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Search term: (canalblocks) : 180 matching blog entries

Wiseguy Pizza Opening Today, And a Few Other Tidbits
Oct 2, 2018 10:37 AM
If an official Twitter account retweets an unofficial Twitter account, I guess that's confirmation, so it can be reported that Wiseguy Pizza is opening at Canal Park (200 M St., SE) today, Oct. 2, at noon. Eat_DC reports that coffee and pastries will come soon, while the Gelato portion of the venture will arrive in the spring. I hope they are ready for the lunchtime rush that will greet them today, especially with the weather so beautiful.
(Great. Now I'm hungry.)
A few other items:
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE: WUSA reports on the first of last week's public meetings about the new Douglass Bridge. DDOT's program manager says that they are already about 25 percent done with the project already. "He added in the next six months, locals should expect to see work begin on the construction of two new traffic ovals that will be placed at the base of each side of the new bridge. After that, the formation of the bridge's new arches should begin to form."
* STEADFAST MOVE: Local goods offerer Steadfast Supply is moving this week from its Boilermaker Shops location on Tingey Street to the old EVO Furniture space in the Foundry Lofts building on Water Street, across from Ice Cream Jubilee. It is closed for the move and is expected to open in the new space on Oct. 5.
* CHEESESTEAKS: Washingtonian reports that the mystery fast-casual restaurant inside Whole Foods is going to be Philly Wing Fry, from chef Kwame Onwuachi. Cheesesteaks, crispy chicken, waffle fries, and whatnot. "Unlike Kaz Okochi, who’ll have a quick-grab sushi counter in the prepared foods section of the new shop, Onwuachi’s eatery is more like a full-blown restaurant with its own space and seating. Customers can order the full menu inside the store’s SoCap Wine Bar & Pub, which will pour 16 wines by the glass and a dozen draft beers (the shop itself will have seasonal teas and lemonades)."
And yes, I took a boatload of photos this weekend. They are already up on the site if you want to go hunting, but I'll be posting a status survey soon.

Dryy Coming to 55 M; August Doldrums Tidbit Catcher
Aug 21, 2018 8:47 AM
Other than the kids having now headed back to school, there isn't much news, or even many tidbits, except for:
* DRYY: The long-empty retail space fronting M Street between the 55 M lobby and the subway station now has funky new signage, announcing that Dryy, "full service garment care," is coming soon. This will bring the number of garment care options in the neighborhood back to two, along with Wells Cleaners at the Yards.
* WISEGUY: Intrepid JDLand commenter JES tweeted these photos of the Wiseguy space at Canal Park, showing both the pizza operation and the gelato operation. I had not thought about Wiseguy's pay-at-the-counter setup, which actually might be a better use of the space than previous incarnations. As for when it will open, We Shall See.
* PAVING: CSX announced that paving of the 200 and 300 blocks of Virginia Avenue is next on the tunnel-wrapping-up agenda (and I saw that the 200 block got its blacktop yesterday). Also coming this week, weather permitting, is the paving of the "specially designed permeable bicycle lane surface." This side path will run from the 200 block all the way to 11th Street (along the north side of Virginia Avenue Park).
Other than that, I got nuthin'.
Enjoy the fresh comment thread!
Comments (51)
More posts: 55 M St., Canal Park, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, dryy, Retail, wiseguy

Weekly Open Thread and Tidbit Catcher
May 21, 2018 8:14 PM
If you didn't check back on last week's post, you missed additional tidbits about a construction permit for Wiseguy Pizza at Canal Park, a link to cool progress photos and timelines of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the news that the Yards Parcel L apartment building will be called "The Estate," and an office tenant moving from Maritime Plaza to 1100 New Jersey. But you can go read it now.
So keep checking on this post to see what tidbits will come, but I already know of one, which is the news that the new Circulator route that will run down M Street from Southeast to Southwest will start June 24. Here's what I wrote about it last year.

Aslin Pop-Up Beer Garden Coming to 1st and N; Other Tidbits
Mar 29, 2018 9:57 AM
It did not take long for the news to explode on social media that the Aslin Beer Company will be launching a game-day beer garden at the corner of 1st and N, SE, a block away from the Center Field Gate, starting on April 5, the day of the Nats home opener.
It will generally run from about two hours before each game until two hours after, and the company's Instagram post says that "starting as soon as May, we will also be open on non-game days throughout the summer."
However, the Instagram feed for the beer garden itself (which might be hinting at being called the Sandlot) says that the pop-up will run until July 8. My understanding is that the owners of the lot are expecting to start construction after the All-Star Game on the two-story bar/restaurant that has been planned for that site since the F1rst development was announced. (I shall take to calling this lot the Outpost, since it is separated from its F1rst sibling by the Hampton Inn.) Whether that actually comes to pass, We Shall See.
In other tidbits that I really need to get out of the hopper:
* DECLARATION: There apparently are now signs at Declaration that it will open on April 5. Still waiting for an official date from Oath Pizza.
* 71 POTOMAC: Looks like Dock 79's 264-unit sibling currently dubbed 71 Potomac is going to get underway Any Minute Now (if digging hasn't already started). It will also have 12,500 square feet of retail, and will be built immediately to Dock 79's west. (WBJ)
* SUMMER MOVIE LINEUP: Here's the schedule for Canal Park's Thursday Night Summer Movie series, running from June 7 through Aug. 23.
* CIRCULATOR SUMMER HOURS: April 1 is almost here, which means it'll be time for the DC Circulator Union Station-Navy Yard route to switch to its summer hours, running from 6 am to 9 pm Monday-Friday and 7 am to 9 pm on Saturdays, plus extended hours when the Nats are at home, running until midnight for every game beginning at 4:05 pm or later as well as from 10 am to 10 pm for Sunday home games.
* (UPDATE I) CHLOE LUNCH: Just across the transom is the news that Chloe at 4th and Tingey is now serving lunch on weekdays from 11 am to 2 pm. "Designed to be carryout friendly," it will include a rotating selection of options like enchiladas and banh mi.
* (UPDATE II): DUE SOUTH DOCKSIDE: Confirmation that Due South Dockside will open at 11 am on Opening Day.

Wiseguy Pizza, Altani Gelato and Coffee Coming to Canal Park
Jan 27, 2018 5:26 PM
It's been a rumor rampant in the JDLand comment threads for a number of weeks, but this morning signage went up confirming that Wiseguy Pizza will be coming to the former Park Tavern/Il Parco space in Canal Park.
What was not rumored is that there will also be a gelato and coffee offering as well, which should go well with the space's location immediately next to the park's fountains in summer and ice rink in winter.
A JDLand reader on Twitter reports that the workers hanging the signs said that Wiseguy would open in about three months, but We Shall See.
This will be Wiseguy's third DC location.
In other neighborhood pizza news:
* All-Purpose tweeted last week that its Dock 79 location is opening "this February," and there is now a "Coming Soon" badge for it on its web site.
* Oath Pizza also now has a Coming Soon page for its location on M Street next to Bethesda Bagels in the ground floor of Insignia on M. interested parties can sign up for an invite to their (undated) grand opening.
* The build-out at Declaration in the ground floor of F1rst seems to be proceeding apace, as this photo from last weekend shows.

Wednesday Tidbits: Cava Opening, New Ice Rink Operator
Oct 25, 2017 10:49 AM
This morning's news of note:
* With this tweet (and the graphic at right), Cava is announcing that it is ready to open, starting with a "free community lunch" on Friday, Oct. 27, from noon to 2 pm. It's at 52 M Street between Half and Cushing, in the ground floor of the Homewood Suites (and next to Shake Shack).
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is announcing that the Canal Park ice rink is expected to have its grand opening on Friday, Nov. 17, from 5 to 8 pm. It may actually open to the public in the days before that, weather permitting, but We Shall See. There is a new operator this year, Tri-State Ice Management, which operates rinks at Pentagon Row, Glen Burnie, and Rockville. The BID's announcement says that the company with be "revitalizing and bolstering the programming at the ice rink," and that will be new skates, that "guarantee sharpness throughout the season." There's also a new web site, at CanalParkIceSkating.com. (No word on a new restaurant operator in the Il Parco space, however.)
Comments (31)

Il Parco (nee Park Tavern) Shuttered for Good
Aug 16, 2017 10:05 AM
As was first reported on Twitter by loyal JDLand reader @Minnesota_Nicer, a scribbled sign went up on the door of Il Parco at Canal Park last week saying that the restaurant was "closed for renovations," a message met with some level of skepticism. A more imposing sign has since arrived, and I have confirmed with WC Smith that the restaurant is indeed closed, and the space's relationship with restaurateur Xavier Cervera is now over.
The hunt is now on for what Brad Fennell of WC Smith called an "operator who will fully embrace the park and all of its potential," and meetings with interested parties are apparently already underway.
Il Parco opened in early 2016 as a retool/replacement for the Park Tavern, which opened in April 2013. Neither restaurant ever seemed to capture the fancy of residents, office workers, or Nats fans, and it will be interesting to see what might come into that location next and how a new operator will approach the space and its surroundings.
Comments (36)
More posts: Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife, ilparco, parktavern

Lineup Announced for Summer Outdoor Movie Series
Mar 14, 2016 8:44 AM
The official lineup for this summer's Outdoor Movie Series at Canal Park has been released, and I see that my subliminal attempt to sway the voting had an 80 percent success rate.
The series is once again being held in the northern block of Canal Park at 2nd and I Streets SE, and will run on Thursdays from June 2 to August 18, with movies beginning at sundown.
The lineup:
June 2: Ferris Bueller's Day Off
June 9: Inside Out
June 16: Ocean's 11
June 23: Hitch
June 30: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
July 7: Mean Girls
July 14: Jurassic World
July 21: Minions
July 28: Creed
Aug. 4: Pitch Perfect 2
Aug. 11: The Martian
Aug. 18: Skyfall
Comments (4)
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Canal Park, Events

Choose Your Favorites for the 2016 Outdoor Movie Series
Feb 26, 2016 10:27 AM
While Mother Nature is sending February out like a lion (instead of waiting until March comes in, as custom would dictate), you can dream of warmer days by telling the Capitol Riverfront BID which movies you'd like to see during the 2016 Outdoor Movie Series at Canal Park.
You get to choose up to five movies from the list, and the image at right in absolutely no way would be trying to tell you which movies to pick.
The series will run this year from June 2nd through August 18.
Comments (0)
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Canal Park, Events

Soft Opening Tonight at Il Parco
Jan 30, 2016 3:53 PM
If you are wandering by Canal Park tonight (Saturday) and see the lights on in the former Park Tavern space, it's a soft opening for Il Parco, the new Neapolitan-style pizza/Italian restaurant.
The doors are opening around 5:30 pm, with a limited menu being served for just a few hours (or until the pizza dough runs out).
A passerby last night snuck a peek at the newly installed pizza oven, which apparently weighs 7,000 lbs.
Further details on additional "soft" hours, and when the "real" opening will be, etc., to come. (I don't have my own shot of the real sign yet, but here's one.)
Comments (5)
More posts: Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife, ilparco

A Blizzard of Friday Tidbits: Il Parco Signage and More
Jan 22, 2016 9:31 AM
I am briefly emerging from the JDLand Weather Monitoring Bunker to pass along these items--feel free to talk all things snow (or anything else) in the comments. (The photo is from Feb. 2010, between the two big snow storms, just one of many I took that day. And no, I'm not going to call it #snowmageddon.)
* IL PARCO: A reader reports this morning that a sign is being hoisted on the Park Tavern building at Canal Park for "Il Parco," with a pizza slice-type icon. I haven't heard anything about how close it is to opening, but the sign should be a good, um, sign. (I expect to have a photo as soon as the official JDLand stringer gets moving.)
UPDATE: And now the stringer has come through!
* WEEKEND HOURS: According to Twitter, Scarlet Oak will be open all weekend, while TaKorean will be open today (Friday) from 11 to 2 and then closed Saturday. Osteria Morini is closing tonight at 8 pm, then will be closed Saturday but is expecting to reopen on Sunday. The Big Stick is closing its kitchen at 5 pm tonight until Monday, but expects the bar to operate on normal hours. Justin's will be offering an "extremely limited menu" from tonight at 5 pm through Sunday. Ice Cream Jubilee is closed today and Saturday but expects to be open on Sunday. I will update if other restaurants announce hours.
UPDATES: Bluejacket is "currently open with a limited menu". Due South is open all weekend (see down in the comments for the list of their Snow Daze Drink Specials). Aura Spa is closed for the weekend.
ANOTHER: Nando's is closing all its DC locations at 8 pm tonight, reopening Sunday at noon.
MORE: Everyone will be crushed to hear that the Virginia Avenue Tunnel demolition will be on hold until Monday morning at 5:30 am. Weekend work will be limited to snow removal and "maintenance of traffic controls."
AND: Agua 301 is open tonight, with happy hour drink specials from 3:30 to close. Hugh & Crye is closed until Monday morning.
* BRIDGE PARK DEEP DIVE: WaPo's Jonathan O'Connell takes a long look at the 11th Street Bridge Park and what it might mean for neighborhoods east of the river should it ever be built.
* BILLY JOEL: The Piano Man is going to be "the first artist ever to play Nationals Park three times," with this week's news of a show scheduled for Saturday, July 30.
* RESIDENT SNOW INFO: ANC commissioner Meredith Fascett has this lineup of tidbits about city storm preparations and items residents need to know. And snow.dc.gov is another good resource.
SATURDAY UPDATE: Keep an eye on my Twitter account for retweets of openings and closings. So far, Bluejacket and TaKorean have said they are closed today, while Willie's and Due South are open. I'll keep updating when I can tear my eyes away from my window.
SUNDAY UPDATE:
Bluejacket is open at 1:30, and Morini is open at 2 pm, both with limited menus.
Agua 301 is opening at 3pm.
Due South and Scarlet Oak are open.
Justin's and the Big Stick are open for libations, but the kitchens are closed.
Ice Yards has been moved to Jan. 30.
TaKorean and Ice Cream Jubilee are closed.
The Canal Park Ice Rink is closed, too.

Parcel Market Dec. 5 and 6; Help Decorate the Community Tree
Dec 3, 2015 10:08 AM
This weekend Canal Park will be hosting the second annual Parcel Market, from 12 to 6 pm on both Saturday and Sunday, with its "interactive art installations, a cozy food pavilion warmed by fire pits, live & local music performances, and a chic festival tent showcasing a thoughtfully curated list of local designers, artists, chefs, and food artisans." *
Plus, the neighborhood is getting a Christmas tree for the first time, in the park's southern block between L and M, and the Capitol Riverfront BID is inviting all residents to help decorate the tree on Saturday morning, from 9 to 11 am. Bring an ornament for the tree and canned food to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank, and get a taste of coffee or hot chocolate from Philz, the new coffee shop that will be coming to Tingey Street in a few months.
The tree will then be illuminated at 6 pm on Saturday, Dec. 5, with Dupont Brass providing the seasonally appropriate music.
The market will feature all manner of items, including clothes, jewelry, accessories, pet toys and apparel, artwork, printmaking, and "home enhancements." Food will also be available for Dirty South Deli, Ben's Chili Bowl, Bluejacket Brewery, Ice Cream Jubilee, Agua 301, District Doughnut, and more.
If you want your visit to be a bit more hands-on, there will be workshops to make greeting cards, wreaths, and more. And of course the ice rink will be open.
(*Sorry to just quote a big chunk of text--today's my last day in the old building at the Post and I arrive with the first wave in the new building on Friday, so life continues to be just a wee bit hectic.)
Comments (6)
More posts: Canal Park, Events

Canal Park Ice Rink Opening Friday, Nov. 13
Nov 12, 2015 4:42 PM
It's been a bit of a moving target, but it's been announced that the Canal Park Ice Rink is opening at noon tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 13.
The rink also now has a Twitter account at @SkateCanalPark as well as its Facebook page.
The hours of operation as currently listed on the web site are noon to 7 pm Mondays and Tuesdays, noon to 9 pm Wednesday through Friday, 11 am to 10 pm on Saturdays, and 11 am to 7 pm on Sundays. There are also special "Cartoon Skates" from 11 am to 1 pm on Saturdays, "Rock n Skate" from 7 to 9 pm on Fridays, "2 for 1 Tuesdays" from 4 to 6 pm Tuesdays, and "College Nights" on Thursday from 6 to 9 pm.
If you have never laced up and gotten on the ice, there are Learn to Skate lessons, starting November 21. (Or you can be like me and hold onto the wall for 45 minutes.)
There's also birthday party packages as well as private rentals ($1,000 for two hours of private ice time).
There will then be an official Grand Opening on Nov. 21. No details on those festivities as yet, but I imagine those will be announced before long.
Comments (3)
More posts: Canal Park, icerink

Events: ANC, CSX Open House, Culinary Crawl, and Maybe Skating?
Nov 6, 2015 12:14 PM
A busy week ahead:
* SIDE YARDS: A reminder that the sideshow event comes back to the Yards Park on Saturday, Nov. 7.
* ANC 6D: The monthly Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting is on Monday, Nov. 9, and this month the party ventures thisaway across South Capitol Street to the meeting room at 200 I St., SE. Agenda items include a slew of items from Near Southeast, including construction updates for 909 Half and 82 I/801 New Jersey, pedestrian issues on I Street, the Virginia Ave. streetscape restoration plan, a DC Housing Authority presentation, and more. The meeting starts early, with presentations at 6:30 pm before the meeting "officially" gets underway at 7 pm.
* CSX OPEN HOUSE: The quarterly open house for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project is on Thursday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 7 pm at the Courtyard Marriott hotel at 140 L St., SE. There will be no formal presentations, but there will be representatives from the project team to answer questions and provide updates. (If you can't make this, the next Coffee with Chuck is on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 8 am at the same location.)
* CULINARY CRAWL: The Barracks Row Main Street folks have organized a three-day Culinary Crawl Nov. 14-16, with cooking classes at various restaurants not only on 8th Street but also near Eastern Market and down south of the freeway in this neck of the woods, with Ice Cream Jubilee, Bluejacket, and Agua 301 all participation. Here's the schedule, where you can also sign up/buy tickets.
* ICE RINK: There were originally plans for a soft opening this weekend followed by a grand opening on Nov. 14, but the weather has played a bit of havoc with that schedule. I've just heard that the grand opening will now be on Saturday, Nov. 21, but on the 14th they are hosting a Cinderella-themed event from 11 am to 1 pm--dress as your favorite princess or prince for a chance to win tickets to the National Theater's production of Cinderella.
Comments (0)
More posts: ANC News, Canal Park, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Events, icerink

Park Tavern Closed for Retooling; BWW Getting Close
Nov 1, 2015 10:30 AM
Papers have gone up to cover the windows of the Park Tavern at 2nd and M in Canal Park, with a sign up saying they are closed for renovations. I've sent an inquiry (given that the restaurant's social media feeds and web site remain silent), but my understanding from other sources is that this is more than just a freshening of the decor--one reader says he was told that it will be reopening as a pizza-based venue.
With construction underway on the Canal Park ice rink, scheduled to officially open for the season on Nov. 14, this would seem to be a good time frame for a retooling.

In the meantime, over on Half Street just south of the Metro entrance at M Street, Buffalo Wild Wings is looking close to opening. A worker told me that staff training is expected to start this week, with November 17 being the *targeted* opening date. Though, of course (all together now), We Shall See.
UPDATE: It actually looks like Nov. 16 will be the grand opening (the date I heard many moons ago), with this mailing providing the big hint but also according to sources In the Know.
(PS: There are tentative thoughts about a JDLand happy hour in the coming weeks, probably at BWW. More as the schedule becomes clear.)
Comments (10)
More posts: bww, Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife, parktavern

Upcoming Biking, Music, Opera, Fitness, and Imbibing Activities
May 14, 2015 10:12 AM
It's a fairly sizeable lineup of events on the neighborhood calendar over the next few days:
* BIKE TO WORK DAY: The forecast looks swell for DC's annual Bike to Work Day, on Friday, May 15. Canal Park is one of the pit stops, from 7 to 9 am, at which there will be refreshments and food, plus you'll have a chance to win prizes if you have registered. (Looks like the free t-shirts are all already claimed, though.) Read about commuter convoys, ride buddies and more at the official web site.
* FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERTS: The Friday night Summer Concert Series at Yards Park kicks off this week, with the R&B stylings of Jimi Smooth. The concerts begin each week at 6:30 pm, and the Grassy Knoll fills up pretty quickly, so arrive early!
* OPERA IN THE OUTFIELD: Saturday is Cinderella Day at Nats Park, thanks to the the return of the annual Opera in the Outfield simulcast. Gates open at 5 pm, with a slew of pre-performance activities and entertainment, including a Royal Parade that will allow "kids of all ages" to arrive in costume and march around the lower concourse. The actual simulcast begins at 7 pm, and it's all Rain or Shine, and all free and open to the public. Note that sitting in the outfield now requires a wristband handed out on a first-come first-serve basis. More details here.
* GLUG GLUG GLUG: This most assuredly is not free, but Canal Park on Saturday will host "ABV," an afternoon of "outdoor imbibing" of the "finest craft beverages," put together by Greg Engert and friends. It will run from 3 to 8 pm, rain or shine, and tickets are $20 at the door or in special advance packages. The full list of beer, wine, and spirits to be available is here.
* FITNESS IN THE FRONT: Technically not a weekend event, but you may need to toss in a workout session or two after a big weekend--and just your luck, the lineup of outside summer fitness classes gets underway on Monday, May 19. Brought to you by VIDA Fitness and DC BFIT and located in Yards and Canal Parks, the classes range from Yoga to Zumba to "high energy" to Boot Camps to a once-a-month family fitness session. The schedule is here, and classes are free and open to the public.
* MARGARITA WARS: In case you didn't get your fill of drinking in a neighborhood park at ABV, City Paper's third annual Margarita Wars is slated for May 21 at 6:30 pm at the Yards Park. "You be the judge as the region's top mixologists compete for your vote in a winner take all battle for 'rita supremacy." Tickets are $25 and include unlimited margarita tastings. Also included: one of those extra-special tequila-fueled hangovers. (But you'll want to recover by May 30, when the Tour de Fat extravaganza returns to Yards Park.)
Comments (1)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Canal Park, Events, Yards Park

This Weekend's Holiday Happenings: Shopping, Santa, Singing
Dec 11, 2014 9:42 AM
We're well into the holiday season, and there are some events this weekend that may be of interest, in between your hall-decking and jolly-making.
PARCEL MARKET: From Friday, Dec. 12 through Sunday, Dec. 14, Canal Park will be the home of the Parcel Market, with a large tent showcasing offerings from independent vendors, a food area, live music from local artists, and an "interactive art installation." Wares for sale will range from fashion to jewelry and accessories to "home enhancements" to other gifts. Food will include offerings from Bluejacket, Ice Cream Jubilee, Dirty South Deli, Undone Chocolate, Teeny Pie, and Maketto. The market runs from 5 to 9 pm on Friday, Dec. 12, noon to 9 pm on Saturday, Dec. 13, and noon to 5 pm on Sunday, Dec. 14. See the web site for more information.
TRUCK MARKET: If you want more pop-up holiday marketing options, the Yards is having its Fashion Truck Market this weekend as well, from 11 am to 6 pm each day in front of VIDA at 4th and Tingey, SE. Trucks expected to be in attendance include Urban Pearl, Tin Lizzy, Street Boutique, Strut Truck, Charm City Mobile Boutique, The Pink Armoire, and Go Go Retread.
SANTA PHOTOS: The Waterfront Church is holding a "Pictures with Santa" event on Friday, Dec. 12, from 5 to 9 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St., SE. Each family will receive one 5x7 photo and a digital copy by e-mail, and there will also be cookies, hot cocoa, stories with the seldom seen Mrs. Claus, and more. See the Facebook event page for more details.
CAROLING: A resident with the urge to sing has organized an evening of neighborhood caroling on Saturday, Dec. 13, beginning at 4 pm, first visiting the Capper Seniors building at 5th and Virginia and then roaming the Capitol Quarter townhouses before ending up at the Canal Park ice rink by 6 pm. All levels of singing are welcome, Santa hats are encourged, and the lineup will include "inclusive, multicultural holiday tunes." See the Facebook page for more. Bonus points for not calling it wassailing!
SKATE AND SING: If the first batch of Saturday caroling isn't enough, you can then stay at Canal Park for their "Skate and Sing" from 6 to 7 pm.
(The photo shows a subset of my beloved set of Rudolph characters.)
Comments (0)
More posts: Canal Park, Events

Canal Park Ice Rink Soft Opening This Saturday, Grand Opening Nov. 15
Nov 6, 2014 6:38 PM
It's that time of year again--the Canal Park ice rink is set to open "softly" on Saturday, Nov. 8 (weather permitting), with the official grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 15, where there will be balloon making, a photo booth, and the now-requisite face painting.
This season's hours of operation are noon to 7pm Monday and Tuesday, noon to 9 pm Wednesday through Friday, 11 am to 10 pm Saturday, and 11 am to 7 pm Sunday.
The cost is $9 for adults, and $8 for children, seniors, and military. Skate rentals are $4.
Maybe this year I'll actually venture onto the ice. Or maybe not.
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More posts: Canal Park

Tuesday Tidbits: On the Water Front
Jun 10, 2014 11:12 AM
* FILLING WATER: After the flooding a few weeks ago took out the pumps, the Yards Park folks are now reporting that the basin is starting to be re-filled. Though it's still in a testing phase, officials are optimistic that the wait is almost over and the basin and fountains should be back in operation soon.
* MANAGING WATER: The EPA has released the case study about Canal Park entitled Integrating Stormwater Management and Public Amenities through a Public-Private Partnership, saying that the park "exemplifies how a public-private partnership can be used to create a public amenity that enhances the community and provides environmental benefits."
* FRONTING WATER: I came *thisclose* to posting a link that just popped up in my RSS reader about how the developers of the Florida Rock site just said that they expect to begin construction on Phase I of RiverFront on the Anacostia in "mid-2014"--but then I thought to look at the date on the release, and it was May 7. So I guess could still technically be considered news, but we're now reaching "mid-2014" with no sign of movement....
* CROSSING WATER: A reminder that tonight at 6:30 is your chance to meet the four finalists in the Bridge Park design competition. The event is at 1801 Mississippi Ave., SE.
And in the No Water Connection At All Department:
* COMMUNITY CENTER: Tomorrow night, Wednesday, June 11, is the public meeting on the results of the Capper Community Center survey.
* VAN NESS: Greater Greater Education looks at the drive to reopen Van Ness Elementary School.
(and no, the headline isn't a typo)

Tuesday Tidbits: Beta Edition
May 6, 2014 11:42 AM
* RESULTS: Last week I mentioned how concerned parents and neighbors were organizing a drive to call David Catania's office on May 1 to impress upon him the importance of opening Van Ness Elementary as scheduled in 2015. It didn't even take until the end of the day to get results, as evidenced by this quote sent to the Van Ness Parents Group from Catania's office: "[Councilmember Catania] supports the on-time opening and modernization of Van Ness. And while the Committee does not finalize and markup its budget until May 15th, it is the Councilmember’s intention to keep Van Ness’ $15 million FY15 renovation in the budget as proposed. Thank you again for your hard work and advocacy!"
* AWARDS: The US Green Building Council has officially awarded LEED Gold status to Canal Park, thanks to its sustainable development design that includes electric car charging stations, an extensive storm water collection and reuse system, as well as tree boxes and bio swales that provide filtration for street-level runoff surrounding the park.
* SPOTLIGHTS: The spring edition of the 11th Street Bridges newsletter is out, without any actual news on the project but instead spotlighting the small and local businesses that have partnered with DDOT on the project.
* TWEEPING: If you are wanting to keep up with the ever-growing lineup of nearby businesses and organizations, feel free to bookmark my Near Southeast Businesses Twitter list, as an easy way to quickly scan their latest missives in one spot.
* PROPERTY FOR SALE!: Over the years I've had a lot of people contact me desperate for leads on available property. I finally have acres of empty land to offer, but the commute might be a bit rough.
* BETA TO THE MAX: I've been down the rabbit hole over the past few days, as I have finally begun to redesign the interior pages of JDLand, which have needed a refresh since about 2006. (I already mentioned my first cut at redesigning the home page.)
It's a pretty mammoth undertaking, and will take a while to implement, but if you want to see an early prototype of what I'm going for, you can look at the Community Center page, or the Square 701 page, or the Akridge Half Street page, or my Past News page for Yards Parcel A. Note that some stuff will be broken as of now, but the pages do respond to different screen sizes, which also means that the non-blog portion of the site should become much more mobile friendly. As of now it's probably a bit screwy in older browsers, but should be okay if you're using up-to-date Chrome, Firefox, or IE. And the irony isn't lost on me that I haven't been posting much work on JDLand over the past few days because I've been working so much on JDLand.

Lineups Announced for Summer Film, Concert Series
Apr 24, 2014 8:52 AM
The Capitol Riverfront BID has announced the lineup for its 2014 Outdoor Film Series, with an "It's a Whole New Ballgame" theme of sports-related movies. The movies, all free and open to the public, will once again be shown Thursday nights beginning at sundown in the northern block of Canal Park, at 2nd and I Streets, SE. Here's the batting order:
June 5, The Sandlot
June 12, Happy Gilmore
June 19, Dodgeball
June 26, Wimbledon
July 10, Balls of Fury
July 17, Space Jam
July 24, Invincible
July 31, Bend it Like Beckham
August 7, Rudy
August 14, A League of Their Own
August 21, The Blind Side
September 4, Moneyball
And Yards Park will once again have its Friday summer concert series, beginning May 9. The concerts run from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, and feature a lineup of top-40, country, salsa, pop, bluegrass, and reggae.bands chosen by OnTap Magazine:
May 9, Jimi Smooth
May 16, Monster Band
May 30, Tour de Fat concert
June 6, Sam O
June 13, Texas Chainsaw Horns
June 20, Sin Miedo
June 27, DC Jazz Festival
July 11, Scott's New Band
July 18, Framewerk
July 25, Jah Works
August 1, White Ford Bronco
August 8, Back to Zero
August 15, 19th Street Band
August 22, Cazhmiere
September 5, Crowded Streets
September 12, Jeff From Accounting
For more information, visit capitolriverfront.org and yardspark.org. These will also be on the JDLand Events Calendar, once I wade through the lists.
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More posts: Canal Park, Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Park Tavern, Willie's, Other Cervera Restaurants Declare Bankruptcy
Mar 29, 2014 8:32 AM
The DC Twitterverse lit up Friday night when the Wall Street Journal (?) reported the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Barracks Row Entertainment, the company behind the slew of neighborhood restaurants opened by Xavier Cervera, including the revamped Hawk & Dove, Lola's, Molly Malone's, Boxcar, Senart's, The Chesapeake Room, and Pacifico Cantina.
Barracks Row Entertainment is also behind the Park Tavern at Canal Park, and the will-it-ever-open Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, and those two entities are part of the bankruptcy as well. The filing says that the company has "between $1 million and $10 million in debt."
What does it all mean? I guess we will just have to see....

Canal Park Ice Rink Now Open
Dec 16, 2013 4:32 PM
The ice rink at Canal Park officially opened for its second season today at noon. According to the web site, hours will be from noon to 7 pm Mondays and Tuesdays, noon to 9 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 11 am to 10 pm on Saturdays, and 10 am to 7 pm on Sundays. Admission for adults is $8, and $7 for children, seniors, and military. Skate rental is $3. There are also season passes available.
It's also the first time that the Park Tavern will be open alongside the rink, for all your food and beverage needs, either to warm up after a skating session or to give yourself a bit of an alcoholic-tinged push to get on the ice. (Definitely the latter for me.)
If you haven't ventured there before, here are my photos from the rink's opening day and night last year.
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Tidbits: Ice Rink Opening Soon, and Other Goings-On
Dec 5, 2013 8:29 PM
While I keep trying to get myself reacquainted with blogging (a process that clearly is not proceeding smoothly), I'm going to cheat and go with some Tidbits lists every so often, so that at least I can feel like I'm getting the spigot working better, even if it's still sputtering. Also, I have to get used to all these events, specials, and activities, which didn't used to be part of the Near Southeast blogging landscape.
* The BID reports in its latest newsletter that the Canal Park ice rink is scheduled to open on Monday, Dec. 16. And speaking of the park, if you haven't wandered by, you may not know that Christmas trees and wreaths are for sale there this year. See the market web site for details.
* On Saturday (Dec. 7), the 11th Street Bridge Park project is holding two "community design meetings" that will provide an update about the project and break out attendees into smaller groups to work on ideas. A nationwide design competition for the project is expected to be launched early in 2014. The bridge park itself is expected to cost $35 million, which at this point is mostly unfunded. One meeting is at 200 I Street SE from 2 pm to 6 pm (details and RSVP here) but there is also a morning meeting. (via DCist)
* ArtYards has the Chalk a Lot street art event on Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 7-8) at the NGA parking lot, 1st and M SE. And see also this Going Out Guide look at the ArtYards project.
* Osteria Morini is now open for lunch, and here's the menu. Plus there's Happy Hour specials now, too, from 4 to 7 pm Monday through Friday. And Post food critic Tom Sietsema took a First Bite there earlier this week.
* Bluejacket is going big with its first New Year's Eve celebration. For your $160 ticket, you'll get an open bar for all Bluejacket brews, plus a DJ and "passed bites." Then there will be a champagne toast as part of the ceremonial midnight keg drop. (No, seriously.) And Bluejacket/Arsenal is now open for lunch, too, and is serving Sunday brunch from 11 to 3, but you probably already know these things.
* VIDA Fitness, coming to the Twelve12 building at the Yards in 2014, is now offering membership pre-sales. Their site says that the Penthouse Pool Club will open on July 1, 2014 and the VIDA Fitness itself on Aug. 25, 2014.
* If you want to look a little farther into the future: WMATA has scoped out the subway alignments it would like to pursue as part of its 2040 "core configuration" plan. How would you feel about a new Blue and Yellow line under 2nd Street from Union Station, turning west with a station at New Jersey and I before heading to Virginia? (It would also run under M Street NW from Georgetown to New York Avenue.) I can't wait to set out from my retirement home with my brain-embedded camera to take photos of this project.

Capturing How Spring Has Sprung at Canal Park
May 3, 2013 9:39 AM
When last I wandered around Canal Park with my camera, it was cold. And brown. (But skateable!) With Thursday's gorgeous weather surprisingly managing to win a tough battle against my inherent laziness, I took a far warmer and greener walk, and updated my Canal Park page with some springeriffic images.
And, if you really want to see how the three blocks along 2nd Street SE between I and M have changed in the past decade, I invite you to scroll through the many before and afters in my Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive. After all, with my work at the park pretty much done, this might be the last time I have the excuse to make you look at numerous photos of school buses and overgrowth.
Speaking of the buses, I do have one "new" before-and-after I can't resist highlighting.
First, October 14, 2006:
And the same location, May 2, 2013:
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Park Tavern Says It's Open For Business
Apr 8, 2013 4:43 PM
After months of waiting, a simple tweet a few moments ago says that the Park Tavern restaurant at 2nd and M SE in Canal Park is open for business.
If you stop by there, give us some details in the comments.
UPDATE: I should also mention that the BID tweeted that the water feature (some might call it "fountains") at Canal Park is operational today as well, after a breather during the switchover from ice rink to warm weather retreat.
UPDATE II: Here is the menu. (If you want to see the chicken, parm cream, and dried cherries flatbread, here 'tis. And here's the taps. And the cocktail menu, blurred to give you the experience of ordering after you've had a few.) The manager told me they will just be open for dinner for a few weeks, then expand to lunch.
UPDATE III: Photos of the interior here and here. (Yeah, they were taken back in November, but nothing's changed!)
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More posts: Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife, parktavern

Park Tavern Opening Perhaps Not Far Off?
Mar 10, 2013 9:57 AM
On Saturday, the Park Tavern restaurant at Canal Park sent this out on Twitter:
"Our new chef is in place!! Should be about 10 days until we open. More details to come"
Is the opening really now looming? We shall see...!
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More posts: Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife, parktavern

Summer Outdoor Movie Series Announced: Clash of the Comics
Feb 15, 2013 3:12 PM
It might be a little hard to think of sitting in Canal Park watching movies on a warm summer night when folks are still skating on the park's rink, but the Capitol Riverfront BID has now released the list of 10 movies that will be shown at the park in this year's Summer Outdoor Movie Series, on Thursdays beginning May 30th.
This year they are going with a comic book theme, so get your inner geek fired up for these offerings:
May 30th - Captain America
June 6th - Green Lantern
June 13th - Iron Man
June 20th - Batman and Robin
June 27th - The Hulk
July 4th - No Movie (Holiday)
July 11th - Batman Begins
July 18th - Thor
July 25th - The Dark Knight
Aug 1st - The Avengers
Aug 8th - The Dark Knight Rises
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Canal Park, Events

Retail, Restaurant, and Recreation News (New and Old)
Feb 11, 2013 11:40 AM
A hail of bullets on various retail, restaurant, and recreation-type items, some of which are relatively new, but some of which decidedly aren't:
* The boxing and fitness club DCBFIT opened last week in the ground floor of Capitol Hill Tower, at the corner of New Jersey and L SE. While their web site makes me tired and sore just looking at it, I'm sure there are plenty of folks who will find this offering intriguing.
* Gordon Biersch, coming soon to 1st and M, has "Now Hiring" signs up: go to Work4GB.com.
* Also hiring, according to commenter JT who passed along the Craigslist link, is the Park Tavern at Canal Park. The Hill is Home says that it's opening "very soon," even saying "around the 20th of February," but We Shall See.
* Nando's Peri-Peri now has signage up at the Boilermaker Shops--it's a little more than halfway down Tingey between 3rd and 4th, closer to the Bluejacket end of the building. It's supposed to be opening this spring.
* The Navy Yard portion of the Riverwalk was supposed to reopen today--anyone give it a shot yet? And, if so, is there any actual trail once you go out the east gate? As I showed a couple of weeks ago, the old asphalt had been ripped up as part of the 11th Street Bridges work, though of course it will be back at some point.
* Maybe now is finally a good time to mention the opening of petcare store Wagtime Too at 900 M Street, where it has been for a number of weeks now, offering boarding, daycare, grooming and "cool stuff." And I actually have taken a photo of it.
* Apparently the Quizno's at 8th and Potomac closed permanently back in December. And Chicken Tortilla at 8th and L was closed when I walked by a few weeks ago, though I don't know the story on that.
UPDATE: Yes, the Riverwalk is apparently open. And I meant to also mention that Kruba Thai and Sushi's web site is now up and running.

Another 'Finally': Canal Park's Opening Day (and Night)
Nov 17, 2012 9:59 AM
I've been to a fair number of ribbon cuttings over the past decade, and I have to say that Friday's opening of Canal Park seemed to be infused with a level of excitement and joy that I don't think I've seen at any of the others.
While getting Nationals Park open in 2008 was a triumph of speed and scale, the 13-year journey of the three-block park at the heart of Near Southeast required so many hands and so much patience and resulted in a space with which the stakeholders are clearly thrilled that it shouldn't really be a surprise that on a gorgeously crisp late fall day so many attendees were walking around with what Tommy Wells described as "a huge smile on their face."
The speakers standing at a podium in the center block's small pavilion ran through the list of names and agencies that brought the park to fruition, starting with developer William C. Smith, whose CEO Chris Smith started the long drive to build the park, creating the Canal Park Development Association back in 2000. Then there was money from the federal government and the DC government, additional dollars and much support from the DC Housing Authority, work by OLIN landscape architects and STUDIOS architecture to design the park with innovative sustainable development and storm water management components (and a skating rink!). Props were given for the hiring of Housing Authority residents for 15 of the park's 25 part-time jobs.The Capitol Riverfront BID and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities also took bows for their parts in the park's creation (and future).
After the speeches, the festivities moved to the skating rink, where the ribbon was cut and Mayor Gray drove the Zamboni, and then the public laced up its skates and got out on the ice. And they kept skating, well into the night. (And I have no doubt there will be big crowds at the rink and park today as well.) For all the happiness seen in the park's founders about getting it finally opened, I saw equal measures of surprise and cheer that so many residents and neighborhood office workers had come to the opening, had stayed through the long speechifying, and now were skating and strolling.
I've joked that I sure have been saying the word "finally" a lot lately--the trash transfer station is finally demolished, Kruba Thai is finally open, Gordon Biersch finally admitted they're coming to 100 M, Vida Fitness is finally announced, Capitol Quarter is finally finished.... But it's the "finally" of Canal Park opening that hit me more than I expected, perhaps similarly to all those happy stakeholders.
I took a lot of photos of fenced-off schoolbuses in the early years, posted a lot of renderings (some for the park's first design that never materialized), and bugged a lot of people to find out the latest. It was, after all, one of the few projects that was already in planning when I started tracking Near Southeast in early 2003, along with the Capper redevelopment and Capitol Hill Tower.
And now the park is open (with the Park Tavern restaurant to follow "within a few weeks"), and everybody can enjoy it. Finally!
Hope you'll check out my photo galleries of the park, yesterday's ceremonies, and the park's opening night, along with my expanded gallery of before-and-afters from around the park (with some that I still need to fill in, oops). And you can also see coverage from the Post, NBC4, and WJLA. And the lineup of today's events and other details on the park's official web site. And tell us what you think of the park.
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More posts: Canal Park, Events, photos

Canal Park Grand Opening Set for November 16
Oct 25, 2012 5:58 PM
A flyer just sent out by the Capitol Riverfront BID is announcing that Canal Park will have a two-day Grand Opening, on Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17, kicking off with a ribbon cutting with the mayor and other dignitaries at 11 am on the 16th.
The park's much anticipated ice rink will be the center of attention for the rest of the festivities, and it will be open from noon to 9 pm on Friday and 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday--admission is $8 for adults and $7 for kids/seniors/military, with skate rentals costing $3. There will also be "ice performances" at the top of each hour from noon to 4 pm, and coaches available to help new skaters.
Saturday will also have live music in the park from 10 am to 3 pm, various art-y options, and a "Get Active" program from Results Gym with boot camp, a kids obstacle course, and a Zumba class.
Considering that it was nine years ago this month that I first wrote about the plans to remove the school buses from the park's three-block site along 2nd Street between I and M, SE, I'd say this opening indeed qualifies as a milestone in the neighborhood. See my Canal Park project page for photos of what the footprint has gone through over the years.
(The BID also says that the management of Kruba Thai and Sushi says that their restaurant in the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts at the Yards is opening on Monday, Nov. 12. Will that come true as well? We shall see!)
UPDATE: I should add there's no word in this whether the Park Tavern restaurant will open on this same weekend--my guess is that the pressure is pretty strong to have it open in some format, but there's no announcement.
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More posts: Canal Park, Events, Foundry Lofts/Yards, The Yards

Updated Photos From Under-Construction Projects, Finally
Sep 12, 2012 9:28 AM
Isn't it great that the icky humid cloudy weather of the past few weeks finally broke? Aren't the skies glorious and blue? Does that mean I finally got to get out to take some photos? Why, yes!
First up are new photos from ground level at Canal Park, including the new L Street streetscape and the sculptures:
If you're big on Canal Park, you may also be interested in the many before-and-afters in the Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive, which leads off with the first decent bunch of photos from 2nd Place and L Street since construction started on the park many moons ago and then takes you on a before-and-after walk around the park's perimeter.
And then there's the progress on L Street between 3rd and 4th as the Capitol Quarter townhouse construction continues to wrap up:
I also added a few sunny-day Boilermaker Shop exterior photos and a shot of the hole in the ground at the Twelve12 apartment/Teeter project, because the ones I took on back Gloomy Thursday, when I got to go inside the Boilermaker building, drove me nuts:
External construction has pretty much wrapped up at 200 I/225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/Old Star Plant, especially on the south side of the building, facing Canal Park. There was a ribbon-cutting on Friday for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities gallery in the building's new lobby on I Street, but unfortunately I wasn't able to make the event. Hope to get photos inside before too long. In the meantime, you'll just have to look at the outside, and compare it to the White Monolith that it used to be:
If these all aren't enough for you, you can spend some time in the Photo Archive, where you pick the intersection you want to see and then you can see the entire range of photos I've taken for all angles or just the ones of your choice. You may even end up in the Photo Archive without realizing it, if you click on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon on any of the pages above, which also will give you the full range of photos for that angle. It's pretty much the Near Southeast equivalent of heading down the rabbit hole.

New Glimpses into the Getting-a-Bit-Distant M Street Past
Aug 23, 2012 9:29 AM
A most interesting and welcome present arrived in my inbox recently: a reader passed along four photos taken in 1990 or 1991 shot from what clearly is the old Defense Mapping Agency/National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building at 1st and M, looking out over the streetscape of a veeery different neighborhood than what exists today. It was during the construction of the Navy Yard Metro station, and you'll see what a war zone M Street was for drivers and pedestrians.
There's familiar sites from the early days of my photo archive--Normandie Liquors, the On Luck Cafeteria, Capper/Carrollsburg, the school buses at Canal Park, and more, but there's also landmarks I either never got to photograph (like the old Tracks nightclub at 80 M) or only barely caught (like the Aamco station at New Jersey and M). The Ellen Wilson apartment blocks just north of the freeway on 6th Street are even visible.
So, check out the photos! Now!
But don't stop with the color photos at the top of the page. The rest of the page has a series of overhead images from the Library of Congress archive, taken in 1992, showing many of the same locations as the "new" color shots, along with some other spots, matched where possible with my images of the not-yet demolished buildings. I posted them almost two years ago, but I'm sure they're new to plenty of people.
If you happen to have taken any photos of the neighborhood from pre-2003 that you'd like to share, I'd love to see them. Feel free to pass them along via whatever venue you might prefer--Facebook, e-mail (dc at jdland dot com), Flickr link, etc.
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More posts: Canal Park, Capper, photos, Rearview Mirror

L Street Now Open Through Canal Park; K Street Blocked
Aug 20, 2012 9:08 AM
I mentioned a few weeks ago that it would be happening soon, and indeed, L Street through Canal Park at 2nd Street SE is now open, with the sidewalk on the south side of the street available for pedestrians.
With this access available, K Street has now been temporarily closed to complete its streetscape. Since the park is still on schedule to open in November, it's likely that K Street will reopen by then.
I'd post pictures of the new vistas on L, but I can't stand any more cloudy-day shots of that location (such as this one from my visit inside the fences in late July), so it'll have to wait for the sun to come out.

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Canal Park Construction Photos, From Above and Inside
Jul 31, 2012 9:09 AM
A few weeks back I posted a bunch of photos of the progress on Canal Park, all taken by shoving my camera lens up against the cyclone fences and doing the best I could. The park's poobahs have since taken pity on me, and on Monday gave me my first chance to get inside the construction site. Alas, almost as soon as I got there, the sunny day turned into a cloudy day, and so the photos don't exactly pop off the screen. But, as I've said before, sometimes you have to take photos with the weather you have, not with the weather you wish you'd have.
The entire gallery is here, and also includes some shots from up above the park site, from when the sun was still out. (Yes, I'm bitter. If you want to see exactly what sort of impact sun vs. no-sun has on photos, I point you to my newly updated gallery of before-and-afters from L Street on the east side of the park. Bleccch.)
Some items of note I learned during this walkaround:
* (Left) The block of L Street SE within the park's footprint will be permanently reopening to traffic before too long. But at about the same time, K Street will close within the park so that it can receive the same traffic-calming streetscape seen on L. I asked about pedestrian space along L during K's closure, and they will be looking at it.
* (Middle) The interior build-out has begun of the Park Tavern restaurant inside the main pavilion. It's expected to open when the park does, which still seems to be on-schedule for November.
* (Right) The black refrigeration tubing for the hockey ice rink is being installed, so that when it's unseasonably warm in January, people can still skate and not swim. And if you look at the enlarged photo and wonder why the staircase seems to have two different sized steps, it's because the ones on the right will have wooden slats added to them for a "bleachers" feel for sitting and watching the skating/fountain-frolicking.
Photos from this visit have also been added to my main Canal Park project page, if you're looking for more detail beyond what's in today's gallery.
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More posts: Canal Park, photos

Thursday Tidbits: Makeovers, Candidates, and a Busy Weekend
Jul 19, 2012 11:48 AM
* Canal Park's new web site launched today, and it indicates that they're still aiming for a November opening for the park, the ice rink, and the restaurant.
* The I Street McDonalds is going to be getting a makeover, judging by a recently approved building permit.
* Current 6D07 commissioner David Garber has picked up petitions to run for reelection. So far he and Ed Kaminski are the only potential candidates for the two single member districts that cover Near Southeast.
And, in this weekend's events:
* Tonight's Front Flick at Tingey Plaza is The DaVinci Code.
* The Nats are about to start their 12:35 pm Matinee as I type this on Thursday, then they'll play host to the Braves Friday-Sunday. This time around there's a Saturday 1:05/7:05 doubleheader, which includes the second NatsLive concert, with the Wallflowers. (Tickets for each game sold separately, and you need a ticket to the 7:05 pm game in order to see the Wallflowers.) It's a pretty big-time series against Atlanta, so expect big crowds.
* The Fairgrounds has its South on South Capitol Southern Rock festival on Friday and the Capitol GrooveFest on Saturday
* The Yards Park has Jah Works playing reggae for its Friday Evening Concert, then the Taste of Belgium beer/food/music event on Saturday.

Thursday Tidbits: Low Weight But High Volume Edition
Jul 12, 2012 2:01 AM
It's summer, and I'm trying to be on a Word Diet, so lots of links, but short and sweet:
* This week's Front Flick, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, tonight at Tingey Plaza.
* Another installment of Truckeroo on Friday.
* One potential candidate for Near Southeast's two ANC single member districts has already picked up nominating petitions: Ed Kaminski, who lives in 6D02.
* Washington Examiner is hot on the Hood. Times two. Shorter version: more people coming (like Nats fans). More stuff coming. But you knew this already.
* Miniature golfing in Canal Park, in a manner of speaking.
* Reunion of Arthur Capper residents last week at Garfield Park.
* There's now lane restrictions on M Street SE between 7th and 11th for the next, oh, 27 months or so, thanks to the DC Water Clean Rivers Project. (This is also why Water Street east of 12th Street is closed.) The work along M got off to a bit of a rough start last month when contractors took over the pocket park at 8th and Potomac without using a particularly light touch.
* Nats Park in the mix for the 2015 MLB All-Star game, but lots of other cities want it, too.
* Across the way: new DC United investors "should boost quest for stadium" at Buzzard Point.
* At least SOME major media organizations know how to credit scoops. {Said while glaring at WashBizJ, though not PhilBizJ}
* Folks at 909 New Jersey, and also 1980s DC nightclubbers, might like this WaPo photo. Especially when compared to this. (The railroad tracks are probably not missed.)

Canal Park Progress: Peeking Through the Fences (and the Trees)
Jun 10, 2012 5:25 PM
Although the temperature was a bit high for my liking, it still felt good to take a walk with camera in hand for the first time since April around Canal Park and Capitol Quarter to get a new batch of photos. And, thanks to the planting of numerous trees along with other visible improvements, my months and months of complaining about not really having much to photograph during the park's construction have come to an end.
With the arrival of the trees and some initial streetscaping now in place on the portion of L Street that runs through the park, you can now see how narrow the street is going to be in order to work to slow vehicular traffic as it crosses the park. (The completed streetscape will also give a visual cue to Slow The Hell Down.) K Street will get a similar treatment.
So check out the slew of progress shots on my Canal Park project page. And I do also recommend a run through my Expanded Canal Park photo archive, to make a time-traveling virtual visit to the park's three blocks, which will get you comparison shots like these:
(Southeast corner of 2nd and K. I love the first shot, from nearly nine years ago, with lots of school buses and without USDOT.)
The official Canal Park web site can also give you more information, along with these slides from a presentation at last month's ANC 6D meeting. Though, judging from the people who chatted me up while I was poking my camera through the fences, we're long past the "what" stage and deep into the "when" ("WHEN!?!") stage. An opening in November is still the target.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Quarter's last block, framing has now gotten underway on 4th Street, with bricking and painting finished on the houses on the 3rd Street side. My suggestion is to scroll through the Capitol Quarter Phase 2 Expanded Photo Archive, because I can't imagine at this point the before-and-afters need much narration.
(Southeast corner of Third and L, in December 2004 [through the windshield!] and today.)
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More posts: Canal Park, Capper, Capitol Quarter, photos

ANC 6D Recap 2: Canal Park, Community Center, CSX Letter
May 15, 2012 1:35 PM
Moving from the "P" portion of Monday's ANC 6D meeting (pylons and parking) to the "C"s:
* Canal Park: Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association gave an update on construction, the bottom line of which has not changed from what's been mentioned the past few months, that because of unexpected issues, the park's opening has been delayed until November. Unmapped utilities that required a redesign of the stormwater management system have been a big stumbling block, but Vanarsdale also mentioned the soil-related difficulties when building on the site of an old canal. Construction is now 60 percent complete, and the work on the pavilion is almost done. Here are the presentation slides, and you can also check out the official web site for more details (along with my project page). Oh, and they're thinking about offering Zamboni driving lessons!
* Community Center: The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for an extension for construction of the planned Capper Community Center, which already received one extension back in 2010 that 6D supported. DCHA has apparently requested that the Zoning Commission act within 30 days on the request, news of which the ANC received on Monday. So the commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter urging postponement of the zoning case so that the ANC can address the request and form a response with a vote at next month's meeting. Commissioners Litsky and McBee also both commented that the project shouldn't be getting another extension.
UPDATE: Here is the letter sent on behalf of DCHA to the Zoning Commission asking for the extension: it would be for two years, requiring building permits by July 1, 2014 and construction underway by July 1, 2015.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel: The commissioners voted 6-0-1 to send this letter to the appropriate parties laying out the ANC's opinion on the plans to reconfigure the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. After listing the various ways that the proposed construction "would put people, homes, businesses, and fragile historic resources at risk," the letter states: "[W]e strongly believe that the best options for our community are for CSX to either leave the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in its current state (Concept 1) -- with the suggestion that if this option were chosen that the tunnel would be fully maintained for the safety of both the trains below and the communities above, or to reroute additional train traffic outside the District of Columbia [...] instead of in an expanded Virginia Avenue Tunnel." But, if the construction does occur, "it is absolutely imperative that the health and safety of our many residents, the economic and physical well-being of our businesses, parks, religious institutions, homes, and historic buildings, and the north-south access for all existing modes of transportation be preserved and enhanced." A number of Capitol Quarter residents in attendance also spoke in support of the ANC's support. The next public meeting on the plans for the tunnel will be May 21 at 6:30 pm at Nats Park.
One more recap post to go, probably tomorrow.

Updated Photos from the Usual Spots (Holiday Edition)
Apr 8, 2012 6:35 PM
Because of a need to burn off some calories before digging into my "Reeseter's Bunny" (milk chocolate-coated peanut butter bunny, which the label says is four servings [ha!] at 180 calories per), I did my usual wanderings this morning to grab updated photos around, Capper, 200 I, Canal Park, and the Boilermaker Shops. Alas, I did not hide any Easter eggs in any of these shots, nor did I find any.
The framing and Tyvek-ing is underway on 3rd Street south of L, in the shadow of the 300 M Street office building, as Capitol Quarter continues its march toward completion. I also took a lot of photos of other CQ Phase II blocks, so spend some time in the Capitol Quarter Phase 2 Expanded Photo Archive (and scroll down a bit) to hop through the many (many!) before-and-afters.
Then there's the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, where some work was being done even on Easter Sunday. The walling off the interior space for the different tenants has begun, with the studs visible--and some drywall has even gone in on the mezzanine level, as seen at right, in a view from 4th Street, through what will be the Bluejacket space.
The work is on-going at Canal Park, but continues to not be terribly exciting from a photographic standpoint, unless you're wowed by images of new curbs. But the Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive can take you for a walk around the park's perimeter to see the current views, if you don't see it every day. (I also like my barbed wire shot [above right], the result of desperation after being without photos from the east side of 2nd and L for a very long time now. But, no, I didn't jump the fence.)
I also enjoyed being watched very closely by a USDOT security guard with a clipboard as I took photos of the park's progress from the south side of M Street. "What are you taking photos of?" she finally asked, trying to sound stern. "Stuff," I replied, as I smiled and kept walking.
There's also updated shots from 225 Virginia/200 I (seen at right), with the landscaping now starting to go in.
If you want to see today's entire batch (213 of 'em), here they are, remembering to click the fun little Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see the entire range of photos for a certain location. If you want even more new-ish pictures, here's photos I took around 1st and Half Streets on Tuesday, to get the Fairgrounds exterior into the official archive.
Now I need to go find that peanut butter bunny. I think I earned it.

Thursday Tidbits: Minutiae from Wandering the Streets (and Twitter)
Mar 22, 2012 3:38 PM
With Pictures:
* Shipping containers have been arriving at the Fairgrounds (Bullpen) site. (They say there's going to be a "preview" event on March 30--looks like a lot of work to do in eight days. But the real opening is supposed to be in time for the Nats' season opener on April 12.)
* Greenery is arriving at 200 I/225 Virginia, and the sidewalks are done. Apparently the fences will be moved back sometime next week to keep the building perimeter secure but to allow the sidewalks to be used. (In other words, the "street sidewalk" will finally disappear.) There should also be repaving and crosswalk striping around the site coming in early April.
Without Pictures:
* Framing is racing along on the stretch of Capitol Quarter townhomes on 3rd south of L.
* Curbs are going in on 2nd Place next to Canal Park and the pavilion.
* The cherry trees in the Center Field Plaza at Nats Park are budding, but don't look on the verge of popping yet. Perhaps they can hold on until April 3.
Elsewhere:
* Mark Batterson says the demolition of the Miles Glass building and the garage next door on Virginia Avenue will happen next week.
* Yesterday we were talking about the possibility of a little BOOM, but here's what might happen 'round these parts if there's a really BIG BOOM.
* The Post writes about the neighborhood as part of the big Mega RealEstate focus on walkable communities, and keys in on the fact that the area has a number of different names. (For the record, it's not like I made up "Near Southeast"--I was just following the city's lead.) Within a few hours, though, Greater Greater Washington may have solved the problem by pointing us to the area's late-19th-century moniker: "Bloodfield." Wouldn't that work great for ballpark headlines? ("Phillies Dismembered at Bloodfield.")
Anything else folks are seeing?

Canal Park Construction Issues Push Back Opening Date
Mar 8, 2012 2:50 PM
There's been a lot of positive news in the neighborhood of late, but news today from Canal Park will be disappointing to many residents and observers: Because of "major underground obstacles" that weren't found until workers started digging, the park's underground storm water system is having to be completely redesigned and then approved by DC Water.
According to Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association, this has bumped the schedule by about four months, and November 1 is now the expected completion date. (Just in time for ice skating!)
Canal Park is of course also where Xavier Cevera's Park Tavern restaurant is anticipated to open, which means that its opening would be pushed back as well.
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More posts: Canal Park

Tidbits: K Street Closure; Potbelly Opening Date; Brewers Ball; More
Feb 29, 2012 11:14 AM
* The portion of K Street SE within the Canal Park footprint will be closed through March 31 after workers found "major unmapped utilities" that have caused delays to the construction. Park head Chris Vanarsdale says that in order to meet spring planting requirements, it was necessary to close K now. (A little bit of hassle in exchange for purty plants this year, otherwise the planting would have had to wait until next year.) This means that to cross Canal Park drivers and pedestrians need to either use I Street or M Street.
* A sign posted at Foundry Lofts for its residents says that they expect the Potbelly to open the week of March 13. And here's the Store Locator page, still marked as "Coming Soon." (Here's what it looked like inside on Sunday morning.)
* If you can't wait until the Nationals finish Spring Training to drink beer at the stadium, there's the 2012 Brewer's Ball on March 13 at Nats Park, benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Guests can sample "a variety of handcrafted microbrews from more than a dozen of the region's best microbreweries and brewpubs, while also enjoying the cuisine of several popular restaurants." Individual tickets are $115, and deadline to purchase is tomorrow, March 1.

Photos from All Over, Feb. 2012 Edition
Feb 27, 2012 11:34 AM
Take a gorgeous Sunday, add an obsessive-compulsive need to document all the change underway, and what do you get? Nearly eight miles of walking and a shameful number of new photos.
The Foundry Lofts building is all but done, with only the retail spaces left to be built out, so I took a bunch of "after" photos that will probably last for a while. But that new Potbelly sign sure stands out! I also pressed my nose against the glass to peek inside the sandwich shop's space--it sure doesn't look far from opening.
Embarrassingly, I haven't had a camera in hand on the Navy Yard's portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk since 2004. (I'm always worried they're going to toss me in the brig as a security threat, especially after a run-in a few years back where I was chased down by both a gate sentry and the DC police after taking photos of the Hull Street gate from across M Street.) But I pushed forward yesterday and got a bunch of new shots that I've added to my Navy Yard page, taking care to demonstrate to the many security cameras that I was photographing the river and not the installation. (Don't miss the especially cool before-and-after of the gate to the Yards Park.)
I will probably be creating a separate Riverwalk page before too long, but not today.
Along 11th Street at N and M, photos are more notable for what's not there anymore, as the demolition of the embankment for the old outbound RFK ramp is done, and the path of the new ramp from M Street for traffic headed to the outbound 11th Street Bridges freeway traffic becomes more obvious. Also see this picture of the work on the 11th Street Local bridge, showing the demolition of part of the old outbound bridge approach, which has to be done before the new local bridge can hook up with 11th Street. (You can see it as well in my O Street before-and-afters, if you figure out what to look for.) Check my 11th Street Bridges photo page for more images.
Then there's Canal Park, where I mainly took some new photos of the pavilion under construction near M Street, since photos of digging and ground work don't quite rise to the level of "interesting." I also hit most of the angles for the Boilermaker Shops, as well as for Capitol Quarter Phase II, where the security guard expressed concern about my actions (I need a laminated Photography Approved card or something). And I wandered the 225 Virginia/200 I perimeter.
If you're a glutton for punishment, you can browse the 267 pictures from this trek that are now in my Photo Archive, using the links to see before-and-afters.

ANC 6D Supports Park Tavern, Willie's Liquor Licenses
Feb 15, 2012 9:17 AM
While nowhere near as flashy as the Half Street/Fairgrounds news, it should be noted that ANC 6D on Monday voted to support the liquor license applications for Xavier Cervera's two upcoming restaurants, the Park Tavern at Canal Park and Willie's Brew & Que at the Boilermaker Shops in the Yards. The support is conditional on having voluntary agreements signed for both applications within the next two weeks.
There was a bit of drama with this, with the commission's ABC subcommittee chair Coralee Farlee refusing to recommend this support because of what she considered a lack of communication from Cervera over the wording of the voluntary agreement; Cervera's lawyer had apparently replied with a few comments, but Farlee had not heard from Cervera himself (who seemed a bit bewildered by it all). David Garber stepped in to say that he had been working the voluntary agreement issue as well, which clearly Farlee wasn't especially happy about either.
Garber noted Cervera's desire to not have the process delayed, given Park Tavern's planned June 15 opening date and the need for Cervera to have a license in place in order to move forward with Forest City and the Boilermaker Shops. Commissioner Cara Shockley expressed some concern about moving so quickly, and there was also discussion about how a vote to support without a signed VA is not 6D's standard operating procedure. (Audience member and former 6D secretary Roberta Weiner mentioned how at other ANCs the vote would be to protest the license until a VA is signed by all parties.)
But in the end, four commissioners voted to support the licenses, Shockley voted against, and Ron McBee voted to abstain. (Commission chair Andy Litsky was not in attendance.)
My post from last week gives a whole pile of details on both restaurants, which I'll not bother to rehash here. (That post is much more fun to read, anyway.)

Some New Details on Park Tavern, Willie's Brew and Que
Jan 31, 2012 10:03 PM
At a meeting of ANC 6D's ABC committee on Tuesday night, we got some new details on two restaurants coming to Near Southeast in 2012, the Park Tavern at Canal Park and Willie's Brew and Que in the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards. Both are from Xavier Cervera of Lola's/Molly Malone's/Boxcar/Hawk n Dove/etc. fame, and Cervera was in attendance to answer questions from the committee. Let's go to the bullet points, shall we?
Park Tavern - This casual restaurant in the pavilion on the south block of Canal Park near M Street is aiming to be the city's first LEED Gold restaurant, thanks to a green roof, solar panels, and the various stormwater management aspects built into the park itself. And:
* There will be fewer than 100 seats inside the glass-and-steel structure, but outside Cervera expects another 75-125 seats, both in a private "summer garden" area by the park's skating rink/water feature and in a sidewalk cafe on the eastern side, along 2nd Place. Because the building is long and narrow, Cervera said that all of the inside tables will be along the windows. There will be additional space on the roof, where visitors can go to look out over the park or walk through the big light cube, but Cervera isn't planning service up there except for private functions.
* The menu will include Neopolitan pizzas and flatbread offerings along with seafood, steaks, and more, along with full liquor service; Cervera is asking for a CR license, with hours until 2 am Sunday through Thursday and 3 am Friday-Saturday.
* The restaurant is planning to offer breakfast service beginning at 8 am, though Cervera sounded a little skeptical of whether there will be enough business to support it. (Maybe via Congressional-type breakfast business meetings?)
* June 15 is the target opening date for both the park and the Tavern.
Willie's Brew and Que - A few blocks to the south, Cervera is waiting for Forest City to finish construction on the Boilermaker Shops renovation so that he (and other tenants) can then begin their build-outs. It will occupy the western end of the building, at 3rd Street (seen at right), where the full two-story space to the roof will be open. Details:
* There will be 230 seats inside the restaurant, with another 125 or so at outdoor tables in front of the building at 3rd Street.
* It will have "live" barbeque: Cervera said that he has put a lot of money into the kitchen, with charbroilers and custom-made smokers to churn out authentic North Carolina barbeque.
* And there will be plenty of booze to go with the food, as Cervera will be requesting a CT ("tavern") liquor license, mainly, he says, because with 81 home Nats games a year two blocks away at the ballpark, he can't envision being able to meet the requirements of a CR license where 47 percent of sales must be food. (Tavern licenses don't usually go over very well with ANCs, so this will be interesting to watch.) Full operating hours until 2 am Sunday-Thursday and 3 am Friday-Saturday will be requested on the license, along with an "entertainment endorsement" to allow live music inside until 11 pm Sunday-Thursday and 1 am Friday-Saturday and recorded music on the patio. (The entertainment endorsement discussion for both locations sidetracked into whether dancing will be part of the endorsement, with Cervera bemused at the notion of having to make people stop dancing if the music has moved them: "This isn't 'Footloose.' ")
* Cervera has no opening date for Willie's, but he says he expects Forest City to release the space to him for build-out within 2-3 months.
The discussion surrounding Willie's showed the committee members being a bit hesitant to make decisions for this restaurant that then will set the standard for the other Boilermaker Shops tenants who aren't yet applying for their liquor licenses, such the brewery from the Churchkey team. The issue of noise, especially from the outdoor seating space, and how it will effect residents of the Foundry Lofts across the street was brought up, though 6D commissioner David Garber said that no one is moving into this area without knowing that it's going to be an entertainment destination of sorts. Cervera, in arguing his cause, said that he fully expects himself and the Churchkey operation to be "good stewards" of the new nightlife in the neighborhood. The first three years of operations will be "painful fiscally," he said, but they want to be here first and be good tenants.
In the end, for both operations, the committee voted to recommend approval of the license applications to the full ANC, subject to the successful negotiation of a voluntary agreement between the commission and Cervera. (Note that neither liquor license application has actually been filed yet, but Cervera says he expects all paperwork to be completed by early next week.) The full ANC could take these applications up at its Feb. 13 business meeting, if papers have been appropriately shuffled by then.

More Beer News! License Process Starting for Two Eateries
Jan 25, 2012 3:38 PM
If yesterday's news about the brewery coming to the Boilermaker Shops in the Yards wasn't enough, today I can pass along that the liquor licensing process looks to be getting started for Xavier Cervera's two upcoming locations in Near Southeast, the Canal Park Tavern planned for the pavilion at Canal Park and the Willie's Brew and Que sports bar also at the Boilermaker Shops.
Both have been added to the agenda for ANC 6D's ABC Committee next meeting, on Jan. 31 at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Rec Center. Hopefully at this meeting there will be some details on both places (seating capacity, hours, when they expect to open, general menu concepts, etc.).
With the Tavern expected to open along with Canal Park sometime this summer and WBQ probably not until late fall or beyond, this is a pretty early start to the ABC process, so don't get your taste buds primed just yet. But all evidence of forward progress is worth noting.

Canal Park Work Seen from On High, and Other On-High Shots
Jan 20, 2012 11:34 AM
From ground level, it's not especially easy to see (or photograph) the current state of Canal Park's construction--lots of fences, equipment, and bad winter sunlight, and the only above-ground action is hard to photograph through cyclone fencing. But on Thursday I got to see the progress from higher up, where not only is it easier to get a good overview of the site, but you can now see the outline on the southern block of both the plaza *and the ice rink*. (Shadows still wreaked some havoc, alas.) I added a number of these images to my Canal Park progress page, for your perusal.
As I worked on these, I got to thinking about some photos from high up in 1100 New Jersey many moons ago, when the surrounding landscape looked very different. A few have been sprinkled throughout the site, but I was a little embarrassed to find out I'd never put them in my Overhead Photos Archive, which has now been rectified, and you can see them here. They are from September 2004, so most of the old Capper buildings are still visible, and the USDOT and Capitol Hill Tower lots are just holes in the ground. (And there's one cool view of the buildings at the Yards that sure won't ever be replicated.) I paired them with shots from Thursday where possible.
Then I remembered all the photos I took from the top floor of 1015 Half Street during the BID's annual meeting last week (there were a bunch besides just the "majestic" one). Not exactly a trip down memory lane, but they're now posted as well.
At this point, with a deep breath, I ventured into the folder where I've been dumping my rooftop/on-high photos "to deal with later," and found:
* A series of strangely blue pictures I took from the roof deck at Onyx in October 2008, just as the building was opening;
* Shots from 100 M Street taken at the BID's annual meeting on a dreary day in December 2008; and
* Photos from 55 M taken during the kick-off for Artomatic in May 2009. (Nyaah, nyaah, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, I was taking pictures of you!)
For those of you who live and work in the "high-rise" buildings in the neighborhood, many of these views won't be anything exciting, and given the lack of new projects on the west end of the neighborhood, not really much has changed since the 2008-2009 shots. But now they're in the Permanent Collection, to be paired with more photos down the road someday.
If you haven't wandered through the overhead archive before, there's a ton of other photos, including the pictures from atop the Courtyard by Marriott taken from 2006-2010 that really highlight the demolition-and-construction that happened west of New Jersey Avenue. There's also a series of images taken from the roof of the old Capper Seniors building right before it was demolished in 2007, plus all manner of pictures of the waterfront taken from the ballpark's southeast viewing platform starting in 2007 (which I can't wait to update in a few months). And other locations, too.
Hope you find them enjoyable, especially on a Friday afternoon when you might happen to be looking for something to do other than work.
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More posts: Canal Park, photos

Quick Batch of Lot 38 Espresso Photos
Dec 22, 2011 10:14 AM
I missed out on Lot 38 Espresso's Grand Opening on Wednesday, because, well, it was raining. (How's that for dedication?) But I wandered down first thing this morning to check out the new digs, and of course snapped a few pictures. (I opted for a hot chocolate, since I am one of those heathens who doesn't drink coffee.) Here's the photos, and I included a couple of the progress on the two pavilions at Canal Park while I was at it.
I should also mention that they're now on Twitter (@Lot38Espresso) and Facebook, and I've added them to my Near SE Businesses Twitter list. Their web site is technically "coming soon," but it does at least list their hours, 6:30 am - 8 pm Monday-Friday, and 7 am - 7 pm Saturday and Sunday.
UPDATE: Here's City Paper's Young and Hungry blog about Lot 38, along with some blurry photos (dude, at least hold the camera still).
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More posts: Canal Park, Little Red Bldg/Lot 38 Espresso, Retail

A Slew of Shots Snapped on a Sunny Saturday Sojourn
Dec 4, 2011 5:24 PM
Yes, it's time for another batch of updated construction photos. This is a tough stretch of year to take these--the sun never gets very high in the sky, so anything facing due south is about impossible to get without glare. And, for places like Canal Park, it's hard to even get some locations out of the shadows long enough to get a photo that you can decipher. But you can see (below left, and on the project page) a couple of shots of the progress on the park's pavilion where the Park Tavern restaurant will be housed, along with plenty of shots vaguely showing the other ongoing ground-level work. Meanwhile, at Capitol Quarter (below right), they continue to just zip right along, with framing now well underway on the north side of L and around up 4th, and prep work for foundations continuing in the project's final block, on the south side of L.
In the Renovation/Rehabilitation portion of the tour, we have a few updated images of the Boilermaker Shops (above left), another building that's tough to shoot in winter, even more so when there's not much of it other than steel beams at the moment (though they have recently been painted white). Meanwhile, 225 Virginia/200 I is coming pretty close to the end of its exterior renovations, though work inside will continue in preparation for the arrival of three DC agencies later this year.
There isn't much new to see of Lot 38 Espresso (aka the Little Red Building 2.0, above left), which the grapevine says is now shooting for a mid-December opening. (But, really, at this point, it opens when it opens--the last batch of permits and approvals is always slow going, and I bet the owner wants it open even more than you do.) I also took a bunch of shots of the former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building at 1st and M (above right), not because there's been any changes to it, but because I really enjoyed finally being able to aim a camera at it without having guards reaching for their guns. (Nyaah! Nyaah! Click! Click! Click!)
I came home with 438 new photos (yikes), and you can browse the 180-plus I decided to upload to the online archive here. (Yes, it's true, you don't actually get to see every photo I've ever taken. Which is probably for the best.)
Remember to click the icon to see the entire range of photos for any location, while the project pages linked to above are your best bet if you're looking for paired before-and-afters and/or narrated tours.
And, in case you didn't see my tweet or my late-night update, the residential/Teeter project at 4th and M got all the dotted i's and crossed t's I mentioned in my initial post, and is officially now considered by Forest Ctiy as "commenced." (I just can't call it 1212 4th Street yet. Doesn't really make the location pop as well as "4th and M.")

Canal Park Signs Lease with Xavier Cervera for Restaurant Space (Updated)
Nov 17, 2011 11:45 AM
This was rumored a number of weeks ago, but today it is official that Capitol Hill restaurateur Xavier Cervera will be opening a restaurant in the pavilion space at Canal Park. I hope to have more details later today, so check back for updates, but for now I'll repeat what the last rumors were, that the menu would feature "Neopolitan pizzas and a raw bar." (We'll see if that holds up.)
Cervera also has another Near Southeast eatery in the works, with Willie's Brew and Que planned for the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards. He is also the man behind Lola's, the Chesapeake Room, Senart's, and the under-renovation Hawk 'N' Dove.
(This is a can't-wait-an-instant-to-get-the-news-out post, so like I said, I'll have more later today, including hopefully timelines and whatnot.)
UPDATE: The restaurant will be named the Park Tavern, and Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association says they are "still working out the details of the menu." Cervera will be designing the 3,500-square-foot LEED gold or platinum space over the next couple of months, and it will open at the same time the park is completed, which is now expected to be June 2012. There will also be outdoor seating.
And, probably less exciting news but news nonetheless is that the CPDA also now has an agreement with Rink Management Services to operate the ice skating rink in the park's southernmost block, near M Street. (They operate the Reston Town Center rink along with lots of other seasonal and year-round rinks across the country.) Needless to say, that part of the park probably won't be functioning when the park opens next summer, but look for it in the winter of 2012/2013.
Construction on the park continues, with lots of infrastructure work still being done (though the pavilion where the Park Tavern will be continues to rise up). My Canal Park page has more information, renderings, and some not-altogether-outdated photos.
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More posts: Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail

Willie's Brew and Que Coming to Boilermaker Shops; Pizza and a Raw Bar at Canal Park?
Aug 31, 2011 4:31 PM
After a bit of a false start a few months ago, Forest City is now confirming that Capitol Hill restaurant magnate Xavier Cervera will be opening "Willie's Brew & Que" in the Boilermaker Shops at The Yards. On the Yards's just redesigned web site, Willie's is listed as opening in Fall 2012, along with the other Boilermaker Shops restaurants previously announced (Austin Grill Express, brb, Buzz Bakery, a craft brewery by the Churchkey folks, and Huey's 24-7 Diner).
In a Going Out Gurus post today about Cervera's purchase of the Hawk 'n' Dove, Willie's is described as a sports bar, with the "'Cue" in the name referring not to pool but to barbecue that will be smoked on site. Plus, "Cervera promises 'the audio and video system is going to be very cool in there' when the place opens in 2012, including custom-built 12-foot plasma screens." (Note that GoG says it's "Brew & 'Cue", while Forest City's web site says "Brew & Que.")
Look for some new signage on the fences around the Boilermaker within the next few weeks, trumpeting all of the announced restaurants. (And I'll also point out that the web site says "more to come.")
The Going Out Gurus post also says that Cervera will be opening a restaurant at Canal Park, which they say will be LEED-certified, serving Neopolitan pizzas and featuring a raw bar. I've got a request into the Canal Park folks for confirmation and/or details. The park is expected to open in spring 2012. (UPDATE: The leasing negotiations for the Canal Park site are apparently not yet finalized, so don't consider this a done deal just yet.)

Tidbits: ANC Redistricting, Canal History, Greenspace, 8th St. Deal
Jun 29, 2011 1:29 PM
After all the big news of late, downshifting into a Tidbits post doesn't really seem like much fun, and of course if you're following me on Twitter or Facebook (or checking out the Twitter box on the JDLand home page every so often), you've already been alerted to many of these. But, onward:
* If you're wondering how the ANC redistricting process will work (especially since the ward version was so much fun!), here's the official memo on the procedures going forward. As in previous years, ANC single member districts will have populations between 1,900 and 2,100 residents. Census Tract 72, which covers all of Near Southeast and so includes all of ANC 6D07 plus the small number of houses from 7th Street east to 11th that are in ANC 6B04, was counted at 2,794 residents in the 2010 census.
The Office of Planning has the census-block-by-census-block numbers, but, ahem, I don't actually know which blocks are which, though if I had to guess by looking at the numbers and how the blocks are organized, I'd say that 6D07 probably came in at 2,743 and south-of-the-freeway 6B04 at 51. Ish. (Perhaps an ANC version of the GGW Redistricting Game isn't far off!) It isn't enough to split 6D07 into two single member districts, but it also can't stay as is. The question will also loom large as to whether new boundaries will split the neighborhood even more between ANC 6B (Capitol Hill) and 6D (Southwest), or move it all into one or the other. UPDATE: Thanks to IMGoph in the comments, I got a look at the map, and it appears the actual residential split is 2,767 to 27. Read my comment for details. I'll make a map at some point.
UPDATE 2: And here's a quick and dirty map, showing block by block what the census folks recorded the neighborhood's residential population at, as of April 1, 2010. As I mention in the comments, the residential buildings west of 2nd Street SE add up to 2,054 residents, perfectly within the numeric requirements for an SMD. But how SMDs will actually be divvied up is anyone's guess right now, beyond the fact that there's no way the vast bulk of Near Southeast will continue to be in just one SMD.
Council members are supposed to appoint their ward task force members by Friday, with progress reports due on Aug. 1 and Sept. 1. The entire process has to be completed by the end of 2011.
* The Hill is Home has posted the first of a two-part look at the history of the Washington Canal, which used to run along where Canal Park is under construction. (Speaking of which, I grabbed a quick cellphone shot from above the park last week showing the work on the southern block, where the foundation for the pavilion is being built.)
* Housing Complex writes about the deal finally being finalized for Greenspace to move into the empty retail spaces in the 1st Street facade of Nationals Park, creating a "12,000-square-foot center for green building and design." This has been in the works for nearly two years, but even though there was a "launch" of the space on Tuesday (which I didn't hear about until people at the event started live-tweeting it), Housing Complex says that the project won't come to fruition until Greenspace "is able to raise another $600,000 in cash and in-kind contributions, adding up to the $2 million necessary to build out what's currently a blank shell." Perhaps someday, when Florida Rock is built out to the south and later Yards phases along 1st Street are completed, the "real" retail envisioned for this portion of the ballpark will come to pass. Here's the press release on the Greenspace project.
* Madison Marquette, owner of the Blue Castle at 770 M St. SE, has now apparently completed a joint venture deal with local landowners ICP Group for all ICP's various properties on the east side of 8th Street south of the freeway, including the gray building at 8th and Potomac that houses Quizno's and the other properties along the 800 block of Potomac, and others. No news as to what might be done on those blocks, though if the new Marine Barracks site search ever crops back up, a group owning all of the land on Squares 929 and 930 could conceivably submit a proposal for a public-private partnership.
Coming later today, an equally bulleted post highlighting the slew of upcoming events in the neighborhood, both for this holiday weekend and beyond.

Photo Update: 225 Virginia's New Clothes, Townhouses A'Poppin'
Jun 12, 2011 2:53 PM
While the number of photos I took while in Spain and Italy should have been enough to tide me over for quite a while in the camera department, the guilt at not having taken Hood photos since APRIL (!) shoved me out the door on hot and hazy Sunday morning (ick) for a walk around the major activity zone between 2nd and 4th Streets.
The re-dressing of 225 Virginia/200 I/Old Post Plant/Old Star Plant continues, with most of the north face now sporting the building's new look; some windows have even been installed on the east front, facing 3rd Street. It's expected that the exterior work will be done by early 2012, with tenants from three city agencies starting to move in about a year from now. My 225 Virginia project page has a guided tour of the project, or you can take the virtual walk-around-the-block for a bigger batch of before-and-after photos to watch the building's transformation from Big White Monolith to 21st century office building.
In the meantime, work is speeding along at Capitol Quarter, where the block bounded by 3rd, 4th, I, and K (bisected by the soon-to-be-birthed 3rd Place) has construction in all phases, from the nearly completed houses at 3rd and I to the new framing at 4th and I, and foundations now poured at 4th and K. And, as briefly mentioned a few days ago, the trailer that housed the original sales center at 4th and L is now gone. If you just want the short version of Capitol Quarter's second-phase transformation, check out my Capitol Quarter project page, otherwise you can take the virtual walk around the blocks now under construction for a boatload of before-and-afters.
I also took some photos of the northern perimeter of Canal Park, but pictures of fences and digging equipment are never terribly exciting.
As always, remember that the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon on any page gets you to the full batch of photos I've taken at any location. Or, if you're interested in only a certain location, you can use my Photo Archive map to get right to it. The entire set of 178 photos I posted today can be seen all at once, too, if you're so inclined.
(And, as an aside, let me send my huzzahs to Microsoft for getting fixed in IE9 whatever it was in IE8 that would cause the browser to stop displaying local hard drive images after a certain amount of page loads, causing me to having to restart the dang thing eight or nine times during each photo archiving stint. [It's pretty much the only thing I still use IE for.])

Thursday Tidbits: Bike to Work, New Tweeters, Crawfest, 55 M
May 19, 2011 12:26 PM
A roundup:
* Friday is Bike to Work Day, with the Yards Park being one of the morning "pit stops," from 7 to 9 am. If you're interested in joining in the fun, you need to register.
* The Canal Park folks have recently begun using their Twitter account, CanalParkDC. An update on the park's progress was tweeted on Wednesday, though it probably wasn't what park fans want to read: "Rain delays, water in our excavation preventing pouring foundations. Very frustrating!"
* The Navy Yard has created a Twitter feed for its portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk, to alert people to planned closings. This is in addition to the web page they've set up for hours and information about the riverwalk.
(I've added both of these feeds to my Near Southeast Businesses/Organizations Twitter list, which displays all the latest tweets in real time on the JDLand home page, for those of you who have remained blissfully outside of the Twitter vortex.)
* Louisiana State Society is having its Crawfest at the Yards Park on Sunday (May 22), with 4200 pounds of boiled crawfish, 150 pounds of jambalaya, sausage, corn, and potatoes, Abita beer, Louisiana music, and more. Society members get in for $45 per person, while non-members can pay $55 to attend. (Tickets for children 12 and under are $15.)
* DDOT says that its move out of the Reeves Center to Monument Realty's office building at 55 M is almost complete.
* Speaking of 55 M, it was named "Best Urban Office over 150,000 SF" at the NAIOP Maryland/DC 9th Annual Awards of Excellence.

Photos: Defrocked Deli, 11th Street Changes, LRB, More
May 1, 2011 11:26 AM
I grabbed a smattering of photos yesterday, taking advantage of some gorgeous weather (I walked about as much as the Nats did against the Giants, though I think I was more successful). I put most of them in their usual places in the Photo Archive, but I thought there were some standouts that would be worth seeing in sizes larger than my normal images, so I posted this gallery as well. What all is in it?
If you haven't been to 1st and L since Thursday, you might be a bit surprised at what the northeast corner looks like, because about 24 hours after the decision to reject the landmarking application, workers arrived at the Market Deli and removed all the beige siding and the signs. (Dang, I would have offered to hang onto one of those.) I took a bunch of shots of not only the defrocked Deli but also its siblings along that stretch of 1st Street, because with raze permits having been filed, they may not be around much longer.
I also caught the progress at the Little Red Building version 2.0, where the windows and doors are now in place. And then I figured I'd better save for posterity the signs on the M Street fences at Canal Park announcing the availability of 3,500 square feet of restaurant space when construction is completed in (we hope) 2012.
A new demolition project started on Friday, bringing down the last portion of the decommissioned ramp from RFK to the outbound 11th Street Bridge, which will bring quite a change to 11th Street south of M as the massive retaining wall that has run along the east side of the street will be disappearing. There will be a new ramp from M just east of 11th to take traffic to the new outbound freeway bridge, but it will be set back a bit, and 11th Street itself will be wider since it will have traffic running in both directions to and from the new "11th Street Local" bridge. (UPDATE, many days later: As I watch the demolition, I now see that most of the retaining wall is going to stay in place, since that is where the new on-ramp to the outbound freeway will be. Duh.)
I walked the circuit down 11th, across O, and back up 12th, and took photos of the work on the new freeway span as it gets closer to crossing above O (above, left), as well as shots of work on the new exit ramp (above, right) that will take drivers off the inbound freeway span all the way up to M Street (rather than dumping them onto 12th as in the current configuration). I put a bunch of before-and-afters on my 11th Street Bridges project page (where you can also see graphics and information on the new design), but there's a number of enlarged versions of these construction photos in the photo gallery I posted (scroll down about halfway).
So, check out the gallery for the nice pretty big shots, follow the targeted links above, or see all of yesterday's photos, where as always you can click on the to see the complete archive of images for any location.

Updated Photos From the Center of the Neighborhood
Mar 20, 2011 10:16 AM
Saturday was a lovely day for taking a couple of walks with camera in hand, and with work underway at locations that couldn't be any closer to my out-of-neighborhood house, I had no excuse to not get some updated photos of 225 Virginia/200 I, Capitol Quarter Phase 2, Canal Park, and the Little Red Building. (It was also nice chatting with the folks who correctly guessed that the oddball standing in the middle of the street taking photos must have been me.)
The showy demolition work is now well underway at 225 Virginia/200 I, and if the few shots and renderings on the project page aren't enough for you, you can do a virtual walk around the block to see which walls and windows are blown out at this point and to compare the current images with their "befores."
No time is being wasted at Capitol Quarter, where framing has now wrapped around from I to 3rd to K Street on the first block of Phase 2. You can take a "walk" around that block, too, if you haven't lately, or wander through the project page, both of which have plenty of images of the old Capper public housing buildings that were on this block for a very long time. I also added to the database some photos of what will eventually be the intersection of 3rd Place and L, once the new street gets built through its second block south of K. If you're big on old Capper photos, there's a few "before" images of L Street buildings in that sent that haven't been displayed on the site before now.
If photographs of fences are your thing, take a "walk" around the Canal Park perimeter, to see many pictures of the "traffic control" now in place in advance of the start of construction on the park (presuming it ever actually comes). Those barriers are going to put a crimp in some of my standard shooting locations for the next year or so, including where I've stood for the past eight years to take photographs of the Little Red Building, which in its new incarnation is now more of a brick red than the beet red it used to be. ANC commissioner Garber posted on Friday that the roof is going in over the next few days, at which point work on the interior can begin, as it slowly progresses toward becoming "Lot 38 Espresso."
Remember that the Click to see all available photos of this location.icon on any page gets you to the full batch of photos I've taken at any location (which, since I'm getting into the eighth year of doing this, can be kind of voluminous in some spots).
(I know that It seems kind of odd to still be posting photos when so many readers now live in the neighborhood, which of course wasn't always the case. But it's my schtick, and so I continue onward! Plus. there are plenty of people interested in Near Southeast who don't wander around every day--or maybe some of the residents don't know what these spots used to look like before....)

Miles Glass Raze Application; Beer Garden at HPRB March 24
Mar 9, 2011 4:06 PM
When this photo popped up late Tuesday, it seemed like maybe Harry's Reserve at New Jersey and I would be open today, but we're hearing now that it'll be "a day or two," with a grand opening to come in two weeks. In the meantime, everyone's watching 2nd Street between I and M and reporting in about No Parking signs and stakes in the ground as construction on Canal Park seems to get ever closer. So, I guess I have to come up with something to post.
* With all the land now in hand that they were eyeing on Square 906, the National Community Church has filed for a raze permit for the old Miles Glass building at 8th and Virginia, says WBJ. Although the site is within the Capitol Hill Historic District, that in and of itself may not be an impediment to the building being torn down, the article says, since it was constructed in 1963 and "the vast majority of buildings deemed historic on Capitol Hill were erected prior to 1945." Not that any razing will happen anytime soon, but I'm still glad I went and got a bunch of new photos of it last week. (Though I still prefer the photo at right, from my first photo trek in January 2003, when the Miles Glass sign was still there.)
And, in his blog post about the final land purchases, NCC's Mark Batterson tells a story about how the acquired the car garage at 7th and K, given that the owner had refused all previous offers: "On September 15th our staff went over to the property and we laid hands on that auto shop. It felt like an impossible prayer, but we prayed for divine favor. [...] Then on January 15, four months to the day after we prayed on the property, we got a contract."
* Meanwhile, on the south end of the Saints and Sinners block, it looks like the 8th Street Beer Garden will be back in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board on March 24, at least according to the current agenda. At last month's meeting, the designs were described as being "very close," but revisions were requested and board members voted to look at them one more time. It sounded like some of the "busyness" was going to be simplified, so it will be interesting to see the revisions.
(I will say my mea culpas and admit that I sat on these links for way too long because I had grand dreams of getting project pages done for both the NCC and Beer Garden undertakings, but that hasn't happened. Yet.)

Some Updated Photos, Including The Newly Birthed 3rd Place
Mar 3, 2011 5:12 PM
The framing of the next batch of townhouses in Capitol Quarter's second phase continues, and so I headed out to get an updated batch of photos at 3rd and I (which also happen to show the buzz around 225 Virginia/200 I, as workers are prepping to take down the exterior walls, perhaps starting next week I was told).
But it isn't just houses being built--a few weeks ago, curbs and asphalt were put in for the new 3rd Place, a north-south street between 3rd and 4th that will run between I and L streets. (You can see it, although it's unmarked, on this map.) It's the first time I've had to add a street to my Photo Archive, but it seems to have worked, and I not only have photos I took today, but whatever photos I could find from deep in the archives that by chance ended up being taken in the right location.
You can see my photos at both 3rd Place and I and 3rd Place and K and perhaps see some 2004-2006 photos you haven't come across before. These two shots are looking north-northeast at the new 3rd Place & K intersection:
(The street isn't actually open yet, though, since it goes right through the block that's currently under construction.)
I also took a lot of pictures along 11th Street, ostensibly to document the progress on the 11th Street Bridges, but I didn't actually go anywhere close to the waterfront, so you have to be satisfied with various other photos that show progress if you squint at them.
And I grabbed a lot of other shots around Square 906 today (7th, 8th, L, Virginia), since my archive is woefully lacking in images of that block, and things will be a'changin' around there before too long. You can see them as part of the display of the 151 pictures (eek) I've posted today, but I'll have something a bit more targeted within the next few weeks. You can also, as always, browse the photo archive at your own speed, using the map or the search boxes to see the intersection(s) you're interested in.
As for additional construction photos perhaps in the offing, a reader reports that No Parking signs have gone up along Second Street, indicating that parking will be prohibited 24 hours a day starting on March 7 for approximately 15 months. Is a certain park about to see some action?
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Canal Park, Capper, Capitol Quarter

ANC 6D Doings: Bullpen Expansion Support, Canal Park Timeline
Feb 14, 2011 9:38 PM
Quick items from tonight's ANC 6D meeting:
* The commission voted 6-0 to support the Bullpen's plans to open an additional 632-seat beer garden at Half and M, across from the Navy Yard Metro station's west entrance just north of Nationals Park. Owner Bo Blair says that this new area, which I'm referring to as Das Bullpen until cease and desist letters stop me, would be a more "mellow" space than the current Bullpen, with little if any live music, and catering more to folks over 35 and families. It will be offering European beers and a "light" menu (though, are sausages ever really "light"?).
It was determined that this new operation, which will run in tandem with the existing Bullpen at Half and N for the 2011 baseball season, does not need its own liquor license. The ANC in its motion also requested that ABRA handle this license expansion request in an expedited fashion so that negotiations between the Bullpen and landlord Akridge can be completed and the beer garden can be opened by the end of March. It's expected that the original Bullpen will disappear after this season so that Akridge can begin construction on the southern residential portion of its 700,000-square-foot Half Street project.
While both Bullpens will only be open during stadium events, Blair said he's thinking about investigating whether food trucks could be coaxed to come to the Das Bullpen site during lunchtime on non-game days every so often.
You can read more about Das Bullpen here.
* Chris VanArsdale of the Canal Park Development Association gave a very brief presentation by request of 6D chair Ron McBee. VanArsdale said that the "construction kick-off" meeting was held today with Davis Construction, and that work on the site should start "by the end of the month." With a 14-month construction timeline, this would get the park "substantially completed" by March 2012, and finished by May.

ANC 6D Agenda; Framing at Capitol Quarter
Feb 11, 2011 12:37 PM
* It's that time of the month {ahem}, with ANC 6D meeting on Monday, Feb. 14, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at 6th and M streets, SW. What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with the commissioners and interested residents of Southwest and Near Southeast? Not a very meaty agenda, except that one item is "Canal Park Groundbreaking Update." When the park got its building permits last month, I was told to look for a mid-February start for major construction, and it looks like that may indeed be coming to pass. We'll see what the word is at Monday's meeting.
Also on the agenda is the Bullpen, and it's under "Alcohol Licenses" with the word "revised" attached, so perhaps some decision has been made as to whether the new beer garden operation (I'm just going to keep calling it Das Bullpen) can operate under the existing license of the original Bullpen, as opposed to needing an entirely new license.
* In other news, for those who haven't wandered around 3rd or 4th Street in the past couple days: the "sticks" have started to appear on the first block Capitol Quarter's second phase, with framing now underway. EYA expects the first move-ins on this block (bounded by 3rd, 4th, I, and K) to start in May or June.
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More posts: ANC News, Fairgrounds/Bullpen, Canal Park, Capper, meetings

Canal Park Gets Building Permits; Mid-February?
Jan 14, 2011 2:05 PM
Seeing in the city's public records feeds that three building permits have been issued for the blocks encompassing Canal Park, I checked in with Chris vanArsdale at the park's development association for an update, and he says that they are "planning to begin major construction by mid-February." With the previously announced timeline of 12 to 14 months from start to completion, this would put the park's opening into late winter or early spring 2012.
(The wording of the permits might be of interest as well--the two northern blocks are described as "construction of a new park on a vacant lot to include site grading sediment control storm water management and construction of pavilions," while the southern block, at 2nd and M, adds "and construction of an ice rink main pavilion landscape and water fountain." (They aren't big on punctuation in these things.)
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2010 Capitol Riverfront Annual Report; Connector Between Teague and Yards Coming in 2011?
Dec 14, 2010 2:27 PM
The Capitol Riverfront BID just wrapped up its 2010 Annual Meeting, which certainly seemed to be the largest of them so far. The big part of the meeting is the unveiling of the Annual Report, chock full of statistics and photos. I'm not going to summarize it, mainly because I've been writing all year about most of the news and data contained in it, and also because if you're truly interested in the neighborhood you should read it yourself. :-)
There were two items in Michael Stevens' remarks that I thought were of note, though:
* Apparently an agreement has been worked out with DC Water (aka WASA) that will allow the "connection" between Diamond Teague Park (across from Nationals Park) and the Yards Park to be built, starting this spring. In the past, a floating bridge has been discussed as how this connection would be completed, but have asked the BID for more info and will post when I know more.
* In discussing the many parks of the neighborhood, Michael Stevens said that they are "hoping" that Canal Park will be completed in 2011--though, as he said that, the slide being displayed showed 2012 as the expected completion date. Given that the park is supposed to take 12-14 months to build, it would seem to be unlikely that the entire park would be ready before the end of next year, though perhaps some portions of it might be able to be open sooner.
UPDATE: Here's the slides used by Michael Stevens during his remarks; the information on the connection between Teague and the Yards is on pages 22-24, with a rendering showing a walkway out over the water, looking exactly like an extension of the boardwalk at the Yards. The proposed project is listed as "a partnership among Forest City Washington, DC Water and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development." And, on slide 27, Canal Park is listed with a delivery date of 2012.
(PS: I also enjoyed seeing one of my Yards Park photos on the second of the slides shown by DC Water's George Hawkins; maybe next time they'll ask me if they can use it!)

A Few Pre-Turkey Day Bullet Points
Nov 23, 2010 1:48 PM
I imagine it'll be pretty quiet around these parts for the rest of the week. So here's a few recently Tweeted items -- and one new one -- to make it look like I haven't completely given up blogging:
* It appears that the owner(s) of multiple lots along the 700 block of L Street (the brown apartment buildings plus the corner lot where the beer garden is headed) has sold half-interest in those properties to "Calle Ocho, LLC" (8th Street, get it?). But note that the empty lot that comes through from the Miles Glass property on the north end of the block and splits these four lots (0013, 0014, 0824, and 0825) is not (as of now?) part of this block of properties.
* EYA and the DC Housing Authority were awarded last week a Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Model of Excellence Award for the first phase of Capitol Quarter. (I just wish that the ULI folks who put out the press release hadn't said that the neighborhood is "The Yards.") The Jack Kemp awards are given to "workforce housing developments that represent outstanding achievements in several areas, including innovative financing, unique construction methodologies, strong public/private partnerships, and replicability to achieve workforce housing affordability."
* Speaking of Capitol Quarter, if you scroll down my homepage to the Building Permits feed, you'll see that the first permits have been approved for Capitol Quarter Phase II houses, for lots on 3rd, I and K.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID's Holiday Market is back for another year, running from Dec. 14-18 on the sidewalk outside of 1100 New Jersey Avenue. "Shop the market for wool sweaters and mittens, homemade soaps, jewelry, antique maps, wreaths and holiday greenery, paintings, and much more!" See the flyer for more details.
* You can check out the BID's latest newsletter for more tidbits, including that work on 225 Virginia/200 I is scheduled to start next month, with occupancy expected in mid-2012. (Just in time to have a big old railroad trench dug in their backyard!) UPDATE: Yes, yes, there's already been a hole punched in the east side of the building, as people have been telling me for a more than week now. I wouldn't quite call that start of construction if nothing much has happened since....
* And, not a news item per se, but some pondering: as part of the need to close what is expected to be a nearly $500 million budget shortfall, Mayor-Almost Vince Gray announced on Monday a freeze on all capital projects that are not yet underway, while a "blue-ribbon panel of experts" reviews which are necessary. There's no specifics on the list of frozen projects reported yet, but I am wondering if Canal Park, which is getting $13.5 million of its $20 million price tag from the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, might be on this list. We shall see....
Enjoy your holidays, everyone!

Little Red Building Site Switching to Coffee House
Nov 2, 2010 1:40 PM
I've just received an e-mail from Yung Park, the owner of the no-longer-Little-Red-Building site at Second and L, where the plans have been for years to reopen a liquor store known as "Parkway Wine and Spirits" once the new building is constructed (the old LRB for a long time housed the Star Market). However, apparently that's all now changing.
According to this e-mail, the site is now going to be a cafe, to be called the Aroma Espresso Bar, and it will feature an Illy coffee bar, plus "gourmet sandwiches and gourmet pastries." He says that the new building's exterior design will be the same, with the interior having modern finishes. The first floor will be the kitchen and coffee bar, and the second floor will be the seating area. (They're also hoping for sidewalk tables, though that will have to go through the city's Public Space permitting process.)
"If we have decent weather," Mr. Park expects the building and store to be ready by February.
With Harry's Wine and Spirits (which I think is now being called Harry's Reserve) opening at 909 New Jersey within a few months, the notion of two "gourmet" wine and liquor stores so close to each other must not have looked quite so appealing. And, with Parkway/Aroma's location next to Canal Park, switching to a more all-ages business plan is probably a wise move. Will post additional information as I get it.

Breaking Ground at Canal Park
Aug 31, 2010 12:25 PM
The Usual Suspects gathered today at Second and M streets, SE, for Canal Park's ceremonial groundbreaking (at last). Mayor Fenty, Ward 6 council member Tommy Wells, Deputy Mayor Valerie Santos, Christopher Smith of W.C. Smith, and Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association each said a few words, with the words "school buses" being uttered a number of times as speakers talked about the previous life of these three blocks in the middle of Near Southeast. [The mayor even went off-script during his remarks to ask a startled neighborhood blogger how many photos of school buses are in the blog's archive; "about a thousand," came the response, which sounded flip but which is probably true.]
Here is a quick assemblage of photos from the event; if you want to know more about the park (or see old photos of school buses), my Canal Park project page is worth peeking at, as is the official Canal Park web site. Construction is expected to take 12-14 months, so look for the park to open in Fall of 2011.
For those who haven't been following along, Canal Park will stretch from I to M streets SE along the two parts of Second Street--some people may know this location as the open field across from Subway and Five Guys, about three blocks northeast of Nationals Park. The park has been designed to be a showcase of low-impact design and "green" features, including a sizeable stormwater management component. The southern block, across from the US Department of Transportation headquarters, will have a large plaza, a "significant water feature" that will transform into an ice skating rink in winter, and a large two-level pavilion that will be home to a cafe and observation area. The middle block has a rain garden, a children's play area, a small performance stage, and an open lawn. The northern block, the "most pastoral of the three," will have an open lawn, and the slight grade of the block as it slopes upward toward I Street has allowed the designers to envision this as an informal amphitheater, for events like summer movie nights and whatnot. There is also a "linear rain garden" that runs along the eastern edge of the park's three blocks. (Note that K and L streets will still be open to traffic, though there will be well-marked crosswalks.)
[PS: And, yes, I absconded with one of the shovels. But it was donated, not stolen!]
UPDATE: Here is the press release from the mayor's office on the project.
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Canal Park Groundbreaking Pushed Back One Day
Aug 25, 2010 9:15 PM
Just a quick note that the Canal Park groundbreaking scheduled for Monday, August 30, has been shifted to Tuesday, August 31--it's still at 10:45 am, and still with the mayor expected to be in attendance.
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Canal Park Groundbreaking Ceremony Next Week
Aug 23, 2010 2:19 PM
Here's a news item that people have been waiting on for a good long while--the official Canal Park groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled for Monday, August 30 Tuesday, August 31, at 10:45 am, with the mayor expected to be in attendance. Construction on the three-block publicly funded park is expected to take 12 to 14 months, so look for it to be finished in probably late 2011--just in time to get a lot of use out of the ice skating rink.
[Here's a slightly edited version of a description I wrote a few months ago] For those who haven't been following along, Canal Park will stretch from I to M streets SE along the two parts of Second Street--some people may know this location as the open field across from Subway and Five Guys, about three blocks northeast of Nationals Park. The southern block, across from the US Department of Transportation headquarters, will have a large plaza, a "significant water feature" that will transform into an ice skating rink in winter, and a large two-level pavilion that will be home to a cafe and observation area. The middle block has a rain garden, a children's play area, a small performance stage, and an open lawn. The northern block, the "most pastoral of the three," will have a large open lawn, and the slight grade of the block as it slopes upward toward I Street has allowed the designers to envision this as an informal amphitheater, for events like summer movie nights and whatnot. There is also a "linear rain garden" that runs along the eastern edge of the park's three blocks. (Note that K and L streets will still be open to traffic, though there will be well-marked crosswalks.)
If you want to know more, visit the park's official web site. Or my page, if you want to see lots of photos of schoolbuses from the old days. And this report from the National Capital Planning Commission goes deep into the design, if you want to know *still* more. And you can read all my old Canal Park blog posts, back to the beginning, to relive the long road to this groundbreaking.
This groundbreaking will be just a week before the opening of the neighborhood's other new signature open space, the Yards Park, just a few blocks to the south, along the Anacostia River.
UPDATED: The groundbreaking has shifted by one day, to Tuesday, August 31.
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Summer Doldrums Bullet List (Light Tower, Traffic, Hula Hoops, Signage, BID Survey, DC Blogs)
Aug 13, 2010 12:37 PM
Hasn't been much swirling around lately worthy of a full blog post, but here are a couple items so that people don't think I've shut down (though most of them have already been seen on my Twitter feed, aka the "I'm Too Lazy to Blog" feed):
* The light tower at the Yards Park is being installed today, about four weeks in advance of the scheduled grand opening on Sept. 10. I hope to have pictures at some point.
* Greater Greater Washington reports that MPD fanned out around Nationals Park on Wednesday night, ticketing drivers and pedestrians and handing out flyers on safety. GGW also brings up the public meeting held by Tommy Wells back in March about the notion of reworking M Street under the "Complete Streets" principles of creating road networks that work for pedestrians young and old, cyclists, public transportation users, and drivers. by doing things such as adding dedicated bike lanes, creating safer crosswalks, etc. At that meeting, residents of Southwest were unimpressed with the possibilities, but the few Southeast residents in attendance seemed more open to it.
UPDATE: TBD reports that the truck driver in last week's incident is not being cited.
* The Post did a video feature on Hoopernatural, the hula hooping fitness outfit. They are running classes for mixed-levels of hoopiness during August at Canal Park, on Saturday mornings from 10 to 11 am.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is running a survey to get feedback from residents, workers, and visitors on the types of events the BID holds (concerts, outdoor movies, farmers' market, etc.). Let your feelings be known here.
* While my griping about the bad signage on the SW Freeway (highlighted again by the Post on Thursday) is technically out-of-boundaries, it is on topic to also mention to DDOT that the various blue "services" signs for the South Capitol Street exits on I-395 probably need to get rid of the gas station icons, since the days of having three gas stations right on South Capitol and two within a few blocks to the east are long gone. (But @DDOTDC has put me in a time out after Thursday's flurry of transit-related tweets, which also included this good suggestion from a reader about the need for a left-turn signal on northbound Third Street, SE at Virginia Avenue, for people needing to get onto I-395 southbound.)
* And I stumbled across this study by the New America Foundation about "online-only" news outlets in DC. It counted 61 of them, noting that the "city's oldest local blogs that still command an audience began to spring up in 2003," with JDLand being one of the "original few," thanks to my January 2003 vintage. The piece looks at DCist, GGW, Prince of Petworth, And Now Anacostia, and TBD (though it hadn't yet launched), along with a few nice words about this site. But I have been thinking a lot lately about how I'm an old lady compared to the rest of the DC neighborhood blogosphere, and this article (coming on the heels of my [redacted] birthday) certainly reminded me of it. :-)

Upcoming Events: Seabiscuit, Dave Matthews, SoS
Jul 22, 2010 2:33 AM
For your scheduling pleasure:
* Thursday's BID outdoor movie is Seabiscuit, the heartwarming tale of a horse swimming across the ocean for food (no, wait, that's not right). It starts at Canal Park at Second and M streets, SE, at 8:45 pm, but you can arrive early for some hula hooping with Hoop Jams at 8 pm. Rain cancellations will be posted on the BID web site by 4 pm.
* On Friday night (July 23) the Dave Matthews Band will be in concert at 7 pm at Nationals Park, with the Zac Brown Band opening. Tickets are still available, and the concert will go on rain or shine. (If you're heading to the ballpark for the concert and are unfamiliar with the territory, here's my Stadium Parking information page. But make it easy on yourself just take Metro.) Speaking of the stadium parking page, I've now added the new (tiny) $10 lot on the northwest corner of New Jersey and I.
* The rest of the weekend will be quiet (and hot), but then on Tuesday the 27th the Summer of Strasburg will return to the neighborhood, as Stephen is expected to pitch against the Atlanta Braves in a 7:05 pm game.

NCPC Gives Glowing Approval to Canal Park Design
Jun 2, 2010 1:20 PM
The National Capital Planning Commission has posted its "staff recommendation" on the final designs for Canal Park, and it's safe to say that they are pleased with what they've seen. They commended the city on its "work toward providing this much-needed public amenity that will undoubtedly support and strengthen the continued revitalization of the Near Southeast neighborhood." It also says that "the park will likely become a highly sought after place for visitors, workers, and residents of this burgeoning mixed use neighborhood" and that the city "has worked diligently to prepare an overall design that is simple, while still providing a wide range of activities and amenities." And, "staff appreciates that while the new park design is distinctive and will likely set a new standard for future parks in the District of Columbia, it does so by acknowledging and building upon the unique historical significance of the site and its surrounding neighborhood."
For those who haven't been following along (and the park has only been in the works for seven years or so, so you've probably saved yourself some grief), Canal Park will stretch from I to M streets SE along the two parts of Second Street. The southern block, across from the US Department of Transportation headquarters, will have a large plaza, a "significant water feature" that will transform into an ice skating rink in winter, and a large two-level pavilion that will be home to a cafe and observation area. The middle block has a rain garden, a children's play area, a small performance stage, and an open lawn. The northern block, the "most pastoral of the three," will have a large open lawn, and the slight grade of the block as it slopes upward toward I Street has allowed the designers to envision this as an informal amphitheater, for events like summer movie nights and whatnot. There is also a "linear rain garden" that runs along the eastern edge of the park's three blocks. (Note that K and L streets will still be open to traffic, though there will be well-marked crosswalks.)
The staff recommendation document is 18 pages, but if you have any interest in the plans for the park, you need to read all of it. Lots and lots of updated renderings, detailed explanations of the park's features and amenities (including its sustainable design), first peeks at the sculptures that will be installed, and how the park will work with its surroundings are all included.
Serious Canal Park groupies may also be interested in what the Commission of Fine Arts had to say about the designs when it reviewed them at their April 15 meeting (scroll down to section G). They approved the designs as well, though some CFA commissioners expressed a few concerns about the many plans for activities and "programming." The minutes characterize thoughts from commissioner Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk thusly, that the "park embodies the notion that people need a constant stream of entertainment, a concept related to retail marketing and Disney parks that has become part of our modern culture. She said that the proposal could be accepted within this context, but the commitment of the sponsoring organizations to care for it must be clear." (The park is owned by the city, but the Canal Park Development Association has been created to oversee the park, and the Capitol Riverfront BID will be handling much of the upkeep and scheduling.)
I haven't heard any recent updates on a construction schedule, so I'll just lean on my last post on the subject; it's expected that infrastructure work around the park will begin this summer, with construction on the park itself starting in the fall and lasting a year or so. Hopefully by then I can get my Canal Park project page updated with all the new details.
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Near Southeast Residents Demand a Grocery Store! (The More Things Change...)
Jun 1, 2010 8:49 PM
I'm just now coming across a Washington Post story entitled "Housing Area Pushing for Supermarket," which says that a group of residents "in a small triangle of Southeast Washington launched a 'supermarket project' yesterday to persuade a grocery chain to build a store in their neighborhood," with a planned petition drive looking to get 1,500 signatures.
But, of course, I'm yanking your chain, since this Post article is dated Dec. 16, 1965.
The group, the "Community Commitee Group," planned to visit the regional offices of Safeway, Giant, and Kroger to present the case that the residents of the area bounded by 8th, Virginia, M, and New Jersey had only two corner groceries, with the closest supermarket being at Seventh and G, SE, which was too far for the "aged who live in the Carrollsburg Dwellings project at Fourth and M." Also, because many of the residents in the area qualified for food stamps, they needed to be able to shop at a full supermarket, where the stamps would stretch farther.
The group "also hopes to interest a chain drug store and a combination dry cleaning-shoe repair shop to locate next to the proposed supermarket." Their suggested locations? "The west side of New Jersey Avenue between K and L Streets to replace some condemned buildings [ahem], the Washington Navy Yard parking lot on 2nd Street between M and I Streets [ahem], and the Lennox School annex at 4th and M Streets [ahem]."
In the meantime, while you're mourning the fact that no progress has been made in the brief 45 years since this article was published, you can think about another big development that Near Southeast missed out on: In the early 1990s the Federal Bureau of Prisons was looking for a location for a new 1,000-bed federal detention center, and one of the spots it considered was on the north side of I Street between South Capitol and New Jersey, the spot that's now home to the Axiom and Jefferson apartment buildings. And McDonald's. And Splash. (The other possible locations were in Northeast, but after battles with the National Capital Planning Commission and thanks to some pretty staunch opposition by city officials and residents, the Justice Department scrapped the plans in 1993.)
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Canal Park Final Design Headed to NCPC on June 3
May 19, 2010 1:30 AM
The tentative agenda is out for the National Capital Planning Commission's June 3 meeting, and one of the items is "approval of preliminary and final site and building plans" for Canal Park. We should get a peek at the designs by around June 1, when the NCPC Staff Recommendation document is released. As I posted not too long ago, the current timeline is for construction on the park itself to begin in September, with the opening coming in Fall 2011. There will also be some infrastructure work being done around the park site this summer; here's the details. (The rendering above is from earlier this year; we'll see how close it comes to the final designs.)
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Summer with the BID: Movies and Music
May 14, 2010 11:06 AM
The BID has released its Summer Outdoor Movie lineup, with the theme for this year being "Ultimate Underdogs." It kicks off June 3 with Hoosiers, then runs most Thursdays through August 5, with Forrest Gump, Finding Nemo, The Karate Kid, To Kill a Mockingbird, Star Wars (I'm so there), Slumdog Millionaire, Cool Runnings, Happy Gilmore, and Rocky. They'll be held on the Canal Park site at Second and M, with the movies starting at 8:45 pm but with activities (including big-screen Wii beforehand). The Sauca food truck will be in attendance, and the weekly Farmers Market at New Jersey and M will also be open to buy goodies.
Also getting underway is the Lunchtime Concert series, starting on May 19 and running every Wednesday through August 25. They'll be from noon to 2 pm on the plaza behind USDOT.
Here's the full BID newsletter from whence this info came.

Updates from Capitol Riverfront BID Newsletter
Apr 11, 2010 10:25 AM
It's not online that I can see, but here are some items from the most recent "FRONT Page News" e-mail newsletter from the BID:
* "Capitol Riverfront neighborhood day at Nationals Park will be Wednesday, April 21st with ticket discounts available to residents, employees, and friends of the BID." The on-street supervisor of the BID's Clean and Safe Team will be singing the National Anthem. [I think, though, that Southwest is going to be part of this "neighborhood day" as well, even though it's not in the BID. This was mentioned at an ANC 6D meeting a few weeks ago.]
* There will be a "Fitness in the Front" event at Canal Park on May 1, with free classes offered by local instructors and information tables (and freebies!). See the link for the lineup and additional info.
* Residential update: "The residential population in the Front is estimated to have reached 3,030 as of the first quarter of 2010. Rental properties including the Onyx, Axiom, Jefferson and 909 are 95% leased. For sale units including Capitol Quarter, Capitol Hill Tower and Velocity are 71% sold. The residential population is predicted to reach 3,500 by the end of 2010."
* And Justin's opens on April 16, but you knew that already. :-)

The Current Canal Park Timeline
Mar 25, 2010 9:52 AM
A few days ago, WBJ reported Deputy Mayor Valerie Santos saying that Canal Park "will move forward" in June. With the previous comments on the park's timeline indicating a September start of construction, my curiosity was piqued, so I contacted the park association's executive director, Chris Vanarsdale, to find out the latest. To wit:
At this point, work is continuing on the design documentation, which is expected to be completed in June, and it's still expected that construction on the park itself will begin in September. However, the plans now also include $1.5 million of infrastructure work beneath Second Place (the road that runs on the eastern side of the park), which will be paid for out of the $29 million in Capper bonds that are hitting the market this week. (This wouldn't appear to be any sort of evil cost-shuffling by the city, since Second Place runs along blocks that will eventually house three Capper apartment buildings and WC Smith's 250 M Street office building that is also technically part of Capper's Hope VI redevelopment.)
The work on the utilities below Second Place, which are apparently quite a mess, will also allow the park to install stormwater management infrastructure to be in place for when the new apartment buildings are constructed, so that the park can capture water from those buildings' roofs to be used in the park for irrigation, fountain water, and whatnot. And, if there's any money left over after the infrastructure work, there's now streetscape designs for the east side of Second Place that complement the park's design, which would extend the "feel" of the park across the street.
It's this infrastructure work that will begin this summer, prior to the actual start of work on the park itself. The hope is to have a groundbreaking ceremony in July, though at this point all timeline forecasts are subject to the completion of the permitting process for construction, and we know how THAT can sometimes go. This also assumes that there aren't any (more) big surprises lurking beneath Second Place in terms of the existing water, sewer, and other utility lines.
The park's opening date is still pegged at fall 2011, since the work on the park itself is expected to take between 12 and 14 months. The design is still pretty much the one that we've been seeing for a while--there are a few renderings on my Canal Park page, and you can also visit the official park web site for more details.
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More posts: 250 M/New DDOT HQ, Canal Park, Capper, Capper New Apt Bldgs

Canal Park Update: Design Development Phase Nearing Completion, But....
Dec 8, 2009 1:29 PM
At its November meeting, ANC 6D received an update on the progress of Canal Park, but I was out of town and missed the presentation, so I've gotten a quick status update from Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association. He passes along that the design development phase is nearing completion, and that hopefully in a few weeks they'll make available a revised plan view of the park--the middle block has apparently undergone some significant changes, with the addition of a much larger water feature and the reconfiguration of the pavilion in that block. You can see some renderings of the pavilions planned for the south end of the park (at M Street) on my Canal Park page, although there will probably be some revisions to the designs of these structures as well.
On the flip side, the anticipated start of construction is now being quoted as September 2010, about six months later than what's been on the boards for most of this year. It was reported back in October that the design approved by the National Capital Planning Commission would cost $18 million, $5.5 million more than the grant the CPDA has received to design and build the park; I don't know whether the park's design is being scaled back or whether they're still hoping to raise the extra funds (I've asked, but haven't received an answer).
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More posts: ANC News, Canal Park, meetings

BID Holiday Market; Justin's Cafe Photos
Nov 27, 2009 9:28 AM
News from the Capitol Riverfront BID:
* They've announced their second annual Holiday Market, running Dec. 15-18, from noon to 6 pm each day, at Second and M, on the Canal Park footprint.. "For four days, the Capitol Riverfront will present a festive holiday market with local artisans selling handcrafted jewelry, crafts, photography, holiday trees and greenery, and more. Enjoy a variety of festive foods and live music daily from noon - 2 pm."
* The BID has also posted a few photos of the construction work (and the sign) at the "soon-to-open" Justin's Cafe at Velocity on their Facebook page.

Canal Park Briefing at ANC 6D; CSX Meetings; Lower 8th Street Documents and Agenda
Nov 5, 2009 9:46 PM
Here's a bunch of little items and event reminders. Alas, next week's pile of happenings come at a bad time on my calendar, and I'm going to have to miss almost all of them, so this would be a good chance for everyone to attend these meetings themselves instead of sitting around waiting for me to tell you what happened at them. :-)
* ANC 6D (Southwest and Near Southeast) has posted the agenda for its November meeting, which includes an update on the plans for Canal Park. It's on Monday, Nov. 9, at 7 pm, at St. Augustine's, Sixth and M streets, SW.
* The next night, ANC 6B (Capitol Hill SE and Eighth Street) is having its November meeting, where there will be a presentation by CSX on its planned Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction. (Voice of the Hill recently wrote about the plans, and you can read my posts about them, which include links to some source documents.) ANC 6B's meeting is Nov. 10 at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.
* Plus, the Friends of Garfield Park are having their own informational meeting about the CSX plans, on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 7 pm at Capitol Hill Day School (Second and South Carolina, SE).
* The Lower 8th Street Visioning Process folks have posted the minutes, historical background, and main presentation slides from their two October sessions. They've also posted the agenda for their November meetings, scheduled for 8:30 am and 7 pm on November 17 at the People's Church, 535 Eighth St., SE.
* And, if these events aren't enough for you, you can also watch on Nov. 12 the city council's Committee on Finance and Revenue Hearing on the bill that would allow the sale of bonds via the city's CFO office that would pay for a considerable amount of "Phase 3" infrastructure work for Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment, encompassing some as-yet-undetermined combination of underground work on the Second Street blocks, the relocation of the DPW operations at New Jersey and K and demolition of that block, and the construction of I Street between Second and New Jersey. (This is above and beyond the $9.5 million in federal stimulus funds that the city is receiving to allow Capitol Quarter's second phase of townhouses to go forward.) The council hearing is on the 12th at 10 am, and you can watch on DC cable channel 13 or via the channel's web site. Here's my post about this proposed bill, if you want to know more.

Canal Park Needing More Funds?
Oct 1, 2009 11:31 PM
From this Examiner story about today's various National Capital Planning Commission actions, news that not only did the commission (as expected) give approval to the conceptual designs for Canal Park, but that the park's development association is needing more money to complete the project: "But designs have already surpassed the $13.5 million grant the CPDA received from the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. [CPDA executive director Chris] Van Arsdale estimates an $18 million total cost based on the design approved by NCPC, which includes a large playing field, a rain garden and a plaza that would accommodate in-ground water fountains in the summer and an ice rink in the winter. Van Arsdale said CPDA was trying to use new market tax credits through the Treasury Department to raise the millions still needed for the project."
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NCPC Comments Favorably on New Canal Park Design
Sep 30, 2009 6:46 PM
I'm racing out the door, so here's nothing more than a quick link to the National Capital Planning Commission's staff document on the new Canal Park concept design in advance of the commission's meeting on Thursday, in which a "favorable comment" is recommended. It also "[c]ommends the applicant on a revised concept that is both simple in its design, and high-performing in the range of amenities it will provide to the surrounding community. The revised concept incorporates simple park amenities such as an abundance of flexible open space, plentiful seating, and interactive water features to ensure that the park can be enjoyed by a variety of users."
It's a 14-page document with scads of renderings and details about the plans for the park, including the many low-impact design features. The NCPC does have some questions that it requests be addressed when the design comes back to the commission at the preliminary design stage, which you can see on page 2. It also says that the construction start date for the park is still expected to be March 2010, with a one-year timeline for completion.
How do all these new details on the design strike everyone? Post your thoughts in the comments.
(And check out the NCPC's overhauled web site!)
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Lazy Repost of Recent Tweets on Canal Park, Nats '10 Schedule, Ferries, More
Sep 16, 2009 12:03 PM
Here's a bunch of small items that I've Tweeted over the past few days; I'm succumbing to abject laziness and only barely bothering to rewrite them (who needs all those extra words, anyway?):
* RT @TWTSports: #Nats will open the 2010 season at Nationals Park against the Phillies on April 5. [schedule link]
* RT @LPags03: #Nats host BOS for exhibition game on 4/3.
* The new Canal Park design is on the preliminary agenda for the Oct. 1 NCPC meeting. Hope it makes the final agenda: link
* Study of commuter ferry service to waterfront from Woodbridge pegs a $30M price tag just for needed improvements: link
* From @octolabs: DC Citywide Data Warehouse won coolest gov innovation award for DC Data Catalog/Data Feeds: link [and thanks for the shout-out!]
* RT @Cornercopia: Owner of blue civic with Maryland plates parked in front should probably move their car. 2 tickets already since Mon.

Canal Park Picnic/Home Tour on Saturday
Sep 14, 2009 10:30 AM
I think I mentioned this a few days back, but here it is again: On Saturday (Sept. 19) from 10 am to 2 pm, the BID is hosting a Canal Park Picnic and Home Tour: "Enjoy live music, food, drink, and lawn games at Canal Park! Tour selected rowhouses, condos, apartments and townhouses of residents in the new Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. See what it's like to live in the Front!" It's free and open to the public. Food will be provided by Cornercopia, "Smokin' Somethin'" (BBQ) and Sweetgreen (frozen yogurt). The two 45-minute neighborhood walking tours start at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm.
This also seems to be somewhat in place of a Capitol Riverfront WalkingTown DC tour, since there isn't one on WalkingTown's fall lineup this weekend. My bad--I didn't see the "FRONT" tour on the WalkingTownDC lineup.
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Canal Park

Snippets, Reminders, and Whatnot
Sep 9, 2009 10:47 AM
Pulling together smallish items from hither and yon:
* Last night saw the first arrival of a commercial water taxi at Diamond Teague Pier; WTOP covered the trip, which is a good thing, since I neither rode the boat nor stood on the dock to watch it sail in. I suck.
* A stroll through the city's building permits feed (which alas isn't as easy or useful as it used to be, since they pile every single permit into the feed over and over, rather than just posting new/updated ones) uncovered that back in August, a raze permit was issued for 156 L Street, home of the old Star Market and better known as the "Little Red Building"; the owner has spoken of plans to build a new two-story structure that would be a combination liquor store and deli. I haven't heard of any timeframe for the demolition, new construction, or store opening.
* From And Now, Anacostia, a heads up that today's Kojo Nnamdi show will include a segment called "Paris on the Anacostia: A Provocative Idea for DC's Waterfront," which will discuss the idea of *narrowing* the Anacostia River, "with the goal of bringing in new businesses, training new workers, and completely changing the relationship between folks East and West of the River." It'll be available online here.
* Tomorrow night (Thursday) is the second Outdoor Space Movie at Canal Park; this time it's Star Wars. The Force will be with you, starting at 7:30 pm.
* And Thursday night is also the deadline for pre-registration for ULI Washington's Urban Marketplace conference and expo on Sept. 15. Among lots of other sessions about urban development, it includes a panel discussion about the ballpark neighborhood, with Michael Darby of Monument Realty, Matthew Klein of Akridge, Michael Stevens of the BID, Harriet Tregoning of the Office of Planning, and me. It'll be a barn-burner!
* Saturday night is the second annual Opera in the Outfield at Nationals Park; the Washington Times previews it here. It's the Barber of Seville; but don't be alarmed when the first lines aren't "Welcome to my shop/let me cut your mop, let me shave your crop/Daintily, Daintily!"
* Forest City announced its second-quarter earnings, for those who know how to decipher these things. It does mention the Park at the Yards, still listing the completion date of the first phase as summer 2010. And their outlook? "While some see signs of a potential end of the recession, we are taking a conservative course based on what we can observe and are experiencing directly: continued weak fundamentals and little improvement in overall near-term conditions. As a result, we remain very cautious going forward. We expect the second half of the year to be challenging for our Company and for the entire industry, and we do not anticipate meaningful improvement in market conditions in the near or mid-term."
* I don't think I've officially linked to Cornercopia's Twitter feed, if you haven't seen it yet. (And there's my Twitter feed, too, of course.)

Outdoor Space Movies at Canal Park this Fall
Sep 1, 2009 9:39 AM
The Capitol Riverfront BID has decided that everyone liked the summer outdoor movie series so much, they're launching a four-week fall outdoor movie series, held this time at Second and M, on the future Canal Park site. The lineup is: Star Wars on Sept. 10, Toy Story on Sept. 17, Spaceballs on Sept. 24, and Apollo 13 on Oct. 1. (And the press release on the movie series says that construction on Canal Park will begin in Spring 2010, which is pretty much the same start date that's been on tap for awhile now.)
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Canal Park

Capitol Quarter Ribbon Cutting Tomorrow; A Few Late-Summer Not-Really-News Links
Aug 25, 2009 1:16 PM
* A reminder that tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 am the DC Housing Authority is holding an official ribbon cutting and grand opening at Capitol Quarter, Fourth and L, with the mayor expected to be in attendance. If the sun is out, I may use this as the motivation to finally get some updated photos of the construction, with the framing in block three (north of K between Fourth and Fifth) now well underway.
* The Post reports on how the many new apartment buildings in the area are aggressively competing for tenants, with the new buildings in Near Southeast apparently leading the way: "The ones around Nationals Park, for instance, collectively have offered the deepest concessions since Delta started tracking rents 18 years ago. Some of those projects gave away the equivalent of four months' rent in concessions, which helps explain why effective rents in the District plunged 7.8 percent in June compared with a year ago. Without the ballpark area, rents fell 4 percent."
* From the BID's newsletter last week: "Mark your calendars for September 19th for the FRONT Door Home Tour & Canal Park Picnic from 10 am - 2 pm. The FRONT Door Tour will feature a variety of unique residents' homes and highlight the Capitol Riverfront as a new residential neighborhood in DC. The event will include a community picnic at the future site of Canal Park (located at intersection of M St., SE and 2nd St., SE) with food, music, and lawn games. The FRONT Door Tour will be free and open to the public. More information to come soon."
And, two items about off-topic projects by Near Southeast developers:
* Monument Realty announced yesterday that its long-planned renovation of Potomac Place Tower on Fourth Street in SW is now going to move forward. From their press release: "Monument Realty acquired the Potomac Place project in 2001 and in 2005 completed construction of a new, 302-unit condominium adjacent to the existing Potomac Place Tower, which was built in 1959. In 2003, Potomac Place Tower was designated a historic landmark by the District of Columbia and in 2005 the residents of Potomac Place Tower elected to convert the property to a condominium. Monument Realty's longstanding history and commitment to the project gave the new lender the confidence to retain its services for the completion of Potomac Place Tower."
* Forest City Washington has been selected by the government of Puerto Rico as the program manager for the redevelopment of a 100-acre portion of San Juan's waterfront district. Residential, hotel, office, retail, public parks, and a marina--sound familiar? (I don't think I mentioned that a few weeks ago the District selected Forest City as an advisor for the redevelopment of Poplar Point.)

Summer Vacation (But With Canal Park Renderings)
Aug 3, 2009 11:57 AM
I'm going to take it *very* easy for the next couple of weeks, so updates will probably be minimal unless some big news breaks. But, so as to not leave everyone completely without something fresh, here are some renderings of the new Canal Park, on the web site of STUDIOs Architecture (with thanks to commenter "NotAlwaysReliable," who is King of Every Conceivable Canal Park Detail); you'll need to either do a search for Canal Park, or click on "Projects/On the Boards," since Flash web sites (grrrrrr) don't allow for direct links. I don't know anything about these renderings, so questions should probably go to the folks at the Canal Park Development Association.
So, I guess until I get back you can use this as an open thread. What's on everyone's mind these days? (But try to avoid asking me piles of questions, because I'm hoping that "vacation" can also mean "Vacation from Answering Stuff For a Few Days." )
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The Stakes and Spray Paint at Canal Park
Jul 29, 2009 4:03 PM
A number of readers have written in over the past few days asking about some new stakes in the ground and spray paint that appeared on the Canal Park site recently, asking if this meant that construction was coming soon. I checked in with the park's overlord, Chris Vanarsdale, and this is his explanation: "The stakes and paint on the lots reflect major design features as reflected in the current schematic design documents. Staking out the site was a design exercise in order to get a better sense of proportion and relationship of the features on the site before we make any final decisions -- the design may be modified somewhat as a result. We may stake it out again after the next iteration." If you want to see the early look and feel of the (new) preliminary design, check the official web site at CanalParkDC.org.
Also, Chris mentioned some other changes folks will soon see on the site: "We will be taking down the orange fence on the south block and putting up "no dogs permitted" signs there in order to protect the sod. We will soon open the north block to dogs and place signs and plastic bags for dog waste -- we want to give the grass a little more time to establish before doing so. Folks should keep in mind that leashes will be required."
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More posts: Canal Park, Dog Parks

Updated Photos (Cap. Quarter, Canal Park, 1015 Half)
Jun 25, 2009 4:44 PM
It's been a while since I've posted a big batch of new photos (and be assured that the guilt has been killing me), so I made a couple of quick runs today to rectify this. The showiest shots are to be had at Capitol Quarter, of course, with the houses on both sides of L between Fourth and Fifth now mostly occupied, and those up Fourth and on the south side of K now painted and landscaped. If you want an even fuller set of photos than what's on my CQ page, go to the CQ Phase I Expanded Archive to see all angles of the intersections where construction is either completed or still underway. (The multicolored houses up against the bright blue sky, lit by the summer-solstice-height-sun, show why I tend to wait for sunny days to update the photo archive. Well, that and I'm lazy and am always looking for an excuse to not go take pictures.)
Meanwhile, at Canal Park, I finally got some photos of the sod on the southern block, and the first hints of grass on the other two blocks as the seeding starts to grow in.
And, over at 1015 Half Street, the glass continues to be hung on the northern exterior, so I took some photos of that side of the building. (The southern side looks the same as it did in May, so I happily skipped those photos.) The block does now look a little different from when Nation was there.... (See the expanded archive for additional shots.)
Here's the complete batch of today's photos, but to see their "before"s, as well as the other photos along the way, click the icon. Or you can just browse the Photo Archive by street, direction, and/or date.
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More posts: 1015 Half, Canal Park, Capper, Capitol Quarter, square 697

Council Looking at Redirecting Capper/Yards PILOT Funds to Convention Center Hotel
Jun 16, 2009 8:56 PM
From the Washington Business Journal: "The D.C. Council may consider withdrawing millions of dollars in subsidies from stalled city real estate projects to publicly finance a convention center hotel. D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi met with members of the D.C. Council on Monday and discussed the list of projects with $704 million in subsidies that have already been passed and could be diverted to the hotel. The list includes the Southwest waterfront, the Arthur Capper / Carrollsburg residential development on the Capitol Riverfront, the mixed-use O Street Market in Shaw and seven other economic development incentives."
The list names both the PILOT fundings for Capper ($55 million) and the Yards ($30 million), though I'm not sure exactly how that would work, given that some of that money is already going to the construction currently underway at Capitol Quarter, the Park at the Yards, and Diamond Teague Park. (Though the $30 million cited for the Yards/DOT PILOT is a lot less than the total $112 million sum received from that PILOT; the Capper $55 million, though, is the full amount of that PILOT.) There's a hearing now scheduled for June 24.
If you want more background on what exactly the PILOT funds are and how they work, here's some old entries of mine to browse.
UPDATE: In the "What Does This Mean for Capper?" department: The funding is in place to finish Phase I of the Capitol Quarter townhomes now under construction (unless the council is *really* grabby), but the Housing Authority has been having a hard time looking for funding for CQ's second phase as well as the four mixed-income apartment buildings slated to be built around Canal Park. So I'm *guessing* that the money the council is wanting to grab would further delay that work? But I'm not sure, because I don't know exactly how much of the PILOT's $55 million is already spent or being spent just on CQ's first phase.
The two parks, as well as some other projects along the Anacostia Waterfront, are tied to what my archives say was a $112 million PILOT from the construction of the US Department of Transportaton HQ. I just confirmed earlier today that Diamond Teague is still on schedule for a mid-July opening, and given all the flourishes (such as the groundbreaking) of the public/private partnership for the Park at the Yards I would think they wouldn't grab that money away. (I was wrong in an early version of this post to say that Canal Park was part of the DOT PILOT; it was originally, but not in the final version, apparently.) The DOT PILOT is also supposed to fund Marvin Gaye Park and Kingman Island; and DMPED said at the time that "Funds could also be used to finance parks and infrastructure at Poplar Point, the Southwest Waterfront, the Southwest Waterfront Fish Market, along South Capitol Street and a pedestrian bridge connecting the Parkside neighborhood to the Minnesota Avenue Metrorail Station."
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More posts: Canal Park, Capper, Teague Park, The Yards, Yards Park

Shooting at 7th and M; Canal Park Sod; Ballpark Fireworks Temporarily Snuffed Out
Jun 8, 2009 1:42 PM
This morning's news-filled Tweeting, merely cut-and-pasted because I'm tired and cranky (though still on a high from Federer's win):
* "Reader J reports that there was a shooting this morning in the 7th and M parking lot across from the Navy Yard entrance." Followed by: "MPD says on 1D mailing list that 7th & M shooting suspect "is not at large" and that this involved MPD and US Marshalls."
* "RT @atweber: on a positive note they are rolling out the sod at Canal Park. (JD sez--just the southern block; other 2 to be seeded.)"
And, if grass and guns aren't enough for you, read City Paper, the Sports Bog, and the Post on how the DC fire chief is snuffing out all fireworks at Nationals Park after debris fell on him at Sunday's game, with the WashTimes is now reporting that the fireworks will most likely be restored."
UPDATE: Here is the Post story on the shooting:
"An armed homicide suspect being sought by D.C. police died of a gunshot wound today after officers confronted him on M Street SE near the Washington Navy Yard, authorities said. It was not immediately clear whether the wound was self-inflicted or from a police bullet.
"Police said the man, whose identify was being withheld pending notification of his next of kin, was being sought by the D.C. police fugitive task force in connection with a May 31 slaying in the city. Members of the task force encountered him at midmorning in the 600 block of M Street, not far from Nationals Park, police said.
"After the man brandished a handgun, police said, at least one officer fired at him, but there was some indication that the fatal wound was self-inflicted. The shooting was still under investigation this afternoon."
UPDATE II: WTOP says the man, 38-year-old Allan Haggins, shot himself.
UPDATE III: NBC says Haggins [different spelling] was being pursued in for the murder of Goldean Hawkins, whose funeral was being held this morning' at St. Matthew's Church at New Jersey and L. Haggins was spotted by police in the 500 block of M Street SE, and pursued him to the parking lot in the next block, where "Haggins produced a handgun in the parking lot, police said, prompting two officers to fire their handguns at the suspect, striking his body. Haggins then shot himself, police said."
FIREWORKS UPDATE: City Paper says that the fire department says the problem has been fixed: "Alan Etter, the spokesperson from the fire department, says the angle in which the devices were being deployed had to be changed so the fallout would end up outside the stadium. 'They did tell me that the product itself is being revised so that there's less debris that is subject to fall on people,' Etter says. But adds: 'None of this stuff is on fire.'"
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More posts: Canal Park, Nationals Park

Updated Canal Park Pictures (No More Trailers)
Jun 1, 2009 1:00 PM
On Sunday I wandered around What Will Someday Be Canal Park (dodging the crowds at the Obama Five Guys, where business is apparently up 50 percent since Friday), and got my first photos of the completely cleared blocks, now that the trailers have been hauled away. I gave my Canal Park page a bit of a refreshing, with some new angles and lots of before-and-afters.
I also captured the new sign at the corner of Second and M, which shows an early map of Washington with the old canal clearly marked. Sharp-eyed observers will note that this newly erected sign points people to CanalParkDC.org, even though it remains offline after popping up briefly, then disappearing, then reppearing, then disappearing. But look what commenter Justin found.
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More posts: Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife

North End of Canal Park Cleared; Wendy's Gone
May 23, 2009 5:45 PM
The clearing of the northern block of Canal Park is now pretty well complete, so I had to go get some photos, from both the east and west sides (you'll see the new ones paired with their "befores", in case you've already forgotten the fences and overgrowth). I also scooted past Wendy's, where the demolition was continuing and is probably done by now, making it #155 in my Demolished Buildings gallery--as soon as I get around to actually adding it.
I also swung over to 12th and M to check on the demolition of the ramps to and from RFK, but the first few days of work appears to have been on decking (not viewable from street level), so no before-and-afters from there yet. Maybe next week.

Official Web Site for Canal Park Goes Live
May 22, 2009 2:55 PM
A birdie has whispered in my ear that Canal Park now has an official web site that's just gone live, at CanalParkDC.org. There's a lot of information there, including a first rendering of the new design. They are apparently committing to an ice skating rink, along with a restaurant/cafe pavilion, both near M Street. The site says March 2010 for the beginning of construction, with the park opening in March 2011. They're also posting photos of the progress, which I think is a *fine* idea. (heh heh)
UPDATE: Looks like maybe some Powers That Be weren't too happy that I heard about this, and have pulled the site down.
UPDATE II: And now it's back.
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Quick Photos From North End of Canal Park
May 19, 2009 4:47 PM
With a couple commenters giving the scoop that workers were starting cleanup on the northernmost (and most neglected) block of Canal Park, I had to go see what was up, with camera in hand of course. Here's the batch of photos, and you can use the icons on that page to see them paired with their befores. (You'll also see a few shots of the southernmost block.) While snapping away, I ran into Chris VanArsdale of the Canal Park Development Association, who was also taking photos of the new-look block. He said that the trailers in the middle block should be gone this week, and that the southern block (at M Street) will be sodded while the other two blocks will have grass planted.
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Fun With Permits; Meeting Reminder; Bullpen
May 19, 2009 9:38 AM
The city's building permits feed hasn't been working with perfection of late, so I'm only now seeing some recent permits of interest:
* As many folks have seen (and as I Twittered last week), the asphalt is being pulled up on the southern end of Canal Park (here's a photo from last Friday, taken at Second and M). Two building permits have been approved for the southern two blocks, allowing for "interior cleaning [...] to remove pavement import top soil and plant grass." Hopefully the northern block will get a makeover too. (UPDATE: Commenter Scott says that work on the northern block is already underway.)
* Monument Realty has gotten a six-month extension on the raze permit for the Domino's at South Capitol and M. And, though it's outside my redrawn boundaries, I'll mention that 1244 South Capitol (home to the stalled Camden Development apartment building) got a final six-month extension on a raze permit for that site. (Though I was bummed to see on Opening Night at the ballpark that the little red brick building that had been left standing for so long was finally gone.)
* A final (belated) reminder that the latest Anacostia Waterfront Forum is tonight at 6:30 pm at the MLK Library. The topic is "Waterfronts and the World's Great Capital Cities," with office of planning director Harriet Tregoning.
* The Post wrote a piece in the Sunday Business Section about Bo Blair, the Georgetown Events "restaurateur / entrepeneur." Fun fact: he's paying $25,000 a month in rent for the space on Akridge's land at Half and N.

Scads of New Photos: Bullpen, Fence-less Canal Park, 1015 Half, Capitol Quarter (Again)
May 10, 2009 6:02 PM
With thanks to Mom for decreeing that my Mother's Day responsibilities had been taken care of last week, I was able to take not one but two treks through Near Southeast on this beautiful Sunday, and have uploaded a pile of new photos. Some--like the ones I took at 909 New Jersey and 55 M--are the last ones I expect to take of certain angles for a long time to come, but I did get some good "change" shots:
There's now a sign up at "The Bullpen" at Half and N (opening Friday?), and I also snuck a shot of the tent and piled-up picnic tables, which you can see on my Akridge Half Street page (scroll down a bit if the link doesn't jump you down). You'll also see updated shots of the garage-less Half and M corner.
It's not very easy to take a picture that well-represents the lack of cyclone fences, but I gave it a shot with a few different angles of the south end of Canal Park. I have to admit that was I was surprised by how much wider the block now seems; when it becomes a real park, with tall buildings on all sides, that extra width will be welcome.
Next up is 1015 Half Street, the 400,000-sq-ft office building now topping out on the old Nation nightclub site. With Half, K, and L being so narrow, it's not a bad idea to step back a block or two to see 1015's impact on the skyline, so check out the Expanded Photo Archive. The next phase of construction should be the hanging of the exterior glass.
It's pretty hard to stay away from the goings-on at Capitol Quarter, as brickwork is all but complete along Fourth between I and K. The Expanded Archive shows all the CQ shots I took today, along with the ones from two weeks ago showing the first completed stretch of homes, on the south side of L between Fourth and Fifth.
You might also see a few new shots of Onyx, 100 M, and Velocity if you visit those pages, and some other images in the random shots at the top (and bottom) of the JDLand home page, since I took a pretty complete set of photos from New Jersey to Half and from M to I. And, without much new construction going on, I don't anticipate taking many photos other than at Capitol Quarter and 1015 Half (and I guess Teague and Canal parks) over the next few months. (I'll also be ready if/when Akridge demolishes the buildings along First between K and L.) So, enjoy these, and take the time to really compare them to their "befores."

Fences at Canal Park Coming Down
May 9, 2009 9:36 AM
A couple of readers have reported in this morning that workers are starting to take down the fences around the old schoolbus parking lots at the Canal Park site. One was told by the workers that it should take about two weeks (weather permitting). The plan is to then take up the asphalt (on all three blocks, not just the bus lots on the south end) and put in sod as a "placeholder" until construction starts on the park itself, currently scheduled for 2010.
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Proof the School Buses Have Departed
Apr 4, 2009 4:26 PM
I ended up getting a little more behind schedule than I'd like today, so here are some very quick photos showing that the Sea of Yellow is in fact gone from the two southern blocks of the Canal Park site. (Though the trailers are still there.) And there was much rejoicing. I hope to get my Canal Park project page reflecting this sea change within the next day or so.
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School Buses Gone?
Apr 3, 2009 4:57 PM
Numerous reports are coming in that the school buses at Canal Park are gone--as long as there's not some all-fleet field trip that will bring them back later this evening, could this really be the end?
If so, I shall be down there first thing tomorrow to get pictures of the *empty* lots.
I hear that the plan is to bring down the fences and clear and re-sod the blocks to at least have some open space while work continues on a new design.
Post updates in the comments.
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Bus Garage Demolition; School Buses Leaving This Weekend; Circulator Spotted!; Third and K Pics
Mar 30, 2009 1:10 PM
A brief morning walkabout brought the following items:
* The demolition of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage at Half M continues; they had reached as far north as just across from the subway entrance at around 11:30, so the M Street facade could conceivably be gone by the end of today or early on Tuesday. You can see a couple of photos (like a bigger version of the one above) on my Akridge Half Street page, though the photos won't be as striking until the demolition reaches M Street.
* A nice fellow working at the schoolbus parking lot at Canal Park told me that the buses are being moved to their new home at DC Village on Saturday and Sunday (April 4 and 5), with drivers expected to report to work at the new lot on Monday morning, April 6. So, it does indeed sound like this is the last week of the Sea of Yellow.
* Look Mom, a Circulator bus! (This is the stop at First and K, before it turns right on I and circles back down New Jersey to the subway entrance.) You can see it lurking in a few other updated photos I took at New Jersey and M. UPDATE: There apparently was a boo-boo with the information on the DC Circulator site--the bus will be running from 6 am to 7 pm weekdays (it had said 6-6). They've also updated their service map to correct some errors.
* Here's my first shot of the repainted Third and K Market (now to be known as the Corner Copia Deli). You can compare it to its old profile here.
* The Nats are having a "soft launch" for their new food concessionaire (Levy Restaurants) via a series of invitation-only events this week. Tonight employees of the Navy Yard will be sampling the new food, and there will also be events on Tuesday and Wednesday for local businesses and invitees of the BID. On Friday the media will get its shot. I will report back later in the week, though I won't be able to provide doggie bags for everyone.

Final Countdown on the School Buses (Updated)
Mar 26, 2009 10:59 PM
This is *still* I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it territory, but tonight I'm hearing that DC public schools poobahs have signed off on the new parking lots out at DC Village, and have authorized the moving of the buses currently parked at Canal Park. A date in the first full week of April is being bandied about, though I'm too gun-shy from years of move dates passing by to post it just yet. Will this finally be the time when it actually happens?
UPDATE: It totally slipped my mind during a very busy week to mention reader M. passing along an e-mail they received from the Mayor's office saying that "we anticipate that the school buses will be relocated as of April 6, 2009", which is the date I was hearing yesterday would be the start of the exodus. So, with two sources, let's say that April 6 could very well be the day that the buses are either gone or starting to be gone.
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New Design Firm Picked for Canal Park; Buses Could Be Moving Soon {Snicker}--Pick the Date!
Mar 9, 2009 5:11 PM
There's some new information on the Canal Park front today, starting with the news that Olin has been chosen from a group of seven invited applicants to create a new design for the park. They are the firm behind the National Gallery's sculpture garden and the Air Force Memorial (on the hill above the Pentagon), and are currently working on the new levee system at 17th and Constitution.
The new design will still focus heavily on low-impact design features and stormwater management abilities, with hopes that the park could be a "zero net energy" project through the placement of solar panels on lightpoles and perhaps even neighboring buildings. (I asked if there were going to be 30-foot-tall windmills, but the answer was no.) The stormwater management aspects could extend to future neighboring buildings as well, perhaps by capturing the HVAC condensation and/or stormwater runoff. There's also likely to be a new pavilion and cafe that weren't in the original design, as well as the possibility of building a fountain that could also be an ice skating rink in the winter.
The schedule to completion, though, is not a short one--preliminary designs were not part of the RFP process, and it's expected that the design and permitting process could take between 10 months and a year, which would put the start of construction in early 2010. Because of the extensive infrastructure work that needs to be done beneath the park site (for not only the park but the eventual surrounding Capper apartment buildings), the estimated length of construction would be about a year, putting the opening date in 2011.
But, for now, all anyone wants to know at this point is when the school buses will be gone, right? Construction on the new lot out at DC Village is apparently nearly complete, with "April" now being offered as the date when the buses can move to their new home, but will it happen? Perhaps there ought to be a Farewell to the Buses Pool--put your guess for the date when the buses drive off for good in the comments, and we'll see who comes closest. (And maybe we'll also have the first official JDLand reader gathering on the day the buses leave, so everyone can stand on the corner and sing "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Goodbye" while waving them down the road.)
On the bright side, permits are already in the works so that, once the buses are gone, the three blocks will be cleared, graded, and sodded, to allow for use as a park while the design process is underway.
My Canal Park page is pretty moldy right now (I've been on strike from updating it), but you can check it out to see how little it's changed in the last six years.
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News and Notes from the BID Annual Meeting
Dec 18, 2008 3:53 PM
Today the Capitol Riverfront BID held its first annual meeting luncheon, on the seventh floor of the all-but-completed 100 M Street, showcasing great views of Nationals Park and of M Street (though the gray skies didn't make for good picture-taking). I didn't take copious notes, but here are a few items of note that I Twittered in between bites of chicken and a key lime tart for dessert:
* It's confirmed that Artomatic will be held in Near Southeast in May and June of 2009.
* The opening date for Diamond Teague Park continues to be set at March of '09. However, the BID's executive director said that Canal Park would be coming "in late 2010."
* The Capitol Riverfront area (which is a bit larger than my Near Southeast domain, since it also includes Buzzard Point) now has 1,100 residents.
Hopefully they'll be posting the spiffy Annual Report online, since it gives a lot of detail about development in the Capitol Riverfront area and the work that the BID does to promote and "brand" the neighborhood. (Though JDLand readers will be familiar with most of it already.) Best stat? The BID's Clean and Safe team members collected 3,600 bags of trash this year.
The keynote address was given by Greg Leisch of Delta Associates, and provided a flurry of statistics about the residential and commercial office space markets in DC compared to the rest of the country (in short: It Could Be Worse). Leisch said that he felt that the Capitol Riverfront area is well-positioned to benefit from the recovery that's expected to begin in late 2009/early 2010, in much the same way that the East End did after the 1990-91 recession and the Capitol Hill submarket did after the 2001-2002 recession. He also said that only about 1,600 new condos will have been sold across the Metro area in 2008. Ouch. You can see some of the stats from this presentation on the Delta web site.
UPDATE: From the BID, here's the Annual Report, and Greg Leisch's presentation.
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Post Surveys the Commercial Real Estate Slowdown Near the Ballpark and Elsewhere
Dec 1, 2008 11:06 PM
The front page of Tuesday's Post has "Building Slowdown Turns Grand Visions into Vapor," a look at projects in the DC area that are on hold because of the slumping economy: "The economic boom of recent years promised to deliver gleaming homes and high-end retail to struggling and newly forming neighborhoods across the Washington region. But that quest is running headlong into a withering economic slowdown and paralyzed credit markets, bringing new construction to a virtual stop and fueling anxiety among those who dreamed that their neighborhoods were the next frontiers."
Among the examples in the article are three delayed projects near the ballpark--WC Smith's 250 M Street office building, the residential and hotel portion of Monument's Half Street project, and also the Corcoran's Randall School development at Half and I, SW (which Monument pulled out of recently): "Perhaps no area is more central to the District's long-term ambitions than the streets around Nationals Park. At every opportunity, Fenty talks of a cosmopolitan destination featuring new parks, offices, stylish apartments and restaurants, all of it along the Anacostia River. Yet, how soon that vision materializes is fraught with uncertainty."
(Full disclosure: I provided a bit of basic status on ballpark-area projects for the piece, hence the "contributed" line.)
Some additional perspective: Certainly there's a slowdown afoot. (It's almost like there's some sort of cycle of boom and bust in commercial real estate!) I've been joking that I should just put a "Gone Fishin'" sign up here at JDLand during 2009, and come back in 2010 to see what's cooking, because other than the first offerings at the Yards and perhaps Canal Park {cough}, I'm not expecting much to get underway in the next little while. On the other hand, Capitol Quarter is moving forward, 1015 Half Street is now out of the ground, Diamond Teague Park is expected to open in the spring, and 100 M and 55 M and 909 New Jersey and Velocity will all be opening their doors before long, and perhaps the lure of another season of baseball will get some retail into the empty ground-floor spaces of those buildings and 20 M.
So, it's not like tumbleweeds are blowing down M Street or vines are growing on buildings a la Logan's Run--and it would be hard to make the case that it's the neighborhood's fault or the stadium's fault when the entire region is feeling the pain. The expectation would be that when the market improves, development in Near Southeast should pick up again. But we'll all just have to wait and see, won't we?

Mini-Roundup: Metro Station Entrance Closed, Zoning News, Taxation w/out Representation Street Hearing
Nov 16, 2008 5:42 PM
A bunch of items to start the week with:
* Remember that the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M is closed every evening this week from 8 pm until closing, thanks to work on 55 M Street.
* On Monday (Nov. 13), the Zoning Commission gave final approval to moving 225 Virginia Avenue into the Capitol South Receiving Zone, which will allow any construction on the block to have greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR/90-ft-height currently allowed. This was approved with two caveats: that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90 feet to confirm that the building will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face, and that any structure will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park. Read my entry from the hearing a few weeks ago for more information.
* On Nov. 24 at 2 pm, the city council will be having a hearing about B17-0909, the "Taxation Without Representation Street Renaming Act of 2008," which would "designate the portion of South Capitol Street, SE that intersects with N Street SE and Potomac Avenue SE as 'Taxation Without Representation Street, SE." It just so happens that this is the portion of South Capitol Street that runs alongside Nationals Park, where the council was thwarted in earlier attempts to install an electronic tote board showing the federal taxes that DC residents pay while still having no voting representation in the US Congress.
* Tommy Wells is taking nominations for the Second Annual Livable, Walkable Awards.
* For weeks I've been meaning to post that Nationals Park made the list of Travel and Leisure Magazine's "Must-See Green American Landmarks," thanks to being the first LEED-certified professional sports facility.

Mayor Talks About Progress Along the Anacostia; Status Updates on Parks, Bridges, and the River
Nov 14, 2008 2:56 PM
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.
Plus, the final Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street and the Douglass Bridge is expected in spring 2009; that's when we'll hear which of the four bridge designs has been chosen.
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 and 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.)

ANC Agenda, Public Space Permit Feed Returns, School Bus Tea Leaves
Nov 7, 2008 9:59 AM
* The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting has been sent around (not yet posted online). They'll be revisiting the designs for exterior trash enclosures on certain Capitol Quarter townhouses that were discussed and given the thumbs down last month. Other items include the potential modification of the 70 bus route, the franchise agreement between the city and Verizon for FiOS, and street closures for the SunTrust National Marathon on March 21. The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church, Sixth and M streets, SW.
* Meeting at the same time on Monday (well, starting at 6:30 pm) will be the DC Zoning Commission, with a vote on the proposal to move 225 Virginia Avenue into the Capitol South Receiving Zone (read about it here).
* The city's Public Space Permit feed is back. Yay! Hopefully the Building Permit feed won't be far behind.
* One thing we've all learned over the years is to not believe anything about the school buses leaving Canal Park until we actually see them all drive away. But I will note that the DC Housing Authority currently has a solicitation out for a contractor to build surface parking lots at DC Village (which is where the buses are relocating to). Bids are due Nov. 18. I'm hearing "mumbleJanuarymumbleFebruarymumble" as a potential timetable for the departure of the buses, but see sentence #1 of this paragraph.
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Brief Zoning Commission Hearing on Post Plant
Oct 28, 2008 10:58 AM
On Monday night the Zoning Commission held a brief hearing on Case 06-32a, the request by the city to move the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue into the "Capitol South Receiving Zone," which would allow the block to receive transferable development rights, allowing greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR and 90-ft-height currently allowed.
When this was originally brought before the commission by developer Washington Telecom Associates for setdown two years ago, the Office of Planning indicated that they wouldn't support the request because of concerns about the added density on that block affecting both Canal Park to the south and Capper/Carrollsburg townhouses to the east (read the transcript for more details). Since that time, the city subleased the building (paying $500k a month in rent), but has decided not to use it to house police department functions and so is in the process of finding a developer to take over its sublease (which also has an option to buy).
In their pre-hearing report and during last night's session, OP said they are now prepared to support the move to the receiving zone, "provided that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90' " which would confirm that the building "will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face to avoid shadowing the lower buildings in Square 797 to the east" and that it "will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park." The OP report says that this lot would not be exempt from the city's inclusionary zoning requirements.
The three commissioners in attendance (Hood, May, and Turnbull) asked a few cursory questions, and noted that there was no report from ANC 6D nor any witnesses in support or opposition. The ZC will vote on this case at its Nov. 10 public meeting.
With the OPM page on the 225 Virginia Request for Expressions of Interest saying that notification was to have happened yesterday, I thought there was a possibility that this hearing would give us some hint as to who might be taking over the city's lease, but the Office of Planning said they didn't know who the developer might be.

What's the Deal With: Canal Park (Again)
Jul 17, 2008 12:54 PM
Yes, it's time once again for What's the Deal With.... Canal Park? Now that the ballpark's open and people have stopped asking me about the baseball that was originally planned for the roof of the Red Loft, I can safely say that there is no question I receive more often than this one. Here's the latest:
Over the past few months, the Canal Park Development Association has been resurrected, and is now being led by Chris VanArsdale, a local lawyer-turned-green-developer. An agreement is being worked on with the city that will allow the CPDA to take on moving the park forward, a task that ended up in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development after the demise of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation.
Of course, there will be no moving forward of the park until the dang buses are gone. The timeline being put forward by DMPED is now "December or January" for the departure of the buses, since a new location has been found (*cough*DC Village*cough*) but a lot still must be built. (It's at this point that I'm always required mention that it was in October 2003 when I first heard the city had been given 90 days to get the buses off the park site.) The park's blocks would then be graded and temporary sod planted until the park itself is built.
So, when will the park actually be completed? You didn't actually expect anyone to tell me that, did you? However, indications are that once the license agreement between the CPDA and the city is finished, we'll get a better sense for what's left to be done and when it all could happen.
In the meantime, while twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next news tidbit, take a look at the designs and plans for the park, which came as the result of a 2004 design competition held by the city. Are they still holding up? Discuss. (Hey, it's summer, I've got to do something to perk up the energy around here.)
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Late Night Roundup, and Some Wondering
Jun 24, 2008 12:45 AM
* Sorry I missed this until now: the Post reported that on Saturday evening "[a] motorcycle was headed west on M Street SE about 6:30 p.m. when a car traveling south on Seventh Street began to turn onto M Street. The car and motorcycle collided, and the motorcyclist was fatally injured, police said."
* The Post's Grounds Crew blog has only now discovered that there's a Five Guys just around the corner from the Navy Yard subway station east entrance (on Second Street north of M, if you haven't discovered it yet, either).
* The PSA 105 mailing list announced yesterday that they are having a "Summer of Safety Ice Cream Social" at Capitol Hill Tower "to show unity with the citizens of Capitol Hill and the Metropolitan Police Department by sharing some nice and cool ice cream while sharing information." The message said that the social is from 2 to 5 pm on June 25. A Wednesday afternoon? I wrote asking for confirmation, but haven't heard back. Anyone out there with the {ahem} scoop?
* Washington City Paper and WBJ both note layoffs at MacFarlane Partners through the prism of how it might affect the drive to put a soccer stadium at Poplar Point; I see the news and wonder about the capital that MacFarlane is supposed to be investing in both The Yards and Monument Realty's Half Street.
* Is the report in the July Southwester that Monument Realty and the Corcoran Gallery have received zoning approval to delay to 2015 (from 2011) their planned redevelopment of the the Randall School site at Half and I SW something to wonder about, too?
* And, while I'm heading off the reservation with all of this wondering, did anyone else read this Post story on fuel prices causing problems for school districts' transportation budgets and ponder whether buses would have to drive farther to and from their daily routes from a parking lot at DC Village as compared to one at Second and M, SE?

What's the Deal With: Canal Park
Mar 28, 2008 10:51 AM
(Yay! Non-ballpark news!) The *most* asked question at JDLand.com these days (apart from "what happened to the baseball on top of the outfield restaurant" and "can you start covering Southwest") is What's the Deal With Canal Park, the three-block long new public park planned for the strip along Second Street between I and M, which for years has been the home to DC Public School buses. This project was on the boards when I started this site in 2003, and yet has had a hard time getting going, despite a design completed years ago by landscape architects Gustafson, Guthrie, and Nichol Ltd. After originally being under the purview of the defunct Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, the park is now the responsibility of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
After spending some time explaining what the heck JDLand.com is ("uhhhh, it's, like, this web site, and stuff?"), I was able to get a general update, which jibes with the rumors that have been flying for weeks. A relocation site for the school buses has indeed been found (though they won't say where), but some construction work has to first be done at this undisclosed location to prepare it. It's expected that the buses will be moved there "by the fall," with construction on the park starting soon after, lasting about 12 months. The park is a "top priority" for the city, I was told.
Will it happen? I guess we shall see....
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A Thought on Moving the Canal Park School Buses
Feb 4, 2008 12:10 PM
A thought: With more than a dozen DC public schools closing at the end of this school year, and the Fenty administration stating that they have no intention of selling off the buildings, wouldn't one or two of them make a good location for a school bus parking lot? Or, at the very least, a better location than some of the locations currently being used?
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Community Papers, Canal Park Connector, Other Quick Tidbits
Dec 1, 2007 9:05 AM
This morning's quick hits:
* The Voice of the Hill has posted a piece on its web site surveying the community reaction to the 11th Street Bridges EIS, while the December issue of the Hill Rag looks at the project from the perspective of Hill East.
* The Hill Rag also has a recap of the November ANC 6D meeting, which focused mainly on Southwest issues, though there is a small blurb about the ballpark liquor license (it sounds like there were some concerns about the 8 am to 3 am time frame listed on the application).
* Meanwhile, the December Southwester reports on the Oct. 3 groundbreaking at The Yards by reprinting much of the Forest City press release on the project.
* Out of my realm, but I'll still pass along that the four short-listed development teams will be presenting their proposals for Poplar Point at Dec. 12 at 6:30 pm at Birney Elementary School, 2501 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave., SE.
* I'm watching with interest a public space permit application this week by Cofeld LLC for 1271 First Street, which is the lot on the northwest corner of First and N, which had a raze permit filed for it in June. Hints of demolition? We'll see if the permit data, when approved, tell us anything further.
* UPDATE: One more quickie to add. The Garfield Park-Canal Park Connector Project has posted notes and summaries of discussions at their Oct. 24 workshop. Topic areas discussed included Biking and Walking, Under the Freeway, Public Art, Urban landscape, and History & Neighborhood Heritage.

The Near Southeast Traveling Road Show, On Demand
Nov 23, 2007 9:26 AM
During my poking around on the DC Office of Cable Television web site recently, I discovered that many of the groundbreakings and other events in Near Southeast this year that have been broadcast on the city's cable channel 16 are also available On Demand; the same goes for council hearings, available on Channel 13's On Demand page. (I kinda sorta knew that the On Demand stuff was there, but when I checked it many moons ago, it didn't seem quite so complete, so I hadn't looked back in on it for a while.)
So if you've missed any of the following four-star telecasts from 2007, you can watch them at your leisure:
* The Oct. 3 groundbreaking ceremony at The Yards;
* The Aug. 27 ceremony marking the reopening of the Frederick Douglass Bridge (and, for that matter, the time-lapse video of the lowering in July);
* The July bill-signing ceremony at the Earth Conservations Corps pumphouse where the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation were officially abolished;
* JPI's June "groundbreaking" for its four projects along I Street ("Capitol Yards");
* The April presentation of $4 million for Canal Park/Diamond Teague Park;
* The January groundbreaking marking the start of the Navy Yard Metro renovation and Monument's Half Street project;
* And pretty much any ceremony anywhere in the city the mayor was at since the beginning of the year, plus a lot of other presentations and events. (Be sure not to miss the Reporters' Roundtable "Snitching Debate.") Check the dropdown boxes on the On Demand page for the offerings. I've added the above links to all of the various project pages in case you're desperate to find them again someday.
Two of the most recent shindigs haven't gotten added to the lineup yet--the Oct. 22 kickoff ceremony for the Capitol Riverfront BID (in which you can find out where the "Traveling Roadshow" moniker originated), and the mayor's remarks at the Nov. 13 turf unveiling at the ballpark. Ditto with the Waterside Mall Demolition program, which is currently playing on Channel 16 but hasn't yet made it to On Demand. But perhaps they'll show up eventually.

Garfield Park - Canal Park Connector Meeting Wednesday
Oct 24, 2007 4:09 PM
One more reminder that Wednesday night (Oct. 24) there is a public meeting on the project to create a more appealing connection between Garfield Park north of the Southeast Freeway and the to-be-built-hopefully-eventually Canal Park, one block to the freeway's south. The meeting is from 6 to 9 pm at St. Peter's Catholic Church at 2nd and C streets, SE. Here's the project web site, for more information, along with a DDOT press release on the meeting.
More posts: Canal Park

Reminder on Garfield Park-Canal Park Connector Meeting
Oct 18, 2007 1:31 PM
I posted about this a few weeks ago, but I'll pass along this DDOT press release from today as a reminder that on October 24 there is a public meeting on the project to create a more appealing connection between Garfield Park north of the Southeast Freeway and the to-be-built-hopefully-eventually Canal Park, one block to the freeway's south. The meeting is from 6 to 9 pm at St. Peter's Catholic Church at 2nd and C streets, SE. Here's the project web site, for more information.
More posts: Canal Park

Council Oversight Hearing: I'll Get Back to You on That
Oct 1, 2007 2:52 PM
DC council member Kwame Brown's Committee on Economic Development had an oversight hearing this afternoon to get information from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on the transition of projects on the Southwest Waterfront, Hill East, Poplar Point, Canal Park, and Kingman Island. The majority of the hearing time was spent on the three large projects, but since my hard-and-fast coverage boundaries don't include any of them, I'll just pass along what was said about the current status of Canal Park.
In her opening remarks, DMPED chief operating officer Valerie Santos Young gave a brief description of the 1.8-acre park project, in particular its sustainable design and stormwater management aspects, which will help "minimize discharge of polluted water" into the Anacostia River. She said that her office is (still) working with the DC Public Schools transit administrator to relocate the 100 buses parked on the southern two blocks of the site, and that the Deputy Mayor's office is aware of the "considerable interest" from residents in seeing the park built. "We have achieved some recent milestones to do just that," she said in closing her Canal Park remarks, without actually mentioning what the milestones were. It was later in the hearing, when asked for specifics by Tommy Wells, that Young explained the city has now negotiated the termination of the lease with the company renting the northernmost block of the site.
Otherwise, the issue with getting the park underway still boils down to the removal of the school buses, which has apparently been set back further after council chairman Vincent Gray's recent objections to a plan that would have created a citywide school bus parking lot in Prince George's County instead of in the District. Young said that they are now "scrambling" to find another permanent location, as well as an interim lot the Canal Park buses can be moved to, although DCPS does not want to relocate the buses to a temporary site until a permanent solution has been figured out. But Marion Barry made clear that Ward 8 residents oppose moving the buses to D.C. Village, which apparently had been considered as one possible interim solution.
Wells also asked if there were any progress on the creation of water taxi or ferry landings along the waterfront, but Young replied she was unable to give any answers because she was not personally aware of the specifics and that the project manager was not at the hearing, a response heard so many times that committee chairman Brown finally recessed the hearing in exasperation. (Young's "I was on vacation that week" response to a question by Barry about the specifics of a Poplar Point decision was my personal favorite.) Brown said that there will be another hearing scheduled, and admonished the Deputy Mayor's office that next time they need to be ready with facts and the appropriate staffers in attendance at oversight hearings, and not just repeat "We'll get back to you on that" over and over.
If you're interested in the other projects and want to see the hearing, check the DC Cable 13 listings for replays.
More posts: Canal Park

Council Hearing on Canal Park, Southwest Waterfront, and More
Oct 1, 2007 7:02 AM
Just a reminder for those interested in the progress of Canal Park (as well as the Southwest Waterfront, Hill East, and other former AWC initiatives) that there's a DC council Committee on Economic Development Public oversight hearing on these projects on Monday (Oct. 1) at 12 noon in Room 500 of the Wilson Building. The DC Cable 13 schedule indicates that the hearing will be broadcast live, which means you can either watch the live webcast or dial up Channel 13 if you live in the District and have cable.
More posts: Canal Park

A Blogger is a Person In Your Neighborhood....
Sep 27, 2007 9:32 AM
Capitol Hill's Voice of the Hill newspaper has a co-profile of two local bloggers in its new issue--Elise Bernard of Frozen Tropics (covering H Street NE) and yours truly. Descriptions of me and JDLand include "fastidiously issue-neutral" and "almost aggressive in its lack of color"--but those are actually compliments. And there's a photo that perfectly captures my perpetually bemused state, but that might just be because I was suffering through the replay of the 225 Virginia hearing when the photographer arrived (those with x-ray vision can see Phil Mendelson on one of my computer screens). It's kind of a sequel to the piece they did in 2005.
So, since I'm already self-promoting, I'll mention my Ballpark and Beyond column in today's Post, which talks about the possible sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage to Akridge (we'll find out today--the WMATA board meeting is at 11), the new funding for the waterfront parks, and the Garfield Park-Canal Park connector project.

Today's Oversight Hearing on AWC/NCRC Transition
Sep 24, 2007 10:52 AM
This morning the DC Council Committee on Economic Development is having a public oversight hearing on "Projects Managed by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development" (it's being broadcast live on DC Cable 13 and live webcast, if you're interested). The hearing is still ongoing, and is addressing many projects around the city, but there were two Near Southeast-related items in Deputy Mayor Neil Albert's opening statement that I thought were worth passing along now.
First, it's been decided to not continue to use the old Anacostia Waterfront Corporation space at 1100 New Jersey Avenue after all, and so the expanded Deputy Mayor's office will be split between the Wilson Building and the old National Capital Revitalization Corporation office space at 2020 M Street, NW, and the office moves should happen this week.
Second, Deputy Mayor Albert mentioned Canal Park, saying that "coordination of the site survey, and various site management plans including erosion and stormwater management are scheduled to begin in the next month." He also said that his office is in discussions with the Office of Property Management to relocate the school buses currently occupying two of the park's three blocks to other sites in the city, and that he "expects to have a solution soon." Canal Park is one of the items specifically on the agenda for an Oct. 1 oversight hearing, so hopefully there will be more concrete news then.
If there's additional news from today's hearing, I'll update this entry.
UPDATE: Nothing earthshattering from the rest of the hearing (which, admittedly, I've been listening to with one ear, since the vast majority of it has been on topics outside of Near Southeast). In answering council member Wells's concerns about who will be in charge of the upkeep of the new parks being planned, Deputy Mayor Albert mentioned possible public-private partnerships with the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District for Canal Park and the Earth Conservation Corps for Diamond Teague Park, though he stressed that neither of these have been officially decided on. Wells also asked about whether there's thoughts of creating a Water Authority to help streamline decisions that will have to be made that effect the rivers (such as water taxis, ferry piers, possible new boathouses, etc.); Deputy Mayor Albert said that they've hired a consultant to help them decide how to handle these issues. And, one last tidbit--Albert mentioned that there will be a groundbreaking at The Yards in mid-October.
(If you're interested in Poplar Point or the Southwest Waterfront or the West End library deal, you might want watch for a replay of the hearing broadcast, because those subjects were much discussed. Marion Barry made clear he was not pleased with how the city has handled Poplar Point, and said that he and the Ward 8 community "will oppose any Poplar Point proposal that doesn't include a stadium.")
UPDATE II: Here's a Washington Business Journal blurb on today's hearing, focusing on the savings to the city from the consolidation of the AWC and NCRC functions in the Deputy Mayor's office.

Garfield Park - Canal Park Connector Project Underway; Design Workshop on Oct. 24
Sep 21, 2007 4:01 PM
A project is underway to design and create a "Connector Path" between Garfield Park just north of the Southeast Freeway and the to-be-constructed Canal Park in Near Southeast one block south of the freeway, with the goal of improving "the bicycle and pedestrian passage under the Southeast Freeway at 2nd Street, SE; making this linkage into a functional and attractive route between Capitol Hill and Near Southeast." There's a web site now online for information about this project, and on October 23 there will be a design workshop for those interested in participating in the process. It will be at St. Peter's Catholic Church (Social Hall), 128 2nd St., SE, from 6 to 9 pm.
UPDATE, 10/1: The date on this workshop has been changed to October 24. Same time, same place.
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Canal Park

This Week's Ballpark and Beyond Column
Sep 13, 2007 9:17 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra covers the new historic streetscape photos in DDOT's nascent online archive (the print version of the column displays the 1957 South Capitol Street photo with a current one taken from the same location, as I've done on my South Capitol Street page) and the various upcoming council meetings covering Near Southeast-related issues such as Canal Park and the MPD move/not-move to 225 Virginia Avenue.


Oversight Hearing on Canal Park, and Other Council Events
Sep 7, 2007 9:27 AM
With the August recess over, the city council is swinging back into action, and there's a number of Near Southeast-related hearings scheduled over the next few weeks. The most interesting one is a Committee on Economic Development public oversight hearing on "Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Transition of Projects on the Southwest Waterfront, Hill East, Poplar Point, Canal Park, and Kingman Island", scheduled for Oct. 1 at noon. The progress of Canal Park (or lack thereof) continues to be of great interest to Near Southeast residents, and perhaps by the time of this hearing there will be some movement on getting the school buses relocated. There's rumors afoot that the buses could be moved to a temporary lot once a long-term home is secured--and apparently there may soon be a contract before the city council approving a new permanent lot in Prince George's County.
Other council hearings over the next few weeks that touch on Near Southeast issues include a Sept. 26 Committee on Finance and Revenue public hearing on B17-0292, "Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Public Improvements Revenue Bonds Approval Amendment Act of 2007" and a Sept. 24 Commitee on Economic Development public hearing on B17-0340, "National Capital Revitalization Corporation and Anacostia Waterfront Corporation Clarification Act of 2007".
There's also a Sept. 20 Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary public oversight roundtable on "Capital Projects and Space Needs for Public Safety Agencies," which I'm guessing may touch on the plans for a new home for the Metropolitan Police Department and whether the move to the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave. is indeed called off--you may recall that one day after the Office of Property Management said that the move was canceled, the Post reported that that the mayor was saying he had made no decision one way or the other.
See my Upcoming Events Calendar for times and locations. Some of these may be available on DC Cable 13 and live webcast.
(Also, as an aside, the ANC 6D agenda for Monday night's meeting is now online.)


This Week's Ballpark and Beyond Column
Aug 9, 2007 11:10 AM
Oops, totally forgot to link to today's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra, which covered the concerns about getting the school buses off of Canal Park, and the news item about the Ride the Ducks company looking to build a boat ramp down at Buzzards Point. (What can I say--I got a year older today, so clearly in my advanced years I'm getting forgetful.)
More posts: Canal Park

Canal Park Project Manager Not Part of AWC Shift
Aug 6, 2007 7:20 PM
The word is now out that Carol Anderson-Austra, the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation's project director for Canal Park, is not among those AWC staffers moving over to the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. As I mentioned in my "Whither Canal Park?" entry of a few days ago, the park itself appears to be at an impasse thanks to the issue of moving the school buses, so I'm sure residents and interested observers will be looking forward to word from the DMPED folks as to how they're planning to move the park forward.
Speaking of the move of AWC to DMPED, DC Cable Channel 16 is replaying the ceremony from a few weeks ago when Mayor Fenty signed the bill transferring AWC and the NCRC to city control. It's on this week on Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 pm (also available via streaming video if you don't have DC cable).
More posts: Canal Park

AWC Staffers Getting the Word Today; And Whither Canal Park?
Aug 3, 2007 2:22 PM
I'm hearing scuttlebutt that today is the day that staffers at the being-dismantled Anacostia Waterfront Corporation are finding out whether they and their jobs are being migrated into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. So tread lightly around 1100 New Jersey this afternoon, because the mood may not be all sunshine and roses.
As always, the question on many peoples' minds is, how will this transfer affect AWC projects in Near Southeast? And Canal Park always seems to be at the top of that list. While the commotion has now subsided over whether zoning changes had suddenly paved the way for ballpark parking on the Canal Park site, residents and activists are starting to be concerned that the city may not be moving with enough speed to get the school buses off the site and get the park built by its announced completion date of Spring 2008. I wrote a few weeks ago about testimony to the city council that negotiations to get the buses removed were continuing, but that no deal had been struck.
But now word is out that the city is working to create a new citywide school bus parking lot in Prince George's County, and there's rumor and speculation that the Canal Park buses would not be moved until that lot has been created. An open question is whether pressure from local leaders could persuade the city to find a temporary location for the Canal Park buses while waiting for the PG County site to come together, so that the park could move forward. The park is in ANC 6D's territory, and of course city councilman's Tommy Wells ward.
To make Canal Park fans feel slightly better, here's the just-posted minutes from the June 21 Commission on Fine Arts meeting, which, if you scroll way way way down, include descriptions of the public art for the park by sculptor David Hess that the CFA reviewed and approved. (Alas, no images.)
More posts: ANC News, Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Canal Park

August Hill Rag Articles
Jul 31, 2007 10:59 AM
Within the past few weeks I've posted a lot about the MPD move to 225 Virginia Ave. and the falderal over the surface parking lots zoning amendment including Canal Park, but if you can't get enough, the August issue of the Hill Rag has pieces on both items. And a summary of the July ANC 6D meeting, too.

Ballpark and Beyond This Week
Jul 19, 2007 10:38 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in this week's District Extra of the Post covers the NCPC votes on the surface parking lots and The Yards design, the water and sewer special assessment on the blocks north of the stadium, and the $140 million in bonds that will help finance various projects along the Anacostia River, including Diamond Teague Park and its rumored ferry pier. The links above will take you to the news items originally posted here or to the pages I maintain on the various projects; in particular, check out The Yards First-Phase page for many of the renderings that were shown to the NCPC.
More posts: Canal Park, parking, Teague Park, The Yards

Harriet Tregoning on Kojo Nnamdi Show
Jul 16, 2007 11:12 PM
The city's Director of the Office of Planning, Harriet Tregoning, spent an hour on Monday talking about city development and planning issues with WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi; you can listen to it here. Topics covered included the H Street corridor, Southwest, industrial uses, retaining local retailers, green development, Poplar Point, and livability and walkability. She mentioned that retail around the stadium is going to be an issue at first, since there won't be much of it ready by Opening Day 2008, and seemed to indicate that vendors ("something other than hot dogs and FBI t-shirts") could be an option. When asked about the status of Canal Park by a Near Southeast resident (wave to the crowd, Sophia) She also reiterated what I've reported here over the past few days: there will be no overflow stadium parking on the Canal Park site, but negotiations have not yet been completed to get the current lease holders (i.e., the school bus lots) off the site, so there is no start date for the park's construction.
More posts: Canal Park, parking, Nationals Park

No Actual Start Date for Canal Park, and Other News from AWC Hearing
Jul 13, 2007 9:50 PM
Who could envision a more exciting Friday night than watching the Tivo'ed coverage of today's DC Council Committee on Economic Development Public Hearing on the plans for the transition of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. (Maybe it's time for a new JDLand motto: We bore ourselves to tears so you don't have to.)
What is probably the biggest headline from the hearing for those with Near Southeast interests is that Deputy Mayor Neil Albert called "totally incorrect" the recent reports that construction would begin on Canal Park in August. Valerie Santos Young, now the Chief Operating Officer of the Deputy Mayor's office, said that negotiations are continuing with both the owner of the unused parking lot of the northernmost block of the park (Urban Parking Ventures) and with the group that owns the lease for the school bus parking on the other two blocks, but no agreements have been reached.
With that pleasant news out of the way, there really wasn't much else of note in the hearing that specifically impacts Near Southeast. There will be job cuts as the three organizations are merged into one, and employees should know their status in the new plan by Aug. 15; the number of positions being cut wasn't disclosed. They are planning to expand the DMPED office space in the Wilson Building, but will also be renewing the lease on the AWC offices at 1100 New Jersey Ave. for additional space. (They are working to break the lease for the old NCRC office space on M Street.) Accenture is being paid $320,000 for three months to help with the transition (which got some questioning from Kwame Brown as to why a local firm couldn't have been hired for the job). No documents on the reorganization were given to the committee before the hearing, which Brown wasn't too thrilled about, but Albert says that the new organization chart will be ready by August.
And, as much as I tried to close my ears to any non-Near Southeast discussions, I did hear that the city is not planning to sign the Memorandum of Understanding that the AWC had negotiated with the Southwest Waterfront redevelopment team, because the city's lawyers were concerned about possible exposure (which wasn't elaborated on). Albert said that they feel that an agreement can be reached that covers everything in the MOU without actually having an MOU.
There were also conversations about the management of the marinas, which baffled me until I realized everyone was saying "live-aboards" and not "liverboards."
You can catch a rebroadcast of the hearing on Saturday at 12:30 pm on either DC Cable 13 or via streaming video. If you subscribe to the Washington Business Journal, today's print edition had a short pre-hearing piece on the transition plans.
There will be additional oversight hearings in September and October, and Kwame Brown indicated that he plans to have additional hearings on every development project now in the DMPED portfolio, to make sure that the public is kept abreast of the plans and the timelines.
More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Canal Park, Teague Park

NCPC Gives Stamp of Approval to Temporary Surface Parking and Plans for The Yards
Jul 12, 2007 2:40 PM
This afternoon, the National Capital Planning Commission gave their "does not adversely effect federal interests" approval to the recent zoning amendment allowing temporary surface parking lots on various blocks near the stadium, subject to the removal of the Canal Park parcels from the amendment and also that any of the temporary lots on waterfront parcels be set back a minimum of 75 feet from the Anacostia shoreline. They also want the final order of the text amendment to make clear that the five-year cap on these lots cannot be extended via a Board of Zoning Adjustment Special Exception.
The staff report indicated what we've heard in the last day or so, that the Office of Planning will indeed be modifying the amendment to take out Reservation 17 parcels B, C, and D (the Canal Park blocks) before the Zoning Commission's final vote on July 30. There was also slightly curt exchange between two of the commissioners during the discussion of the parking situation about why the US Department of Transporation headquarters can't make some accommodation to allow public parking (as the Reagan building does) in some of its 800 parking spaces; as is now so often the case in this city, "Sept. 11" was the answer.
The commission also approved the 35% design plans for The Yards--many of the renderings and drawings that were in the presentation to the board today are already on my Yards First Phase page. This submittal to the NCPC covered the streetscape, landscape, and infrastructure improvement plans, and the plans for the first four developments on the site--renovation of two existing buildings to create 430 residential units, the renovation of Building 167 into a 46,000-sq-ft retail space, and the construction of two new buildings at 4th and M that would have 320,000 sq ft of office space, a grocery store, and 170+ apartments. Work on the streetscape and infrastructure improvements will be starting this summer, and the first of the building renovations will get underway next year, with 170 apartments and the Building 167 retail to be delivered in mid-2009. This plan will also be in front of the Commission on Fine Arts on July 19.
I hope to get electronic versions soon of the staff recommendation documents for both of these votes, which contain lots of good summary information for people who haven't been following these cases quite as, um, closely as SOME people. I'll update here when I get them.
So, for Canal Park fans, everything seems to be pointing to the hoped-for conclusion, though it won't be 100% written in stone until the July 30 Zoning Commission meeting.
UPDATE: Here's the recommendation document for The Yards; I hope to have the parking one on Friday, so check back.
UPDATE II: Believe it or not, NBC 4 covered the meeting today. (Maybe they got the idea from today's District Extra!)
More posts: Canal Park, parking, The Yards, zoning

Ballpark and Beyond This Week
Jul 12, 2007 9:00 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in The Post's District Extra today covers the Canal Park parking lot brouhaha. If you're arriving here looking for more background, here's the zoning amendment that started it all, last night's news that the Office of Planning looks firmly committed to rectifying the oversight, my page with details on all the plans for stadium parking around Near Southeast, today's NCPC meeting agenda, and my Canal Park page for details on the plans for the park itself. I'll be posting later today on the outcome of the NCPC meeting.
More posts: Canal Park, zoning

Canal Park-ing
Jul 11, 2007 9:08 PM
In advance of Thursday's National Capital Planning Commission meeting that will review the surface parking lots zoning amendment, the Voice of the Hill has posted a piece about the controversial inclusion of the Canal Park blocks within the parcels approved for parking. Much of the piece covers territory I've written about over the past few days, but has some new nuggets. Money quote: "Joel Lawson, the Office of Planning's acting deputy director for neighborhood and long-range planning, said the portions of squares containing Canal Park were never intended to be used for parking and should not have been included. 'I can understand why people are concerned about this,' he said. But, he added, 'We knew the parking wasn't going to go there.' He said the planning office will amend its request to make explicit this provision." Another quote, from the spokesman for Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert: "We have no intention to use this three-block site for stadium parking, and we fully expect to move forward in building this important public amenity on schedule." This would appear to make the NCPC meeting less of a critical juncture, but I'll still be there to check it out. Besides, they're also having a big presentation on the first-phase plans for The Yards.
More posts: Canal Park, parking, The Yards, zoning

Canal Park Parking - NCPC Staff Recommendation
Jul 9, 2007 4:16 PM
UPDATE: With a mere 14 minutes to spare, I've just now been informed that the 30-day comment period on the zoning text amendment ends today at 4:30, so if by chance you're reading this in the next few minutes, you can fax your comments and contact information to the DCOZ at (202) 727-6072 so that it can be considered when they take final action on July 30.
Maneuvering continues today on the No-Parking-on-Canal-Park front: there is word that the National Capital Planning Commission staff is recommending that the NCPC board should request at its Thursday meeting that the Canal Park site be excluded from the proposed zoning amendment that is allowing temporary surface parking on certain lots in Near Southeast. (The NCPC weighs in on all zoning changes that might "impact federal interests," and they are considering Canal Park an amenity for US Department of Transportation workers across the street, thereby making it of "federal interest." Heh.) It should be noted that the NCPC board does not have to go along with its staff's recommendations. In addition, the zoning commission does not have to incorporate the NCPC's comments when it takes its own final action on the parking lots, but I imagine the word will get to the zoning commission as loudly as it did to the NCPC about the strong desire to exclude the Canal Park blocks from the final parking amendment.
I'm waiting now for some clarification from the Office of Zoning of exactly what the future votes and procedures are on the parking amendment--it was adopted as an emergency measure in May, which I believe means that at some point the temporary amendment must be made permanent. That would appear to give time and wiggle room for additional changes to the amendment if desired by the ZC, but I'm checking to be sure.

More posts: Canal Park, zoning

Week O'Meetings
Jul 8, 2007 2:27 PM
With the calendar inching toward DC's annual August shutdown, there's a boatload of meetings and hearings on the agenda this week as everyone tries to get their work done before heading for the beach. Here's a not-very-detailed rundown, so follow the links if you want more detailed information:
* Monday starts bright and early with the "public hearing and preliminary finding" by the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District application, in Room 301 of the Wilson Building, 10 am.
* The Zoning Commission's monthly public meeting on Monday night includes a final vote on the plans for the 250 M Street office building and a first vote on the 1325 South Capitol Street residential project. In addition, there's a new case looking for various amendments to the Southeast Federal Center overlay; here's the Office of Planning report spelling them out. The commission is also scheduled to address Florida Rock's request for guidance on its revised design, which has the support of the Office of Planning. The meeting is at 6:30 pm at One Judiciary Square (Suite 220 South), but also can be watched via live webcast.
* At about the same time, ANC 6D is having its monthly meeting, and will be having a presentation and vote on Forest City's July 26 zoning hearing to allow temporary surface parking lots at The Yards. This meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 6th and M Streets, SW. (Having to make a choice, I'm opting for the zoning meeting, so it might take a little while before I find out what happened at the ANC.)
* Tuesday's city council meeting at 10 am will include a final vote on the bill to create the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District.
* On Tuesday night WMATA is having a public hearing on the proposed move of the Southeastern Bus Garage from its current location at Half and M to a new facility at DC Village in Southwest. (It's probably geared more toward residents near the new location.) There's an open house at 5:30 pm, and the hearing itself starts at 6:30, at 2700 Martin Luther King Dr. SE.
* The Nationals ballpark is having its "Topping Out" party on Wednesday at noon.
* WMATA's Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee is meeting in executive session on Thursday morning to address something having to do with the Southeastern Bus Garage, but they're not saying what.
* Thursday also sees the National Capital Planning Commission meeting that Canal Park fans mobilized for, with the NCPC's agenda including the zoning commission case approving temporary surface parking lots on various blocks in Near Southeast that include Canal Park in their boundaries. There's also a presentation on the the first phase of The Yards. The meeting is at 12:30 pm at 401 9th St., NW, Suite 500.
* Wrapping up the week (pant pant pant) is a city council Subcommittee on Economic Development hearing on the transition plans for folding in the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; it's in the council chamber at the Wilson Building at 10 am, and may also be broadcast on DC cable channel 13 and via streaming video.
And then I will spend the weekend alseep.

Wells Springs Into Action for Canal Park
Jul 6, 2007 5:40 PM
Another day of lightning-fast developments in Near Southeast, so apologies for the disjointedness.... A letter has been posted on Tommy Wells's blog, to the chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission, making it clear that council member Wells does not want to see any delay in the construction of Canal Park (see my earlier entry for background on all of this). The rest of the blog entry says that these concerns have been communicated to the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert as well (and Mr. Albert agreed). The letter specifically tells the NCPC: "The temporary parking zoning amendment must be modified to include clarifying language to protect the park site from any zoning changes, temporary or otherwise. Specifically, no temporary surface lots should be permitted on US Reservation 17, parcels B, C and D, which are the location of the proposed Washington Canal Park." Crisis averted? The NCPC meeting is July 12.
And, as a bonus, Wells's post says that Canal Park is scheduled to begin construction in August, the first start date I've heard. But until I see yellow school buses driving off into the sunset, I'll remain merely cautiously optimistic.
More posts: Canal Park, zoning

Concerns About Canal Park and Parking - Update
Jul 6, 2007 12:12 PM
While I've been following for weeks the zoning procedures around the plans for temporary surface parking lots in the blocks north of M Street, I'm hearing today for the first time that there may be some pressure behind the scenes to delay construction of Canal Park, so that its three blocks of space could be used for temporary surface parking to help fulfill the necessary spaces for Nationals ballgames.
It is indeed true that those three blocks are covered under Zoning Case 07-08, which was approved back in May, but because of some odd tax parcel configurations (where the parcels 767, 768, and 769 actually stretch across the eastern half of 2nd Street over to 3rd and so also include the three blocks where Capper buildings were demolished earlier this year), I always just assumed that those references in the zoning requests were merely for the Capper portions of the parcels and not the Canal Park portions. Plus, plans seemed to be moving forward for Canal Park to begin construction in time for a Spring 2008 opening, so it didn't appear to be an issue (much the way that Case 07-08 asked for the ability to build temporary lots on the Pepco site in Buzzards Point even though Pepco says they wouldn't be vacating those blocks anytime soon).
However, with apparently some salivating going on in some quarters over those additional lots (where school buses currently reside), some people fear that the near-term building of Canal Park could be in jeopardy. There is a meeting on July 12 of the National Capital Planning Commission, where approval of Case 07-08 is on the agenda; if this issue of parking lots/no parking lots on the Canal Park site is something that concerns you one way or the other, you may wish follow the NCPC guidelines for participation in the meeting. And getting in touch with the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation (which is in charge of the park's development) and/or Tommy Wells's office may also be an approach you want to take.
UPDATE, 7/6: I'm now hearing whispers that the salivating over Canal Park might not actually be completely stadium-related, but also a part of the continuing need for the Metropolitan Police Department to find about 150 extra spaces to have enough parking for their proposed move into 225 Virginia Avenue....


Public Art at Canal Park
Jun 19, 2007 10:51 AM
The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts is having its monthly meeting on Thursday (June 20), and one of the agenda items is "Washington Canal Park, 2nd Street between I and M Streets, S.E. Sculptures by David Hess." Apparently earlier this year the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities put out a $300,000 Call for Artists for "permanent public artworks" at Canal Park, and Mr. Hess was the winner. The commission will be reviewing his submission and providing final recommendations; alas, there doesn't appear to be any documentation anywhere out on the web of exactly what his winning submission looks like. Hess's web site shows much of his other work, but I haven't found anything on a Canal Park project. More as I get it.
More posts: Canal Park

Meeting Wrap-Up - 250 M Approved, ANC Thumbs Down on Parking
May 15, 2007 12:11 PM
Let's go around the horn and see what happened at last night's various meetings.
* The Zoning Commission voted to give final approval to the plans for 250 M Street, William C. Smith's planned 190,000-sq-ft office building on M Street just east of what will be Canal Park. The building, which is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Planned Unit Development (and will help fund all the redevelopment at Capper), is expected to start construction at the end of 2007.
* ANC 6D had three Near Southeast items on the agenda--unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend, so I'm giving you the quick and dirty results, and will hopefully have links later for additional details. First, they gave their approval (again) to the 276-unit residential building planned by Camden Development at 1325 South Capitol Street, but this was pretty prefunctory since they approved it a few months back and nothing has really changed except a bureaucratic need to resubmit the plan to the Zoning Commission in a different manner; the ZC hearing is on May 31. Second, they voted not to support Zoning Commission Case 07-08, the request to amend the city's zoning laws to allow temporary (no longer than five years) surface parking lots on certain squares in Near Southeast to help provide parking for the new stadium. There was also a presentation by the DC Housing Authority on what's been happening with Capper/Carrollsburg and the Capper seniors buildings, but of course you've been reading this site religiously and so know it all already.
UPDATE: Apparently the feelings against the parking case ran pretty strong; and I understand that Andy Litsky of the ANC will be testifying in opposition at the Zoning Commission hearing next Monday (May 21).


Photos. Lots and Lots and Lots of Photos.
Apr 30, 2007 5:32 PM
In addition to the new photos I posted yesterday in the Stadium Construction Gallery, I also now have for your perusal and enjoyment updated photos of the demolitions at 909 New Jersey (Nexus), Square 699N (Edge/Wet), and 1015 Half (Nation, work which is still just in its early stages). And, there's also new photos from another fun location. Plus, I've added a lot of additional shots to in the Photo Archive, so check the North oif M and the ballpark area intersections for more shots if you can't get enough--you can also look at a single page with my all photos from yesterday, and then click on the name of the intersection if you want to see the comparison shots.
Last but not least, I attended the ceremony today where JBG (developers of the DOT HQ) donated $4 million to the city to help fund the creation of both Canal Park and Diamond Teague Park, and I posted on those pages a shot or two from the festivities. UPDATE: Here's the Examiner's story on the donations and the plans for the two parks.
And now, I'd like to go back on vacation....


JBG Donating $4 Million to Two Parks
Apr 24, 2007 5:05 PM
From an Anacostia Waterfront Corporation press release (not yet posted on their web site): "JBG Companies will present $4 million to help fund neighborhood improvements in the Near Southeast neighborhood, including Washington Canal Park and Diamond Teague Park, at a ceremonial event scheduled for Monday, April 30, 2007 at 11:00 am. The ceremony will take place at the planned site for Washington Canal Park, located at the corner of 2nd and M Streets, SE. Participants in the check presentation ceremony will include District Mayor Adrian Fenty, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and AWC Interim President and CEO Neil O. Albert, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development, and Ben Jacobs, President of JBG Companies, who will present a ceremonial check to District officials and AWC. JBG Companies, developer of the new U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters building on M Street, SE, is contributing $2.5 million toward development of Washington Canal Park and $1.5 million toward the development of Diamond Teague Park." And, this additional bit of info about Diamond Teague Park: "The park is being completed in a partnership arrangement with surrounding land owners for area-wide benefit and use. The park's first phase will incorporate interim improvements to include a ferry landing [emphasis mine] and esplanade. Future improvements will include connecting the Ballpark District to The Yards (formerly Southeast Federal Center) with the construction of the Anacostia Riverwalk adjacent to the river bank site currently occupied by the DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA)."


Weekend Closures and Cleanups
Apr 18, 2007 1:32 PM
A reminder that the inbound lanes of the Frederick Douglass Bridge will again be closed this weekend (from 10 am Friday, April 20 until before the Monday, April 23 morning rush hour). In May and June, the weekend closures will be shifted to the outbound lanes. And, of course, in July and August, the bridge will be shut down completely for Extreme Makeover: South Capitol Street, aka the demolition of the northern end of the bridge to allow for the bridge to arrive at ground level at Potomac Avenue.
Also, see my previous entry about various Earth Day-related activities around Near Southeast and the Anacostia River. Alas, my calendar has an unmoveable commitment for Saturday, otherwise I was all ready to make the Canal Park cleanup a JDLand meet-and-greet. But don't let that stop you from participating; and be sure to ask the organizers if you can help them move the school buses (heh heh).

Earth Day Canal Park Cleanup and AWC Walking Tours
Apr 2, 2007 1:34 PM
Two upcoming events from the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation that might be of interest: On Earth Day, April 21, the AWC is running an Anacostia River Earth Day Cleanup and Celebration, with Canal Park being of the four cleanup sites (along with the Southwest Waterfront, Marvin Gaye Park, and Kenilworth Parkand Poplar Point). See their announcement for details, and also check out the Anacostia Watershed Society's Earth Day cleanup plans for the Anacostia. The next day, April 22, as part of Cultural Tourism DC's Walkingtown Tours, the AWC is sponsoring four different routes, none of which are actually in Near Southeast but which still might be of interest (the eastern riverfront and Poplar Point, Kingman and Heritage Islands, Hill East, and Marvin Gaye Park). The announcement has times and locations and whatnot.
More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Canal Park, Events

New Signs, Fences, and Cranes
Mar 29, 2007 1:10 PM
Goings on about town.... Earlier this week the construction crane arrived at the Onyx on First/100 M Street construction site, signaling the beginning of the end of the digging-down phase and the start of the building-up phase. (Though these two projects are being developed by different companies, they are being built concurrently--that's synergy, and cost savings!) Two blocks over, a big sign has gone up at 2nd and M advertising Washington Canal Park--the graphic on the sign is the same one I found a few weeks back in the Capitol Riverfront BID executive summary. And, today, fences have been erected around Square 699N, the entire block bounded by Half, K, L, and 1st, the former home to Wet/Edge and various other small businesses. Permits appear to be in place for demolition and excavation, so with the fences up I'd expect something to start happening soon--now if only the Cohen Companies would tell us WHAT! You can see a few new shots on my Square 699N and Canal Park pages, or here in the Photo Archive all at once. UPDATE: I should add that, back in September 2005 when Ron Cohen purchased Square 699N, it was reported that the block would be developed with 650 condos, a hotel with condos, a stand-alone 250,000 sq ft office building, and retail. But there's been little reporting since on his plans.
More posts: 100 M, Canal Park, Onyx, Square 743N, Square 699n, Velocity Condos

Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District Getting Organized - Executive Summary Posted
Mar 13, 2007 12:20 AM
A little birdie was kind enough to pass along a URL for the "Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District", the BID in its initial organization phase that's slated to cover the entire Near Southeast footprint. (I'm not letting them rename my Hood just yet.) Right now there's only an Executive Summary posted, but it's certainly chock full of information about what's planned for the area, and how important a BID would be (they seem to be fixated on how dirty the neighborhood currently is). The city council must approve the creation of a BID, so this document is very much focused on persuading The Powers That Be that this BID is necessary; it's chock full of vision statements, goals, boundaries, number crunching, yadda yadda yadda. But considering that the initial directors of the BID are heavy hitters from WC Smith, Forest City Washington, Monument Realty, JBG, and Potomac Investment Properties, it's clear that there's plenty of muscle behind this proposal. But if you don't care about any of that, at least check out the cool previously unseen renderings of the Nats ballpark (on page 15) and the proposed Canal Park on the back cover (I'm adding the renderings to my project pages as well). You can see my previous entry about the formation of this BID (and more about what the heck a BID is) here. But definitely browse through the BID's Executive Summary, they clearly mean business [ahem].
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Canal Park, Nationals Park

AWC and NCRC's Future
Mar 2, 2007 3:19 PM
Today's Washington Business Journal has a cover story ("Agencies at Risk", available online) on the hazy future of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation, which have come under fire by members of the city council for being "barriers" to getting things done in the city. The AWC's coverage area includes all of Near Southeast, so what becomes of it will have an impact on much of what I'm tracking here, including the Nationals ballpark, Canal Park, Diamond Teague Park, and the Anacostia Riverwalk. There are two city council hearings on the fate of these two quasi-government corporations, the first on March 7 at 10 am, when the Committee on Economic Development holds Agency Oversight Hearings on FY06-07 Budgets, covering not only AWC and NCRC but also the Office of Planning and the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (so it's quite the Near Southeast Oversight Bonanza). Then, on March 13 at 10 am, the same subcommittee will be holding the first hearings on the "NCRC and AWC Reorganization Act of 2007"; I imagine both of these will be available via streaming video and on DC Cable 13. As an aside, the Examiner reports that Mayor Fenty's office has said that an anticipated report on the AWC and NCRC was in fact not supposed to be ready in 60 days, but 100 days (oops).
More posts: Canal Park, Nationals Park, Teague Park

DOT Pilot Agreement; Ground to be Broken on Canal and Diamond Teague Parks in 2007
Feb 16, 2007 5:20 PM
In other news from the same press release announcing the interim AWC CEO: "Yesterday, the District of Columbia, AWC and the JBG Companies signed a Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) agreement to secure the development of the US Department of Transportation headquarters, a JBG-owned property. The PILOT will fund $140 million in infrastructure investments for the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. The revenue stream from the agreement will be dedicated to support District issued bonds. These projects include: Southeast Federal Center, Anacostia Metro, Reservation 13, Ward 7 Waterfront, Marvin Gaye Park, [and the] Southwest Waterfront." See previous posts on this PILOT agreement here, here, and here.
That $140 million must be burning a hole in the AWC's pocket, because they've already posted an RFP for a Construction Manager for several AWC capital projects: "The total construction value for these activities is up to $140 million." There is a good tidbit buried in the accompanying press release, that AWC intends to break ground in 2007 on both Washington Canal Park and on the first phase of Diamond Teague Park, the planned 39,000-sq-ft public plaza at the terminus of First Street on the banks of Anacostia, nestled between Florida Rock, the Earth Conservation Corps, WASA, and the Nationals ballpark. (And who is Diamond Teague? Read this NOW With Bill Moyers transcript from 2004.)

Redesigned AWC Web Site; First Street Ferry Pier
Jan 8, 2007 11:26 AM
A nice pick-me-up on this dreary Monday morning--the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has unveiled a redesigned web site, and it's certainly more pleasing to the eye. There's a page listing all of their projects, including pages on the South Capitol Waterfront & Ballpark District and Washington Canal Park in Near Southeast as well as the Southwest Waterfront, Poplar Point, Hill East, Kingman Island, and others. One new item from the South Capitol page, that the 40,000-sq-ft public plaza we've started hearing about planned for the foot of First Street at the waterfront will include a new ferry pier. Lots of people interested in the ballpark and Near Southeast in general have been wondering whether ferry/water taxi options would be incorporated, and I had always seen general discussions that they would, but this is the first specific description I've seen for a planned location of such a pier. Yay! (But I'm guessing we won't be seeing it by Opening Day 2008.) For more information (what little I have) on the First Street Plaza, see my Florida Rock page (whose developers have pledged $3.7 million toward the plaza's design and implementation costs, for what is expected to be a $15 million project); my Canal Park page has info and photos on that project as well.

MPDC 1st District Station Moving to Post Plant?
Jan 2, 2007 8:29 PM
Thanks to sharp-eyed correspondent John for noticing a tidbit buried in the January Hill Rag (not yet online), which I've also found in this December 12 press release from the Mayor's Office discussing the new forensics lab that the city is going to start building in 2008 at 4th and E, SW: "Ultimately, more than 500 District employees will work at the 300,000 square foot building which currently houses a DC Fire station and a Metropolitan Police Division headquarters. The fire station will be reconstructed at the site as a part of the new building, and the MPD Division headquarters will be relocated to leased facilities at 225 Virginia Avenue, SE." This is the old Washington Star/Post printing plant that sits next to the freeway. I can't tell you anything more than this--the press release says that construction at the 4th Street SW site is supposed to begin in 2008 and last until 2010, I don't know when they plan to move the District Station. More as I get it. (This is the main 1st District Station, by the way--not the substation at 5th and E SE.)
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Canal Park, Capper

Post Piece on Canal Park
Dec 7, 2006 9:39 AM
Today's Post has an article about the planned Canal Park ("First New City Park in Years Will Recall Canal's Heyday"). There's no real news in the article, just a description of the plans for the park; no illustrations either, but of course my Canal Park page has plenty, including the most recent design drawing and a copy of the large concept submission document given to the Commission on Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission last month. The plan is to have it ready by Spring 2008, and hopefully the school buses will be off the site by mid-2007.
More posts: Canal Park

Near Southeast Features Roundup
Nov 30, 2006 1:41 PM
Here's a few recent stories from some rather varied publications that reference Near Southeast in someway:
The Chesapeake Bay Journal has a long story about the Anacostia River ("There's Still Hope for the Anacostia In Spite of All the Strikes Against It") talking about the problems the Anacostia contends with (such as antiquated sewage systems resulting in untreated wastewater being dumped into the river, toxins that are giving fish tumors, and all the trash), then describes the efforts being made to clean up the river, including green roofs and other low-impact development possibilities (the DOT's green roof, the stadium's attempts to "be green") and the AWC's pledge to make the Anacostia a clean, healthy river.
It's not yet online (sacrilege!), but this month's Dwell magazine has a feature story on the Anacostia Waterfront ("Even if politics remain dirty, at least DC's ambitious Anacostia Waterfront will make the city a little cleaner").
The Financial Times Deutschland (JDLand scans the globe to bring you the news!) has a quick blurb detailing the city's "decade-long transformation from financial laughing-stock to boom town," mentioning specifically the rise of the Ballpark District.


Canal Park Concept Submission - NCPC Comments Favorably
Nov 2, 2006 9:22 PM
On Nov. 2, the National Capital Planning Commission will consider approval of the design of Washington Canal Park, and someone was nice enough to pass along to me the Canal Park Concept Submission document that was prepared for the NCPC (and also the US Commission of Fine Arts's meeting on Oct. 19)--40 pages of incredible detail, with a long design narrative and many many drawings. UPDATE, 11/2: At today's NCPC meeting, the commission "commented favorably" on the design concept. The next stage will be the preliminary design stage, and the NCPC has requested that AWC provide "More fully developed streetscape designs at street edges and crosswalks; Simplified overall design with consideration of durable materials and elements that require less routine maintenance; Lighting design that has minimal visual impact on adjacent streets and mixed-use development; Details of water elements that demonstrates their character when water is turned off; and Design details indicating accommodations for the physically disabled, including persons with visual or hearing impairments." Finally, the commission "commended the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and its design team for integrating low-impact development strategies that will minimize the effects of storm water runoff from the site."
More posts: Canal Park

100 I Street Building Permit Approved; Soil Borings at Canal Park
Oct 30, 2006 10:07 PM
Alas, the new DCStats Building Permits RSS Feed is still undergoing some birthing pains (updates daily around 10 pm instead of 9 am, leaving it well behind the other feeds, and seeming to miss some day's permit issuings), so I have to go back to the old-fashioned report to learn that last week the JPI's 100 I Street residential project received its building permit, so work can begin on its section of the lot, next to the already under construction 70 I Street. Together, the two towers will have nearly 700 units when they are delivered in mid-2008. Also, permits have been issued for six soil borings (4" wide and 30' deep) in two locations (200 L and 200 M streets) in the Canal Park footprint.
More posts: 70/100 I, Canal Park, jpi

Updated Canal Park Design Rendering
Sep 30, 2006 11:45 AM
Thanks to the kind folks at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, I've now posted an image of the latest design of Washington Canal Park, which was presented at the stakeholders meeting a few days back.
More posts: Canal Park

Canal Park Stakeholders Meeting
Sep 21, 2006 9:12 PM
Just got back from the meeting about Canal Park held by the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation. The designers from Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd gave a presentation on the latest design and thought processes behind this three-block park planned for the center of Near Southeast, at 2nd Street between I and M. Much of the discussion centered around the park's Low-Impact Development design, which will capture and harvest rainwater for use throughout the site, and is being looked at as a model for this sort of development. The park will have larger-scale uses at it's south end, by M Street--a plaza with a seating area, and an amphitheater for events (the Marine Band has apparently expressed an interest in playing there)--then the park transitions to a smaller-scale feel as you move north, with water features dominating the second block and part of the third. A wooden boardwalk, under a canopy of shade trees, would run along the entire length of the park, on it's western side. They are also looking at ways to "connect" the Canal Park with Garfield Park 1 1/2 blocks to the north (separated by the lovely freeway underpass). I hope to get updated design graphics from them soon, and will post them as soon as I do, although they don't appear (to my untrained eye) to be radically different from what I have on the site now. As for a timeline (keeping in mind that all development project timelines should be taken with nine or 10 grains of salt), they are currently hoping to have the school buses removed from the site by the second quarter of 2007, and perhaps get the park open by Spring 2008.
More posts: Canal Park

All Sorts of Upcoming Meetings
Sep 19, 2006 6:41 PM
In case you don't make it a habit to look at my Neighborhood Events Calendar halfway down the home page (boo!), I'm making mention of a few upcoming meetings: Sept. 20 has the Capitol Hill Restoration Society's Preservation Café, "Barracks Row Below the Freeway"; Sept. 21 has a Washington Canal Park Community Stakeholders Meeting; Sept. 28 has an Anacostia Waterfront Corporation Public Board Meeting. See my calendar for times and places.
More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Canal Park, 8th Street

Canal Park Community Meeting
Sep 13, 2006 8:51 PM
Buried deep on page 75 of the September Hill Rag (but not as yet announced on the AWC web site, grrrr) is notice of a Washington Canal Park Community Stakeholders Meeting, scheduled for Sept. 21 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at 222 8th Street NE (St. James Church Rectory). The ad says "Everyone is invited. Come see the new schematic designs and share your thoughts and ideas." (hat tip to reader John for passing this along) UPDATE, 9/13: Here is the press release from the AWC announcing the meeting.
More posts: Canal Park

Report from July ANC 6D Meeting
Jul 28, 2006 11:29 AM
Voice of the Hill has posted it's summary of the July 10 ANC 6D Meeting. It's a bit of water under the bridge at this point, but it's still worth noting here that the ANC did vote to oppose the Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness, which were then approved the next day by the city council. Also on the agenda had been William C. Smith's request for alley closings and street openings in preparation for its development project at 800 New Jersey Ave. The proposal was referred to the ANC's development subcommittee, with there again being debate about what "community benefits" the project would be providing. According to VOTH, the "William C. Smith representative pointed to amenities his company has already promised, including an affordable housing component and funding for a public park." The public park being Canal Park, which William C. Smith is helping to fund. (Note that the alley closing/street opening request is on the Aug. 3 NCPC agenda.)


Community Meeting on Canal Park
Jun 6, 2006 8:18 AM
A lot of people have been waiting to see progress on Canal Park, the new park planned for the lots along 2nd Street between I and M now occupied by lots and lots of yellow schoolbuses. And now we have some movement forward: on Wednesday, June 7 there will be a meeting to solicit community input on the initial designs by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, the landscape architecture firm selected in 2004 to design the park. The meeting is at Van Ness Elementary School, 1150 5th Street, NE, from 6 to 8 pm. UPDATE: Here's the flyer announcing the meeting.

More posts: Canal Park

Canal Park Slowly Moving Forward?
May 5, 2006 4:43 PM
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd., the landscape architecture firm picked to design the planned Washington Canal Park along 2nd Street, has finally added it to their project list on their web site. The only new tidbit is that their info page says "Completion Date: December 2006." Now, whether that's a real date or a fingers-crossed date, I don't know, but at least it's something....
UPDATE, 5/5: Apparently the "Completion Date: December 2006" on the GGN Canal Park project page was a typo, and has been removed. But hopefully there's going to be some movement before too long.

More posts: Canal Park

Contract Finally to be Awarded for Canal Park
Jan 3, 2006 7:48 PM
(originally posted Dec. 2) It's been just short of a year since Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd won the design competition for Washington Canal Park, and basically nothing has happened with the plans since then. But for its Dec. 8 board meeting, the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has prepared a draft resolution that agrees to award GGN a $979,500 contract for design and planning services. Let's hope that the park appears in 2006, as originally scheduled. UPDATE: I have now heard that the AWC board did authorize the AWC to enter into a contract with GGNL. But of course now the contract has to be worked out.
More posts: Canal Park

New Photos
Oct 29, 2005 5:01 PM
It's Photo Updates day, and I've added a pile of them--look for the   icon to see my latest photos on these pages: DOT HQ, Capper Seniors, Capitol Hill Tower, Canal Park, 20 M Street, East End, M Street, Marine B.E.Q., and New Jersey Avenue, and even one if you dig enough on South Capitol Street. Whew!

Oct 13, 2005 4:00 PM
The Oct. 13 Voice of the Hill (PDF here) has pieces on two Near Southeast items: the cleanup of the Virginia Avenue Park at 9th and Virginia in the East End (on page 4), and an item (page 14) on the vacant Washington Star/Washington Post building at 3rd and Virginia, and the Washington Canal Park project just to the plant's south. (Scroll to the bottom of my Canal Park page, and you can see rough drawings of how the building could look after a conversion to office or mixed-use.) The article mentions a target date of 2007 or 2008 for Canal Park, which is a pretty fair delay from the original 2006 completion timeline. You can also look at my Capper/Carrollsburg page for more information about the housing that will be going up around the park.


Oct 2, 2005 5:03 PM
It's been a busy busy weekend here at the Near Southeast page. To reflect the true boundaries of the area I'm tracking, the map at right has been expanded, to 11th Street to the east and to South Capitol and S Streets in the south. I've also added two new pages to the site: the New South Capitol Street Bridge page, and the Near Southeast East End page, both of which have lots and lots of photos, and links to information about what's happening in those spots. I've also finally made my Navy Yard page more than an afterthought, adding many more pictures (although not so many from inside the Navy Yard walls, I don't want a visit from the Homeland Security folks). I know this makes the map smaller and a bit harder to read, but I also needed to leave some space for when more projects get underway. And, in the midst of all that, I added new photos to many of the existing pages: check out the DOT HQ, Washington Canal Park, Capitol Hill TowerFlorida Rock, and WASA pages to see them. (You'll also find a few new pictures on some other pages, but it'd be embarassing to mention them here when there's only one new photo on a page.)


Sep 14, 2005 11:45 AM
A couple of items so small I can't actually believe I'm posting them, but here they are anyway:
• It's not on the schedule for this Thursday's meeting, but it's quite possible that the DC Zoning Commission will vote on final zoning approval for the stadium text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay. UPDATE:  Okay, now it's on the schedule.
• A "notice of environmental cleanup" sign in front of the property acquired by JPI on I Street says that the project will be two 13-story buildings with 700 residences and 600 parking spaces. Also, despite the fact that signs on the lot say 70 I Street, and that the tax parcel information is for 70 I Street, and that the lot is west of 1st Street, and that there's not one but two other lots on I with the "100" address, JPI is insisting on calling this 100 I Street. So I give up. Uncle. I'll call it 100 I Street. Under protest.
• Fences have gone up around the remaining abandoned Capper/Carrollsburg buildings, between 4th and 2nd Streets. No sign of impending demolition.
• A reader reports that pre-construction sales at Capitol Quarter (i.e., Capper/Carrollsburg) are now being delayed until Summer, 2006.
• The demolition a few weeks ago of the retaining walls behind the Carroll Apartments was not the beginning of construction of Capper Seniors #2 (the "wraparound" addition to the Carroll Apartments)--DCHA is still looking for a contractor for the project, so this is not likely to begin before the end of the year.
• For those of you wanting to know about any progress on Washington Canal Park, I've checked and there's officially No Progress.

Jul 18, 2005 12:09 PM
I was a bit late with my June progress photos, so I'm mixing things up by posting my July photos earlier than I might have; new images are on available on the DOT, Capitol Hill Tower, Washington Canal Park, and M Street pages. These were taken last week when I accompanied a group from the National Building Museum's Investigating Where We Live summer program around Near Southeast, making the poor kids tolerate my incessant blathering about What This Area Will Eventually Look Like.


Jul 17, 2005 1:35 AM
In news that proves I know way too much about the most minute details of Near Southeast, I can report that the overgrown parking lot at 2nd Street between I and K Street just south of the former Post plant has gotten somewhat of a facelift within the past few weeks, with most of the weeds and growth embedded in the fences removed, and the trash in the lot cleaned up. This block will eventually be the northernmost portion of Washington Canal Park, and while I'd like to believe that the cleanup is tied to some sort of movement on the park, I won't really be optimistic until the DC school buses are removed from the other two blocks of the park. Besides, there are still supposed to be public meetings and whatnot before a final design is unveiled; but it sure would be nice if those three blocks were cleared out in the meantime, wouldn't it?

More posts: Canal Park

Jun 3, 2005 11:52 AM
It's not online yet, but the June issue of Washingtonian has a big piece about all the development plans along the Anacostia. Also not online but probably available at your local library is a big article on Washington Canal Park in the June issue of Landscape Architecture (read the excerpt here).

More posts: Canal Park

May 23, 2005 8:12 AM
Landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd is to discuss her firm's projects, including the recent winning competition design for Washington Canal ParkThursday, May 26 at 8 pm, at the National Building Museum. The lecture is worth 1.5 continuing-education units. Admission is $17, $10 for students; registration is required. Also at the NBM, there will be a black-tie gala presenting the 2005 honor award to Forest City Enterprises, developer of Capper/Carrollsburg and the Southeast Federal Center, at a black-tie gala on June 1 at 6:30 pm. Tickets are a steal at $500. Call 202-272-2448 or visit http://www.nbm.org for information.

More posts: Canal Park, Capper, The Yards

May 19, 2005 1:06 PM
I've finally posted updated photos on various pages (stupid real life impinging on my hobbies!). Check out my Department of Transportation, Capitol Hill Tower, and Washington Canal Park pages for the latest shots. And if you want to check out what Near Southeast looked like overhead in about 2001, you can always play with Google Satellite!

More posts: Canal Park, Capitol Hill Tower, ddot

May 13, 2005 2:05 PM
The Near Southeast location of Five Guys is now open for business. This local hamburger joint is a great addition to the neighborhood, so drop in for a bite to eat soon, and tell 'em JD sent you :-). It's located on the 1st floor of 1100 New Jersey Avenue (New Jersey and M streets, SE), on the 2nd Street side of the building, facing the future Washington Canal Park. Operating hours are 11 am - 10 pm Mon-Fri and 11 am - 5 pm Sat-Sun. Here's the menu, and also the Contact/Directions page.

More posts: 1100nj, Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife

Dec 10, 2004
Mayor Williams has chosen Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd of Seattle, Washington as the winner of the Canal Park Design Competition. They envision "trees, grass, plants, a splash pool, aquatic garden and fountain. Officials say runoff from area buildings will be filtered and recycled and used in the water features." Read the mayor's press release for more information.

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Nov 17, 2004
The four design teams picked as finalists for the Canal Park design competition will present their proposals and answer questions beginning at 5:30 pm Wednesday (today) Nov. 17, in the auditorium at Van Ness Elementary School, at 5th and M streets SE. Also, drawings of each proposal will be on display during business hours at the Arthur Capper Community Center, at Fifth and K streets SE, through Friday. A jury will rank the entries and recommend a finalist to Mayor Williams. A winner should be announced within weeks.

More posts: Canal Park

Nov 1, 2004
Sorry for the lack of updates recently, so here's a bunch of tidbits to try to make up for it:
Canal Park -- The public presentation of the four finalists for Canal Park is scheduled for Nov. 17. When I have information on location and time, I'll pass it along. The jury review will be on Nov. 18.
Capper Seniors -- An article about Capper-Carrollsburg in the November Hill Rag (not currently available online) says that construction should begin this month on the seniors building at 5th and Virginia. (I think we've heard this before!) And that preliminary work of the first batch of Carrollsburg Dwellings slated for demolition has begun, by National Wrecking, of Illinois.

Sep 14, 2004
DC has named the four firms selected to participate in the Washington Canal Park Design Competition. They are: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd of Seattle, Washington; Hood Design of Oakland, California; Sasaki Associates, Inc of Watertown, Massachusetts; and Atelier Dreiseitl of Uberlingen, Germany. Their proposed design submissions are due by Oct. 25, with a scheduled review by a jury of design professionals and community leaders on Nov. 18. (CPDA News Release)

More posts: Canal Park

Jul 30, 2004
Some fun tidbits:
• CVS, Subway, and Chevy Chase Bank reportedly have secured space in 1100 New Jersey Avenue, and local restaurant fave Five Guys is in negotiations to move there as well;
• The demolition of the first "ribbon" of Capper / Carrollsburg buildings--on 5th Street--is slated to begin in August, while the construction of the first Seniors Building is scheduled to begin in September (I'll believe it when I see it!);
• While the Canal Park will take a while to be designed, chosen, and constructed (ETA 2006), there are plans to remove the buses, take down the fences, and smooth out and sod the area. DC just needs to figure out where to park the buses first... (I've heard that before, too ;-) )
• I've added to the site renderings for planned office buildings in the 'Hood, at 76 L Street and 250 M Street (you'll have to scroll down a bit to see them). And one new construction shot each for Capitol Hill Tower and the DOT HQ (which got me a $100 parking ticket in the process; donations accepted!).
More posts: 1100nj, Canal Park, Capper, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail

Jul 17, 2004
A Canal Park Development Association has been created, and it has launched a design competition for the Canal Blocks site. They also will be having a introductory community meeting July 28 at 6:30 pm.

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Jun 25, 2004 1:00 AM
Plans are afoot to turn the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave. SE (just south of the Freeway at 3rd Street) into a planned 343,000 SF office/mixed-use building, ETA 2006. ML Clark Real Estate is the listing agent; see the Canal Blocks page for renderings and an idea of the location.
More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Canal Park

Jan 29, 2004
Still waiting for the school buses to be removed from the Canal Blocks area. Once they're gone (DC was given 90 days notice about 100 days ago), William C. Smith plans to start clearing the blocks in the spring, with the real construction on the park (including hopefully a "water feature") will begin in the future.

More posts: Canal Park