This week marks the third anniversary of this blog (of course, back then, it wasn't really a blog, we oldtimers called them "web sites," hee hee). It was before there was even talk of bringing the Expos to DC, let alone putting a stadium
in Near Southeast. The Cappers
were still occupied, 1100 New Jersey was still under construction, the M Street
portion of the Southeast Federal Center
was still a fenced-off unoccupied lot, and there were plans but no construction at DOT HQ
, Capitol Hill Tower
, 20 M Street
, or either of the Capper Seniors
projects. Since then, I've taken thousands of pictures, posted a few hundred of them, typed a lot of words, and become far more knowledgeable about zoning procedures and tax parcels and the DC government web site
than I ever could have imagined.
So, what do I see coming in Year Four of my Near Southeast Obsession? I don't need a crystal ball to see some of the future: Early in the year we'll have the completion of the Capitol Hill Tower / Courtyard by Marriott
project, bringing the first new market-rate housing (and the first hotel) to this neighborhood since, well, forever. DOT
and its accompanying retail spaces should be completed by the end of the year, bringing a flood of workers into the area each weekday. Capper Seniors #1
should be finished as well (and maybe even Capper Seniors #2
), allowing the first group of low-income seniors to move out of the old Capper Seniors highrise at 7th and M. And sales should begin (and maybe even construction?) on the huge "Capitol Quarter
" mixed-income housing development replacing Capper / Carrollsburg
Predicting what else may come down the pike this year is a bit dicier. Plans have been announced with 2006 start dates for projects like Washington Canal Park
, a new JPI residential project on I Street by the SE Freeway, and the Ron Cohen mixed-use development at Half and K, but I'm not betting on seeing shovels in the ground necessarily for all of them by the end of the year. Then there's that stadium
, and the "Ballpark District
" that has four of the biggest developers in the city simulatenously working together on plans and salivating at the potential profits. They've got to get construction started by April in order to have the stadium ready for Opening Day 2008--my fearless prediction is that the stadium lease will get settled, and plans will proceed, but they won't make the April 1, 2008 deadline (which will have MLB spouting threats all over again).
And no doubt some new projects will materialize (some I've talked about on this site, others that are still just a secret gleam in a developer's eye), plus we should see actual drawings and plans for the huge Southeast Federal Center
But the biggest change for Near Southeast in 2006 will be the largest influx of new workers, residents, and visitors since the revitalization of the neighborhood began, which will no doubt bring grumbles about increased traffic and tighter parking in the surrounding areas. But it should also bring more amenities, such as portions of the Anacostia waterfront being made more accessible, and more retail and service offerings.
It'll be interesting to watch.