the south and west and northwest, which provide quite the overview of the changes in the past 21 months on the blocks I've wittily dubbed North of M (between M, South Capitol, the freeway, and New Jersey). The two links above show you just the oldest and the newest photos for each angle, or you can try these links to see all the photos I've taken of those angles, at about three-month intervals.
Of course, the arrivals of 100 M, Onyx, and 70/100 I are the biggest changes; you can also see that Velocity is building the garage levels and will be above ground by late winter, and that 909 New Jersey's crane is now in place, meaning that vertical construction there is not far off. But thanks to the 100 M/Onyx construction, peeks at the ballpark and Monument Half Street from this vantage point are now pretty well gone.
I also took a few ground-level photos of the New Jersey and L intersection to capture the change in the skyline above St. Matthew's, which is easier to see now that that big old tree has dropped its leaves. You can see just today's ground-level shots, or compare them with past photos.
If none of these billion links tickle your fancy, all ground-level and sky-high photos from today can be seen on a single page.
 

A press release went out this afternoon announcing that the Velocity Condos project at First and L sold 10 units during its first five days of sales. Here's the breathless opening text: "If any skeptics still doubt that the rapidly revitalizing Capitol Riverfront, surrounding the new Nationals baseball stadium, will be DC's hottest new address, they need only look at the initial sales success of one of the neighborhood's first new condo buildings. Velocity held its official Grand Opening on October 26, and homebuyer response to this sleek, contemporary new condo community wowed even its developer, The Cohen Companies."
More posts: Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

This week's Washington Blade has a long story describing the continuing difficulties seen by the old Near Southeast nightclubs in their attempts to reopen elsewhere in the city. Nexus (now becoming 909 New Jersey Avenue), Edge/Wet and Club 55 (on the block being redeveloped with the Velocity project), Ziegfield's-Secrets, and Heat (taken by eminent domain to make way for the ballpark) are all still trying to either find new locations or get approvals for locations they've chosen. Follies and Club Washington will not be reopening elsewhere. Velvet Nation, a gay dance night that was held at Nation, is looking like it will be reconstituted at a new gay dance club called Town, in Shaw.
 

I got a sneak peek today at the new Velocity Sales Center trailer at Half and K, which is scheduled to open to the public at 10 am Friday. The big eye-catcher about this sales trailer is that they've built right into it a full-scale replica of one of their one-bedroom-with-den units. I took some photos of it, which I've put on my Velocity page (you'll also see at the top of the page a new rendering of the building itself). To start they're selling 24 of the building's 200 units, with prices starting just above $300k for studios. The building will have a rooftop pool, and the ground-floor units along L Street will have outdoor patios below the sidewalk line. The building is scheduled to be completed in 2009, followed eventually by a mirror Velocity II building running along K Street and an office building along Half Street, with a shared courtyard between them. The official web site is at VelocityCapitol.com. Stop by the sales center and tell them you read about it on JDLand, and you'll receive.... a big smile and lots of information about the project.
UPDATE, 10/26: In honor of today's launch of the sales center, the Washington Times Friday New Home Guide has a piece about the Velocity project.
More posts: Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

I'm hearing that the Velocity Condos sales center at Half and K is within minutes of opening--there will be a broker/client open house probably over the weekend. More specifics when I get them. Or just wander by and see if the light's on.
UPDATE: Now official: the sales center will open to the public starting Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm. If you signed up for the contact list at VelocityCapitol.com, you should be getting an e-mail about this "Grand Opening Weekend"--"During your visit you can experience interactive video and virtual reality presentations, and tour an amazing full scale, one bedroom with den and 2 full baths Model Home right in the Sales Center!"
More posts: Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

Having decided that overhead views of Near Southeast from the ballpark and the Southeast Freeway over the past few days weren't enough, I've also now added a bunch of updated overheads from a vantage point at the Courtyard by Marriott, focusing on the many construction projects west of New Jersey Avenue. You can browse these new photos, or see the ones displayed with previous shots from the same location (scroll down a bit) to watch the changes since March of last year. (Hint: old buildings, followed by empty lots where old buildings used to be, followed by holes in the ground, followed by new buildings going up.)

 

They haven't officially announced its launch, but I happened to wander by this evening and found that the Velocity Condos official web site is now live. It's got a sign-up form if you're interested in this 200-unit building at 1st and L, and a long list of the planned amenities, but no drawings of the building (you can see one of those along with more details on my own Velocity Condos page). The new site also says that sales center (at Half and K) will be opening soon, and it will have a "detailed scale model" and a "furnished model home right in the sales center." Digging has just gotten underway, and delivery is expected in 2009.

More posts: Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

I've been posting over the past couple days all sorts of new photos: first off, there's the usual update to the exterior views in the Stadium Construction Gallery's main page and the more detailed north-south-east-west pages. The big change is the arrival of the scoreboard steel on the First Street side, which has also helped to give the stadium its more rounded feel when looking at it from the north. And, if you know what you're looking for, you can see the first real shots of progress on the west parking garage at Half and N, although it's still kind of hidden by trees and construction equipment. There's also my final shots from up on the South Capitol Street viaduct north of Potomac Ave. (waaaah!).
You can also see some new shots from inside the stadium, where you can get a better view of the scoreboard's progress and also of the seats being installed in right field. And the outfield restaurant is moving along as well.
I got a big surprise when I rounded First Street onto Potomac Avenue Saturday morning--all of the trees and growth on the south side of Potomac were removed this week, and the fence marking Florida Rock's property was moved back, in preparation for the widening of Potomac Avenue. I posted a bunch of new pictures showing the change on my Florida Rock page, but I'm not sure the photos do it justice. And of course it's about to change even more late this week when the Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover starts.
And finally there's a lot of new shots from various locations north of M that I took on Thursday, catching things like a new "Capitol Yards" sign at 909 New Jersey, progress on the Velocity Condos sales center, and even the new sidewalks on the northern portion of New Jersey Avenue if you have x-ray vision. It's hard to see in the photos, but the vertical construction at both Onyx on First and 70 I Street is now right at street level, so in the coming weeks expect those buildings to burst on the scene. You can see all these non-stadium updated photos compiled here if you don't want to poke around on the project pages.
That ought to keep everyone busy during a slow vacation-tinged week....
 

It seems like it's been forever since I updated my Nationals Ballpark Construction Gallery, but I'm actually only a week behind my usual schedule--it's now updated with a pile of pictures I took during yesterday morning's beautiful weather, but beware that some of the showiest shots didn't get updated this time around thanks to actual construction going on at the construction site.
But to make it up to you, I have a whole new series of photos from inside the stadium so you can see stuff that the Webcam might not be showing real clearly.
And I've also finally expanded the construction gallery to include four additional pages of befores-and-afters (well, befores-and-durings) that have vantage points you don't see on my "main" gallery page. So knock yourself out looking at more shots from First Street, Potomac Avenue, South Capitol Street, and N Street. (There's also links to these new pages from the top of the main gallery.)
I also updated the Photo Archive with a fair number of photos from other spots around Near Southeast. You can see every new photo posted on this page; if you look really closely, you'll see a few shots that include the campers' tents at the Capitol Quarter sales office on 4th Street, as well as photos of the colorful new fence drapings that now surround the Velocity Condos site.
 

The folks at ADC Builders have passed along to me a new rendering of the Velocity Condos building planned for 1025 First Street (on the Square 699N block), which you can see on my Velocity page. Digging has now begun on the underground parking that will be shared by both this Velocity and its Phase II sibling; and within the next week you should see banners advertising the project hung on the fences surrounding the site. Work is continuing on the sales center trailers at Half and K, and it's projected to open in late July or early August. And the official web site, as I posted last week, is now "Coming Soon", but should be launched later this month. And, in answer to the question everyone *really* wants to ask, it's expected that the 200 units will start in the $300s; completion is expected in 2009. With all of this, I've now moved Velocity to a coveted "Under Construction" slot on my project directory.
So, on the New Development Tote Board, we're now loooking at 950 new residential units delivering in Near Southeast in 2008, and at least 800 in 2009 (not counting Capitol Quarter). And I can envision another 800-plus in 2010 (with JPI's 23 I Street and the residential projects at The Yards the likely candidates). Maybe someone will build a grocery store by then!

More posts: Square 697n, Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

I'm not sure how often readers look at my DC Government Feeds box on the home page, but I wait with baited breath each day as they're released, hoping for some tidbit of news; and today there's a double reward in the Building Permits list.
First, at the Velocity Condos lot at 1001 First Street, a sheeting/shoring/excavation permit has now been approved, so that digging work can begin on the three-level underground parking garages that will serve the two condo buildings that are the first phases of this project on Square 699N, the block that used to be home to Wet/Edge and Club 55. (I'm trying to make the switch away from the 699N designation, so for a few weeks I'll be referring to both the old and new names.) The first condo building is scheduled for completion in 2009; we should see the official web site launching soon, and the sales center at Half and K opening this summer. If you can't bear to wait to see what the first building is going to look like, I've added a rendering to my Velocity page (scroll down a bit); there are others on ADC Builders web site, but you'll need to click on "Portfolio", then on "Planning", then on "L Street Project" to page through them. (Damn Flash sites!) These renderings have been there for a while, but I've only recently confirmed that they are indeed of Velocity; but I've also been told that far nicer ones will be available with the official web site comes online. Anyway, look for the digging to begin along the west side of First between K and L soon.
The other issued building permit is for 909 New Jersey Avenue, the site of the old Nexus Gold Club and where JPI is building its second residential project in Near Southeast, across the street from the soon-to-be-above-ground buildings at 70/100 I Street. Quoting directly from the permit, but with typos fixed: "INSTALL ONE 40X70 TENT: NO LIGHTING GENERATORS COOKING PROPANE OR HEATERS. TEMPORARY USE FOR GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY EVENT ON JUNE 6TH 2007." Fun! So if you see a big party at New Jersey and I on Wednesday, that's what it is. Alas, I haven't been invited; but there's still time to contact me, JPI!
More posts: 909 New Jersey, jpi, Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

The mixed-use project on Square 699N (the block bounded by Half, K, L, and 1st, which was cleared of all of its buildings during April) now has a "placeholder" web site--Go to http://www.velocitydc.com, and you'll see a "Coming Soon" image for Velocity Capitol Riverfront. (Does "Velocity" refer just to the first 14-story condo building getting underway soon on the northwest corner of 1st and L, or the entire development? I don't know.) This first phase of the block's redevelopment is expected to be completed in 2009, and the sales center should be opening this summer; eventually there will be a "sister" residential building built at Half and K; the final phase could be office or hotel or Whatever The Market Will Bear When the Time Comes. For pre- and post-demolition photos, see my now-renamed Velocity page.
(And what the heck, I'll give myself a public pat on the back for guessing the URL--I've been checking it for weeks, wondering if I was right or not, and today finally got my payoff.)

More posts: Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

What a beautiful day! And with that weather, what luck that I had arranged some trips high up into a few of the tall buildings around the neighborhood to get new shots of the latest demolished lots and holes in the ground. I've uploaded these new pictures From Above and matched them with "before" shots on a whole slew of pages (you might have to scroll a bit to see the new pictures): Nation/1015 Half, the old Edge/Wet block on Square 699N, the North of M overview page, the Monument Half Street page (that's a biiiiig hole in the ground), the 100 M/Onyx on First page (where the construction on the Onyx end of the block is getting close to street level), 70/100 I Street, 909 New Jersey (showing the A1 garage all alone) and even the Stadium Construction Gallery (waaaaaay at the bottom, with a view from just a bit to the side of Dead Center Field, albeit four blocks away). I also created a new Overhead Photos page, showing all the ones I've posted on the site, grouped together by location. And I also created a special view with larger-than-usual pictures from today (don't miss it!), because it was so beautiful and you really could see forever from those high-up locations, and I wanted people to be able to see more than just little specks of buildings.
 

With Edge, Wet, Secrets, Ziegfield's, and the other adult nightclubs having now been gone from Near Southeast for quite some time, I'm going to stop giving updates on their progress as they try to find new homes. If you're wanting to keep up with the latest, check out Frozen Tropics, who has been adding a number of entries over the past few days on the plans for some of the clubs to move to Northeast.
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Square 699n, Velocity Condos
 

A couple of quick links in quick succession:
"Stadium Legal Expenses Mounting" from the Examiner, about the escalating legal costs still being incurred from the battles over the taking of the stadium land via eminent domain (Kwame Brown says the $611 million spending cap is not in danger even while the council introduces legislation to pay Venable LLP up to $3.8 million over the next two years to continue to work out the lawsuits by displaced landowners still pending.)
To cleanse the palette from that, you can read about the new 47-ft-by-101-ft high-definition video screen (scroll to the bottom of the page) that the Nationals will be installing, the second-largest one in baseball. The Nationals' owners ponied up the additional $2.8 million to upgrade from the smaller scoreboard that the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission was paying for.
Yesterday a DC Council subcommittee approved B17-0109, "The One-Time Relocation of Licensees Displayed by the Ballpark Amendment Act of 2007", which if passed would allow Ziegfield's and Heat (which closed because of the stadium's eminent domain land takeover) and Edge/Wet and Club 55 (which weren't on the stadium footprint but closed in Sept. 2006 to make way Square 699N's redevelopment), to relocate in Ward 5 near Mt. Olivet cemetery. The Post reports that Ward 5 council member Harry Thomas will oppose the bill, and that his office heard from more than two dozen residents yesterday complaining about it. You can also read a couple of pieces from last week about the bill being introduced.
Also, there isn't really anything new in it, but just for archiving sake (or for those of you coming in late), here's a quick blurb from Costar on the Metropolitan Police Department's planned move to the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia. Here's my previous entry on the move, for more background.
 

Today I saw for the first time new signs hung on the fence surrounding the firewood lot on the southwest corner of 1st and I Streets, emblazoned with "DRI Development/Office and Retail" (or some such). I have absolutely no information on this--this lot has been owned for quite some time by the Potomac Development Corporation, but I don't see any records as of yet in the online public records to indicate a sale has taken place, so perhaps it's a joint venture. Or not. I don't know. Anyway, I'll try to see what I can find out (whispers in my ear always welcome!), and hopefully some light can be shed on perhaps ANOTHER project getting started in the North of M section of Near Southeast, to go along with JPI's two residential towers, ADC Builders' Square 699N, Faison's Onyx on First condos, and Opus East's 100 M office building (and maybe the Nation site, too?), and perhaps something on the Sunoco lot by Monument Realty.
 
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