This morning Mayor Fenty held a press conference at Nationals Park
with various city officials to highlight tomorrow's Anacostia Waterfront Information Fair
, and also talk up the recent progress and near-term next steps for the more than $8 billion worth of economic development, transportation, and infrastructure projects in the pipeline along the Anacostia River (not only in Near Southeast, but from the Southwest Waterfront all the way up past RFK).
Having sworn off taking any more photos of The Mayor at the Microphone (unless he shows up in a Hawaiian shirt and swimtrunks or something), I decided to record the 20-minute event
instead, so that the five or six of you interested in hearing the remarks can do so. (It's a 2.6-mb MP3 file
; the first few seconds are rough, but then it settles in.)
If you listen, you'll hear how the mayor managed to cajole the notoriously camera-shy Stan Kasten
into saying a few words about what's happening along the river and in the neighborhood from the point of view of the area's largest tenant. Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, DDOT Director Frank Seales, Office of Planning head Harriet Tregoning, and the director of the city's Office of the Environment George Hawkins spoke as well. There was some discussion throughout (and especially at the end) about how the slowing economy might be impacting both the city's plans and developers' projects, but the mayor remains optimistic.
The press release from the mayor's office
sums up the main points of today's event, but here's the Near Southeast-specific highlights from both the remarks and some other chatter of the day. First up, news of the three big parks:
The city "will break ground at Diamond Teague Park
by the end of 2008." (And the guide for tomorrow's fair says that the park will be completed in spring 2009, which is the same date we've been hearing for a while.) The mayor also touted the operating agreement with Forest City Washington to build and maintain the $42 million, 5-acre Park at the Yards
(but you knew about this already
), as well as the the agreement with the Canal Park Development Corp. to build the $13.1 million, three-block-long park
. (No mention of school buses.)
Then there's the bridges: Reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges
is scheduled to begin in mid-2009. (The shortlist of firms vying for the design-build contract was announced a few weeks ago
.) Whether we actually see heavy equipment moving in mid-2009, or whether this just marks the first part of the design-build project is not quite clear. I was also told that the contract to demolish the flyover ramps
to and from RFK could be completed soon, and that demolition would happen not long after the contract is signed.
As for the river itself, the city has started real-time water quality monitoring, updated automatically online
24 hours a day. There's also now the Anacostia 2032 Plan
"to make the Anacostia River boatable, swimmable, and fishable in 25 years." And a Green Summer Jobs Corps
was created earlier this year to "engage youth in the cleaning and greening of District neighborhoods and parks and to introduce them to green-collar job opportunities."
Finally, a planning process is underway to revamp Boathouse Row, the stretch of boat clubs along the Anacostia between 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. (I took a bunch of photos near the boathouses a few months back, and have been lazy about ever getting them posted, though you can see a few boathouse-free shots of the environs here
There's more about projects elsewhere along the Anacostia, but other bloggers get to cover those. Will update this post if there's any media coverage from today's event, and will have a fresh post on Saturday after the fair. I imagine I'll Twitter
a bit from those festivities (like I did from today's); remember that if you aren't a Twitter-er, you can read my tweets on the JDLand homepage
--check 'em out frequently, because I do sometimes post news there first, before I write full blog entries.
SATURDAY FAIR UPDATE:
They're now going to be providing
free shuttle bus service from the New Jersey & M Metro entrance to/from the ballpark, from 12:30 pm to 5:15 pm. (After they heard somewhere
that the Half and M subway entrance is going to be closed on Saturday.)
Today's print edition of the WashBizJournal has some big retail-related Near Southeast items of interest
* "The developer of The Yards
, the 42-acre Anacostia riverfront project near the Nationals ballpark, is close to landing a jazz club
and Dogfish Head Alehouse
and may move its local headquarters to the former Navy Yard. The two retail tenants would be the first in the Boilermaker Shops
, a three-story industrial building with walls of red brick and plate glass on Tingey Street between Third and Fourth streets SE." (The Boilermaker Shops are scheduled to open in mid-2010, along with the Park at the Yards
and the Foundry Lofts
* The planned office building at 401 M
could become home to Forest City Washington's headquarters; it's the one with the grocery store space in the ground floor. WBJ says Forest City "is 'nearing a deal' with a grocer for 50,000 square feet and an announcement could come in 60 days. He would not reveal the chain, but sources say it is Harris Teeter Inc
. which has two D.C. stores and plans a third in Northeast." 401 M is not expected to be constructed before 2011, however.
* Also on the grocery store front, confirmation of the rumor that's been hashed around here lately: "William C. Smith & Co., meanwhile, has been in discussions with Whole Foods Market Inc.
about a store in its planned 4-acre development between New Jersey Avenue, H and Second streets, known as Square 737." (See, I tried to tell you folks
it wasn't going to be at New Jersey and K; and Jonathan, you're welcome for this tip.)
Finally getting *some* piece of news about 800 New Jersey finally spurred me, after all this time, to create a project page for it
. There's no renderings, just a bunch of "before" pictures, but at least it's something. And, since talk of grocery store on this site back in *1999* was one of the first tidbits that led me to start paying attention to the neighborhood, I guess it finally deserves its own page.