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Just got back from ANC 6D's meeting, and I'll leave you waiting until Tuesday for the first details on Akridge's Half Street plans (I don't want to give it short shrift) but here's the other Near Southeast items of the evening:
* Commissioner David Sobelsohn said an announcement is likely coming next week that the city's 2009 Artomatic festival will be held in ANC 6D, "most likely ANC 6D07" (which is Near Southeast). I know nothing more than that.
* Sobelsohn also introduced a resolution to send a letter to Tommy Wells, DDOT, and other officials expressing the ANC's support for the continuation of free parking at RFK and the Nats Express shuttle buses "to reduce the incidence of illegal on-street parking in ANC 6D by people attending events at Nationals Park." The resolution passed 6-0. A few weeks ago it was reported that Wells wants to discontinue the service.
* The DC Housing Authority came requesting the ANC's support for a series of zoning items having to do with the Capper PUD, including extending some deadlines and also expanding the number of residential units offered. (You can read all about them here; I'm too worn out to go into them all again tonight.) There wasn't much discussion of the request itself, because the commissioners were, shall we say, displeased that a huge packet of supporting materials arrived on their doorsteps just last Friday (6D07's Bob Siegel didn't receive his at all, and were unmoved when told it was basically the same information they had received in July.
There was also displeasure expressed about the request to delay the start date for the Community Center at 5th and K to 2012, with the commissioners wondering what level the DCHA would consider a "critical mass" of residents that would make the center viable. (Only 300 of the planned 1500 units have been built so far, so it would seem that the threshold might perhaps be a bit higher.) But the Housing Authority made clear that obtaining financing for the project is the larger hurdle. The support request will be brought up again at the ANC's January 12 meeting.
* I admit that I didn't stick around for the late-in-the-agenda item on the Capper trash enclosures. But DCHA mentioned that they had met with the city's Public Space Committee in advance of their monthly meeting, and were making progress on modifications to the design. ANC chair Moffatt asked if the enclosures still exist at all in the new design, and when he got the "yes" answer, that ended the discussion.
 

The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D monthly meeting is out, and the most enticing item is Akridge looking for the commission's support in advance of its Jan. 29 Capitol Gateway zoning overlay review for its new 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development at 25 M, on the site of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, in the block directly north of Nationals Park. At this point, little has been put forth publicly about the project other than it'll be a office/residential/retail mix, and is expected to get underway in early 2010.
Also on the agenda is a third go-round with the DC Housing Authority over the designs for some external trash enclosures for some of the units at Capitol Quarter. I wrote about the first discussion here, and the Hill Rag has the report on the second one. Will the third time be the charm, or will bad things come in threes? There will also be a status report about the Capper redevelopment in general.
There's also apparently a letter being brought by Commissioner Sobelsohn to express the ANC's support for retaining the Nats Express shuttle bus that brings stadium-goers to the neighborhood from the parking lots at RFK. I imagine that the ANC will be expressing some level of concern about increased traffic and parking problems if that shuttle service goes away (it was reported last month that Tommy Wells is in favor of ending it).
The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW.
 

The group of urban planning students at the University of Maryland who have been studying the lower part of Eighth Street will be presenting their "Connect Barracks Row" findings at a public meeting on Dec. 18 from 7:30 pm to 9 pm at the Navy Yard Car Barn, better known as the Blue Castle, at 770 M Street, SE. You can see the presentation from their Oct. 29 community meeting and read a little more about the project on their web site.
The students' work also got a write-up in today's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only), which says: "Their findings so far come as no surprise: Walking beneath the noisy highway is undesirable, parking isn't easy to find and there is little reason to go to the site in the first place."
In describing lower Eighth Street, WBJ also says: "A developer had plans to turn one block into housing and residential space, but that plan apparently went nowhere." Sounds like a reference to the original plans for the Admiral at 801 Virginia, which as I've been writing over the past few weeks has been redesigned as an office building and received its Board of Zoning Adjustment approvals on Tuesday.
There's also mention of the hopes by Madison Marquette to turn the Blue Castle into a 99,000-sq-ft retail destination, but no progress has been announced.
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More posts: 8th Street, meetings, Retail, zoning
 

This afternoon the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment approved unanimously two requested variances that will allow 801 Virginia Avenue to go forward as a 19,000-sq-ft office building with 3,000 feet of ground-floor retail. I admit to listening to the webcast with only about half an ear, but the bulk of the discussion seemed to be centered around the applicant's request to only have 17 underground parking spaces instead of the required 30 (17 is still four more than were allotted in the original condo-building design). As I wrote about a few weeks back, the developers say that groundwater levels and potential soil contamination issues would make it prohibitively expensive to dig two additional levels of parking (and having to have the garage entrance on L Street apparently doesn't help, either).
The 17 spaces will all be assigned to the office tenants, so there will be no parking for retail customers. (There was some discussion of creating overflow parking if necessary at 816 Potomac Avenue, another property owned by the same developer.) The applicant's traffic consultant also laid out the proximity of the site to Metro subway stations and bus lines, and with the request having the full support of the Office of Planning, ANC 6B, and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, the board voted to approve the variances.
No word on when the project might get underway.
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More posts: 801va, 8th Street, meetings, Retail, zoning
 

While we're all busy looking at the hole in the ground on the east side of Half Street, plans are apparently moving forward across the way: Akridge's 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage site (just across from the Metro station entrance) is now on the Zoning Commission docket for a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review on Jan. 29, 2009.
This project will cover the entire block bounded by M, N, Van, and Half, which is the stretch along which fans walk to Nationals Park from the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station. (Akridge bought the southernmost parcel from Monument Realty back in late August, at the same time it finally closed on its $46 million purchase of bus garage site.) A raze permit application was filed for the bus garage building in September.
There hasn't been much made public yet about this development, other than it will be a mix of office, residential, and retail, and the hearing announcement says that the FAR will be 7.9 and the maximum building height will be 110 feet. In addition to the overlay review (which sets out some firm guidelines for projects along M Street and in the Ballpark District), Akridge is also asking for relief from roof structure requirements, loading requirements, ground-floor retail requirements, and step-back requirements.
It's been reported that Akridge is expecting to begin on the project in 2010; they've hired HOK (designers of the ballpark and the Plaza on K), Esocoff & Associates (Onyx) and StreetSense Inc. to design what an Akridge press release calls a "one-of-a-kind destination." Quoting further: "'Half Street is the city's newest and most unique urban destination,' says Matthew J. Klein, Akridge President. 'This stretch between the Metro and the ballpark has great energy and we look forward to capitalizing on that and other natural amenities like the river, to deliver the area's best urban living, working, shopping, dining, and entertainment project.'"
I've marked this movement by finally giving the site its own project page (now separate from the old "Ballpark District" page). Hopefully in the lead-up to the zoning hearing we'll get a peek at some renderings.
 

A bunch of items to start the week with:
* Remember that the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M is closed every evening this week from 8 pm until closing, thanks to work on 55 M Street.
* On Monday (Nov. 13), the Zoning Commission gave final approval to moving 225 Virginia Avenue into the Capitol South Receiving Zone, which will allow any construction on the block to have greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR/90-ft-height currently allowed. This was approved with two caveats: that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90 feet to confirm that the building will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face, and that any structure will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park. Read my entry from the hearing a few weeks ago for more information.
* On Nov. 24 at 2 pm, the city council will be having a hearing about B17-0909, the "Taxation Without Representation Street Renaming Act of 2008," which would "designate the portion of South Capitol Street, SE that intersects with N Street SE and Potomac Avenue SE as 'Taxation Without Representation Street, SE." It just so happens that this is the portion of South Capitol Street that runs alongside Nationals Park, where the council was thwarted in earlier attempts to install an electronic tote board showing the federal taxes that DC residents pay while still having no voting representation in the US Congress.
* Tommy Wells is taking nominations for the Second Annual Livable, Walkable Awards.
* For weeks I've been meaning to post that Nationals Park made the list of Travel and Leisure Magazine's "Must-See Green American Landmarks," thanks to being the first LEED-certified professional sports facility.
 

* The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting has been sent around (not yet posted online). They'll be revisiting the designs for exterior trash enclosures on certain Capitol Quarter townhouses that were discussed and given the thumbs down last month. Other items include the potential modification of the 70 bus route, the franchise agreement between the city and Verizon for FiOS, and street closures for the SunTrust National Marathon on March 21. The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church, Sixth and M streets, SW.
* Meeting at the same time on Monday (well, starting at 6:30 pm) will be the DC Zoning Commission, with a vote on the proposal to move 225 Virginia Avenue into the Capitol South Receiving Zone (read about it here).
* The city's Public Space Permit feed is back. Yay! Hopefully the Building Permit feed won't be far behind.
* One thing we've all learned over the years is to not believe anything about the school buses leaving Canal Park until we actually see them all drive away. But I will note that the DC Housing Authority currently has a solicitation out for a contractor to build surface parking lots at DC Village (which is where the buses are relocating to). Bids are due Nov. 18. I'm hearing "mumbleJanuarymumbleFebruarymumble" as a potential timetable for the departure of the buses, but see sentence #1 of this paragraph.
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More posts: ANC News, Canal Park, Capper, meetings, zoning
 

On Monday night the Zoning Commission held a brief hearing on Case 06-32a, the request by the city to move the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue into the "Capitol South Receiving Zone," which would allow the block to receive transferable development rights, allowing greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR and 90-ft-height currently allowed.
When this was originally brought before the commission by developer Washington Telecom Associates for setdown two years ago, the Office of Planning indicated that they wouldn't support the request because of concerns about the added density on that block affecting both Canal Park to the south and Capper/Carrollsburg townhouses to the east (read the transcript for more details). Since that time, the city subleased the building (paying $500k a month in rent), but has decided not to use it to house police department functions and so is in the process of finding a developer to take over its sublease (which also has an option to buy).
In their pre-hearing report and during last night's session, OP said they are now prepared to support the move to the receiving zone, "provided that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90' " which would confirm that the building "will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face to avoid shadowing the lower buildings in Square 797 to the east" and that it "will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park." The OP report says that this lot would not be exempt from the city's inclusionary zoning requirements.
The three commissioners in attendance (Hood, May, and Turnbull) asked a few cursory questions, and noted that there was no report from ANC 6D nor any witnesses in support or opposition. The ZC will vote on this case at its Nov. 10 public meeting.
With the OPM page on the 225 Virginia Request for Expressions of Interest saying that notification was to have happened yesterday, I thought there was a possibility that this hearing would give us some hint as to who might be taking over the city's lease, but the Office of Planning said they didn't know who the developer might be.
 

On Monday night, the Zoning Commission briefly took up a group of items having to do with the Planned Unit Development (PUD) approved for Capper/Carrollsburg back in 2004. The first was the request that I've written about in the past to expand the allowed number of residential units in apartment buildings planned for two spots along L Street (between Second and Third behind the proposed 250 M Street office building and on the north side of the Old Capper Seniors site). See my previous entry for specifics.
There were also requests for three time extensions: to extend the first-stage PUD for an additional five years, to extend the deadline for filing second-stage approvals for the apartment building sites along Canal Park (including the trash-transfer station site) to 2013, and to extend the deadline for filing a building permit application for the planned community center at Fifth and K to January 2011, with an included extension of the start of construction to January 2012.
The commission voted 4-0-1 to have all of these items come up together on a future date to be determined (as one public hearing and one special public meeting for those of you well-versed in ZC phraseology).
 

At Monday night's ANC 6B Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, there was a presentation about the new plans for the southeast corner of Eighth Street and Virginia Avenue, where a few years ago a small group of investors planned a four-story condo building dubbed "The Admiral." As I mentioned a few days back, the owners are now wanting to switch to an office building that would still have ground floor retail, and are going in front of the Board of Zoning Adjustment on Nov. 25 for some items that need to be addressed as part of this change.
According to the presentation, the new office building would use the same design as the condo building, with a few tweaks (they appear to be wanting to get rid of the turret in the original design). But because of the switch to office space, the number of parking spaces required goes up to 30, far more than the 13 in the condo design. According to the architects, groundwater and possible soil contamination issues (since a gas station used to be located there) would make digging two extra levels of parking prohibitively expensive, and so they are seeking relief from the 30-space requirement. (And, for those wondering, the garage entrance would be on L Street, not Eighth or Virginia).
Commissioner David Garrison asked about the ownership of the lot (which has been on the market for nearly a year) and about the property's tax status, given that it was listed on the city's tax sale rolls last month. He was told that the lot has not been sold but that investment partnerships are being shuffled and sold, which should be completed soon, and that the delinquent taxes are to have been taken care of; Garrison asked for some sort of documentation on both before the ANC votes (presumably on Oct. 14) on whether or not to support the zoning exception requests.
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More posts: 801va, ANC News, 8th Street, meetings, zoning
 

A press release from the mayor's office (not yet online) tells us that this afternoon Mayor Fenty accepted $800,000 from the developers of Florida Rock/RiverFront for the construction of Diamond Teague Park next door. This contribution was part of the second-stage Planned Unit Development approval given by the Zoning Commission a few months back for the 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project.
Here's what the press release says about the park (emphases mine): "The District will use the $800,000 contribution from Florida Rock to help pay for Diamond Teague Park, which is dedicated to the memory of Diamond Teague, a member of the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) who was murdered five years ago. The Park will include a water taxi; new boat slips for the ECC and fire and life safety vessels; an environmental pier for educational groups, kayaks and canoes; and a riverfront boardwalk and a half-acre park. Construction of the park is expected to start in November and will be completed this spring."
The event was also touted as an "unveiling" of the plans for the Florida Rock site, which I'm assuming (since I wasn't able to be at this event today) haven't changed too much since they were approved by the Zoning Commission in May. The press release has the raw numbers, which don't look too different: "Florida Rock's 'Riverfront on the Anacostia' will include about 560,000 square feet of residential and hotel space - with 29,000 square feet is reserved for affordable housing. It will also include about 545,000 square feet of commercial office space, at least 80,000 square feet of retail and a large waterfront plaza with a waterfront promenade."
But there is one line in the release that's going to chagrin those who have been looking forward to this project: "Construction could begin as soon as 2011." During the time leading up to the final zoning approvals, RiverFront's developers had said that it was possible that the first phase of the project--the eastern office building and the public plaza, adjacent to Teague Park--could see construction begin in fall 2009.
 

I wrote a few days back about the appearance of a zoning variance request for a new office building at 801 Virginia Avenue, site of the once-planned Admiral condo project that fell by the wayside last year. The Board of Zoning Adjustment will be taking it up on Nov. 25, and I now see this request on the ANC 6B docket, first at its Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on Oct. 7, and then in front of the full ANC on Oct. 14. Both meetings are at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE. (As always, all these dates are on my nifty Near Southeast Events Calendar, brought to you by Google Calendar with all sorts of bells and whistles to either subscribe to an RSS feed of calendar updates or add the events to your own Google Calendar or other iCal-enabled offering.)
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More posts: 801va, ANC News, 8th Street, meetings, zoning
 

A recent wander past the Office of Property Management page on 225 Virginia (aka the old Post Plant) brings the news that the deadline for proposals from entities interested in taking over the city's $500,000-a-month sublease has been pushed back to Oct. 15. The page has also been updated with a few other items of note:
* One of the results of the case that's coming before the Zoning Commission on Oct. 27 that seeks to add the plant's block to the Capitol South Receiving Zone would be to allow the property to receive transferred development rights, which allows for increased density (i.e., add some floors on top), though the page notes that "[a]dditional height is expected to be subject to some design review by the Office of Planning."
* The building is not a historic building, and the city will not be seeking any historic landmark designation for it.
There's also this: "The trash transfer station located at 900 New Jersey Avenue, SE is expected to be relocated by September, 2009." I get asked a lot about What The Deal Is with the trash transfer station, so here's a bit of a roundup:
The city is working on moving the current DPW operations out of the building to other locations around the area, with that September 2009 mentioned above now being the official timetable (though perhaps some of the functions will be gone sooner than that). In the meantime, the city is still waiting for the little plot of land on the edge of the transfer station known as Reservation 17A to be transferred to District control from the Feds. (That land will then be transferred from the city to William C. Smith to round out the land that will be home to their 1.1-million-sq-ft 800 New Jersey Avenue project.) This transfer has been hung up for almost two years (it's part of the same transfer that would give Federal land at Poplar Point and in Hill East to the city), but there may be some movement soon.
The next step once DPW has left and the land transfer is settled would be for the city to start the infrastructure work, environmental cleanup, and demolition around the trash transfer site (including the new section of I Street to be built between New Jersey and Second), which will be paid for via another PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) plan that requires financing via the bond and credit markets--you know, those same bond and credit markets that are wheezing just a wee bit right now.
[All together now:] We shall see....
 

When last we left the plot of land on the southeast corner of Eighth Street and Virginia Avenue, we had learned that the owners (known as "801 Virginia Avenue LLC") had landed on the city's tax sale list, a few months after they put the site up for sale, with their plans for "The Admiral" condo-building-with-ground-floor-retail appearing to have collapsed. There's no indication in the land records that the lot has sold, and nothing on the Office of Tax Revenue web site to indicate what might have happened with the tax sale, but now appearing on the agenda for the Nov. 25 meeting of the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment is an application by "801 Virginia Ave LLC by Phillips Ocilla Davis Development LLC" for variances "to allow the construction of a new commercial office building with ground floor retail [...] at premises 801 Virginia Avenue, S.E." Hmmmm.....
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More posts: 801va, 8th Street, zoning
 

At last night's Zoning Commission monthly public meeting, the DC Housing Authority made a presentation on the latest request for changes to the approved Planned Unit Development at Capper/Carrollsburg. I wrote a long explanatory entry about this request and the plans for multi-unit residential buildings at Capper back in July, and so I'm just going to plagiarize myself here:
"There are five new apartment buildings slated to be built, three of which along the east side of Canal Park where the temporary parking lots are, and another at New Jersey and K on the trash transfer site. And there is a new plan for a fifth apartment building, on L Street across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (B.E.Q), on the northern portion of the old Capper Seniors footprint.
"Under the original Capper plans, there was to be a strip of 61 townhouses built on this spot, but the DC Housing Authority has recognized that these homes would be dwarfed by the B.E.Q. to the north and the two planned office buildings directly behind them at 600 M Street. So DCHA has now filed a request with the Zoning Commission to allow an expansion in the total number of housing units allowed at Capper to 1,747, which would allow the construction of a four-story 189-unit apartment building (with a massing very similar to the B.E.Q.) on this stretch of L Street known as Square 882N. This Zoning Commission request is also looking to expand the number of units in the planned apartment building on the south side of L Street between Second and Third (let's call it Square 769N) to 171 units, as a result of its block-mate 250 M Street having recently gotten approvals to be built higher than originally requested."
As for last night's Zoning Commission presentation, there was a feeling apparently that it wasn't clear enough, so DCHA will be returning in early October with additional details.
 

It's more than six months away, but the second phase of the Waterfront Park at the Yards is now scheduled for a Zoning Commission SEFC Overlay District Review on March 2, 2009 (after having briefly been scheduled for Nov. 17, 2008). It's in this review that we'll see the plans for the renovation of the Lumber Shed into a glass-walled retail building, plus the designs for two new two-story retail pavilions connected to the shed's east side. There will also be the first look at the proposed "public art tower" that Forest City is wanting to build right on the waterfront at Third Street.
You can see early designs for the three retail buildings (and the position of the art tower, if not the design itself) in the rendering on my Yards Park page, right at the center, and of course plenty of photos of what the area currently looks like.
One other project at the Yards park that is just starting to pop up on the radar is a new "main campus building" for Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region, to be located on the far eastern edge of the park (just off the right edge of the rendering), along the waterfront just before the park meets the Navy Yard. Living Classrooms is a non-profit group that "uses maritime settings, community revitalization projects and other challenging learning environments" to provide hands-on education and job skills training for students (especially at-risk youth). They will be handling the design and management of the new environmental center at Kingman Island further up the Anacostia, and currently operate out of Building 74 at the Yards (the little brick building--to be townhouses someday--just west of Hull Street at M, seen here). And, according to their web site, Living Classrooms has been "asked to oversee and manage marina and some waterside activities" at the new Yards park.
There is no timeline for when Living Classrooms' new building will get underway. It's currently in the design phase (see an early rendering here), and when that's completed, there will be a fundraising drive to finance the project.
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More posts: Retail, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning
 

Fox5 News blows the lid off of 225 Virginia Avenue, telling the world what us smart people have known for a while about the old Post plant, saying that "DC taxpayers would be outraged to know a building that the city government spent millions on has been left sitting vacant": "The building was supposed to consolidate five public safety functions into one building to increase efficiency of the police department. A year ago the Fenty administration changed their minds on the plans, so the multimillion dollar building is just sitting there, empty. The city spent an additional 1 million for the plans to renovate and has, to date, paid more than $6.5 million in rent." Monthly rent is $500,000.
However, there might be some actual news at the end of the piece: "By the end of the week, the Office of Property Management will request someone else take over the lease and option to purchase the vacant building." The Mayor announced the city's intent to do exactly this back in November 2007 (back when the District was wooing NPR for the building before losing them to NoMa) so perhaps this story suddenly appearing now means they've found someone. We'll see.
You can read my 225 Virginia news items if you want more of a history on the plans to move MPD (and then not move MPD) there. (Though I bet Phil Mendelson still hasn't given up hope.)
UPDATE, 8/14: It turns out my crack about Phil Mendelson was more on-target than I might have imagined--the Fox 5 story (and this more complete one in today's Examiner) were spurred on by a press release from Mendelson noting the one-year anniversary of the city deciding to not move MPD to 225 Virginia and castigating the city for the money being spent on the building. It's not yet posted on Mendelson's site, but it includes this quote: "At this point, I hope the administration won't be so desperate that they will make a bad situation even worse by trying to unload this property in a sweetheart deal with some developer in return for tax or zoning promises." The Examiner indirectly quotes city spokesman Sean Madigan as saying that the city "plans to seek" developers' interest, so an actual deal is not immediately forthcoming--there's going to be a Request for Expressions of Interest to look for within the next few days, I guess.
(This is also a good lesson in how news stories are so often driven by press releases, without any indication of their existence. Boo.)
Mendelson's comment about "zoning promises" also reminds me to finally mention that within the past week the request to add 225 Virginia to the Capitol South Receiving Zone has suddenly popped back onto the Zoning Commission's calendar (now scheduled for Oct. 27), after lying dormant since early 2007.
 

* Monday's Post has a couple of pieces on the state of the area's commercial real estate market, and looks specifically at how NoMa doesn't have tenants racing in despite the high-profile acquisitions of NPR and the Justice Department. It also compares NoMa to Near Southeast, and quotes Russell Hines of Monument Realty as saying that "although the slow economy has made leasing the building more complicated, the company had seen interest from some associations and other private companies looking to escape high rents downtown." Alas, the piece mentions "50 M" as Monument's 275,000-sq-ft office building scheduled for completion next year when it means 55 M. (50 M is Monument's project, too--a proposed 130,000-sq-ft office building on the old Sunoco station site, but they are looking for tenants before starting construction there.)
* A Sunday Examiner piece looks at the temporary zoning rules covering where gun stores can be located in DC: "Firearms dealers who apply for a D.C. location will be largely restricted to high density commercial areas downtown and kept at least two football fields away from where people live, play and pray, according to emergency rules now in place." Included in the allowed zones are C-3-C areas, which means that the area of Near Southeast between South Capitol, Second, M, and the freeway (my "North of M" area) is covered. (See the map on page 8 of the OP report for exact boundaries.) Other restrictions: "All applicants, under the new rules, must appear before the Board of Zoning Adjustments to obtain a special zoning exception. Retail stores will be limited to the downtown area, generally between Massachusetts and Pennsylvania avenues Northwest, in addition to about 25 square blocks between Independence Avenue and M Street in Southwest. No dealer will be allowed within 600 feet of a residence, school, library, church or playground." Of course, the gun stores would have to be able to afford the rents in the pricey new buildings going up, since there aren't too many other places left in the neighborhood.
* Late notice (unless you're subscribed to my Twitter feed, in which case you heard about this yesterday), but there's a Live Online chat today at noon with the author of the Post magazine's piece on the drag queens of Near Southeast, and the man known as "Mame Dennis" who was the focal point of the article will be participating, too.
 

While the focus lately has been on the start of the Capitol Quarter townhouses, there is more to the redevelopment of the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex. There are the two completed seniors buildings (Capper Seniors #1 and 400 M Street), now providing 300 of the 700 old Capper public housing units that are being replaced. The first phase of Capitol Quarter includes 39 subsidized rental units, and the second phase (which is probably not going to start delivering until 2011) will have another 47 subsidized rentals; this is in addition to the sales of 121 market-rate and 91 workforce-rate townhouses throughout both phases. That leaves a little over 300 public housing units to come, which will be included in the 1,300 apartments expected to be constructed at Capper over the next five years or so.
There are five new apartment buildings slated to be built, three of which along the east side of Canal Park where the temporary parking lots are, and another at New Jersey and K on the trash transfer site. And there is a new plan for a fifth apartment building, on L Street across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (B.E.Q), on the northern portion of the old Capper Seniors footprint.
Under the original Capper plans, there was to be a strip of 61 townhouses built on this spot, but the DC Housing Authority has recognized that these homes would be dwarfed by the B.E.Q. to the north and the two planned office buildings directly behind them at 600 M Street. So DCHA has now filed a request with the Zoning Commission to allow an expansion in the total number of housing units allowed at Capper to 1,747, which would allow the construction of a four-story 189-unit apartment building (with a massing very similar to the B.E.Q.) on this stretch of L Street known as Square 882N. This Zoning Commission request is also looking to expand the number of units in the planned apartment building on the south side of L Street between Second and Third (let's call it Square 769N) to 171 units, as a result of its block-mate 250 M Street having recently gotten approvals to be built higher than originally requested.
I've updated the map and descriptions on my Capper Overview page to reflect these latest plans for the area, and it's worth taking a look at if you're not really familiar with exactly how wide-ranging the Capper Planned Unit Development is. (Reading the 2004 zoning order establishing the PUD and laying out the requirements isn't a bad idea, either.) I should also note that the apartment and office buildings will combine to have about 50,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. There should also be a new community center at Fifth and K, but it doesn't seem to be on the front burner just yet.
Of course, the question then becomes: when? Timelines are always dicey and should be taken with a couple pounds of salt, but it appears that these two L Street apartment buildings (882N and 769N) would be first up on the agenda, perhaps being delivered in 2011. The other two buildings on Second Street would come next, and the anticipated 400-unit building on the trash transfer site would probably be the last one to be built, finishing maybe sometime in 2013. The three office buildings and the second phase of Capitol Quarter townhouses would be sprinkled throughout that time frame as well, with 250 M Street probably being the first office building to get underway, possibly even later this year. (Have I thrown in enough "maybe"s and "possibly"s and "perhaps"s for you?)
At least these plans don't have to wait until school buses get moved!
 

Not that there's probably anybody left in town (*tap* *tap* -- is this thing on?), but just in case, here's a few items before I downshift into low-posting holiday mode over the weekend and into next week:
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's Post covers some of the latest news on retail (i.e., banks) I've posted here over the past few weeks (Wachovia at 20 M, SunTrust at 100 M, plans for 900 M). There's also a blurb on the month-old news of the zoning approvals for the Waterfront Park at the Yards. The column normally appears in just the District Extra, but If you live in Prince George's County, you got a crack at it this week as they snuck it in on page 11 of the P.G. Extra, too. But note that we're scaling way back on how often the column will appear (probably just monthly from now on) since the news isn't flowing as fast and furious-ly as it was last year.
* No one's invited me to the roof of any of the sparkly new Near Southeast buildings to watch the fireworks. I'll say it: I'm miffed. I do and I do and I do for you people, and this is the thanks I get.... [/sarcastic martyr mode off]
* I've tinkered again with the big homepage map, trying to have it make a little more sense. I've added checkmarks for the completed projects, and turned the list of projects down the left side (marked on the map with boxes) into only ones that are under construction or ones which the developers have done an especially good job of making me believe they'll start soon. The rest of the map is a whole lot of stars marking proposed projects. And they're all color-coded to differentiate between office, residential, and recreational/retail.
My real desire is to completely redesign the homepage, but I haven't had any inspirations come to me yet. Although, in the meantime, I've added another three random before-and-after photo pairings down on the bottom right of the homepage (after you do a lot of scrolling), just to fill some space. I also expanded my Neighborhood Blogs list of links.
Happy 4th, everyone!
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