I just got back from ANC 6D's monthly meeting, where the commissioners voted 6-0 (with one abstention) to support the application by Volume Services Inc. for a "CX Arena" liquor license at the new ballpark. This single license would cover all concessions at the stadium, including kiosks, restaurants and boxes, and at individual seats.
The ANC had asked representatives of the Nationals and concessionaire CenterPlate to discuss potential issues with alcohol sales at the ballpark in greater detail, but it became a more freewheeling discussion between the team officials, who are trying to assure nearby residents that the team wants to be a good neighbor, and the commissioners, who feel that the community has received very little communication up to now from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and other city agencies about traffic, parking, and other stadium-related issues.
Nationals senior vice president for business affairs Michael Shapiro spoke a number of times of the Nationals' "sincere desire to become a member of the community," and that they want the neighbors "to be proud" of the new ballpark. Shapiro and director of ballpark operations Matthew Blush offered to meet on a regular basis with community leaders, which appeared to be well received by the commission's vice chair Andy Litsky, who described the ANC's dealings with the Sports and Entertainment Commission on ballpark-related issues over the past two years as a "horror show."
Greg McCarthy, who is senior director of the Nationals' ballpark district dealings, spoke about parking and traffic issues, explaining that season ticket holders will be assigned to specific lots and will be given detailed instructions on the correct routes to use, to prevent the cut-through traffic and circling for on-street parking that the team says it will be actively discouraging. The commissioners made clear that parking issues remain a huge concern for residents, and that they want to hear specifics soon about how gameday parking will be handled.
Shapiro and Blush described upcoming outreach efforts such as bringing neighborhood kids to the ballpark for batting practice, getting jobs at the stadium for local residents, and having ambassadors and security outside the ballpark itself before and after games as part of making "the building work for the community." Commissioners and audience members were particularly interested in job opportunities at the ballpark, with the hope that the Nationals will go beyond "hanging out a sign" to actively recruit nearby residents.
As for the liquor license, Shapiro indicated that most of the rules in place at RFK (such as no alcohol sales after the seventh inning) would be in place at the new ballpark, and suggested that the Verizon Center would be used as a guide for how to handle alcohol-related issues for non-baseball events such as concerts. (I'm guessing that liquor sales might not be an issue at the first non-baseball event at the new stadium, which is scheduled to be the April 17 mass by Pope Benedict XVI.)
With some concerns that protesting or otherwise hindering this application might spur the sports commission or the city council to issue a liquor license outside of the city's Alcohol Beverage Control jurisdiction, the ANC gave its support. The license hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.
In the meantime, the DCSEC, the Nationals, and community leaders have another meeting scheduled for Dec. 19.
I visited my perch above New Jersey Avenue today and got updated photos looking to the south and west
, which provide quite the overview of the changes in the past 21 months on the blocks I've wittily dubbed North of M
(between M, South Capitol, the freeway, and New Jersey). The two links above show you just the oldest and the newest photos for each angle, or you can try these links
to see all the photos I've taken of those angles, at about three-month intervals.
Of course, the arrivals of 100 M
, and 70/100 I
are the biggest changes; you can also see that Velocity
is building the garage levels and will be above ground by late winter, and that 909 New Jersey
's crane is now in place, meaning that vertical construction there is not far off. But thanks to the 100 M/Onyx construction, peeks at the ballpark and Monument Half Street from this vantage point are now pretty well gone.
From the BID, more details
on the holiday music planned for the Navy Yard Metro entrance this week, and it's three performances over three days, not just one on one day. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, the a cappella group Reverb will be performing; Patty Reese will perform on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 4 to 5:30 pm, and on Friday, Dec. 14, Reverb will be back from 8 to 9 am. This is sponsored by the BID, WMATA, and the DC Commission on Fine Arts. UPDATE:
Here's the release from last Friday
(that I overlooked, grrrrrr) on the Metroperforms! program. One thing in it that might be worth noting, just to be on the safe side: "Program participants are not permitted to sell merchandise, nor ask for money from the public while performing."
The Post has a story this morning
on the concerns of residents about how stadium traffic
is going to impact the neighborhoods around the ballpark
. "City officials and Nationals executives have been working on plans for new traffic patterns and parking for about 5,000 cars expected at most games. But neighborhood activists said few details about those plans have been made public. And what they have heard has made them more concerned as they watch the mammoth stadium rise above the skyline." Plans for free parking at RFK still have not been finalized, nor have announcements yet been made as to where season ticket holder parking lots will be: "Not knowing the parking sites has left neighbors concerned that they can't predict which streets will be most congested or whether they will be satisfied with the team's plans." Street parking will be limited to residents, as at RFK, though the final boundaries of the restricted areas have not been announced (an early draft of the parking zone, as well as links to the full the Draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan, are on my Stadium Parking page.)