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While most residents and observers have been eyeing DC Water's operations site at 1st and O Streets, SE and wondering when Forest City's movie theater/residential/retail project is going to get underway, details are now emerging on the other shiny new development in the works in that same general area: DC Water's plans to build a new headquarters building on top of the existing O Street Pumping Station just east of Nats Park.
(NO, NOT ON TOP OF THE HISTORIC MAIN PUMPING STATION.)
A PUD application has now been filed with the Zoning Commission for the project, to be design/built by Skanska with architect SmithGroupJJR as a "world-class headquarters that integrates efficient building systems with the [existing O Street Pumping Station] to create a dynamic workplace environment" that would be " a bold, innovative statement on the Anacostia River shoreline that reflects DC Water's mission to provide reliable and cost-effective water and wastewater services."
It would be designed as a LEED Platinum building, with stormwater retention, "heat recover and rejection systems" that will use the residual heat from the sewage that is pumped to Blue Plains, and low-impact development landscaping features by OvS "such as bio-swales, pervious pavements, and native vegetation."
The proposed DC Water HQ, as seen from the Anacostia (left), the west looking east (center), and from the Yards Park looking west (right). Renderings from zoning filings. Click to enlarge; and compare to the current view from the river.
The O Street station would keep right on pumping during and after construction, and the HQ design, which encapsulates the pumping station on the south and east and so removes it from view from the river, will include a four-story 190-foot-long east-west truss that will support the new HQ without bearing on the existing pumping station.
As for the PUD itself, it proposes to rezone the site from W-2 to CG/CR, and to only include 21 parking spaces instead of the mandated 69 (yay, nearby transit!).
It also requests flexibility from public space requirements because the building is "deemed essential to supporting the United States government," and so it must "therefore incorporate certain security measures and access restrictions, which impact operation and design of the new building and surrounding area." Here is DC Water's memo on this security topic.
This new headquarters will consolidate and relocate all of the agency's administrative personnel, and get non-essential types away from its currently overcapacity Blue Plains site.
The zoning filing says that this new building "will demonstrate that DC Water's mission is essential to every living organism," and will also "emphasize DC Water's historic role in serving the DC metropolitan area for over a century by providing scheduled educational programming inside the building."
Forest City's planned movie theater would be one block to the north of this site, with the two planned new residential buildings to its west, and a new "1 1/2 Street" would run just to its west (as seen in the left-most rendering of the group of three above).
This will come before ANC 6D for its support before getting to the Zoning Commission on some as-yet unannounced date in the future.
Comments (8)
More posts: DC Water (WASA), zoning
 

Just some things that didn't make it to the blog during the outage:
* MORE GROUND BROKEN: I had posted a photo last week of the new fence at not-Ballpark Square but wasn't quite ready to say that construction had started. However, the pile driver has arrived, and steel beams are already sticking out of the ground, so I think it's now safe to add the residential/hotel portion of the project to the ludicrous lineup of developments currently underway. (The office component at 99 M is expected to get started before long as well.) It's also the fourth to break ground just within the past month or so, joining residential projects 909 Half and 82 I and the Homewood Suites hotel at 50 M. And I think that's probably it for major projects getting started until the end of this year or early next year.
* BONCHON GETTING CLOSER: The paper is off the windows, so I was able to see where things stand at Bonchon--and it's looking well along. (Not pictured are the five or so boxes containing large flat-panel TVs.)
* DEMO PERMIT APPS: Applications have been submitted to demolish two buildings on the DC Water site--a 50,000-square-foot brick building and a 1,980-square-foot wood shed. Whether these are on the footprint of the planned movie theater/accompanying residential, I cannot tell you.
* SPRING! SPRING! There's now quite the inventory of outdoor tables at Willie's Brew & Que, and work is underway for a patio at the Big Stick (photo by Mr. JDLand):
* MORE ABOUT FOOD: I mentioned it in passing before, but there's been enough tweets sent my way to mention again that work has now started at the Scarlet Oak space at 909 New Jersey. And there's purty window ads now, to both get their name out there and to THWART my PEEKING. And closer to the river, at the Lumber Shed, both Due South and the Navy Yard Oyster Company have gotten their building permits.
With all that cleared out of the hopper, I now may be a bit scarce for the rest of the week. Hopefully the site will behave, though.
 

Cleaning out the tidbit hopper with some new and not-quite-so-new items of note. I imagine posting will be light in the next few days, but you never know.
And so a Happy Holidays to all, from the entire staff of JDLand.com! Including from George, pictured at right.
* MOVIE THEATER LATEST: I mentioned this on Twitter last week, and appended it to my post on the subject, but I've heard kvetching from certain quarters that I did not specifically post anew that last week the DC Council passed the emergency versions of bills that among other things declare portions of the DC Water site at 1st and O as "surplus." This will allow the process of Forest City developing its movie theater there to move forward another step.
* VAN NESS KINDERGARTEN: I have been embarrassingly slow to report that earlier this month DCPS made known its decision that Van Ness Elementary will open next year with two kindergarten classes (in addition to PK-3 and PK-4). There will be 15 out-of-bounds spaces in these classes. The school system also released this FAQ about Van Ness's opening if you are just catching up.
* 100 M STREET SOLD: GlobeSt.com reports that Lionstone Investments and Hermes Real Estate have purchased the 100 M Street SE office building, with a source "pinpointing the purchase price at $78.9 million, or $324 per square foot." The building originally went up for sale back in 2012. This is the Gordon Biersch building, for those of you who don't look at address signs.
* METRO BALLGAME USE: WMATA's "PlanItMetro" blog took a deep dive into ridership patterns on Nationals game days at the Navy Yard-Ballpark and Capitol South stations. "Carrying an average of 11,000 riders to every Nationals home game, Metrorail maintained a 34% mode share to Nationals park in the 2014 season." There's also a good discussion of what the numbers may mean in the comments of this Greater Greater Washington post (along with chit-chat about the new Southeast Blvd.).
 

A DC council hearing on Thursday afternoon shed some light on the current status of Forest City's planned 16-screen luxury movie theater on property near 1st and O Streets, SE, a development which has been stalled for nearly a year during the hunt for a suitable location to move a portion of the DC Water operations currently housed at the site.
The good news for those tapping their toes waiting for the project to get started is that city officials testified that land is under contract in Prince George's County that would house DC Water's fleet operations, and the sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015.
While the fleet ops footprint at 125 O Street does not perfectly match the theater footprint, it was indicated that between the Prince George's site, the rest of the O Street site, and a potential interim site controlled by Forest City nearby, there would be the ability to shuffle DC Water's needs enough to clear the way for construction of the theater, which Forest City wants to get started by the end of 2015. (Apparently there is a looming end-of-2017 deadline in the letter of intent with Kerasotes Showsplace Theaters to get the project completed.)
So, assuming that the purchase of the PG County property takes place, and assuming that the DC Council approves the emergency legislation to declare the DC Water site as surplus, and assuming that there are no hitches in the move of DC Water's fleet operations, the theater may in fact be inching toward getting underway. (Though that's a lot of "assuming," especially when dealing with municipal government--but at least the fleet operations move already has its funding.)
However, the horizon isn't quite so clear when it comes to getting DC Water off two additional parcels on the site, where Forest City plans 600 residential units in two buildings along with 35,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The agency's customer care and sewer services operations currently located there need to be moved somewhere within the city limits, and these days there are precious few industrial-type locations to choose from.
A suitable location has been identified, and it just so happens to be the trash transfer station on W Street in Brentwood that has long been a thorn in the side of residents. However, talks between the city administrator and the station's owner apparently didn't get very far, and so Ward 5 councilmember Kenyan McDuffie has (again) submitted a bill to authorize the use of eminent domain to take control of the site if city officials feel that no agreement can be reached. (At-large councilmember and former Ward 5 rep Vincent Orange, in attendance at the hearing, spent much time warning about possible litigation over such a move, how long that would tie things up, how the lack of spelled-out funding for the acquisition of the site could tie things up, what a bad idea it is to not be planning non-industrial development for the site, etc. etc.)
In other words, the theater portion of the project seems to be lurching towards being a "go," but the residential/retail phase still needs a lot of massaging.
The emergency legislation should come up for a vote at next week's council session.
(And I'll note, as I always do, that DC Water will not be completely departing the site--the main pumping station in its historic structure certainly isn't going anywhere, and the agency is working on plans to move its headquarters into new construction on top of the O Street Pumping Station building on the southeast portion of the property.)
UPDATE, 12/17: The DC Council today passed the emergency versions of the bills related to this land disposition. This means that Forest City gets the Land Disposition Agreement needed to gain "site control," allowing them to continue to move forward on this project.
 

Surveying a few pending tidbits that share a common theme:
* BIG STICK: I figured I'd better finally provide own photo of the restaurant's new signage, at right (click to enlarge). Is it open? Not quite yet, though there are apparently private soft-opening events coming before long.
* 1333 M: I'm pretty sure I don't get paid enough to watch all 3 1/2 hours of Monday night's zoning hearing on Cohen/Siegel's planned three-building 673-unit project on the east end of M Street, though I did survey a few moments here or there. Was it approved? Not quite yet: the commission had a series of items it wants more details and tweaks on, and the project will be back before the board in January. HillNow wrote about the list of community benefits the developer agreed to in its Memorandum of Understanding with ANC 6B.
* DC WATER: There had been some talk last week of Ward 5 councilmember Kenyan McDuffie wanting to use eminent domain to get rid of a trash transfer station on W Street NE and then moving there a portion of the DC Water operations currently at 1st and O SE--which would help allow Forest City to move forward on its movie theater and residential plans. Does this mean that the movie theater is coming soon? Not quite yet: during Tuesday's marathon council meeting, McDuffie withdrew the measure because of a lack of support.
* SOCCER: There's a gonna be a new stadium across the way. It appears. But not quite yet. So, while you're waiting, check out the Walking Tour photos I took of the site last fall.
And one that I couldn't figure out how to shoehorn into the motif:
* YARDS PARK SURVEY: The Yards Park folks would love it if you would take a moment to fill out their 2014 Perception Survey.
 

The fate of Forest City's planned movie theater, residential, and retail project on the east side of 1st Street near Nats Park has remained stalled while DC Water works to find a suitable spot to relocate some (but not all) of its activities.
There has been no public news of a new site, but the DC government has announced that there will be a public meeting on Nov. 20 at 6:30 pm "to receive public comments on the proposed surplus" of a portion of the DC Water site, which presumably includes all or some of the footprint of the Forest City planned development.
The meeting announcement also contains this string of caveats:
"Because DC Water will continue to occupy the Property while pre-development is ongoing, declaration of the Property as surplus will be conditioned on (i) DC Water receiving rights to occupy suitable relocation/replacement property(ies), (ii) available funding for activities necessary to allow DC Water to relocate to and operate on such relocation/replacement property(ies) and (iii) approval by an independent engineer procured by DC Water of an operational plan during and after relocation."
The meeting is at the Boilermaker Shops at 3rd and Tingey, in Unit 140 (the empty space next to Nando's). In addition, written public comments will be accepted until Nov. 25.
If you're just joining us, it was a smidge over two years ago that news first started bubbling up that Forest City was looking to bring a "high-quality theater operator" to a six-acre portion of the DC Water site. In November 2012 the potential operator was revealed to be Showplace Icon, and in 2013 the plans for the entire site went through the Zoning PUD fun factory, and were approved late in the year.
The first phase of the project, which received Stage 2 PUD approvals from the Zoning Comission, will be the movie theater, a two-story 16-screen offering, built above a four-story parking structure, located at a new intersection of N Place SE and the to-be-built 1 1/2 Place.
The rest of the project envisions two residential buildings totaling 600 units, built along 1st Street directly across from the ballpark. with the facade of the existing red brick building at the corner of 1st and N Place preserved and incorporated into one of the buildings. Potomac Avenue would be extended eastward to the new 1 1/2 Place, and Diamond Teague Park would be expanded northward. There would also be a minimum 40,000 square feet of retail.
But all of this has to wait until DC Water can find a suitable new home for some of the operations that currently live at 125 O Street SE.
It's also worth noting with each post on this project that DC Water will not be departing the site completely--the beautiful historic Main Pumping Station building will keep right on pumping, as will the less-beautiful and less-historic O Street Pumping station. In addition, earlier this year DC Water solicited bids for the design of a new headquarters building, which would bring the agency's HQ from Blue Plains to a space on top of the O Street station.
Comments (1)
More posts: Retail, theater, DC Water (WASA), The Yards at DC Water
 

Long weekends mess with the mind.
* CRUISING BY THE HOOD: The Near Southeast Community Partners group, in concert with the 11th Street Bridge Park Project, Living Classrooms, and Anacostia Riverkeeper, are having a "Community Vision Cruise" along the Anacostia River on June 16 from 6 to 8 pm. Cruisers will ride the river on a 1928 boat and learn about the bridge park and programs to clean up the river, with food provided by Agua 301 and Ice Cream Jubilee. Tickets are $60 (and can bepurchased online), but note that space is limited.
* LOOKING AT THE HOOD: Urban Turf surveys the current state of the neighborhood, after the "rain delay" of the 2008-2012 time frame: "Now, Capitol Riverfront is seeing long-planned projects come to fruition, parks, restaurants and retailers are drawing visitors from across the city, and the streets no longer resemble a ghost town."
* FATTENING UP THE HOOD: The Tour de Fat is this Saturday at Yards Park, so get your bike and your liver tuned up.
* CROWDING IN THE HOOD: DDOT recently released the M Street Southeast/Southwest Special Events Study final report, which looks at the traffic impact along M Street of a number of potential entertainment venues, including of course Nats Park but also the potential new soccer stadium at Buzzard Point, all the attractions to come at the Wharf, and the movie theater eventually coming to the DC Water site. (The entire report is an 81 MB PDF, so get a cup of coffee.)
 

The title of this post says it all (in other words, I am not in full blogging mode this week).
* PUMP IT UP: City Paper reports that DC Water is soliciting bids for the design of a new headquarters, which would move from Blue Plains to a new building atop the existing O Street Pumping Station. (NOT the beautiful Main Pumping Station just to the north!)
And, if one looks at the renderings that Forest City released during its quest for zoning approval to develop three blocks around the station, you can deduce that this idea did not crop up in the last few days. The rendering above shows the O Street station in the right foreground, and you can see how it does look similar to the description reported by City Paper: "[It] will have five stories of offices perched above the pumping station. The offices will be supported by columns; there may or may not be a small gap between them and the pumping station."
(Note that this is a separate issue from the stalled drive to move some of DC Water's operations before Forest City can start work on the proposed movie theater there.)
* THUMBS UP: The Zoning Commission has issued the final orders to allow veterinary hospitals in the Southeast Federal Center Overlay and for the Trapeze School to move to New Jersey and Tingey.
* BOTTOMS UP (OR NOT): An application for a Class C liquor license is now in the pipeline for the The Big Stick, the new restaurant coming later this year to 20 M Street, The application describes the venture thusly: "A sports bar featuring an alpine lodge theme and d├ęcor serving casual foods such as bratwursts, sausages and kielbasas, salads, sandwiches, wraps and crispy oven-baked macaroni and cheese. Occasional DJ. No nude performances."
That's all that's up with me. What's up with you?
 

The Washington Business Journal is reporting that DC Water has rejected the new spot proferred by the city for the relocation of some of the agency's operations at 1st and O SE, stalling forward progress on Forest City's plans for a 16-screen movie theater along with residential and retail offerings just east of Nationals Park.
Apparently additional relocation sites have been offered by the city to DC Water and are being reviewed, but the article says they have not been named. There's no real explanation of why the agency rejected the site east of 11th Street SE south of Water Street, except for this quote from Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins: "They [DC Water] have criteria, and what you think works doesn't necessarily work. [...] We were very clear that the site worked, but they were clear that it did not work. They had the option to say no."
In addition to the movie theater, expected to be operated by Showcase Icon, Forest City has plans for 600 residential units in two buildings, along with around 50,000 square feet of retail on about five acres of land near (but not including) the historic Main Pumping Station between N Place SE and the Anacostia River.
While this relocation is getting sorted out, you can read my past posts about the DC Water site project, and check out the latest renderings of the theater and buildings planned for the site, some of which came along during my hiatus and so haven't officially been mentioned on the blog. Until now!
UPDATE, 2/20: There's now a follow-up WBJ story with DC Water's side of the story, saying that the 11th Street site was too small, too narrow, too difficult to navigate, located in a flood plain, in a heavily contaminated Superfund site, and has "tremendous traffic challenges."
It does quote agency head George Hawkins as saying that DC Water is not trying to drag its feet: "We're engaged, we're analyzing sites as fast as we get them."
The article also mentions that if a solution isn't found soon, the DC council may want to reallocate the $15 million it has budgeted for the land acquisition of a new site. "And that could potentially set the Showplace icon theater and associated development back a number of years."
Comments (4)
More posts: Development News, DC Water (WASA), The Yards, The Yards at DC Water
 

The Friday of a holiday weekend is no time to post anything that requires a lot of concentration, so I'll just go with a couple of pictures.
First, at right (click to enlarge), a rendering of the Twelve12 development's southwest corner at 4th and Tingey SE, now updated to show in the corner ground-floor retail space that Sweetgreen will be coming to when the project is completed in mid-2014.
And below, an overhead view of what some of the DC Water acreage could look like if/when Forest City's plans to Yard-ify the site come to fruition:
Working from the far left, you see Nats Park at 1st Street and the two green-roofed residential buildings totalling 625ish units, along with the 16-screen movie theater just to their east. There's also a whole lot more grass and greenery around the two DC Water buildings that would remain on the site, the historic Main Pumping Station and also the more midcentury O Street station building by the river. And, if you know what you're looking for, you can see that Diamond Teague Park has been expanded northward, and Potomac Avenue has been extended one block east to a new street (1 1/2 Place) that would run between the theater and the residential buildings.
(There's also a couple of other interesting tidbits on this drawing, including two new buildings at far right just to the north of the Yards Park's great lawn, and two other buildings just to the north of the theater and 1st street buildings. All of these are within the footprint of the Yards, on sites currently occupied by surface parking lots. But those are probably still a good ways off. And you can also see at the very bottom right the first hint of the marina that is supposed to be coming to the Yards Park someday.)
 
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