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Zoning Filing to Move WMATA Parking - Update: Approved
Nov 16, 2006 11:09 AM

In order to start construction ASAP on both the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro entrance at Half and M and mixed-use offerings along Half Street, Monument Realty and WMATA are asking the DC Zoning Commission for an emergency text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay to allow a temporary parking lot for WMATA employees to be built, replacing the one currently atop the Navy Yard station. This new lot would be on South Capitol Street between M and N, on the lot just south of the Public Storage building and just north of the Amoco station (lot 0700 0046 for those of you with parcel maps), and would be accessed from Van Street. The text amendment would restrict the parking lot's life to three years--by that point, Monument's construction along Half Street should completed and WMATA employees would then be able to park in those underground lots. This will come before the Zoning Commission for setdown on Nov. 13; because it is being requested on an emergency basis, the Office of Planning is recommending that the text amendment take effect immediately upon setdown, and is requesting that it be set down for a hearing at the earliest possible date. Good to see that Monument and WMATA are moving fast. UPDATE, 11/16: This text amendment was approved on an emergency basis, which means that it goes into effect immediately and for 120 days, but Monument still has to go to the ZC during that time for a hearing to get permanent approval of the amendment plus approval of the parking lot itself because it lies in a CG Overlay mandatory review area. (See the above entry for more on THAT!)

Fenty Proposes New Garage Plan
Oct 17, 2006 11:31 PM
From NBC4: "News4 has learned that D.C. Councilmember and mayoral candidate Adrian Fenty is talking with Mayor Anthony Williams about a new plan to build about 1,200 parking spaces on the south side of the stadium rather than on the north side. Sources said the change would make the garages cheaper to build and still leave land on the north side for development of retail stores, restaurants and housing. Sources said the Fenty plan would cost about $56 million compared to the mayor's price tag of about $80 million. Details of the new proposal are still being worked out between Fenty, the mayor, developers and the Lerner family that owns the baseball team. The new proposal could come before the D.C. Council as soon as Wednesday." Very interesting, and might be possible given the extra space on the south end of the stadium site. We shall see what arises. [NBC4 has now updated its story to remove the references to the south side of the stadium.] UPDATE: Here's the Post's article, which says nothing about the south side of the stadium concept mentioned by NBC4, instead saying that two three-story garages would be built aboveground on the north side of the stadium. The Post says that Fenty's plan has the support of CFO Gandhi and that the Nationals ownership group "was receptive to the plan." More: "Fenty said his plan would maintain the city's $611 million cost cap on the project, although it would require tens of millions of dollars in additional stadium-generated revenue that the city otherwise would be free to spend on other needs." And: "A critical aspect of the proposal would require the council to override a D.C. Zoning Commission decision from July that bans free-standing parking garages. Fenty aides said the council can sidestep zoning regulations for government projects." Apparently they're talking about building the aboveground garages in time for the 2008 opening, but the "structures would be reinforced to accommodate additional development on top in later seasons." Another wild ride at the Wilson Building appears to be at hand. UPDATE II: And here is the WashTimes piece, summarizing three of the plans (by Williams, Barry, and Fenty) currently being floated to fix the parking issue, but describes the Fenty plan as being on the south side of the stadium. And I wonder how long it'll be before this AP piece posted at WJLA is corrected, because I'm pretty sure they'd have a hard time putting 12,000 spaces on the site! UPDATE III: Don't forget that DC Council sessions are available via live streaming.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, zoning

New Florida Rock Renderings
Sep 27, 2006 10:49 AM

I've posted some new renderings and the revised site map for the Florida Rock project, with many thanks as always to the generous folks at Davis Buckley Architects for passing them along. The two new images of the east office building at 1st and Potomac highlight the three floors of glass-enclosed retail that has now been added to this location; you can also see on the site map the proposed 39,000-sq-ft public plaza at the foot of First Street. This east building would be the first phase of Florida Rock's development, with construction beginning if all goes well in early 2008. The project has another hearing in front of the Zoning Commission on Nov. 27 (here's my entry on how the first one on Sept. 18 went).

More posts: Florida Rock, Teague Park, zoning

Mayor Says Garages Not Dead
Sep 26, 2006 2:06 PM
Today's Examiner has "Mayor Williams says parking deal not dead", with not much that's new, but these lines advance the story a tad: " 'We've got to show that development's under way very, very quickly, but at the same time we have to satisfy the need for parking,' Williams said. Williams said talks were ongoing Monday between multiple parties. If the deal does ultimately collapse, the mayor said, the city might have no choice but to build the standalone parking garages sought by Nationals owners, but vehemently opposed by the D.C. Zoning Commission." And the WashPost editorializes about the brouhaha in "Mayor Williams's Dead Deal."
More posts: parking, staddis, Nationals Park, zoning

Herb's Stadium Garages Deal Goes Kaput
Sep 20, 2006 6:55 PM
From WTOP: "Herb Miller's Western Development Corporation Baseball Partners rejected a deal from the city to develop parking and retail at the new stadium for the Washington Nationals. The move puts the city at risk of default on the stadium agreement with the Lerner Family. That agreement calls for the city to provide 1,225 parking spaces at the site by opening day in April of 2008. If the District is unable to provide that number of spaces, the Lerners could sue the city for damages. [...] Those options include creating surface parking around the stadium as an interim fix until more permanent parking can be developed. The D.C. Zoning Board has ruled the parking cannot preclude other development on the site, such as retail. " It appears that what they're now arguing about is how much Miller gets compensated for the deal falling through. More as I get it (and perhaps the Post will give us some clarity, this seems a bit jumbled). UPDATE: Here is the WashPost story, which doesn't tell us much that we haven't already heard. The article is a bit overwrought when it says "The dissolution of the Miller project could have far-reaching consequences on the entire baseball experience and the city's planned revival of the waterfront." -- after all, there are millions of square feet of office, residential, and retail projects planned for around the stadium, whether the Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness got built or not. Next step, trying to put 925 parking spaces on the northern edge of the stadium site by Opening Day 2008.
More posts: parking, staddis, Nationals Park, zoning

Florida Rock's Zoning Commission Hearing/WASA Site News
Sep 19, 2006 1:02 PM

The Florida Rock mixed-use project had a second-stage PUD hearing at the DC Zoning Commission on Monday night; I missed the first 90 minutes, so I can't really give you a solid feel for how it all went; I did detect a fair amount of concern about the easternmost building of the project, an office building (now redesigned to include three floors of retail) at the terminus of First Street, specifically how it impacts the views of the river from the "grand staircase" of the ballpark. There were also still apparently some issues to be resolved with DDOT, the Office of Planning, and the AWC's new plan for a 39,000-sq-ft plaza at the foot of First Street. The Florida Rock folks will be back in front of the Commission in November to address the concerns brought forward. One interesting tidbit did sneak in during Adrian Washington's testimony--he said that the plans for the Ballpark District portion of the WASA site (AWC and Forest City are still in negotiations to acquire the land) is for it to be all residential, perhaps as many as 800 units. If that Ballpark Development Strategy ever sees the light of day, we'll get more details, I'm sure.

ANC Approves Changes to Florida Rock PUD
Sep 12, 2006 11:34 AM
In advance of the Sept. 18 Zoning Hearing, representatives on behalf of the development project at Florida Rock made a presentation to last night's ANC 6D meeting on some changes that they've made to their design after consulting with the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation as the AWC works to create a Ballpark District around the stadium. One big change is a 52,000-sq-ft increase in the amount of retail planned for the site, now pegged at 92,000 sq ft. Much of it will be along Potomac Avenue, facing the stadium, but also in the first three stories of the office building planned for the eastern part of the site, at First Street--it's in this location where the AWC is now envisioning a 39,000 sq ft public plaza, with some of the WASA waterfront land being used for this park (Florida Rock has offered to contribute $3.5 million to the design, development, and initial maintenance of the plaza). It would serve to far better connect the stadium to the Anacostia River, and with the retail there as well, it's hoped it could be a destination that would draw many people down to the southern side of the stadium. Florida Rock has also been able to tweak the design of the western side of their land (which for now is under the old Frederick Douglass Bridge), and will now be able to build a large pedestrian pier sticking out into the Anacostia in that area. They've also been able to "twist" the upper floors of a the buildings to allow for much more open views. Building heights, density, and the 75-ft-deep esplanade along the riverfront all remain the same. In a stunning display of unanimity (for them), the ANC passed a resolution in support of the changes 6-0. I hope to have updated renderings and site maps of the new design within the next few weeks.

ANC 6D September Meeting Agenda
Sep 1, 2006 8:21 AM
The agenda for the September ANC 6D meeting has been released; items of Near Southeast interest include a vote on the request for alley closings on the east side of Square 701 and also a presentation on changes in the Florida Rock PUD in advance of it's Sept. 18 zoning hearing. (Perhaps the Square 737/739 alley closing will get added to the agenda as well, it was supposed to be referred back to the full commission from the Development Committee for this meeting.) The meeting is on Sept. 11 at 7 pm at 65 I Street SW.

Details on Square 701 Development
Aug 31, 2006 9:29 AM

Oops, I missed this badly. The August Hill Rag's report from the July ANC 6D meeting gives us our first description of what's being planned for 1st Street between M and N (just north of the stadium and part of the Ballpark District area): "a 515,000 square foot mixed use office, residential and retail development. The office building will be 11 stories[;] the apartment building, which will contain 252 units, will be 12 stories. There will be 499 parking spaces, more than a hundred more than the number mandated by regulation." This was revealed as part of the alley closing request, which was referred to the ANC's development committee, and will be reconsidered by the full commission at it's Sept. 11 meeting.

More posts: ANC News, staddis, Square 701, zoning

AWC Meeting Presentation Slides
Aug 11, 2006 12:34 PM
The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has posted a PDF of a presentation from Wednesday's board meeting, with bullet-point updates about their initiatives, including the Southwest Waterfront, Poplar Point, Hill East, and of course, the "South Capitol Street Waterfront". Nothing really new in it regarding the Ballpark District, though I was little surprised to see a map they had (page 29 of the PDF) of the area that they have some sort of weird layout of the southeastern corner of the stadium site, with a big plaza that easily crosses over to the riverfront, and even shows P Street running halfway through the stadium site. Unless there's been some huge reconfiguration of the stadium design that I haven't yet heard about, methinks they're being a tad blue sky and are trying a bit too hard to turn the stadium into a "waterfront" ballpark. They've also got a watercolor on page 27 that doesn't even depict the stadium in its correct layout. There's a map at the top of my Ballpark District page, released by the AWC in Dec. 2005, that is I believe a more realistic rendering of how the stadium interacts with the waterfront; and page 15 of the DCSEC renderings presented to the Zoning Commission shows the design of the southern side of the stadium (but don't get me started on that blue-grey "future development" monstrosity shown on that slide--I'm guessing the ZC wouldn't be interested in approving THAT). Hopefully the long-awaited (and very long overdue) Ballpark District Master Plan will be released before too much longer, where we can see concrete designs of what they're anticipating.
More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., staddis, zoning

New Additions
Jul 22, 2006 4:31 PM
A correspondent passed along an image from the paperwork filed with the Zoning Commission for the stadium hearing last month, which shows a concept rendering of the now-infamous condo- and hotel-wrapped parking garages on the north edge of the stadium site. I've put it at the top of my Stadium Renderings page, where you can scroll down to remind yourself of the plain parking garages originally planned for that location. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to move all my discussions and photos of this land between N Street and N Place to my Ballpark District page without completely gutting my Stadium page :-). (I think I'll wait until the Ballpark District Master Plan is released.) In the meantime, I also added a couple of new photos to my M Street page, my Capper/Carrollsburg page (celebrating at long last the completion of above-ground demolition on the 3rd/4th/I/Virginia block), and the Capper Seniors #2 page (the 4th and M location is starting to look very different).

250 M Street Zoning Hearing
Jul 11, 2006 2:16 PM
Another item to add to your busy Zoning Commission calendar: The Zoning Commission has placed on its July 10 agenda the new office building project at 250 M Street--it is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg planned unit development, so this is coming before the Zoning Commission as a second-stage PUD. UPDATE, 7/11: The second-stage PUD was approved for setdown; a hearing date should be set before too long.
More posts: 250 M, Capper, zoning

Florida Rock Returns to Zoning Calendar
Jul 11, 2006 1:33 PM

The second-stage PUD hearing for Florida Rock has now been scheduled for Sept. 18, having been originally slated for December 2005 but then postponed. Reading the two announcements (Dec. and Sept.), it doesn't look like there's been any significant changes to the application (though it might be hard to tell from these documents). My Florida Rock page has renderings of the plans for the development, taken from the documentation provided to the Zoning Commission last year. Note that this PUD was supported by ANC 6D 7-0 at it's November 2005 meeting--at this meeting, it was predicted that construction would begin in 2007 (moving east-to-west), but I don't know if that's still operative.

More posts: ANC News, Florida Rock, zoning

Zoning Commission Approves Stadium, Parking Plan
Jul 7, 2006 7:43 AM
From Friday's Post, "Mayor's Stadium Proposal Advances": "The D.C. Zoning Commission approved the mayor's plan for the new Nationals stadium in Southeast yesterday, including his proposal to wrap four levels of parking inside two condominium towers, a first for Washington architecture." The commission rejected the backup plan for plain boxy aboveground garages, the ones preferred by the Lerners: "'Going back to exposed garages does nothing for the revitalization of the community,' Commissioner Michael Turnbull said. 'It's not good land use, not good planning.' " This WashTimes story gives additional details. The remaining hurdles to this plan are the city council (which will vote as a whole on the plan on July 11, with a vote coming today from the Economic Development subcommittee) and whether CEO Gandhi can certify the financial aspects of the plan, which he says needs to be done by Aug. 1 in order to allow construction to proceed by Labor Day to keep the project on time. Developer Herb Miller's quote: "What Nat Gandhi wants, we want." However, NBC4's Tom Sherwood is reporting that the DC Council appears ready to reject the plan. UPDATE: Here is Mayor Baseball's statement on the Zoning vote.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Big Day for Stadium Parking
Jul 5, 2006 11:34 PM
There are two big hearings today on the fate of the stadium parking--at 10 am the city council's Subcommittee on Economic Development will take up PR 16-852, the "South Capitol Street Development Disposition Approval Resolution of 2006," the proposal to sell the parking lot land to Herb Miller's Western Development Corp. However, Thursday's Post is reporting that DC CFO Gandhi is raising doubts about the ability of the city to work out the financing details quickly enough to allow the stadium to go forward and stay on schedule. (But everyone will breathe a sigh of relief to hear that Marion Barry has an idea for a solution!) Then at 5:30 pm, the Zoning Commission will hold a second hearing on Case 06-22, District of Columbia Sports and Entertainment Commission - Construction of a Major League Baseball Ballpark, and take the case up for action. Fun fun fun!
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Special ANC 6D Meeting on Stadium
Jun 27, 2006 11:41 PM

From ANC 6D: "There will be a special ANC meeting on Wednesday, July 5th to discuss the supplemental proposal submitted by the Sports and Entertainment Commission on the baseball stadium. The meeting will be at 7 pm at 65 I Street SW." The Zoning Commission has asked the applicants to answer specific questions, and to allow ANC 6D to comment on the submission--July 6 is the date of the next ZC hearing.

More posts: ANC News, Nationals Park, zoning

The Stadium and the Zoning Commission
Jun 26, 2006 8:06 PM
Starting a thread for whatever news comes out of tonight's Zoning Commission hearing on the baseball stadium (and the parking garages!)--Mayor Williams planned to testify, and here are his prepared remarks. UPDATE: The Washington Times says that the Zoning Commission was not anywhere close to impressed with the new garages plan ("Garages Proposal Roundly Criticized"). The short Post story ("Mayor Asks For Stadium Plan Approval") doesn't include any actual detail from the hearing.
UPDATE, 6/29: Here's another Washington Times story, talking about the short timetable the city has to address the Zoning Commission's concerns, and also discussing the additional environmental issues that appear to have cropped up at the site.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Ballpark District Master Plan Delays
Jun 23, 2006 3:02 PM
This week's Washington Business Journal has "Developers, AWC Wrestle with Ballpark-Area Plans" (not yet available online). It mentions (just like someone else!) that the unveiling of the Ballpark District Master Plan is now more than two months behind schedule, and that the lack of plan is hampering what is already a pretty complicated venture, especially when you add in the new potential garages deal with Western Development and the fact that the AWC still has not finished negotiating with either WMATA or WASA to get access to their acreages that are considered part of the Ballpark District. AWC head Adrian Washington says he'll have something ready for the council to approve by fall (though it would then need approval by the Zoning Commission as well), but you wonder if Monument Realty (one of the four Master Developers, and the only one that actually owns land within the Ballpark District) is starting to get just an itsy bit antsy to start building and start recouping their $50 million investment....

Don't Forget
Jun 23, 2006 12:46 PM

This Monday (June 26) is the all-important Zoning Commission hearing on the baseball stadium. They appear to have gotten their live webcasts back up, so you can watch it in your fuzzy slippers at home (with the alcoholic drink of your choice close at hand, to ease the pain) via their webcast page, starting at 6:30 pm. Note that the webcasts are not archived, you can only watch it live.

More posts: Nationals Park, zoning

Lerners Still Want Aboveground Parking as Plan B
Jun 22, 2006 8:21 AM
The Post's Day 2 story on the stadium parking garages, "City Urged to Support 2 Proposals," says that team owner Ted Lerner "wants city officials to adopt his proposal for aboveground-only parking as a backup if the mayor's plan for parking aboveground and below falls through. [...] The Lerner group stressed that it will agree [to the city's plan for both underground and aboveground parking with surrounding development] but asks that the city consider the group's plan for aboveground parking with no other development as a Plan B." As for logistics: "The city's chief financial officer, Natwar M. Gandhi, is analyzing whether he can certify the money is available for the city's parking plan. D.C. Council member Sharon Ambrose (D-Ward 6) has scheduled a hearing on the stadium July 6. And the council will vote July 11 on a resolution to transfer development rights on the stadium site near South Capitol Street and the Navy Yard in Southeast Washington to private developers." In a classic chicken-and-egg scenario, CFO Gandhi wants a letter from Herb Miller's financial backers before he certifies the plan, but the backers want to see that the plan is supported by the Zoning Commission at the June 26 hearing before proceeding. The WashTimes story from today has similar comments, saying that approval of the plan by the Council is likely as long as Miller can show "how the project can be paid for without threatening the city's $611 million spending cap for the stadium." This story says that approval of the aboveground structures by the Zoning Commission is less certain.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, zoning
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