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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Water Taxis/Riverboats
In the Pipeline
1244 South Capitol
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Yards/Parcel O
JBG/Akridge/Half St.
Ex-Monument/Half St.
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
Yards/Icon Theater
DC Water HQ
1333 M St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
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)
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40 Blog Posts Since 2003
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Pulling together some reminders and other recent Twittered tidbits:
* This Sunday is NatsFest at the ballpark, from 1 pm to 5 pm. It's being held indoors in the various club areas, so if you've never gotten to see some of the lounges, or the conference center, or the clubhouse, this might be a good opportunity. Season-ticket holders get four free tickets; for the rest of the world it's $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.
* Last week a raze permit was issued for the defunct Wendy's on I Street. No word on when demolition will actually occur. This is where JPI is planning its fourth Capitol Yards apartment building, 23 I Street, but there's been no recent intelligence on when they might decide to get underway.
* Construction hasn't yet begun on the Park at the Yards, but some additional information and more detailed renderings should be coming to light over the next month. Forest City is scheduled to make presentations to the National Capital Planning Commission on Feb. 5, and the Commission on Fine Arts on Feb. 16, and possibly ANC 6D on Feb. 9.
* A reader is reporting this morning that a derrick crane is going up at Diamond Teague Park--perhaps that's to begin work on the water taxi piers. (Though note that there was already a crane of some sort there back in December when I took these photos.)
* Apparently the various property owners surrounding the section of Eighth Street south of the freeway have gotten together along with the Capitol Riverfront BID to start working on plans to perk up the area, using the Connect Barracks Row report by University of Maryland Urban Studies and Planning students as a jumping-off point. Look for public meetings in February-ish.
 

* Last week I posted about the "DC Inaugural Gala" scheduled for Monday, Jan. 19 at the US DOT HQ at New Jersey and M. I didn't have much information, but a little more has come down the pike. It will be featuring the O'Jays and Salsa "king" Johnny Pacheco, as well as local artists Brian Lanier, Familiar Faces, Tommy Bryant and the Giants of Sound, and Nuera.
Mayor Fenty, Council Chairman Gray, and DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton are scheduled to attend, and it's being billed as the first (outside) event ever held at US DOT. Also, according to the press release, "The hundreds of guests in attendance also will be able to visit small intimate parties in special 'neighborhood rooms' that will be decorated by residents to make local people feel at home and give visitors a taste of District of Columbia communities."
Ticket prices have been, um, revised to $144 per person, along with higher-priced tickets with additional bells and whistles. Tickets can be purchased online at DCPresidentialGala.com (though as of Sunday afternoon it still lists the previous higher price for single tickets).
And, FYI, my employer doesn't let me go to inaugural balls other than on official business, so everyone be sure to tell me all about the parties, and think about me while I stay home cleaning the house and cursing my wicked stepmother and stepsisters.
* The Coast Guard has released the specifics of the security on the Anacostia and Potomac rivers surrounding the inauguration. On Jan. 18 and 19, recreational boaters will not be allowed in the security zone (which, for the Anacostia, is from Route 50 down to the Potomac), and those moored within the zone must not move without authorization. From 11 pm Jan. 19 until early Jan. 21, all vessel movements (recreational and commercial) will be prohibited.
And now, rehashing the other Twitter updates of the past few days:
* Tommy Wells has posted the list of Ward 6 establishments that have applied to stay open during the Inauguration extended hours. None of the hundreds of Near Southeast restaurants and bars are on the list (unless you want to count the Capitol Skyline Hotel at South Capitol and I, SW), but a number of Southwest Waterfront, Barracks Row, and Pennsylvania Avenue joints are on the list.
* It's a shame that Diamond Teague Park isn't done yet, because it could have gotten into the Inauguration Water Taxi biz--the Post's Inauguration Watch blog reported on Friday that there will be water taxi service from Alexandria to 600 Water Street, SW (Pier 4). $90 round-trip, $50 one-way. More info starting Monday at InauguralWaterTaxi.com, which just redirects to the Potomac Riverboat Company's web site. (They're the ones gunning for Teague service, when the docks are ready.)
* The comments on my new Douglass Bridge design post from Friday veered off unexpectedly into my posting a bit of a manifesto in response to the people who from time to time admonish me or implore me to lead some sort of "movement" of one kind or another for or against some project in Near Southeast. If you find my bland just-the-facts recitations of the latest news items aggravating or bewildering, this might help explain a bit.
And it also reveals why I leapt off the fence for the first time and expressed a design preference against the cable stayed swing that so many people wanted: on the arched bascule bridge (as well as the retractile and stayed bascule designs), there will be pedestrian/bike paths on both sides of the bridge, while the cable stayed swing design would only have one path, smack in the center of the bridge, slightly elevated but still surrounded by six lanes of high-speed traffic. To me, if I'm going to cross a grand promenade bridge by foot or bike from one liveable, walkable community to another (someday!), I'd rather be able to stop and gaze out at the waterfront and the shorelines instead of white-knuckling across it as fast as possible to get away from the cars whizzing by me on both sides.
Now I shall return to keeping my preferences to myself!
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More posts: US Dept. of Transportation HQ, inauguration09, Traffic Issues, Water Taxis/Riverboats
 

A press release from the mayor's office (not yet online) tells us that this afternoon Mayor Fenty accepted $800,000 from the developers of Florida Rock/RiverFront for the construction of Diamond Teague Park next door. This contribution was part of the second-stage Planned Unit Development approval given by the Zoning Commission a few months back for the 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project.
Here's what the press release says about the park (emphases mine): "The District will use the $800,000 contribution from Florida Rock to help pay for Diamond Teague Park, which is dedicated to the memory of Diamond Teague, a member of the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) who was murdered five years ago. The Park will include a water taxi; new boat slips for the ECC and fire and life safety vessels; an environmental pier for educational groups, kayaks and canoes; and a riverfront boardwalk and a half-acre park. Construction of the park is expected to start in November and will be completed this spring."
The event was also touted as an "unveiling" of the plans for the Florida Rock site, which I'm assuming (since I wasn't able to be at this event today) haven't changed too much since they were approved by the Zoning Commission in May. The press release has the raw numbers, which don't look too different: "Florida Rock's 'Riverfront on the Anacostia' will include about 560,000 square feet of residential and hotel space - with 29,000 square feet is reserved for affordable housing. It will also include about 545,000 square feet of commercial office space, at least 80,000 square feet of retail and a large waterfront plaza with a waterfront promenade."
But there is one line in the release that's going to chagrin those who have been looking forward to this project: "Construction could begin as soon as 2011." During the time leading up to the final zoning approvals, RiverFront's developers had said that it was possible that the first phase of the project--the eastern office building and the public plaza, adjacent to Teague Park--could see construction begin in fall 2009.
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More posts: Earth Conservation Corps, Florida Rock, Teague Park, Water Taxis/Riverboats, zoning
 

On the consent agenda of Thursday's National Capital Planning Commission meeting is a request for "approval of preliminary and final site development plans" for Diamond Teague Park, the new public park to be built by the city on the Anacostia River at the foot of First Street, SE, just across Potomac Avenue from Nationals Park.
As I've written about in the past, plans call for piers to be built around the red brick Capitol Pumphouse that is home to the Earth Conservation Corps, and there will also be floating docks that will allow visitors to see the wetlands along the water's edge (one of the last waterfront segments in the area not to have been bulkheaded, apparently). Benches, granite paths, and a garden will be installed, along with a memorial to Diamond Teague, the ECC volunteer who was murdered in 2003. Eventually this park will be connected via a floating boardwalk to the Waterfront Park at the Yards.
In the Executive Director's recommendation, the NCPC commends the city "for linking this project to planned open space along the waterfront to provide a continuous public open space system along the Anacostia River; for developing a portion of the Anacostia River as a high-quality urban park with a mix of recreational opportunities that emphasizes the river's ecological and scenic qualities and character; and for providing accommodations for a water taxi system to serve the neighborhood and the Washington Nationals' baseball stadium."
Statements over the summer from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (which is stewarding the park) indicated that work will begin on the park this fall, with this first phase completed by spring 2009. (And yes, that includes the water taxi piers. Though there's been no word yet of any deals with taxi companies.)
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More posts: Teague Park, Water Taxis/Riverboats, The Yards, Yards Park
 

As I scrounge around the interwebs in a desperate search for news, I see that on June 27 the Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the city's permit application for Diamond Teague Park, the 39,000-sq-ft public park planned for the land where First Street ends at Potomac Avenue, on the banks of the Anacostia River across from Nationals Park. The office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development tells me that the receipt of this permit allows the city to complete the design of the park, which will include water taxi piers surrounding the little red brick pumphouse used by the Earth Conservation Corps. While there's still DC and National Park Service permits to be acquired, the city expects to begin construction on the first phase of the park this fall--yes, this means that the water taxi piers would be completed by Opening Day 2009, if all goes according to the current schedule. The second phase of the park will come if and when WASA vacates the southern portion of its property. See my Diamond Teague project page for recent renderings of the park's design and photos of the site. The park is named for an Earth Conservation Corps volunteer who was murdered in 2003.
(Stay tuned over the next few days for some additional interesting tidbits I've unearthed from digging through public records.)
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More posts: Teague Park, DC Water (WASA), Water Taxis/Riverboats
 

Today's Post has a profile of the Earth Conservation Corps, noting how the environmental awareness group "aims to have events in the children's play zone at Nationals Park as soon as this week. The ballpark plans include having young corps members interacting with an owl and a hawk, and having members facilitate educational games and activities. The group will also encourage fans to walk to its facility in the Old Capitol Pumphouse, steps from the ballpark, at Diamond Teague Park, after games." The ECC is also the recipient of a three-year grant totaling $120,000 from the Nationals Dream Foundation. The article says that the city is still planning to build the new docks at the pumphouse this summer or fall, to enable water taxi service to begin there by the opening of the 2009 baseball season. You can see my ECC/Diamond Teague Park page for photos and renderings of the plans for the park.
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More posts: Earth Conservation Corps, Nationals Park, Teague Park, Water Taxis/Riverboats
 

This morning's Post has an interview with Deborah Ratner Salzberg, president of Forest City Washington, the company behind The Yards and much of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment. Bullet points of interest:
* Salzberg says that they're "just beginning construction" on the 170-unit Pattern Shop Lofts, with work starting this summer on the 45,000-sq-ft Boilermaker Shop retail space and the Waterfront Park. All three are expected to be opened by fall of 2009 (though I think there will be later phases of the park with additional offerings, such as the water taxi piers she mentions). The Boilermaker Shop will have "restaurants, a bookstore and possibly a climbing wall."
* She says (as we heard a few weeks ago) that construction will begin this summer on the Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhouses at Capper.
There's going to be more of the interview posted today on the Post's WashBizBlog; I'll add the link when it's available. UPDATE: Here's the complete interview.
This would have been a fabulous time for me to post those new photos I took in The Yards this weekend, but alas, I haven't gotten to them yet. Soon, I promise.
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More posts: Boilermaker Shops/Yards, Foundry Lofts/Yards, Water Taxis/Riverboats, The Yards, Yards Park
 

As the clock ticks toward Opening Day (38 days away!), it's normal to be wondering about the status of some of the other projects near the ballpark. I've just gotten an update from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on Diamond Teague Park, the planned public plaza with water taxi piers on the banks of the Anacostia just across from the stadium's grand staircase at First and Potomac. The design of the park is being finalized, but you can see recent site maps and renderings on my project page (there are also links to enlarged versions of those images for better viewing).
The city is continuing to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to get permits for the piers. After the Army Corps signs off, some DC permits will need to be approved, and then construction on the park's first phase can begin--this will include all of the "in-water improvements" (i.e., the piers) and the portion of the park that's closest to the waterline. It's expected that this first phase will be completed by the time winter arrives in late 2008. The northern portion of the park site sits on land controlled by WASA, and must wait for those operations to be relocated before that part of the park can be built.
In the meantime, the park site will be "beautified" for Opening Day, with plans for a bit of a cleanup, new plantings, sandstone, etc.
As for the RiverFront site next door (which we all know as Florida Rock but which the developers want me to call either "FRP" or "RiverFront" to prevent confusion between themselves [Florida Rock Properties/FRP Development Corp.] and the not-involved-with-developing-the-site Florida Rock Industries)--I've been told that new fences will be put up around the site by Opening Day, to pretty things up a bit along that stretch as well.
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More posts: Florida Rock, Nationals Park, Teague Park, DC Water (WASA), Water Taxis/Riverboats
 

A slew of site plans and renderings showing the designs for the Waterfront Park at the Yards have now entered into the public record, thanks to requirements that early designs (35%) be shown to the National Capital Planning Commission. The NCPC will be voting on the designs at this Thursday's meeting, and NCPC staff is recommending is that they be approved.
The staff recommendation document is must reading for anyone interested in the park, as it lays out many of the plans for the 5.5-acre site. There will be a huge "Great Lawn" on the western portion of the site (south of what will be an extended Second Street). The currently existing inlet will be extended northward for a shallow "Canal Basin", with an elaborate pedestrian bridge above it. The designs also show the basic location of piers, marinas, and a water taxi stand (cue Nats fans salivating), although the review of their designs will come later. The existing Lumber Storage Shed (Building 173) will be renovated into glass-enclosed retail and entertainment offering, and two other buildings will eventually come to the park as well. At the eastern end will be a "River Garden", a shadier, more lush area of greenery. There will also eventually be some sort of "vertical iconic element" erected on the pier at Third Street, but no details are yet divulged.
It's estimated that the park will open in 2010. I have some photos of what the park area looks like now, and have also included a few of the new renderings, but it's been a tough spot to get to over the years. (If your browser doesn't jump you to the right place, scroll to the bottom of the page. I'm gonna have to revamp my Yards stuff--it's too much going on to try to shoehorn into my current design scheme!)
UPDATE: I should also mention, for those of you interested in parking issues, that blacktop is now being put down on the open lot at The Yards south of Tingey between New Jersey and Third.....
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More posts: Water Taxis/Riverboats, The Yards, Yards Park
 

The draft agenda for tomorrow's (Nov. 15) monthly meeting of the Commission on Fine Arts indicates that there will be a presentation of a revised design for Diamond Teague Park. The city initially brought the park in front of the CFA back in September, where according to the meeting's minutes the design was met with a number of concerns about its "fussy and timid" small-scale design when compared to the grand scope of the ballpark across the street; it was described as "overly focused on small elements that are conceptually inappropriate within the large-scale context." (And I'm not sure that the landscape architect's response that the grand staircase of the ballpark should be reduced in size in order for it to better relate to this new smaller park was the best reply.) A post-meeting letter from the CFA after the meeting outlined the revisions the commission was seeking.
I suggest reading the CFA minutes, which give a very detailed description of the initial plans for the park as well as the back-and-forth between the commissioners, Judi Greenberg of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and landscape architect Jonathan Fitch; you can look at these original park designs on the web site of Fitch's Landscape Architecture Bureau, by navigating through all the Flash ridiculousness to Projects, then Green, then Diamond Teague.
According to the minutes, the plans are to build the park in three phases, starting with the commercial and recreational piers and the central portion of the park (on the one section of land the city currently owns); later phases would be dependent on Florida Rock's development of its planned public plaza abutting Teague Park and the development of the southern portion of the WASA site as well as the construction of a floating boardwalk to connect the park to the waterfront park at The Yards (scheduled for completion in 2010). If you're interested in the water taxis that the city envisions docking at Teague Park, the minutes have a lot of detail about how their operations would work; apparently a lot of coordination is going on with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, though there's yet to be any design released by the Corps for public comment.
There was a fair amount of discussion about whether the park's scale can accommodate the large number of visitors that will be drawn over by the ballpark and by the proposed water taxi piers, as well as questions about whether the park should even be built if WASA (right next door) is not addressing sewer overflow issues. (Lovely.)
Six weeks later, on Nov. 1, the park went through another of its many required reviews, this time by the National Capital Planning Commission, which "commented favorably" on the park's design without discussion; the staff recommendation document has a black-and-white site plan for the park that does seem to have been reworked in response to the CFA comments, but I don't know for sure if that's the same design being presented to the CFA on Thursday.
I won't be able to go to the CFA meeting, so hopefully I can get some information on what transpires without having to wait too long, although so far the city has held information about the park very close to its vest. In the meantime, you can look at my pictures of the site and see what little background links and info I've been able to scrounge up.
UPDATE, 11/19: The CFA did approve this revised design at the 11/15 meeting.
More posts: Florida Rock, Teague Park, DC Water (WASA), Water Taxis/Riverboats, The Yards, Yards Park
 
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