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Tuesday Tidbits: Harry's, NatsFest, Yards Park, Etc.
Jan 18, 2011 3:04 PM
Some recently Tweeted items, and a few new ones, worth wrapping up into a quick post:
* Last week I heard from the owners of what will soon be the Harry's Reserve "upscale" wine and spirits store at New Jersey and I, saying that they hope to be open by February 1.
* This year's NatsFest at the baseball stadium will be held on March 30, the day before the Opening Day home game against the Atlanta Braves. The schedule of events is still to come, but hopefully the decision to better tie in the event to the hoopla surrounding the start of the season won't be offset by it being on a Wednesday, when it's harder for kids to be there. (Especially kids who may already be playing hooky the next day!)
* The Yards Park web site now has information about renting space for public, private, or community events. And if you wander through the calendar, you can see what events might be on tap for this year, though the main calendar shows what's been confirmed, such as the Capitol City Beer Festival on May 28, the previously discussed DC Music Festival on May 7, the MetroDash obstacle course race on July 9, and a monthy Art Market.
* Stephen Strasburg, working on his degree while rehabbing, has written a thesis on the effects new stadiums have on neighborhoods, with a focus on Nationals Park. If he was looking for information on what the neighborhood looked like "before," I hope he found it! (And no, the thesis isn't available anywhere.)
* The National Capital Planning Commission will be looking at the final 11th Street Bridges site and building plans at their February 3 meeting. Gosh, I hope they like where the bridges themselves are placed in the designs!
* Off-topic, but the hunt seems to be back on for a new DC United stadium location, with one of the potential spots being across South Capitol Street at Buzzard Point in Southwest. (Please note that I said Buzzard Point. There is no s on the end. In case you missed 642 tweets about it today.) SWill has some additional information.
And, coming on Thursday (I hope), my 2011 State of the Hood roundup of the past 12 months' worth of activity, and what might be on the horizon. (I'm telling you this to force myself to actually get it done.)

Some Updated Photos, For the First Time in Forever
Jan 17, 2011 11:18 AM
I'm not quite as obsessive about taking photos around Near Southeast as I used to be, mainly because back when I started very few people lived or worked in the area, which meant photos were important to get across to readers the scope of the changes. But that's not the case now, and I figure most readers are seeing this stuff every day, which gives me a great excuse to not pull out my camera when it's 30 degrees and the winter sun angles make for less-than-optimal shots. But the mood struck me on Sunday, so now my photos are updated and my guilty conscience can be eased ever so slightly.
If you haven't wandered down to Third and Tingey lately, you won't have seen all the new windows in the Foundry Lofts building, which look pretty spiffy. When it opens this fall, it will have 170 apartments and ground-floor retail. (While I was there, I updated my 4th and Water Before and Afters, now that the area of the Yards Park south of the Trapeze School is landscaped and close to being finished.)
It hasn't been officially announced as "completed," but I always figure when the sidewalks open next to a newly constructed building, it's as good as done, so I went to get some After photos of 1015 Half Street, the 440,000-square-foot office building on the site of the old Nation nightclub. No tenants have been announced yet. (You can also see the expanded archive of before-and-afters for more shots, especially if you're more interested in remembering Nation.)
Taking photos of poured foundations in weak winter light is not really a recipe for exciting images, but I figured I still had to document the progress being made on the northern of the three Capitol Quarter Phase II blocks. The first framing of houses on this block could happen this month. (And before long it'll start to be apparent that this block is going to be split into two blocks, with the new 3rd Place running north to south.)
Alas, I only just now realized that I totally forgot to take any photos of the new construction at the old Little Red Building site. Will have to do that the next time the sun is out.
Here's the complete batch of Sunday's photos, with the See All Photos of This Angle as your guide to see the full set of before-and-afters for any photo.

Tidbits: Floating Bridge, 11th Street Bridge Closures, Water Taxis, Beer Garden
Jan 4, 2011 11:07 AM
A few small items that might be of interest:
* The National Capital Planning Commission at its Thursday meeting should be approving the design of the 611-foot-long floating bridge to connect the Yards Park with Diamond Teague Park. The "delegated action" document says that the bridge will also include an 81-foot-long platform that will be used as a "marine environmental education center" -- the platform is necessary to span three underground pipes at the DC Water pumping station. At the BID annual meeting in December, it was said that construction on the bridge could begin this spring. (UPDATE) And construction is expected to take 6-8 months.
* If you drive into downtown DC across the 11th Street Bridges late at night/early in the morning, be advised that the ramps from northbound I-295 and 13th Street, SE, will be closed between midnight and 5 am on both Friday, Jan. 7 and Monday, Jan. 10 to allow for work with overhead steel girders. But the South Capitol Street Bridge will be open for your Anacostia crossing pleasure.
* There hasn't been much apparent movement by American Water Taxi to get started with its planned service between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Teague Park, but an update on their web site within the past few weeks says that "Focus groups and working group meetings to start in January."
* The agenda for the Jan. 11 ANC 6B meeting includes an item on the "Resolution of the Bavarian Beer Garden [Liquor] License Protest." Does this mean that the ANC and the folks wanting to open the beer garden at 8th and L have gotten the voluntary agreement hashed out, after all the concerns recently expressed? We shall see.

DC Music Fest Coming to Yards Park on May 7
Jan 3, 2011 9:47 AM
Another DC arts festival is being inaugurated at the Yards Park -- this time it's the DC Music Fest, scheduled for May 7, 2011. With plans to "showcase some of the best artists and bands of the Washington, DC and surrounding areas," the event already has a lineup of 12 bands, three singer/songwriters, and 1 DJ on two stages. Other local artists who want to play at the event can submit themselves at the web site until February 1, and a panel of judges will choose which acts will be added to the lineup.
According to On Tap, tickets will be $25.
Back in October, the first RiverFrontFest debuted on the streets just north of the Yards Park, offering a day of local art and music.
Comments (1)
More posts: dcmusicfest, Events, The Yards, Yards Park

New Year's Eve Party by ReadysetDC at Trapeze School
Dec 30, 2010 6:02 PM
Just popping up in my inbox (which is hard to get to through the piles of opened boxes and discarded Toblerone wrappers) is news of the big New Year's Eve celebration ("Evolution 2011") being thrown by ReadysetDC Friday night starting at 9 pm at the Trapeze School's space at 4th and Tingey, SE at the Yards. Dance performance by Holly Bass, live music by Chelsey Green and the Green Project, AWR B-boy performance (you kids tell me what that is), aerial ribbon dancing performances, live painting by Brandon Hill of No Kings Collective, and much more.
Tickets are $95, and include an open bar, but you can get $20 off by using the discount code DC-LOVE. (They've even got a deal with the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L for a block of hotel rooms.)
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More posts: Events, The Yards, Yards/Parcel O/Trapeze School

2010 Capitol Riverfront Annual Report; Connector Between Teague and Yards Coming in 2011?
Dec 14, 2010 2:27 PM
The Capitol Riverfront BID just wrapped up its 2010 Annual Meeting, which certainly seemed to be the largest of them so far. The big part of the meeting is the unveiling of the Annual Report, chock full of statistics and photos. I'm not going to summarize it, mainly because I've been writing all year about most of the news and data contained in it, and also because if you're truly interested in the neighborhood you should read it yourself. :-)
There were two items in Michael Stevens' remarks that I thought were of note, though:
* Apparently an agreement has been worked out with DC Water (aka WASA) that will allow the "connection" between Diamond Teague Park (across from Nationals Park) and the Yards Park to be built, starting this spring. In the past, a floating bridge has been discussed as how this connection would be completed, but have asked the BID for more info and will post when I know more.
* In discussing the many parks of the neighborhood, Michael Stevens said that they are "hoping" that Canal Park will be completed in 2011--though, as he said that, the slide being displayed showed 2012 as the expected completion date. Given that the park is supposed to take 12-14 months to build, it would seem to be unlikely that the entire park would be ready before the end of next year, though perhaps some portions of it might be able to be open sooner.
UPDATE: Here's the slides used by Michael Stevens during his remarks; the information on the connection between Teague and the Yards is on pages 22-24, with a rendering showing a walkway out over the water, looking exactly like an extension of the boardwalk at the Yards. The proposed project is listed as "a partnership among Forest City Washington, DC Water and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development." And, on slide 27, Canal Park is listed with a delivery date of 2012.
(PS: I also enjoyed seeing one of my Yards Park photos on the second of the slides shown by DC Water's George Hawkins; maybe next time they'll ask me if they can use it!)

Zoning Approvals for 401 M (Yards Parcel D)
Dec 2, 2010 10:03 PM
Tonight the Zoning Commission gave its approvals to Forest City's 401 M Street, the planned residential/retail/grocery project on the southeast corner of 4th and M at The Yards. The votes were 4-0-1 and 3-1-1 (more on that below), and with chairman Anthony Hood's new *streamlined* (read: speeded up) hearing process, the presentations, questions, and vote took less than 90 minutes.
In the past I've used Zoning Commission meetings to learn more about proposed projects, but I've already written a fair amount about 401 M, and there wasn't really much new tonight. The issues that the commissioners wanted to discuss got pretty far into the weeds of zoning law, particularly Commissioner May's concerns about whether Forest City's request to allow balconies along 4th Street to hang over into the required setback area was something that could be handled under a special exception. (If you really REALLY want to know about this zoning rule, see page 11 of the Office of Planning's report.)
May's fellow commissioners didn't feel quite as strongly, but in the end they voted on two motions to approve the project, unanimously to approve all of the project except the special exception request, and then 3-1-1 to approve the special exception request. (The best moment might have been during the discussion of whether refusing to allow balconies would impact the project, when chairman Hood said, "If it didn't have a balcony, Anthony Hood wouldn't buy one.")
For those just joining us, originally 401 M was going to be an office building with a ground-floor grocery store, but market forces have intervened and earlier this year Forest City unveiled a new design, featuring two long and thin residential buildings (connected by an elevator tower) with between 200 and 225 rental units (20 percent of which would be set aside for people making less than 50 percent of the area median income). The grocery store, with no tenant officially announced (*cough*Harris Teeter*cough*), would be 55,000 square feet on two floors, with its main entrance on 4th Street (as well as a previously approved cut in the historic brick wall on M).
On the south end of the block, at 4th and Tingey, there will be a four-story building with another 55,000 square feet of retail space, with what's expected to be a spa/fitness center/gym tenant on the top two floors and retail on the bottom two (seen at left). There will also be a new narrow service road running south from M between this new development and Building 202 for loading zone access. Access to residential parking will be from Tingey, and the grocery and retail parking entrance will be on 4th, next to the residential lobby entrance that will be directly across from the "Transportation Walk" behind USDOT.
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.) ANC 6D voted unanimously to support the project back in October.
If you want to know more about tonight's proceedings, and about the many requirements of the Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlay, I would suggest reading the Office of Planning's report, and even watching the video of tonight's hearing, where you can see lots of grainy representations of site plans. (On Demand is a lovely thing!) You can also read the National Capital Planning Commission's staff report for another overview. Plus my previous 401 M entries and my project page, to see more renderings.
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More posts: The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Phone Survey on Harris Teeter M Street Store
Nov 17, 2010 10:06 AM
I received a report from reader K on being part of a telephone survey on Tuesday night about neighborhood grocery stores. It apparently started with generic questions on where K shops, followed by questions about what kind of new grocery store K would like to see in the neighborhood, with options like Harris Teeter, Trader Joe's and Yes! being on the list. (Interestingly, given last night's Twitter eruption on Wal-Mart perhaps coming to DC, K says there were lots of questions about whether the neighborhood would support a "low-price" store.)
The interview then moved to specific questions about what K "would like to see at the new Harris Teeter at 5th and M by the Navy Yard." K said that the interviewer made the store sound like a done deal--which it certainly has seemed to be for a while now given all the hints and not-confirmed media stories about letters of intent, but there still has never been an official announcement from either Forest City or Harris Teeter that HT is indeed coming to the new residential building planned for 401 M St., SE at The Yards. One way or the other, it appears that construction on this building may be getting started next year--see my recent entries for details.
Comments (11)
More posts: Harris Teeter, Retail, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Quick ANC 6D Meeting Report
Oct 18, 2010 10:29 PM
A few items from tonight's ANC 6D meeting, which is still going on (I bailed after the last Near Southeast agenda item).
* The commission voted 7-0 to support Forest City's zoning requests for its Parcel D project, the combination residential and retail (and grocery store) development on the southeast corner of 4th and M, SE. I wrote about it in detail a few weeks back, and you can see my Parcel D project page for renderings and additional information, but the short of it is it's a 220ish-unit residential building (with 20 percent affordable housing), a 50,000-square-foot grocery store, and an expected 24,000-square-foot fitness/spa company.
The Zoning Commission hearing will be on December 2, and Forest City is asking for two special exceptions (having to do with roof structures and the proposed 110-foot building height, which will be above the 90 feet that's allowed) and two variances (for a curb cut on M east of 4th for a new private service drive east of the new building and also for some balconies overlooking 4th). Forest City's Alex Nyhan also told the commission that, while the entire Yards project is designed to be LEED Gold, they are going to shoot for LEED Silver on this particular portion.
ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel commended Forest City on the plans, though he made very clear that he and his constituents want a sit-down restaurant more than anything. Nyhan replied that the Boilermaker Shop project one block to the west on Tingey will have four or five restaurants including at least one sit-down one when it opens next fall. Siegel then made the motion to the support the project, Commissioner Sobelsohn seconded, and the vote was unanimous. The National Capital Planning Commission and the US Commission on Fine Arts have both recently voted to support the plans and designs.
* During the public safety report, Capt. Gottert of MPD mentioned that while there were a rash of car thefts in PSA 105 (and 106 and 107) during the past few months, the police had a suspect in mind, and now that he's been apprehended, the thefts have stopped. Gottert had no additional information on Saturday's carjacking at 1st and L, SE.
* The agenda had as one of its items a request by the Nationals to add the stadium to the Navy Yard Metro station name (coming on the heels of the Capitol Riverfront BID's request last month to add their name to the station). However, ANC chair Ron McBee said that the Nationals hadn't yet been able to get their request completely lined up yet, and so the item was postponed.
* Next month's meeting will be on Nov. 8, and will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. Expected agenda items include an update from CSX about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, a plan to give historic landmark status to St. Paul's church on the southeast corner of 4th and I, SE, and an update on the 11th Street Bridges construction.

Additional Areas of the Yards Park Now Open
Oct 17, 2010 10:17 AM
With thanks to reader Mike for the tip, I can pass along that some additional portions of the Yards Park are now open: the "River Street Gardens" on the eastern side is now available for your perusal, with its more shaded benches and even some lounge chairs; and, along with it, the boardwalk is completed all the way to the fence at the Navy Yard. (Still no word on when access to the Navy Yard's riverwalk for the general public might happen.) There's still some construction being done north of the Gardens (south of the Trapeze School), but the showiest parts of the 6-acre spread's first phase are now all finished.
If you're pondering whether to make another visit to the park, all I can tell you is--if the weather today is anything like it was on Saturday, you won't be disappointed. My goodness gracious, what a fabulous tableau. So of course I had to take a pile of new photos--mainly to get shots of the new areas, but also just to take advantage of the bluest clearest sky I've seen in a long time.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

ANC 6D Agenda Posted; Another Navy Yard Metro Station Name Change Request
Oct 15, 2010 1:44 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now being circulated (slightly revised from one that went out earlier today). One item of Near SE interest is an update on the Yards Park and also the Parcel D residential/grocery project, which is now scheduled to go before the Zoning Commission on Dec. 2.
The revised agenda also now shows a new request to change the name of the Navy Yard Metro station; while last time it was the Capitol Riverfront BID requesting that the name be changed to Capitol Riverfront/Nationals Park/Navy Yard (which the ANC supported as long as "Capitol Riverfront" wasn't first), this time it's the Nationals themselves requesting that "Nationals Stadium" be added to the Navy Yard name. (I wouldn't put 100% confidence in the request being for "Nationals Stadium" and not "Nationals Park," but that's what the agenda says.) I'm trying to find out whether the first request has bitten the dust, or if these are competing requests, or what. Stay tuned. (See below for clarifications.)
There's also a request to add "Banneker Memorial Park" to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station name. As well as a bunch of other stuff happening on the other side of South Capitol Street, which I leave to other people to pay attention to!
UPDATE: The BID has told me that this is just the Nationals requesting to be added so that they can be part of the Capitol Riverfront/Nationals Park/Navy Yard new name, though I'm not sure why they would need to have their own request separate from the one that the BID is already working on. Still trying to find out more, but may need to wait until Monday's meeting for clarification.
UPDATE II: Apparently the BID's request was officially just to add "Capitol Riverfront," but they recognized that the Nats would want the stadium included as well. So this ANC action will be to get whatever official name the Nationals want added to the station name into the mix.

Tuesday Tidbits: 401 M, What if the Blue Castle Weren't Blue, Austin Grill Express at Nats Park?
Oct 5, 2010 2:29 PM
Some news on Near Southeast, still not the 9th Most Dangerous Neighborhood in the US:
* The National Capital Planning Commission's staff has recommended approval of the new designs for 401 M Street at the Yards, the new-construction building now redesigned to have residential units on top of a grocery-store-that-totally-isn't-Harris-Teeter-because-they-haven't-said-so-officially. The staff "recommends that the Commission recommend" [I love that] "that the massing and facade scale and articulation of the new building on Parcel D be studied and refined further as the design is developed. Staff notes that the grocery store should be treated with cladding that differentiates it from the residential tower and clearly acknowledges the presence and complements the scale of the sentry tower." You can see the designs on my 401 M page. The NCPC meets Thursday, Oct. 7, but this is a consent calendar agenda item, so it won't be discussed at the meeting.
* A subscribers-only WBJ piece discusses the new "Austin Grill Express" food-court concession that serves wings, burritos, tacos, and salads, that already has 11 locations since it launched about a year ago. There's another 11 on the way by the end of the year, and the owner is hoping for another 40 to 50 of them next year. One of the locations the owners are talking to? Nationals Park.
* What would the Blue Castle look like if it weren't blue? Madison Marquette included a rendering of a revamped 770 M (with what looks like a grocery offering of some sort) in the slides it showed at last week's Southwest Waterfront public meeting. There's been no official news of plans for the building, or a timeline on when work might happen. For those just joining us, the Blue Castle was originally a "car barn" back when DC had trolleys and then streetcars.

The Anacostia Waterfront, Seen from On High
Sep 26, 2010 1:44 PM
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

Photo Gallery of the Yards Park After Dark
Sep 25, 2010 11:28 AM
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

Free Tickets to RiverFrontFest for Hood Residents
Sep 21, 2010 1:32 PM
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.

Back from the Midwest; A Few Events This Week
Sep 20, 2010 9:39 AM
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).

First 'RiverFrontFest' Coming on Oct. 9
Sep 18, 2010 3:35 PM
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

Yards Park Opening Weekend Thread: Your Thoughts?
Sep 10, 2010 12:40 PM
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.
Comments (22)
More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

401 M Street Project at the Yards Switching to Residential, Could Deliver a Grocery Store in 2013
Sep 9, 2010 10:59 PM
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).
Comments (11)

Reminders for a Slew of Upcoming Events
Sep 9, 2010 2:17 AM
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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