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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)
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Retail News
Restaurants/Nightlife
 

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With the opening of the Yards Park, I've needed to get up to the southeast viewing platform at Nationals Park to update my photos of the Anacostia's Near Southeast riverfront, and thankfully I chose this weekend's sunny Saturday to do it. The before-and-afters seen above of the Yards Park footprint are pretty cool, and I've posted enlarged versions of these shots on my Yards Park page (scroll down about five photos to see them). The other before-and-afters of the southeast platform views are here.
It was just a smidgen over three years ago that I first got to look out at the Anacostia River from this vantage point, on a very memorable day while the stadium was under construction, and it's a spot that I really like returning to. With Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park completed, and Potomac Avenue and First Street reconstructed, the view has certainly changed, even if there isn't the overwhelming amount of redevelopment that had been envisioned. (And that includes the still-untouched tracts of land at Poplar Point on the other side of the river.)
So, just for the heck of it, I tossed together a single collage, looking from USDOT and the Navy Yard all the way around to South Capitol Street and Buzzard Point, capturing nicely what this entire stretch of waterfront looks like in the fall of 2010. It's a view that won't change much until the RiverFront/Florida Rock concrete plant site starts getting redeveloped (whenever that might be), but it's still a nice image to have.
And if you want to know what the Capital Bikeshare station at First and N across from Nats Park looks like, here you go.
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More posts: Florida Rock, The Yards, Yards Park
 

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It took me a while to get there, but I finally visited the Yards Park after dark last night, with camera in hand (but not a tripod, so be forewarned about the quality of some of the shots). I think the biggest surprise was how much of a presence Nationals Park is, from its lights to the sounds of the crowd cheering (and they had a lot to cheer about last night). I didn't stay around to watch the final ballpark Friday Night Fireworks of 2010 from the Yards, but I have no doubt that it's a great vantage point, and will be there in April 2011 to check it out myself.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park
 

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I wrote over the weekend about RiverFrontFest, a new arts and music festival that will be held on Saturday, Oct. 9, on Fourth and Water streets near the Yards Park. While tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, the organizers are offering complimentary tickets for residents of Near Southeast. The tickets are limited to two per resident, and proof of residency with ID must be shown. The tickets can be picked up any time between now and Oct. 9 at either Justin's Cafe or Cornercopia, though both businesses ask that if possible people avoid coming to get tickets during the busy 11 am to 2 pm rush times. Here's the flyer with details on the free tickets, which you'll probably also see being handed out in the various apartment buildings in the neighborhood over the next few days.
 

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I'm back from spending the past week wandering around Ohio (Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland) and then spending some time in the Detroit area, where my husband grew up and where I lived for a few years as a tyke many years ago. If I was sent back in time 10 years and told to be a city blogger again but that I couldn't do Near Southeast, I would gladly have chosen to document the decay (and perhaps eventual return) of Detroit, because it's really on a scale that is hard for people to understand unless they've spent a lot of time driving all around the city (and not just on the freeways). It also means I would have spent the past 10 years eating plenty of Detroit Pizza at Buddy's and Cloverleaf and having far easier access to a bazillion breakfast options (at the Coneys and other "family dining" establishments) than we'll ever have in the DC Metro area. Plus there's the cider mills.
We also very much enjoyed Columbus, particularly the Short North and German Village neighborhoods (and driving through the Ohio State campus in my University of Florida-festooned car--ha ha!), and my husband also noted the bars and restaurants in the Arena District and asked if that's what will eventually be coming to Half Street. (I then asked him if he ever reads my blog.) Downtown Cincinnati has some great "old stock" storefronts and signage (which we're always big fans of), but we also enjoyed the Kentucky towns of Covington and Newport, right across the river from Cincy's two stadiums. It helped that our hotel was three blocks from the massive Covington Oktoberfest celebration. And yes, we ate chili. Cleveland was mainly a pilgrimmage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for me, but we did wander around to eat in the Tremont and Ohio City neighborhoods, and took a peek at Shaker Heights.
(Are you as worn out from our vacation as I am? We do tend to cover a lot of territory.)
I don't think I deprived you of any big news while I was gone, so, instead, we'll look ahead at a few events this week:
* Today begins the Nats' final homestand of the 2010 season, against the Astros, Braves, and Phillies, with the final home game on Wednesday Sept. 29 at 7:05 pm. And note that this Thursday's game (Sept. 23) against the Astros is a 4:35 pm start, and Saturday's game (Sept. 25) against the Braves is at 1:05 pm. Then you can start looking ahead to the 2011 Nationals schedule, where they get an Opening Day home game on March 31 against the Braves.
* Tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 21) is ANC 6B's monthly meeting (delayed a week to avoid coinciding with the election), and the agenda includes CSX's plans for an archaeological dig at Virginia Avenue Park. The meeting is at 7 pm at the People's Church, 535 8th St., SE.
* Thursday is the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's "Moonlight Ride at Yards Park", which includes an 11-mile ride starting from the Park at 8:30 pm heading west to the Potomac River, and a 6-mile ride starting at 9 pm that will go east over the Anacostia River into Anacostia Park and Historic Anacostia. The rides are free and open to the public, but they ask that you register in advance.
* And, looking ahead a bit, the newly redesigned "Parcel D" residential/retail/grocery development on the southeast corner of 4th and M in the Yards will be presented to the National Capital Planning Commission on Oct. 7.
UPDATE: I guess I should also be mentioning the launch of Capital Bikeshare today, with two locations in Near Southeast, at New Jersey and M by USDOT, and what the map says is another station at First and N, SE, by Nationals Park (which I had heard wasn't coming until next spring).
 

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A new arts and music festival is coming to "space adjacent to the" Yards Park next month, named RiverFrontFest (my years of journalism training prevent me from calling it the "First Annual"). On Oct. 9 from 11 am to 7 pm, this event will feature "independent, creative artists and musicians in a fun, vibrant, family friendly setting," which is scheduled to include demonstrations from Trapeze School New York, a breakdance competition, and three stages of bands. There will also be local food and arts and crafts vendors.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the "door" (fence?); proceeds raised through the event will benefit local organizations including the Earth Conservation Corps, Kids Set Sail, and Living Classrooms.
If you're a performer who would like to participate, or an vendor/sponsor/other organization wanting to get involved, or someone wanting to volunteer at the event, the web site has the details, as well as "Festival Vision" page that describes a pretty wide-ranging bar that the organizers are trying to reach.
[It's taken a while, but I think i've puzzled out the "space adjacent to the Yards Park" designation--they say they'll be closing down Fourth Street and Water Street (the "Street" that runs between the Lumber Storage Shed and the Foundry Lofts) as well as "using an adjacent large green space," so I'm thinking this is more over by the Trapeze School and on the streets than anywhere on the park footprint.]
The Capitol Riverfront BID is one of the sponsors, but is not running the event, unlike many of the other parks/arts/happening events around the neighborhood over the past few years. (In fact, it's kind of hard to tell who *is* running it.)
(h/t Examiner and CP)
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More posts: Events, RiverFrontFest, The Yards, Yards Park
 

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The three days of opening festivities for the Yards Park are getting underway this afternoon, and so now everyone who wants to check out the nearly six acres of waterfront goodness will get their chance. The weather now looks kind of iffy for Sunday, but today and Saturday were forecasted to be pretty dang nice (except for the clouds that rolled in about an hour ago!), so while there's a ton of activities on tap, be sure to also just take some time to wander the grounds on your own.
And remember that the park isn't done yet--still to come over the next few years will be the renovating of the Lumber Storage Shed into a retail space, along with the construction of two smaller retail pavilions on the grassy lawns just to its east and eventually a marina. The bottom of my Yards Park page has the details, and you can also learn about the under-construction Foundry Lofts apartment building just to the north of the park, and the Boilermaker Shops retail building, which Forest City is now publicly saying is 60 percent pre-leased.
My husband and I bought our house on the southern edge of Capitol Hill in 1995, and there were many times in those first few years that we'd stand on Third Street, looking south under the freeway through a neighborhood we rarely ventured into, and talk about how we could see the Anacostia River flowing by. "Wouldn't it be great," we'd say, "if someday we could be able to walk from our house down to the waterfront, and stroll along the river?" (In the early days, such musings would usually be followed by a beat of silence and then peals of cynical laughter.) But a mere 15 years later (heh heh), we'll be doing just that, probably twice, both late this afternoon and again in time for the Nats Park fireworks to see the park at night for the first time.
With that, I leave the rest of the Yards Park-ing up to you guys. What do you think?
[But, as an advance response to anyone commenting on the current size of the dog run at the park, I'll pass along this statement from Forest City: "We certainly want to be sensitive to the needs of our four-legged friends and their human companions in The Yards Park. As Forest City finalizes its negotiations with DC Water and the District Government, we look forward to working with the community to expand the dog park, if the park is able to expand westward in the future."]
UPDATE: Here's Channel 7's video report on the opening.
UPDATE, 9/12: At the Post's article about the opening, and about What It Means for the rest of the neighborhood.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park
 

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One of the top three questions that gets asked here at JDLand is "When is a grocery store coming to the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards area?" (Well, maybe it doesn't get asked quite like that.) For a number of years there's been a planned grocery space on the southeast corner of 4th and M, as part of the first phase of development at the Yards; but thanks to the Economic Difficulties there hasn't been any recent indication of when (or if) that building might get underway.
However, it seems that the wheels are finally beginning to turn, and Forest City is now starting the process of shepherding a revised design for the site (known as "Parcel D") through the city's planning processes. And it appears that a full-service grocery store could be arriving in the neighborhood by late 2013 or early 2014. While that's not exactly right around the corner, those dates would seem to be an improvement over "someday, we hope."
These new designs replace the original plans for one office and one residential building with a single 220ish-unit apartment building, with 20 percent of the units earmarked as affordable housing. The 50,000 square feet of ground-floor grocery store space would still be at the north end of the block (near the red brick wall and turret), plus there would be additional retail space that would include a three-story fitness and spa facility. (And note that this is new construction, on a currently empty lot--the large red brick Gun Mount Shop just to the east of Parcel D is a separate project known as "Factory 202", designed as condos in the original plans.)
Forest City is hoping that construction could possibly start in early 2012, with a delivery in late 2013 or thereabouts. (But, repeat after me: dates like this are not written in stone.)
No names are officially attached to either big retail space at this time. However, WBJ reported a year ago that Harris Teeter has signed a letter of intent for the grocery store space, and, gosh, Vida Fitness sure is hanging around in the neighborhood a lot these days! Plus Vida said a few months ago that they have plans to open a branch in the Navy Yard area in 2013.
These new designs will apparently be presented to ANC 6D on Monday (a meeting which I, alas, will be missing), plus they are on the agenda for Thursday's Commission of Fine Arts meeting. They should also be going to the Zoning Commission at some point, so more details should become available as the process goes along.
I hope to have renderings of the new design soon, and will update this post when I get them. In the meantime, you'll have to settle for some renderings on my project page of the old original designs for 401 M and 400 Tingey from back in 2007.
UPDATE: Renderings have now been added to my 401 M/Parcel D page. A little taste of Southwest DC in the apartment building design, isn't there? The fitness/spa facility at Fourth and Tingey is much more modern (and I believe it will have space for some additional retail as well).
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It's a busy next few days, so here's a reminder of what's on tap. (Of course, you could just look at my Events Calendar, but....)
* Today (Thursday) is the "Transportation Day" events that are part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's 10th anniversary celebration. Get thee down to 1301 M Street, SE (site of the offices for the 11th Street Bridges project) for the kick-off at 10 am with DDOT director Gabe Klein, and/or attend the open house until 2 pm, which includes bus tours of current AWI transportation projects (like, say, the 11th Street Bridges). Circulator buses will be shuttling to and from the Navy Yard Metro station.
If you're wanting to know more about the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and what's been accomplished up to this point, here's a spiffy "10 Years of Progress" booklet with all sorts of details.
* Friday brings the start of the Yards Park Grand Opening Weekend, starting at 3:30 pm, along with a full slate of events all day Saturday and a few more on Sunday as well--here's the specifics on all the activities for all three days. (UPDATED with a new more detailed flyer showing all the events.)
* The Nats are at home against the Marlins, playing at the usual 7:05 pm Friday and 1:35 pm Sunday times, along with a somewhat rare 1:05 pm Saturday start. It's Fan Appreciation Month, with all sorts of promotions and offerings.
* Sunday, Sept. 12 is the Fourth Annual Youth River Sports Day put on by the Anacostia Community Boathouse, now at their new home just up river from the Sousa Bridge. It runs from 11 am to 3 pm, and is free and open to the public.
* ANC 6D returns from its summer recess on Monday, Sept. 13. The agenda hasn't been released yet, but rumored items include the grant the BID is applying for to beautify the New Jersey Avenue "entrance" to the neighborhood, along with what I hear might be a presentation on a possible renaming of the Navy Yard Metro station. While I haven't heard what the new name might be, I imagine that some variant of "Navy Yard / Nationals Park / Capitol Riverfront" will be on the table. Which means that my last chance to convince people to rename the neighborhood Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards is probably passing by.
* And on Tuesday there's some sort of election. Perhaps you've heard about it. But good heavens, get yourself to the polls and vote. You don't even have to wait until Tuesday to do it.
 

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As promised, I've updated my Yards Park page to incorporate some before-and-after photos to highlight the transformation of this patch of land from a bunch of nothingness to a waterfront destination. But I'd also suggest looking through my Expanded Yards Park archive for a more complete set of photos that really show how these five acres have changed since 2005. (And I'll be adding more pairs to the expanded archive this weekend, having missed a few spots in my recent visits.) They really are a pretty striking batch of photos, if I may say so myself....
And, in other Yards Park-related news, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (with the BID and Forest City) is sponsoring a "Moonlight Ride at Yards Park" on Sept. 23, which includes an 11-mile ride starting from the Park at 8:30 pm heading west to the Potomac River, and a 6-mile ride starting at 9 pm that will go east over the Anacostia River into Anacostia Park and Historic Anacostia. The rides are free and open to the public, but they ask that you register in advance so that they know how many people to expect. (There's also discounted tickets available for that afternoon's 4:35 pm game at Nats Park versus the Houston Astros, if you want to watch a game with your fellow cyclists before heading out on the ride.)
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Events, The Yards, Yards Park
 

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The weather gods smiled on the Southeast Waterfront today, with an absolutely picture-perfect day for inviting scads of dignitaries down to the Yards Park to make some speeches and cut a ribbon. Here's my quick photo gallery of the event, with photos not only of politicians wielding scissors but also plenty of shots of the park itself. I will soon update my Yards Park page with real before-and-afters, but that will take some time.
The 5.5-acre park, a $42 million partnership between the city, the feds (who owned the land until this morning), and the BID (which will be responsible for the upkeep and programming), is very simply like nothing else anywhere in DC. It not only has the pedestrian bridge and the light tower and the water features to gawk at, but it has so many different spaces for strolling, sitting, hanging out, playing, or just staring at the river, with its views all the way down to the Potomac River and further to Alexandria. There were many references during the remarks to Chicago's Millenium Park, and all involved with the creation of the Yards Park clearly see its potential as a "destination" attraction. The BID will be working hard to provide a lot of activities to draw people in, and down the road (if the reality ends up matching the vision), when the Lumber Shed becomes a retail-and-restaurant spot with river views, and the Foundry Lofts and Boilermaker Shops just to the north of the park open and become attractions in their own right, this could be quite a jewel in the city's crown.
Add to that the eventual building of a floating boardwalk that will connect the Yards Park to Diamond Teague Park by the baseball stadium, making it an easy stroll along the river to go back and forth between the two venues, and you can start to imagine the fans streaming out of the ballpark on Friday nights to watch the post-game fireworks firing off above the Anacostia River from the Great Lawn or the boardwalk. (I'm told that the boardwalk is in the design stages, though there's no timeline for when it might be built.)
As for the area east of the park, I'm hearing that there is "progress" in working with the Navy Yard to open its boardwalk (that leads to the Display Ship Barry and 11th Street), but again, no timeline on that.
There was a lot of media present today (especially since both Mayor Fenty and Vince Gray were in attendance), so I'll update this post with whatever stories appear. UPDATE: Here's the press release from the mayor's office. Also there's ABC7's report, which also is about today's other Anacostia River event, where council members (but not Mayor Fenty) showed up to sign a pledge to work with the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up six designated toxic sites along the Anacostia, which include in Near Southeast the Navy Yard, the Yards/Southeast Federal Center, the Washington Gas site east of 11th (more on that from Fox 5, including that the Anacostia Riverkeeper and Anacostia Watershed Society groups are concerned that monies from the city's tax on plastic bags are so far not being directed toward cleaning up the river).
Also, it sounds like the fences at the park will be closed again for the next few days while they get some finishing touches done (the eastern end of the park is still being worked on), but it will then have its Grand Opening Weekend starting Friday at 3:30 pm. And then I can get some nighttime photos, because apparently the park's lighting is something to be seen.
(I've also gotten--and forwarded along--some e-mails from residents grousing about what they see as the less-than-adequate size of the dog park on the park's western edge; I've asked Forest City for more information about the current and future plans for the dog park, and will post about it when I hear back.)
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More posts: Dog Parks, The Yards, Yards Park
 
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