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Today's DC Examiner reports that Nationals Park, with its nearly $1 billion new assessed value, is the most valuable property in Washington, "roughly $4 million more than the city's assessment of the White House, $400 million more than the U.S. Capitol and $550 million more than either the Library of Congress or the Verizon Center." The article also notes that the land beneath the stadium has a higher value than the building itself ($511 million to $489 million).
It then segues into how the ballpark assessment has helped to raise the total value of Near Southeast by $1.5 billion just since last year, as reported on a local blog. "'I think at heart is just the reality that finished buildings are assessed higher than unfinished lots, and Near Southeast had five buildings and the ballpark finished in the past year,' Dupree said in an e-mail. 'Some of the buildings that have been standing for a few years did see their assessments decrease.' 'Still,' she added, 'going from $221 million to $6 billion in nine years is quite a leap.' "
There's also this quote from councilmember Kwame Brown: "'The economy is down but the area is hot,' Brown said. 'It'll only get better."
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All sorts of tidbits came down the pike in the past 24 hours. In no particular order:
* I didn't make Tuesday night's Anacostia Waterfront Forum, but the presentation slides ("Economics of Developing the Anacostia River") have been posted. The slides have a good batch of economic data and detail for those interested; it's estimated that there could be nearly $6.7 billion in public investment along the river over the next three decades. In addition, the February forum is now available via streaming video, and the next forum has been scheduled for April 21, with the topic being "Green Waterfront, Green Jobs, Green Living in a Green DC." (The March "Waterfront Watch" newsletter has these additional tidbits, plus stories on the DC streetcar project and the Diamond Teague Park groundbreaking.)
* The WashTimes's Tim Lemke gets a first peek (along with suiteholders) of what new concessionaire Levy Restaurants might have in store for Nationals Park this season.
* Via the eckington blog, a list of the "shovel-ready" transportation projects in the district being funded by ARRA (aka "the stimulus package"). Apparently the demolition of the ramps connecting the 11th Street Bridges and RFK were on the request list, but didn't make the final cut. DDOT's been saying for a while that this demolition would happen Any Minute Now. (Read more about DC and the stimulus package at recovery.dc.gov.)
* Back in December, the owners of the 810/816/820 Potomac Avenue properties (the building that houses Quizno's, the abandoned apartment building, and the space between) announced a sealed bid sale for the lots. While some bids have been submitted (interest from hotels keeps getting mentioned in the communiques I've received from the landowner), the original March 15 deadline has been extended by another 30 days.
* A link that I saw this morning that I've subsequently lost says that the Circulator route replacing the N22 from Union Station to New Jersey and M will begin on March 30.
* Two readers reported that the 55 M construction cam has been turned off. For the first time since 2006, there are no active web cams in the neighborhood. Waaah!
* Another reader reported that the sign put up in 2006 at the corner of Second and M advertising 250 M Street ("Delivery 2008") has been replaced with a new sign, minus any delivery date.
* I know that it's been a *long* time since I've posted new photos. I had grand thoughts of going out this morning, until I looked at the radar. I'm hoping to take some this weekend, though I have a very tricky schedule to work around. But at least know that I'm now feeling guilty about it.
 

It certainly doesn't feel like it's the case, so you might be surprised to find out that the District of Columbia thinks that Near Southeast is worth about $1.5 billion more than it was a year ago, at least in terms of the latest tax assessments now available. With a total assessment last year of around $4.5 billion for the blocks bounded by the SE Freeway, South Capitol Street, and the Anacostia River (to just west of the Sousa Bridge), this bump up edges the neighborhood's "worth" to just over $6 billion.
A chunk of that change is coming from the first official assessment of Nationals Park, valued at $999,982,800 (geez, Mr. Tax Assessor, just round it to $1 billion and be done with it), a rise of nearly $650 million from the assessed value of just the land last year. Blocks that saw projects get completed in 2008 (70/100 I, 100 M and Onyx, and 55 M) got hefty bumps in their valuations, while other spots (20 M, the Capper blocks, USDOT, Maritime Plaza) saw their assessments go down.
I created a report comparing 2008 and 2009's numbers overall and by block, though I wouldn't swear to the exactness of each number down to the penny (but they're probably close enough).
As for the trend of the overall valuation of Near Southeast over the past nine years, it's still *up*:
2001: $221,096,652
2002: $428,312,487
2003: $640,209,280
2004: $771,006,345
2005: $894,123,520
2006: $1,781,481,650
2007: $2,539,618,280
2008: $4,467,137,880
2009: $6,004,334,490
UPDATE: Here's a link to a map of the square numbers, in case a bit more visual assistance would be helpful.
 

As we near the one-year anniversary of the opening of Nationals Park, here's a few recent items worth noting:
* (h/t to reader J) May 15 is Bike to Work Day, and the Washington Area Byclist Association has chosen the ballpark as one of the "pit stops," which will "offer breakfast, entertainment, dynamic speakers and chances to win bicycles and other prizes." And free t-shirts, too! See the web site for more details.
* Last week the ballpark was named one of the thirteen most significant projects of 2008 by the Associated General Contractors of America, all recognized "for their complexity, innovation, success and ultimately, for their significance to the construction community and the nation at large."
* The ballpark also recently was named a winner of of the 2008 "Beyond Green" High-Performance Building Awards from the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, in a ceremony on Capitol Hill where case studies of the winners were presented; here's the slides about the ballpark, with lots of detail about the various designs and aspects that make the stadium "America's Greenest Ballpark," as well as the first sports facility in the U.S. to be LEED certified.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Nationals Park
 

I've been out of town for most of the week, so posting was kind of haphazard. Here's some additional items, starting with news from just this morning:
* Reader atweber passes the news via Twitter that workers have told him that the Third and K Market will be opening next month. So, those wishing to stay in the neighborhood to shop won't have to use CVS as their "supermarket." (And the new windows and door are so pretty!)
* Not officially confirmed, but the WashTimes is reporting that President Obama has agreed to throw out the first pitch at the April 13 Nationals home opener.
* Via the BID's latest newsletter: the little beige building at 900 M Street that once was a Hudson car dealer (and more recently a dialysis center) is scheduled to open in April in its new incarnation as a retail building. It's said that the owner has received one letter of intent from an undisclosed tenant. (Just speculating, but maybe it's the Dunkin Donuts franchise that was reportedly looking in the Navy Yard area?)
* The BID has also announced the lineup for this summer's lunchtime concert series at the plaza behind USDOT, though you have to page through their calendar to see the schedule of artists. It runs on Wednesdays at noon from May 20 through Sept. 16.
* When I posted about FiOS internet at 70/100 I and asked "is this news?", I should have referenced this post from last summer, about the "First Community to Offer FiOS" sign on Half Street, where we discussed that FiOS internet was already listed as available at those addresses on the Verizon web site.
* The day after I posted about the calls from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to convert the Capitol Power Plant from coal to natural gas, ABC7 reported that "several thousand demonstrators "urged Congress to pass legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, and they targeted the government's own Capitol power plant as a symbol of the problem. An enthusiastic crowd of mostly young people marched from a park near the Capitol to the power plant several blocks away, where they planned to block entrances and were prepared to get arrested. The group chanted along the way, 'We don't want the world to boil, no coal, no oil!'" Darryl Hannah and Robert Kennedy Jr. were among the protestors. When they arrived at the power plant they were met with "about a dozen" pro-coal counter-demonstrators.
* On Thursday the Post looked at how the office building development biz in DC has all but ground to a halt: "Not a single office building has been started in the District since October, a sign that the slowdown that began in the far-out suburbs has now reached prime city locations." The Hood (surprisingly) isn't mentioned, though WBJ reported a few months back that Donohoe was looking for (but unable to secure) funding for 1111 New Jersey.
 

The agenda has been sent out (though not yet posted) for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW. The only Near Southeast item on the agenda is a vote on the three zoning PUD modifications being sought for the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment--they were presented to the ANC back in February, which you can read about here. Other agenda items include updates on the Waterside Mall redevelopment and the Southwest Zoning Planning process, the SunTrust marathon, the proposals for the new firehouse at 4th and School, SW, and the job fair held in Southwest earlier this week for employment at Nationals Park.
 

* (h/t reader F) The AP takes a look at the Capitol Power Plant just north of the SE Freeway, the neighborhood's second most "favorite" landmark (after the school buses) with its smokestacks obscuring the view of the Capitol dome from many locations. On Thursday, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to the Architect of the Capitol asking that the power plant switch from burning coal to using natural gas for its operations, saying "The switch to natural gas will allow the CPP to dramatically reduce carbon and criteria pollutant emissions, eliminating more than 95 percent of sulfur oxides and at least 50 percent of carbon monoxide...We strongly encourage you to move forward aggressively with us on a comprehensive set of policies for the entire Capitol complex and the entire Legislative Branch to quickly reduce emissions and petroleum consumption through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean alternative fuels." The AP's story tells how Congress has been trying to clean up the plant and make it more "green," and the potholes in the road to making it run completely on natural gas. I'm guessing it wouldn't be wise to start counting the minutes until the smokestacks are gone.
* On Monday at 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission is scheduled to have its hearing on the Phase 2 plans for the park at The Yards, though we'll see if the weather wreaks havoc with the schedule. Here's my notes on the presentation of the designs to ANC 6D, and my Yards Park page has renderings.
* (UPDATE) Missed this--the Examiner reported on Friday that the Capitol Hill Restoration Society has filed suit to stop construction of the new 11th Street Bridges, citing its "significant, irreversible, adverse effects" on the surrounding area. The CHRS web site has a bit more detail as well.
* Tickets still available for Elton and Billy. Apparently there was a bit of a glitch yesterday when they went on sale.
 

* From Tommy Wells:, an announcement of a Southwest Community Job Fair for Positions at Nationals Park, on Tuesday, March 3, from noon to 8 pm at the King-Greenleaf Recreation Center at 201 N St., SW. Applicants must be 18 or older; see the announcement for additional details.
* ICP Partners, the owners of the properties along Potomac Avenue between Eighth and Ninth, sent out a press release this week to announce that the sealed bid sale is "producing robust activity" in advance of its March 15 deadline: "The inquiries from various users for the site include a Navy Yard focused hotel and apartments, University Campus, retail and offices, and a childcare center for Navy Yard employees." They also put out a press release earlier this month to announce they had "signed [letters of intent] with a couple of the largest hospitality companies in the world to evaluate the feasibility of developing and managing hotels in certain urban markets, including 820 Potomac Avenue in SE Washington, DC."
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More posts: 816-20 Potomac, 8th Street, Nationals Park
 

The Nationals have now officially announced that the "Face 2 Face" Billy Joel and Elton John concert tour will be at Nationals Park, on Saturday, July 11 at 7:30 pm. Tickets go on sale Saturday (Feb. 28) at 10 a.m., exclusively at tickets.com. Prices are $56.50, $102, and $182.
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More posts: Nationals Park, Stadium Events
 

Looks like something's brewing at the ballpark.... On Monday the Nats are going to be having a press conference with Live Nation and Mayor Fenty "to unveil Washington, D.C.'s biggest summer concert and first-ever musical performance at Nationals Park." I wonder if the name of the artist(s) will stay a secret until then!
UPDATE: The PostRock blog says the rumor is it will be Elton John and Billy Joel, who are doing joint dates at two other ballparks this summer (Wrigley and Citizens Bank [Philly]).
UPDATE II: Per Jay in the comments, DC Wire has confirmed that it's the piano men. Will have to wait until the press conference on Monday to get date and ticket information.
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More posts: Nationals Park, Stadium Events
 
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