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Latest Florida Rock Design Moves Another Step Forward
Nov 20, 2007 1:54 PM
At Monday night's Zoning Commission hearing, Florida Rock's request for a hearing on the revised design for RiverFront on the Anacostia was approved. (See Monday's post for the quick description of the project.) You can read the Office of Planning report on the latest design, which also includes a lot of good history as to the twists and turns this project has taken over the years.
There have been some small changes since this revised design was first unveiled back in June, and even some further changes from renderings I posted here in September, with the Office of Planning looking for more variation of materials used for the four buildings proposed for the project instead of being all glass (to "minimize the potential campus effect," according to the report). There's also been some changes to the amenities package that the developer is offering, though this is still being worked out between the developer and the Office of Planning. As of this filing, they have expanded the amount of workforce-level housing to 29,000 square feet/25 units to bring it in line with the city's inclusionary zoning requirements. On the flip side, they have scaled back their financial contribution to the creation of Diamond Teague Park to $350,000 from $3.5 million, since the park is now fully funded from other sources.
You can see some new renderings of the latest design and specifics about the project on my Florida Rock/RiverFront page (though note that the site map and the rendering of the entire project are older; I hope to get updated versions soon). And, just as a reminder, this is a project that is planned to be completed in multiple phases over many years. The developers would start with the eastern office building and the plaza known as "The Pitch" adjacent to Diamond Teague Park, perhaps in 2008.
The developers have asked for an expedited hearing on this new design (technically known as a modification to the project's second-stage PUD), so it could appear on the commission's calendar before too long.
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning

Short Takes on Teague Park, Poplar Point, Yards
Nov 19, 2007 11:36 AM
Three quick items:
* I've received word that the Commission on Fine Arts approved the revised design for Diamond Teague Park at its meeting last week. This follows on the heels of a favorable response from the National Capital Planning Commission back on Nov. 1. Next steps are continuing through the permitting process with first the Army Corps of Engineers (because of the piers and water access) and then eventually local permits. Hopefully I can get a copy of the revised site plan for the park in the near future.
* Forest City Enterprises, one of the big guns in Near Southeast with its redevelopment of both The Yards and Capper/Carrollsburg, has been named one of the four short-list developers for Poplar Point. Mid-City Urban, which is partnering with Forest City on Capper, is also one of the finalists, as part of a team with General Growth Properties and Doracon.
* There's a Zoning Commission hearing now scheduled for Jan. 10, 2008 on a series of changes to the zoning rules that govern the redevelopment of The Yards. These changes are spelled out in the hearing notice, and are described as text amendments that "clarify requirements of the SEFC Overlay District and correct technical errors." There's also a request to readjust the SFC's property line between it and the Navy Yard and also change a few of the zone district boundaries as part of the realignment of Water Street within the Federal Center.
More posts: Capper, Teague Park, The Yards, zoning

Florida Rock Back at the Zoning Commission
Nov 19, 2007 12:02 AM
Monday (Nov. 19) is the monthly Zoning Commission meeting, and Florida Rock (or, "RiverFront on the Anacostia") is one of the agenda items. I *believe* it's going to be a request for a new hearing on the project's revised design, which I first posted here in June, and which received favorable comments from the Zoning Commission in July. (This is a modification to the second-stage PUD, for those In The Know.) The meeting is at 6:30 pm, and will be shown via live webcast.
As always, this monthly zoning meeting overlaps with ANC 6D's monthly meeting; I haven't yet seen an agenda for that meeting, so at this point, I'm going to commit myself to finding out what's up with Florida Rock. (I knew I shouldn't have given the entire JDLand staff the week off at Thanksgiving.)
If you're arriving late and don't know what Florida Rock is, the project page will give you most of the scoop. But the short version is that it's the nearly six acres of land directly south of the ballpark, on the Anacostia River. The developers have been working for nearly 10 years to get this property transitioned away from the concrete business currently there to a 1.1 million square foot mixed-use waterfront destination.
At the February meeting where approval of the design was expected, the Zoning Commission unexpectedly sent the architects back to the drawing board, wanting a greater amount of residential space in the project, better views to and from the ballpark, and a better "expression of place." And now the developers are hoping to get this project moving forward, so that perhaps the first phase--an office-building with ground-floor retail and a public plaza on the easternmost end of the site, next to Diamond Teague Park--could get underway in 2008. The rest of the project, with a hotel, residential building, office building, public spaces, retail, and the riverwalk along the Anacostia, could take a while to be completed, especially given that the western portion of the site is probably not going to be ready until the current Douglass Bridge is demolished and the new new Douglass Bridge is built.
You can see the latest renderings, along with some watercolors and much more detailed descriptions of the revised design, on the project page.
UPDATE: The ANC agenda is now online, and other than the ballpark liquor license application that I wrote about a few weeks ago, there's no pressing Near Southeast news listed.

Square 696 Alley Closing Hearing -- The $7 Million Question
Nov 16, 2007 8:52 AM
Thanks to the glories of the On Demand video offerings at the city's Office of Cable Television web site, I was able to catch Wednesday's hearing on the request to close the 8,197-square-foot alley that bisects Square 696, the block bounded by I, K, First, and Half streets that DRI Development bought in April for $64 million. As I posted a few weeks ago after DRI's presentation to ANC 6D, DRI is planning more than 825,000 square feet of office and retail on the block, in three buildings that would be built in three phases, the first being a 300,000-square-foot office building along I Street that could begin construction in the summer of 2008.
As part of its successful bid to get the ANC's support, DRI and its development partner Jamestown Properties have committed to a $100,000 payment to the Near Southeast/Southwest community fund, LEED certification, and an 8,000-square-foot public plaza at First and K streets to replace the "public space" being lost by the alley closing.
The early part of the hearing was pretty standard as these types of sessions go. The development's representatives described their agreement with the ANC, and also the planned 37,000-square-feet of retail what would serve not only the office tenants but also the residential projects that will soon surround the block on all sides. Also touted were the large south-facing public plaza (light-filled and sunny!) with a 20-foot-wide pedestrian "breezeway" through the block to open the area to pedestrians arriving from I Street, the innovative loading ramps within turnaround space inside the buildings to eliminate the need for commercial vehicles to back up or turn around out in the streets, the fitness center with changing and shower facilities to encourage bicycle use, and more.
Then, Council Member Tommy Wells began to ask questions about the amount of the developers' required contribution to the city's Housing Production Trust Fund, dedicated to the creation of affordable housing. Wells brought up a slight discrepancy between the number the developers were citing versus what the Office of Planning had determined the figure to be.
Developer figure? Approximately $890,000.
Office of Planning figure? More like $8 million.
The hearing then became a blur of real and estimated assessed values, total F.A.R. based on T.D.R.s (that's total floor-area ratios based on transfers of development rights, for those of you whose minds are blissfully unsullied with this stuff), buildable square footage, and on-the-fly calculations. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, after commenting that even the $890,000 figure cited by the developers would be the largest trust fund contribution ever, wondered how many projects in the District "would see the light of day" if the city starts talking about $8 million contributions. Wells and Gray agreed that the calculating discrepancies need to be resolved so that the trust fund law can be implemented consistently, and the hearing ended with pledges from the applicant to provide additional information.
And despite the wrangling over the trust fund contribution, Council Member Wells made sure to reiterate that he supports the project, especially because of the environmentally friendly aspects of the design.
In the meantime, the last tenant on the block (a taxi repair garage) will be vacating when its lease expires in February.
Check my Square 696 page for an early sitemap of the project, along with photos of the block.
More posts: Plaza on K/Square 696, zoning

Ballpark and Beyond This Week
Oct 18, 2007 9:42 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra in the Post covers the new zoning amendment for additional temporary surface parking lots (here's the Office of Planning report with all the details), and a little blurb about three of the historic call boxes along First Street disappearing recently, which you might have missed when I posted it here on Tuesday because it was at the end of two veeeeery long entries.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Another Zoning Request for More Ballpark Surface Parking Lot Locations
Oct 16, 2007 9:18 AM
With Opening Day 2008 inching closer, the cobbling together of parking at the new ballpark is apparently turning out to be a greater challenge than constructing an on-time on-budget stadium. So this week the city put in another zoning amendment request to allow more temporary surface parking lots, this time covering eight squares in Southwest, all between P, T, 2nd, and South Capitol streets. (See my Stadium Parking page for a map with the new lots highlighted.) You can read the Office of Planning's report on the new case (07-08A) for more detail.
On Monday night the Zoning Commission approved this request on an emergency basis, meaning that the zoning change takes effect immediately, lasting 120 days while a hearing is scheduled and a permanent amendment is voted on.
As with the original amendment approved earlier this year, the lots can last no more than five years, are required to be available for public parking during non-game times, and must have District Department of Transportation approval of their traffic routing plans to ensure that access to the lots is not directed along I, P, or Fourth streets, SW. There's also a new requirement being added with this latest request, that a minimum of five percent of the spaces in these lots be reserved for a car/ride-share program.
These new lots are still subject to the cap of 3,775 total spaces laid out in the first amendment, unless special exceptions are obtained after the cap is reached from the Board of Zoning Adjustment on a per-lot basis. As with the squares covered earlier this year, it's not expected that lots will suddenly sprout on every one of the locations covered in the request; the main goal appears to be additional flexibility in finding possible spots for the needed spaces.
A separate zoning action a few months ago approved three temporary surface lots totaling under 800 spaces at The Yards, across the street from the stadium. There are also apparently negotiations underway about using the lots at RFK and providing shuttle service to the new ballpark.
There are other locations within a few blocks of the ballpark that will no doubt become temporary parking lots as well--one example is the Lerners' recent permit applications to build a lot on land they own at 1000 South Capitol Street.
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, when this new zoning amendment was discussed, commissioners mentioned rumors of additional lots perhaps coming to the recently closed KFC and Exxon locations on the west side of South Capitol. But these blocks are not in the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay, and so don't require the special approval needed for the squares in the previous amendment requests. And these additional locations still require the Nationals to contract with the landowners, which might not always be an easy negotiation.
The ANC commissioners did not bring up many concerns about this new request, other than asking for confirmation that the traffic controls in the initial amendment cover these new lots, which Judi Greenberg of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development assured was the case.
Commissioner Ron McBee said that he hopes to organize a town hall meeting for Southwest residents about all the parking plans when they are more concrete, and vice chair Andy Litsky reminded Greenberg that the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission is supposed to be meeting with community leaders to address ballpark-related concerns, but that there hasn't been a meeting in six months.
The zoning commission's approval of the emergency action came with little discussion, perhaps reflecting that most of the potential issues with these temporary lots were hashed out in the first request.
Time should solve many of the initial parking issues around the ballpark; right now there are seven office and residential projects already under construction around Near Southeast that by 2008 and 2009 will have multiple levels of underground parking that could potentially be available for gametime, just as with the lots are in the buildings around the Verizon Center. Most of the squares in these recent zoning requests, along most every other block between South Capitol and Second, will also eventually be home to buildings with underground parking.
UPDATE: An e-mail sent out today to Nationals season ticket holders says that 2008 ticket package information will be sent out "in the next month or so", and that a "comprehensive transportation package will also be sent to all season ticket holders shortly after you have received your seat location information." Presumably the "transportation package" means parking plans for season ticket holders (and maybe a really good Metro map!).
More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Commission of Fine Arts Reviewing Diamond Teague Park Design
Oct 12, 2007 4:12 PM
I don't know how I missed this (I'm going to blame my RSS reader), but back in September the Commission on Fine Arts was shown a design for Diamond Teague Park, the new public space being planned for the foot of First Street across from the ballpark. Just posted on the CFA web site is a letter from the commission to Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, whose office is now handling the park's creation, laying out some problems that the commission had with the initial design. The letter led me to the web site of Landscape Architecture Bureau, which is designing the park, and I found deep in it some sitemaps and renderings of the park that look to be of the initial design shown to the CFA. (What is it with architecture and design firms and their insistence on building Flash sites that make it impossible to link directly to anything? Aaaaargh! Stop it! Stop it!!!!)
I've added one of these drawings to my Diamond Teague page so that you don't have to spend a bunch of time digging to find it, and on it you can see "the small triangular subdivisions and narrow walkways to the floating docks" that the CFA described as "fussy and timid and not in scale with the stadium and its visual connection to the river."
The city seems to have responded quickly, because a revised design for the park is now on the CFA agenda for its Thursday, October 18 meeting. (A pretty speedy turnaround--does this mean they are trying to get something done with the park to coincide with Opening Day 2008?)
Even if the specifics of the design change, I'm guessing the general layout will remain the same. The map shows a water taxi pier to be built near the Earth Conservation Corps pumphouse, and the floating bridge connecting this part of the riverfront with the waterfront park at The Yards. I'm also interested to see on this site map that apparently Potomac Avenue is going to be extended east of First Street, to then turn north on a line with a new "1 1/2 Street" that will eventually run parallel to First Street in The Yards.
(As for Florida Rock next door, there had originally been rumors that it was going to have a setdown hearing at this month's Zoning Commission public meeting, but it's not on the agenda, and appears to have been delayed at least until November.)
UPDATE: I've removed the sitemap of the park, after having heard that it's an older design that doesn't show what the proper boundaries of the park will be, especially on the western side that abuts the Florida Rock property. Hopefully we'll be able to see a copy of the newer design they're working on soon.

ANC Commissioner Warns Monument on Navy Yard Metro Renovation Threats
Oct 11, 2007 12:13 AM
When word broke a few days back that Monument Realty had lost the bidding for the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage site at Half and M, the Post described a letter from Monument principal partner Jeffrey T. Neal to WMATA that threatened a slow-down in Monument's work on the renovation and expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station if the company was not awarded the garage site as it felt it had been promised. (It has also been reported that Monument is already seven weeks behind schedule on the project.) This station is of course the lynchpin of the city's plans to get stadium-goers to and from Nationals Park, particularly in the near-term before the parking situation is sorted out.
Now, with Monument's plans for developing the old Randall School site on I Street in Southwest about to come up before the Zoning Commission, ANC6D vice chairman Andy Litsky has written a sternly worded letter to representatives of Monument and its Randall partner the Corcoran Gallery of Art, cc'ed to Tommy Wells and WMATA board members Jim Graham and Marion Barry, that boils down to this: "[U]nless Mr. Neal and Monument Realty withdraw this threat -- in writing and in advance of our vote on Monday night -- I will oppose this PUD at the ANC and in testimony before the Zoning Commission." He goes on to say: "The time has finally come for District residents and policy makers to stand up to developers who use threats and lawsuits as leverage in one part of the city and yet expect -- and often receive -- support for their special projects, PUDs and city tax incentives in another. Enough is enough."
You can read the entire letter here (I PDF'ed the e-mail without the headers so as not to blab a bunch of e-mail addresses to the world). The ANC meets on October 15; the Zoning Commission hearing is Nov. 8.

Florida Rock Heading Back to Zoning Commission; New Renderings
Oct 2, 2007 2:50 PM
The developers of the Florida Rock site immediately to the south of the new ballpark have been spending the past few months working to flesh out the new design unveiled back in June, and apparently will be going to the Zoning Commission on Oct. 15 for setdown of their new application for a second-stage PUD. (If you understood almost nothing in that last sentence, don't worry about it.) That means a full hearing on the new design could possibly happen before the end of 2007, and if the bureaucratic gods align, perhaps work could begin on the first phase of the project in 2008. I've received a few new renderings showing a bit more detail, and have added them to my Florida Rock page (I'm not ready to start officially calling it RiverFront on the Anacostia just yet). Look for the icon to see them.
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning

Square 696 Alley Closing Gets ANC Support
Sep 11, 2007 11:04 AM
Last night a request to close the alley that runs between I and K streets parallel to Half and First on Square 696 was on the ANC 6D agenda. But first there was three-and-a-half hours of discussion and debate on various Southwest issues, including the Randall School, Waterside Mall, the Nassif Building, and more--at least, I think that's what they were talking about, because the acoustics at St. Augustine's Church are so horrendous that everyone could have been describing their summer vacations for all I know.
Finally, at about 10:30, representatives of DRI Development and architect HOK gave a brief summary of their plans for the block, which are still very much in the early stages, but were described as "something other than your standard box." The plans show three office buildings (not four, as we've heard up to now) all with ground-floor retail, connected by a "galleria"-type lobby in the center. There would also be an 8,000-sq-ft public plaza opening up to K Street, to give open space to not only the office workers but also the residents of the four buildings surrounding Square 696.
As part of the alley closing request, DRI and its development partner Jamestown Properties are offering a $100,000 payment to the Near Southeast/Southwest community fund, a promise that the building will be LEED certified (a vegetated roof is part of the plans), and the 8,000-sq-ft open space of the plaza to replace the 8,000-sq-ft of "public space" being lost by the alley closing.
The ANC commissioners were quite pleased with what they heard, congratulating the developers on working with the commission on the benefits package before presenting their alley closing request. Commissioner McBee suggested that perhaps some public art could be included at the plaza, as well as public wifi. The final vote was 6-1 in favor of the project, with only Commissioner Skolnik opposing.
DRI was kind enough to pass along the preliminary site plan, which I've added to my Square 696 page. The alley closing request will now wind its way through the city council.
More posts: ANC News, Plaza on K/Square 696, zoning

Another Week, Another Column About Parking
Aug 2, 2007 8:58 AM
I'm pretty sure that this blog has posts about more than just parking lots, but it sure doesn't seem like it lately in my Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post, as this week's items are about the draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan and the various Zoning Commission votes in the past week on temporary surface lots at The Yards and other locations around Near Southeast. You can also check out Stadium Parking page for more background on the scrambling to find enough parking spaces for ballpark goers, and my Yards page for more information and renderings about the plans for its redevelopment. And if you're interested in the TOPP, don't forget the open house tonight from 6 to 8 pm at 20 M Street, SE.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, The Yards, zoning

August Hill Rag Articles
Jul 31, 2007 10:59 AM
Within the past few weeks I've posted a lot about the MPD move to 225 Virginia Ave. and the falderal over the surface parking lots zoning amendment including Canal Park, but if you can't get enough, the August issue of the Hill Rag has pieces on both items. And a summary of the July ANC 6D meeting, too.

Zoning Commission Actions on 1325 South Capitol, Canal Park Parking
Jul 30, 2007 8:39 PM
The Zoning Commission shoe-horned in one last public meeting tonight before its August break, and took up a couple of Near Southeast-related items.
After having asked for revisions, clarifications, and refilings on three previous occasions, the commissioners once again had before them a first vote to approve the planned 276-unit residential project by Camden Development at 1325 South Capitol Street, across the street from the Nationals ballpark. The major sticking point in the last two meetings has been the design of the western side of the building, which is technically the "rear" of the building but will be on full display to much of Southwest because only low-rise buildings back up to the project site. Commissioner Turnbull had led the complaints in previous meetings about the need to "step up" the architecture, and while he was not jumping up and down for joy (calling the latest revisions "brutal at times"), he indicated that the plans had indeed made some progress. Commissioners Parsons and Hood agreed, and the commission voted to give first approval to the project three votes to zero, with commissioners Mitten and Jeffries not voting (having not participated in the case). The project now goes to the National Capital Planning Commission for its review, with a final vote by the Zoning Commission in the fall.
The Commission also gave its final approval to Case 07-08, which amends the zoning regulations to allow temporary surface parking lots on various blocks near the stadium. This is the case that stirred an outcry a few weeks ago when it was discovered after the commission's preliminary approval that the language specifying the parcels approved for parking included the three blocks slated for Canal Park. But with a supplemental report from the Office of Planning amending the language, and also with the report from the National Capital Planning Commission indicating its support of the amendment as long as the Canal Park boo-boo was fixed, the zoning commission approved the amended amendment three votes to zero, with commissioners Parsons and Jeffries not voting. And then they amended the original emergency amendment, too, just to make 100% sure that there were no loopholes big enough to build a parking lot on.
More posts: 1325sc, parking, South Capitol St., zoning

Zoning Commission Approves Temporary Surface Lots at The Yards
Jul 26, 2007 8:16 PM
With little discussion, the Zoning Commission tonight took final action and approved Case 07-17, the request for a special exception and a Southeast Federal Center Overlay District review of plans for temporary surface parking lots to last no more than five years at The Yards. The only news coming out of the hearing (other than the approval itself) was that just today it was decided to not include Parcel L, the lot just to the east of the WASA building, because of property line, fencing, and other issues still being negotiated with WASA. This means that approximately 785 spaces can be created at The Yards with this zoning approval (down from the 900 or so originally anticipated, though the Parcel L lot may still be requested at a later date). The National Capital Planning Commission will be voting on this case at its August 2 hearing, but zoning Commissioner Hood announced that the NCPC staff was recommending approval of the case as well. You can see the locations of the Yards lots on my Stadium Parking page, with the Parcel L lot now removed from the map. UPDATE: Should have included this link for folks looking for more information--the Office of Planning's report to the Zoning Commission on this case, which lays out the request in greater detail and explains OP's support.
More posts: parking, The Yards, zoning

Broadcast of Recent Economic Development Roundtable; Other Thursday Events
Jul 25, 2007 10:04 AM
Back in mid-June there was a Saturday morning public roundtable by the city council's Committee on Economic Redevelopment on current development projects in Southwest and Near Southeast. If you didn't get to go, you can watch it tomorrow (Thursday June 26) at 6:40 pm on DC Cable 13, or via live streaming video. Of course, that's at the same time as the Zoning Commission hearing on Forest City's request to add temporary surface parking lots to the The Yards (also available via streaming video) so you'll have to make a choice.
And if you want to give over your entire day to monitoring developments (welcome to my world!), at 10 am Thursday is the WMATA board meeting where they will decide whether to sell the Southeastern Bus Garage to the city; this will also be available via live and archived streaming audio.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, staddis, The Yards, zoning

Temporary Surface Parking Lots at The Yards
Jul 17, 2007 12:46 PM
As I posted a few weeks ago, a request is now making its way through the process that would allow the construction of another batch of temporary surface parking lots, this time at The Yards, totaling an additional 950 spaces. Temporary surface lots are actually already allowed at The Yards under the Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlay, subject to this mandatory review. The Zoning Commission hearing is on July 26, and the Office of Planning has completed its report supporting the request, saying among other things that these lots would actually improve the appearance of the parcels and surrounding area--if you've looked at the south side of Tingey Street, you know thiis isn't very far off. (The OP report has a lot of good detail on the Yards parking proposal, so be sure to read it.)
My network of moles inform me that at last week's ANC 6D meeting, after a presentation on the plan, no one made a motion to support it, and when one commissioner made a motion to oppose, no one seconded. (Voice of the Hill has a blurb on this meeting as well.) Ouch!
The case will also then be reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission at its August 2 meeting.
If you want to know more about the state of ballpark-related parking, my Stadium Parking and Transportation page has the gory details, including a map of the possible lots and links to the slew of documents that have been generated over this subject. And the clock is now ticking on when that draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan is supposed to be released (it was going to hit the streets in June, it was said...).
More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, The Yards, zoning

NCPC Gives Stamp of Approval to Temporary Surface Parking and Plans for The Yards
Jul 12, 2007 2:40 PM

This afternoon, the National Capital Planning Commission gave their "does not adversely effect federal interests" approval to the recent zoning amendment allowing temporary surface parking lots on various blocks near the stadium, subject to the removal of the Canal Park parcels from the amendment and also that any of the temporary lots on waterfront parcels be set back a minimum of 75 feet from the Anacostia shoreline. They also want the final order of the text amendment to make clear that the five-year cap on these lots cannot be extended via a Board of Zoning Adjustment Special Exception.

The staff report indicated what we've heard in the last day or so, that the Office of Planning will indeed be modifying the amendment to take out Reservation 17 parcels B, C, and D (the Canal Park blocks) before the Zoning Commission's final vote on July 30. There was also slightly curt exchange between two of the commissioners during the discussion of the parking situation about why the US Department of Transporation headquarters can't make some accommodation to allow public parking (as the Reagan building does) in some of its 800 parking spaces; as is now so often the case in this city, "Sept. 11" was the answer.
The commission also approved the 35% design plans for The Yards--many of the renderings and drawings that were in the presentation to the board today are already on my Yards First Phase page. This submittal to the NCPC covered the streetscape, landscape, and infrastructure improvement plans, and the plans for the first four developments on the site--renovation of two existing buildings to create 430 residential units, the renovation of Building 167 into a 46,000-sq-ft retail space, and the construction of two new buildings at 4th and M that would have 320,000 sq ft of office space, a grocery store, and 170+ apartments. Work on the streetscape and infrastructure improvements will be starting this summer, and the first of the building renovations will get underway next year, with 170 apartments and the Building 167 retail to be delivered in mid-2009. This plan will also be in front of the Commission on Fine Arts on July 19.
I hope to get electronic versions soon of the staff recommendation documents for both of these votes, which contain lots of good summary information for people who haven't been following these cases quite as, um, closely as SOME people. I'll update here when I get them.
So, for Canal Park fans, everything seems to be pointing to the hoped-for conclusion, though it won't be 100% written in stone until the July 30 Zoning Commission meeting.
UPDATE: Here's the recommendation document for The Yards; I hope to have the parking one on Friday, so check back.
UPDATE II: Believe it or not, NBC 4 covered the meeting today. (Maybe they got the idea from today's District Extra!)
More posts: Canal Park, parking, The Yards, zoning

Ballpark and Beyond This Week
Jul 12, 2007 9:00 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in The Post's District Extra today covers the Canal Park parking lot brouhaha. If you're arriving here looking for more background, here's the zoning amendment that started it all, last night's news that the Office of Planning looks firmly committed to rectifying the oversight, my page with details on all the plans for stadium parking around Near Southeast, today's NCPC meeting agenda, and my Canal Park page for details on the plans for the park itself. I'll be posting later today on the outcome of the NCPC meeting.
More posts: Canal Park, zoning

Canal Park-ing
Jul 11, 2007 9:08 PM
In advance of Thursday's National Capital Planning Commission meeting that will review the surface parking lots zoning amendment, the Voice of the Hill has posted a piece about the controversial inclusion of the Canal Park blocks within the parcels approved for parking. Much of the piece covers territory I've written about over the past few days, but has some new nuggets. Money quote: "Joel Lawson, the Office of Planning's acting deputy director for neighborhood and long-range planning, said the portions of squares containing Canal Park were never intended to be used for parking and should not have been included. 'I can understand why people are concerned about this,' he said. But, he added, 'We knew the parking wasn't going to go there.' He said the planning office will amend its request to make explicit this provision." Another quote, from the spokesman for Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert: "We have no intention to use this three-block site for stadium parking, and we fully expect to move forward in building this important public amenity on schedule." This would appear to make the NCPC meeting less of a critical juncture, but I'll still be there to check it out. Besides, they're also having a big presentation on the first-phase plans for The Yards.
More posts: Canal Park, parking, The Yards, zoning

Zoning Commission Meeting Wrapup
Jul 10, 2007 9:11 AM
Once again venturing reluctantly into the world of live human beings, I went to last night's Zoning Commission meeting. Here's a wrapup:
* After waiting a month to get input from the Office of Planning, the ZC gave some guidance on Florida Rock's revised plans for its 5.8-acre site on the Anacostia. The phrase uttered most often was "on the right track" -- each commissioner mentioned something in the new designs that they weren't completely crazy about (the glass "campanile" viewing tower on the east building seemed not to have wowed them), but they were mainly complimentary, making clear that the new design was an improvement over the last go-round and is closer to what the ZC wants to see on the site. (Read my entry from February for more background on the ZC's objections to the last design.)
This was not any sort of decision-making stage--the Florida Rock developers were wanting to make sure that they didn't expend vast amounts of energy pursuing a design that would end up again being nixed by the commission, and now with the sense that their latest idea has the ZC's support, they can work on their designs in more detail and apply for a modification to their second-stage PUD, which would then have a public hearing. I don't have any idea at this point what the time frame on this would be.
* Camden Development's planned 276-unit residential building at 1325 South Capitol Street was looking for a vote to approve its PUD, after a hearing a few weeks ago when Commissioner Turnbull complained that the western side of the building (facing Southwest) wasn't designed well enough given how "on display" it will be, and Commissioner Hood wanted more information on how the affordable units would be allocated throughout the building. So tonight, after some revised submittals, it came before the commission for a vote to approve its design--and Commissioner Turnbull complained that the western side of the building wasn't designed well enough given how "on display" it will be, and Commissioner Hood wanted more information on how the affordable units would be allocated throughout the building. In other words, neither felt that their concerns from last time had been addressed, and so have requested further filings before a scheduled vote on July 30.
* In an easier item, the commission voted 5-0 to give final approval to the design of the planned office building at 250 M Street. But, as reported a few weeks ago, developer William C. Smith has indicated that they are waiting for the building to be about one-third leased before starting construction.
* Finally (yay), the commissioned approved for setdown (meaning there can be a hearing) on Forest City's request for various amendments to the Southeast Federal Center Overlay as part of their plans to develop The Yards. These requests address some pretty darn technical issues in the overlay and are pretty baffling, even for obsessives like me, so I will just point you to the Office of Planning report if you really want to know what's happening. Please note that this is not the case requesting surface parking lots at The Yards--it's having its hearing on July 26.
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