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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Dec 13, 2007
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909 Half St.
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Yards Park ('10)
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909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
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70/100 I ('08)
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400 M ('07)
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2 Blog Posts

While the main stories in the media coming out of today's WMATA board meetings will no doubt be the approval of fare increases, my focus was on other action items:
* Without discussion, the board voted to execute the sale announced back in June of the 5,612-sq-ft WMATA land at New Jersey and M to "NJA Associates" (aka Donohoe). For more detail, you can read my entry from last week about how this land fits in with Donohoe's plans for 1111 New Jersey Avenue.
* The board also approved the plan to build a new 114-bus garage at DC Village to replace the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M, contingent on not only a series of land transfers between the city and WMATA but also on the $69.25 million sale of the current bus garage site to Akridge, since the proceeds from that sale are necessary to both fund the new garage and the interim costs associated with continuing the old garage's functions until the new site is ready. Marion Barry spoke forcefully in support of the move, speaking not only of his constituents' strong support for building a new facility in Ward 8 but also that the current garage is "in the way of progress," situated as it is smack in the middle of the fledgling Ballpark District.
No timeframe for closing the current garage was discussed by the WMATA board, and it was only mentioned in passing that Monument Realty's litigation surrounding the sale of the old garage is still pending. WMATA employees who I've talked to at Half and M in recent days have said they were initially told the garage would be vacated this month, then were told it would be next month, and are now being told that there's no firm date planned.
If indeed WMATA is not planning to close the garage before Opening Day, it will need to come up with plans for moving their buses in and out of that space while dodging tens of thousands of pedestrians, or how they'll shut down the garage during game times. It would also mean that the garage's possible use as a temporary parking facility would be off the boards.
 

Here's your dreary Thursday morning reading material:
* The Post writes about the labor disputes at the ballpark: "Labor leaders are defending the hiring practices at the construction site of the new Washington Nationals ballpark, saying that efforts to give jobs to D.C. residents have been an 'unequivocal success.' [...] [T]he leader of the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO said the project has been successful in hiring District workers. The letter disputed criticism from some local activists that the ballpark had not come through with jobs for city residents."
* The Examiner, NBC4, WBJ, and the Post write about the presentations last night of the four finalists' plans for redeveloping Poplar Point. Channel 4 also includes a slideshow of the designs and links to information on each plan's community benefits. Apparently one of the propsals includes "an aerial tram that would carry passengers across the river to the new baseball stadium." And Now, Anacostia has some bullet points on the various presentations as well.
* Also from the Post, a District Extra piece on last week's council hearing on the Taxation Without Representation tote boards that some city council members want to put on the Wilson Building and the stadium. (Here's my report on the hearing.)
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post adapts my recent blog posts on the sale of St. Matthew's, the Capper PILOT bill, and the recent Capitol Riverfront BID meeting.
* UPDATE: I should also add this opinion piece in the Examiner by Phil Wood on his impressions of the new ballpark. "If you asked me to describe the place in a single word, I'm ready to answer. Compelling."
 




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