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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: The Yards
See JDLand's The Yards Project Page
for Photos, History, and Details
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
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)
Posts on Food/Fun
Retail News
Restaurants/Nightlife
 

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420 Blog Posts Since 2003
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I'm just going to bullet-point all this stuff. Follow links for additional background. (See my entry from last night for news on the ANC's discussion about parking and traffic issues during the first games at the ballpark.)
* The commissioners voted to support Forest City Washington's plans for an office/residential/retail project (including a grocery store) at 401 M Street in The Yards. This support hinged on a Memorandum of Understanding on community benefits being offered by Forest City, including a lottery that could allow a 25 percent preference (or higher) for ANC 6D residents when it comes to the 30ish affordable housing rental units in the 194-unit project. (The final verbage of the MOU was hashed out at the meeting; talk about watching the sausage get made.) An audience member complained that LEED certification for the project should not be considered an amenity, but Forest City replied that the city's green building law does not go into effect until 2012, and these buildings are expected to be completed in 2011. Other components include preferences for ANC 6D certified business enterprises and a promise to report yearly to the ANC about the project. A lack of a community benefits package had tripped up this request for support at the ANC's April meeting. This project now goes to the Zoning Commission for a Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review on April 24.
* A request to support William C. Smith's modifications to its plans for 250 M Street (raising the height of the building to 130 feet) was postponed, as the commissioners expressed their unhappiness at the lack of any community benefits. The developer's representatives said that community benefits were part of the original approval of the project as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD, and that this modification is not resulting in any increase in square footage from that original plan. Commissioners had no suggestions for what benefits they would be seeking, only that they want more. This project may be back in front of the ANC at its May meeting, since the Zoning Commission hearing on the PUD modification isn't until late May.
* A request to support a public space permit request by Five Guys to add an outdoor seating area at its Second Street location was turned down, not only because the commissioners said that Five Guys had not provided information on the request to all the commissioners in a timely manner but because there's no offer of, you guessed it, a community benefits package in return for the "public space" being taken.
* A representative of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs updated the commission on plans to add 40 vendors on the streets surrounding the ballpark, thanks to emergency legislation passed on April 1 by the council. The mayor is expected to sign the act today, at which point DCRA will have 21 days to identify sidewalk locations for the vendors to set up shop. It's not expected that any will be on South Capitol Street or on M Street (thanks to narrow sidewalks), and rules prohibit vendors on residential streets. However, in a few months a larger initiative will get underway, with the Capitol Riverfront BID's involvement, to create a "Development Zone" allowed for in the recent overhaul of city vending regulations, which will give the city and residents greater say in where vendors are placed, what they sell, and the appearance of their carts. And, in response to questions from commissioners and audience members: no cigarettes or alcohol will be sold at these carts, and there don't appear to be any concerns on the city's behalf about terrorism related to these carts or their operators. (I'm just reporting what was asked.)
* The commission voted to support the liquor license application of former O Street clubs Ziegfield's and Secrets to reopen at 1824 Half St., SW, at the site of the old "Lime" nightclub. A voluntary agreement with the clubs' owner was reached to address concerns about traffic, cooperation with police, and community input.
 

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If you like photos of streetscapes taken under overcast skies, this has been the site for you lately. Yeesh. On Saturday, before the rains came, I updated my shots of the western side of New Jersey Ave., showing how projects like 909 New Jersey, 70/100 I, Onyx, and 100 M have changed the view in the past year. At least the sun was out for the brief time on Friday evening when I took new photos of the western side of the ballpark, along South Capitol Street. So, adding these to the photos I took earlier in the week of First and Half streets, the current state of construction in Near Southeast is pretty well documented. And now the sun shall come out, but I'll be waiting a few weeks until the next round of updates (probably early May).
Monday brings some meetings with Near Southeast items of interest. At 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission will have its monthly meeting, and is scheduled to vote on whether to open up additional blocks in Southwest to possible temporary surface parking lots (you can watch via live webcast). At 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 601 M St., SW, ANC 6D will have its monthly meeting, and will be looking at Forest City's plans for office and residential buildings at 401 M Street/400 Tingey at The Yards, and the request by the developers of the proposed 250 M Street office building to increase its height to 130 feet. The project at The Yards has its hearing at the Zoning Commission on April 24, and 250 M's is scheduled for May 14.
And, for this week's visit from the Pope, the Post has a huge graphic of road closures and other information to help get through the festivities. Note that, in addition to the closure of South Capitol Street from 2 am to 2 pm Thursday, it shows that Van, Half, First, and Potomac in SE will be closed at some point, as will O, P, Q, and Potomac SW from Half Street to South Capitol. "Expect other road closures around the ballpark from 9 pm Wednesday until 2 pm Thursday," it says.
 

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A few days ago I promised to post some updated photos I'd taken in The Yards, which I'm finally getting to. (Been sick as a dog for more than week now, which I blame squarely on Mother Nature's poor performance during the first games at the ballpark.) They're not exactly barnburner photos, since they're mostly shots of either newly paved parking lots or scads of dirt waiting to be turned into something. But, follow the icon for new images of the Boilermaker Shop (above), the Waterfront Park, and the Pattern Shop Lofts, all of which are scheduled to open in 2009.
I've also added additional photos to the archive, at "intersections" that don't actually exist just yet, but provide additional views of what's happened so far: 1 1/2 Half at N (where the old GPO building was--seriously, it's going to be called "1 1/2 Street"); Second at Tingey and Second at Water (which will become real intersections when Second is eventually built south of Tingey and Water Street becomes a new road north of the park); and Third and Tingey (which will become more of an intersection when Third Street is extended one block south, to the new Water Street). See the map to get a clearer idea of what I'm babbling about. And eventually I'll take some new photos from the Fourth Street side, too.
 

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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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As I wrote a month ago in an entry that was visible for about five minutes thanks to all of the ballpark news, the first new-construction buildings at The Yards are now winding their way through the zoning process. It's two buildings that look like one--a 320,000-square-foot 10-story office building at 401 M Street and an 11-story 180ish-unit apartment building to its south at 400 Tingey Street. They would both have ground-floor retail, but it's what's planned for 401 M that will probably have everyone's attention, because a grocery store is proposed for that space, just inside the historic wall and sentry tower on the southeast corner of Fourth and M. The office building would be LEED certified, and the 20 percent of the residential building would be affordable housing units (up to 50 percent of the area median income).
The Parcel D plans have already been reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission in advance of its meeting tomorrow (April 3), with the executive director reporting that the buildings are not inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan and do not adversely affect any other federal interests.
The Zoning Commission Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review of the plans and three associated variance requests is now rescheduled for April 24. ANC 6D will be bringing it up again at its April 14 meeting, after electing not to vote on the project at its March 10 meeting because of the lack of a community benefits package--see the summary of the meeting in the April Hill Rag (I was out of town, and so don't have any additional details).
As for start dates, documents earlier in the year had the office portion getting started in 2008 for a 2010 delivery, and the residential portion starting "based on market conditions." However, a reader is reporting that a sign now up at Fourth and M says "Coming 2011." I'll see if I can get any further details. (UPDATE: Yup, 2011 is now the current "estimate" for the project. So, don't stop shopping at the Capitol Hill Safeway just yet.)
In the meantime, work on renovating the Boilermaker Shop at Third and Tingey into a 46,000-sq-ft retail pavilion should be starting Any Minute Now, as should the rehab of the Pattern Joiner Shop across the street into a 170-unit apartment building. Both are expected to be finished in 2009. (Did you see the light displays being projected onto the Pattern Joiner building during the ballgames?) The Factory 202 residential rehab of the old Gun Mount Shop at Fifth and M, which is a joint project between Forest City and PN Hoffman, also now has a "Coming 2011" sign.
 

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Just a bunch of tiny items worth highlighting on a dreary Saturday (no new photos today in this muck):
* A building permit has been approved to build a surface parking lot along First Street between M and N, where Normandie Liquors and its brethren were demolished last month. And the Archdiocese of Washington has applied for a public space permit for the 1300 block of First Street, SE--does the Popemobile need special parking permits?
* As plans at The Yards continue to move forward, there's now official names for the first-phase projects. Say hello to The Boilermaker Shop, The Pattern Shop Lofts, and Factory 202. (And 401 M and 400 Tingey, but those aren't anywhere near as catchy.)
* The 55 M web cam is no longer available to the public. Perhaps they want the Opening Day vista to be a big surprise. Or they don't want people watching the last-minute work on the Navy Yard Metro station. (I wonder if the gas main hit on Thursday was caught by this camera.)
* Some commenters are discussing the idea that's been floated of someday demolishing the Southeast-Southwest Freeway. Getting rid of this Berlin Wall that separates Capitol Hill and Near Southeast (and splits Southwest) was brought up in the National Capital Planning Commission's 1997 Extending the Legacy framework plan, if you want to see it actually on paper. (Apparently an updated NCPC framework plan is scheduled to come out this spring, which looks like it continues to have Virginia Avenue marked where the freeway currently is.) As to whether I'll see this done in my lifetime, well, it would be a nice surprise.
If you really want to go high-concept, you can read DDOT's 2003 South Capitol Street Gateway and Improvement Study to see their ideas for a tunnel that would link I-295 and the SE/SW Freeway for through traffic, leaving South Capitol Street to become the grand urban gateway boulevard planners envision. At Wednesday's public meeting on the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement, DDOT said that the tunnel isn't totally off the table, but they decided that a new Douglass Bridge and other South Capitol Street improvements could move forward separately. But could a tunnel still work if the dream of dismantling the SE/SW Freeway were realized?
* I've tried to remain (mostly) unopinionated on various projects during the five years I've run this site. But sometimes, it's necessary to take a stand, to come out from behind the cloak of neutrality and crusade for what you believe in. So I'm going to take advantage of this bully pulpit and fight for one thing: Arched Bascule!
 

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Beginning the trek through the approvals process are the first new-construction buildings planned for The Yards--a 320,000-square-foot office building at 401 M Street and a 170ish-unit apartment building to its south at 400 Tingey Street. They would both have ground-floor retail, but it's what's planned for 401 M that will probably have everyone's attention, because a grocery store is proposed for that space, just inside the historic wall and sentry tower on the southeast corner of Fourth and M. (No, which grocery store it could be hasn't been announced yet.) Recent documents have said that 401 M could begin construction in late 2008, with delivery in 2010; the residential building's start depends on "market conditions." (Uh-oh.) A few more early renderings are on my 401 M/400 Tingey page. (See my Yards First Phase page for information on the retail and residential projects that are getting underway this year.)
There's a Zoning Commission Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review of the plans scheduled for April 17, and ANC 6D will be voting on whether to support the project at its March 10 meeting.
Also at Monday's ANC 6D meeting will be presentations and votes on plans for the Opening Day Fan Fest at the ballpark, the ballpark Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (formerly known as the TOPP), and the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement. I attended Wednesday night's public meeting on the Draft EIS, and while the slides from the meeting haven't yet been posted on its web site, the DEIS's executive summary is a good substitute for the information that was available at the meeting--you can read my summary of the plans as well. There wasn't much public comment (maybe seven or eight speakers), and the concerns seemed to be more about making sure DDOT does a good job of handling the inconveniences and resident issues as a result of the planned changes, rather than any real opposition to the plans themselves. The public comment period ends March 31, and the Final EIS is expected to come out late this year.
Alas, I won't be able to attend this ANC meeting that's so chock full of Near Southeast goodness. But I'm guessing that spending that evening watching the Roger Federer-Pete Sampras exhibition at Madison Square Garden might be a bit more enjoyable.
 

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I believe it's only available to subscribers, but if you've got any way to get your hands on this week's Washington Business Journal, you'll probably want to see the quarterly magazine "On Site" that's included--seven stories on development around the ballpark, as well as a big map showing all the plans over the next few years (what a great idea!). Stories on Monument Realty and on the plans for The Yards, an interview with Michael Stevens of the BID ("Preaching Patience in Washington Nationals' New Neighborhood"), a piece highlighting how residential developers are feeling bullish about the area, and even a short profile of some pesky neighborhood blogger who's been tracking the area since 2003. I haven't read all the stories yet (it's gonna take a while!), so if I find some nuggets that I haven't covered here in the past, I'll post them.
UPDATE: Also, the March issue of Washingtonian is hitting the stands (though the articles won't be online for a while), with articles on the ballpark and also on the planned residential projects nearby.
 

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This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra is about the new Waterfront Park at The Yards: "Although Nationals Park is getting the lion's share of attention these days as Near Southeast's biggest development, the 42-acre site two blocks to the east known as the Yards is starting its transformation away from its former life as the barren walled-off Southeast Federal Center. And we're now getting our first peeks at early designs for the development's 5.8-acre park on the banks of the Anacostia River. Designed by M. Paul Friedberg and Partners, the park will have "passive and active" recreation spaces, along with retail and entertainment offerings that Yards developer Forest City Washington believes will make it a lively year-round destination for residents and tourists in the daytime and at night." And it'll be right across from the soccer stadium!
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Last Thursday the National Capital Planning Commission gave unanimous approval to the early designs of the Waterfront Park at The Yards, which was not a surprise given the nice things said about it in the Staff Recommendation. According to the NCPC web site (I wasn't at the meeting), the commission "commended the applicant, the General Services Administration; the developer, Forest City Washington; and the team's designers for the quality of the design, the range of activities the park will support, its visual and physical connections, and for creatively adapting the design to the site's ground elevation constraints." The design was also endorsed by the Commission on Fine Arts last month.
I've now received a pretty fabulous aerial-view rendering of the park, which I've added to my newly rejiggered page for the project (I've finally separated out the five phase I projects at the Yards onto their own pages), where you can also see a few additional renderings of the design, keeping in mind that these are still preliminary plans--and the NCPC staff recommendation document has even more drawings and detail. Forest City's plan is to complete the first phase of the park in summer 2009, with the retail buildings and the piers and marinas to follow.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park
 
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