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Friday Tidbits: CBS Radio Coming, Liquor License Applications
Apr 18, 2014 3:36 PM
If it weren't pouring rain at my undisclosed vacation location, I'd be leaving these until Monday, but boredom is overtaking me.
* MORE NEW NEIGHBORS: The move of CBS Radio to 1015 Half Street, rumored in February, is now confirmed, both in my inbox and now in WBJ. Mayor Gray is holding a press conference with various officials at the building Monday mornng. The radio folks are taking about 33,000 square feet on the second floor, and WBJ says they "will also lease about 3,000 square feet on the building's ground floor for use as a performance studio to host talent planning to play other venues during tour stops in D.C." (Maybe passersby will get to press their noses up to the glass to see who's there!) CBS Radio will be joining the National Labor Relations Board at 1015 Half, which announced its lease of 143,000 square feet in January.
* MORE BEVERAGES: Today's DC Register has two notices of alcoholic beverage license applications of note, both at the Yards. One is for 100 Montaditos, the Spanish small sandwiches restaurant coming to the Boilermaker Shops, and TaKorean, which will be bringing its Korean-style tacos to Twelve12. The apps say that Montaditos will have 74 seats, and TaKorean will have 60 seats, along with a 14-seat sidewalk cafe.
Now I shall return to watching the rain.

Wednesday Tidbits: Spring Break Edition
Apr 15, 2014 4:33 PM
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 décor 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?

Forest City Looking for More Residential Height in 'Yards West'
Apr 7, 2014 10:06 AM
Forest City Washington, desiring to begin development on the western portion of the Yards, is requesting a change to the Southeast Federal Center Overlay that would "align the height and density of any residential development in the Yards West with similar residential density to the west in the CG/CR Overlay and the south in the DC Water Sites PUD."
(And yes, this "Yards West" thing is new, but it does make some sense, given how the properties along 1st Street are mostly separated from the heart of the Yards between 3rd and 4th.)
As shown on the graphic Forest City provided to the Zoning Commission, the four parcels along N Street just east of 1st dubbed F, G, H, and I currently have a maximum allowed height of 110 feet, while to the north, south, and west there's a 130-foot maximum. (There's also a density difference that caps Yards residential development at 6.0 FAR versus 7.0-8.2 in the Capitol Gateway (CG) Overlay.)
This means that the SEFC Overlay permits less height and density than on the surrounding properties because, Forest City says, "no one fully anticipated the success of the tremendous public and private investment that is transforming the area."
Further proposed text amendments would "require Zoning Commission design review for any property utilizing bonus height and density for residential use" and would "authorize deviations from the ground-floor preferred use requirements, only after approval from the Zoning Commission."
During the zoning hearings a few weeks back to allow some changes to the NGA building site (known as Parcels A, F, and G, but which for now I just call Parcel A because I'm lazy), it was mentioned that Forest City was in the process of hiring an architect to design a residential building on Parcel H, which is on the southeast corner of 1st and N, with hopes of beginning development in 2015. Though I'm guessing they'll want to find out whether they can build to 130 feet instead of 110 before finalizing that design.
More as it develops.

It's Spring, and the Advertising Signage is in Bloom
Apr 5, 2014 6:46 PM
It ain't quite the cherry blossoms, but this year Near Southeast has spiffy fence signage erupting with full color as spring finally has sprung.
Ground zero for the new offerings is 1st Street between M and N (coincidentally, right where all those fans going to Nats Park will see them!).
Skanska has put up a new fence on the west side of the street and big ads for its 99 M office building (which also now has a web site, and the first clear rendering I've seen of the building). Click to enlarge:
Then, across the street, the Yards folks have unveiled their new logo along with other avatar-ready design elements and hipsteriffic promo photos:
A few blocks away, on the Tingey Street fence that will partially prevent me from watching the construction of Parcel N (boo), ads for the Twelve12 apartment building offer several tweet-appropriate slogans, though I will try to not add a magic marker-ed hashtag to "Find Your (#)Awesome."
I also got updated photos of the under-construction Park Chelsea and River Parc apartment buildings, but since they don't have new pretty signs on their fences they don't make the front page this time.

Tuesday Tidbits: Very Late Wednesday Edition
Apr 2, 2014 10:46 PM
* CSX I: Eleanor Holmes Norton tells USDOT to get moving: "I ask that you help ensure the prompt release of the Final EIS for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project so that the surrounding community is aware of the preferred alternative, any impacts this project may have on them, and any mitigation and benefits to the surrounding community."
* CSX II: ANC 6B writes to Mayor Gray: "We have serious concerns about the VAT project proposed in the draft environmental impact statement, and we urge you to ensure those concerns are adequately addressed before the District issues the requisite approvals for the project."
* POCKET CHANGE: The Wall Street Journal reports that "Investors who own the storied Hawk ‘n’ Dove bar and other Capitol Hill eating spots owe more than $9 million to D.C. restaurateur Xavier Cervera and his partners who sold the restaurants to them in late 2012." An earlier WSJ piece gives a wider view of the mess of financing this all appears to be.
* FOR THE RECORD: In Precinct 131 (Near Southeast), Muriel Bowser received 40 percent of the vote, Tommy Wells 30 percent, and Vince Gray 24 percent. And in the Ward 6 council race, Charles Allen beat Darrel Thompson 57-43. A grand total of 444 people cast ballots out of the 2,085 registered voters in the precinct. So, yay to 21.29 percent of you!
* BLUEJACKET AND BASEBALL: It seems like the brewery has already been here forever, but Bluejacket is about to embark on its first season of providing refreshments to Nats fans. They've announced that they will be "tailgating" on their patio at 10 am Friday for the season opener, and that their new outdoor grill will be open for business "weather permitting, all season long Thursdays through Sundays from 11 am until 10 pm and on all game days beginning two hours before the first pitch."
* SWEET!: Sweetgreen has gotten its tenant layout permit to begin the buildout of its space in Twelve12, on 4th Street across from Bluejacket.
* THROWBACK THURSDAY: I did a bit of purging in my office over the weekend, and found at least two museum-worthy items (here and here). That's in addition to the Canal Park groundbreaking shovel I still trip over on a regular basis.

Park Tavern, Willie's, Other Cervera Restaurants Declare Bankruptcy
Mar 29, 2014 8:32 AM
The DC Twitterverse lit up Friday night when the Wall Street Journal (?) reported the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Barracks Row Entertainment, the company behind the slew of neighborhood restaurants opened by Xavier Cervera, including the revamped Hawk & Dove, Lola's, Molly Malone's, Boxcar, Senart's, The Chesapeake Room, and Pacifico Cantina.
Barracks Row Entertainment is also behind the Park Tavern at Canal Park, and the will-it-ever-open Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, and those two entities are part of the bankruptcy as well. The filing says that the company has "between $1 million and $10 million in debt."
What does it all mean? I guess we will just have to see....

Southern Style Food Coming to the Lumber Shed?
Mar 28, 2014 11:49 AM
From Going Out Guide's preview of drinking options around the ballpark, there's this little tidbit: "By May 1, you’ll see a food truck preview of an as-yet-unnamed Southern-style restaurant, which Fairgrounds owner Bo Blair and Bayou chef Rusty Holman plan to open in the Lumber Shed in Yards Park, currently home to Osteria Morini and Agua 301. (Holman is a native of North Carolina.)"
If so, this would go into the empty space on the northwest corner of the building (across from Kruba Thai). It would also join Ice Cream Jubilee, which should be opening soon in the northeast corner of the building.
Forest City, as always, does not comment on leases before they are executed, so there is no confirmation of this as yet.
(Those Forest City staffers up on the second floor better all be getting memberships at Vida.)
Comments (1)
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, lumbershed, The Yards, Yards Park

Tuesday Tidbits: Mmm, Mmm, Good Edition
Mar 11, 2014 3:58 PM
Goodness, these piled up all of a sudden. Let's start with the food and drink-related items:
* Strolling by the long-in-the-works Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops over the weekend, I saw that flat screen TVs are now up on the walls. I imagine they are dreaming of being open by Opening Day.
* Ice Cream Jubilee at the Lumber Shed now has its tenant layout permit approved, so work should be underway there.
* PoPville reports that Hill Country's attempts to open a temporary location on Tingey Plaza behind USDOT haven't worked out.
And, on the non-digestible front:
* SWill reports on ANC 6D's newest commissioner, Stacy Cloyd, who is filling the 6D02 vacancy left by Ed Kaminski. A resident of Southwest, Stacy will also be representing areas east of South Capitol, including Velocity, Capitol Hill Tower, and Nats Park (and River Parc, before long).
* DDOT has released its draft Request for Proposals to the short-list finalists for the first two phases of the South Capitol Street project, which include building the new bridge and also rebuilding the interchange of I-295 and the Suitland Parkway.
* The new owners of the lot at South Capitol and N just north of Nats Park have withdrawn the pending zoning case for the site, which predated the property's recent sale. The previous ownership group had long been working on an office project, but in its withdrawal letter 1244 South Capitol Residential LLC says it is "studying development of the property for residential uses," and that it plans "to submit a new application for Capitol Gateway review in the near future."
* Outside the boundaries, but Near Southeast residents may still be interested in the looming start of the huge Wharf project on the Southwest Waterfront, with a ceremonial groundbreaking scheduled for March 19. Here's the Post's story on the new development, along with a photo gallery (which might seem to have a somewhat familiar style) of the current waterfront, before it's gone.

Details on Bang Salon at the Yards, Coming this Summer
Mar 5, 2014 4:19 PM
Some details out today about Bang Salon at the Yards, which will be coming in late summer as part of the "$6.5 million, 30,000-square-foot fitness and lifestyle complex" anchored by VIDA Fitness at Forest City's Twelve12 apartment and retail project in the Yards.
The 1,500-square-foot space will have a design described in a press release as "a fusion of modern, fresh and lively configurations that incorporates sophisticated hues of purple, black and white to create a classic, chic retro look," as can be seen in the rendering. There will be 15 stations, which will be encased in "glossy dove grey pods with tufted silver leather panels."
Bang, which already has three locations elsewhere in the area, apparently uses a performance-based pricing system--rating the stylists, not the clients--as well as an online booking option. Not surprisingly, Bang's own hair and body products will also be available for purchase.
VIDA's other affiliates, the Penthouse Pool Club and the Aura Spa, are also coming to Twelve12's three-story glass-enclosed retail complex at 4th and Tingey. In addition, Sweetgreen and TaKorean have signed leases to occupy ground-floor space on this corner, and Harris Teeter is now working on its own build-out at the north end of the block. It's also right across the street from the Boilermaker Shops, home of Bluejacket and Buzz Bakery, in case you need a reward after all the self-pampering and good living.
Comments (8)
More posts: bangsalon, Retail, vida, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Early Pre-Leasing Getting Underway for Twelve12
Feb 28, 2014 11:30 AM
Even though it's probably still at least a good three months before anyone can move into the new Twelve12 apartment building (i.e., the Teeter/Vida building) at the Yards, Forest City is about to softly begin the pre-leasing process.
Starting tomorrow (Saturday, March 1), leasing information will be available at the Foundry Lofts building just across the way at 301 Tingey St., SE, where interested parties can get the scoop on Twelve12's amenities beyond all of the well-discussed food and spa options.
The building will have about 218 units, and also Sweetgreen and TaKorean in the ground-floor retail spaces at 4th and Tingey.
Comments (7)
More posts: The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Beginning the Long, Slow, Joyous Farewell
Feb 27, 2014 2:57 PM
Yay!
It's not going to be all gone for a number of months, though. Clearly they're mostly working inside as of now. But still....
This will be probably the second-largest building to be demolished in the neighborhood, after the old Capper Seniors building at 7th and M. But I can't wait to see how Building 213's departure alters the horizon--when I look at my photos, it amazes me how many times there's a glimpse of it in the background from all manner of angles.
And then there will be a park. And the trapeze school. For a while.
My camera stands at the ready.
Comments (1)
More posts: The Yards, Yards/Parcel A/NGA

Photos: Much Catching Up to Do in the Name of Progress
Feb 23, 2014 3:53 PM
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.

DC Water Relocation Plans Hit Snag, Stalling Theater Project
Feb 19, 2014 5:32 PM
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

Tuesday Tidbits: All About the Preparation
Feb 18, 2014 3:04 PM
* PREPARING TO DIG: After a couple of articles highlighting residents' opposition to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the Post takes a look at how CSX and some rail experts view the reconstruction and expansion of the tunnel as a necessary step.
* PREPARING TO DECLARE: Also, there's now scheduled a council hearing about the tunnel project, on March 25 at 11 am. The hearing is actually on proposed resolution PR 20-601, "Sense of the Council for a Hearing on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project Resolution of 2013," which "is to the declare sense of the Council that the Unites States House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit should hold a hearing on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project." (So it's a hearing by one governmental body about whether they should tell another governmental body to hold a hearing.)
* PREPARING TO DE-SPOOK: The arrivial of bulldozers and dumpsters on site at the old NGA building at 1st and M SE has sharp-eyed observers tapping their toes waiting for the demolition to start, but as was mentioned previously, it's going to take about six months to complete. But maybe they can at least knock out some exterior walls before Opening Day, as a statement of intent to Nats fans who haven't kept up with the latest news (tsk, tsk).
* PREPARING TO ROCK: I showed a touch of hard-won skepticism last week in reporting that developers told ANC 6D that they expect to begin work on the first phase of Florida Rock's redevelopment in June. So I will follow that up by noting that, two days later, they appear to have filed an application for a shoring/sheeting permit. (Not seeing an application for any building yet, though.)
* PREPARING TO WANT: The WashBiz Journal last week looked at the retail states of four "hot neighborhoods" (subscribers only), highlighting what they "flaunt" and what they "want." After the flaunting (20 restaurants, Nats Park, Vida Fitness, and Whole Foods), Michael Stevens of the BID listed the "wants": child care facilities, apparel retailers, a large home furnishing store, and college classrooms (saying that the area "is positioning itself as a satellite campus destination for those maxed out on their space"). Non-subscribers can watch some video of Stevens's talk at the BID's annual meeting, at least..

Zoning News: Yes to Vet, and Capper Hearing to Come
Feb 14, 2014 12:16 PM
Now that I've come out of my snow bunker (being a weather geek is a terrible disease), I'll pass along these notes from the past week or so in Zoning Land:
* VET: The commission on Feb. 6 approved 5-0-0 Forest City's request for a wording change to allow a veterinary hospital to operate in the Southeast Federal Center Overlay area (basically, the Yards).
As I wrote a week or so ago, a vet is a potential tenant in Twelve12's retail space on Tingey Street, but before a lease can be signed, "veterinary boarding hospital and veterinary hospital uses" needed to be added to the SFC overlay's allowed uses, subject to a number of conditions (no more than 50 percent of the tenant space can be for boarding, that any animal legally sold in the District can be boarded, incidental boarding of animals for convalesence is allowed, order and waste handling requirements, and that grooming and supplies can only be "accessory" uses). There was some back-and-forth about the word "incidental," and it was agreed that that wording be better phrased before the final vote.
Forest City does not announce tenants until a lease is executed, so the name of the potential vet has not been released.
* CAPPER: On Feb. 10, the commission voted to "set down" for a full hearing the Housing Authority's request to modify the Capper PUD to allow 30 of the affordable housing units planned for squares 739, 767 and 768 to be transferred outside the Capper boundaries to the block where the Park Chelsea is currently under construction. (See the this map culled from the Office of Planning Report to help you visualize.)
The planning folks have a number of issues they want DCHA to address before the hearing on this modification, but not among them is the biggest issue that ANC 6D has with Square 767: that the Housing Authority is thinking about a plan that would change the original plans for a single 147-unit mixed-income building to two buildings, one a market rate-only condo building and the other an affordable housing-only building. (This plan is not mentioned in the housing authority's filings with the zoning commission.)
During the discussion, commission chair Anthony Hood noted that ANC 6D is "one of the ANCs that this commission knows is very engaged," which was in reference to the strongly worded letter the commission received with 6D's concerns that they and the community still need to be "appropriately briefed" about DCHA's plans, and that the commission be able to "fully vet our concerns with them regarding the request for modification." Hood also said, "Let's make sure the next vote we see shows that everyone is working together."
Concurrently, the commission's vote also deferred action on DCHA's parallel request for a five-year extension to the PUD covering these same three squares, saying that the extension request decision hinges on the modification case's decision. The Office of Planning is recommending just a two-year extension, and zoning commissioner Marcie Cohen said that DCHA needs to provide much more detailed information on the steps taken up to this point to secure financing, since it is her opinion that the initial filing doesn't seem show a "compelling need" for an exemption.
The hearing date isn't yet set, and DCHA will have to go to ANC 6D (and probably 6B as well) in order to request support before its zoning commission appearance. The Housing Authority and 6D have had a pretty contentious relationship over the years in regards to the Capper redevelopment, and it's unlikely that the deliberations over this zoning request will change that.

Condo Project May Be Coming to Yards; Other Yards Updates
Feb 3, 2014 8:38 PM
During Monday night's Zoning Commission hearing on allowing the move of the trapeze school from "Parcel O" at 4th and Tingey in the Yards to another space at New Jersey Avenue, Forest City's Ramsey Meiser revealed that the company is planning to sell a portion of Parcel O to allow for the development of a condo project there.
Meiser explained that while Forest City doesn't do condo development, "we want to have for-sale product at the Yards," hence the potential deal. The zoning filings say that "Parcel O will be developed in 2014/2015 and construction on Parcel O is expected to be completed by 2016/2017."
I've asked for further detail on this, which I may or may not get anytime soon, and I will update when I receive more.
Other tidbits that came out of the hearing:
* Forest City is in the process of hiring an architect to design a residential building for Parcel H, which is the western half of the parking lot on the southeast corner of 1st and N, directly across from Nationals Park and north of DC Water. There appears to be a desire to develop that site within the next couple of years.
* The company expects the demolition of the NGA building at 1st and M to take approximately six months, and that the reconfiguration of the block to include the trapeze school, a new park on the north end, and a slightly shrunken parking lot would be completed by the end of 2014.
* The new park, which with the rest of the block would be a temporary use until office buildings are constructed, has enough open green space that Forest City expects to work with the BID to activate it for some sorts of smaller sports activities (bocce and kickball yes, softball probably not).
Oh, and the commission voted 5-0 to approve the special exceptions to allow trapeze school and parking lot on the south end of the 1st and M block, on the sites technically known as Parcels F and G. (The park would be on Parcel A.) There was some back-and-forth about the need for trees on the site--they weren't included in the plans because Forest City expects buildings to eventually replace the temporary uses, but Forest City has agreed to work with DDOT and the Office of Planning on the issue, and the zoning commissioners did not feel it warranted delaying their vote.
UPDATE: In my haste to get this posted, I should have mentioned that the original Yards plans did include a condo project--a plan to have PN Hoffman convert Building 202, the red brick building at 5th and M east of what's now Twelve12. But that project has seemed to stall.

Yards Zoning Cases: Trapeze Move, and Maybe a Vet
Feb 3, 2014 12:03 PM
In a nice break from its evaluations of boxy 13-story buildings, the Zoning Commission this week has on its agenda two cases dealing with somewhat unusual development requests at the Yards.
The first, which is being heard tonight, has to do with the reconfiguration of the block at 1st and M streets SE after spooky Building 213 gets demolished sometime in the coming months.
As I wrote back in December, Forest City is wanting to move Trapeze School New York from its current 4th and Tingey location to the northwest corner of New Jersey and Tingey, shrink and reconfigure the existing 1st Street parking lot by 22 spaces, and build a temporary public park on the north half of the block. (The overview drawing at right can help you visualize this.)
The parking lot and the trapeze school move each require zoning approvals for these new temporary five-year uses--if you want the serious details on why, and the evaluation of the zoning rules therein, read the Office of Planning report.
ANC 6D and the Office of Planning have both supported this request, and this week the National Capital Planning Commission is adding its support.
So, in honor of what apparently will be a year of change on this block, I've built a Yards Parcel A project page, to be sure that Building 213's soulless windowless existence (and its brief ArtYards fling with color) is not forgotten.
The second zoning request, to be heard on Thursday, Feb. 6, is to amend the text of the Southeast Federal Center Overlay to allow "veterinary boarding hospital and veterinary hospital uses" subject to a number of conditions within the footprint of the Yards.
This text is being added because of apparent interest from a veterinary hospital in leasing space in the ground floor of the soon-to-be completed Twelve12 apartment building at 4th and Tingey, and the SEFC overlay does not specifically allow veterinary services, so it has to be spelled out.
And it's not a surprise that a vet is looking at the area--the Office of Planning report sites a Capitol Riverfront BID survey saying that 40 percent of neighborhood residents have pets.
The Office and Planning and ANC 6D also support this request.

Tidbits: Train Tracks, Training, Treadmills
Jan 27, 2014 5:28 PM
* TRAIN TRACKS I: There was another public meeting about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project on Saturday, again hosted by DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. It was billed in advance as meeting with both her and representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency. However, EPA decided not to attend, apparently releasing this statement (tweeted out by a DCist staffer) saying in part "EPA remains invested in the views of all stakeholders[.] ... However, the agency believes it is appropriate to first allow the DDOT and FHA time to consider the comments of EPA and others on the draft EIS."
* TRAIN TRACKS II: The Post covered the "heated" meeting, highlighting that "CSX Transportation says residents in a Southeast Washington community who have raised concerns about trains carrying crude oil passing through the District can rest assured that crude oil transportation through the city is rare, and that there is no market in the area for it." CSX stated that it transported three loaded cars of crude oil through the tunnel in 2013, on separate trains, with none of them being the "unit trains" that cause such concern. However, last week the National Transportation Safety Board released recommendations for stricter federal oversight of crude oil transportation. It also quoted Del. Norton as being "totally outraged" about the EPA no show. (And, just as the Tidbits went up, there's another link to add, this summary of the meeting by ThinkProgress's ClimateProgress arm.)
* TRAIN TRACKS III: And there were offerings from the two ANC commissioners whose districts include the tunnel but who have close to diametrically opposed views of the project. ANC 6D07's David Garber's letter to the Editor in the Post says "There is no better time than now for [Mayor] Gray to show his leadership and stop this harmful project before it starts," while 6B03's Kirsten Oldenburg's description and thoughts about Saturday's EPA-less meeting concludes with "[A]ll that can possibly be said about this proposed tunnel reconstruction is out there in the public domain. My hope is that the FEIS is released before we have anymore public meetings hosted by political leaders."
* TRAINING: I mentioned in last week's Tidbits that Teeter and VIDA would be starting the buildouts of their spaces at Twelve12 "very soon," and today VIDA sent out a press release announcing that Feb. 1 is in fact their start date. The release says that it's expected the Penthouse Pool Club will open in early July, Bang Salon in mid-July, VIDA Fitness itself in August, and Aura Spa in October. A few renderings of the VIDA spaces (lobby, pool, and kids zone), courtesy VIDA's Facebook page (click to embiggen):
The release also mentions new-to-VIDA offerings at the Yards such as the "experiential cycling studio," the "Synrgy 360 globular multipurpose exercise apparatus," a hot yoga studio, "well-appointed, gender-specific European sauna and steam rooms," and the 1,000-square-foot Kids Zone shown above.
* TREADMILLS: But what about memberships for cats who like to workout on treadmills? (That's my George.)

Ice Cream Jubilee Coming to the Lumber Shed
Jan 21, 2014 3:19 PM
Perhaps a snowy January day isn't the best one to announce this, but Forest City has just put out the word that Ice Cream Jubilee will be opening in the Lumber Shed at the Yards this spring. This will be the brand's first dedicated store location, and will be a 1,076-square-foot space on the northeast corner of the Shed, on the edge of the Yards Park. In addition to scoops, the store will sell pre-packaged half pints of many of its flavors.
Ice Cream Jubilee was the winner of the People's Choice award at the DC Scoop competition last July.
The army of kids who are brought to the Yards Park throughout the year will certainly figure out this new offering pretty quickly.

Tuesday Tidbits: Speeding on By
Jan 21, 2014 9:00 AM
* TEETER AND VIDA: At last week's BID meeting, Michael Stevens said that Forest City would soon be "handing the keys" to Harris Teeter to begin their build out at the north end of Twelve12. And apparently the Vida Fitness space on the south end of the block will be turned over very soon to its tenants as well. Vida is looking at a summer opening, and Teeter in the fall. And leasing for the apartments themselves should start this spring.
* WHOLE FOODS: Meanwhile, at that other grocery store/residential site, I'm told that some initial infrastructure work is already underway (probably hard to really differentiate it with all the work going on at the Park Chelsea next door). The plan is still for 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods to officially get underway this spring, probably in March (which so often is the month that a developer's thoughts turn to excavation).
* A VIEW OF THE PARK: And, speaking of the Park Chelsea, I can now offer this high-speed photo of the construction from a different vantage point from usual (and no, I didn't walk up onto the freeway):
Of course, this view of the Park Chelsea will only last until 800 New Jersey starts sprouting in the spot in between this construction and the freeway.
* FREEWAY VISTAS: It's been a while since I've updated my skyline-from-the-freeway images, but I did get them this weekend. I would suggest taking a look at the whole lot, but this is probably the best comparison, of January 2005 to the present:
At center of the new image is the River Parc residential building speeding along next to Velocity. But these two don't even tell the entire story of the eight years that passed between them--check out the complete lineup of images from this angle to see the other buildings that went up since 2005 but are now obscured.
But really, check out all the before-and-afters I've taken from the freeway at South Capitol over the past 14 years, and click on the See All Photos of This Angle icons to see the progressions.
* THE CRAZY AUNT AND HER SLIDES: Sunday was the 11th anniversary of that fateful drive around the neighborhood that resulted in some photos on my web site, and then yadda yadda, here we are. So of course I have to point you to those pictures. (Though yes, technically I took my first photos of the area in fall 2000, but those were on bad film and I didn't even rediscover them until 2004.)
***UPDATE***: Adding on to this post with the news that Bluejacket and its much-touted head brewer Megan Parisi have parted ways, according to the Post.
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