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18 Blog Posts Since 2003

Worn out from all these photo updates? Imagine how I feel. But I start getting the shakes if I don't at least touch on the status of each project currently underway, and having given the latest from Florida Rock and Arris and the Lofts at CQ, I need to run through the rest of them. It's a sickness.
Let's start with the holes in the ground. First are the two newest ones, with the initial hints of the foundation at the Capper Community Center Building House (left), and the more substantial digging underway at the 1111 New Jersey/Gallery at Capitol Riverfront apartment building.
Meanwhile, up at 800 New Jersey, the hole, it is deep. (And, as an aside, this poor project desperately needs a name, other than "that building that's going to have the Whole Foods." Even the signage looks a little forlorn.)
On the other end of the spectrum, we have the three topped-out buildings in various stages: at left is the Hampton Inn, which just reached this milestone within the past few weeks, then there's the Park Chelsea residential building, which may someday see the completion of its exterior masonry work, and finally the Parc Riverside apartment building, which is probably about to graduate out of my project updates given that the first units are expected to open in December.
 

While the Parc Riverside leasing office has been open for a few weeks now, I'm only just now getting caught up with their status and offerings.
Move-ins are being billed as starting around Dec. 1, at least if you go by the Craigslist ads for low-floor units posted in the past few days. The base prices as published give the rate for 1 BR/1 BA units as being between $1,970 and $2,165, going up to 2 BR/2 BA ranging from $2,385 to $3,485. The Craigslist ads include two studios priced at $1,600 and $1,770, and on all units advertised there are showing a current one-month-free deal. (Parking and storage units extra.)
The building isn't open for tours yet, but there's PDF floor plans on the official web site.
However, if you're looking for something a bit more three-dimensional, they've created virtual tours of five upper-floor units (hence the killer views depicted): a studio, a junior one bedroom, a one bedroom, a one bedroom/den, and a two-bedroom penthouse.
The office, in the trailer across from the building on the southeast corner of 1st and K, is open seven days a week.
(By the way, this is the first rental apartment building in DC for Toll Brothers.)
 

I fear I am going to be run ragged by the scope of construction 'round these parts over the next few years. Fitbit tells me I took about 15,000 steps across two outings to snag this slew of photos, and I still didn't quite get everything I wanted. But let's see what's going on. (As always, click on any image to enlarge it, and then page through the slideshow of all of them).
At 1015 Half Street, the new CBS Radio space along L Street is moving along, with a ticker now hung on the building (below left) and the ground-floor studio space being built out (below right).
There's four holes in the ground in various stages of construction, though alas I missed getting pictures of the Arris apartment building at the Yards, which has reached ground level and so should be starting the showy part of its progress within the next few weeks. The Lofts at Capitol Quarter are about at ground level on the east end of their not-at-all-level footprint at 7th and L (left), while digging down down down continues at 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods (right). (The third one, the new 1111 New Jersey apartment project, isn't all that much of a hole just yet.)
(Speaking of 800 New Jersey, I noticed that the rebuilt-but-not-open H Street has had its asphalt laid and is now a good nine inches or more higher than where it meets 2nd Street. Preparation for that intersection and Virginia Avenue to be bumped up with the construction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel?)
Getting close to topping out is the Hampton Inn at 1st and N (left). And, apropos of nothing (but needed here for layout purposes), a photo of the signage for the Subway Café at 20 M Street, which sounds to not be too long from opening.
And wrapping up the tour, here are the two buildings nearest to completion, the Parc Riverside at 1st and K (left) and the Park Chelsea on New Jersey Avenue (right), seen from one block to the south because it's So Freaking Big.
Now, everyone chime in and tell me what I missed.
If you want more photos of these projects (and who wouldn't?), just follow the links to the project pages.
 

The final installment of this week's Fence Peeking is a bit more haphazard. Let's start with looking on fences:
(Left) The new Parc Riverside signage has been hung along 1st Street by the sales trailer, though at least I have the River Parc signs recorded for posterity.
(Right) There's a bunch of new signage on the black fences along Half and N, presumably to at least in part draw attention away from the big hole in the ground behind them. One portion of the sign is a map of places to see things, eat food, drink beverages, and spend money, placed by the Capitol Riverfront BID. And it helpfully provides confirmation of the Unleashed by Petco coming to the Boilermaker Shops, and lets the cat out of the bag (ahem) that the pet hospital at Twelve12 will be a Banfield.
(Left) While we wait to see when Willie's is going to open, I did at least finally get a photo of the ready-to-go interior. (Yeah, yeah, the glass isn't technically a fence, but work with me here.)
(Right) Speaking of the spiffy new signage on the black fences across from the ballpark, I finally got an updated photo from on high of exactly what those fences are hiding. Let's imagine the potential interim uses while Jair Lynch and MacFarlane Partners decide what to build -- Urban campground? ATV track? Wildlife sanctuary?
 

It always seemd a little odd that Toll Brothers chose "River Parc" as the name for the new apartment building now in its final stages on the southwest corner of 1st and K--after all, there's been the mid-century goodness of the River Park townhouses and apartments over in Southwest since, well, the middle of the 20th century.
A few weeks ago, promotional signage went up across street from the new building, trumpeting RiverParc.com, and all systems seemed go. However, a reader passed along the news today of an e-mail from Toll Brothers announcing that River Parc is now the Parc Riverside.
River Parc/Parc Riverside, which according to the e-mail is now expected to deliver in November, does now have a functioning web site, with floorplans, lists of amenities (hey, everyone gets a garbage disposal!), and a few new renderings, but not the rental prices that I'm sure people would like to see at this point.
And now I shall go do a River Parc/Parc Riverside search-and-replace all across my site.
UPDATE: And, oops, I guess I should have included that the leasing office will open this coming Monday, Sept. 22.
 

Some photos from Saturday, taken before I melted into a puddle. (Anything over 80 degrees is kryptonite to me.) Click to enlarge and view as a photo gallery, if you're on a desktop machine, that is.
At Twelve12, where the first residents have begun moving in and Sweetgreen is now open, TaKorean looks to be making progress toward its own launch:
Up above TaKorean, VIDA Fitness's signs have gone up, with an opening looming probably in August.
(And, no photos, but 100 Montaditos at the Boilermaker Shops appears to finally have its building permit.)
Over at 1st and L, fence signage has sprouted for the River Parc apartment building (announcing a web site at, you guessed it, riverparc.com, though there's nothing pertinent there just yet). Plus the leasing trailer is now landscaped and outside the Akridge fence.
In grocery store news, I haven't yet posted photos of the fun artwork hanging on the historic brick wall outside of Harris Teeter's space at 4th and M (below left). And below right, the Whole Foods/800 New Jersey hole in the ground is indeed being dug. (Never say I withhold important information.) Teeter is expected to open this fall, while Whole Foods is not going to be seen before 2017.
But of course, the showiest action in the neighborhood continues to be the long (LONG) farewell to Spooky Building 213, which is starting to edge into How Can We Miss You If You Won't Go Away? territory. But the very south end of the structure began its march into the sunset this weekend, which means that, yes, the bat is about to vanish.
Finally, given the vagaries of both Mother Nature and the summer calendar, it's possible I might not get too many more shots of St. Matthew's church at New Jersey and L, with its raze permit now approved and demolition expected to get underway in the next couple of weeks to make way for 1111 New Jersey. So, maybe a final before-and-after, comparing the view eight years apart:
 

First off, you may have noticed that Saturday was a lovely day. The neighborhood's waterfront was most definitely in use:
Not far away, at the Yards' Parcel N, concrete has appeared in the large hole in the ground (left), meaning that the digging down is almost over, and the rising up should start before too long (its tower crane permit application was approved not too long ago). And in a totally different illustration of progress (right), the sales-trailer-to-be for the River Parc apartment project appears to now be in its proper place.
(I wanted to get a photograph of the outdoor patio signage at the soon-to-arrive Ice Cream Jubilee at the Lumber Shed, but the hordes standing in line on Saturday to get into the Jazz Fest completely blocked the view.)
I recorded the current state of the Florida Rock site across from the ballpark {insert Logan's Run reference here}, because the developers have now filed applications for both sheeting and building permits for the site's first-phase apartment building. This doesn't necessarily mean the project is close to getting started, but it deprives me of my snarky "they haven't even applied for their permits yet" response whenever someone mentions that it might get underway soon.
Finally, I present to you official evidence of the new 11th Street SE exit from the freeway, which I'm doing mainly as a mea culpa for not having gotten over there to photograph the ramp and environs, and to hopefully shame myself into action.
I also deserve additional shaming, or at least parallel shaming, for not yet documenting that the Southeast Freeway signage I have griped about for years has been fixed.
 

It was Saturday. It was beautiful. I wandered.
(Click on any of the photos and get a pop-up gallery of all of them--at least for non-mobile, non-RSS, non-email readers)
First, the obligatory Building 213 demolition shots. Let's compare the state of things on June 2 (left) and June 14 (right):
It's also fun to move back a block and get a better view from the east side, from November 2007 to this weekend. Where did all that sky come from?
And of course there's your basic Om Nom Nom shots:
There's also more peeks at other spots. First, I bring you the holes in the ground at the Hampton Inn on 1st Street (left) and the new residential building at Yards Parcel N (right):
Next, the still-papered over Sweetgreen at Twelve12, in advance of its opening this week, and a nose-pressed-up-against-the-dirty-window shot of the progress at the Harris Teeter in the same block, scheduled to open Oct. 1:
And I'll wrap up with the two photos below. At left, Twelve12's all-but-completed new service nestled between the new building and Building 202. And at right, on 1st south of K, the trailer that arrived this week, which is the one I posted about on Friday--and my guess that it is to be the leasing office for River Parc across the street has been confirmed.
The links to the project pages will show you these photos and many more....
 

Way back when, the Cohen Companies' plan on Square 699N was to build the Velocity condo building at 1st and L and then almost immediately start work on a twin residential building directly to the north.
Velocity went up, but the twin did not follow for nearly four years--after Cohen sold the empty lot to Toll Brothers, which is now building the River Parc apartment building on the site. And having a different developer build the twin has brought about a sticky situation.
Within recent days, Velocity residents have discovered that Toll's layout for the River Parc roof includes a wall that completely obscures the formerly expansive Capitol dome views from Velocity's roof deck.
This Facebook page shows the old view from Velocity's roof--and the photo below, provided by a resident, shows the new one.
In addition, the new building's design appears to place the building's 237 air conditioning units on the south side of the concrete wall, facing Velocity.
A recent e-mail to Velocity residents informed them that "[T]he ANC Commissioner, The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the offices of Planning and Zoning have all been contacted and we are being told that all construction is being done in accordance with all plans, permits, zoning, and easements" and that "Every avenue is being pursued to somehow make this situation better for us." Alas, "[A]s long as they are within all legal parameters of their construction of this building, there is little we can do."
Capitol Dome views are a sticky wicket in the neighborhood, since almost all of the buildings that have already gone up stand to eventually lose their panoramic vistas as newer projects continue to fill in the empty spaces. (Just ask Nationals Park!)
The exceptions are 70/100 I (aka the Jefferson and Axiom) and the about-to-be-built 800 New Jersey, all of which border the freeway and so will likely keep their views pristine, as long as Capitol Hill north of the freeway doesn't suddenly start to allow 13 stories of construction.
But an impenetrable concrete wall certainly puts an exclamation point on the issue.
 

I've got a few more itty bitty items, so let's have another tidbit go-round:
* LOT LAYING: Enough people have written (and progress has been so slow) that I finally have to post that the work many of you are seeing on the Congressional Square block at 1st and I isn't the beginning of development there--the word is that the parking lot on the west side of the block is being extended eastward.
* PILE DRIVING: Pile driving has started at 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods, if your ears haven't already alerted you.
* TRAILER PLACING: A building permit just came through the pipeline for a temporary sales trailer at 1000 1st St. SE. The land. owned by Akridge, is unlikely to be about to see any large-scale construction, so might this instead be the beginnings of a leasing center for Toll's River Parc across the street?
* FERRY DOCKING: Following up on the ferry news from last week, I finally heard back from the office of Frank Principi in Woodbridge--it sounds like the routes and docking locations are still not 100 percent decided on. There is a stakeholder's group that will ultimately make the decisions, and it is meeting later this month to work on the project. So reports of a "Navy Yard" destination or a St. Elizabeth's destination or a Bolling destination appear to be premature.
 

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.
* PARC/PARK: 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.
 

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.
 

With the news that the window coverings had come off of the Osteria Morini space in the Lumber Shed, I went racing down there with hopes of pressing my camera up against all that glass to get some photos of the opening-any-minute-now restaurant from Chef Michael White. Alas, I arrived during training, and so was THWARTED (because I'm way too shy to have just gone ahead and taken the up-close shots with 40 people staring at me).
I did get at least a couple of surveillance-type shots from a respectable distance, which I posted in a new photo gallery you should check out, but here's a preview:
The restaurant is expected to open next week, perhaps the 19th or the 20th, but at this point we know it will open when it opens.
The photo gallery also has a few other fun shots from the other projects currently under construction (residential buildings Twelve12, Park Chelsea and Toll Brothers's River Parc), such as the turret at 4th and M getting quite a makeover:
Plus, the Park Chelsea has gotten new signage, but more interesting is the outlines now forming of the new stretch of I Street that will run between 2nd and New Jersey when it opens (probably not any sooner than spring 2014):
But just go ahead and check out the full gallery.
Also, while they aren't terribly showy just yet, I have built two more of what I call my Expanded Photo Archives for both the Park Chelsea and River Parc projects, to bring together more before-and-afters from a wider/farther array of angles than I usually display on the project pages. (Yep, I'm partying like it's 2007.)
 

At 1st and K SE, the neighborhood is getting a great demonstration of how quickly a just-started apartment building project can pop into view if the below-ground infrastructure is already completed.
Toll Brothers bought the site from the Cohen Companies last year, and because Cohen had originally planned a sister building to Velocity on the lot, it had gone ahead and built the garage and other underground necessities at the same time Velocity was built in 2007. But then, well, Phase 2 never actually happened, and the covered garage remained a Tetris-like landscape until Toll came along.
It was at the end of last month that nearby residents started seeing the first hints of work at the site, and now a few weeks later the ground floor of the building is already up, as you can see.
Toll is keeping details about the building pretty close to its vest--unless you're a Velocity resident. That group received a briefing in September and was told that the building will be called River Parc, will have 277 rental units, no retail, and is expected to start leasing next fall with completion in spring 2015.
And Velocity residents were even shown a rendering of the new building (thanks to Jake for grabbing a pic of the poster board, which I've straightened out a bit--UPDATE: and see below for two more).
This stretch of 1st Street between K and L used to be made up of small auto-related businesses, with the buildings facing K having a bit more tawdry offerings, such as the "In & Out Video 'and so much more'". All were demolished in Spring 2007, and now the vista looks a little different, not only on this block but elsewhere:
See my Toll Brothers page for more details and photos.
UPDATE: And now two additional renderings have fallen into my hands, showing the view that the Velocity folks will see across the courtyard (left), and the view coming up 1st Street from L (right):
 

Some work appears to be underway on the southwest corner of 1st and K, where Toll Brothers now has building permits for a 13-story, 250ish-unit apartment building. The Tetris-like boxes that have covered rebar and other infrastructure since work was completed on Velocity and the accompanying garage under what's now the Toll site are being removed:
This will allow Toll to begin work on their building more or less at ground level, rather than spending months on excavation and below-ground construction.
See more photos and information about the project here.
 

DC property records show that on Oct. 1, "Toll DC LP" paid $14.5 million to the Cohen Companies for the final empty lot on the Square 699N/Velocity block, running along the east side of Half Street SE between K and L, across from 1015 Half Street.
With Toll's $24 million purchase back in May of the 1st and K portion of the same square with plans to build a 250ish-unit residential building, this now gives the company a second toe-hold inside the District, both on the same block.
There are rumors that the 1st and K site could see construction start in the spring, but there have been no announcements. (And I can't really even say "wait to watch for digging," since on that 1st and K site the garage and underground infrastructure was already dug and completed when the Cohen companies built Velocity.)
It's starting to be quite a tote board of projects that "could" begin in 2013. Florida Rock residential, the Park Chelsea, the new Yards Parcel N building, Square 701.... Maybe we should start a pool!
 

I've learned today that mega-developer Toll Brothers has purchased the Square 699N land directly north of the Velocity Condos building on 1st Street SE for $24 million, with the intention of building a 250ish-unit residential building.
This land has been owned by the Cohen Companies since their purchase of the entire block bounded by 1st, Half, K, and L in 2005.
In fact, the garage and below-grade structure for the Toll Brothers lot is already built--that's why you see all the funny beige boxes on the land, covering vent shafts and other infrastructure items. Cohen had planned to move forward with a sibling for Velocity soon after it completed the condo building, but that never came to fruition.
This would be Toll Brothers's first building in DC proper, I believe, but they have plenty of offerings in the Metro area. And, as I found out today, they don't just do single-family homes (White Flint Station is an example of a condo building of theirs in the area). UPDATE: SWill from across the way mentions in the comments that TB bought White Flint Station after it was completed and converted it to condos from apartments. Apologies for the assumption.
More to come on this, I'm sure. And it will no doubt be seen as another indication of the strength of Near Southeast's residential market.
[And I should add that Cohen still owns the third lot on the block, along Half Street.]
 

Friday's print edition of the Washington Business Journal reports that developer Ron Cohen has purchased the entire block bounded by Half, K, L, and 1st Streets, SE (square 699N), for $55 million, with plans for a mixed-use project that may include 650 condos, a hotel with condos, a stand-alone 250,000 sq ft office building, and possibly retail as well. Tenants on the block--including the nightclubs Wet, Edge, and Club 55--have been told that the buildings will be razed in late spring 2006. Phase I of the project will have 250 condos, and hopes are to begin construction in October 2006, and to have the entire project completed in four years. A few pictures of the block in its current state are on my South Capitol Street Corridor page (you'll have to scroll down a bit for them--this project will eventually get its own page, but not just yet!).

 




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