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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Nationals Park
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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
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
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I attended the Community Ballpark Meeting on Nov. 2; it was hosted by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, which led to grumbling from the audience that the many DC government agencies who also have a hand in the stadium and surrounding development weren't in attendance. The one real piece of news (to me, anyway) was that the orientation of the ballpark has been decided on, and it's north-northeast, as you can see in the schematic contained in the handout. There are supposed to be public meetings in December to discuss the architecture, which I guess means that the design of the stadium will be unveiled at some point before then (hee hee). They are planning for zoning hearings in January, and now list April 2006 as the groundbreaking date. UPDATE: I've now scanned the 17-page agenda/handout (PDF), which has a lot of bullet points addressing economic opportunities, neighborhood "protection" (i.e., noise, lighting), transportation systems (traffic, parking, Metro), and community activities being undertaken (none of which at the moment are actually in the stadium neighborhood, which brought about much audience angst). UPDATE II (11/11): The Nov. 10 Voice of the Hill has (on page 3) a story on the meeting, detailing the somewhat fractious question and answer session.
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Reading the Associated Press so you don't have to.... In "Mayor Williams Hopes To Firm Up Ballpark Lease; Avoid Overrun Costs," Mr. Bowtie says that he hopes the lease agreement on the new ballpark is firmed up this week, and that the new owners (whoever they are) may be called on to add some of the "bells and whistles" needed to make the ballpark "special" (you know, a Cadillac and not a Buick). And in "City Pushes Job Opportunities with Stadium Construction," there's (very) brief coverage of the Ballpark Business and Economic Opportunity Conference that was held today at the Convention Center.
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Wednesday's Post brings us "Stadium Cutbacks Considered", which states that "the rising price of construction materials has significantly increased the projected cost of the District's baseball stadium complex, prompting officials to begin discussing what to eliminate from the project[....] [P]otential cutbacks could come from features inside or outside the ballpark, such as reducing the size of concourses, suites and other amenities or moving parking above ground and reducing the number of retail stores at the site." While this sounds disconcerting, I think a simple solution has probably already been arrived at, if not announced--to no longer include the land immediately south of N Street, which was always considered to be "amenity space," as part of the stadium construction, and instead let the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation handle that land's development as part of the Ballpark District. And this is hinted at in the Post piece: "Sports commission officials said last week that plans for underground parking, retail shops on the stadium site and some plazas outside the park might be eliminated. Those features are not considered core items by Major League Baseball, but they have been sought by the city to help generate more revenue from a ballpark entertainment district along the Anacostia in near Southeast that would feature restaurants and retail. [...] If necessary, features not contained in the agreement will be eliminated or paid for in other ways, such as by private developers." In fact, a schematic drawing of the stadium site included in a handout at the DCSEC's public ballpark meeting this evening show those areas as blacked out. I would imagine that private developers would be quite happy to get the opportunity to build on the stadium site, and the city would get the on-site retail and entertainment venues it wants without having to foot the bill....

More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., staddis, Nationals Park

By a 10-2 vote, the DC council approved the necessary "technical" amendments to the financing bill for the new baseball stadium. Tony's happy. UPDATE: Here's the AP's report on the vote, and NBC4's, which includes a fun additional tidbit about a bill in Congress demanding the federal government sell land to DC instead of giving it away, and that would include the sliver of a triangle at the intersection of 1st, P, and Potomac, which is on the stadium footprint. But it sounds like it won't be an issue, that a separate bill backed by Pres. Bush and Rep. Tom Davis would transfer the land.
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Tuesday's Washington Times summarizes the latest goings-on in DC Council-land with respect to the new baseball stadium:Linda Cropp says that the necessary changes have been made to the ballpark financing agreement to satisfy bond raters (these changes will be voted on today by the council, then a second time per council rules at their Dec. 1 session). The article also says that MLB officials will be meeting with city officials this week to work on the stadium lease agreement, which MLB hopes to have in place before announcing the team's new owner--although Vincent Orange has introduced legislation to be voted on this week which would require MLB to select an owner before the lease agreement is in place. Then there's that whole Orange-Cropp lawsuit thing
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It's amazing the things you stumble onto sometimes. I just found on the DC Government web site a page called Washington Nationals: Excitement, Opportunity, and Revitalized Neighborhoods, with links to other pages on the site about the stadium and its related economic development. (Of course, most of the links are ones you can get from here, but a resource is a resource!)
More posts: staddis, Nationals Park

There will be a Community Update meeting about the new baseball stadium on Nov. 1 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Southeastern University. (I found out about this from an ad in November's Southwester--the ad is from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, so you'd think that they'd mention the meeting somewhere on their own web site, which I check religiously, but alas, there's no mention of it there as yet.) [bumped up as a reminder]
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There will be a DC Ballpark Business and Economic Opportunity Conference on Wednesday, Nov. 2, to "bring together contractors and subcontractors with public, private, and non-profit organizations that have responsibility for LSDBE business development, apprenticeship programs, and employment of District residents for a day-long conference on subcontracting and apprenticeship opportunities associated with construction of the new baseball stadium."  Also on Wednesday, Nov. 2., a WASA public meeting on their river cleanup efforts, Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street, SE, 7:00-8:15 pm. Remember to look at my Upcoming Events Calendar to see what's on the Near Southeast agenda.... 
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The Associated Press is reporting that council member Vincent Orange has filed suit in DC Superior Court against council chair Linda Cropp, alleging that she overstepped her authority when she called off a roundtable meeting Orange had scheduled for today on the new baseball stadium ownership issue.  Wheeee!! UPDATE: Here's more, from the Washington Business Journal.
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Today I attended a Citizen's Forum discussing the new baseball stadium and waterfront development put on by the Washington Times--panelists were Linda Cropp, Sharon Ambrose, Stephen Green (Director of Development in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development), Bob Peck of the DC Board of Trade, Barbara Lang of the DC Chamber of Commerce, and Franklin Haney, who is one of the bidders on both the Nationals and the "master developer" slot for the Ballpark District. No real news coming out of it--Linda Cropp reiterated that she will be bringing technical amendments on Nov. 1 to the stadium financing plan to fix some issues, which will prevent the financing from be reopened. There wasn't much time for questions from the citizens portion of the forum, but those who did speak (who were mostly ANC commissioners) pressed the panel on issues regarding minority businesses getting part of the stadium/development pie, affordable housing, relocation of residents and businesses in the stadium footprint, and more. The WashTimes says it will publish a transcript of the forum within the next week or so. UPDATE: Here is the WashTimes's article (not the transcript): "Cropp Vows Ballpark on Anacostia".
More posts: staddis, Nationals Park

Franklin Haney, who is bidding to become the owner of the Nationals, has told city officials (according to the Post in "Bidder Would Pay Overruns") that he would pay potential cost overruns up to $200 million on the new baseball stadium--and in return, "We would hope to be awarded the development rights to be awarded in the Ballpark District." (Haney submitted one of the nine proposals in response to the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation's Request for Expressions of Interest.) Haney, who has developed properties such as the Portals in Southwest, has not been considered one of the frontrunners in the jockeying to buy the Nats. The hope is that an owner will be chosen so that MLB can vote to approve at its by Nov. 15 meeting.

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It isn't just the White Sox being in the World Series that's holding up the lease negotiations between the city and MLB over the new baseball stadium--it's worries over hurricanes and terrorism (according to the WashTimes), and whether the city should be guaranteed a rent payment under those circumstances.
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The DC government has filed court papers to seize the properties of 16 landowners in the footprint of the new baseball stadium, according to Wednesday's Post. The owners have 20 days to challenge the constitutionality of the takeover; if the courts do not block the city's takeover, the properties must be vacated within three months, and juries may ultimately have to decide what the owners get paid if no agreements can be reached. Seven other owners have agreed to sell their land.
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Nine bids to become the "master developer" that will oversee the mixed-use development of the roughly 13 acres of land surrounding the new baseball stadium have been received by the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation in response to its Request for Expressions of Interest for Ballpark District Development, from the following companies: Monument Realty and Federal Realty Investment Trust, AkridgeLNR Property Corp., Trammell Crow Residential, Triden Development Group LLC, Forest City Enterprises Inc. and Western Development Corp., the Franklin L. Haney Co., and the DSG Capital Group. The Post's "Firms Bid on Land by Stadium" and the WashTimes's "Group Pitches 'Ballpark District'" both contain details on some of the bids. The AWC is hoping to select the lead developer by early December.
More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., staddis, Nationals Park

Only one of the 23 land owners in the footprint of the new baseball stadium has agreed to accept the city's offer for their property, according to "Stadium Property Owners Balking" in Saturday's Post. From the article: "To gain control of the land for the $535 million stadium project, the D.C. attorney general's office will go to D.C. Superior Court as early as Monday to begin eminent domain proceedings to seize the properties that have not been sold. By going to court, D.C. officials plan to control the entire 21-acre stadium site within 90 days, they said. That will put them on schedule to clear the land, remediate minor environmental contamination and complete the Washington Nationals' ballpark by Major League Baseball's March 2008 deadline." Some of the landowners are complaining that the city is doing nothing to help them relocate, although other owners have said they feel the city is dealing with them in good faith. Again from the article: "[U]nder the "quick take" provision in the eminent domain law, the District will assume title to the properties once it deposits the money into a court-controlled account. Unless a judge stops the action on constitutional grounds, owners will have 90 days to vacate, and a jury eventually will determine the sale price unless an agreement is reached. As long as the city can show that the stadium will serve a significant public purpose, the court will allow the takeover, land use lawyers said." To see the 2005 assessed values for the properties, along with what the city has offered, see my Stadium Offers chart.
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This is not the sort of thing I normally would post about here, but I've been giggling about it all morning, so.... I dreamt last night that I was driving around Near Southeast, and suddenly at N Street I saw a big brick building that I knew hadn't been there just a few days earlier. I went to investigate, and it was a "model" of the new baseball stadium, about three stories high and two blocks long, that the city had built so that residents could get a feel for what the new stadium was going to look like. It was a Camden Yards-looking design (so of course I told everyone in earshot "no, the architects have said they'd be using glass and stone as their major materials!"), and there were tons of people milling around looking at it, getting very excited about seeing the "real" stadium built. If I had to ask Dr. Freud, I think he'd tell me that I'm at the end of my rope waiting for the design to be unveiled!
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News from Zoning Commission land: at Monday's meeting, the text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay about the stadium was finally approved. As soon as it gets posted in the DC Municipal Regulations, I'll post it here, although in the meantime you can read the text of the amendment from the July 29 DC Register. In other DCOZ news, there will be a hearing on Dec. 19 on Capper/Carrollsburg, to consider Phase I Final Approval and modifications to the consolidated and prelimary PUD. Phase I final approval references the land between 3rd and 4th and K and M Streets, where they are proposing to build 91 3- to 4-story residential units (note that the existing private homes in these blocks will not be demolished); this application also addresses the plans to build a new community center on 5th Street between K and L Streets. At the ANC 6D meeting on Oct. 17, it was indicated that the breakdown of the 91 units would be: 51 units would be 3-4 bedroom townhouses sold at market rate or moderate (80%-120% median income), 11 would be section 8 ownership units, and 29 would be public housing rental units. These units are in addition to the ones already in the pipeline for the blocks between 4th and 5th and Virginia and M--there will be a total of 208 market-rate townhouse units in these first two phases. The community center will include a daycare facility for 66 children, a rec center, a computer lab, a gym, a game room, and meeting/classrooms. AND 6D will be voting on this at their Nov. 14 meeting.

More posts: ANC News, Capper, Community Center, Nationals Park, zoning

DC Council Chair Linda Cropp has signaled that she will block any attempts at significant alternations to the baseball stadium financing package, reports Tuesday's Post. She will introduce as "technical" the amendments necessary to amend the financing package on Nov. 1, which limits the amount of changes that can be made. While councilmembers such as David Catania, Kwame Brown, and Vincent Orange have hinted that they would like to reopen the financing package, the article notes that two council members who voted against the package last year--Kathy Patterson and Adrian Fenty--have indicated they would probably vote to approve the amendments. Says Patterson: "The District is at some risk of not being taken seriously as a government if we renege on the deal we have. That said, we negotiated a lousy deal."

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The DC Zoning Commission will be taking up the stadium text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay District at tonight's meeting. This should be when they vote for final approval--although with the discussions these days about building heights near the stadium, I wonder if there will be some revisions in the works.

More posts: South Capitol St., staddis, Nationals Park, zoning

According to the Washington Business Journal, owners of land north of the new stadium site recently met with DC council members Cropp, Evans, and Ambrose to discuss limiting the heights of their future developments in order to preserve views of the US Capitol dome, with buildings being able to get progressively taller as they near the Capitol. Russell Hines of Monument Realty is quoted as saying that they're willing to work with the city on this point. (A WBJ editorial supports this idea.)
More posts: Monument/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park
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