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909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
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Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
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Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
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Another construction project is now confirmed to be starting soon, with the announcement earlier this month that Skanska has signed a $60 million contract to build the new DC Water headquarters on the banks of the Anacostia River.
For those who haven't been following along, the new building will be built as a "surround" to the existing red-brick O Street Pumping Station (no, not the historic Main Pumping Station).
Skanska's press release says that construction will begin this year, and is slated for completion in late 2017.
The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail bridge between the Yards Park and Diamond Teague Park will offer a prime viewing location for the construction, as you can see in the latest renderings passed along with the announcement (and I've included one of my shots of the existing O Street building for those who need refreshing).
This is the second office project that Skanska currently has in the neighborhood, as it is building the on-spec 99 M office building a few blocks to the north.
Comments (14)
More posts: Development News, DC Water (WASA)
 

There's no good "art" to go with any of these tidbits, so instead I present to you the northwest corner of Half and N, SE, taken May 4, 2003, which now looks like this and will someday look like this.
* HAMBURGLARY: Fresh on the news of its pending demise, the McDonald's at South Capitol and I was robbed early Saturday morning, with the three suspects jumping through the drive-through window to get to the cash. And here's MPD's Persons of Interest video. (WaPo, MPD)
* CSX DERAILMENT: The derailment in Northeast of a CSX train carrying hazardous materials has reignited {sorry} the concerns over both the city's need to boost its oversight of freight rail and the movement of hazmat through the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. (WaPo, plus a City Paper piece as well)
* TENANT NEWS: "Global public strategy firm" Mercury Public Affairs, LLC has signed a lease for the 8,020 square feet of office space in the upper levels of the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, and will move in this summer. As for other Yards tenants, I hear that Whaley's could be opening Any Minute Now, with Philz not far behind. (Elsewhere, the Brig is probably still a couple of weeks away.)
* THE VERY MODEL OF A MINOR MODIFICATION: Forest City is back to the Zoning Commission with some changes to the design of the planned Showplace Icon movie theater. But you might need a microscope to spot the difference between old vs new on the exterior renderings. (And it's technically not a "minor modification," but I was feeling all Gilbert and Sullivan this morning.)
* BEHIND THE CURTAIN: DCist profiles a crazy blogger who has spent years taking photos of construction sites. I mean, honestly! Get a life!
 

How's that Metro Shutdown Day working for you? At least it was a beautiful morning for a walk/ride/telecommute to your sofa, for those lucky enough to have those options.
Here's a few things, some of which could be their own posts, but, well, my walk wore me out.
MOVIE THEATER EXTENSION: On Monday night the Zoning Commission granted Forest City's request for a two-year extension to the PUD governing the plans for the Showplace Icon movie theater on the current DC Water site, which has continued to see delays because of DC Water's issues with moving some of its operations off of the site as planned. And, probably in response to a WBJ story a few days ago headlined "Big trouble for proposed multiplex at The Yards? Site 'may be in limbo for many years'," Forest City issued a press release quoting its president, Deborah Ratner Salzberg, as saying that "We look forward to beginning construction on the Showplace Icon Theater at The Yards by the end of this year," and that "DC Water, the District and Forest City meet weekly on this project to ensure that this first-ever theater complex for Southeast DC opens on time." There is also a quote from the CEO of Kerasotes Showplace Theaters, Tony Kerasotes, saying that "We realize this is a complicated site and remain fully engaged in seeing it through and moving forward with construction."
HISTORIC DESIGNATION: The little Lincoln Playground Field House at 555 L Street SE, now nestled between Van Ness Elementary School and the Bixby, has been designated a DC historic landmark. It was built in 1934, and you can read more about its significance here. As for getting it rehabilitated, ANC commissioner Meredith Fascett says there will be a community meeting upcoming on both the field house and a redesign of the adjacent Joy Evans Park.
POLLING PLACE MOVE: The DC Board of Elections has announced that the polling place for Near Southeast's Precinct 131 will be moving from Van Ness Elementary School to the gym at the new Capper Community Center one block to the north, starting with the June 14 primary. However, DCBOEE might want to double-check the address they are using for the community center, since in the past it's always been 1000 5th St., SE, and "1005" would be one of the townhouses across the street.
DOCK 79 LEASING: Pre-leasing of the apartment building on the Florida Rock site just south of Nats Park starts on April 7, the day of the Nats home opener.
BIG STICK HOURS: The beer and brats place at Half and M SE has applied for a "substantial change" to its liquor license, looking to extend its allowed beverage sales/service/consumption hours to 1 am Sunday-Thursday and 2 am Friday and Saturday.
 

Residents anxious to see the construction get underway on the planned Showplace Icon movie theater will be displeased to read this, but...:
Earlier this month Forest City filed a two-year extension request with the Zoning Commission, as the continuing bureaucratic machinations to move DC Water's fleet maintenance and customer care operations off of the site at 1st and O SE have moved slowly enough that Forest City has been unable to file for a building permit by the date required in the zoning approvals received in early 2014.
While there have been steps that have moved the process forward, including the official execution of a lease with Showplace Icon theaters back in July, Forest City writes in its letter to the Zoning Commission that the lack of a building permit filing "is due to continuing challenges in identifying and developing appropriate relocation facilities that are acceptable to DC Water. DMPED and DC Water have worked diligently--with continued assistance from Forest City--to identify appropriate relocation facilities [for the operations], but substantial work still remains."
Land in Prince George's County has been acquired for the fleet operations, but Forest City says that DMPED and DC Water "are currently negotiating an agreement on the scope of improvements to be built out at the new site," and that once those are completed, "the improvements must be designed, permitted, and built."
As for a potential new customer care operations site, there is apparently work underway between DMPED and WMATA "to acquire a property that would serve as a new location." But, while "the parties are actively discussing the terms of the site control with DC Water," there would still need to be design and construction before a move could happen.
The letter goes on to say that DMPED and DC Water--the entities with "sole responsibility" for the moves--"estimate that the relocation of one of the two operations could be completed within 10 months," but that "out of an abundance of caution and in recognition of the complex negotiations and construction required" for either or both of the operations to be relocated, Forest City is requesting the two-year extension, because even after relocation, the movie theater parcel will need environmental remediation before construction can proceed.
There are also plans for two residential buildings to be built along 1st Street, once both sets of operations are moved and the construction of the movie theater is finished.
(For those zoning fanboys out there, I'll be a bit more precise and say that technically Forest City is requesting a two-year extension of the consolidated PUD approval for the movie theater parcel and the first-stage PUD approval for the remaining parcels, plus a two-year extension of the original first-stage approval, because doing that would reset the clock on the twelve-year time frame originally approved for filing for a second-stage PUD for the remaining parcels. {pantpantpant})
Finally, while only tangentially related, I'll remind readers that not all of DC Water's operations will be leaving this plot of land between Nats Park and the Yards, and that DC Water's plans for its new headquarters to be built on top of the existing O Street Pumping Station immediately to the south of the movie theater site received final approvals from the Zoning Commission in recent weeks, and construction should/could be underway there this summer.
My DC Water and Yards at DC Water pages give more details and background on these projects, should you so desire.
Comments (20)
More posts: Development News, DC Water (WASA), The Yards at DC Water, zoning
 

It was back in June that we saw the first hints of the six-story green-glassed undulating LEED-platinum building that DC Water is proposing for its new headquarters, to be built on top of and surrounding the existing red brick O Street Pumping Station. (No, not the historic main pumping station.) This location is also immediately to the south of the planned Showcase Icon movie theater, which you can as the top-right "Development by Others" box in the site plan.
This week, in advance of the project's Oct. 26 hearing, additional documents were filed with the Zoning Commission, and of course I can't resist drawings depicting bright sunny vistas with shiny new structures, so here's a big pile of views, starting with the ones that most people will see, looking east and west along the bridge between Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park (click to enlarge):
Next up are the wider views, from above the Anacostia River (left), the Yards Park (center) and from the interesection of 1st and Potomac, a view which shows the plans to extend Potomac Avenue one block eastward, which is also visible in the from-above view along with general concepts of the expansion of Diamond Teague Park and also where Forest City will be putting residential buildings across from the ballpark:
This last batch shows a closer street-level view from the new Potomac Avenue extension (with the movie theater building immediately to the rear), from a new behind-the-security-fences plaza at the foot of the building that most of us will never set foot on, a rooftop view, and then the cute little combination guard house/covered bike parking on the north end of the site.
The project received the unanimous support of ANC 6D at its September meeting, albeit with having secured a letter from DC Water stating that the agency "will take any and all reasonable measures to prevent our employees from parking on residential streets," a concern given that the plans have only 20 on-site spaces. Steps include a $75 transit subsidy, negotiations for additional off-site parking spaces, and "maximum flexibility" for telework and alternative work schedules when there are events at the ballpark. DC Water also pledges to have the displays in the building's public lobby "to share community news, [and] advertise Yards Park or Capitol Riverfront BID events."
You can check out my DC Water page for more views of the footprint, and also read my previous post on the HQ for more details.
Comments (13)
More posts: DC Water (WASA), zoning
 

The news that so many people have been waiting for just crossed the transom, with a press release from Forest City announcing that a lease has at last been signed with Showplace Icon Theaters and that construction on the planned 16-screen, 1,500-seat "premium cinema complex" on DC Water land just east of Nats Park is "expected to begin in early 2016 with opening projected for early 2018."
From the release: "Each theater in the new Showplace Icon at The Yards will feature wall-to-wall screens and premium sound, deluxe leather recliner seats and reserved seating. The facility will also have exclusive VIP levels with adults-only access and tables for enjoying food and beverages inside the auditoriums. The theatre's Lobby Lounge will feature a full bar, along with a tasty menu of appetizers, small plates, snacks and desserts for enjoying before, during or after the show." The theater will also have its own 320-space parking garage.
Word of Forest City's plans for a movie theater first leaked out in the spring of 2013, but it wasn't until just a few months ago that the deal to take control of this portion of the DC Water site was locked down. Though note that the press release also says that "the theatre construction start is dependent upon DC Water’s timetable for vacating that portion of the property."
There are also plans for two residential buildings along 1st Street, though no timeline for those has been announced.
(PS: deep in the release, it mentions that the Due South restaurant at the Lumber Shed is expected to open "this summer." No date for Nicoletta, though. It also says that the PN Hoffman condo building and Forest City's apartment building immediately to its south on the current trapeze school lot are expected to break ground in early 2016.)
 

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.
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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.
 
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