Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - Jun 21, 2007
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Brass Moving to DOT; Blackberrying the Building
Jun 21, 2007 11:00 PM
Friday's In the Loop column in the Post reports that Friday is moving day for the muckety mucks at the US Department of Transportation, heading to their new digs on M Street. Says Al Kamen: "Good thing there was a shakedown period [with lower-level staff move-ins having gone on first over the past few months]. Seems the mid-level staff have reported toilets with little pressure and sinks where the water blasted out. (Unclear which is worse.) Some folks apparently got locked in their own offices. But the biggest problem in the two buildings, one eight stories and the other nine, is that cellphones and BlackBerrys didn't work. This was because the structures were built according to post-Sept. 11 government specs, with extra-thick walls and windows. So the buildings are being rewired -- work's almost done, we were told -- so they are almost a virtual cellphone tower and the reception quality will be superb."

Council Actions Today - BID and Ballpark
Jun 21, 2007 1:24 PM
Just a quick sleep-inducing update on actions at today's City Council legislative meeting (have I mentioned that you people don't pay me enough?):
* B17-0208, creating the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District that would cover all of Near Southeast and Buzzards Point, passed on the consent agenda on its first reading. There will now be a Public Hearing and Preliminary Finding on the BID application by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on July 9. The bill's second reading will be on July 10. (See my previous BID entries for background.)
* Bill 17-0011, the "Ballpark Hard and Soft Costs Cap Act of 2007," makes permanent the legislation passed in 2006 that set a city spending cap of $630 million. There was some bickering when council member Catania asked to add an amendment updating the soft costs amount in the bill to $117 million from the originally specified $111 million as a result of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission's May 31 report. Council member Evans was quite vehement about not changing numbers on dais without consulting the CFO's office to be sure that even an innocuous-seeming change like this one wouldn't end up having unintended consequences (and he also was miffed that Catania hadn't shown him the amendment before the meeting), but in the end the amendment was agreed to.
Council member Kwame Brown said that a new report by the DC Auditor indicated that the stadium remains on budget at this time, although there items that will need "close attention paid" to them. Catania expanded on that by citing a series of numbers from the auditors' report indicating that the city still has up to $95 million in additional costs when there is only $6.7 million left in the contingency fund; however, $72 million of that is the amount that the eminent-domain'ed landowners are seeking from the city in compensation, which may not be exactly how much they receive once the hundred years' worth of court battles are finally completed. Catania said that the council needs to face these potential problem numbers instead of "putting our head in the sand."
* Finally, Bill 17-0021, the "Ballpark Parking Completion Amendment Act of 2007," was passed, creating permanent legislation exempting from zoning restrictions the parking garages on the north end of the stadium site; council member Mendelson asked that before second reading, a sunset provision originally in the emergency legislation that requires the exemption to end by the end of 2008 be inserted into this permanent legislation.

Background on New Capper Buildings
Jun 21, 2007 10:24 AM
If you are coming here after reading this week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post, here are my information/photo/news pages on Capper Building #2, Capper Seniors #1, the old Capper Seniors building at 6th and L, and the entire Capper/Carrollsburg Hope VI redevelopment. And if you liked all those purty stadium photos displayed next to the column in the print edition, here's my Stadium Construction Gallery for plenty more of those....



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