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Catching Up on Digging and Skeletoning, Fall 2019 Edition
Nov 7, 2019 4:47 PM
First, summer was hot, then it was really hot, then the Nationals were hot, then the Nationals were REALLY hot, and suddenly it's November and the JDLand camera has been crying out from neglect. But I took care of that this weekend (oh boy, did I), and wanted to catch up on the latest downward digging and upward construction.
Let's start by peeking through some fences to look at the digging portion, where excavation is now underway at New Jersey/Canal and N/Tingey on the first office building to come to the Yards, which will be the headquarters for Chemonics International. (Yes, it's the project that chased the Trapeze School down to 5th Street.) The other two digging locations are Lerner's residential building at 1000 South Capitol and the CSX East site on New Jersey Avenue just south of the freeway, where a hotel and 800 units of residential will be coming. In order:
Next, we have three buildings that are above ground but not yet topped out. We'll start with the reconstruction of the Capper Seniors building at 5th and Virginia, which started just a smidge more than one year after the fire. With the pad not needing to be redone and the concrete-encased stairwells still standing, it isn't taking long for the wood-based construction to look familiar. (It is an odd thing to be watching the same building go up twice, 14 years apart--the first photo below was taken on Nov. 28, 2005, then after the fire in Sept. 2018 and March 2019, and now ).
The other skeletons are the new headquarters of the District Department of Transportation at 3rd and M Streets, which at this time of year can only been seen in sunlight for about one hour, from the west.. A few blocks away, on L Street between South Capitol and Half, the neighborhood's first "sliver" residential building (condos!) at 37 L is now a few floors away from its roof.
Beyond that we have a mere, oh, 12 additional projects that are topped out but not finished. Three of them are getting their faces put on (DC Crossing, Meridian on First, and One Hill South Two):
The rest have long since stopped looking particularly different while they plod toward completion, but there are updated photos on their project pages if you wish to see some. And yes, I'm looking at you, Thompson hotel and Estate apartments, Parc Riverside Phase 2, NAB HQ, Avidian, The Kelvin, Envy, the Garrett, and the Maren.
Now I'll turn my attention finally getting caught up on sliders. Wheeeee!

CSX East Three-Building Project Getting Underway, Plus Tidbits
Sep 15, 2019 2:47 PM
Finishing up my prodigious output this week:
CSX EAST: Readers with bird's-eye views of the former CSX land west of New Jersey Avenue have been sending photos showing the start of digging for what will be three buildings, according to a long-time reader who sent in a report from an August meeting about the project, dubbed CSX East for now: a 225-room AC Marriott at 861 New Jersey, and two additional buildings with about 800 units total of residential, and a substantial "co-working" space. There's no publicly released renderings, but here's a site plan of how the three buildings will fit between 70/100 Capitol Yards and ORE 82 and the freeway.
Amazingly enough, I finally created a project page, and added a star to the map. Yay me!
And a couple additional tidbits:
* CAPPER SENIORS: The permit to reconstruct the senior apartment building destroyed by fire last year has been approved. Bozzuto construction signs went up a few weeks ago, so work should probably be getting underway Any Minute Now. The base designs are the same as the original building, but I assume (hope?) there have been some updates in the infrastructure.
* NOVEL SOCAP: Novel South Capitol announced in August that the east tower has begun pre-leasing of its 184 units, with move-ins starting in October. This is along side the west tower's 355 units. See the official web site for more.
* BRIDGE VIDEO: Can't wait for the new Douglass Bridge to get here? Here's a new video on its progress.

Tuesday Tidbits: Food Now, Food Later, and More
Feb 12, 2019 8:05 AM
Foodie news is the main focus in this roundup:
* CIRCA OPEN, EL BEBE SOON: The neighborhood's newest restaurant opened on Monday, with Circa finally arriving on the southwest corner of 1st and M Streets, SE, not quite 3 1/2 years after it was first announced. As for now, it's open daily at 4 pm. And its sibling El Bebe is coming Any Minute Now.
* MEYER TO THOMPSON: The Thompson Hotel at 3rd and Tingey is still under construction, but the Post's Tom Sietsema reported in his chat last week that uber restaurateur Danny Meyer (he of Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, and more) will be opening a "full-service restaurant and rooftop bar" in the hotel sometime in 2020. There aren't many details (not even a chef), but this will be a project that will garner a lot of interest.
* ALBI POPUP: If you are looking forward to Albi, which is bringing a "contemporary vision of Middle Eastern cooking as soon through the lens of Modern American techniques and Mid-Atlantic ingredients" to the Bower at 4th and Tingey in "early summer" 2019, there is a two-day "pop up" of "preview dinners" on March 3 and 4. Reservations now available, with prices set at $85 per person, plus optional wine pairings for $35.
And in non-food news:
* CAPPER SENIORS GONE: The first building I watched be built is now the first building I've watched be both built and demolished, though the concrete stairwells and elevator shafts remain and await the building that will replace the structure destroyed by fire last year. This makes for a sad entry #182 in my Demolished Buildings gallery.
* VOTE FOR MOVIES: Time once again to make your preferences known in the Capitol Riverfront BID's 2019 Outdoor Movie Series poll. Voting ends March 4.
* PILE DRIVING: That pounding you heard in your head on Saturday morning wasn't your hangover, it's the start of Saturday pile driving as part of the new Douglass Bridge construction. The approved hours are from 9 am to 7 pm. (And, while I'm speaking of it, a shout-out to the NFDMB folks, who are doing a nice job of outreach with a very complete web site and social media offerings.)
* LOWER 8TH STREET STUFF: ANC 6B commission Kirsten Oldenburg reported in her latest newsletter about some changes to traffic flow near 8th and Virginia, now that the tunnel is completed: "The 800 block of Virginia Avenue and the 900 block of 9th Street SE are now two-way streets and the 1000 block of 9th Street SE between L and M Streets will join them as a two-way street but awaits adjustments to the traffic signal at 9th and M SE. The 800 block of L Street is to become two-way (instead of one way westbound). Pedestrian crossings markings will be added to the 9th & Potomac Avenue SE and 10th & Potomac Avenue SE intersections. " She also says she is in the process of asking DDOT for a traffic calming study of the 8th and L intersection (i.e., where the Brig is).

Quick Tidbit Roundup
Feb 4, 2019 5:33 PM
Rounding up some recent small items, for those who don't wander by the site frequently enough to keep up with the Tidbits To Tide You Over offerings:
* SHOTS FIRED: Apparently gunshots were heard on Half Street SE near the Big Stick on Sunday night, and MPD reports that a suspect was arrested for the unlawful discharge of a firearm.
* SOUTH CAP OVAL DETAILS: If you really want to go into the weeds (or grass, or trees, or paving stones, or pedestrian flow) of the two traffic ovals coming to either side of the new Douglass Bridge, these two documents supporting final approval for the designs from the National Capital Planning Commission are for you. Also, WashCycle has a detailed look at the final proposed designs, from a bicycling point of view.
* PUNCH BOWL SOCIAL: From Twitter: New ABRA license app for Punch Bowl Social (1250 Half St SE; ANC 6D); "food made from scratch"; food with "social activities"; 250 seats; 40-seat sidewalk cafe; 20-seat summer garden; live entertainment
* BUILDING A WALL? (no, not that one): The Navy wants to build a flood wall around the Navy Yard that could "increase the flood risk to neighboring properties." (Bloomberg)
* CIRCA COMING SOON: Signage is up, training has begun, and Circa says on its Facebook page that its opening date announcement is "coming soon."
* CAPPER SENIORS COMING DOWN: Demolition began last week on the remnants of the Capper Seniors building at 5th and Virginia, SE. DCist has a summary of a report on the fire and its aftermath by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The official cause remains classified as undetermined, but there are theories--and ATF also faulted DC Fire officials for being too cautious about letting search crews and "other agents" into the building after the blaze. UPDATE: Here is the report itself.

October, A Good Time to Look at Skeletons. And Holes. And Buildings.
Oct 4, 2018 1:55 PM
It would be terribly hokey for me to say something along the lines of, "It's almost Halloween, and the neighborhood is appropriately decked out with skeletons." So, I won't. But there is a whole lot of construction going on, counting not only nearly finished buildings, but also buildings getting their faces put on or heading toward topping out or now "going vertical" below ground level.
I'll go in order from newest to oldest, starting with peering down into holes that you might not be looking into yourselves.
Three residential projects that began excavating in the spring are already starting to climb upward, as you can see in the above photos from 1000 1st Street and the Maren at Florida Rock. Tishman Speyer's mystery residential project that covers all of what's known as Square 696 is a hybrid, with some excavation still underway while the eastern half is now starting to rise. (and no, we still don't have renderings.) Then there's phase two of One Hill South (Two Hill South? One Hill South Two? Return of One Hill South? One Hill South, Electric Boogaloo?), where digging is being hampered by complaints of fumes emanating from the site's past life as a gas station.
Next we turn to the neighborhood's EIGHT projects that are above ground but not yet topped out. (I could call it six, since there are two projects with two buildings going up concurrently, but let's call an eight an eight.)
Let's start with residential projects The Garrett at 2nd and I, Parc Riverside Phase II at Half and L, and the second phase of Novel South Capitol at 4 I, which was kind of a shocker to see go up since it was never really announced that the entire project would be under construction at once:
I'll note that the photo of the Garrett is a bit of a triumph, because it's the first one I've gotten from the northeast, now that the wrapping up of tunnel construction has given me some sidewalk access to the intersection at 2nd and H. (Which hopefully will be open completely by Oct. 18, the Whole Foods Day of All Days.)
Next, let's wander down to the Ballpark District, where the National Association of Broadcasters headquarters is a whisker away from topping out and its sibling the Avidian condo building is now well visble. One block away, 1250 Half is in its final minutes of not being completely above ground, as the portion closer to N Street is now right even with the street, while its northern portion has been skeletoning for quite some time. And at 3rd and Tingey, the combo project of the Thompson hotel and the Estate apartment building are beginning to change the feel of the western side of the Yards Park.
{Pant, pant.}
Now, a quick look at the buildings getting their faces on, since this is the stage when everyone is pretty much tapping their toes and waiting for the projects to be finished already. (There's a section of Virginia Avenue that qualifies for that, too.) May I present West Half at Half and N, the Harlow mixed-income building at 3rd and L, the Bower/Guild condo/rental buildings, and the new DC Water headquarters.
To wrap it up, there's one additional ghostly building to keep an eye on, though I don't wish to be flippant about it. Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen is holding a hearing on Oct. 25 about the fire and response, for those interested.
And that's "it." Ha. Ha. I imagine the next major update will be in December, when I will spend most of the time complaining about how the low sun angle and a decade's worth of construction has made it impossible to take photos unruined by shadows. I may have to (gasp!) go out on cloudy days until spring.

Tuesday Tidbits: Assisting the Capper Seniors; JDLand Happy Hour
Sep 25, 2018 4:03 PM
Just a few items to get out in front of everyone's eyeballs:
* CAPPER SENIORS VOLUNTEERING: The residents of Capper Seniors displaced in last week's fire are in need of a lot of assistance, above and beyond what the city can quickly and easily provide. There is now a sign-up form for those interested in contributing to the effort, whether it's working directly with the seniors, helping to collect donated items, fundraising, community outreach, or logistics. And there will always be a need for cash donations as well.
* ALL RESIDENTS ACCOUNTED FOR? ER, UM, YEAH, ABOUT THAT: Shockingly, a resident was found in his second-floor apartment on Monday, the fifth day after the fire, despite the building's management having said that all residents were accounted for. The man was dehydrated but otherwise unhurt. Charles Allen is Not Pleased.
* JDLAND HAPPY HOUR OCT. 11: On a cheerier note, let's try this get-together-thing again: I invite JDLand readers to come hang out with the entire JDLand staff (except the cats) on Thursday, Oct. 11, starting at 5 pm, at Mission. It's an indoor destination this time, so there should be no weather-related postponements. Would love to meet readers, and would love to have readers meet other readers. Hope you can be there!

Four-Alarm Fire Rips Through Capper Seniors Apartment Building
Sep 19, 2018 8:14 PM
At about 3:20 on Wednesday afternoon, a fire broke out on the roof of the Capper Seniors apartment building at 900 5th St., SE, quickly becoming a massive blaze that hours later continued to burn.
Nearby neighbors, Marines, and workers ran into the building to help get the residents out, in advance of the huge emergency response. Multiple reports from residents and neighbors say that no alarms were heard and no sprinklers went off.
Ward 6 council member Charles Allen reported that all residents are accounted for, and building residents were being looked after first at the Capper Community Center and then at King Greenleaf Recreation Center in Southwest.
There's no word yet on how the fire started.
This video and this shot from Channel 4 show that the main dormer facing Virginia Avenue (as seen in the above photo) had collapsed within 90 minutes. Twitter was filled with images from neighborhood residents and the DC Fire Department of the blaze and the response.
This building was the first built as a result of the Capper HOPE VI program, with construction starting in early 2005 and move-ins starting in early 2007. It was the first building that I documented from start to finish, and seeing this today makes me so sad. But I am so relieved that it appears all were rescued safely.
Much more to come, I'm sure.
UPDATE: This from ANC rep Meredith Fascett gives an early look at how the displaced seniors are being looked after in these early hours. The Van Ness Elementary PTO is taking donations to distribute to fire victims, and there will be more information on how to donate necessities, meals, times, and more.
UPDATE II: And here is the 11 pm briefing at the scene from Mayor Bowser.
UPDATE III: The Capitol Hill Community Foundation, working with Meredith Fascett and the Van Ness PTO, has created the Arthur Capper Seniors Recovery Fund, where donations to help the building's residents will be most gratefully accepted.
Also, the DC Fire Department put together this video from the scene.
Comments (17)
More posts: Capper, Capper Seniors/900 5th St.

Tidbits Catching Up: The Harlow, A Shooting, Bridge and Tunnel News
Jul 30, 2018 2:31 PM
Time to catch up on some tidbits you may have missed (and also time to open a new thread for the JDLand commentariat).
* THE HARLOW: A public meeting last week to update residents on Capper/Carrollsburg's redevelopment status passed along the news that the building at 2nd and L across from Canal Park will be known as "The Harlow," which does roll off the tongue a bit more easily than the current "Square 769N Apartments." The building is expected to open in spring 2019, and will have 179 apartments, of which 36 will be affordable units. It will also have about 4,000 square feet of ground floor retail. The update also said that DCHA is still planning to move forward with Square 767 next, as a condo building and separate rental building. That plan still needs to start its way into the Zoning Fun Factory.
* SHOOTING ON 5TH: There was a shooting in front of the Capper Community Center at 5th and L in the wee hours of July 21. MPD described it this way: "At approximately 0320 hours unknown number of suspect(s) approached the victims that were in front of 1005 5th Street SE in dark colored vehicle. The suspect(s) opened fire on the victims wounding both of them. One victim was shot multiple times and transported to the hospital, the other victim was shot in the leg and transported to the hospital. The suspect(s) and suspect vehicle fled in an unknown direction. It is unsure how many individuals were in front of 1005 5th Street SE. Two weapons were recovered in front of the recreation center, also multiple shell casings found on the scene and there are rifles casings among the shell casings." Capitol Hill Corner summarized the subsequent MPD 1D community meeting.
* BRIDGE NEWS: If you're interested in the new Douglass Bridge, check out "Progress," the spiffy quarterly update. And you'll also see the spiffy Douglass Bridge logo.
* TUNNEL NEWS: If you're interested in the Virginia Avenue Tunnel (or, at this point, the Virginia Avenue Streetscape Restoration), the latest "Coffee with Chuck" slides give estimated timelines for when the remaining portions of the street should reopen to traffic. I'm most interested in seeing that the 2nd and H intersection should reopen in mid-August, which will make access to The Grocery Store That Shall Not Be Named much easier.
And last week's VAT newsletter added that H Street's completion will also "feature a train viewing area at the south tunnel portal where a historical marker of the original tunnel will be in place," which I inadvertently captured in the photo at right, which I took earlier this month to document the new lettering on the tunnel entrance. There will be the new dog park on the north side of H as well.
I think that's enough for now, except maybe to mention that the coming Bluestone Lane coffee shop has its signage up to the right of the 99 M lobby entrance. They apparently have a goal of opening by the end of August, but (all together now), We Shall See.

Ramen Coming; More Tacos and Tequila Coming; Tidbits
Jul 18, 2018 11:23 AM
The party's over, the All-Stars have gone home (except for the three who already live here), and it's time to catch up on a few things that were easily missed during the five-day brouhaha.
* HATOBA: The neighborhood will finally get a ramen outlet in early 2019, when Hatoba opens in the old 100 Montaditos space in the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards. (You may have caught their pop-up with "Japanese hot dogs.") Washingtonian has more about this fourth venture from the team behind Daikaya, Bantam King, and Haikan. (And apparently "hatoba" means "dock.")
* EL BEBE: There's finally an official replacement for Open Road as Circa's sibling in the ground floor of the 99 M office building at 1st and M, and that's "El Bebe," which is billing itself as "tacos and tequila." Eater DC has more, including that both Bebe and Circa are shooting for a "late 2019 2018" opening. {fixed my own typo}
* WALTERS: The sports bar in the ground floor of 1221 Van isn't coming until next year, but they tweeted out this rendering of the planned interior.
* ALL-PURPOSE: Their rooftop is now open.
* DEEP DIVES: The Post had a long piece this weekend on the neighborhood 10 years after the ballpark's arrival (with some photos that will look familiar), and Washington Monthly has a long and interesting look at Business Improvement Districts, with a focus on the Capitol Riverfront BID.
* CAPPER MEETING: The DC Housing Authority is having a public meeting to give an update on the status of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment on Wednesday, July 25, at 7 pm at the Capper Community Center, 1000 5th St., SE. I imagine this will discuss the remaining three blocks of the redevelopment footprint, which are planned as mixed-income residential buildings, including one condo building, if that is still on the boards. (UPDATE: The 25th is the correct date, but the flyer called it Tuesday instead of Wednesday. Waiting for an updated flyer.)
* BRIDGE SURVEY: Interested in the new Douglass Bridge? DDOT wants to hear from you in this survey.
* ME ME ME: I always feel weird about including these links, but if you want the quick version of how this crazy project came to be, read Urban Turf's look at the "Unofficial Historian of the Ballpark District."

April Construction Report: New Fences to Peek Behind, and More
Apr 20, 2018 3:35 PM
Yes, it's time for another edition of JD Looks Behind Fences and Into Holes So You Don't Have To, and we start the rundown with two new spots to add to the lineup, where dirt has just begun to be moved: 71 Potomac, the 264-unit sibling to Dock 79 at Florida Rock, and "Square 696," Tishman Speyer's still-not-publicly-unveiled residential and retail project on the block bounded by I, K, 1st, and Half Streets. Plus I'll add an up-to-date shot of the excavation at Paradigm's 1000 1st Street project, just because it doesn't fit anywhere else in this post:
(Note that I'm giving Tishman a few more weeks before I craft my own rendering. And thanks to the 71 Potomac folks for the pretty wood fences with holes in them that are perfect for snooping bloggers to look through!)
Next, let's talk about the "hybrid" hole in the ground at 1250 Half Street, aka the old Monument Valley site just across N Street from Nats Park. This is where two cranes mark the slow beginnings of vertical construction at the bottom of the hole, while six-plus floors of construction are already complete at the north end of the project, since that part of the hole was dug and the foundation was completed back in 2007 when Monument thought it would be building out the entire block instead of just the 55 M office building. This is where a two-phase project with up to 440 units of residential and more than 60,000 square feet of retail will be built:
(I need this project to hurry up and get to ground level because it's impossible to get a shot of the bottom of the hole without going up to a nearby roof.)
Now we'll move to the corner of South Capitol and M, where the National Association of Broadcasters HQ is graduating from hole-in-the-ground to skeleton, while its sibling, the condo building Avidian, is still not quite yet visible above the fence line. I forgot to walk down to get a photo through the fence of the Avidian footprint, so instead I'll just include this very bad shot I took a few weeks ago of the first hints of construction on the new Douglass Bridge, because it needs to be documented.
Three more projects are on their way upwards, including the Garrett at 2nd and I and the co-projects Parcel L residential/Thompson Hotel hole at 3rd and Tingey in the Yards shown here. (I forgot to get a shot of the Parc Riverside II hole. Probably looks like a hole with concrete and rebar, like the others):
So, in case you're not counting, that's nine projects either still below ground or just at ground level (or 10 if you include the permanently below-ground Virginia Avenue Tunnel, or 11 if you include the currently below-water Douglass Bridge work).
Then you can add those to the eight other projects that are above-ground, topped out, or nearing completion, and you can understand why it's okay to feel like the neighborhood is still a perpetual construction site, and will be for a while yet. Here's shots of seven of them, in order of progress: the 99 M office building, the DC Water headquarters, the Bower condos and sibling Parcel O rental building, and additional residential projects 2 I Street, Square 769N, and West Half (alas, I haven't made it over recently to check out the status of the Emblem condo project at 8th and Virginia, so I'm one short):

Catching Up with Holes, Skeletons, Build Outs, and More
Jun 5, 2017 8:15 AM
Sunday morning brought a confluence of a clear calendar, clear skies, and a sort-of-unexpected desire to "get back to work," such as it is, so I took a long walk to get the JDLand camera caught up with the goings-on in the neighborhood. Here's the rundown:
* UPWARD: The biggest news (for me, anyway) is that at last the 99 M office building project has peeked up above ground-level. Also worth getting excited about is seeing the structural steel going up for the new DC Water headquarters along the banks of the Anacostia.
* DOWNWARD: There's digging underway (or about to be) in multiple locations, and the camera peeked past the fences to check out the holes. In order, may I present the current state of: the former McDonald's site at 2 I Street (where a 380-unit apartment building will rise), the Yards Parcel O site at 4th and Tingey (where a joint condo/apartment project has been slooowly underway thanks to the need to dig very carefully when it's an old munitions site), the mixed-income Capper apartment building at 3rd and L, and the JBG West Half residential project directly north of Nats Park.
(I missed the hole at South Capitol and M where the new NAB headquarters and the 10 Van residential building will rise, but it probably doesn't look all that much different from this.)
Then there's the Half Street Hole, where work does appear to be underway, but since excavation was done in 2007, it's kind of hard to tell what's new (I should have gone up to the Hampton Inn roof). Finally, there's the lot at Half and L where fences recently went up around the site that will be Phase II of the Parc Riverside apartment building, but while some dirt has been turned, heavy equipment isn't quite yet on site.
So, if you are counting, that is eight additional projects that will rise out of the ground in the coming year or so, along with the four others that are already above ground but not done.
* OUTWARD: Vertical construction has been finished for a while at the residential building 1221 Van just north of the ballpark, but exterior work has progressed since I last wandered by. And ditto for the District Winery building at 4th and Water.
* ONWARD: Some additional catching up.
And there are going to be lots of other "for the historical record" photos that have been needed to be taken for some months added to various project pages in coming days. Just click around from the main map--you'll never know what you might find.
Coming Soon, a Coming Soon post.

Renderings for Condo and Public Housing Buildings on Square 767
Nov 15, 2016 10:16 AM
There apparently is a DC Housing Authority "construction progress" meeting tonight at the Community Center at 6 pm.
I don't have more specifics from that, and I won't be able to be there, alas, but I do know that they will be displaying the renderings showing (at last) the designs for the two new buildings planned for Square 767, the block bounded by 3rd, 2nd, I, and K, in advance of a planned zoning filing early next year.
Given that it's been almost precisely one year since the specifics for this project were last discussed at a public meeting, I would prefer to wait for the zoning filing to describe any plans beyond that there will be a condo building by Capitol Quarter developer EYA on the southern end of the block, and a smaller rental building that will be some mix of affordable units and public housing units on the north end.
The above rendering shows both buildings as seen from Canal Park, with the taller condo building at right along K Street and the shorter affordable building at left along I. The drawings below show the block as seen from 3rd and I, in both wide and close-up views, along with the current state of that stretch of 3rd.
If you have any feedback for the plans, head to the meeting tonight (sorry for the late notice) or contact the Housing Authority, or just sound off in the comments.
And perhaps the meeting will also give details on the timeline for the new mixed-income rental building on Square 769, which is supposed to get underway Any Minute Now. (I'd also wager that the meeting might mention all the spiffy new sidewalks and streetlights around the DCHA lots along 3rd and also at 2nd and K.)
UPDATE: I tossed together an official project page for Square 767, now that there are purty drawings to look at.

Next Capper Apartment Building Getting Closer to Starting
Sep 13, 2016 8:15 PM
With the Bixby now apparently targeting late fall for move-in dates*, it's time to look toward the next project in the Hope VI redevelopment of the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing projects, and that's the 171-unit mixed-income apartment building planned for the north end of the block bounded by 2nd Place, 3rd, L, and M Streets, SE.
There had been chatter that the project (it's the one on the left side of the rendering) would get underway this summer, but alas, delays with permits and financing have pushed that date enough along the calendar that the DC Housing Authority had to file a request with the Zoning Commission for a six-month extension past what was already a two-year extension.
"Although financing has been secured for the project," the agency's letter to the ZC says, "the final building permit authorizing construction has not been issued yet, which is a condition to closing." There are also delays associated with the more wide-ranging reviews and coordination apparently inherent in being the first building to implement the shared stormwater management system that was designed as part of Canal Park.
The Zoning Commission granted the extension with almost no discussion on Monday night, probably at about the same time that ANC 6D was voting 6-0-0 to support the request. This means that Feb. 14, 2017 is now the date by which construction is required to begin.
The as-yet-unnamed building, which is currently referred to as the "Square 769N Residential project," will share the block with what is currently slated to be an office building by WC Smith. It will have 34 affordable units and about 4,000 square feet of retail that would face Canal Park and Il Parco.
This would be the fourth multi-unit building to be built as part of the Capper redevelopment, and I'll note that it is not the "Square 767" development that has had residents expressing concerns over a two-building (one condo, one affordable only) configuration. (There should be some zoning filings on that one coming Any Minute Now.)
If you are trying to envision exactly where Square 769N is, perhaps a graphic and/or sort-of-current-ish photo would be of some assistance.
* As apparently told to ANC 6D at Monday night's meeting, though I was not there to hear it with my own ears.
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More posts: Capper, Development News, The Harlow/Capper

A Look Inside the New Capper Community Building
Aug 12, 2016 9:45 AM
While no deal is as yet inked with an operator, the DC Housing Authority is operating a "Summer Club" at the new Capper Community Center through Aug. 19, with activities ranging from Zumba for kids to computer instruction, creative writing, field trips, and more.
There are also plans in the works to have after-school activities available while waiting for the operations bureaucracy to conclude, including basketball in the spiffy new gym. Keep an eye on the building's web site for additional details, or call 202-547-0581.
Although the building has been open for a number of weeks, the JDLand camera has only just now made a visit--and the resulting photo gallery is not only a trip through a rainbow of colors, but is also the swan song for JDLand Camera III, which is being retired after eight years of valiant service. (I had hoped it would be the debut of JDLand Camera IV, but the Postal Service was two hours too late.)
The full gallery is here. And here's a final before-and-after to wrap up my tracking of this project, from before the demolition of the old center's building in 2007 to the start of construction in spring 2014 to its completion:
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Update on the Capper Community Center
Jun 9, 2016 4:45 PM
For those wondering about the status of the Capper Community Center, now looking fresh and all-but-finished in its spot on 5th Street SE between K and L, I checked in this week with the DC Housing Authority, demanding that they give me an update, forthwith! And they did!
Getting the bad news out of the way first: the negotiations between DCHA and its original unnamed choice to operate the center "reached a natural conclusion without an agreement to move forward," according to DCHA spokesman Rick White. This means that the agency is "looking at alternatives," but any new agreement does not appear to be in the immediate future. That said, I have heard unconfirmed rumors that there will be some sort of "programming" at the center this summer--if that indeed turns out to be the case, the building will at least then not stand completed-but-empty while waiting for a deal to be struck with a new operator.
But there is a more pressing issue, which is that because of construction at Van Ness Elementary, the new building has been tapped to function as the Precinct 131 polling station for DC's primary election day on Tuesday, June 14. Even though the center does not yet have its official Certificate of Occupancy, spokesman White says that a temporary certificate of occupancy is in the works, and that DCHA is "not expecting any issues around the election."
So, other than snagging a peek in the gym on Tuesday when you go vote (because OF COURSE you are going to go vote), everyone will just have to gaze longingly at the new building's exterior a little while longer. At least it looks nice in the bright early June sun.
And in case you don't quite remember what this site used to look like, this slider can help. As can the project page.
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Square 767 Rental Building to Have Public, Affordable Unit Mix
Nov 17, 2015 9:16 PM
At a community meeting Tuesday night to discuss the DC Housing Authority's development plans for the block between 2nd, 3rd, I, and K known as Square 767, DCHA executive director Adrianne Todman confirmed that the agency is continuing to work on a two-building plan for the site: a 120-unit market-rate condo building that would be developed by EYA and partners, and a separate rental building that would be a mix of public housing and "affordable" units.
While the designs of the buildings and specific numbers as to the exact number of units and the income-requirement structure aren't yet available (and probably won't be until the Housing Authority submits its second-stage PUD filing to the Zoning Commission), a presentation slide referred to "48-67 affordable rental units." It was also said that the design of the buildings will be the same, with the same architect and materials for both buildings, and that the rental building will have ground-floor retail facing Canal Park.
And, because I'm a sucker for the deep official detail of zoning filings, I'm going to wait until that second-stage PUD hits the streets instead of delving into too much more into the details given at the meeting, especially given that it sounds like there is still some level of fluidity in the plans (Todman quickly mentioned at one point that she asked her team to "look at adding some market-rate [units] as well") and given that their zoning encyclopedia David Cortiella was not in attendance. But at the very least it seems to be a concrete decision to "integrate different incomes" in the rental building.
Todman did emphasize the Housing Authority is still in pursuit of its "prime directive" to rebuild the 707 units of public housing that were in Capper/Carrollsburg before it was demolished (398 available so far, 309 to go), and also getting as many of the original Capper families back to Near Southeast if they wish to return. And many of the questions from audience members centered around the issue of returning families, the use of vouchers in the new buildings, and the current lack of affordable ownership opportunities.
One other interesting theme that Todman mentioned a couple of times is how in comparison to other DCHA properties, the Capitol Quarter townhomes are "mixed income on steroids," with levels of diversity in both income and race that the Housing Authority just did not expect when planning Capper's redevelopment more than a decade ago."We have to work harder to make it a more seamless community," she said.
In other Capper-related tidbits passed along at the meeting: the opening date for the Community Center is now anticipated to be April 2016, and the financing deal for the 181-unit mixed-income apartment building planned for the south side of L Street SE between 2nd and 3rd (Square 769N) is expected to be completed in the spring as well.
It looks to be early 2016 before the Square 767 second-stage PUD will be filed, so until then, further specifics for this block may remain hard to come by. But I shall remain vigilant.

Goodbye, Lofts at Capitol Quarter, Hello, The Bixby
Nov 16, 2015 2:56 PM
I am probably stepping on the toes of a big controlled PR unveiling, but my interest was piqued when I was followed on Twitter today by @TheBixbyDC.
A little bit of Googling brought me first to the address of 601 L St., SE, and then to this web site, all of which points to an official rebranding of what we've come to know as the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, the 195-unit mixed-income apartment building now under construction at 7th and L Streets, SE.
The content of the site at the moment is minimal, but you can see that they are (rightly) highlighting the building's location "between Capitol Hill and Navy Yard":
"At The Bixby, you'll find an inviting apartment that puts you in the middle of DC, just steps to Capitol Hill and the Capitol Riverfront, yet feels far away from it all when you want to relax. Explore the delights of Barracks Row and the Navy Yard, enjoy a quiet afternoon on your balcony or host an evening with friends on the rooftop."
Those of you with long memories may recognize 601 L St. SE as the address of the old Capper Seniors building, which was demolished eight years ago this month.
The Bixby web site allows you to register to receive more information, but there's no mention on the site yet as to when the building might start leasing.
Note that while Forest City's logo appears on the page, the development itself is a product of the DC Housing Authority, as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment. Forest City is on board to manage the building, which will have 39 public housing units.
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Project Updates: The Getting-Closer Lineup
Nov 10, 2015 8:23 AM
While the appearance of a canopy over a front entrance does not signal that an under-construction apartment building is ready to start welcoming residents next week, it's still an interesting progress point to see at both the Park Chelsea and Arris residential projects. There's also landscaping starting to go in along the Park Chelsea's sidewalks on both New Jersey and would-you-just-open-already I Street--plus the leasing countdown clock has remained set for January 2016 for a few months now. As for Arris, the latest word remains "early 2016" for when it will open--and 2016 just isn't as far away as it used to be.
To the east, the not-minor project to do the masonry work and the siding at the 195-unit mixed-income Lofts at Capitol Quarter at 7th Street continues--apologies for only showing the rear of the building when I take a wide shot, but with the trees and the narrowness of L Street it's basically impossible for me to get a good photograph of the front. (Plus the low sun angle from late October through early March makes southern-facing photos a pretty miserable experience with a pretty miserable outcome, anyway.)
At 5th and K, the Capper Community Center's exterior isn't changing too much at this stage, but I'd get the shakes if I tried to not photograph it.
At New Jersey and Tingey, the new trapeze school building's blue-and-white exterior is mostly finished, though I'm such a bad blogger that it didn't occur to me to walk up to the big opening and peek in--but TSNYDC has posted a photo of the inside.
As for the Brig, the beer garden-to-be at 8th and L, the building itself looks pretty well finished now, though the "garden" portion of the venture does not appear to have gotten underway yet. And with two pit bulls on guard (!), I wasn't about to poke my camera through the fence for a better view.
And while I had designs on pressing my camera up against the glass at Buffalo Wild Wings on Half Street, they were having a staff training session when I arrived, and so I chickened out (Bad Blogger Data Point #2). But the gentleman I spoke with there confirmed again the Nov. 16 opening date, saying that the doors will open that day at 10 am--and that they generally have people camping out over Sunday nights to be among the first 100 customers through the door, who are then winners of the free-wings-once-a-week-for-a-year prize. Hope y'all have warm sleeping bags!

Nov. 17 New Date for Public Meeting on Capper Square 767 Plans
Nov 9, 2015 8:31 PM
UPDATE, NOV. 9: This meeting is now going to be on Nov. 17, still at 6:30 pm at 200 I St., SE. It was rescheduled from its original date that turned out to conflict with a public safety meeting
Original post:
There's not much detail at this point, but a public meeting has been scheduled on Oct. 27 at 6:30 pm at 200 I Street to discuss the DC Housing Authority's plans for the block known as Square 767, bounded by 2nd Place and 3rd, I, and K Streets SE.
This block, part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Hope VI redevelopment footprint, is the location where DCHA is looking to sell a portion of the land so that an as-yet unnamed developer can build a market-rate condo building. Such a plan would seem to mean that the necessary affordable rental units on that block would be confined to whatever non-condo project is also built on that block, a notion has had neighbors expressing much concern since it was first revealed nearly two years ago.
There's no agenda or materials yet released, so look for a more detailed post once DCHA makes those items available.
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Thursday Tidbits: Las Placitas, Navy Yard Items, South Park
Oct 15, 2015 9:50 AM
* LOWER LAS PLACITAS: Capitol Hill Corner reports that the owners of Las Placitas told ANC 6B that they hope to open in their new location at 8th and L Streets SE on Nov. 1. The space will have 40 seats inside and another 38 along the building's north side.
* 'CAPERS: Excerpts from the one-woman play "'Capers," about how residents of Capper/Carrollsburg dealt with the housing project's demolition, is being performed tonight (Oct. 15) at 7 pm at 400 M St. SE, hosted by the Arthur Capper Carollsburg Community Village. You can also catch the entire play four nights next week at the Forum Theatre in Silver Spring.
* DSS BARRY CEREMONY: The Display Ship Barry isn't actually leaving just yet, but on Saturday Oct. 17 the Navy is holding a departure ceremony at 10 am inside the fences of the Navy Yard. See the announcement for details, including how to get into the base if you wish to attend. It was announced in February that the ship will be dismantled and removed from its home along the Anacostia Riverwalk.
* WATCH. BOX.: A "watch box" (guard shack) that stood as part of the sentry post at the Navy Yard's 8th Street entrance from 1853ish until 1905ish and was passed through by Abraham Lincoln just hours before his assassination has been restored and formally ribbon-cut on Oct. 8 after its return earlier this year from a 110-year stay at Indian Head. (Though unfortunately it's on display on a portion of the grounds that most of us will never see.)
* SODOSOPA: South Park took on gentrification last week, with the new neighborhood of SoDoSoPa, the Lofts at SoDoSoPa, and the Residences at the Lofts at SoDoSoPa. And there was this: "What this town needs is a Whole Foods. It will instantly validate us as a town that cares about stuff." (And yet you people still refuse to adopt my new name for this neighborhood, Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards, #NeCaBaRY.)
* BRIDGE BEFORE AND AFTER: DDOT's historic photos Tumblr recently included a shot from 1966 of the early construction of the downriver 11th Street Bridge span. And I realized I have a photo taken from a very similar location as the span was dismantled in 2012 and its offspring was built. (The piers remain in the water, though, as the potential underpinnings of the 11th Street Bridge Park.)

Capper 'Flexibility' Gets Initial Okay from Zoning Commission
Feb 24, 2015 1:02 PM
With unanimous agreement that the need to get former public housing residents back to the neighborhood is paramount, the Zoning Commission on Monday gave first approvals to the DC Housing Authority's request for flexibility in how it allocates 206 affordable units still to be built within the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD boundaries, while still being required to have no fewer than 15 percent and no more than 50 percent of the units on any square be affordable.
ANC 6D remains adamantly opposed to the flexibility idea--or at least to the idea that this flexibility would then allow a possible all-affordable building next to a market-rate condo building on Square 767--saying it "would circumvent the theme of HOPE VI revitalization and the goal of the PUD."
But Zoning Commission vice-chair Marcie Cohen disagreed, saying that the success of Capper's revitalization is that "the area is mixed income, the neighborhood is mixed income," and that she doesn't have a problem "when public housing is a single project within a mixed-income neighborhood." Noting that some of Capper's previous residents were relocated from the site now more than 10 years ago, Cohen said that "the people who have been displaced have a right to come back"--and given that "financing vehicles are now driving housing policy," meaning that getting affordable housing units financed has become so difficult--the Housing Authority has in her view come up with a plan that is "satisfactory," and should be able to go ahead and "secure the proper financing, build the project, and get some of the people back if they choose."
Her fellow commissioners concurred, with both Robert Miller and Michael Turnbull also noting that all projects on the three remaining residential squares at Capper will need to come to the Zoning Commission for review before moving forward.
And in its response to the ANC 6D letter, the Housing Authority emphasized this point, saying that the concerns raised by 6D will be addressed at that time, and that the reviews "will also demonstrate that the design of the buildings and distribution of the units in those applications are consistent with the PUD's overall goal of providing a vibrant, mixed-use and mixed-income community."
This case also will allow 30 of the Capper affordable units to be relocated to Square 737, to be included in both the 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods building and the eventual third-phase residential building on the eastern portion of that block.
My previous post on this zoning case gives plenty of additional detail if you desire.
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Progress Report: The Long View of the Lofts at Capitol Quarter
Feb 5, 2015 9:11 AM
My guess is that the 195-unit mixed-income Lofts at Capitol Quarter residential project is the current holder of the title of Longest Building Under Development, and while that could refer to the years it took to get the dang thing financed, in this case I'm describing the footprint of actual construction, running westward from 7th and L for what seems like forever.
The eventual height of the DC Housing Authority building has become clearer in recent weeks with the construction of the elevator shaft/stairwells, but while the rendering of the finished product gives some sense of the size, it's hard to adequately capture in photographs at this stage its length along L Street, especially since it also runs downhill.
But give me credit for at least trying, with shots from all four corners, though admittedly one is actually a stiched-together image of two photos from the southwest side. (Can you tell which one?)
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Community Center Submission Booklet for CFA Review
Jan 21, 2015 1:23 PM
Tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 22), the Commission of Fine Arts will be reviewing the plans for the already under construction Capper Capitol Quarter Community Center Building House* at 5th and K streets, SE.
Other Capper-related projects have not gone to the CFA, but somehow this one has ended up there, meaning that a permit for construction of the building past the foundation can't be approved by DCRA until the CFA signs off.
The Housing Authority has prepared a lovely booklet for the commission with the details of the project, including renderings, proposed layouts, construction materials, and more, along with a cover letter from DCHA executive director Adrianne Todman.
There's no buried announcement of an operator for the building's programs and activities, but the two documents together make for a handy (DCHA-prepared) summary of the project if one might be wanting to get up to speed on it and are finding other information sources wanting.
*Just trying to accommodate the million different phraseologies that are out there for this project.
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Zoning Hearing on 'Flexibility' for Remaining Capper Projects; Residents Concerned
Jan 8, 2015 10:25 PM
It's been just over a year since the DC Housing Authority initially filed with the Zoning Commission a request for "flexibility" in the location and percentage mix of affordable units on three remaining blocks within the Capper/Carollsburg Planned Unit Development (PUD), and tonight the hearing was finally held.
The request has been altered a bit since I last wrote about it in February, but the gist remains the same.
First, DCHA is looking to move 30 affordable units outside of the Capper PUD boundaries and onto the block where WC Smith is developing the Park Chelsea, 800 New Jersey, and a third as-yet unnamed residential building.
Second, instead of being held to the originally approved unit counts on the blocks known as squares 767, 768, and 739 (as described in the fuzzy graphic above that I snagged from the Office of Planning report), the Housing Authority requests the flexibility to change the configuration of the 206 total affordable (ACC) units on each square while not ever going below 15% of the total number of units for that square.
Agency representatives testified at length about the progress at Capper, including that the community center is finally underway. But they told the commission that the current "financing atmosphere," especially for mixed-income residential projects, is increasingly constraining, and so having some flexibility built in could make it easier to work with potential development partners and financial institutions on designing projects before coming to the commission for Stage 2 approvals. (The four-year process and convoluted solution that included a "mountain of documents" to secure financing the mixed-income Lofts at Capitol Quarter was used as an example.)
However, it's been known for a year that one of the creative scenarios that DCHA has come up with to move forward on Square 767 would be to sell half of the block to EYA (developers of the Capitol Quarter townhomes) so that a market-rate condo building can be built, and then taking those proceeds to fund a second building on the block that would be all affordable units.
And while this particular zoning case does not specifically cover that not-yet-finalized plan, and putting aside that any plans for that block will have to come back to the Zoning Commission for approval before moving forward, a number of Capper/Capitol Quarter residents along with incoming ANC 6D07 representative Meredith Fascett used the hearing as a forum to make clear their displeasure with the idea of segregating incomes in separate buildings, saying that it violates the spirit of the entire Hope VI mixed-income vision that the Capper redevelopment has been based on. (Fascett's written testimony is here.)
David Cortiella of DCHA did say that the agency believes many of the issues with the two buildings/two incomes plan on Square 767 "will be addressed" once a "community engagement process" about the project gets underway, specifically mentioning a "shared courtyard" for the two buildings so that a "more friendly environment takes shape."
The zoning commissioners did not seem overly troubled by the requests covered the current zoning case (though Michael Turnbull made sure to say that they "will look very carefully" at future second-stage submittals).
The Office of Planning supports the flexibility request--however, DCHA is still wanting to further modify the modifications that OP put forward in its most recent report, both because of some concerns about the wording about the units to be constructed by WC Smith but also because the Housing Authority wants to come up with a cap on the number of ACC units on each square that is different from OP's suggested 50-percent cap.
It's expected that the commission will vote on this case at its January 26 meeting; if and when this case receives its final approval, there would then be a vote on a concurrent case to grant a five-year extension to the Capper PUD (which I didn't even talk about here because no one is reading at this point anymore anyway).
One other Capper-related tidbit coming out of the hearing is that movement is continuing on the planned 171-unit rental building on the south side of L between 2nd and 3rd, with work on the financing "well underway" (helped no doubt by getting a cut of a $142 million funding pot.)
(Editor's Note: Leading off with a convoluted post about zoning after an extended holiday layoff is not optimal.)
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A Capper Mixed-Income Building Gets a Funding Jump Start
Oct 24, 2014 9:34 AM
Earlier this month, the team developing a planned mixed-income apartment building that is part of the Capper/Carollsburg redevelopment was one of 18 awardees named to share a $142 million pot* helping to fund affordable housing units in the city.
The building, as yet unnamed and generally just referred to by some variation of the oh-so-attractive "Square 769N Residential" moniker, is planned for the northern part of the block bounded by 2nd Place, 3rd, L, and M, next door to the recently discussed 250 M Street office building. It will be 11 stories, and will include 34 units of public housing in its 171 rental units. There will also be about 4,100 square feet of ground-floor retail. (The above image shows the block as seen from Canal Park, with the apartment building at left and 250 M at right.)
This funding is not enough to get the building's construction jump-started, but a) it's better than no funding at all and b) it probably helps move the process toward full funding forward.
It has already spent plenty of time in Zoning Land, having received its second-stage PUD approval back in 2009 followed by time extensions in 2011 and 2013.
This is one of four** large mixed-income apartment buildings still to be built as part of Capper's redevelopment, with two more planned for the other blocks along the east side of Canal Park plus one on the old trash transfer site at New Jersey and K.
* For sticklers, this award is part of the 2014 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) awards from the Housing Production Trust Fund.
** It could be five, since the Housing Authority is looking at splitting some units out from one planned mixed-income rental building (not this one!) into a second market-rate condo building. But there has been no public indication of movement one way or the other on that, and a planned Zoning hearing this fall has been pushed back to at least early 2015.

Housing Authority Releases RFP for Community Center Operator
Oct 22, 2014 5:38 PM
The DC Housing Authority has now officially released its request for proposals for an operator to run the new Capper Community Center (or, "Community Building").
It states that DCHA is "seeking proposals from qualified service providers with a broad experience in providing programs, fundraising, property maintenance, asset management, and community outreach in a mixed income environment,"
Responses are due on Friday, Nov. 21.
Earlier this year the Housing Authority ran a community "engagement process" to come up with a series of recommendations on what sort of programming and activites the neighborhood would like to see at this building, which presumably/hopefully/possibly whichever operator is chosen will use to guide their plans. And this gives me an excuse to post the final copy of the report.
UPDATE, 10/29: It took a while, but the RFP itself is finally available.
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Community Center Groundbreaking Brings New Rendering
Aug 21, 2014 3:27 PM
I missed Wednesday's groundbreaking for what is now officially called the "Capitol Quarter Community Building," but one of the tweets from the event caught my eye: this spiffy new rendering.
It's just a little better than the one we've been seeing up to now, which I first posted in October of 2005.
And since I failed you by not getting to the event (just add it to my ever-growing List of Shame), here's the Housing Authority's press release on it.
(Though one thing not in this rendering that was at least hinted at in the old one: the Marines' parking garage.)
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Ceremonial Groundbreaking for Capper Community Center on Wednesday
Aug 18, 2014 9:14 PM
It's been a long (long!) time coming, but work appears to be about to get underway at the planned Community Center at 5th and L, SE--at least it's close enough that a ceremonial groundbreaking is happening on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 10:30 am. Mayor Gray, DCHA director Adrianne Todman are expected to be there, and I imagine the rest of the usual suspects will be too.
This will get the structure itself underway, but it's still not yet known who will operate the building, or exactly what sorts of programs and offerings there will be. A few months back the process completed for determining what the neighborhood is looking for from the new space, but full clarity probably won't arrive until closer to the building's opening, in latelatelate 2015 or early 2016.
UPDATE: Dang it, I forgot to use the phrase "shovel-wielding VIPs."
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Neighborhood History Event Exploring Capper's Past on July 5
Jul 3, 2014 6:25 PM
The nascent Navy Yard Neighborhood Association has put together a "Neighborhood History" event scheduled for this Saturday, July 5, from 1 to 5 pm at 200 I Street, SE.
It will kick off with a showing of the 2007 documentary Chocolate City, which tells the stories of families displaced when the plans went forward a decade ago to replace the old Capper/Carrollsburg housing project with the mixed-income Capitol Quarter townhouse development.
Afterward, there will be oral histories from some of the neighborhood's former and returning residents, along with some panel discussions.
There will also be activities for the kids and refreshments.
No RSVP necessary, but there's a Facebook event page for more information and to indicate if you're going, should you choose.
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Details on Recommendations for Community Center Offerings
Jun 12, 2014 12:15 PM
At a public meeting on Wednesday night, the team working with the DC Housing Authority unveiled what programs the consultants will be recommending be offered at the Capper community center, a list that grew out of the recent survey about residents' wishes.
The recommendations are:
* A 7,000-square-foot gymnasium with basketball court that can also be divided into two smaller courts when needed;
* A 3,600-square-foot day care center, which would also include a secured outdoor play area;
* Three multipurpose fitness rooms (for yoga classes or the like):
* Two multipurpose classrooms;
* One individual fitness area, which could include treadmills and weights; and
* A small "soft play area" for little kids.
The recommendations are not a written-in-stone marching order, however. Soon the Housing Authority will be putting out an RFP to find the organization that will run the community center (though apparently we're now calling it a "community building," because #branding). The operator would then have "flexibility" in what it offers, while ostensibly guided by the survey results.
There were 473 responses to the survey, and the meeting slides show both the demographic breakdown of respondents as well as the top vote-getters in both fitness and "enrichment" activities.
The slides also include conceptual drawings of how the two-story building could be laid out to handle the recommended offerings, though it was stressed that the operator will be making the final decisions on layout and whatnot. (You may remember that there was at one time a basement planned for the building, but it's now been removed from the design.)
Attendees at the meeting did not rise up in fire-breathing opposition to the presentation, though concerns were raised about the lack of garden space, the seeming preference of fitness activities over learning/cultural/enrichment activities, and the need for space and kitchen access to accommodate private events like kids' birthday parties.
Even though the consultant's report is due to DCHA next week, the team still wants to hear comments, if you've got them.
The slides also said that the groundbreaking for the building is "about to happen," which of course translates to JDLand Speak as "Any Minute Now."
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Next Capper Community Center Meeting Set for June 11
May 27, 2014 5:36 PM
The next step in the planning for the soon-to-be-built Capper Community Center has been announced, with a public meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 11 at 200 I St. SE at 7 pm* to discuss the results of the recent neighborhood survey on desired programs and activities at the center. The consultants hired by the Housing Authority will also present their recommendations.
Sayeth DCHA: "Over the past three weeks, almost 475 members of the Southeast neighborhood answered the 130-question surveys. Of those, more than 85 percent were from within a 10-block radius of the proposed facility. About 46 percent of those surveyed indicated they rented their home. Almost three-quarters of the surveys were completed online."
The first community meeting was held in April, and included some initial "strategic visioning," in advance of the surveys going out.
* Note the different start time from when this was initially posted.
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Alert: Lofts at Capitol Quarter Ground Actually Being Broken!
May 8, 2014 10:59 AM
It was on March 5 that a large number of Very Important Persons gathered at 601 L St. SE to ceremonially break ground on the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, the 195-unit mixed-income apartment building that's the next step in the redevelopment of Capper/Carrollsburg. It's not unusual that there's a bit of a lag between the celebration and the actual start of work, but I admit my toes were starting to tap a bit as to when the real digging would begin.
And, lo and behold, this week the heavy machinery arrived, the northern half of Nats Lot W is roped off, and I witnessed with my very own eyes the breaking of ground. And there is plenty of ground to break:
PS: If folks have a minute and want to peek at the beta version of my Lofts at Capitol Quarter page, and report whether your browser freaks out--or if it doesn't--that'd be keen. (This includes mobile access.)
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DCHA Releases Survey on Community Center Desires
May 5, 2014 3:22 PM
As promised at a community meeting a few days back, the DC Housing Authority has now released its survey to help get input from neighbors of the soon-to-be-constructed community center at 5th and K SE.
The survey is being passed out in the neighborhood in printed form (though you kids may not know what "printed" is), but it also can be filled out online. Responses are due by May 16.
And, to goose participation, DCHA is offering a chance to win one of six $50 gift cards if you complete the survey.
I wrote last week about the first public meeting in the agency's "engagement process" , in which they are working to determine what programming will be offered at the center once it opens, by late 2015 or early 2016. Another public meeting will be held in June, followed by a final report.
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Presentation Slides, Responses from Community Center Meeting
Apr 22, 2014 11:47 AM
On Monday night the first public meeting was held to begin gauging neighborhood expectations and desires for the programming at the Capper Community Center, which is expected to begin construction Any Minute Now and open in late 2015.
I wasn't there, but the Housing Authority was nice enough to pass along both the presentation slides that were shown by the consultants running the meeting and the entire community "engagement process." These slides also include the breakout of the responses to various questions asked during the meeting. (I'm not going to call it Visioning. I'm just not.)
Attendees were given keypads to register their answers, and so the demographics of the 60ish folks who participated were immediately available: 62 percent of attendees were aged 60 and older, 61 percent were female, 69 percent have lived in the neighborhood for four years or more, etc. Then a series of questions about what the focus of the building's offerings should be and how the building should be operated were asked, followed by breakout small group discussions.
The next step in gathering input will be a survey that will go out in the next few weeks, which will focus on feedback about specific potential programs and activities. Another community meeting is expected in early June, with a final report issued not long afterward.
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Public Meeting on Capper Community Center Set for April 21
Apr 10, 2014 4:19 PM
The "engagement process" between DCHA (and its consultants) and interested parties about the planned Capper Community Center now has its first public meeting scheduled, for Monday, April 21, at 7 pm, at 200 I St. SE.
The announcement flyer includes an FAQ with information similar to what I wrote about not too long ago when the agency announced that it would be working with the community to determine the "inside uses" for the 30,000-square-foot building at 5th and K streets, SE, which DCHA expects to be "a support for the community building process in this new mixed-income community" as well as a "multifaceted enrichment center" and a "hub for activities and positive civic interaction."
It also explains again that DCHA will not be running and funding the center's operations--though will remain "vitally interested" --so it needs to come up with ways to create the necessary revenue to support both staff and programs.
This meeting is planned to be an information session and also hear ideas about programs for the building, then a second meeting later this spring will present preliminary programming recommendations.
Check the flyer for additional information, including the reminder that government ID is needed in order to get into 200 I St.

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More posts: Capper, Community Center, meetings

DCHA Starting 'Engagement Process' for Community Center
Mar 29, 2014 8:58 AM
With the construction of the long-delayed Capper Community Center at 5th and K getting ready to start, and with residents having recently made clear their desire to be consulted on the center's programming, the DC Housing Authority has announced that it will be reaching out "to the Capper HOPE VI community (homeowners and renters/former residents/current residents) and the broader Near Southeast neighborhood to solicit input into the future programs that will be offered."
Additionally, because the agency says that they have been unable to find funds for the staffing and programming of the center once it opens, it will be looking to contract with some organization or entity to operate and develop programs at the center "that will be responsive to the community's needs and the long-term vision for the center."
Brailsford & Dunlavey and Justice and Sustainability Associates have been hired to (I'll just quote the consultant mumbo jumbo): " 1) develop a process with the purpose of defining impacting programs that will foster personal and community enrichment, and civic participation; 2) create an asset map that will allow the future operator to understand the programs that are offered in the neighborhood; 3) develop financial models and pro forma to guide DCHA in approving future programming; and 4) [work] with our architects to define square footage within the building’s walls so that each space can have the potential of multiple uses."
There will be a series of meetings with the community over the next three months (including all-important charettes) and will also be developing a survey and "other forms of communicating the community's vision and desires for the building."
With the construction funds expiring by November 2015, DCHA has a goal of finding an operator for the center by this September, which would give the new operator one year to prepare for the center's opening.
You can read the entire release from DCHA about the process for more information.
The new community center has had a long, long path to fruition, since even before the original one closed and then was demolished in 2007.
There should also be a construction trailer and a sign announcing the project going up at the site (if not there already), as DCHA gets ready to prepare the site for construction.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center

Shovel-Wielding VIPs Break Ground for Lofts at Capitol Quarter
Mar 5, 2014 1:10 PM
A clearly happy and relieved group of city officials, developers, and residents gathered this morning on the parking lot at 7th and L, SE, to ceremonially break ground on the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, the 195-unit mixed-income apartment building that marks the latest phase in the redevelopment of the Capper/Carrollsburg public housing project.
Mayor Vince Gray, DC Housing Authority director Adrianne Todman, Ward 6 council member Tommy Wells, and other speakers all discussed the importance of making sure that residents are not priced out of the District, focusing on the 39 units of public housing that will be included in this project. When this building is completed, DCHA will have replaced 61 percent of Capper's original 707 units of public housing.
A lot of cooks were in the Lofts's $42 million financial kitchen, since DCHA did not use any of the Capper Hope VI funds to get the project underway. Instead, DCHA is acting as a first-time co-developer alongside Urban Atlantic and Forest City Washington, apparently crafting a "unique and complex legal and financial structure" that involves low income tax credits, DC Housing Finance Agency debt purchased by Citi Community Capital, and a short-term loan made by Industrial Bank.
The building is expected to be completed by 2015. You can read more about it here, and on my project page.
And because I'm a sucker for photos of dirt being flung into the air, here's a gallery of images from the event, which included not only the usual lineup of officials but also former and current Capper residents.
As for when "real" groundbreaking will begin, let's just say Any Minute Now. (And Nats fans and commuters should be prepared that Lot W will be cut pretty much in half by this development.)

Groundbreaking on March 5 for Lofts at Capitol Quarter
Feb 26, 2014 6:45 PM
It's getting hard to keep track of all of the projects in the ground around the neighborhood, and now another one is about to be added to the list: the 195-unit mixed-income apartment building christened the Lofts at Capitol Quarter is having a ceremonial groundbreaking on March 5 at 10 am, with the mayor, Tommy Wells, and other luminaries expected to be in attendance.
This project, on the south side of L Street SE between 5th and 7th, is on the site of the old Capper Seniors building, and will displace the northern half of Nats Economy Lot W. It faces the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters building that opened at 7th and L in 2004.
Of course, since this is a ceremonial event, we'll have to see when actual moving of dirt--other than by shovel-wielding VIPs--begins. But financing is in place, permits are approved, and the DC Housing Authority appears raring to go to get this project underway.
When completed, the building will be run by Forest City's residential management arm, and will have a fitness room, roof decks, interior courtyards, and meeting space. It's expected to take about 20 months to complete once construction begins.
This is the third apartment building to rise up as part of the Hope VI redevelopment of the Capper/Carrollsburg housing project, and the first to be mixed income, with at least 38 affordable units to be included.
The "Capitol Quarter" moniker comes from the rows of new townhouses built a few blocks away as part of the Capper redevelopment. In the original plans for Capper's re-do, this site (known as Square 882) was going to be townhouses as well, but was switched to an apartment building in 2009. The south half of the block, facing M Street and the Navy Yard, may someday be the 600 M Street office development, but that does not appear to be happening anytime soon.

Zoning News: Yes to Vet, and Capper Hearing to Come
Feb 14, 2014 12:16 PM
Now that I've come out of my snow bunker (being a weather geek is a terrible disease), I'll pass along these notes from the past week or so in Zoning Land:
* VET: The commission on Feb. 6 approved 5-0-0 Forest City's request for a wording change to allow a veterinary hospital to operate in the Southeast Federal Center Overlay area (basically, the Yards).
As I wrote a week or so ago, a vet is a potential tenant in Twelve12's retail space on Tingey Street, but before a lease can be signed, "veterinary boarding hospital and veterinary hospital uses" needed to be added to the SFC overlay's allowed uses, subject to a number of conditions (no more than 50 percent of the tenant space can be for boarding, that any animal legally sold in the District can be boarded, incidental boarding of animals for convalesence is allowed, order and waste handling requirements, and that grooming and supplies can only be "accessory" uses). There was some back-and-forth about the word "incidental," and it was agreed that that wording be better phrased before the final vote.
Forest City does not announce tenants until a lease is executed, so the name of the potential vet has not been released.
* CAPPER: On Feb. 10, the commission voted to "set down" for a full hearing the Housing Authority's request to modify the Capper PUD to allow 30 of the affordable housing units planned for squares 739, 767 and 768 to be transferred outside the Capper boundaries to the block where the Park Chelsea is currently under construction. (See the this map culled from the Office of Planning Report to help you visualize.)
The planning folks have a number of issues they want DCHA to address before the hearing on this modification, but not among them is the biggest issue that ANC 6D has with Square 767: that the Housing Authority is thinking about a plan that would change the original plans for a single 147-unit mixed-income building to two buildings, one a market rate-only condo building and the other an affordable housing-only building. (This plan is not mentioned in the housing authority's filings with the zoning commission.)
During the discussion, commission chair Anthony Hood noted that ANC 6D is "one of the ANCs that this commission knows is very engaged," which was in reference to the strongly worded letter the commission received with 6D's concerns that they and the community still need to be "appropriately briefed" about DCHA's plans, and that the commission be able to "fully vet our concerns with them regarding the request for modification." Hood also said, "Let's make sure the next vote we see shows that everyone is working together."
Concurrently, the commission's vote also deferred action on DCHA's parallel request for a five-year extension to the PUD covering these same three squares, saying that the extension request decision hinges on the modification case's decision. The Office of Planning is recommending just a two-year extension, and zoning commissioner Marcie Cohen said that DCHA needs to provide much more detailed information on the steps taken up to this point to secure financing, since it is her opinion that the initial filing doesn't seem show a "compelling need" for an exemption.
The hearing date isn't yet set, and DCHA will have to go to ANC 6D (and probably 6B as well) in order to request support before its zoning commission appearance. The Housing Authority and 6D have had a pretty contentious relationship over the years in regards to the Capper redevelopment, and it's unlikely that the deliberations over this zoning request will change that.

To-Do Tidbits: Capper, Schools, 6D, Aldean, Jazz
Feb 6, 2014 10:14 AM
* CAPPER DISCUSSION: I have a dream of writing a deeper post about this tomorrow, but just in case, I'll mention again that the DC Housing Authority is having a community meeting on Feb. 8 at 10 am at 200 I St. SE "regarding the opportunities and resources for the continued development of the neighborhood." Look for the "programming" for the long-planned community center and the possible condo building at 3rd and K to be a big part of the discussion. Tommy Wells is expected to attend.
* SCHOOL BOUNDARIES: Three Ward 6 community meetings have been scheduled on the hot topic of DCPS's review of public school boundaries and feeder patterns. Topics open for discussion, in addition to the aforementioned boundaries and feeder patterns, include experiences with the current assignment policies (including lotteries) and bridging the assignment and choice policies across DCPS and charter schools. The meetings all start at 6:30 pm and are scheduled at: Eliot-Hine (Feb. 13), Stuart-Hobson (Feb. 18), and Jefferson (Feb. 20).
* ANC 6D: The commission's monthly meeting is on Feb. 10 at 7 pm at 1100 4th St. SW. The agenda includes some curb cut requests, and updates on the Wharf, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and an upcoming mayoral forum at Arena Stage.
* ALDEAN: The Nationals finally announced a date for the Jason Aldean concert at the ballpark this summer: July 25, the day before Billy Joel's show. Tickets for the Aldean gig go on sale tomorrow, Feb. 7.
* ALL THAT JAZZ: This is a ways off, but it's been announced that a three-day Jazz at the Riverfront music festival will be held at the Yards Park from June 27-29, as part of the DC Jazz Festival. More about it all from City Paper.
Have an announcement for a future event? Send it here.

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More posts: Capper, Community Center, Events

To-Do Tidbits: Speed Dating, School Days, Nats Dates
Jan 30, 2014 2:53 PM
Here's what's come across the transom events-wise this week. And remember to keep an eye on my Events Calendar down the right side of the JDLand home page to be sure you're not missing anything coming up.
* VALENTINE'S LOOMING: On Saturday, Feb. 1, there's a Speed Dating at the Yards shindig being held at the Boilermaker Shops from 7 to 9 pm. Tickets are $30, and can be purchased here, though the site notes that they have more men than women women than men currently signed up, so dudes, get moving. (But points are deducted for the location being listed as "Washington Navy Yards," which is off-base in so many ways.) It's being run by Professionals in the City.
* VAN NESS ES: A reminder that the new Van Ness Parent Group is holding a community meeting on Feb. 1 to get supporters together to talk about the elementary school's scheduled reopening for the 2015-16 school year. The meeting is at 11 am at Capitol Hill Tower, 1000 New Jersey Ave SE.
* CAPPER COMMUNITY: I'll be writing more about this next week, but the DC Housing Authority is having a community meeting on Feb. 8 at 10 am at 200 I St. SE "regarding the opportunities and resources for the continued development of the neighborhood." Look for the "programming" for the long-planned community center and the possible condo building at 3rd and K to be a big part of the discussion. Tommy Wells is expected to attend.
* NATS TICKETS AND PROMOS: The team has announced that single-game tickets go on sale on Feb. 27 at 10 am. The lineup of promotional events has also been released, with the three NatsLive post-game concerts scheduled for June 5, July 19, and Aug. 16 (acts to be announced). There's also four Pups in the Park dates. (Charlie and George are once again not amused about the lack of a Felines at the Field day.)
Have an announcement? Send it here. Or you could always take out an ad to be sure your event gets noticed. I wouldn't mind.

Financing Lined Up for Mixed-Income Rental Building at 7th and L
Jan 7, 2014 8:45 AM
The neighborhood appears to have (yet) another residential project likely to get underway in 2014, as the DC Housing Authority has finally gotten the financing together for the long-planned 195-unit mixed-income residential building at 7th and L SE, on the site of the old Capper Seniors building.
The building permit for the project was approved a few months ago, and with money now in place, it's expected that dirt should begin to move within a few months ("expected" as always being the key word). This building, which will face the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters across L, will be all rentals, and will have 39 affordable housing units alongside the market-rate offerings.
Documents filed with the Recorder of Deeds refer to the project as "The Lofts at Capitol Quarter." The building will be run by Forest City's residential management arm, and will have a fitness room, roof decks, interior courtyards, and meeting space. It's expected to take about 20 months to complete once construction begins.
Nats fans may be a bit chagrined by this news, though, since the new building will take out a chunk of Economy Lot W, cutting the number of spaces down to 186 once the lot is reconfigured (hopefully by Opening Day).
Note that this building is only on the north side of the block, which is why Lot W isn't disappearing completely--yet. The south side is slated to someday be a sizeable office building, though no start date appears to be anywhere on the boards for that.
This will be the first mixed-income apartment building to come out of the Capper Hope VI redevelopment; the first two apartment buildings completed--Capper Seniors and 400 M--are both all affordable-housing units. Four (or maybe five) additional residential buildings, with another 900-plus mixed-income units including about 285 affordable units, are still to be built before Capper reaches full build-out of its residential component.
This project is now on the 2014 docket along with Forest City's Yards/Parcel N, WC Smith's 800 New Jersey (aka The Whole Foods Building), and Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey, if these developers can make it past my jaded skepticism about announced start dates (well earned during the Lean Years of 2008-2012) and start building.
Already under construction and expected to open in the next year or so are rental projects Twelve12, River Parc, and the Park Chelsea.
And, when the Lofts at Capitol Quarter are completed, the south side of L Street between 5th and 7th will look a little different from what was there before:

DCHA Looking at Splitting Incomes in Buildings on Square 767
Jan 5, 2014 9:01 PM
City Paper's Housing Complex blog reported last week that the DC Housing Authority is investigating the possible sale of 10,000 square feet of Capper/Carrollsburg land on the Square 767, the block bounded by 3rd, 2nd, I, and K, "to a private developer to construct market-rate condominiums, and then to use that money to help build an all-affordable apartment building, with 48 units, on an adjacent parcel."
CP: "The plan would speed up the construction of the delayed replacement units, for which funding has been a sticking point. But it would also mean separating the affordable and market-rate units into separate buildings, which some neighbors see as a violation of the spirit of the Hope VI redevelopment, which has seen low-income and market-rate units blended together throughout the neighborhood."
While no developer has officially been named, I would note that an observant blogger noted back in March that a soil boring permit on the block now in question had been issued to EYA, developer of the Capitol Quarter townhomes that make up the bulk of the reconstructed Capper footprint.
ANC commissioner David Garber has made clear his displeasure with the Housing Authority's lack of pursuit of community input on this plan, and is also quoted by City Paper saying that the proposal is "a pretty big change from people's expectations." At its December meeting, ANC 6D voted to "express our disapproval of the planned sale."
In response to the article, DCHA emphasized that this move would not change the overall mixed-income approach for Capper's redevelopment, and added, "we believe additional homeownership options will be good for the community."
This is not as yet a done deal, with DCHA saying that at this point they have just asked their board for permission to explore the possibility.
In the Hope VI plans for Capper as approved by the Zoning Commission back in 2004, this block and the two blocks to the south, which run along the eastern edge of Canal Park, are to house for apartment buildings totaling 613ish mixed-income units. Two additional buildings--on the former site of the trash transfer station at New Jersey and K and on the old Capper Seniors site at 7th and L on Square 882--would add another 510ish mixed-income units.

Willie's Gets a Building Permit; Other Permits of Note
Mar 26, 2013 12:07 PM
Now that the Park Tavern looks just about ready to open (and the grapevine tells me it got its liquor license on Monday morning), it looks like Xavier Cervera is turning his attention to the project we have known as Willie's Brew and Que at the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards.
According the latest batch of approved building permits, a building permit has been issued (to Williams Willies Sports, technically), for a restaurant with 109 seats and 156 occupancy load.
So now everyone can start keeping an eye out for any work in the space on the Boilermaker Shops' western end, on Tingey at 3rd Street. (The photo above is from a visit I made to the Willie's spot back in September.)
Other items worth noting in the latest permitting blitz:
* The Park Tavern has gotten its permit for a 75-seat summer garden.
* Gordon Biersch's outdoor seating has been reduced from a 94-seat area to a 60-seat summer garden.
Then there's this additional tidbit, which needs to have a glaring "CONJECTURE!" label attached to it. But a few weeks ago EYA got a soil boring permit for 908 2nd Street, SE, which is the empty parking lot owned by the Housing Authority between I and K and between Canal Park and EYA's now-completed Capitol Quarter townhouse project. I have heard rumors for a while now that there's been talk of another deal between EYA and DCHA, though not for townhouses this time around. The empty lot where the soil borings took place is part of the Capper Hope VI footprint, and the plans have always been for a six-story, 147-unit mixed-income building on that site. Is something in the works? All together now: We shall see!

Wrapping Up at Capitol Quarter: Construction Completed, Nearly a Decade of Photo Treks Now Finished
Nov 12, 2012 11:16 AM
For close to 10 years, there has almost always been something going on to photograph between 5th, 3rd, L, and Virginia. Between 2003 and 2007 there was the boarding up and demolishing of the old Capper/Carrollsburg dwellings and the construction of the two new Capper apartment buildings. Then, in 2008, work finally began on Capitol Quarter's mixed-income townhouses, starting at 5th and L and working northward then back southward.
And now, as 2012 comes to a close, the final batch of homes, on the south side of L between 3rd and 4th, have been completed, and with the photos I took Sunday, my work in the Capitol Quarter blocks is done.
There will be more to come at Capper--apartment buildings are still to be built on the empty lots between 2nd and 3rd, and on the trash transfer site, and at the old Capper Seniors site at 7th and L, plus office buildings at 250 M and 600 M--but until those get underway (timelines all currently unannounced), my days of traipsing around the old Capper footprint with camera in hand are at an end.
I've taken more than 5,000 photos of just this portion of Near Southeast, and while not all of them are on the web site, if you go to the Photo Archive map and click on a star or use the search form, you can follow the progression I've witnessed at the 14 Capitol Quarter intersections (such as the one above, showing the southwest corner of 4th and L from 2006 to 2012, and the one below, showing the northeast corner of 4th and K from 2004 to 2009).
The photos, of course, mostly just track the physical change, and don't really reflect how these blocks now have so much more foot traffic, so many more strollers, and so many more bikes (and so many more shades of pastels on the buildings!). The photos probably do hint at the, ahem, shift in demographics from a nearly 100 percent public housing community to a mixed-income area that includes some of those previous public housing residents alongside newcomers who've paid close to $1 million for their new homes, which probably still elicits a grumble here or there, though that's also an on-going discussion across the city, not specific just to Near Southeast.
But for those of us who saw what this area south of the freeway had looked like for so many years, there can still be moments of wonder that this redevelopment actually happened. It's been amazing to watch, and I'm so glad I got to see it up close from start to finish.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter, photos

The Smokestack, Getting De-Smoked
Sep 13, 2012 3:56 PM
A moment many people have been looking forward to (but which at least one person might be lamenting):
Yes, demolition has started on the smokestack at the DPW/Trash Transfer station at New Jersey and K. It'll take a few days, I was told, so you have a little more time to say goodbye.
Check back in a few, when I'll have some additional photos in the main photo archive (UPDATE: here's a few, from New Jersey and K). But here's a couple more showing the first bite taken out of the top of Ye Olde Smokestack:

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

Trash Transfer Building Slowly Heading to the Trash Heap
Jul 30, 2012 1:57 PM
Sending the old trash transfer station building on New Jersey Avenue to the big trash transfer station in the sky that's been almost as anticipated among residents as the departure of the school buses from the Canal Park site a few years back, and action over the past few days seems to indicate that the end is almost upon us.
The glass blocks came out of the large window areas last week, and some big chunks came out of the building's north side this morning, though then the work came to a halt. But even if it's not gone within the next 24 hours, clearly the clock is finally ticking, as you can see in the photo at right (see enlarged version).
If you're already feeling nostalgic for the structure, my photos of the building's interior and exterior taken a few weeks ago could ease your pain.

Capper Community Center's Second Time Extension Approved
Jul 12, 2012 11:06 AM
On Monday night, the Zoning Commission voted 4-0-1 to approve DCHA's request for a second two-year time extension on the PUD deadlines to build the Capper Community Center on the now-empty lot on 5th Street SE between K and L. With this vote, building permits would need to be filed by July 1, 2014, with construction needing to be underway by July 1, 2015, provided another extension isn't someday requested and granted.
The extension received votes of support from both ANC 6B and ANC 6D, and a letter from a steering committee of Capper public housing residents also expressed support. Commissioner Peter May, referencing the "contentious" discussions in the past regarding this project and his own unhappiness about seeing it delayed, said it was "reassuring to know that key members of the community are supportive," otherwise he would be "similiarly unhappy." But he did vote in favor of the extension, as did Chairman Anthony Hood and commissioners Marcie Cohen and Michael Turnbull. (The commission's fifth seat is currently empty, with vice chair Konrad Schlater's recent decampment for a new job in Chicago.)
Included the paperwork provided to the Zoning Commission is a letter from DC Housing Authority executive director Adrianne Todman detailing the various high-finance moves over the past few years that have helped the overall Capper redevelopment move forward but that haven't trickled down to fund the community center. The letter says that the Housing Authority anticipates a $55 million bond issuance within the next year that will pay off the previous $29 million Bond Anticipation Notes and provide enough proceeds to continue the infrastructure work around Capper "and to construct the community center, which we estimate will cost $7.6 million." These moves require legislation, so we'll be able to cast an eye toward the DC council this fall to see if things are progressing as anticipated.
Also in that letter is this tidbit: "Lastly, DCHA is working with and soliciting a potential anchor tenant that will operate the community center and also contribute funding for the construction of the community center." Very interesting....
If you want to know still more about the history of plans for a new community center on this site (the old one was demolished in 2007), I point you to this pile of posts.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center, zoning

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.)

Getting Inside the Trash Transfer Station, Before It's Gone
Jun 27, 2012 9:55 AM
It's not exactly a palace, but it would have killed me had the old trash transfer station/DPW site at 900 New Jersey Ave., SE, been razed without my ever having gotten inside the fences with my camera.
Since the demolition countdown clock is now ticking (though no one wants to commit to an actual *when*, other than "near-term"), I finally got to traipse around the 1920s-era building on Tuesday.
I took far more photos than the building probably warrants, but the historical record must be served.
Out of the torrent of images, I bring you two galleries, one of shots from inside the building's two levels (including into quite a few spots that were pitch black until my flash went off. {shiver}), and one from the walk around the exterior, since I had never gotten fence-free access to it before.
I even got to peek down into the first of the five 60-foot shafts being dug along New Jersey Avenue and then beneath the eventual I Street footprint in order to move a very big and very deep pipe. That work has to be completed before construction can begin on the Park Chelsea apartment building just to the north of the trash transfer station.
As for the station's lot once razing is complete, it could be a temporary parking lot until the eventual construction of a mixed-income apartment building that's part of the Capper-Carrollsburg redevelopment. All of this presuming that no one decides to lay in front of the bulldozers to prevent the building from being torn down.

Beating the Heat at Lincoln Capper Children's Pool (and Yards Park)
Jun 21, 2012 5:17 PM
(This should definitely be filed under Information That Would Have Been More Useful Two Days Ago, but it's not like it's not still hot and won't get hot again.)
I figure that most parents of small children in the Near Southeast/Capitol Hill/Southwest metroplex are already aware of this, but it's still worth mentioning that DC Parks and Rec's Lincoln Capper Children's Pool at 555 L St., SE, is open again this summer, offering splashing opportunities from 10 am to 6 pm Wednesday through Friday (with a half-hour break from 2:30-3 pm), and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 pm.
The fountains and wading pool at the Yards Park are now probably a bigger draw, but this additional offering brought to you by your tax dollars shouldn't be neglected, especially if it's too hot to walk down to 3rd and Water or if it's during the times each week when the fountains are off.
(There's also the pool scene at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, but that's slightly less kid-friendly than when I was a kid.)
Has anyone been to Lincoln this season?
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More posts: Capper, pools, recreation

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 Agenda: Parking Update, Capper PUD (and the Wharf)
Jun 8, 2012 10:10 AM
The agenda for the June 11 ANC 6D meeting has been sent out (and hopefully posted soon). The big-ticket item is a vote on the Stage 2 PUD for the Southwest Waterfront plans, which I doubt will be a lightning-quick discussion--when the agenda has it budgeted for 90 minutes, you know it's gonna be long.
But there are also two Near Southeast items of interest listed: an update on baseball game-day parking from DDOT (first discussed at the May meeting) and the Capper Community Center PUD extension request (also discussed in May).
I'm not yet up to sitting through a meeting of that length (though I'm coming along), so if these items are of interest, get thee to 1100 4th St. SW at 7 pm on Monday.

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.

Capper Milestone: Capitol Quarter Townhouses Now Sold Out
Mar 29, 2012 9:40 AM
It's a real milestone in the redevelopment of Near Southeast to report that the entire stock of townhouses for sale at Capitol Quarter has now sold out.
The first reservations for units were taken in October 2006 (remember the people camping out?), construction began in summer 2008, Phase 1 finished construction and Phase 2 reservations began in 2010, and now, with construction underway on the last group of houses on L between 3rd and 4th, the finish line for the project is not far away.
The development has been the third phase of the Hope VI redevelopment of the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing project, replacing the old housing with nearly seven blocks of brightly painted rowhouses, containing not only 130ish market-rate townhouses (a few of which have broken the $1 million barrier) but also 90ish special workforce-rate houses for smaller incomes, in addition to nearly 90 subsidized rental units.
Those units, combined with the 300 built at Capper Seniors #1 and 400 M Street, mean that more than half of the 700 units in the old Capper have now been replaced. The rest are slated to come in five mixed-income apartment buildings, located on the west side of 3rd Street, on L Street south of the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, and on the DPW/trash transfer station site at New Jersey and K. No timelines have been announced for any of the remaining buildings, but you can see on my main Capper page a map with estimated unit counts for each.
I've taken a lot (a LOT) of photos of the Capper footprint since 2003: my Capitol Quarter Phase 2 and Phase 1 pages give a good overview, or you can just pick a spot along 3rd, 4th, or 5th Streets in my Photo Archive and take a look.
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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?

Tuesday Tidbits: Best Evaluated by Volume, Not Weight
Mar 13, 2012 9:19 AM
So many Tweets recently, such small items. Let's see how short I can keep them:
* Justin's Cafe is looking to have a block party on Saturday, April 14 (when the Nats and the Reds play at 4:05 pm), and ANC 6D has supported the request to close 1st Street between K and L. (Thanks to SWill for, once again, picking up my slack.) Still probably some bureaucratic hoops to jump through before all is confirmed. This was moved from Opening Day so it would be on a weekend, Will says,
* Looks like DPW's trucks have departed a couple weeks earlier than expected from the agency's longtime home at New Jersey and K, although all the lights may not be turned out just yet. Demolition is in the cards, though some environmental abatement has to happen first.
* New striping and bike lanes were installed Monday on I Street SE between South Capitol and New Jersey.
* Start starving yourself now to prepare for the Red Porch's eight-pound "StrasBurger."
* Photographic evidence of fences down at the old Bullpen, clearing the way for Fairgrounds.
* Only four houses left for sale at Capitol Quarter.
* Bank of America is now building out its new space in the ground floor of 55 M south of the Metro entrance, informed sources say. (They're closing their Southwest location in June.)
* Could DC United be setting up shop just a few blocks up Potomac Avenue from Nationals Park?
* Near Southeast gets off relatively easy in this Sunday's National Marathon Street Closure Sweepstakes (just South Capitol south of L, and the Douglass Bridge).
Anything else going on these days? Besides that sandwich shop opening?
UPDATE: Let's add the elephant parade! Starting tonight at 8 pm, on the southern edge of Garfield Park at the train tracks where Virginia crosses under New Jersey, says WTOP.
UPDATE II: And, from the Hill is Home, a Q&A with ANC commissioner David Garber.
UPDATE III: I sent a lackey down to Potbelly to get a few opening-day shots. Hope he's not expecting to get reimbursed for his lunch.

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.

Tidbits, Capper Edition: Trailers Leaving, New Curbs, More
Feb 22, 2012 8:05 PM
It's not often I have enough content for a location-specific tidbits post, but there's a few items of note from the Capper/Capitol Quarter neck of the woods worth passing along:
* Capitol Hill Day School has moved back into its digs at the Dent School north of the freeway after spending the fall and early part of 2012 in "modular classrooms" on the Capper Community Center site at 5th and K, SE.
The trailers are scheduled to be hauled away sometime next week; I hear that the Housing Authority folks are looking into keeping the fence that CHDS put up and laying down some additional sod in order to create a small playing field for kids.
There's still no word on when the community center itself may get built, though DCHA is (still) working on getting the financing.
* If you've seen new granite curbs and gutters going in along 3rd, K, and L in front of Cornercopia and the "legacy" houses around which Capitol Quarter has been built, those are being installed by the Housing Authority as a small community benefit for those homeowners who have been surrounded by a whole lot of construction over the past few years. New brick sidewalks will be coming as well; new street lights are also a possibility, though that's not confirmed.
* Foundations are being poured for the townhouses along 3rd Street south of L that are part of the last block of Capitol Quarter construction. Didn't see framing underway when I rode by on Saturday, but perhaps that's started since?
* There's also apparently some kerfuffling these days within the CQ homeowners association, sparked by working on the community's response to the plans for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel reconstruction (the project that continues to put a smile on everyone's faces!). I mention it here because I wouldn't want to be accused of sweeping such important news under the rug, but I'd really prefer that my comments section not become a place for the battle to be litigated.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter, Community Center

DPW: Move From New Jersey Ave. Scheduled for March 31
Feb 8, 2012 9:37 AM
File this under Sometimes Twitter is Actually Useful:
On Monday, DDOT was plugging a "Parking Chat" being held with their head Terry Bellamy and the top dogs at DMV and DPW, and asked readers for "parking questions."
Because I can't ever resist being a smart ass, I replied: "My parking question: When will DPW be parking its truck fleet on Okie St. NE instead of New Jersey Ave. SE? :-)" (See that smiley? I was at least acknowledging I was being a smart ass.)
So I was surprised to see this from @DCDPW this morning:
"The move is scheduled to take place on March 31st."
As I've written a number of times, this move needs to happen so that old trash transfer building at New Jersey and K can be demolished, which will allow for the transfer of a smidge of that property to William C. Smith so that they can begin work on the Park Chelsea apartment building on the block just to the north. It will also clear the way for the punching through of I Street from 2nd Street to New Jersey Avenue, which WC Smith will handle as part of the Park Chelsea construction.
This is a later time frame than we had last heard (which is nothing new for this spot), but it sounds like they certainly do expect to be moving at the end of March.
The trash transfer site itself is slated to eventually be a mixed-income apartment building under the Capper Hope VI redevelopment plan.

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.")

Updated Photos: Capitol Quarter Phase II and 225 Virginia/200 I
Oct 23, 2011 2:43 PM
October may be my favorite month for taking photos of Near Southeast--if you can get a bright clear day, the just-starting-to-change trees give a nice additional color pallette, plus the sun still gets high enough in the sky to (mostly) allow for southward-facing photos. It was eight years ago I first found this out, as you can see in this October 2003 gallery--there's still a lot of shots where clearly I hadn't found my routine yet (and you can see my dirty windshield here and there!), but there is still something special about the light in them. And looking at how different things look is kind of cool, too.
There isn't really all that much to take photos of in the neighborhood right now, especially since I did a full set back in September, but I did take a quick walk through Capitol Quarter and over to 225 Virginia/200 I to get updated images:
The old Post Plant monolith ain't quite so monolith-y anymore, is it?
You can browse the expanded photo archives for 225 Virginia and Capitol Quarter Phase 2 for lots and lots of images (with today's shots marked by the icon, as always), or visit the Capitol Quarter and 225 Virginia/200 I project pages for a more "narrated" tour.
There's apparently been some concern by Capitol Quarter residents about the 200 I construction, but representatives of Stonebridge gave an update to them saying that "base building work" (i.e., outside stuff) will be completed in the next four months, which seems pretty much on the schedule announced when work began back in February. Interior work will begin in December, with DC agencies expected to begin moving in around June 2012. But 3rd and I streets will probably be a bit of a mess as utility work and the construction of the single-deck parking garage continue. My post from March on the parking garage configuration may also be of interest, if you haven't been following along, as might all of my 225 Virginia/200 I posts, going back many years....
And, once you're finished wandering through these shots, how about filling out my Reader Survey? (I PROMISE that this link actually works!) It's only going to be up for a few more days....

Final Capitol Quarter Workforce Housing Lottery Completed
Oct 18, 2011 1:32 PM
The folks at EYA have passed along that the fourth and final lottery for workforce-housing units at Capitol Quarter was completed on October 1, with 66 people entering for the 12 houses that were made available. (EYA also drew 24 names for a backup list in case any of the chosen 12 withdraw.)
I don't have any of the documents for this round of the lottery (didn't get any notification of it in advance this time around), but here's the information provided for the last lottery, back in March. At that time, household income needed to be under $119,025 in order to qualify, and there were scads of qualifications and requirements that potential lottery entrants needed to be certified as having passed in order to participate.
As for the rest of Capitol Quarter, it is nearing the finish line, with seven or eight market-rate homes left to sell on the second-to-last block (bounded by 3rd, 4th, K, and L), along with the 12 market-rate homes that will be available on the final block on the south side of L between 3rd and 4th (right behind the 300 M Street office building).
This portion of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment should be completed by next summer, with the two phases of the Capitol Quarter townhouse development bringing approximately 120 market-rate houses, 82 workforce-rate units, 25 Section 8 ownership units, and 86 subsidized rental units. This is in addition to the 162 subsidized senior housing units at 900 5th Street and 138 subsidized units at 400 M Street. This leaves five mixed-income apartment buildings and the 250 M and 600 M office buildings still to be built to complete the Hope VI plans that will replace the 707 units of public housing one-to-one, along with constructing an additional 1,000-plus market-rate and workforce-rate units. No timelines have been announced for the next phases.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Bullet from Freeway Gunfire Strikes Virginia Ave. SE House
Sep 25, 2011 3:51 PM
Readers are reporting that late Saturday night three or four shots were fired on the Southeast Freeway that resulted in a bullet going through a window of one of the houses in the 300 block of Virginia Ave. SE, with the one of the bullet's shards then ending up either lodged in or very near the bassinet of a 5-day-old baby. No one in the house was injured. The gunfire seems to have been the result of people in one car on the freeway shooting at another car.
There's no police report anywhere as yet, so these are only details I'm getting from readers, but perhaps more information will become available. (I've sent a request into the MPD 1D mailing list.)
UPDATE: This is Commander Hickson's reply to my question on the MPD-1D list: "There was a shooting on the Freeway that involved a passenger in one moving vehicle firing at another moving vehicle. As a result of that shooting a shot struck and entered a private premise in the 300 block of VA Ave SE, causing damage to the home and the targeted vehicle. Thankfully, no one was injured in the vehicle or the home. The only description that was provided was for a black "luxury" vehicle, occupied by three subjects."
UPDATE II: Here's WJLA's story on the episode (though goodness, it needs a copy editor desperately). And Fox5's.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter, crime

CSX Meeting Reminder; ANC 6D Redistricting, Capper Votes
Sep 13, 2011 9:16 PM
First, a reminder that Wednesday Sept. 14 brings the Public Scoping Meeting for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. This is a "we want to hear what YOU think!" meeting, so there will be no presentations of actual plans for the construction. It will just be an open house with information on what exists and what needs to be done, and a chance for interested parties to submit their feedback to DDOT and the FHWA. The meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Van Ness Elementary School; you can read more about the meeting in my post from last month. There's also the official web site, and this flyer from the newly formed Concerned Citizens of Virginia Avenue that makes clear their opinion on what's to come. Additional meetings where CSX will finally provide some specifics on their designs and plans should come later this fall.
As for doings at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting beyond the Metro station renaming items I already wrote about:
* Capper Time Extensions: The commission voted 7-0 to support the request for two-year extensions on two planned Capper apartment buildings and the office building planned for 600 M Street, which is also part of the Capper redevelopment. (I hadn't realized that 600 M was part of this request when I wrote my entry last week.) This would push the planned start dates for these three projects into the late 2013-early 2014 time frame.
As is usually the case with any Capper issue in front of the commission, Chairman McBee brought up the delayed community center, which Housing Authority representatives said should get its needed $7.4 million in funding when a new bond issuance happens later this year, and a building permit should be filed for in advance of the July 2012 deadline. As is also most always the case with Capper issues, the commission also wanted statistics and information on the former residents of the project, and whether they are being tracked and worked with. The DCHA reps said that 129 residents have returned to Capper, with another 550 on the waiting list, though some of those have turned down recently completed units for various issues (not wanting a walkup, etc.). This is with about half of the required 707 public housing units already constructed.
This extension was to have been heard by the Zoning Commission on Monday night, but since the ANC had not yet had a chance to weigh in, the applicants agreed with a request to delay action until the Zoning Commission's Sept. 26 meeting. If you want to know more, you can read my entry from last week (no need to write it all again!).
* Redistricting: The ANC proffered an alternate Single Member District map from what the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force has proposed. It tweaks the proposed boundaries in a way that moves current commissioner David Garber's building and the 70/100 I buildings back into 6D07 (along with the small block in Southwest bordered by South Capitol, M, N, and Carrollsburg Place), while placing Capitol Hill Tower, 909 New Jersey, and Velocity in 6B03, which reaches across South Capitol from Southwest. (The proposed SMDs that cover Near Southeast are in my quickie map at right.) Commissioner Cara Shockley, whose 6D02 was altered substantially from what the task force had proposed (it would have covered the portion of Near Southeast now given to 6D03, along with 70/100 I and Onyx, but not CHT), told the commission she was completely opposed to the new boundaries, and had no idea that such a big change was being proposed by the ANC, having been unable to open the attachments with the map images. David Garber took no official position on 6D's map, saying that because his constituents have made clear that they feel Near Southeast belongs in 6B and not 6D he would not be voting. In the end, the ANC supported the resolution offering up the alternate map in a 4-1-2 vote, with Garber and Bob Craycraft abstaining and Shockley voting against.
The task force's next public meeting is on Sept. 19 to propose the second draft of SMD boundaries, followed by a final meeting to approve their final draft maps on Sept. 22. Tommy Wells will then submit recommendations on boundaries to the city council by Sept. 30. For more on all the redistricting process, see my previous entries.

ANC Agendas, Possible Bus Route Change, NCPC Doings, Singles at Harry's, Crime at Capper, and a Rant About Dying Data
Sep 8, 2011 11:02 AM
Apologies for the torrent of words that follows:
* ANC Meetings: The agenda is now out for Monday's meeting ANC 6D meeting. In addition to the Capper apartments time extension request I just wrote about, there will be a discussion of the proposed Single Member District boundaries for 6D. (Ditto on both counts for the ANC 6B meeting the next night.) There is also an agenda item on the proposed renaming of both the Navy Yard and Waterfront-SEU Metro stations, with a DDOT representative. The 6D meeting is at 7 pm in the DCRA offices at 1100 4th St., SW, 2nd Floor.
* Changes to P1/P2/P6 Buses: WMATA has come up with a list of proposed changes to bus routes, and one of them would eliminate the P1 and P2 buses that run along M Street SE during rush hour and would re-route the P6 bus down M Street SE to 4th Street SW, away from its current route that runs along Virginia Avenue and through the southern part of Capitol Hill before heading to Federal Center SW and then across the Mall and into downtown. This could impact the residents of the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE, which has an eastbound stop right on its corner. (I'd also note that the planned closure of Virginia Avenue south of the freeway for two-plus years would necessitate a rerouting anyway.) And, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that this rerouting would have an impact on the JDLand household, since we often use this bus (which stops right at our corner) to get to and from downtown. This is not final yet, with public meetings on this and the other proposed changes still to come.
* NCPC Doings: Last week the National Capital Planning Commission approved by consent Forest City's plans to temporarily put their offices in the second floor of the Lumber Shed building at the Yards Park. NCPC also approved an installation of solar panels at the Navy Yard, while humminah-hummining that though the commission had said back in 2010 that "no future submittals at the Washington Navy Yard will be considered until an updated master plan is submitted," they decided that "this proposal is a minor one that does not increase the population at the installation, does not include any interior space, will have 'no adverse effect' on historic resources and is comprised of elements that reduce the installation's energy consumption." Plus, the report says the commission staff has been meeting with the Navy and expects a draft document for updating the Navy Yard master plan to be submitted to NCPC by the end of this year.
* Beer! And a Cookout: In tastier news, the folks at Harry's Reserve tell me they are now approved to sell single beers, and already are building their inventory of 32-40 oz craft beers, imports, and the like. Meanwhile, the Great Heartland Cookout is happening on Saturday at the Yards Park, benefitting the Fisher House Foundation, which donates "comfort homes" built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers for families of hospitalized service members. Cookout tickets start at $40.
* Crime At Capper, Before and After: The Urban Institute has published "Movin' Out: Crime Displacement and HUD's HOPE VI Initiative" that uses the crime statistics around Capper and other DC rehabilitated public housing communities to show that crime not only remains low in the immediate area after a HOPE VI renovation, but is lower in nearby areas as well. The report is a bit hard to read (I have to admit I gave up pretty quickly), but MetroTrends gives a good summary. You can also look at the crime statistics I've archived since 2005 to see how crimes in the neighborhood have changed over the years, while keeping in mind that the initial move-outs began at Capper in 2003. (The huge spike in Theft from Autos in 2006 was mostly a result of the neighborhood being empty except for the cars of construction workers, which were then pretty easy pickings during the daytime when they were busy at Nationals Park or the other projects at the time.)
* Waah Waah Waah: And, speaking of the crime statistics.... I have been downloading those reports from the city's Data Warehouse on a near-daily basis since they were first made available as XML feeds. I've also been able to get Public Space Permit Applications and Approved Building Permit Applications via XML for a number of years, and the many data feeds that were created are something that the city received numerous accolades for during the Fenty administration. However, the Public Space Permits feed now has not been updated since mid-July, and the Building Permits feed hasn't been updated since August 23.
Multiple e-mails to the data warehouse e-mail address have gone unacknowledged (after years of pretty prompt response, even if it was just to say "we know, we're working on it"). The Twitter accounts for both the Data Warehouse project and for OCTO Labs are equally moribund. I've let DCRA and DDOT know about the problems with the feeds, since they are the originators of the data, but if these data feeds are going to go to seed it's going to be a real loss for having easy access to this sort of data (even if I'm probably one of the few people who's ever bothered to take advantage). And, if the data isn't dying and is just getting worked on, a little bit of communication would go a long way (like, say, replying to any of my e-mails). Hopefully the crime feeds won't suddenly stop working, since that one certainly gets the most interest of any of them. (My complaints about the loss of depth in the city's web site offerings after the big redesign are for another day.) Just wait until OCTO moves into 225 Virginia next year and I can start picketing out front.

DCHA Files for Time Extension on Two Capper Apartment Projects
Sep 7, 2011 3:06 PM
The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for a time extension to construct the mixed-income apartment buildings it has planned for the north half of Square 882 (the old Capper Seniors block along L Street between 5th and 7th, seen at right) and the north half of Square 769, between 2nd and 3rd on L just east of Canal Park (below, the building at left, next to the proposed 250 M Street).
When the plans for these two buildings were approved by the Zoning Commission in 2009 (see the zoning order), it was required that building permits be applied for by August of this year, with construction to begin by August of 2012. However, attempts at funding either the Square 882 189-unit building or 171-unit Square 769N building the have not thus far borne any fruit, and so a time extension is needed. Between them, the buildings would have 72 units reserved for households making less than 60 percent of the area median income, and the Square 769 building would also have just over 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The Zoning Commission will hear this request at its meeting on Monday night; because there is no request to modify any portion of the PUD beyond the time requirement, this will most likely be handled as a consent calendar item. There will also be a presentation on this request and the state of the Capper redevelopment in general at Monday's ANC 6D meeting. (There was also one given at Tuesday night's ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, but I had a baseball game to watch.) But since the Zoning Commission hearing is at the same time as the 6D meeting, it would seem that there is no anticipated opposition from 6D.
The Office of Planning prepared a short report recommending approval of the time extension, showing that the requirements for an extension have been met. It also quotes the development team as saying that there have been 75 outreach efforts for financing, all unsuccessful. "The inability to secure financing for residential projects, especially those including affordable units, is not unusual in the current marketplace."
If you want to know more about these two planned apartment projects, and the other three mixed-income buildings planned along the east side of Canal Park and on the DPW/trash transfer site, my Capper Apartments page has additional background, as do the scads of blog posts I've written on the various plans. And my main Capper page has the background on the entire redevelopment project.
UPDATE: And, of course, within seconds of my pulling the trigger and posting this entry, I've received a copy of the letter to the Zoning Commission requesting the PUD. Which I'm posting before reading.

A Few Photos Before Downshifting into the August Doldrums
Aug 1, 2011 3:31 PM
I'm anticipating that the next couple of weeks will be pretty quiet, at least the Foundry Lofts start their pre-leasing on Aug. 15, followed by the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force release of its first draft of proposed new ANC/SMD boundaries on or about Aug. 18. So here's a bit of a potpourri, and then I'm going to probably take a blog-breather unless really big news breaks. (As always, I'll still be popping up on Twitter or Facebook with tidbits here or there.)
A smidge belatedly, I've added the three garages demolished a week ago on the southeast corner of 1st and K to my Demolished Buildings Gallery, as entries 163, 164, and 165. (It might soon be time to create a Not Demolished Gallery, which would be far far smaller.) I was surprised when digging in my archives to find a couple of photos of the garages still in operation (above), from 2006 and 2007. You can also see how that stretch of 1st has changed since 2003, looking south from K and north from L.
I also grabbed a quick photo of the progress on the new bridge bring built by the city that will link Diamond Teague Park to the Yards Park, scheduled to be completed this fall. (And I guess it's time to also officially get rid of the "floating bridge" nomenclature, because, as we've seen for months, there are big ole' piles in the river.) It'll be interesting to see if usage of the First Base Gate at Nationals Park at 1st and Potomac increases noticeably next season with this new riverside walkway available. (It will also make arriving at Teague Piers via water taxi to attend events at the Yards Park involve a much more enjoyable walk, compared to schlepping up to N Street and over.)
And, with people now moving into the first completed houses in phase two of Capitol Quarter, I updated my photos of 3rd Street between I and K. And it reminded me how the intersection of 3rd and I has become quite an illustration of change in all directions, with not only new townhouses replacing old public housing but also seeing lots of new high-rises in the distance. (The White Monolith that was the old Post Plant on the northwest corner getting a facelift is an added bonus.)
If you're looking for other links to help kill time over the next few weeks, take a look at the JDLand Headlines to be sure you haven't missed any big items lately.

Demolition of the Market Deli at 1st and L Underway; Other Photos
Jul 11, 2011 3:41 PM
With raze permits for the old structures along 1st Street SE between K and L finally approved in mid-June, the days were truly numbered for the Market Deli and its neighbors, and today the demolition got underway, with most of the rear section of the Deli's structure knocked in. Fences are up all around the 1st Street structures, which are all owned by Akridge, and with this initial wrecking underway I imagine it won't be long until the five buildings are added to my Demolished Buildings Gallery, as entries 161 through 165.
There's a few more images here, showing that the demolition isn't quite so obvious from 1st Street (yet). Also, hopefully the folks who have been tending to the cats living in the abandoned building can report in as to their fate. (I heard a rumor that some kittens were removed today, but would defer to an update from anyone with more knowledge. UPDATE: In the comments of another post, reader jenniferp says that five very young kittens were indeed captured this morning, but there are several more still on the loose.) And, if you haven't been following along on the tale of the Market Deli for the past few years, here's some enlightenment.
And, because it would have been silly to wander down there in the ghastly heat and humidity and walk past a whole lot of spots where I needed to take updated photos, you can see the latest progress at 225 Virginia (aka 200 I Street) and the second phase of Capitol Quarter, where framing is being completed on the last portion of its first block, along Fourth Street.

Raze Permit Application Filed for Trash Transfer Site
Jun 16, 2011 8:42 AM
Just arrived this morning is a copy of the raze permit application for 900 New Jersey Avenue SE, far better known as the trash transfer site, where the city's Department of Public Works has operated out of for many years. The block is part of the footprint of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment, and is slated to eventually become a 320-ish-unit mixed-income apartment building.
Its demolition will allow for the construction of I Street between 2nd and New Jersey, which also paves the way for William C. Smith to be able to start on its planned residential project just to the north at 800 New Jersey.
The DC Housing Authority will be handling the demolition, which won't happen until a new DPW home is constructed in Northeast, though they are hoping that the move happens before the leaves start to fall. And then there will need to be environmental abatements on the site, which has had trash-related operations on it for a long long time.
And apparently ANC 6D07 commissioner David Garber won't be trying to landmark the smokestack after all. (Read this comments thread for the background on that.)

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.])

Back from Across the Pond; Lots of Tidbits While I Recover
Jun 8, 2011 9:09 AM
I'm back in DC, having spent 11 wonderful days in Madrid, Barcelona, and cruising across the Mediterranean to Pisa, Florence, Rome, the coast south of Naples, and Mallorca. Needless to say, while I checked in on the news back home from time to time and tweeted an item or two if the timing was right, I wasn't following developments closely, and I'm pretty out of the blogging groove at this point. So I'm going to start back slowly with some easy items.
* Redistricting: The city council voted Tuesday to approve a redistricting map that, as expected, keeps Near Southeast in Ward 6. This continues to make Marion Barry extremely unhappy, and the Examiner reports that he'll be "asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to open a Justice Department review of proposed new D.C. ward boundaries because, Barry says, they violate residents' civil rights." There's still a final vote to be had on the plan, probably on June 21. As for the last-minute changes that ended up keeping much of Ward 6 intact (moving Reservation 13 to Ward 7 instead of other areas), you can read Tommy Wells's blog for more details.
* Riverwalk: The Navy Yard announced last week that its portion of the riverwalk along the Anacostia River, running from the 11th Street Bridges to the Yards Park, will now be open from 5:30 am until "official sunset," seven days a week and including holidays; though there will still be closures as needed, which are announced on the Navy Yard Riverwalk Twitter feed. (I admit that I got a bit of a kick passing along this news via Twitter while riding on a train north of Rome.)
* DPW Move: The council passed emergency technical legislation on Tuesday that allows Capper PILOT funds to be used to build a new location for DPW operations in Northeast, which means that they should be moving from the 2nd and K site this fall (before "leaf season").
* Ward 6 Family Day: Tommy Wells's yearly event for Ward 6 residents will be held on Saturday, June 25, and will be at the Yards Park for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, with "free food, live music, games and activities for the whole family as well as raffles featuring gift certificates from local businesses and sporting memorabilia from the Wizards, DC United and Washington Nationals."
* ANC 6D has its next meeting on Monday, June 13, at 7 pm at Arena Stage. The agenda is light on Near Southeast items, with only a resolution by David Garber about Near Southeast bike stations and requests by Cornercopia and Harry's Reserve to be exempted from the ban on the sale of "singles."
* Food Truck Festival: Bo Blair, the owner of the Bullpens and the organizer of Truckeroo on June 3, said in an e-mail that the event was a "massive, incredible success," with somewhere between 17,000 and 18,000 attendees and "zero problems." The next date for the event will be announced soon.
* Construction and Destruction: Construction has stalled on the Little Red Building v2.0 at 2nd and L, which ANC commissioner Garber says is a "building permit issue that is in process of being resolved - construction should start back 'soon.'" Meanwhile, the "re-dressing" of 225 Virginia is well underway, with the new exterior walls being hung on the north side of the building. And if it hasn't already happened, the trailer that was the original sales office for Capitol Quarter is being torn down, since construction of townhouses is now underway on that block. (Photos to come, at some point.)
* The Yards on Facebook/Twitter: I kind of stumbled across these (never saw any announcement about them), but the Yards now has an official Facebook page (which is available on Twitter, too) along with a separate one for the Foundry Lofts (its Twitter account is protected, though).
UPDATE: And, since this just came across Twitter: Dan Steinberg reports that Shake Shack and the other new Nats Park restaurants will open next Tuesday, the beginning of the homestand vs. the Cardinals.

Zoning Approvals Given for Temporary Capitol Hill Day School
May 17, 2011 4:25 PM
On Tuesday morning the Board of Zoning Adjustment voted to approve three exceptions and variances that will allow the Capitol Hill Day School to use the currently empty lot at 5th and K streets SE as a temporary location for its operations while its Dent School building at 2nd and South Carolina undergoes renovations.
This move, which has the support of ANC 6D and the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association, would bring a "modular building" to the site this summer, with the school's expectation that it will return to the Dent building in early 2012.
There will be no on-site parking, but the school is leasing 29 parking spaces in the big parking lot one block to the east, on the site of the old Capper Seniors building (Nats lot "W"). And the Office of Planning report on the application says that DDOT has "agreed to prohibit parking between mid-June 2011 and the end of January 2012 on school days between 7 am and 6 pm on the east side of the block [...] in order to facilitate the drop off and pick up of students." (I'll note that this 7 am start time is one hour earlier than what was announced at the ANC 6D meeting where this plan was discussed.) CHDS representatives also told 6D at that meeting that they will be asking parents coming from north of the freeway to drive south on 4th, turn left on L, and then turn left on 5th to pull into one of their four drop-off spots, where students are then guided out of the cars. (Buses will pull in and out of these spots as well.) The spaces will be available for parking after 6 pm and on weekends and holidays.
There were few questions from the board; Commissioner May did ask whether this plan will negatively impact the long-delayed plans for the new community center to be built on the site. The current requirements placed on the community center project by the Zoning Commission as part of the Capper PUD are that the Housing Authority must apply for a building permit by July 1, 2012, and that construction must begin no later than June 30, 2013, dates which are far enough in the future to not be delayed by the Day School's occupation of the site.
The commission then voted to approve the requested relief; but, after a representative from the city's office of the attorney general raised some concerns, the hearing then devolved into a long technical and legal discussion of defining which conditions of a previous order were being addressed, which I totally admit to bailing out of. But in the end the project was still approved. You can watch the video of the hearing when it's posted if you want more information; and the Office of Planning report is also a very good resource for the zoning issues, plus there's a drawing on page 3 that shows how the temporary building will occupy the lot.
The Day School has a blog with information about the renovation project, and I imagine they'll pass along soon more details about when work will start at 5th and K.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center, meetings, zoning

Spring Has Sprung Photos: 200 I, Capitol Quarter, Yards Park
Apr 25, 2011 9:18 AM
With the sun finally coming out, it shouldn't be surprising that I took camera in hand on both Saturday evening and Easter Sunday and did some wandering to catch up with the progress at two locations, and to get shots of a few new items I hadn't yet documented.
The old 225 Virginia, on its way to becoming 200 I (boo), is now almost completely disrobed. (I think I'll go with that from now on rather than "deskinned.") It's been such a monolith for so many years that it's strange to see it broken up. You can take a virtual walk around the block to see how the old Star/Post plant looked before along with its current state, and visit my 225 Virginia project page for more info and background. (If you haven't been following along, by this time next year 200 I is expected to be nearly complete, with three DC city agencies on the boards to move there.)
Just to the southwest, work continues on the first block(s) in the second phase of the Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhouse development, with bricking proceeding on the new houses along I Street while framing has made it around and up the new 3rd Place; plus, foundations have now been poured along 4th Street. Here's your walk around the block to be reminded of the old public housing units that stood there for a long time and to compare them with the construction going on now. For more information, see my Capper and Capitol Quarter project pages.
(If you want to see just the new photos taken Sunday, here they are in one batch.)
Meanwhile, down at the Yards Park, the flowers are in bloom, a geodesic dome that looks like the Earth is hosting foodies, and work appears to have begun on the floating bridge that will connect the Yards Park to Diamond Teague Park (right by Nationals Park) later this year. You can see my quick gallery of photos showing these items, along with a picture of the sign laying out the rules for using the Navy Yard portion of the riverwalk (since it was Saturday, I could only stand forlornly at the gate and look eastward), plus the progress on the Foundry Lofts building just to the north of the park. And some shots of the Navy Yard buildings that are adjacent to the park, just because I like being in a spot where I can take photos of them without having guards chase me down the street.

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....)

ANC 6D Supports Temporary Capitol Hill Day School; Capper Update
Mar 15, 2011 10:25 AM
(There were a number of Near Southeast-related items on Monday night's ANC 6D agenda, so I'm going to break up the reports into a couple of posts. One or two more to come over the next day or so.)
Representatives of the Capitol Hill Day School came to 6D to ask for the commission's support on a zoning case that would allow the school to erect "modular classrooms" on the empty community center lot at 5th and K while their current location at 2nd and South Carolina undergoes renovation. As I wrote last week, the school would occupy the lot starting in June, with the intent of returning to the Dent School building in January 2012. There were a few additional details given last night:
* CHDS has secured 29 spaces in the big parking lot at 7th and L for faculty.
* They will be requesting from DDOT that six of the street parking spaces (half the block) on the east side of 5th in front of the lot be changed to No Parking from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays, to act as a drop-off zone for parents and buses. They will ask parents coming from north of the freeway to drive south on 4th, turn left on L, and then turn left on 5th to pull into one of their four drop-off spots, where kids are guided quickly out of the cars. (You can see this in operation at 2nd and South Carolina.) Their school buses would also operate in those spots during the day. But the spaces would be available for resident parking after 6 pm, before 8 am, and on weekends, with a "minimal" number of nighttime events beyond a Back to School night.
* Headmaster Jason Gray said that the school wants to be "as minimally disruptive as we can, be good community members, and leave the site better than we left it." They'll be landscaping the site (and fencing it), and will clear the lot and clean it up once they move out.
* In return for using this DC Housing Authority lot, CHDS has agreed to fund three scholarships for public housing children to attend the school, though details on how the students will be picked are still being worked out.
The commission voted 6-1 to support the zoning request, with only Commissioner Roger Moffatt voting against. The BZA will hear the case on May 17. If you want to know more about the CHDS renovation project, you can check out their wiki, and they are also keeping a blog on the construction project.
There was also a general update on the progress of the overall Capper redevelopment given by David Cortiella of DCHA. Some bullet points:
* Construction on the second phase of Capitol Quarter is actually a bit ahead of schedule; Cortiella said the first move-ins are scheduled for July/August, but I've heard from EYA that it may be more like May/June.
* DCHA is in the process of building a new lot for DPW so that it can move out of the New Jersey & K site; Cortiella expects this to happen by August, at which time site remediation and demolition can begin, working toward the building of I Street through to New Jersey Avenue (along with all manner of infrastructure work). This would take about 18 months.
* The financing for the mixed-income apartment project on Square 882 (just south of the Marine barracks) has apparently proven difficult to secure, and is still being worked on, with Cortiella saying he "expects" it by the end of the year.
* The community center's financing is dependent on whether a second bond can be floated to get the rest of the $55 million PILOT monies; the $29 million bond sold in 2010 is paying for infrastructure work around Canal Park and the DPW site, and by spring of next year it should be known whether this second bond will be happening.
* The entire project is still on track to eventually provide the 707 units of public housing that were on the site before redevelopment; about 337 have already been delivered.
(Plus, it wasn't mentioned at the meeting, but there's a lottery of up to 11 Capitol Quarter workforce housing units coming March 26.)

Capitol Quarter Phase II Workforce Lottery March 26
Mar 15, 2011 9:58 AM
EYA has announced that up to 11 houses at Capitol Quarter are being made available at workforce-level prices in another lottery, the third since Capitol Quarter began being developed in 2006. Household income must be under $119,025, and there are a lot of qualifications and requirements to meet, requiring a visit to the sales office before March 20 in order to be certified as eligible. The lottery will be held at 10 am on March 26 at the sales office at 4th and L, SE. (There may be fewer than 11 houses, since former residents of Capper/Carrollsburg are given an opportunity to purchase homes in this program before they are made available.)
Read the financing program document or contact EYA for more details.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

ANC 6D Agenda: Capper, Day School, Yards, 225 Virginia
Mar 11, 2011 12:37 PM
Very quick post to note that the agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now posted. The bevy of Near Southeast items include:
* An update on the Capper Hope VI redevelopment from the DC Housing Authority;
* The zoning case to allow Capitol Hill Day School to erect temporary structures on the Community Center lot starting in June while their school undergoes renovation;
* A Yards zoning amendment that would allow Forest City to "temporarily" (not more than 20 years) include office space in the second floor of the Lumber Storage Shed at the Yards Park, which would allow FC to move their offices there;
* And an update on "landscaping plans" at 200 I Street (still known in these parts at 225 Virginia Avenue).
There's also a lot of other items more of interest across the way in Southwest, although the items on "Safeway 'Customer Service' Procedures" and some others might be of note to Near Southeast residents as well.
Also, I might point out this item from the agenda, if you haven't noticed it before: "Community Concerns -- ANC6D residents may address the Commission for three (3) minutes, provided they have called the ANC office at 202-554-1795 at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting to supply the topic and request a time slot. (Statements must be submitted in writing for record purposes.) " The Community Concerns slot is now at the very end of meetings, however.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, at 600 M St., SW.

Capitol Hill Day School Looking at 5th and K for Temporary Space
Mar 4, 2011 6:55 AM
I don't have a lot of firm details yet, but: Apparently the Capitol Hill Day School folks, who have been searching for "swing space" to move to during renovations at their Dent School building at 2nd and South Carolina, are negotiating with the DC Housing Authority to set up modular classrooms on the vacant lot at 5th and K that was once and may some day again be the Capper Community Center.
If the deal comes to fruition, CHDS would occupy the lot for about six months, starting in June, with the plan of moving back to their renovated home in early January. What other facilities they might use in the neighborhood have not yet been firmed up, though it's possible they may negotiate the use of some space at Van Ness Elementary.
A Board of Zoning Adjustment case has been filed, though a hearing date has not yet appeared on the BZA calendar.
A final agreement is still pending, so more information will be available when that's done.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center

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?

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.

Building at 1010 3rd St., SE Hit by Fire
Feb 1, 2011 10:51 AM
Readers passed along the news early this morning (while your night owl blogger slept) of a fire in the two-story multi-unit building at 1010 3rd St., SE, four doors south of Cornercopia, in the block of existing private homes within the Capper/Carrollsburg footprint. You can see the smoke rising above the block before dawn, as well as the state of the building once the fire was out. Tweets from DC Fire/EMS say that there were no injuries, but three people have been displaced.
UPDATE: Here are some more photos, from just after the fire was put out, from a neighbor across the alley.
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More posts: Capper, cornercopia

Events News: Chocolate City, Sensorium
Jan 28, 2011 1:10 PM
Two events on the horizon (one near, one far) that might be of interest:
* On February 2 at 8 pm, Arlington Independent Media is hosting a showing of Chocolate City, the 2007 documentary by Ellie Walton and Sam Wild about families who were displaced by the redevelopment of Capper/Carrollsburg. There will be a conversation after the screening with Walton. (It would be interesting to know whether any of the families portrayed in the movie have since come back to the area by moving into any of Capitol Quarter low-income units, since the movie was filmed and completed before any of the construction at CQ started.) Tickets are $6, and the movie begins at 8 pm at the Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., in Arlington. (h/t reader P)
* Coming to the Yards Park in April is Sensorium, a "culinary and sensory experience featuring creative atmosphere and cutting-edge production." According to the press release, this will be a "sophisticated 12-course culinary production" from Executive Chef Bryon Brown, founder of Artisa Kitchen and the DC Supper Club series. A temporary structure (called a "geodesic dome" by the producers, but described to me by the BID as a tent) will be set up on the eastern side of the park, just south of the Trapeze School's tent, and there will be audio/visual and performance elements woven through the 12-course meal. (Cirque du Soleil meets Top Chef?) Each show will have only 30 tickets available, with two seatings per day (5:30 and 9 pm), running for six weeks beginning on April 12. Tickets are $150, but are discounted to $125 for the first four shows.
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More posts: Capper, Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Some Updated Photos, For the First Time in Forever
Jan 17, 2011 11:18 AM
I'm not quite as obsessive about taking photos around Near Southeast as I used to be, mainly because back when I started very few people lived or worked in the area, which meant photos were important to get across to readers the scope of the changes. But that's not the case now, and I figure most readers are seeing this stuff every day, which gives me a great excuse to not pull out my camera when it's 30 degrees and the winter sun angles make for less-than-optimal shots. But the mood struck me on Sunday, so now my photos are updated and my guilty conscience can be eased ever so slightly.
If you haven't wandered down to Third and Tingey lately, you won't have seen all the new windows in the Foundry Lofts building, which look pretty spiffy. When it opens this fall, it will have 170 apartments and ground-floor retail. (While I was there, I updated my 4th and Water Before and Afters, now that the area of the Yards Park south of the Trapeze School is landscaped and close to being finished.)
It hasn't been officially announced as "completed," but I always figure when the sidewalks open next to a newly constructed building, it's as good as done, so I went to get some After photos of 1015 Half Street, the 440,000-square-foot office building on the site of the old Nation nightclub. No tenants have been announced yet. (You can also see the expanded archive of before-and-afters for more shots, especially if you're more interested in remembering Nation.)
Taking photos of poured foundations in weak winter light is not really a recipe for exciting images, but I figured I still had to document the progress being made on the northern of the three Capitol Quarter Phase II blocks. The first framing of houses on this block could happen this month. (And before long it'll start to be apparent that this block is going to be split into two blocks, with the new 3rd Place running north to south.)
Alas, I only just now realized that I totally forgot to take any photos of the new construction at the old Little Red Building site. Will have to do that the next time the sun is out.
Here's the complete batch of Sunday's photos, with the See All Photos of This Angle as your guide to see the full set of before-and-afters for any photo.

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!

HPRB Staff Recommends Historic Designation Vote for St. Paul's AUMP Church
Nov 16, 2010 10:34 AM
"After careful consideration," the staff of the city's Historic Preservation Review Board has recommended that St. Paul's African Union Methodist Protestant Church at 4th and I, SE, be designated a District of Columbia landmark, and also that the application be forwarded to the National Park Service for listing in the US's National Register of Historic Places.
The staff recommendation report gives a lot of good history about the church, some of which I mentioned in last week's post on ANC 6D supporting the church's application. It was built in 1924, and was the first church designed by R.C. Archer, Jr., Washington's second licensed African American architect. The report also says that the church is significant "as the very modest place of worship of an early twentieth-century, working-class, African-American community in the industrial environment surrounding Washington's Navy Yard," and mentions that the building has survived not one but two "substantial community razing and redevelopment projects" (the original construction of the Cappers in the 1940s and 1950s, and their current demolition and redevelopment) and is now one of the few historic buildings left in the neighborhood.
It's the church's working-class roots that in some ways have made this historic designation possible, because their lack of funds has meant that very little renovation has been done to the building since it was constructed, leaving it with most of its original (i.e., historic) materials intact. But, if the church receives its historic designation, it will then be eligible for some grants to allow for historically accurate renovations that would be done with the guidance and approval of the Office of Planning.
The Historic Preservation Review Board will vote on this application at its meeting on Thursday (Nov. 18) at 9 am. You can see the application documents here (cellphone pics).
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More posts: Capper, preservation, St. Paul's Church

Current Capper Redevelopment Projects Status Update
Oct 12, 2010 12:49 PM
I was recently successful in pestering David Cortiella, grand poobah of the Capper/Hope VI realm at the DC Housing Authority, into giving me an update on the various projects in Near Southeast that he's currently working on. Here's the latest, while always keeping in mind that dates, especially in These Uncertain Economic Times, are not written in stone:
* At Capitol Quarter, the public infrastructure work on Phase 2 has already started, as people can see by the earth that started being moved in late September on the block bounded by 3rd, 4th, I, and K. The financing for this block's construction is expected to close at the end of this week, which would allow for the completion of the first houses by the middle of next year. The entire Capitol Quarter development is expected to be finished by the middle of 2013.
* On Square 882 (the block bounded by 5th, 7th, L, and M), the Housing Authority continues to work toward the construction of an 189-unit mixed-income apartment building on the north side of the block (along L Street, seen below). Their application for an FHA mortgage loan guarantee was submitted earlier this month, and DCHA is expecting that financing for the project will be in place by the end of the year, with construction starting in late winter or early spring of 2011.
As part of 882's new construction, the existing parking lot (known to Nats fans as economy Lot W) will be downsized somewhat, but not eliminated altogether. DCHA is estimating that there will be 190 parking spaces in the new lot, and that the lot will continue to be available during the construction of the new apartment building. There will probably be some disruptions when the building construction gets underway, but DCHA expects them to be minor. There's no timeline for when the 600,000-square-foot office building that's also part of the Capper Hope VI plans would get built along the M Street portion of the block, so people who use the lot on a daily basis are probably safe to bet on having it for a while.
* Residents may not be aware that DCHA is also involved in the disposition of the current DPW operations at New Jersey and K, since that block is part of the Capper redevelopment and is slated to eventually have a 322-unit mixed-income apartment building on it. A new site for DPW's trucks has been identified (I don't know where), and once DPW drives off the lot for the last time, the environmental assessments and abatement of the site can get underway. And, as much as it pains me to imagine the neighborhood without that smokestack, it's anticipated that the building and the smokestack will be demolished by the end of 2012.
* Some of the money that DCHA recently obtained on the bond markets to pay for the second phase of Capitol Quarter is earmarked to go toward the infrastructure work around Canal Park, and DCHA is working with the Canal Park Development Association get this funded. [I'll note that not much seems to have happened along 2nd Street since the park's ceremonial groundbreaking, which would seem to jibe with the delicate "working with" phrasing here.]

Capitol Quarter Phase II Workforce Lottery Update
Oct 1, 2010 1:23 AM
The first lottery of workforce-rate homes in Capitol Quarter's second phase is being held on Saturday, and EYA tells me that 62 people have been pre-certified to particpate. The units are available to households with an income between $82,800 and $119,025, along with a substantial amount of other requirements and restrictions for participating in the program. The now-completed first phase of Capitol Quarter has 42 houses that were sold under the workforce-rate program.
As for when construction on Phase II will get started, the big money financing paperwork is nearly complete, which if finished as expected within the next couple of weeks would have the first batch of houses delivered in the May/June 2011 timeframe. When finished, this second phase will add 60 market-rate, 39 workforce-rate, 17 Section 8 ownership, and 47 subsidized rental units to Phase I's tally of 61 market-rate, 42 workforce-rate, 8 Section 8 ownership, and 39 subsidized rental units.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Small Update (Without Much News) on Barracks Search
Sep 23, 2010 3:48 PM
Unless you're big on process, RFIs, RFPs, and the potential crafting of legislation, there isn't really much news to report on the Marines' search for a location for a new barracks site to replace the aging and unsecure Building 20 at 8th and I. I was at the Community Leaders Group meeting this morning (as an observer, not a leader), and here's a couple snippets I came away with, although the very process-heavy discussions left me in the dust for much of the session:
What was originally going to be a public planning "charrette" this fall is now going to be a community forum, probably sometime in mid-November, coming after the Marines release a Request for Expressions of Interest to get a first read on the developers who might be interested in formulating a bid. The public forum (and a separate one on the same day for developers and industry types) will center around discussions about the official Request for Proposals that will then be crafted. (See, your eyes are glazing over.)
There are a couple of developers who have already floated ideas to the Marines, including the team of Winfield Sealander and Leon Kafaele, who both own a fair number of the lots on Square 929 and 930 (the two blocks between 8th and 9th and Virginia and M, including the "Quizno's building", although some of the lots along Potomac Avenue have gone through a foreclosure sale). The developers who bid on this public-private venture will need to demonstrate that they control or will control the properties on the sites they are proposing to develop; this would seem to make any proposed use of the Virginia Avenue Park site a bit more interesting.
The Marines are also looking at whether existing legislation covers their needs to get the development underway, or if new legislation needs to be written; if so, it would probably be placed in the next Defense Authorization Act. The if-all-goes-according-to-plan timeline is to get funding in the FY12 federal budget, with construction starting early in FY13. There would also be a NEPA process somewhere admist all of this well.
This has been a lot of words to basically say that there isn't much to pass along yet for people (like me!) who just want to know what's going to happen, and where, and when. But the Marines and the community leaders are clearly very aware of the community opposition to losing the two acres of open space that Virginia Avenue Park represents, though the Marines don't rule out the possibility of plans that would relocate some of the park's uses, even though there no doubt would be opposition to that as well. But of course there's some amount of community opposition for almost every site that the Marines have identified. But with Square 882 now officially marked as "removed from consideration" on the Marines' map, the options for a site seem to be getting pretty narrow.
UPDATE, 9/27: ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger has posted his own fine summary of the meeting, which I should have just waited for rather than trying to do it myself!

ANC 6D Supports Metro Station Name Change (With Concerns), and 250 M PUD Extension
Sep 14, 2010 9:58 AM
I've got some stuff going on for most of the week that will leave my blogging pretty light (unless there's big news that I can't bear to leave un-blogged). I'll no doubt pop up on Twitter here and there (passing along important morsels like dreams of city council members cleaning up my yard for me), but otherwise I intend on being pretty quiet, especially while the rest of the blogosphere handles the DC primary elections. (Are you voting today? Get out there, dammit!)
I couldn't make the ANC 6D meeting last night, but Will from across the way was nice enough to tweet a couple of results on Near Southeast-related items. First, the commission voted 4-1 to support a request from the Capitol Riverfront BID to add a couple of additional monikers to the Navy Yard Metro station name. However, while the BID wants the name to be changed to some version of "Capitol Riverfront/Ballpark/Navy Yard", the commission's support was apparently only if "Capitol Riverfront" is not the first part of the new name. Any change from plain old "Navy Yard" still needs to go through DDOT and WMATA for approval. (They also voted to approve adding "Arena Stage" to the "Waterfront/SEU" station name.)
The ANC also voted unanimously to support a requested two-year extension on the PUD for 250 M Street, the William C. Smith office building that's part of the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD. This will be in front of the Zoning Commission at some point soon, so I'll get more info on it them. But it's not really a surprise that they're not expecting to be ready to start construction in the near future.

Capitol Quarter Workforce Lottery Coming Oct. 2
Sep 13, 2010 8:52 PM
People who are on EYA's Capitol Quarter mailing list should be receiving notification within the next day or so (if not already) that the first batch of Phase 2 workforce houses will be released on Saturday, Oct. 2. There will be up to 10 units for sale, available to households with an income between $82,800 and $119,025 (though applicants will need to be pre-certified by EYA, which will begin this Saturday). More information about the workforce program is available from EYA, with all manner of details spelled out in terms of the many requirements and restrictions for participating in the workforce program.
Forty-two workforce rate homes were included in the first phase of Capitol Quarter, and there will be approximately 91 of them when the entire development is finished.
EYA tells me that sales are going pretty strongly for the market-rate Phase II homes, with 22 of them reserved in the 3 1/2 months since Phase II opened.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Parents Group Trying to Get Van Ness School Reopened
Sep 12, 2010 4:21 PM
A group of neighborhood residents organizing as "Parents on the Capitol Riverfront" have come together over the past few months to lobby the DC public school system and city officials to consider reopening Van Ness Elementary School, which was caught up in the DCPS downsizing at the end of the 2006 school year, after most of its student body moved away with the closing of Capper/Carrollsburg. Elementary school-aged children who live in Near Southeast are now in the boundaries for Amidon-Bowen Elementary School across South Capitol Street in Southwest, which is a bit of a hike from locations like Capitol Quarter.
In a recent e-mail to me, representatives of the group explained their motivation: "A quality school is not only good for the kids, it's a necessary amenity for retaining existing and attracting new residents to our neighborhood. We love our neighborhood and are dedicated to living in DC, but that dedication rests upon the opportunities available for our kids. The amazing Canal Park planned for the neighborhood is great and will be well-used by kids and adults alike, but it takes a school to keep the community of families here."
Over the past few months, the group has met twice in small targeted meetings with Michelle Rhee, as well as with Tommy Wells, and are working to get another meeting scheduled with Rhee that could include all neighborhood parents. There is also apparently a survey from DCPS being distributed by e-mail regarding Van Ness and the number of children in the area, and the parents' group is wanting to be sure that the survey gets to everyone with kids.
DCPS has told them that, in order for a viable elementary to be opened (grades Pre-K3 though 5), it needs to have 250 students. The group says that they've been told that "it might be possible to phase in the school, starting with Pre-K3, Pre-K4 and Kindergarten for the first couple of years and then slowly expanding up through 5th grade," so they are trying to determine exactly how many school-aged children are in the neighborhood, along with possible projections of how many more might arrive over the next five years. They are also looking at whether a large number of parents currently on the waitlist for Brent Elementary might be willing to send their children to Van Ness out-of-boundary, to help increase the number of potential students.
The parents' group now has a Google Group set up, where any interested neighborhood parents can request membership.
The school's location at 5th and M, SE, is one that has been being eyed for a while by various interested parties, and there have been talks in the past about perhaps selling the land with a requirement that the purchaser build a new school close by. Another discussed option has been co-locating a new school building with the long-delayed Capper Community Center. And the Marines have also been looking at the school's land, either as part of their space needs for the new barracks or as a place where other landowners (like the Housing Authority) could relocate planned uses if the Marines were to take their land for the barracks.
The original Van Ness Elementary School, on M Street between 3rd and 4th, opened in 1909, and was for much of its life a segregated school for black children. (You can see it at far right in this photo from 1939.) It was replaced during Integration by the current building at 5th and M in September of 1956, although the old school building at 4th and M (eventually known as the Lenox Annex) remained on the city's property rolls under varying uses. In the 1970s it was a special education school, then an adult education center in the 1990s, but finally the building was demolished in the late 1990s for what has since become the 300 M Street SE office building.
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Norton Objects to Proposed Sites for New Barracks
Sep 2, 2010 12:52 PM
A press release out today from DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton wades into the Marines' search for a location for their new barracks:
"The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released a letter today from Norton to Brigadier General Robert R. Ruark, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics, objecting to the potential sites selected by the U.S. Marine Corps (Marines) as the location to replace the D.C. Marine Barracks known as Building 20. Norton objected to the criteria the Marines seem to be using to narrow site selection, and wrote that conveniences for the Marines appear to have trumped their consideration of other possible sites. She objected to the two potential sites, Square 929, where Dogma runs a dog day care business, and to Square 930, where the community has converted a former drug haven into a park and community garden where residents grow fruits and vegetables.
"In her letter, Norton wrote, 'Your emphasis apparently has been on selecting a site in close proximity to the Marine Annex and Barracks Row, a convenient walk for the Marines, whose training is perhaps the most rigorous of all the armed services. Notions of convenience for your Marines should not supersede important community concerns, including consideration of the convenience for the community and the displacement of important community assets.' "
The release goes on to suggest as a possible location an "empty lot on 5th Street, between K and L Streets, next to the Marine Annex parking lot" -- which would appear to be referencing the current proposed site for the Capper community center.
The Marines are supposed to be having a "charette" in October or November (pushed back from September) to discuss the direction the site search is taking. You can read more about it at the Marines' web site for the project, or browse through my (many) previous entries on the subject.
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More posts: Barracks, Capper, Community Center

A Few Upcoming Events, and a Few New Photos
Aug 2, 2010 11:23 AM
This week's calendar of events:
* Tuesday at 5 pm is PSA 105's "ice cream social and dog treat event" to celebrate America's Night Out Against Crime. It will be held across the street from the MPD 1-D substation at 5th and E, SE, in Marion Park. (Also, for your long-range calendar, note that the PSA's annual dog show will be on Sept. 25 at 10 am, also at Marion Park.) If you're just tuning in, PSAs are the Metropolitan Police Department's Police Service Areas.
* Also on Tuesday, at 6:30 pm, is the second Capitol Riverfront Heritage Trail Meeting, a joint project between Cultural Tourism DC and the Capitol Riverfront BID to create a Neighborhood Heritage Trail for the area. It's at Capper Seniors #1, 900 Fifth Street, SE. (Here's the flyer for the first meeting.)
* Thursday's outdoor movie, weather permitting, is Rocky. It starts at 8:45 pm at Canal Park.
And, I took a long-delayed photo trek around the neighborhood on Sunday (though remind me to never do it again on a game day--too many cars and buses getting in the way!). They aren't really terribly exciting pictures, and the clouds were uncooperative at times, but I did get updated images of the progress at 1015 Half Street, and of the final block (east and west sides) of Capitol Quarter's first phase. And I documented the now-empty space where the Little Red Building used to be. You can also browse the entire batch of the days' photos, and click on the icon to see all photos for a given location.
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More posts: 1015 Half, Capper, Capitol Quarter, crime

Zoning Commission Allows Community Center Delay
Jul 13, 2010 3:11 PM
At Monday night's Zoning Commission meeting, the commissioners voted 3-0 after a brief discussion to approve a request by the DC Housing Authority and the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopers to extend (again) the approved timeline for the long-planned Community Center at Fifth and K. The commissioners saw letters of support from both ANC 6B and 6D (you can see 6D's letter here), and seemed appeased by the notion that the $7-plus million required to build the center is figured into the $25 million that DCHA plans to eventually receive from a second bond offering (after the $29 million one late last year that's paying for infrastructure improvements), once the market improves.
In return for 6D's support for the time extension, the Housing Authority agreed to a number of conditions, mainly having to do with status reports and project updates, but also agreed (according to the letter) to "work with the ANC, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Marine Corps to implement the agreement governing use of the Marine Corps' playing fields for the community." This is apparently a reaction to attempts to gain wider public access than is currently given to the fields at 7th and Virginia barracks as was originally agreed to when DCHA transferred that land to the Marines back in 1999.
The new time extension for the community center calls for building permit applications to be filed by July 1, 2012, with construction having to begin within 12 months of that date.
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, Community Center, meetings, zoning

Brief Break from Blogging Breather for Bullet Points
Jul 9, 2010 2:36 PM
I'm still eyeing a couple more days of (mostly) blog-free living, but a few items should probably be mentioned before the weekend, and so that you don't think I'm never coming back. First, the calendar:
* On Monday at 6:30 pm, the Zoning Commission will take up the Housing Authority's new request for another time extension to the zoning order that requires construction of the Capper Community Center. DCHA had asked for a two-year extension last year, but was only granted one year, and made clear at that time that they didn't foresee having the money to start the center in that shorter time frame, and that they'd be back to ask for another extension. And now they are.
* Speaking of the community center, there's now a big sign on its footprint (at Fifth and L) touting that the second phase of Capitol Quarter's townhouses is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But you knew that already.
* Monday at 7 pm is the monthly ANC 6D meeting. I was hoping the agenda would be out before I posted this, but alas, no. Check back here or on their web site to see what scintillating topics will be up for discussion. (UPDATE: the agenda is now out, and there's nothing really major on it, other than a public space permit for the street work for Phase 2 of Capitol Quarter.)
* On Tuesday, July 13, the Capitol Hill Group Ministry is having its "All-Star Party Night" at Nationals Park, offering the chance to take batting practice, throw pitches in the bullpen, tour the locker room, meet Teddy, and more. Tickets are $55 per person and $15 for children under 12, with proceeds going to CHGM's programs for homeless and low-income families.
And a few other items:
* Today's WBJ reports that a third piece of "public" art is coming to Nationals Park; this time it will be 30 "stainless steel-domed forms which will accurately follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast-ball pitch," which will be hung early next year on the exterior of the eastern garage. The steel spheres with cutout "laces," each seven feet in diameter, will feature programmable LED lights; the piece will cost about $950,000. As for the other two pieces of public art already at the stadium (the bronze statues in the Center Field Plaza and the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" mobile near the First Base Gate), I'll quote WBJ's Michael Neibauer: "The first two pieces of public art at the stadium were, to be kind, not well-received at their unveiling in April 2009. The works were selected by arts professionals and D.C. residents, according to the arts commission, but some wonder: Did anyone ask the fans?"
* A reader reports that the Anacostia Boathouse at 11th and O, in between the 11th Street Bridges spans, has been demolished, which was expected because of the footprint of the new bridges. Haven't seen for myself yet to confirm.
* And I haven't felt the earth shift on its axis yet, so I assume the Little Red Building's exterior is still standing, although interior demolition has been going on all week.

Capper Hope VI Task Force Meeting; Harry's ABRA Hearing Date; Car Thief Captured
Jun 28, 2010 10:32 AM
A few bullets for a warm Monday:
* DCHA is holding a Capper/Carrollsburg Hope VI task force meeting on Tuesday at 6 pm at 400 M Street SE. The agenda includes an overall status report, an update on the (stalled) community center, outreach efforts to former residents, and a presentation on the community benefits fund. "Hope VI" refers to the $34.9 million HUD grant awarded to DC in 2001 to replace the 700 Capper/Carrollsburg units with an equal number of new public housing units as well as another 800-plus market- and workforce-rate units, which has so far begat Capper Seniors #1, 400 M, and Capitol Quarter, along with plans for another five apartment buildings and two office buildings still in the pipeline.
* The Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration has officially posted the application by Harry's of SE & SW to open a liquor store at New Jersey and I in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey. The hearing date is set for August 23, with any protests or other "petitions" needing to be filed by August 9 (happy birthday to me!). More about Harry's plans here.
* Via Norm Metzger, this from Saturday's PSA 105 meeting: "A suspected car thief was arrested near 3rd and K Street SE. Vigilant neighbors reported suspicious activity and were able to stop a crime in progress."

Near Southeast's Violent Deaths: 1987-2004, An Overview (Sunday Rearview Mirror)
Jun 27, 2010 1:02 PM
Readers may be familiar with the map a little ways down the right side of the JDLand home page, showing recent crimes in the neighborhood (along with a larger one showing more crime statistics for the area since 2005). However, there's another map and dataset I've wanted to build for a long time, that I'm finally launching today. It's not anything to really celebrate, however:
What you're looking at is a map of 64 violent deaths that occurred in Near Southeast between 1987 and 2004, when crack and other drugs and the accompanying violence nearly destroyed Washington, DC. And, if you go to the page itself, you will see the breakout of each death, with a name of the victim (when available), the date and location, and a brief thumbnail of what happened. The map and the data are interactive, so you can view just by year, or location, or type of death. It's not uplifting reading, but I really do recommend taking the time to go through it.
I can't pretend that this is a complete list; there are no online databases that easily offer up this data. I spent hours (and hours and hours) doing "grid searches" of the Washington Post and Washington Times electronic databases, having to search by street names and locations ("300 block of K street, SE; 300 block of L Street, SE; 3rd and K streets, SE; 1000 block of 3rd Street, SE;" etc. etc.). There's no guarantee that the newspapers mentioned every homicide, especially in the years when there were more than 400 murders across the city.
And, of course, this doesn't begin to capture the number of other crimes in the neighborhood during those years that didn't result in homicides--the robberies, the assaults, the non-fatal shootings and stabbings, etc.
It should be remembered that Near Southeast wasn't anywhere close to being the most dangerous area in the city; the 64 murders I've documented aren't even one percent of the 6,023 murders reported in this 18-year period (source: MPD, via the Internet Archive). So, as you look at this Near Southeast list, multiply it by 100 to imagine all the people who were killed in the city in those years.
It turns me into an old codger to say it, but it's really true: those of you who didn't live in the DC area in the late 1980s and 1990s really have no concept of what Washington and its residents went through in those years. Even though large swaths of the city were considered "safe," with the bulk of the epidemic crime happening in certain neighborhoods, everyone was affected by the unrelenting drumbeat of murders and violence.
Nights with seven murders in DC were unusual but not extraordinary; reading the paper each day with little more than tiny blurbs on most homicides (because they weren't really "news") made for a bleak landscape, even if you spent most of your time in sections of the city where day-to-day life seemed unaffected. DC's title of "Murder Capital of the World" was known far and wide, to the point that if you were traveling and told someone where you from, you'd often receive a sad shake of the head and hear, "It's such a shame what's happened to that lovely city."
It was a terrible time; and I say this as someone who was never affected by the violence personally in any way, other than knowing to avoid certain areas and be very careful during nights on the town. Looking back on it all now, through the lens of how far the city has come, makes the level of violence seem all the more incomprehensible and maddening. There's no question that I have become a little haunted over the past few weeks as I compiled this list, as my old generalized feelings of "quite a few people died on these streets over the years" have now been replaced with names, locations, a few photos, and gruesome details of executions and people in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And yet the violence of the era probably fueled my interest in watching the city's redevelopment, to see neighborhoods that I had given up for lost in 1990 (such as Massachusetts Avenue east of Mt. Vernon Square) turn into luxury condo havens by the early 2000s. And it was why I began to watch--with no small sense of wonderment and even a little skepticism--as I started to hear in the late 1990s about the plans to "revitalize" the area south of the Southeast Freeway, an area that was a near-total No-Go for me from the time I moved to the south side of Capitol Hill in 1994 until my first furtive photographic forays by car in 2000 and 2003. (It's somewhat amazing now to realize that I did not actually put my feet on the ground at Third and K, SE, until the summer of 2005.)
I'll be writing in more detail in future entries about the violence in the Cappers, and at the Chapter III nightclub, but I wanted to post this overview first, to illustrate Near Southeast's descent to rock bottom for the people who might not be familiar with the recent history of the neighborhood, and also to remind everyone else of just what we as a city went through, as those memories become somewhat hazy in an era when some of the biggest battles are over funding for streetcars and dog parks. The city is certainly not without violence now, but the scale just doesn't compare.
And perhaps it'll also help clear up why I might not react with quite so much alarm when new residents write me concerned about a wave of auto thefts or other property crimes. I admit that it's somewhat unfair, but I think newcomers can talk to almost anyone who lived in Washington during the era of the Crack Wars and get the same reaction: You just have no idea.
UPDATE: Just to close the circle a bit, I should note that the reason I ended the dataset in 2004 is because, to the best of my knowledge, there have been no murders in Near Southeast since 21-year-old Terence Gathers died at Third and K on March 25 of that year.
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More posts: Capper, crime, Rearview Mirror

Agenda for June 14 ANC 6D Meeting
Jun 11, 2010 3:21 PM
The agenda is now posted for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, and it does have a few Near Southeast-related items on it. So it follows logically that I'm not going to be able to be there.
Items include: A report from the housing authority on a request for a zoning time extension for the planned (and long-delayed) community center at Fifth and K streets, SE; an update on the upcoming second phase of Capitol Quarter (which EYA tells me resulted in 11 reservations in the first 15 days); an update on the stadium Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, presumably coming out of the two recent public meetings; and reports/possible votes on Justin's Cafe's proposed sidewalk cafe and the proposed "Harry's" liquor store at New Jersey and I, both of which you can get more detail on from my report on last week's ABC subcommittee meeting.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at Sixth and M streets, SW--they're trying to get moved to their space in the new Waterfront buildings, but it still hasn't happened.
I'm going to try to find out more about the community center request, though I imagine there isn't much more to it other than DCHA says it doesn't still have the money to build it yet and so can't meet the deadline that was set in the zoning PUD (planned unit development) for Capper. The time frame for the community center has already been extended once, and in fact DCHA told the Zoning Commission last year that they fully expected that new deadline of filing building permits by Jan. 1, 2011, would be too short and that they'd be back to request another extension. Which appears to be what's transpiring.

Virginia Avenue Gardeners Fighting Possible Barracks
Jun 7, 2010 7:38 AM
Monday's Post covers for the first time the Marines' search for a new barracks site, from the point of view of the residents who maintain the Virginia Avenue Garden at Ninth and Potomac, which could be relocated to another section of the park if the Marines choose the area east of Eighth Street. "But the community gardeners, in Capitol Hill style, are mobilizing to save their home. [...] [T]he gardeners say it has taken them years to amend the unforgiving clay soil with nutrients."
The article quotes Capt. Lisa Lawrence as saying, "Our goal is not to take over a neighborhood," and that the Marines are looking at every option. "But we won't be able to please everybody."
Also mentioned is that the DCHA/Square 882 site at Seventh and L "has moved to the bottom of the list," according to Lawrence (presumably in response to this letter). And there's information about what appears to be Tommy Wells's preferred solution, that he's "fighting to keep the garden alive by urging the Marines to tear down the parking lot next to the annex and rebuild it underground, freeing space for a new barracks. Lawrence said a parking lot under a barracks would probably pose a structural challenge. 'We don't have a strong negotiating position," Wells said. "Who wants to take on the U.S. Marines?'"
If you want more background on the Marines' search, I've written a word or two on it over the past few months.
UPDATE: I meant to also include this link to a recent Hill is Home post on the history of the park, tied to whether or not the Marines' plans would conflict with the L'Enfant Plan. (Though I'm not sure Monsieur L'Enfant envisioned a big, honking, elevated freeway, either.)

Hot New Recreation Spot: Lincoln Capper Kiddie Pool
Jun 2, 2010 10:54 AM
With many thanks to reader S. for doing all of the legwork on this, I'm passing along the news that neglected the three-foot deep pool on L Street SE between Fifth and Seventh (between Van Ness Elementary and the parking lot that was once Old Capper Seniors) has been renovated, and is now open as the Lincoln Capper Children's Pool. The DC Parks and Recreation web site has the hours, which are noon to 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays until June 20, and then 11 am to 5 pm Mondays through Fridays from June 21 through August 20. It may not be as swinging as the scene at the Capitol Skyline Pool, but for parents looking to dunk their children (I mean, get their children some swim time), it's a nice addition to the neighborhood tableau.

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.)

Housing Authority Officially Requests Marines Stop Looking at Square 882 for New Barracks
May 28, 2010 12:58 AM
I've been chroncling over the past few months the Marine Corps' search for a spot for a new barracks, which has focused on a number of sites in Near Southeast, including the block bounded by Fifth, Seventh, L and M just south of their newest barracks that used to be home to the old Capper Seniors apartment building. It's been clear in public meetings and various other rumblings that both city planning officials and the DC Housing Authority are very much against the Marines using this site, with plans having been in place for a number of years for this now-empty/parking-lot block to become home to both a 600,000-square-foot office building and a 189-unit mixed-income apartment building (shown above) as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment.
Clearly feeling that the Marines haven't given up on the site as an option despite these plans, DCHA has now sent the Marines a letter officially requesting that the Corps "not continue to propose redevelopment options on the DCHA-owned Square 882 as a future site for its facility needs." The letter explains that DCHA has already secured funds to improve the infrastructure around the square, has spent "substantial predevelopment funds" on design and engineering drawings, and is anticipating beginning work on the residential portion of the site in October. (There's currently no timetable for the office portion.) Further, DCHA says it "recently received an invitation from HUD to submit an application for a FHA loan guarantee to support the planned residential construction on the site," and that this construction is expected to start "this winter."
Nothing in the letter is necessarily a surprise--I've written fairly extensively about DCHA's plans and about the zoning travails they went through before getting a second-stage PUD approval for Square 882 last year, which even included many discussions and agreements with both the Marines and the Navy about security requirements for the new buildings on this block. But clearly DCHA is hoping to be completely removed from the Marines' list of potential sites in the same way that the DC Public Schools (and parents) got Tyler Elementary removed from consideration. But it's also clear from the public workshops that the Marines very much like what Square 882 has to offer them in terms of space and proximity to the other USMC operations in the area.
The Marines are hoping to make a decision on a site by September. You can see all the sites under consideration and the various options on the "Community Integrated Master Plan" web site.

Capitol Quarter Phase II Update
May 23, 2010 9:23 PM
I'm untethering myself from Lost long enough to pass along the news from Capitol Quarter that six houses were reserved in today's first offering of Phase 2 units, and apparently more will be released on Monday. (I don't know which, or anymore beyond that.) Now, back to my last precious moments with Desmond.
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Presto! Capitol Quarter Phase II Announced
May 18, 2010 8:44 PM
An e-mail has just gone out from EYA saying that "reservations for Phase II market rate townhomes at Capitol Quarter will begin on Sunday, May 23rd, at 11 AM on a first come, first served basis." Nine houses will be made available in this first batch, ranging in base price from $640,000 to $829,000. The specific models and more information are available here; the e-mail also says that other homesites made be made available. (See yesterday's entry for more details.)
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Capitol Quarter's Second Phase Coming *Very* Soon
May 17, 2010 10:39 PM
The news has filtered my way that EYA is about to begin taking reservations for market-rate townhouses in the second phase of Capitol Quarter. The timeframe is *very soon*, quite possibly within the next week or so. This phase will cover the three remaining blocks of the development, between Third and Fourth streets SE, south of I down to the stretch just south of L (backing up to the 300 M Street office building). There will be infrastructure work to do first (including carving out the new north-south "3 1/2 Street" running between I and L), with "vertical construction" then starting in the fall, followed by the first move-ins happening in mid-2011. There will be 77 market-rate and 34 workforce-rate houses, 47 affordable rental units, and five Section 8 purchase units. (There will be a lottery for the workforce units, but I don't know when.)
When I get word of when reservations will start being taken, I will post ASAP. I don't know if there will be people camping out like in the old days, but it will be interesting to see the response. I don't know anything about prices or anything else beyond the fact that we'll know more soon.
One footnote that might be of interest: what helped get this second phase kicked off was the $9.5 million grant from HUD that the DC Housing Authority received late last year, which came from a pool of federal stimulus funds. DCHA had been unable to get any financing for the second phase throughout last year thanks to the moribund municipal bond market, but the HUD grant allowed DCHA to pay for the completion of construction drawings, the land preparation costs, and other costs that then made it possible for the second phase to begin to move forward.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

New Photo Batch, at Last (Capitol Quarter)
May 1, 2010 12:19 PM
I haven't been able to go anywhere near Fifth and Virginia for weeks now without feeling desperately guilty--I haven't taken photos of the Capitol Quarter construction there since JANUARY. (In my defense, that intersection is my personal Waterloo--I've never been able to standardize my spots for photos.) I also hadn't gotten updated photos along the northern part of Fourth Street since the snows of February. I've been a little better about the upper block of Third, but not a lot.
So I finally rectified that today. Here are the before-and-afters along Fifth, Fourth, and Third, with a perennial reminder to click on the icon to see all photos of a certain spot over the past seven years.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Latest on the New Marine Barracks Location Search
Apr 23, 2010 11:36 PM
This week the Marines held a third community workshop as part of their quest to find a new location for their Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ), to replace the aged and un-secure "Building 20" at Eighth and I, SE. This session centered on visions/possible layouts of the five locations that the Marines are zeroing in on, all of which are in Near Southeast, now that Tyler Elementary has been knocked off the list. The people running this planning process deserve a lot of props for being very good about posting their meeting materials online, mostly because it obviates the need for me to go on and on trying to describe them. (Yay!)
While the presentation slides are good for an overview of the process, the real meat to chew on is the new "Regions Forums." (Though, a hint to the folks running the web site: I'd turn off the "Interactive Map" scroll that is the link to these Options slides, and maybe rename the link, because it's easy to miss and contains such important information.) This is a series of very detailed drawings of possible layouts (and pros and cons) for the locations they're studying, which include four that have been previously discussed (the current Barracks site on Virginia Avenue between Fifth and Seventh, DCHA's Square 882 just to the south on L between Fifth and Seventh, the Exxon/Virginia Avenue Park site at 11th and M, and inside the walls of the Navy Yard), and a new location (Squares 929/930), which are the blocks between Eighth and Ninth and Virginia Avenue and M Street.
The 929/930 site seemed to get some interest from the sparse number of community members who attended the Wednesday night session I was at (I don't know about the response at Thursday's session), even though it would close L between Eighth and Ninth and would take a big bite of the Virginia Avenue Park (requiring the move of the community garden closer to the freeway). A representative of Madison Marquette--owners of the "Blue Castle" right across the street--said that they are very much in favor of this option, saying that it would help to "animate" lower Eighth Street. There was also some talk that perhaps the Navy Yard, in its quest for more space of its own, might then look at the Exxon site at 11th and M as an attractive location to expand to, giving that big stretch from Eighth to 11th south of the freeway a very military feel. There is of course a stretch of private homes along Potomac between Ninth and 10th where the homeowners might not be quite so interested in having military installations on three sides, and the Spay/Neuter Clinic at 10th and L might also end up needing to relocate. It would appear that the businesses along the east side of Eighth would get to stay (Port Cafe, Quizno's, Chicken Tortilla), but Dogma at Ninth and Virginia might lose out under this proposal.
As for Square 882, the Marines said that DCHA has said the location can remain on the "options" list even though the agency is actively working to secure funding for the apartment building they're planning for the site. It must be said that there does seem to continue to be a bit of a disconnect between how the Marines are characterizing the availability of this lot compared to what DCHA is indicating; also, Ward 6 planner Melissa Bird spoke up to say that the city continues to be very much opposed to Square 882 as a location for the Barracks.
But, blah blah blah, these few points are just a bit of atmosphere. Anyone who's interested in what the neighborhood may look like in a few years should be looking at all of the location options, as well as the "Potential Shared Community Projects" that the Marines see as what they can give back to the community in return for the land they will occupy. Readers should also make use of the "Comments" options that are available on each option page of the CIMP web site, as the Marines continue to stress that they truly have no plan at this point, and need the input of the community to help guide their final decisions. The next workshop, on "Consensus Elements," is scheduled for Saturday, May 22.

Recent Tidbits (Cap Quarter Sold Out, Akridge in 2011, Va. Ave. Dog Park?, Photos of 11th Street Bridge Work)
Apr 9, 2010 9:59 AM
With the opening of the 2010 season at the ballpark and lots of other interesting news of late, my blogging time and focus has been geared toward these bigger items. But there's a fair amount of little stuff that I point to every day on my Twitter feed (also available on Facebook), mainly news stories that might be of interest but that aren't really important or newsy enough to devote much more than 140 characters to. I may eventually transition to leaving those completely to Twitter, but I still feel guilty enough for now to round them up here on the blog every so often. But if you're wanting all news items at warp speed, best to start reading the Tweets.
* EYA has passed the news to me that all Capitol Quarter Phase I townhouse units are now sold. They are gearing up to begin sales of the Phase II houses, which will start "soon." (Though I wouldn't take your tent down to their sales office just yet.) I imagine they will do the releases of these next houses in groups based on location, as they did with phase I. It's still expected that the entire townhouse development will be built out by the end of 2012.
* Last weekend Bisnow took a walk around the neighborhood with a camera (a novel idea!), and gave their readers an update on some of the projects. The only section that I've not seen reported before is Akridge now saying that construction for their 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use Half Street project is now pegged at "hopefully before next baseball season," likely meaning 2011. But, "once shovels hit the dirt, the one residential and two office buildings will likely go up at once," Bisnow quotes an Akridge rep as saying. It also says that Forest City is "hoping" to get started on the Boilermaker Shops retail renovation at the Yards before the end of this year. (Lots of "hoping" going on!) There's even a picture of the Pillsbury Doughboy that gazes out over the neighborhood from Capitol Hill Tower.
* Voice of the Hill says there's a possibility of a temporary dog park being installed at the Virginia Avenue Park (Ninth and Potomac, SE), at least until CSX starts on its tunnel construction project (more on CSX coming in another post later today). This is coming to the forefront because the principal of Tyler Elementary has now banned dogs from the school's playing field.
* Some neat overhead photos from DDOT showing the progress on the 11th Street Bridges construction. I'm hoping to get some ground-level images myself before too much longer.
* CNN reports on how Nationals Park has become a very hot venue for political fundraising, actively pursued and encouraged by the team. "[F]ederal candidates, major political parties, and political action committees have spent at least $432,000 on fundraising events either at Nationals games or at their facility, according to campaign finance documents filed with the Federal Election Commission."

Links Roundup (Barracks Meeting Handouts, PSA 105, City Paper 'Best of DC' Nods)
Mar 25, 2010 6:02 PM
* The Marines have posted the slides and handouts from this week's workshops on potential sites for their new barracks. If you didn't see my update, here's Norm Metzger's additional take on Tuesday night's meeting.
* MPD's PSA 105 is having its monthly meeting on Saturday (March 27) at 10 am at the 1D substation at 500 E Street, SE.
* The Washington City Paper's annual "Best Of DC" issue is out, and Near Southeast gets a couple of nods: Cornercopia was given a Staff Pick for Best New Bodega, Capitol Quarter is the Readers' Pick for Best Designed Residential Development, and the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction gets a Staff Pick for Best Construction Project. Alas, this also means that now my year-long reign as Second Best Local Web Site (and "favorite nasty local blogger") has come to an end.
* The Washington Project for the Arts is holding its "WPArade" in Near Southeast, on June 5 at 12 pm along Half Street from M to N. This parade, modeled after similar events in other cities, "is an extravaganza of artists connecting with community to create a moving visual spectacle of art and culture." They've got a call for participants out, and it notes that "participants can traverse the route in any manner that is non-motorized (wagons, bicycles, walking, etc. are acceptable)." It'll culminate with a party at the Bullpen until 3 pm. Who will be the first to enter a giant papier-mache Stephen Strasburg?

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.

Skimming the Surface of Tuesday's Barracks Workshop
Mar 23, 2010 9:23 PM
I'm back from tonight's public workshop held by the Marines as part of the process they're currently undergoing to find a site for a new barracks. For those just tuning in, the Marines are desperately needing to replace "Building 20," their lovely barracks structure on the southeast corner of 8th and I, and the new building needs to meet the many security requirements that now exist for Marine Corps living quarters. In what they readily admit is a new approach, the Corps is going through this series of public workshops to gauge public reponse to various sites that they have identified as possibilities. (There is also a "community leadership group" that meets monthly.) They are hoping to find an existing landowner to partner with, instead of how they might have operated in the past (with, shall we say, a little less give-and-take with the community and a takeover of the land rather than a partnership).There could be additional components to any new location (like a daycare center) that could be shared with nearby residents.
For more background, you can read my recent posts and links, or better yet, check the project web site, where they're doing a good job of posting all the latest materials from the process. Hopefully the slides and notes from tonight's session and Wednesday morning's will be posted soon, because what follows is really just a few points among the many that were discussed. But, as always, JDLand is the site where you get what you pay for {ahem}, so this is my best cut at it:
The potential expansion sites discussed this evening were: the existing "Annex" that was built in 2004 (along Virginia Avenue west of Seventh Street); the large area by 11th Street dubbed the "Exxon site" but which also includes the Virginia Avenue Park; Square 882 (the old Capper Seniors site), just south of the Annex on L Street west of Seventh; the northeast corner of the Navy Yard, where the Marines already have some operations inside the walls, and Tyler Elementary at 10th and G, SE, though it was quickly acknowledged that the DC Public Schools folks (and the parents) aren't really interested in that notion.
There were a number of residents (some of whom you already know from my comments section) who spoke strongly in support of the Marines expanding south across L Street into the northern half of Square 882, especially when it was mentioned that this option would most likely include the closing of L Street to vehicular traffic, which these residents of Capitol Quarter say is a speedway of drivers avoiding M Street. (Whether it would also be closed to public pedestrian traffic is not yet decided.) This opinion was not shared by Jennifer Steingasser of the city's Office of Planning, who said that the city would be very much against this solution. (And the Housing Authority seems to be indicating that it isn't really interested in the idea, at least as of now.)
In fact, Steingasser made clear that the city is very concerned that years of planning for the revitalization of Near Southeast, both as a mixed-use neighborhood and as part of the broader Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, are in danger if the Marines create a larger "secure enclave." She said that the city's preferred choice is for the Marines to build inside the walls of the Navy Yard, or on the existing Annex site on Virginia Avenue, or at any of the other federally owned properties in the city, such as the Armory and associated lands at RFK.
The possible loss of the athletic field at the Annex site if a new barracks were added there concerned the residents in attendance, with a possible replacement field at Virginia Avenue Park not seeming to fit the bill. But there were others (including Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID) who supported the idea of more density on the Annex site, including perhaps demolishing the existing three-story parking garage and perhaps gaining control of the community center site next to the garage for additional square footage. (Stevens said that the BID would love to see the very-much-needed community center perhaps combined with a public school offering on the current Van Ness Elementary site.)
The discussions of the Exxon/Virginia Avenue Park site included the possibilities of the Marines using the entire area between Ninth and 11th and Virginia and M, which does include some private residences (and the spay and neuter clinic and a couple small businesses). The concern about whether retail and the "vibrant Main Street" feel envisioned by the city would be part of the M Street landscape in this scenario was voiced as well.
Needless to say, there was no consensus, nor was there expected to be at this stage, and this is just a small subset of the 2 1/2 hours of discussions, so I'll link to the official notes from the meeting once they're posted. There will be two more workshops, and a charrette in September. Again, see the official web site for more details, and how to submit your own comments.
UPDATE: Another view of the meeting, from Norm Metzger, with a little more detail on Jennifer Steingasser's comments. And there was this: "Bruce Jackson, of the CIMP team, noted the essence of the problem: That there was no choice on giving up Building 20 as living quarters, and that the hope was to use the CIMP process -- unique, according to Mr Jackson in the annals of military-community development efforts -- to create a 'win-win' outcome. That was later amended to 'everyone is going to have to give up something.'"

Bond Sale Pending for Capper Infrastructure Improvements (and Some Timeline Hints)
Mar 22, 2010 11:43 AM
It's more than 100 pages of high finance and headache-inducing legalese, but nonetheless I've gotten my hands on the "Preliminary Official Statement" for what is expected to be a $29 million PILOT bond sale to fund a series of infrastructure improvements for future phases of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment. (This is the document written for investors to help them decide whether or not to purchase the bonds.) If you want to know all about how these bonds are being structured (with monies from the Downtown TIF playing a part), this is the document for you. It also has some good background on the Capper project if you're just catching up.
But it also has a few tidbits on the current and projected path of some upcoming parts of the overall project, starting on page 19. Here are the items that are probably of most interest, with the usual caveats that no timeline is written in stone anymore:
* Financing for the second phase of Capitol Quarter is being negotiated and is expected to close in mid-2010. Development work would then begin in August, and vertical construction in November. (Phase 2 covers the blocks between Third and Fourth and I and M, and will contain 116 new for-sale townhouses and 47 public housing rental units.)
* All but five of the 121 CQ phase 1 townhouses have sold, and two of those are being held back as model units.
* Financing is "being negotiated" for the planned apartment building on the northern half of Square 882, the site that's been the subject of my recent posts on the Marines coveting the site as well. That financing is expected to close in late 2010 according to this document, with an expected completion date of the apartment building in April 2012.
This $29M bond sale is not the last one for Capper infrastructure; the city council approved a total of $55 million in bond funding back in 2006, and the document says that the city "expects" another bond issuance for the rest of the money, "though the timing of such issuance is currently uncertain" (page 10).
As for what exactly the monies will be funding, the document lays out the following (page 22), though this is for the entire $55 million, so it can't be said that this current $29 million offering will cover all this (which will bum out the people who see the phase "community center"). Some of this work would also happen on the streets surrounding Canal Park:
* Repairing and replacing underground water and utility lines;
* Repairing streets and streetscapes and adding landscaping;
* Demolishing the DPW building (and smoke stack!) at 900 New Jersey, relocating DPW's operations, environmental site remediations (remember, that site was operating as a trash transfer site as far back as 1905);
* Building I Street through to New Jersey Avenue; and
* Constructing the new community center at Fifth and K.
It's expected that the bonds will be "priced" this week, with the sale closing by the end of the month.
I hear rumors that DPW could be out of their site by next spring, as the search continues for a new home for their operations (and maybe is getting close to a resolution).

DCHA Still Moving Forward on Square 882
Mar 20, 2010 9:43 AM
After my post yesterday about the Marines continuing to eye various sites for their new barracks and their interest in Square 882 (site of the old Capper Seniors building and where the DC Housing Authority wants to build a mixed-income apartment building as part of the Capper redevelopment), I've found out that last week the DCHA board voted to authorize an application to HUD for a loan guarantee to build on the site. Also, design documents for the new apartment building are now approved (see earlier renderings from last year's zoning approvals), and other work is in progress to prepare for submittal of building permit applications. There's even a preliminary schedule to begin infrastructure work on the site after the Nationals' season ends and their need for Parking Lot W is over.
Does this mean the notion of the Marines getting the site is finished? Is it a high-stakes game of chicken? Will the guys with guns ultimately take control of the site from the guys with apartments? As always, we shall see.

Updated Photos from On High, Finally
Mar 7, 2010 11:13 AM
I'm embarrassed to admit how long it's been since I've visited the roof perch along New Jersey Avenue to take new photos of the land down below, but I finally got back there on Friday and have eased my conscience (though I wish it had been sunnier), and you can see the results here.
I now have my first overhead shots of the townhouses at Capitol Quarter, seen here compared with the same view in March 2006:
There's also photos of the view to the west, showing the changes the past few years have wrought:
The entire batch is here, though be sure to look for the icon because I wasn't able to update every angle. Also, use the "See All" links if you want to see the "between" photos of each angle.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Near Southeast Assessments, Down 1.8 Percent (Or Up 1.9 Percent, Depending on Your Point of View)
Mar 2, 2010 9:52 AM
It's assessment season again, and the Examiner reports that, citywide, commercial property assessments are down 10 percent, with residential numbers dropping between three and four percent. So I fired up the database I keep of the numbers for Near Southeast, added the new data as I do each year when the new numbers come out, and came up with a total assessed value for all properties of just under $5.9 billion, which is a 1.8 percent drop from the $6.01 billion tally reported in March of 2009.
But, wait! As I dug a little further, I found a flaw in my methodology that hadn't quite occurred to me before this year (though it probably hadn't been an issue too often before now): 11 of the big commercial buildings in Near Southeast had apparently appealed their initial 2010 assessments (sent out last year), lowering their tax bills by between 2 percent and 38 percent, from a combined $1.13 billion in the initial assessments to $909.36 million post-appeals. (Ten other buildings are showing no change in those assessments, and one--909 New Jersey--actually saw an 8 percent bump upwards, which was probably more of a function of the initial estimate being from before the building was completed.)
Taking these changes into account, the total assessments for 2010 for the neighborhood is closer to $5.88 billion, meaning that tally of the 2011 numbers just released of $5.89 billion would actually be a 1.9 percent increase. Except that I imagine that some property owners will be appealing again (since some of the 2011 numbers go right back to the original 2010 numbers that were appealed), and the $5.99 billion number will come down again.
Not all property in the neighborhood took a hit--with the opening of the first portions of Capitol Quarter, the blocks between Fourth and Fifth Street saw an increased value of $33 million, and the completion of Velocity raised the assessed value of its block from $99 million to $162 million.
And, since everyone will want to know: the behemoth of the area--Nationals Park--has an assessment unchanged from last year, at just a hair under $1 billion.
I'll check the numbers again later this year to see how many proposed 2011 assessments get altered.
Here's a quick table of the big properties that saw their 2010 assessments change from the original number released early in 2009:
Property Original 2010 Revised 2010 % Diff. Proposed 2011
300 M $132.26M $82.00M -38% $74.69M
55 M $162.60M $110.66M -32% $110.66M
80 M $124.08M $92.75M -25% $111.27M
100 M $90.98M $68.18M -25% $90.98M
1201 M (Martime #1) $87.97M $72.57M -18% $64.74M
1100 NJ $142.79M $121.40M -15% $139.16M
100 I $85.20M $73.00M -14% $85.20M
70 I $132.28M $119.00M -10% $132.28M
1000 NJ * $84.46M $81.06M -4% $79.75M
770 M (Blue Castle) $23.93M $23.17M -3% $23.93M
1220 12th (Maritime #2) $66.99M $65.57M -2% $47.57M
909 NJ $68.05M $73.58M 8% $79.93M
* This is for the residential portion of Capitol Hill Tower; the 2010 assessments on the Courtyard by Marriott show no change.
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More posts: assessments, Capper, Capitol Quarter, jpi, Square 699n

Bullpen Back for Another Season; Other ANC 6D Doings
Feb 25, 2010 9:12 PM
The snowblown February ANC 6D meeting finally went off tonight, and here's the Near Southeast-related bullet points:
* The Bullpen will be back in action this season, in its same spot on the northwest corner of Half and N across from the ballpark. There were two requested changes to the voluntary agreement between the ANC and the owner: that the bar be allowed to operate until 1:30 am (with alcohol sales ending at 1:00), and that liquor in non-frozen form be allowed alongside the already approved beer, wine, and frozen drinks, both of which are already allowed under the liquor license. The discussion was more contentious about process than it was about content (with commissioner David Sobelsohn arguing strongly that the motion should be tabled until the next meeting, which none of the other commissioners were interested in), but in the end the commission voted 6-1 to approve the extended hours, and that mixed drinks could be served during private events. There were some concerns from commissioner Rhonda Hamilton about the noise at the bar on weeknights, but owner Bo Blair said that live music will always be cut off by midnight.
* There is a move afoot by commission Bob Siegel to carve out some of the curb space in front of Capper Seniors #1 at 900 Fifth Street (which it must be noted is also across the street from his house). The street, which is one way in the block in question (between K and Virginia) gets clogged on a regular basis thanks to shuttle buses, vans, trucks, and other vehicles double-parking while at the building, and the residents want a portion of the curb cut out to allow vehicles to pull out of the traffic lane (like the one in front of the Courtyard by Marriott entrance). DDOT initially rejected the request because it was called a "curb cut," which means something different in traffic parlance, but DDOT's Ward 6 planner Jamie Henson was in attendance and pledged to help the ANC work with the engineering side of DDOT to see what could be done without taking away the sidewalk or the ADA ramps to the building.
* There was supposed to be an update from the Nationals, but no reps from the team were there; ANC chair Ron McBee did report that April 23 will be "Neighborhood Night" at the ballpark, with the first pitch and national anthem being performed by nearby residents and other goodies as well. (I imagine discount tickets will be part of the deal, but nothing was said. The game is against the Dodgers.) McBee also said that the ANC has requested a meeting with DDOT about the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan for this season, to check on how it's all going, but no specific concerns were mentioned. (With the Nats Express no longer shuttling fans to and from parking at RFK, there probably will be a noticeable uptick in traffic this year, even if attendance remains steady.)
* The next 6D meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, and it'll be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, so if you've been dying to go to a meeting but haven't felt like venturing across South Capitol, you'll get your chance. It's also worth mentioning that ANC 6B's meeting the next night includes an update by CSX on the Virginia Avenue project on its agenda.

More Details on the Marines' Space Needs
Feb 1, 2010 6:54 PM
Voice of the Hill has just posted an informative article giving a lot more detail on the Marine Corps' plans to replace the aging barracks building "20" on the north side of the freeway at Eighth and I, along with their desire to build additional facilities, including a fire station, child development center, gym, pool, parking, meeting space, post office, basketball and tennis courts, an indoor parade field, and a new Marine Barracks Washington museum. All in all, the Marines are looking for 173,000 square feet of space, some of which would be accessible (they say) to Hill residents.
Possible locations they're looking at for the new barracks appear to be north of the freeway (and outside of my boundaries!), including the Potomac Gardens public housing project at 12th and G, SE, and the Tyler Elementary baseball field at 10th and I, SE, but they are also considering the Marine Corps Institute site within the Washington Navy Yard. Also shown on their maps as a possible site is Square 882 (across from the barracks annex built in 2004), currently Nats Parking lot W on the site of the old Capper Seniors building, but the Voice article says that the DC Housing Authority has taken that block off the table--I've been hearing that DCHA is close to securing financing for the mixed-income apartment building they intend to build on the north side of that block, and would possibly begin construction by the end of this year.
The article also says that the current owners of the Blue Castle, Madison Marquette, have expressed an interest in leasing space in the old trolley barn to the Marines.
The Marines' web site for the development project has been updated with the packet from last week's open house, an FAQ, and other materials. There apparently will be a series of community meetings, which are described by the FAQ thusly: "The current plan is for the first workshop (February) to focus on needs and goals, the second workshop (March) to focus on potential development sites, the third workshop (April) to focus on CIMP alternatives, and the fourth workshop (May) to focus on CIMP consensus elements. Additionally, a charrette focused on the CIMP way forward will be held in fall 2010." (If you're interested in these, you should plan to attend rather than waiting for a JDLand report--I tend to stay away from community meetings that are pure planning sessions, because, well, they drive me insane.)
And note that this is a *different* armed forces expansion plan from the one we heard about last week, where the Navy is looking for additional office space outside of the walls of the Navy Yard. Got to keep your service branches straight these days!

Council Passes Bill for Capper Bond Sale
Dec 15, 2009 4:06 PM
Mere moments ago, the city council passed on an emergency basis B18-475, the "Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Public Revenue Bonds Amendment Act of 2009," which will allow the CFO's office to issue $32 million in city-backed bonds to help fund "phase 3" infrastructure improvements at Capper/Carrollsburg. This would be in addition to the $9.5 million in stimulus money that DCHA was awarded by HUD that will allow the phase 2 townhouses at Capitol Quarter to go forward, possibly by the third quarter of 2010 if current financing negotiations with EYA go smoothly. By passing it on an emergency basis, the city can go to the bond market perhaps before the end of this month or in January, which apparently is a prime time to go a'sellin.
For more about this funding, how it will work, and What It All Means, read my notes from the council hearing last month, including the prepared written testimony of a DCHA rep explaining the need for the bill.
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More posts: Capper, Capper New Apt Bldgs

CapQuarter Framing at Fourth and I; Final Velocity Pics
Nov 28, 2009 2:53 PM
Though I'm about to disappear down the college football rabbit hole for the the rest of the day, I couldn't resist getting a few quick photos of the new framing that's going up on the last block of Capitol Quarter's first phase, on the northwest corner of Fourth and I.
I also wandered over to First Street to get "final" photos of Velocity building now that the building has opened, including a shot of the sign now up at Justin's Cafe (not that you can really see the sign, thanks to poor sun positioning. Might have to sneak back over there early in the morning).
Here's the complete batch of before-and-after photos for the shots I posted today.
And now, time to go bite my orange-and-blue nails for a few hours.

NBC4 Covers CSX/Virginia Ave./Capitol Quarter
Nov 17, 2009 8:08 PM
NBC4's Tom Sherwood did a piece today on CSX's plans to expand the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, and he focused on a to-be owner of a Capitol Quarter townhouse on Virginia Avenue (in the block between Third and Fourth, where foundation pouring is currently underway). There wasn't any real news in the piece for people who've been following the story recently, but it does highlight that that one block could really become a problem for CSX, and is perhaps an issue that no one had given much thought to. (But, in their defense, it's not like there was a five-year window when Virginia Avenue was completely deserted. Oh, wait....) I also wonder how the city agencies that will be new tenants at 225 Virginia will handle the impact of three years of construction outside their front door.
There still aren't any details posted online by CSX or the District about exactly how the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project will work (though we do have notes from their various recent public outreach sessions), but at a cost of about $140 million, it's not a small piece of the $842 million "National Gateway" project. In the documents that were part of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board vote on the project back in September, CSX described the Virginia Avenue Tunnel as a "bottleneck that when unlocked improves the freight efficiency and mitigates the expected freight growth in the region."

Notes from the Capper Phase 3 Funding Bill Hearing
Nov 16, 2009 4:30 PM
The city council's Committee on Finance and Revenue held a hearing last Thursday (Nov. 12) on B18-475, the "Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Public Revenue Bonds Amendment Act of 2009," which has been introduced to allow the CFO's office to issue $32 million in city-backed bonds to help fund "phase 3" infrastructure improvements at Capper/Carrollsburg. This would be in addition to the $9.5 million in stimulus money that DCHA was awarded by HUD that will allow the phase 2 townhouses at Capitol Quarter to go forward, possibly by the third quarter of 2010 if current financing negotiations with EYA go smoothly.
(Quick background: This infrastructure work would be a combination of underground work on the Second Street blocks around Canal Park, the relocation of the DPW operations at New Jersey and K and demolition of that block, and perhaps the construction of I Street between Second and New Jersey. These projects were originally expected to be funded by the sale of unrated municipal bonds, but the current Economic Difficulties have made those sorts of bonds all but extinct, and additional attempts to secure loans from banks for the money have been fruitless as well. Read this for more details.)
The hearing was pretty straightforward--you can watch it via streaming video, plus I've managed to procure the prepared written testimony of David Cortiella from DCHA if you're more of a reader than a watcher (like me!). The main takeaways:
* The city is intending to sell $32 million in short-term bonds, and will cover the estimated $600,000 a year in costs from funds in an industrial revenue bonds assessment fund held by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. After three years, when presumably the bond market is a bit healthier and Capper's own PILOT fund has begun to receive payments, long-term bonds will be issued. John Ross of the CFO's office called this "a very clever arrangement."
* Because the council originally approved a $55 million bond offering as part of the original Capper PILOT legislation, the cost of these bonds is already reflected in the city's budget.
* DCHA and the CFO are asking that this bill be approved on an emergency basis at the council's December meeting, so that the bonds could be sold during late December or early January, which is apparently a good bond-selling time of year. (Christmas bonds for everyone!)
* Cortiella mentioned that DCHA is also investigating a change in the tax code that may allow the financing of the 189-unit apartment building planned for the old Capper Seniors site at Seventh and L (Square 882) by the third quarter of 2010.
* Money has already begun to flow into the Capper PILOT thanks to the completed houses in Capitol Quarter, and if the phase 1 and 2 townhouses and Square 882 apartments are finished as currently scheduled, approximately $1.2 million will be flowing to the PILOT fund each year by 2012. (It's the PILOT fund that then pays back the bonds.)
Jack Evans--the only councilmember at the hearing--was receptive to the plans and also to moving the bill as emergency legislation, calling it "a good project" and saying it should "definitely move forward." He also made sure to note that, since the new bonds are being backed with proceeds from the Gallery Place TIF, that the city will be "backing Ward 6 projects with Ward 2 money": "We're always helpful when we can be helpful," he said. He also reminisced that, when he first ran for city council in 1991, Near Southeast was in Ward 2, and that he received all of six votes across the entire precinct in the 13-man primary.
The council's December legislative meeting is scheduled for Dec. 15.
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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.

A Roundup of Recently Tweeted Tidbits (Mostly)
Oct 29, 2009 1:07 PM
Not much big news these days, but here's some tidbits, most of which are links that I've Tweeted in the past few days:
* The BID and the Washington DC Economic Partnership held a "Capitol Riverfront Storefront Summit" on Tuesday morning, which The Hill is Home summarized, with quotes from the owners of Cornercopia and the Subway on Second Street. No splashy announcements of new retailers, though.
* The WBJ's Top Shelf blog pivoted off of the summit to write about Justin's Cafe at Velocity, which the owner now says "hopes to open in about two months from now."
* UrbanTurf asks: How do People Like Living in "Capitol Riverfront"?
* Beyond DC went to the Columbia Heights streetcar meeting on Monday, and posted more details about DDOT's plans. The Ward 7 public meeting is tonight, at 650 Anacostia Ave., NE, from 7 to 8:30 pm.
* The Bullpen is still selling tickets for its big Halloween night bash, from 9 pm to 1 am (with a fully heated tent!). An e-mail says that more than 400 tickets have been sold.
* The American Cancer Society is hosting Making Strides for Breast Cancer, a 5K walk to fund breast cancer research, at Nationals Park on Saturday. Two laps around the stadium, and one inside lap on the First Concourse. (I think I've done that walk a whole bunch of times over the past four years!)
* The council's Committee on Finance and Revenue has scheduled a November 12 hearing on the pending bill that would allow the city sell bonds to pay for phase 3 infrastructure work at Capper. (Though I don't see the hearing notice online yet.) For more about this, read my entry from a few days back.

Updated Photos of Capitol Quarter Progress
Oct 25, 2009 5:06 PM
I played cat-and-mouse with the clouds today and took some photos of the progress in the third block of Capitol Quarter, where the townhouses have sprung up pretty quickly over the past six weeks, meaning that St. Paul's Church at Fourth and I (above) and the private homes along Fifth Street are no longer the lonely outposts they've been since late 2004.
So that your computers (and my server) don't collapse, here are the (separated) links of these new befores-and-todays, which take you on a walk around the block: Fourth and Virginia, Fourth and I, Fourth and K, Fifth and K, and Fifth and Virginia. You'll also see on the northwest corner of Fourth and I that the concrete foundations are now being poured for the fourth and final block of Capitol Quarter's first phase.
It will be five years ago next week that the demolition began on the blocks where all these new townhouses are going up; paging through the photos I took during November 2004 while the wrecking crews worked, it in some ways seems a lot longer than that. The eastward view along K at Fourth is a pretty good representation of what these blocks have been through:
See the whole batch here; you can click on any you see in the archive or use the Photo Archive Map Browser to track the fall and rise of any other location.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Additional Capper Funding in the Works
Oct 5, 2009 6:52 PM
On the heels of the $9.5 million grant received from HUD last week to help kick-start the second phase of Capitol Quarter townhouses, the DC Housing Authority and the city are working on a plan to to help pay more of the start-up costs associated with phase 3 of the redevelopment of Capper/Carrollsburg, in which four mixed-income apartment buildings will someday be constructed on blocks surrounding Canal Park. (See my Capper map for details and locations of these various phases.)
This infrastructure work would be 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. These projects were originally expected to be funded by the sale of unrated municipal bonds, but the current Economic Difficulties have made those sorts of bonds all but extinct, and additional attempts to secure loans from banks for the money have been fruitless as well.
Now, a bill is expected to be introduced at Tuesday's city council session amending the 2006 Capper PILOT law to allow for bonds to be issued, guaranteed by the CFO's office (and thereby able to reflect the city's rating on the bond markets), which would be "supported" by real estate tax revenues being collected from various existing TIF projects in the city. If the expected timeline of council approval is met, the bonds--totalling somewhere in the neighborhood of $28 million--could be issued by the end of 2009.
(But don't look out your window on Jan. 1, 2010 expecting to see the trash transfer station's smokestack being smacked by a wrecking ball--they still have to find somewhere for the DPW operations to relocate to, which I'm guessing is more difficult than finding somewhere to move a bunch of schoolbuses, and everyone knows how long that took.)
The proceeds won't all be used for construction, since there are loans to be repaid and other high-finance maneuvers that are well above my level of understanding. But this influx of funding, along with the HUD grant, would give Capper's redevelopment a push forward at a time when few projects are seeing any sort of progress, and would get the money-hungry city closer to being able to start reeling in the property taxes from all these blocks that aren't currently generating any revenue.
UPDATE: Here's the text of the new bill.

DCHA Gets $9.5M HUD Grant for Capper Phase 2
Sep 24, 2009 3:02 PM
Yesterday the US Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the awarding of $500 million in stimulus-money grants to housing authorities around the country, with the DC Housing Authority receiving the $9.5 million it requested to help get the second phase of Capper townhomes at Capitol Quarter moving forward.
In my post on DCHA's application back in June, I explained it this way:

According to this "narrative and schedule" that DCHA included with its application to HUD, the money would finance both public infrastructure and private site improvements needed to begin the construction of the second phase of the Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhouse development (the blocks between Third and Fourth south of I), which will have 163 units, 47 of which are public housing rental units (along with 60 market-rate, 39 workforce-rate, and 17 public housing home ownership units). The narrative indicates that the $55 million Capper PILOT bonds approved by the city council last year that were to fund the new community center and infrastructure improvements not only in the Phase II blocks but also on the north and east sides of Canal Park and over to the DPW site never made it into the bond market; attempts to secure loans from both Fannie Mae and Wachovia also were fruitless.
There's a lot of detail in the narrative that I'm not going to try to summarize (I start to glaze over once I get to Low Income Housing Tax Credits [LIHTC] and anything having to do with "leveraging"):, but it does say that if awarded the HUD CFRC grant money, DCHA would immediately have its engineers complete permit drawings, which can then be put into the city's permitting process (estimated to last 90 days), after which infrastructure work can begin--the schedule at the end of the document estimates a start date of Dec. 1. This work would include repair or replacement underground water, sewer, and "dry utilities" lines, new streets, curbs, and gutters, additional lighting, and public landscaping.
The HUD funds would also be used to pay for the land preparation costs and foundation construction of the 47 public housing units, covering a $1 million gap that occurred in the planned Phase II funding thanks to problems in the LIHTC market.
From what I understand, DCHA is already talking to contractors, with hopes of being able to start delivering the first phase 2 townhomes by late next year; this would be in the blocks between Third and Fourth south of I.
There may also be some money coming for the other Capper-related improvements listed above that were to be paid for by the $55 million PILOT bonds, but not as part of this grant.
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New Photos Posted (Hat Tip: Mr. Blue Sky)
Sep 20, 2009 6:24 PM
Even at my laziest, it's hard to not pull out my camera on a day like today and head to the Hood. But without a lot of projects going on, I had the chance to also wander by some locations I've not paid as much attention to as I should. Here's the highlights:
I stopped by 11th and 12th streets to get caught up on the RFK ramp demolition that's part of the 11th Street Bridges project. The ramps across M have been down for a while now, making M Street along this stretch seem slightly less claustrophobic. The remaining concrete pillars (like the one at left, and the stubs on the south side of M) make for some interesting sculptures.

Capitol Quarter continues to progress on its third block (between K, I, Fifth, and Fourth), with some houses now bricked and framing coming soon to the north side of the block, making St. Paul's church not look quite so lonely anymore. Plus, the first foundations are being poured on the fourth and final block of phase 1, along Virginia Avenue between Third and Fourth.
I even ventured down to the fences at the Park at the Yards to see what I could see, and on the west side of the footprint I could glimpse some of the work being done on the Canal Basin water feature at the foot of Third Street as well as some clearing of the area that will be the Great Lawn. Here's the latest photos, or check the Yards Park page to see some of them matched with the renderings of what the spots will look like.

This isn't the most earth-shattering shot of the day, but I did feel it necessary to finally get a shot of 900 M Street now that Domino's is open.

Last but not least, I wandered around Virginia Avenue Park, finally getting my set of "baseline" photos along Ninth Street (only six years later than I should have). I also took some photos of the park itself but I'm going to take a little more time and not do a rush-job on the park photos; the one above, of the community garden, will have to tide you over a little longer.
As always, on any of these pages, click on the icon to see a complete set of before-and-afters of the location you're viewing. (And boy, am I loving being able to post larger thumbnails of photos here in the blog entries, thanks to the redesign of the home page. But don't forget to click through to see the non-thumbnailed versions.)


Photos from Today's Ribbon Cutting at Capitol Quarter; Updated Before-and-Afters
Aug 26, 2009 1:56 PM
More than five years after the first demolitions at the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex, city officials, developers, and residents gathered at Fourth and L today for a ribbon cutting at what is now known as Capitol Quarter, the mixed-income townhouse development that's been under construction since last year. (Residents actually started moving in this spring, but let's not spoil the party.)
As most readers know by now, the old 707-unit Capper complex is being replaced with what will eventually include 1,500 residential units (with a one-to-one replacement of all 700 public housing units), 700,000 square feet of office space, and 50,000 square feet of retail. Two apartment buildings with 300 units for low-income seniors and moderate income residents--Capper Seniors #1 and 400 M--opened in late 2006 and 2007; four more mixed-income buildings will eventually be built on lots by Canal Park.
My photos of the festivities are posted--and enjoy them, because there aren't many ribbon cuttings in Near Southeast's near future!
I also finally updated my photos along Fifth Street this morning, and at Fourth and I and Fourth and K yesterday and today, making for a pretty striking batch of before-and-afters, especially since these are the first photos I've taken since the framing really took off on the north side of K. Also, digging is now getting started on the final block of phase 1 (Square 797, between Third, Fourth, Virginia, and I), and framing should begin in October or November, with those final first phase homes expected to be finished next spring. When will phase 2 start sales and pre-construction? As soon as they get some money, and everyone knows how easy that is right now....
I will be adding some new mid-block photos to my Capitol Quarter Phase I page, and freshening it up a bit, later today.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

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.)

Upcoming Events (11th Street Bridges, Last Movie, Capitol Quarter Ribbon Cutting)
Aug 18, 2009 12:40 PM
A slew of upcoming events to pass along:
* On Wednesday (Aug. 19), there's going to be an 11th Street Bridges Open House, billed as an update for Ward 8 residents about the status of the bridge replacement project. (But I'm guessing people from other wards can come, too.) It's from 7 pm to 8:30 pm, at the Union Temple Baptist Church at 1225 W St., SE.
* Thursday (Aug. 20) is the last night of the BID's 80's Outdoor Movies series, with "Ghostbusters" on the bill (rescheduled from a rainout earlier this year). Apparently the BID is planning a four-week fall movie series starting in September; I'll pass more along on that when I get it.
* Next Wednesday (Aug. 26) the DC Housing Authority is holding an official ribbon cutting and grand opening at Capitol Quarter, from 10 am to noon at Fourth and L, with the mayor expected to be in attendance. This is just a little over two years after the ceremonial groundbreaking, held on a sweltering day in June 2007.
* If you're desperate for something to do Wednesday morning but a ribbon cutting isn't your thing, the U.S. Navy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard will host "Pirate or Privateer? War of 1812 Day," a series of demonstrations and lectures on the War of 1812. The program, which runs from 10 am to 2 pm, includes Gun Drills in the replica of the USS Constitution and Sea Chanteys. The event is free and open to the public, though note that there's no parking available inside the gates for visitors.
* The National Capital Planning Commission again has the design of the 11th Street Bridges on their tentative agenda, for their Sept. 3 meeting. It had also been on the tentative agenda for the July meeting, but didn't make the final cut; hopefully that won't happen again, because NCPC always puts together such great reports on the projects it votes on (and posts them on their web site), so it's a good place to get details that have been hard to find elsewhere.
* This is still a few weeks away, but residents might want to mark their calendars that the next ANC 6D meeting, on Sept. 14 will be held in Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. I've been attending ANC meetings off and on for six years, and this is the first one I remember that will be crossing South Capitol Street.
* The next day, Sept. 15, Urban Land Institute Washington is holding its third Urban Marketplace Conference and Expo, which brings together "the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to explore redevelopment opportunities and best practices in emerging neighborhoods and corridors across the Washington metropolitan region." One of the day's discussions, from 3 pm to 4 pm will focus on the ballpark district (and I'm one of the panelists).
All of these are of course on my Upcoming Events Calendar.

DCHA Applying for $9.5M in HUD Stimulus Money for Capitol Quarter Phase II
Jun 26, 2009 3:49 PM
The DC Housing Authority, which has been unable to find a corner of the financial markets unfrozen enough to buy bonds that in normal times would help pay for infrastructure and redevelopment, is applying for $9.5 million from a nearly $1 billion Housing and Urban Development "Capital Fund Recovery Act" fund that has been created to, among other things, provide "gap financing" for public housing projects, like Capper/Carrollsburg, that are stalled thanks to the problems in the municipal bond market.
According to this "narrative and schedule" that DCHA included with its application to HUD, the money would finance both public infrastructure and private site improvements needed to begin the construction of the second phase of the Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhouse development (the blocks between Third and Fourth south of I), which will have 163 units, 47 of which are public housing rental units (along with 60 market-rate, 39 workforce-rate, and 17 public housing home ownership units). The narrative indicates that the $55 million Capper PILOT bonds approved by the city council last year that were to fund the new community center and infrastructure improvements not only in the Phase II blocks but also on the north and east sides of Canal Park and over to the DPW site never made it into the bond market; attempts to secure loans from both Fannie Mae and Wachovia also were fruitless.
There's a lot of detail in the narrative that I'm not going to try to summarize (I start to glaze over once I get to Low Income Housing Tax Credits [LIHTC] and anything having to do with "leveraging"):, but it does say that if awarded the HUD CFRC grant money, DCHA would immediately have its engineers complete permit drawings, which can then be put into the city's permitting process (estimated to last 90 days), after which infrastructure work can begin--the schedule at the end of the document estimates a start date of Dec. 1. This work would include repair or replacement underground water, sewer, and "dry utilities" lines, new streets, curbs, and gutters, additional lighting, and public landscaping.
The HUD funds would also be used to pay for the land preparation costs and foundation construction of the 47 public housing units, covering a $1 million gap that occurred in the planned Phase II funding thanks to problems in the LIHTC market.
The housing authority says that, if this HUD money is not forthcoming, "over $41 million in economic activity in the District will not be realized," and that "approximately 150 construction and other related jobs will not be created." Plus, the delay in building these 47 public housing units "will continue to frustrate the hopes of former residents to return to their neighborhoods in order to reestablish the deep social roots that existed prior to the demolition of their apartments."
The grants will be awarded later this summer.
The AP Press wrote a few weeks ago about this HUD program, which was expanded in May beyond just the "high performing" housing authorities originally eligible to apply for funds; this $1 billion fund is money beyond the $3 billion in stimulus money that will be going to the nation's 3,100-plus housing authorities via formula-based distributions.
(Boy, I hate to post this at 4 pm on a summer Friday, when people aren't exactly attuned to grant applications. But news is news...)
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More posts: Capper

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.

Hearing Tuesday on Yards Park Maintenance Bill; Various Tidbits from Third Street
Jun 22, 2009 2:55 PM
* Tuesday morning at 10 am the council's Committee on Finance and Revenue is conducting hearings on a bunch of bills, including B18-0299, the "Waterfront Park at the Yards Act of 2009," which would "authorize the Mayor to enter into an agreement to provide for the operation and maintenance of a public park on the Anacostia River Waterfront; to establish a Waterfront Park Maintenance Fund into which certain designated revenues, including certain sales tax revenue, shall be deposited; and to impose a special assessment on properties specially benefited by the park." I'm kind of bleary today, and so haven't yet the proposed act terribly closely, but I can report that one of the potential revenue streams mentioned in the bill is the "naming rights" for the park. (Alas, I don't think I have enough change under the sofa cushions to bid on this.) The hearing is at 10 am in room 412 (and should be on DC Cable 13 and live webcast, though tomorrow's schedule isn't posted yet).
* The latest on Cornercopia--reader DT (who is *gunning* for my free sandwich offer) reports speaking today with the man who will be running with the deli, who said that they are awaiting permits, and hope to open in July. Maybe even July 1.
* Reader MB reports having smelled natural gas a number of times recently in the intersection of Third and Virginia, right before you head north under the SE Freeway underpass. I just drove through there a little while ago and smelled it quite strongly inside my car, even with the windows rolled up. She says she's called Washington Gas a number of times, and it seems to get fixed temporarily, but then returns. She left a message with the mayor's office today. So, if you hear a big BOOM, you'll know what happened, and the Powers That Be can't say they weren't warned.
* Reader CA reported last week having seen a big gathering of people outside the Post plant at 225 Virginia--I saw them myself at around 1 pm today, and it appeared to maybe be a group of young folk involved in the DC summer jobs program, but I don't know for sure. I can say they didn't look like a swarm of developers desperate to sublease the property.
* Lastly, a nearby resident has heard from DDOT and Tommy Wells's office that, within the next couple weeks, the two lanes of parking on Third Street underneath the freeway will be marked as No Parking during rush hours. This should allow for a de-facto creation of left turn and thru lanes for the northbound lanes at the light on the north side of the freeway, perhaps allowing thru traffic to get through the light more quickly and to shorten the backup southward down Third.

Sneak Peek: Capitol Quarter Models, Sales Center
Jun 18, 2009 6:26 PM
On Saturday EYA will be opening its new Capitol Quarter Sales Center and two model homes, in the row of houses now being finished along Fourth Street just north of L. They were nice enough to give me a sneak peek this afternoon, and I've posted some very quick photos of the interiors. The models are the Addison II and Banneker II designs, with the sales center in the ground floor of the Banneker. (You'll have to march up to the Banneker's third floor to see all the finishes and options.)
My photos of Capitol Quarter itself are a little outdated (damn rain)--the houses on both sides of L between Fourth and Fifth are now done and owners are moving in, while the houses along Fourth will start having their closings next month. The houses along Fifth are framed but not yet bricked, and foundations are being built in the next block, north of K Street. There's currently 21 houses for sale.
The grand opening is from noon to 4 pm on Saturday, at 1020 Fourth Street, SE, for those of you who need an address for your GPS.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

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

Final Approval for Capper Zoning Changes; More Info on Security Requirements at 7th and M
Jun 9, 2009 3:34 PM
Last night the Zoning Commission voted 3-0-2 to give final approval to the Capper zoning requests that have been wandering through the system for nearly a year. The record was reopened to add correspondence between the developer (Capper-Carrollsburg Ventures LLC, which includes the DC Housing Authority), the Marines, and the Navy Yard in reference to security concerns both service branches have about 90-foot buildings being constructed on the site of the old Capper Seniors building at Seventh and M. (Read more about the concerns here.)
The National Capital Planning Commission documents I linked to last week included letters sent by the Marines and the Navy in early April setting out their objections; the NCPC has now posted new letters from the Navy and also Holland and Knight (representing the developers), laying out the wording of the agreement between the parties to install (at the services' expense) surveillance cameras on the top of both the new office building that faces the Navy Yard and the new apartment building that faces the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, and that the developer will provide to the Navy Yard a list of tenants on the fourth through eighth floors of the office building, though "this provision shall not be deemed to grant the Navy any right to approve or disapprove of any tenants in the office building." There's also a requirement to notify the Navy and Marines about any events to be held on the roof decks of the buildings, but "for informational purposes only," without requiring any type of approval. With the Navy agreeing to the wording of this agreement, its objection to the zoning case was withdrawn.
I'll note that there's also reference in these letters to a June 3 letter from the Marines that is not included in the document packet, which seems to indicate that the Marines did not agree to the wording despite the developer's having believed that there had been an agreement. Quoting (see page 9): "In fact, nothing in the Marines' June 3rd letter indicates why the Applicant's proposed conditions are unacceptable, or what remaining concerns the Marines have." There's then this sentence, which seems to be hinting at plans by the Marines for some new development: "The Marines, beyond the scope of the proposed modifications which are the subject of this pending application, have requested a delay to accommodate their entirely new planning initiative." And what would this new planning initiative be? I'm hearing murmurs that the Marines may be looking for more land for more barracks, though I'm not able to confirm that.
In any event, the developer laid out a list of reasons that this zoning approval should not be delayed, and both the NCPC (last week) and the Zoning Commission (last night) gave their approvals for the zoning changes in spite of whatever objections the Marines were putting forth.
There wasn't much discussion of all of this at the Zoning Commission's meeting, but I need an excuse to link to the Video on Demand section of the DCOZ web site, which apparently has been around for months but which I only noticed last night. So, if you want to watch this or any ZC/BZA public meeting going back to November of 2008, they're now there for the taking. (And it's also nice to see how quickly last night's video was posted.)
Now, with these Capper zoning changes approved, the next milestone to watch for will be when the Housing Authority can find financing for another PILOT bond offering to rebuild the infrastructure on the west side of the Capper footprint (including around Canal Park), as well as the mitigation and demolition of the trash transfer station at New Jersey and K. That PILOT financing will also fund the Community Center that has been the subject of much contentious back-and-forth. Are the credit markets unfrozen enough to get this PILOT off the ground? We shall see....

Navy/Marines Concerned About Buildings at 7th and M
Jun 3, 2009 1:02 PM
Contained in the materials for Thursday's meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission is a document that sheds some light on something I've always wondered about--exactly how does the Navy Yard feel about the planned 90-foot-tall office building right across the street at 600 M, on the site of the old Capper Seniors building? And, concurrently, how do the Marines feel about the planned apartments directly between this new 600 M building and the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters on L Street?
The NCPC board is reviewing the Zoning Commission's approval of the slew of Capper zoning changes that I wrote so much about earlier this year, some of which focus on these two new buildings on the old Capper Seniors site. The Executive Director's recommendation document (which provides some good background if you haven't been following along), refers to letters included in the document to the Zoning Commission from both the Navy and Marines stating that the new buildings on what's known as Square 882 "may pose a safety and security threat to the military personnel at both the Navy Yard and the Marine Barracks and that the there will be a visual impact on the Navy Yard Historic District."
Apparently the Navy, Marines, the DC Housing Authority, and Forest City (developers of 600 M) have tentatively agreed to a few steps to mitigate these concerns: the placement of surveillance cameras on the roofs of the proposed buildings, procedures for notifying the Navy and Marines when the roofs are to be accessed, review by the Marines and Navy Yard of tenants wishing to occupy the third through eighth floors of the 600 M office building, and a "window design to enhance security for Navy and Marines." (On this last point, the document says that "the Navy and Marines would request that the windows facing their sites not be operational," but I wonder how tenants in the proposed apartment building along L Street would feel if none of their windows could ever be opened.) The document says that memorandums of understanding between the housing authority and the Navy and the Marines should be able to be completed within the next few weeks.
Additionally, in its letter to the Zoning Commission, the Navy Yard mentions its belief that "buildings exceeding the currently permitted fifty (50) foot height restrictions located across M Street from the Navy Yard Historic District will negatively impact the view shed from the Navy Yard" and "could potentially compromise the integrity of the Washington Navy Yard Historic District, including the Latrobe Gate." It might be worth noting here that the old Capper Seniors building, built in the 1950s and demolished in 2007, was nine stories high, and so an uninterrupted "view shed" is not something that the Navy Yard has always enjoyed since its arrival in the neighborhood back in 1799.
The NCPC's reason for reviewing Zoning Commission cases in DC is to determine whether the proposed actions would have an "adverse effect" on federal interests, and, in this case, the NCPC staff is advising their commission to vote to advise the Zoning Commission that these Capper cases do indeed meet that "adverse effect" standard. Also, the NCPC staff is recommending that the Zoning Commission delay their final action on this case (scheduled for Monday, June 8) to allow the agreement described above to be finalized.

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."

Friday Tidbits: BID Newsletter, ANC Agenda
May 8, 2009 10:38 AM
Between it being Friday and the sun finally being out, I bet everyone's feeling a bit better today. Maybe even Biking to Work! So, a few tidbits:
* The latest Capitol Riverfront BID newsletter is out, with a few items of note. First off, there's a new "branding" campaign going on--"Be Out Front." Look for signs promoting "Front Yard," "Front Office," "Front Door," "Store Front," etc. And they'll soon be launching an equally rebranded web site.
Also, the current estimated population within the BID is 1,584 residents; the newsletter says that there are now more than 2,000 residential units, more than half of which are leased/sold and occupied.
The newsletter also gives the Bullpen's official opening date as May 15, and also mentions that the weekly Tuesday farmer's market at USDOT is now underway, and that the weekly Wednesday lunchtime concerts start on May 20.
* The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is out (hopefully it'll show up online before the meeting itself), and the only Near Southeast item is a presentation by Michael Stevens of the BID--kind of a BID 101 tutorial for the ANC commissioners. Otherwise, it's voting on marathons, bus stops, after-school programs, and also an announcement of a "Southwest Night" at Ft. McNair on July 1. The meeting is at 6th and M streets, SW, at 7 pm. (Maybe next month it'll finally move to the new digs at the new 1D police station at the former Bowen Elementary.)
* The Examiner reports that the 2010 federal budget includes $15 million for "Southeast Federal Center remediation." There's certainly been piles of environmental cleanup there over the years (not surprising when it used to be blocks and blocks of munitions factories).
* EYA has spiffed up its web site a bit--their Capitol Quarter page is worth a visit if you haven't checked it out before.

Zoning Commission Approves Slightly Shorter Community Center Delay
Apr 28, 2009 2:20 PM
On Monday night, a surprisingly contentious Zoning Commission meeting resulted in the three voting members approving a delay in the deadline for the Housing Authority to file for building permits for the proposed Capper Community Center; however, after some heated exchanges between commissioners, it was decided to vote not for the DCHA's requested deadline of Jan. 1, 2011, but instead a shorter deadline of July 1, 2010.
Commissioner May argued that DCHA had not made a compelling case for why the center isn't going forward, and that the discussion at the March hearing (transcript here, my description here, and a letter from ANC 6D about it all here) on the extension "resonated" with him, and he recalled that the community center was one of the prime benefits for residents when the original Capper PUD was approved. Jeffries, as frustrated and blunt as I've seen him (probably because his term is about to end), said repeatedly that "the world is a different place now," that the developers needed to be given some flexibility to get things done, and that it was not the place of the commission to "be punitive" given the current economic conidtions. Chairman Hood attempted to find middle ground between the two (which begat Jeffries curtly telling Hood "this is a time when you're going to have to take a side"), although in the end all three voted for the July 2010 deadline.
Representatives of the Housing Authority said they'd be trying their best to meet that deadline, but with the difficulties of finding funding for the project, they might very well be returning to request an extension of that July 2010 deadline.
The other requests, including an overall extension of the PUD deadline to Dec. 31, 2013 and a bunch of other items I can't bring myself to write about again, were approved with far less sturm und drang.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center, meetings, zoning

Updated Capitol Quarter Photos
Apr 27, 2009 5:15 PM
I took advantage of this sunny July day (what? April?) to refresh my Capitol Quarter photos, showing the now-partially-occupied first row of townhouses (on L between Fourth and Fifth) as well as the progress in the block to their north. I can also report that foundation digging has now begun on the third CQ block, on the north side of K between Fourth and Fifth.
If you want to see more photos than just the ones on my main CQ page (and given all the change, it's worth it), here's my Capitol Quarter Expanded Archive; and don't forget to click the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see the photos between the Befores and the Afters, like the progression above, showing the southern side of L Street at Fifth, from 2004 to today.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

BID Newsletter; Bike Rack Ceremony; Capper Zoning Vote?; Teague Dedication
Apr 26, 2009 6:18 PM
The latest Capitol Riverfront Connections newsletter from the BID was sent out late last week, with updates on the LEED for Homes plaque presentation last week at Capitol Quarter, an interview with BID executive director Michael Stevens on Newschannel8, and news of a ceremony coming tomorrow (Monday) at 2 pm on the Tingey Plaza at USDOT, where Mayor Fenty will kick off the launch of 28 new artistic bike racks around the city.
Also on Monday, at 6:30 pm, is a Zoning Commission hearing where a first vote could possibly come on the batch of zoning changes being requested for Capper/Carrollsburg to which I've dedicated so many bytes lately.
And, on Tuesday morning at 8:30 am is a dedication ceremony and breakfast fundraiser (also with the mayor) for Diamond Teague Park, being held across the street at the foot of the stadium's grand staircase. Tickets are $50 per person.

Capitol Quarter Workforce Lottery; First Settlements
Apr 20, 2009 9:16 PM
I am briefly surfacing from the whirlwind that is my "real" life these days to pass along an update from Saturday's workforce housing lottery at Capitol Quarter: the folks at EYA tell me that 58 prospective buyers entered the lottery for the 15 houses that were for sale. (Three additional houses that were being released for sale under the workforce program were snapped up by former Capper/Carrollsburg residents, who had first option prior to the public release).
Also, it can now be said that Capitol Quarter is an actual residential community: the first purchase settlements took place last week, and homeowners have moved in, six years after the old public housing units in that section of the Cappers first began being closed. Settlements are expected to continue on a regular (even weekly) basis until CQ's first phase is completed, in the middle of next year.
If you're looking for an excuse to go see the considerable construction progress (especially since a certain blogger has completely failed lately at providing updated photos), a reminder that on Wednesday at 11 am EYA will be celebrating Earth Day with a ceremony marking the first CQ house to achieve LEED for Homes certification, with a plaque presentation by the US Green Building Council. The proceedings start at 11 am, with a "light luncheon" at 11:30, at the sales office at Fourth and L, SE.
(And, along those Earth Day lines, a last-minute reminder about Tuesday's Anacostia Waterfront Forum, focusing on "Green Waterfront, Green Jobs, Green Living in a Green DC." It's at the MLK Library at Ninth and G, NW, with an open house beginning at 6:30 pm and the forum running from 7 to 8:30 pm. The April "Waterfront Watch" newsletter has more information on the forum, as part of its focus on "Green DC.")
Finally, as a heads up, unless there's big news (or incredibly quick and easy items to post), I'm probably going to be a bit scarce for the next couple of weeks. (Though every time I say that, I seem to end up posting just as much if not more than usual.) I will probably Twitter some, though, since even from within the maelstrom I can probably manage to string 140 characters together every so often--and, if you're on Facebook but not Twitter, you can now see my Tweets directly in your Facebook news feed by becoming a fan of JDLand.com. Who knows--maybe that Profile Page could even become a "social network" of sorts!
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

ANC Concerns about Capper Returns, Community Center Construction Delays
Apr 14, 2009 2:22 PM
At Monday night's meeting, ANC 6D voted 6-0-1 to approve a letter drafted by commissioners McBee and Siegel responding to submissions by the Housing Authority in the wake of the marathon March 20 zoning commission hearing on the various modifications and extensions being requested for the Capper PUD. As I wrote on the 20th, there was much discussion about DCHA's request to delay construction of the planned community center until at least 2011, and there was also testimony by two former Capper residents that DCHA isn't adhering to what the 2004 zoning order requires in terms of job training and other social services for the former Capper residents.
The letter ANC 6D is now forwarding to the Zoning Commission can be read here, and it addresses in detail the Community Support Services Program (CSSP) and the community center. The DCHA numbers quoted in the ANC letter show an initial CSSP case load since 2005 of 828 cases, with only 394 cases now active due to residents declining to participate, being declared ineligible, or having gone "missing." The letter also says that no further funding for the CSSP program is forthcoming from HUD, and says that the numbers provided by DCHA "do not paint a good picture for a Hope VI Project whose main objective is sustainability and empowerment for the effected community."
As for the community center planned for Fifth and K, the ANC says that its delay "has already done sufficient damage" and that its absence "will fail to address the social and educational needs of the residents." The ANC also notes a lack of any mention of the center in various testimonies by DCHA on their budget and on stimulus dollars coming to the city, saying "we now have no confidence [...] that the Center will ever be built."
The Zoning Commission's next hearing on these Capper doings is expected to be on April 27.

Heading to Opening Day? What You'll See That You Didn't See Last Year
Apr 12, 2009 7:59 PM
[Note: I'm back in town after almost a week away (reminder to self: next year don't skip town the week before the home opener), so apologies if my coverage of the various events and media pieces has seemed even less scintillating than usual. And now I'm going to end the week with one more less-than-perfect entry, which I should have written before I left but didn't do it until now....]
If you haven't been back to Nationals Park or the surrounding Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards neighborhood since last year's Opening Day, here's what you'll see that wasn't completed on your last visit:
* 55 M Street - Right on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, at the head of Half Street, is Monument Realty's 275,000-sq-ft office building, which has been finished in the last few months and which will be home to Artomatic this summer. No office or retail tenants have been announced, although WBJ reported a few weeks back that Gordon Biersch may be eyeing some of 55 M's ground-floor space. The rest of Monument's Half Street site remains a large hole in the ground, with financing for the planned 350 residential units and adjoining hotel directly across from the ballpark nowhere to be found.
* 70 and 100 I Street - Sibling apartment buildings officially known as the Axiom and Jefferson at Capitol Yards first began move-ins in late summer 2008, and their combined 700 units are reported to be about 50 percent leased. (They're the big brick buildings sitting just south of the Freeway.)

* Onyx on First - Another apartment building (though it had been originally planned as condos), Onyx opened at the corner of First and L streets in late fall of 2008. It has approximately 266 units.

* 100 M Street - On the site of the old On Luck cafeteria at First and M, this 240,000-sq-ft office building opened right at the tail end of 2008, and is close to 40 percent leased, with Parsons occupying about one-third of the space. A SunTrust Bank branch is under construction on the ground floor--there's additional retail space where a restaurant could be a possibility, though no deals have been announced.

* 909 New Jersey - Finished mere moments ago (it opened last week), this 237-unit apartment building at New Jersey and I by JPI (developers of 70 and 100 I) is catching eyes with its blue-edged nighttime profile, and is generating piles of "have they signed anyone for their retail space?" messages in my inbox (answer: not that I've heard so far). Baseball fans walking down from Capitol South will also appreciate the wide new sidewalk now just one block south of the freeway.

As for what's currently underway, there's the first phase of townhouses at Capitol Quarter (where the first residents will move in this month and where work will continue into next year), the 200-unit Velocity condo building at First and L, and the 440,000-sq-ft office building at 1015 Half Street (which will be completed in 2010 but will already be cursed for obscuring the view of the Capitol dome from some seats in the ballpark that had it last year). There's also construction continuing at Diamond Teague Park, right across from the ballpark's grand staircase, but the somewhat optimistic timeline of having the water taxi piers completed by Opening Day has now been revised to "midseason."
Work had begun on rehabbing the brown-and-white Pattern/Joiner Shop at the Yards last year (which folks walking to the ballpark from the Nats Express drop-off will see), but financing problems brought the work to a halt early in 2009, and Forest City continues to look for money to restart the project.
The most prominent structure that's disappeared in the past 12 months is the former WMATA bus garage on Half Street just across from the subway entrance, demolished two weeks ago to make way for Akridge's planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development, though that project won't get underway before 2010. (The south end of Akridge's Half Street land is where the [not-a-]beer garden may appear later this summer.)
But, as has been written about extensively elsewhere, as of now there's no new places to eat since last year (though a deli is coming to Third and K in May), and most likely no additional projects will get underway before next year.
So, study this little guide and amaze your friends with your knowledge of what's what as you look at the ballpark's surroundings.

Memory Lane: April 2004 and 2005
Apr 5, 2009 11:06 AM
Without quite so much new stuff to look at these days, I'm going to do some digging into the Photo Archive, to look at the changes that have come to the neighborhood with a slightly different approach than I usually use, highlighting photos that have tended to disappear from easy view because of the way the archive works. Today it's a survey of what the selected spots looked like in April 2004 and 2005, when construction was underway at Capitol Hill Tower and the US DOT HQ. The Star Market at Second and L (now just called the "little red building") was standing all alone in April 2004 as digging was just beginning on the CHT site, and the profile of M Street was so very different without USDOT looming. There's also some photos from throughout Capper, which was beginning to be emptied out but hadn't become completely boarded up yet.
Remember to click on the beneath any photo to see all the images I've posted of that angle, both before and after these 2004 and 2005 images.

Capitol Quarter Workforce Unit Lottery on April 18
Mar 27, 2009 4:41 PM
The Capitol Quarter folks (EYA and the DC Housing Authority) have just released information on the next offering of "workforce" houses for sale, the program where buyers who make between $80,000 and $115,000 annually and meet a host of other requirements and restrictions can buy a townhouse at Capitol Quarter for under $600,000. If you go to the workforce web site at EYACapitolQuarter.com, you'll find all of the information needed to register and be "certified" as eligible in advance of the April 18 lottery. There will be a maximum of 18 houses for sale in this lottery, though possibly fewer if previous Capper residents exercise their options to buy one.
The first workforce lottery was way back in November 2006, when 176 people entered the lottery for 20 houses.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

Friday Morning Link Fest (Un-Nasty Version)
Mar 27, 2009 8:04 AM
Happy Friday, everyone! It's going to be a golden day! So get yourselves up, you sleepyheads, put a big smile on your face, and go take on the world!
{Yeech. That's enough of that.}
Here's some worthwhile links from the past few days, which have been piling up while I've attended to real life:
* Greater Greater Washington dug through the mayor's FY 2010 budget proposal and says that it would repeal the portion of the Performance Parking Act that sets aside a portion of the parking meter proceeds for the neighborhoods. As I wrote back in January after the quarterly Performance Parking public meeting, "legislation that created the pilot spells out that, initially, 60 percent of the program revenue will be put toward the repayment of the cost of the meters, with 20 percent of the revenue to be used "solely for the purpose of non-automobile transportation improvements in the zone." (The other 20 percent goes to the DDOT's operating fund.) "
* Also on the parking front, Michael Perkins of both Infosnack and GGW takes a long, detailed look at on-street parking around the Navy Yard: "Over the last two months, I've collected occupancy data for three blocks immediately adjacent to the Navy Yard. Between the prices and time limitations, more spaces are going empty than needed." He'll be writing again on the subject--including getting DDOT's reaction--today.
* DCMetrocentric throws open the floor to a discussion of the quality of architecture in Near Southeast. Opinions vary.
* Richard Layman thinks the Circulator replacing the N22 is a waste of money.
* The Post's District Extra on Thursday took a look at the Anacostia Waterfront forums that have been held the past two months, and will continue through June. (April's will be a "Green Living in a Green DC," on April 21.) Here are the presentation slides from the meeting described in the Post piece.
* This 1993 photo from Darrow Montgomery's archive looks to be on the field south of the old Capper apartment building at 900 Fifth Street (where Capper Seniors #1 now stands). The freeway embankment at rear is the giveaway.

New Photos: Capitol Quarter
Mar 21, 2009 5:45 PM
If you haven't been by Capitol Quarter in the past few weeks, you might be a bit surprised to see how it's progressing. I've posted a bunch of new photos from Fifth and Fourth streets, where you can see the progress ranging from nearly completed exteriors along L Street (getting painted!) to framing now reaching the Fourth and K intersection.
I took a ton of new photos today (even though the bright blue skies of mid-morning got replaced by icky high clouds), but am rushed at the moment and so will go through the rest of them tomorrow. But these ought to keep folks busy until then.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

4 1/2 Hours of Capper Zoning in Capsule Form
Mar 20, 2009 7:04 PM
How can I possibly summarize in this small space the never-ending parade of testimony and questions at last night's hearing on the various Capper zoning modification requests? (I just thank the heavens I watched the web cast and didn't attend in person.) If you didn't avail yourself of this entertainment, you'll just have to wait for the transcript to come out to get all the specifics, but here's a few bullet points on issues that were brought up (read the Office of Planning report on what was actually being requested):
* Commissioner May was displeased that there were no "sample boards" of the exterior finishes for the two new apartment buildings, as is apparently required for a stage 2 planned-unit-development approval.
* The commissioners were clearly befuddled by the scope of the requests, variances, and exceptions before them, even though last year they had requested that the three separate filings be grouped together in a single hearing.
* There was much discussion of the request to further delay the construction of the community center until at least 2011, with the Housing Authority testifying at length as to the financial realities of the bond and lending markets (see more about that here), and members of the public and ANC commissioners (Siegel and McBee of 6D) emphasizing as they have in the past "the community's" need for the center and questioning DCHA's idea that the neighborhood needs to reach a "critical mass" before the center should be built (does 300 completed units out of a planned 1700 meet that threshold?). DCHA said repeatedly that building a community center is a promise they have made that will not be broken, but that right now it's just not a possibility.
* Two former Capper residents testified to their belief that the Housing Authority is not adhering to what's required in terms of job training and other social services that are supposed to be provided while residents are waiting to move back, which got chair Anthony Hood into a bit of a dander. (Read pages 12-14 of the 2004 Capper zoning order to see what is expected in this realm.) This and the other public comments (such as the "why can't you use Obama's stimulus money?" question that had come up at ANC 6D) brought a somewhat forceful response from David Cortiella of the Housing Authority as to what they're doing for the former residents, and he again went through the current barriers to financing the center. There was then a minor dustup between commissioners Jeffries and May, with May pressing the housing authority on its performance and timeline and Jeffries expressing some level of surprise that the zoning commission was questioning a Hope VI redevelopment's financial problems "in this economic climate."
By the time the hearing wrapped up at 11:15 pm (and I'd be lying if I said I had paid attention to every word), the commission was requesting a series of additional filings from the housing authority and its team, and put it all on their April 27 agenda. (And look for this to be back on the ANC 6D agenda on April 13, too.)
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, meetings, zoning

Capper PUD Hearing on Thursday; New Renderings and Background Info
Mar 18, 2009 1:52 PM
I've just about reached my recommended yearly allowance of writing about the various Capper zoning requests that are pending right now, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel, since the hearing is finally being held Thursday night at 6:30 pm. If you've grown tired (as I have) of my haphazard attempts to describe exactly what's being requested, you can now pour through the Office of Planning report, which gives far more detail than I've ever attempted. Even if you don't want to know that much about it all, there's a pretty good map on page three of the report that details the plans for every block of Capper/Carrollsburg (though without any timelines for the future projects). I have a similar map on my main Capper page, but this one does add a lot of detail.
I've also managed to snag the first renderings of two of the planned Capper apartment buildings, which I've added to my project page. One (seen at top left) shows the 171-unit building planned for L Street, next to Canal Park and behind the proposed 250 M Street office building. There's also now a first look at the 189-unit building planned for the 600 block of L Street (seen above), on the north side of the old Capper Seniors lot and just south of the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters. In the original Capper plans, this site was going to be townhouses, but it was decided that an apartment building would fit in better with the larger surrounding structures.
The Thursday hearing will be available via live web cast, if you're so inclined.

The $6 Billion Neighborhood (Better, Stronger, Faster)
Mar 15, 2009 10:38 PM
It certainly doesn't feel like it's the case, so you might be surprised to find out that the District of Columbia thinks that Near Southeast is worth about $1.5 billion more than it was a year ago, at least in terms of the latest tax assessments now available. With a total assessment last year of around $4.5 billion for the blocks bounded by the SE Freeway, South Capitol Street, and the Anacostia River (to just west of the Sousa Bridge), this bump up edges the neighborhood's "worth" to just over $6 billion.
A chunk of that change is coming from the first official assessment of Nationals Park, valued at $999,982,800 (geez, Mr. Tax Assessor, just round it to $1 billion and be done with it), a rise of nearly $650 million from the assessed value of just the land last year. Blocks that saw projects get completed in 2008 (70/100 I, 100 M and Onyx, and 55 M) got hefty bumps in their valuations, while other spots (20 M, the Capper blocks, USDOT, Maritime Plaza) saw their assessments go down.
I created a report comparing 2008 and 2009's numbers overall and by block, though I wouldn't swear to the exactness of each number down to the penny (but they're probably close enough).
As for the trend of the overall valuation of Near Southeast over the past nine years, it's still *up*:
2001: $221,096,652
2002: $428,312,487
2003: $640,209,280
2004: $771,006,345
2005: $894,123,520
2006: $1,781,481,650
2007: $2,539,618,280
2008: $4,467,137,880
2009: $6,004,334,490
UPDATE: Here's a link to a map of the square numbers, in case a bit more visual assistance would be helpful.

ANC 6D Supports Capper PUD Modifications
Mar 10, 2009 10:57 AM
I can't hardly bring myself to write about the Capper PUD modification requests *again* (my first post on them was back in July), so I'll just stick to the basics and say that on Monday night ANC 6D voted to support the three requests, with provisos that the Zoning Commission request the start date for construction of the community center be in 2011 and not 2012 and that the Housing Authority provide *50* parking spaces in the lot at 7th and M for health-care workers who visit the Capper Seniors #1 apartment building, where apparently there is trouble with parking (according to commissioner Robert Siegel, who lives across the street). The delay on the community center was again a major sticking point (just as it was at the February meeting where these requests were also presented, giving Monday night a very Groundhog Day feel), and the Housing Authority representatives again explained that the center must be financed with bonds, which are all but impossible to "float" these days given the economic realities. (The bonds that eventually pay for the community center will also pay for the demolition of the trash transfer station and the other infrastructure work needed on the western edge of the Capper footprint, around Canal Park.) Cries of "but what about the Obama stimulus money?" also were left unsatisfied. But, in the end, with the extra wording proposed by Commissioner Sobelsohn and approved by Siegel, the resolution passed.
The Zoning Commission will have its hearing on these three requests on March 19. Read my February or July postings for all the specifics. And I hope to at some point get renderings of the apartment buildings planned for L Street between Second and Third and between Sixth and Seventh (hint, hint).
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, meetings, zoning

ANC 6D Meeting on Monday
Mar 6, 2009 1:44 PM
The agenda has been sent out (though not yet posted) for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW. The only Near Southeast item on the agenda is a vote on the three zoning PUD modifications being sought for the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment--they were presented to the ANC back in February, which you can read about here. Other agenda items include updates on the Waterside Mall redevelopment and the Southwest Zoning Planning process, the SunTrust marathon, the proposals for the new firehouse at 4th and School, SW, and the job fair held in Southwest earlier this week for employment at Nationals Park.

New Photos: Capitol Quarter and Freeway Views
Feb 8, 2009 3:20 PM
I took advantage of this beautiful February (!) day to grab some quick photos. First up are the action shots at Capitol Quarter, showing the brickwork underway on the southeast corner of 4th and L and the framing continuing on the north side.
And, for the first time since August, I've updated my views of the neighborhood from the SE Freeway. Clearly I'm out of practice because I kind of screwed up the angles, but you can still get the idea when you compare these new images to their "before"s. This is one of my favorite galleries, since I do have one grainy photo from 2000 (when 80 M was still under construction), and some others from 2005, before the vertical rush really began. You can also see that 1015 Half Street is about to really dominate the view, probably permanently obscuring the view of 55 M from the freeway. Remember to click the See All Photos of This Angle icon if you want to see all the photos between the "before" and now.
I also updated the one shot I have from the freeway at New Jersey; watch the progression from 2005 when Capitol Hill Tower was the dominant building through the construction of Onyx and now with 909 New Jersey and Velocity on display.
You can see all photos from today paired with their "before"s on one page, if you don't feel like clicking around and if you don't mind waiting a bit for it all to load.
(Alas, despite attempts to clean my lens just before taking these shots, they all look like they're being filtered through Vaseline. I'll just pretend I was being arty.)
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More posts: 1015 Half, Capper, Capitol Quarter, square 697

Lazy Weekend Tidbits: Capitol Quarter, ANC 6D
Feb 8, 2009 11:10 AM
Been kind of a nice few days here without much news, so now I'm having to force myself back into the routine. I'll start small:
* An update to the post about the new houses released at Capitol Quarter: EYA tells me that the houses released are spread throughout the development: 421 L Street, under construction and expected to be ready in April (listed for $720,340 on the EYA "Move In Now" list), two houses in the block just to the north (expected to be ready in the fall), and four houses in the block bounded by I/Virginia, Fifth, Fourth, and K that could be ready by the end of the year. On all of these blocks the reservations placed by homeowners over the past few years have now been converted to contracts; that is expected to happen for the final Phase 1 block (between Third and Fourth and Virginia and I) later this year.
* The agenda for Monday night's ANC 6D meeting is posted, and it includes a vote on the Phase 2 designs of the Yards Park that were discussed at last week's special meeting. I've also now added a bunch of those Phase 2 renderings to my Yards Park page. Other items on the ANC 6D agenda are about Southwest subjects, though I should note that the National Marathon on March 21 (which they'll be discussing) will be coming across the Douglass Bridge, briefly using South Capitol Street until it turns west on P Street.
There's also an agenda item about a BZA application for 1101 South Capitol St., SW, which was the old KFC. This is a good opportunity for me to mention that, with two blogs about Southwest now in full flight, I'm going back to my original boundaries, which old-timers will remember stopped in the median of South Capitol Street, which is where Southeast ends and Southwest begins. I'm lucky enough to be watching a neighborhood that has probably the firmest boundaries of any in the city, so I'm going to respect them!
* City budget season is nearly upon us. I've added to my calendar a partial list of dates for FY08-09 oversight and FY10 budget hearings, for agencies that have the most bearing on Near Southeast. Check the DC Council web site for the full list.

Capitol Quarter Houses on the Market; Sunday Concert at Marine Barracks Annex
Feb 5, 2009 9:21 PM
Two small tidbits:
* EYA sent out an e-mail today announcing that they are releasing "the final townhomes in Phase 1" at Capitol Quarter, with prices starting from the $630s. I don't know how many units are in this batch, or where in the Phase I blocks they're located. I'm pretty sure that a while back Phase 1 was billed as "sold out"--if I'm correct, these would be some houses originally reserved but now back on the market. (Buyer decides not to buy, buyer's credit worthiness tanks, etc. etc.)
UPDATE, 2/7: EYA tells me that the houses released are spread throughout the development: 421 L Street, under construction and expected to be ready in April (listed for $720,340 on the EYA "Move In Now" list), two houses in the block just to the north (expected to be ready in the fall), and four houses in the block bounded by I/Virginia, Fifth, Fourth, and K that could be ready by the end of the year. On all of these blocks the reservations placed by homeowners over the past few years have now been converted to contracts; that is expected to happen for the final Phase 1 block (between Third and Fourth and Virginia and I) later this year.
* From the Post calendar listings, word of a concert on Sunday Feb. 8 at the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters. (This is the first time I've ever heard of a concert there, though it's more than possible that the news of previous ones didn't make it onto my radar.) Here's the particulars: "MARINE CHAMBER ENSEMBLE, performance of works by Libby Larsen, Telemann and Stravinsky; followed by a tour of the facility; light refreshments served. 2 p.m., Marine Barracks Annex, John Philip Sousa Band Hall, Seventh Street and Virginia Avenue SE. Free. 202-433-4011." (hat tip to reader S.)
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More posts: Barracks, Capper, Capitol Quarter, Events

Capper Zoning Changes Presented to ANC 6D
Feb 4, 2009 3:17 PM
The last item to summarize from Monday's ANC 6D presentation hearing was an update on the series of changes being requested to the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD. I've been writing about some portion of these requests since July, so here's some bullet points I've previously written (I just can't bring myself to have to compose new entries about this stuff AGAIN), along with comments from the ANC commissioners:
* Expanding the number of units at Capper: "There are five new apartment buildings slated to be built, three of which along the east side of Canal Park where the temporary parking lots are, and another at New Jersey and K on the trash transfer site. And there is a new plan for a fifth apartment building, on L Street across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (B.E.Q), on the northern portion of the old Capper Seniors footprint.
"Under the original Capper plans, there was to be a strip of 61 townhouses built on this spot, but the DC Housing Authority has recognized that these homes would be dwarfed by the B.E.Q. to the north and the two planned office buildings directly behind them at 600 M Street. So DCHA has now filed a request with the Zoning Commission to allow an expansion in the total number of housing units allowed at Capper to 1,747, which would allow the construction of a four-story 189-unit apartment building (with a massing very similar to the B.E.Q.) on this stretch of L Street known as Square 882N. This Zoning Commission request is also looking to expand the number of units in the planned apartment building on the south side of L Street between Second and Third (let's call it Square 769N) to 171 units[.]"
The ANC was told that the Square 769N building was originally designed to be a market-rate condo building only, but that financing realities have forced a switch to rentals. And because rental units can be smaller, they were able to not only add more than 60 units, but make 34 of those units public housing, allowing a lower proportion of public housing units in the other four apartment buildings while still maintaining the required Hope VI one-to-one replacement of the original 695 Capper public housing units.
As for the Square 882 buildings, the change to apartments from townhouses would require a boost in parking spaces from 49 to 172--but they are proposing to lower the total spaces at the office building from 400 to 284. This is part of a request to bring down the overall number of required parking spaces from 1,845 to 1,780, including the removal of the requirement for 70 off-site spaces for 400 M Street, which have been determined to be unnecessary.
(Note that the Square 769 and Square 882 issues before the Zoning Commission are technically a PUD second-stage review.)
* Time Extensions: "There were also requests for three time extensions: to extend the first-stage PUD for an additional five years, to extend the deadline for filing second-stage approvals for the apartment building sites along Canal Park (including the trash-transfer station site) to 2013, and to extend the deadline for filing a building permit application for the planned community center at Fifth and K to January 2011, with an included extension of the start of construction to January 2012."
Commissioner Bob Siegel in particular is very unhappy about the delay in the community center construction, saying that the senior residents of 900 5th Street need an exercise room and other amenities. But he was told that, simply, the community center is unfinanceable right now.
And Commissioner Ron McBee wants to revisit the community benefits that were agreed to in the original Capper PUD, asking the presenters to get him a list of those benefits--I can do it for them, by pointing to pages 12-14 of the 2004 zoning order.
The Zoning Commission will be hearing all these items on March 19. You can see the hearing notice for the zoning-related specifics on the three cases

Morning Roundup of Recent Little Items
Feb 4, 2009 8:49 AM
A couple small things from the past few days:
* For the second time in eight years, Capitol Quarter's EYA has been named America's Best Builder by Builder Magazine, which cited "its commitment to high-quality design, building in areas featuring life within walking distance, and industry leading results on homebuyer satisfaction and referral sales."
* From WTOP, news that the current occupants of the encampment at First and M are seeing the tab for their move escalate a touch: "The estimated cost of building a sprawling new complex at Fort Belvoir to house [the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency] and its 8,500-strong work force will be $350 million more than prior estimates, according to a report from government auditors." It's mandated that they have to be moved into their new digs by September 2011, but the GAO report "warned that the agency's small window for delays means that 'any unmitigated disruptions can jeopardize' meeting the 2011 deadline." The price tag is now $2.44 billion.
* Today's Examiner has another installment of their Three-Minute Interview series, this time with, um, me. (Nationals historians might enjoy knowing that the accompanying photo [better non-cropped version here] was taken the night the team came home from spring training to see their completed ballpark for the first time.)

Pre-Weekend Roundup
Jan 30, 2009 12:57 PM
Some little items to head into the weekend:
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is going with a Best of the 80s theme for its Riverfront Reel summer outdoor movie series, and has a survey up to determine the most popular flicks. (Though let me just say that the omission of Die Hard has me white with rage....)
* DDOT is holding an "Anacostia Waterfront Forum" on Feb. 17 at the MLK Library at 6:30 pm, "on the role that replacing the 11th Street Bridges will have in creating a more inclusive and sustainable Distrct."
* Also from the BID, news that the Earth Conservation Corps has scheduled a dedication ceremony for Diamond Teague Park on April 28. I've been told that if all goes "as planned," the construction of the in-water structures (the docks and the piers) should be completed by Opening Day, though the plantings and other work on the dry-land portion of the park would be completed by the beginning of July.
* Greater Greater Washington is not happy that the US DOT is having a "sale" on its parking spaces.
* City Paper's Housing Complex blog is bewildered about where this Capitol Quarter "neighborhood" might possibly be. (Teh Google probably could have answered that.)
* The US Department of Justice and some Shell Oil entities are nearing a $2.1 million settlement for damages and cleanup costs at the Southeast Federal Center (now the Yards) after what the feds allege was benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene contamination of soil and groundwater "from leaking underground storage tanks located at a former filling station adjacent to the contamination."
* I did attend last night's zoning hearing on Akridge's Half Street project, and will post a summary when I recover from the nearly four-hour session. But I did hear that the bus garage on the site will be demolished pretty soon, to make way for temporary parking. Both Akridge and Monument are talking with the Nationals about providing their spaces for gameday parking. (Monument has told me that their underground garage at 55 M--and the little addition to the south--will be complete by Opening Day.) That's a lot of spaces that weren't around last year....
* DCRA has restarted the Building Permits feed. And there was much rejoicing.

Special ANC 6D Presentation Meeting on Feb. 2
Jan 27, 2009 7:45 PM
With developers of three large projects needing to make presentations, ANC 6D has decided to have a separate presentation meeting on Feb. 2 in advance of its Feb. 9 monthly business meeting. And all three are Near Southeast spectaculars:
* The Housing Authority will be there to talk about the various modifications it's seeking to the Capper PUD, in advance of its March 19 Zoning Commission hearing;
* DDOT will be making a presentation on the final South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement (this includes the plans for the new Douglass Bridge), which I wrote about a few weeks back; and
* Forest City will be making a presentation about the park at the Yards (I believe these are the designs for Phase II, which include the various pavilions and the docks and marinas). The National Capital Planning Commission will be taking a look at Yards designs at their Feb. 5 meeting, and the Zoning Commission hearing on the park's second phase is scheduled for March 2.
The meeting is at the ANC 6D offices on the second floor of 1501 Half Street, SW, at 7 pm.

'LEED For Homes' at Capitol Quarter
Jan 26, 2009 3:31 PM
From a press release just out, word that EYA will be seeking LEED for Homes certification for Capitol Quarter: "The neighborhood's proximity to public transportation, employment centers, parks and neighborhood retail reduces the amount of time homeowners spend in their cars. Add to that environmentally friendly building materials such as Energy Star appliances and windows, water saving plumbing fixtures, high efficiency heating and cooling equipment, and low VOC paints and finishes. The homes at Capitol Quarter provide more energy savings, better indoor air quality, and less impact on the environment than standard new townhomes -- all qualities that the LEED for Homes program is designed to promote." Also from the release, this: "Traditionally, LEED certification has been sought by builders for commercial buildings and custom residential homes. Capitol Quarter will serve as a model for volume builders in how to implement LEED for Homes on a larger scale."
UPDATE: Here's the release on EYA's site, which reminds me to note that this will be the largest LEED for Homes development in the country.
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New Construction Photos: Teague, Capitol Quarter, 1015 Half (and More)
Jan 25, 2009 5:49 PM
I took a nice tour of the action spots around the neighborhood today, getting updated photos of the very showy progress at Capitol Quarter and 1015 Half Street.
I also snuck across the river (don't tell) to get a peek through my zoom lens at the goings-on at Diamond Teague Park, plus I took a photo or two through the fence at First and Potomac. It looks like the gangplank from the shore to the pumphouse has been dismantled; and there's definitely "in-water" work going on.
I also got a good batch of updated photos for 55 M, and gave my Monument Half Street page a badly needed refreshing--there's also this shot of the construction on the extension of the underground garage (and the shored-up hole on the south end of the block), as seen from Nats Parking Garage B.
I even took my first(!) set of photos at 11th and L, where the Southeast Freeway bends toward the 11th Street Bridges, to get an official "before" baseline in advance of the reconstruction and reconfiguration of it all. (And I found this plaque on one of the flyover pillars, which might be worth a chuckle or two.)
If you want to see the entire batch of new photos on a single page, here they are, though it's about a hundred of them so be patient. But the links above are better if you want to see them matched with their "before"s.
(Oh, and that dinky little For Sale sign at 10th and M by the Exxon that I wrote about on Friday is gone. Drunken property advertising?)

Capitol Quarter Construction Moves North
Jan 22, 2009 11:05 AM
I haven't seen it with my own eyes yet, but a couple readers reported yesterday (as I Twittered) that Capitol Quarter vertical construction has now begun on the north side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth, across from the units already well underway. (There's also a rumor that bricking will begin on those first townhouses soon.) The foundations have been underway on this block for a while, so I'm assuming it's the showier framing work that has begun. I'll give them a day or two to make some progress, and will get photos this weekend.
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Akridge Gets ANC Backing for Half Street
Jan 13, 2009 9:38 AM
I was unfortunately unable to get to Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, thanks to an avalanche of Inauguration-related work at my real job that couldn't wait, plus there was the arrival yesterday afternoon of my brother's third child, Teddy. (And if you think you've got it bad over the next week, light a candle for him--he's Washington correspondent for the Cox Radio Network, and has to cover all of the inauguration while tending to a newborn and two other kids under the age of five who will be wondering what that squirming, crying package is that arrived at the house.)
Anyway, I've been able to find out that the ANC gave its support to Akridge's planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on Half Street between M and N, subject to the finalization of the community benefits package. I wrote a long entry after last month's ANC meeting describing Akridge's designs for the project, if you want all the details. I hope to get renderings within the next few weeks, in advance of the January 29 Capitol Gateway Overlay Review.
I hope to find out soon whether the illustrious Capitol Quarter trash enclosures discussions have been brought to a close.
(And I hope to make it to tonight's ANC 6B meeting, which will have a briefing on the South Capitol Street EIS. But only if work doesn't intervene again.)

ANC 6D Meeting Monday Night
Jan 9, 2009 9:38 AM
The agenda is out (though not net yet online) for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, and if you've liked the past few meetings, you'll love this one, because it's pretty much a rehash of recent agendas: the Capper PUD modifications (described here), the Capitol Quarter trash enclosures (perhaps the fourth time's the charm), and Akridge's Half Street project, which is going to the Zoning Commission at the end of this month. (For Southwest folks, the Hogate's liquor license discussion is back, too.) And, although it's not on the agenda now, I'm guessing there might be some inauguration-related discussions. The ANC meets at St. Augustine's church, Sixth and M streets, SW, at 7 pm.

New Douglass Bridge Design - Coming Soon? (Post on Upcoming Meetings)
Jan 5, 2009 8:38 PM
New Year, New Meetings:
* ANC 6B (mostly Capitol Hill, but also including the Eighth Street area of Near Southeast) has posted its January 13 meeting agenda, and one of the items on it is "South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement." This draft EIS, which envisions substantial changes to the section of South Capitol Street from the Southeast Freeway across the Douglass Bridge to Firth Sterling Avenue, was released last year, and at December's Anacostia Waterfront Fair it was announced that the final EIS is expected to come this spring.
It may not sound like much to get excited about, but one of the cornerstones of the final EIS should be the unveiling of the chosen design for the new Douglass Bridge. I wrote a long entry about the Draft EIS when it was released, and on my Douglass Bridge page you can also see the four preliminary designs. (And you can also relive 2007's Extreme Makeover!) Feel free to sound off in the comments on which bridge design you want--but, please, no wagering.
Also on ANC 6B's agenda is "ZC # 03-12I/03-13I, Modification to the Arthur Capper Carrollsburg PUD," which I imagine is the series of deadline extensions and other zoning items that I've previously written about. (UPDATE: This has apparently been removed from the 6B agenda, at the Housing Authority's request.)
This meeting is at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, at 7 pm.
* ANC 6D's monthly meeting will be on the previous night, Jan. 12, at St. Augustine's Church at 6th and M Streets, SW. No agenda yet posted. (6B usually wins this race by a country mile.)
* This Thursday (Jan. 8), Metro's Customer Service, Safety and Operations Committee will be voting on whether to authorize a mid-February hearing on the discontinuation of the N22 bus, which runs between the Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard subway stations and which is expected to be replaced by DC Circulator route. I'm not sure why this is on the agenda again--my understanding was that they approved it in December, as did the full board. Read my previous posts with more detail on this change here and here.

Images and Updates from the Last Photo Trek of 2008
Dec 29, 2008 6:26 PM
I don't dare tally up how many photos I've taken over the past 12 months, but suffice to say it's a lot. That didn't stop me from a quick lunchtime trek around the neighborhood to grab my final pictures of 2008, with a starkly blue sky as an end-of-year gift. Here's a boatload of before-and-afters for your perusal:
I started at Capitol Quarter, where the first three townhouses at Fourth and L are already framed, wrapped, and window'ed (I imagine the developers are trying to get those units finished as close to "on schedule" as possible). Here's the before-and-afters for the intersection's southwest corner; be advised that taking southward-facing photos in winter is no fun at all, so apologies for all glare, skipped angles, etc.

I next ventured to The Yards (USDOT security guards be damned!) for updated photos of the Foundry Lofts construction, where most of the framing of the two new top floors appears to be finished. And both Third and Tingey streets are now nicely paved and curbed, which you can see along with the Foundtry Lofts construction in these Third and Tingey photos, and also in shots from one block west, at what someday will be Second and Tingey. And, for the heck of it, here's a few new New Jersey and Tingey images. (Remember to look for the icon, as always.)
And, acting on tips from alert readers, I checked out the Third and K Market, which is now being gutted. There was no one around to answer any questions as to what is up, but seeing work getting done a few months after a For Rent sign went up (and quickly disappeared) would seem to be a good sign....?

I also went to First and M, where workers at 100 M have now given back one lane of M Street and told me that the median east of First will be rebuilt soon (as the one west of M recently was). The silver bullding against the unbelievably blue sky makes for a nice tableau in these updated photos.
There are also a few updated shots of 909 New Jersey, taken mainly from the First and I intersection, which is also notable for the nice little fence and landscaping that's now gone in across the empty lot to the east of 100 I, visible in many of these new photos.

Will that tide everyone over until the new year? I know I'm now good for a while....!

ANC 6D Doings, Part 1: Artomatic, Nats Express, and Capper PUD Modification Requests
Dec 8, 2008 11:10 PM
Just got back from ANC 6D's meeting, and I'll leave you waiting until Tuesday for the first details on Akridge's Half Street plans (I don't want to give it short shrift) but here's the other Near Southeast items of the evening:
* Commissioner David Sobelsohn said an announcement is likely coming next week that the city's 2009 Artomatic festival will be held in ANC 6D, "most likely ANC 6D07" (which is Near Southeast). I know nothing more than that.
* Sobelsohn also introduced a resolution to send a letter to Tommy Wells, DDOT, and other officials expressing the ANC's support for the continuation of free parking at RFK and the Nats Express shuttle buses "to reduce the incidence of illegal on-street parking in ANC 6D by people attending events at Nationals Park." The resolution passed 6-0. A few weeks ago it was reported that Wells wants to discontinue the service.
* The DC Housing Authority came requesting the ANC's support for a series of zoning items having to do with the Capper PUD, including extending some deadlines and also expanding the number of residential units offered. (You can read all about them here; I'm too worn out to go into them all again tonight.) There wasn't much discussion of the request itself, because the commissioners were, shall we say, displeased that a huge packet of supporting materials arrived on their doorsteps just last Friday (6D07's Bob Siegel didn't receive his at all, and were unmoved when told it was basically the same information they had received in July.
There was also displeasure expressed about the request to delay the start date for the Community Center at 5th and K to 2012, with the commissioners wondering what level the DCHA would consider a "critical mass" of residents that would make the center viable. (Only 300 of the planned 1500 units have been built so far, so it would seem that the threshold might perhaps be a bit higher.) But the Housing Authority made clear that obtaining financing for the project is the larger hurdle. The support request will be brought up again at the ANC's January 12 meeting.
* I admit that I didn't stick around for the late-in-the-agenda item on the Capper trash enclosures. But DCHA mentioned that they had met with the city's Public Space Committee in advance of their monthly meeting, and were making progress on modifications to the design. ANC chair Moffatt asked if the enclosures still exist at all in the new design, and when he got the "yes" answer, that ended the discussion.

Monday Mishmash: Framing at Capitol Quarter, BID Holiday Market, Third Street Doings, and More
Dec 8, 2008 5:26 AM
* As Tweeted on Saturday night (after cheering my Gators onto victory), framing has indeed begun on Capitol Quarter v2.0. They're not exactly the most thrilling photos (it was some tough almost-winter lighting conditions), but if you need proof, here they are, with their befores.
* Yet another mid-month event announcement to pass along--on December 16th, 17th, and 18th, the BID is putting on a Holiday Market at 1100 New Jersey Avenue. It will run from 11:30 am to 6 pm, and will feature "local artisans selling handcrafted jewelry, pottery, crafts, watercolors, photography, and more."
* Looks like maybe the 3rd and K Market might be stirring. I haven't heard anything official (though we saw that "For Rent" sign in the door a few months back), but there's been a slew of permits and the concrete surrounding the building has been torn up to apparently do some re-pointing of the bricks near ground-level.
* Less pleasant news from the same block--looks like there was a fire just within the past few days in the second floor of one of the rowhouses on Third Street--the top-row windows are gone, and there's black soot across the upper part of the front of the house. Anyone know what happened?
* I finally gave the new camera its first Hood workout on Sunday morning, despite the 40-mph winds and "variably sunny" weather that provided some icky overcast shots followed seconds later by brilliant blue-sky vistas, though it must be said that this model does a much better job of handling backlit buildings than my previous one. (And it was too dang cold to think about sticking around waiting for clouds to clear.) I'll post them in separate entries over the next few days. Got to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the decent content nowadays.
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ANC 6D Meeting Monday (First Peek at 25 M)
Dec 5, 2008 12:44 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D monthly meeting is out, and the most enticing item is Akridge looking for the commission's support in advance of its Jan. 29 Capitol Gateway zoning overlay review for its new 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development at 25 M, on the site of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, in the block directly north of Nationals Park. At this point, little has been put forth publicly about the project other than it'll be a office/residential/retail mix, and is expected to get underway in early 2010.
Also on the agenda is a third go-round with the DC Housing Authority over the designs for some external trash enclosures for some of the units at Capitol Quarter. I wrote about the first discussion here, and the Hill Rag has the report on the second one. Will the third time be the charm, or will bad things come in threes? There will also be a status report about the Capper redevelopment in general.
There's also apparently a letter being brought by Commissioner Sobelsohn to express the ANC's support for retaining the Nats Express shuttle bus that brings stadium-goers to the neighborhood from the parking lots at RFK. I imagine that the ANC will be expressing some level of concern about increased traffic and parking problems if that shuttle service goes away (it was reported last month that Tommy Wells is in favor of ending it).
The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW.

Capitol Quarter 2.0: Moving Forward
Dec 5, 2008 9:10 AM
For those who haven't wandered by Fourth and L recently to check out what's happening at Capitol Quarter, I can report that new slabs have been poured, and vertical construction should get underway (again) next week. (If you haven't been following along, this is a second start for these townhouses, after the initial construction in August showed foundation problems and resulted in the demolition of the first units that were underway.)
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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?

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.

Capper PUD Items at Monday's Zoning Commission
Oct 23, 2008 12:14 PM
On Monday night, the Zoning Commission briefly took up a group of items having to do with the Planned Unit Development (PUD) approved for Capper/Carrollsburg back in 2004. The first was the request that I've written about in the past to expand the allowed number of residential units in apartment buildings planned for two spots along L Street (between Second and Third behind the proposed 250 M Street office building and on the north side of the Old Capper Seniors site). See my previous entry for specifics.
There were also requests for three time extensions: to extend the first-stage PUD for an additional five years, to extend the deadline for filing second-stage approvals for the apartment building sites along Canal Park (including the trash-transfer station site) to 2013, and to extend the deadline for filing a building permit application for the planned community center at Fifth and K to January 2011, with an included extension of the start of construction to January 2012.
The commission voted 4-0-1 to have all of these items come up together on a future date to be determined (as one public hearing and one special public meeting for those of you well-versed in ZC phraseology).

ANC 6D Report (909 NJ and Cap Quarter Permits)
Oct 21, 2008 3:11 PM
Here's a brief wrap-up of Near Southeast-related items from last night's ANC 6D meeting (though the folks following my Twitter feed got some pithy tidbits in real time):
* JPI was there requesting support for a public space permit to put up a sign at 909 New Jersey. If you've been thinking that this apartment building looks pretty far along, you're correct: the JPI rep said that they're looking to deliver the first units in February. The building has 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, of which 4,000 is expected to be leased to restaurants. The discussion about the sign permit devolved into concerns about the main staircase on New Jersey Avenue splitting up the public space, which DDOT's public space committee has already approved but which ANC members weren't sure they'd ever seen. The vote on the sign permit request was 4-0-2 in favor of asking DDOT to postpone the decision on the sign as a protest against the sign and NJ Ave public space permits not having been done together.
* EYA and the DC Housing Authority presented their request for ANC support for some new brick "screens" on certain public housing units at Capitol Quarter that won't have alley access and so will need to have their trash and recycling cans placed by the buildings' fronts. There are nine corner buildings in Capitol Quarter with 27 public housing units that will need these screens, though there are also corner buildings at CQ that are not public housing, and there are additional public housing units that are not in these corner buildings. But the ANC felt that these trash screens would make the affected units easily identified as public housing, which would negate what commissioners described as the "concept of Hope VI" where you're not supposed to be able to "tell the difference" in market-rate and public-housing units from the outside. There were also concerns about units with windows above the trash enclosures (i.e., the smell and also having to look out at the trash bins). The rep from DCHA asked the ANC to table the request for support rather than oppose it (so that EYA and DCHA could come back with some revised designs), but the ANC voted 5-0 to oppose the request anyway.
Both these public space permits are on Thursday's agenda of the city's Public Space Committee.
There was also to be a discussion of the stadium Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, but it got moved to late in the agenda, and it sounded like it was going to be just in terms of the impact on Southwest, so I will admit that I didn't stick around.
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Capitol Quarter Demolition Photos
Oct 20, 2008 10:12 AM
For those who haven't wandered past themselves, I've posted a few photos of the post-demolition landscape at Capitol Quarter--this was done because of structural problems uncovered in the foundations, which EYA decided were severe enough to require the demolition of the existing work rather than just trying to patch it or shore it up. If you want to see how the construction went up and then came down, here's all the photos of the southeast corner of Fourth and L taken this year.
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Capitol Quarter Foundations, Frames Coming Down
Oct 16, 2008 2:10 AM
I Twittered this about a half-hour ago, but I thought I'd let the Web 1.0 folks know that demolition is underway on the south side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth, taking down the framing and foundation of the Capitol Quarter townhouses that are going to have to be redone. (Why? Read this.)

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Roundup: ANC 6D Agenda, 11th Street Bridges Short List, Metro Ballpark Crowds
Oct 15, 2008 2:20 PM
* The ANC 6D agenda for its meeting on Monday Oct. 20 has been sent around (though not yet posted online). There will be a discussion of the Ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan as it relates to Southwest, plus public space requests for building signage at 909 New Jersey and "Brick Walls for Trash Enclosures" at Capitol Quarter. (These are also on the Oct. 23 agenda of the city's Public Space Commitee.)
* The short list for a design/build team to reconstruct the 11th Street Bridges is out--Shirley Design-Build LLC, Skansa/Facchina, Archer Western Contractors LLC, Perini/Parsons Joint Venture, and KCA Constructors Joint Venture. According to the procurement schedule, a draft RFP should already be out (haven't found it online), and final RFP should be issued by the end of the year, with a contract signed with the vendor by June 1, 2009.
* Metro announced yesterday that 53 percent of baseball game attendees this year arrived at Nationals Park via Metrorail. That's 1.8 million bodies, averaging 23,000 people entering and exiting the Navy Yard station at the 80 home games in 2008. (It apparently doesn't count people who took the bus or walked down from Capitol South.) In the last two years at RFK, only 38 percent of attendees took the subway. Marc Fisher has some thoughts on it all (including some questions on Metro's math).

Foundation Troubles at Capitol Quarter
Oct 13, 2008 3:10 PM
You may have noticed that work seemed to stop a few weeks ago on the new townhouses at Capitol Quarter. Here is the official statement given to me by EYA:
"Several weeks ago we noticed several locations with cracking in the foundations at Capitol Quarter. We immediately put construction on hold, and contacted several geotechnical engineering firms to analyze the situation. While several repair solutions were suggested, we felt the wisest decision to ensure the integrity of the homes was to change foundation designs, and start over with a new enhanced design. Even though this meant removing the framing on several started homes, we feel this solution provides the future residents the confidence of owning structurally sound homes."
Homeowners in these first blocks along L are being told to expect their move-in dates to slide 30 to 60 days as a result of the need to demolish the existing foundations and frames and start construction over again.
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Some Late-Afternoon Pics (With Others to Come)
Oct 5, 2008 9:51 AM
I took a few quick pictures on First Street and Fourth Street on Saturday, to capture 909 New Jersey and Capitol Quarter in the late-afternoon sun--you can see all of them with their befores here.
I also finally got to some other shots to fill in two glaring holes in my portfolio, but it might be a couple of days until I get those posted. Until then, you'll just have to guess.
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Deadline for Post Plant Replies Pushed to Oct. 15; Hints on Trash Transfer Station Status
Oct 3, 2008 10:10 AM
A recent wander past the Office of Property Management page on 225 Virginia (aka the old Post Plant) brings the news that the deadline for proposals from entities interested in taking over the city's $500,000-a-month sublease has been pushed back to Oct. 15. The page has also been updated with a few other items of note:
* One of the results of the case that's coming before the Zoning Commission on Oct. 27 that seeks to add the plant's block to the Capitol South Receiving Zone would be to allow the property to receive transferred development rights, which allows for increased density (i.e., add some floors on top), though the page notes that "[a]dditional height is expected to be subject to some design review by the Office of Planning."
* The building is not a historic building, and the city will not be seeking any historic landmark designation for it.
There's also this: "The trash transfer station located at 900 New Jersey Avenue, SE is expected to be relocated by September, 2009." I get asked a lot about What The Deal Is with the trash transfer station, so here's a bit of a roundup:
The city is working on moving the current DPW operations out of the building to other locations around the area, with that September 2009 mentioned above now being the official timetable (though perhaps some of the functions will be gone sooner than that). In the meantime, the city is still waiting for the little plot of land on the edge of the transfer station known as Reservation 17A to be transferred to District control from the Feds. (That land will then be transferred from the city to William C. Smith to round out the land that will be home to their 1.1-million-sq-ft 800 New Jersey Avenue project.) This transfer has been hung up for almost two years (it's part of the same transfer that would give Federal land at Poplar Point and in Hill East to the city), but there may be some movement soon.
The next step once DPW has left and the land transfer is settled would be for the city to start the infrastructure work, environmental cleanup, and demolition around the trash transfer site (including the new section of I Street to be built between New Jersey and Second), which will be paid for via another PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) plan that requires financing via the bond and credit markets--you know, those same bond and credit markets that are wheezing just a wee bit right now.
[All together now:] We shall see....

Five Capitol Quarter Units Being Released
Sep 17, 2008 4:59 PM
From EYA: "Capitol Quarter will accept contracts on our next 5 market rate homes on Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 11:00 a.m." (I'm on my cell, so can't link right now. Go to eya.com for details.) UPDATE: Okay, I'm back. The five homes are being offered in the $630,000 - $645,000 range. Here's my Capitol Quarter page, just because I can't ever pass up an opportunity to link to it.
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WashTimes Look at Capitol Quarter
Sep 12, 2008 2:51 PM
This is one of those real estate-section puff pieces, not a straight news story, but it's a quiet Friday so I'll link to the WashTimes's "New in DC: Batter, and Buyers, Up,"which gives an overview of Capitol Quarter. If you're looking for a summary of what's there, it runs through all the basics. For photos and lots more information, my Capitol Quarter page has plenty to keep you occupied.
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Housing Authority at the Zoning Commission, Asking to Expand Number of Residential Units at Capper
Sep 9, 2008 1:09 PM
At last night's Zoning Commission monthly public meeting, the DC Housing Authority made a presentation on the latest request for changes to the approved Planned Unit Development at Capper/Carrollsburg. I wrote a long explanatory entry about this request and the plans for multi-unit residential buildings at Capper back in July, and so I'm just going to plagiarize myself here:
"There are five new apartment buildings slated to be built, three of which along the east side of Canal Park where the temporary parking lots are, and another at New Jersey and K on the trash transfer site. And there is a new plan for a fifth apartment building, on L Street across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (B.E.Q), on the northern portion of the old Capper Seniors footprint.
"Under the original Capper plans, there was to be a strip of 61 townhouses built on this spot, but the DC Housing Authority has recognized that these homes would be dwarfed by the B.E.Q. to the north and the two planned office buildings directly behind them at 600 M Street. So DCHA has now filed a request with the Zoning Commission to allow an expansion in the total number of housing units allowed at Capper to 1,747, which would allow the construction of a four-story 189-unit apartment building (with a massing very similar to the B.E.Q.) on this stretch of L Street known as Square 882N. This Zoning Commission request is also looking to expand the number of units in the planned apartment building on the south side of L Street between Second and Third (let's call it Square 769N) to 171 units, as a result of its block-mate 250 M Street having recently gotten approvals to be built higher than originally requested."
As for last night's Zoning Commission presentation, there was a feeling apparently that it wasn't clear enough, so DCHA will be returning in early October with additional details.

New Capitol Quarter Photos. Again.
Sep 7, 2008 5:42 PM
Sunny, cloudless day? You knew there was no way I could pass it up. (Tivo has Nadal-Murray waiting for me.) So enjoy the new Capitol Quarter photos showing third floors now framed on the first batch of houses at Fourth and L. Catch the highlights on the project page, or the whole gamut in the Expanded Archive.
(And, Go Fed!)
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Quick Capitol Quarter Photo Update
Aug 31, 2008 11:44 PM
It was too pretty of an afternoon to pass up a new batch of photos at Fourth and L, to document 10 days' worth of framing work on these first Capitol Quarter townhouses. (I'm sure the novelty of this construction will wear off soon. Hopefully before my camera gives out.)
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Updated Photos: First Frames at Capitol Quarter, Vertical Construction in the 1015 Half Street Hole
Aug 24, 2008 8:36 PM
I took a lot of photos today, but let's start with the ones showing new construction phases underway. First off, we have the first framing at Capitol Quarter (top), where the wood outlines of the first four houses east of the Fourth and L intersection are now up. (At least the photos are more exciting than the ones a few weeks ago of the concrete block foundations.)
Then there's 1015 Half Street, the 410,000-sq-ft office building under construction on the old Nation nightclub site. The crane arrived within the past week or so, and I finally got to a spot where I could see down into the hole to confirm that the first pillars are underway. So, by Thanksgiving, there should be the beginnings of yet another new addition to the skyline.
More photos in the next few days.
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Late Night Update on Hood Happenings
Aug 21, 2008 9:12 PM
* As I mentioned below, the garage that housed both the Merritt and Four Star cab companies started getting brought down today. They didn't get it all on Thursday, but I imagine by sundown Friday the rest will be gone. (See pictures from midmorning, though it's hard to see much in the way of a difference from First and K, since they took out the back of the building and only a smidgen of the K Street facade.)
* Only a few hours after I said that Capitol Quarter framing would start "in the next few days," lumber went up on the first house on the south side of L east of Fourth. (No pictures yet--this weekend!)
* Sometime this week the crane was put up at 1015 Half Street, so we should be seeing vertical construction before too long.
* Building permits for the external renovations to 900 M Street are now winding their way through the bureaucracy. No word yet on any retail tenants.

New Capitol Quarter Photos (Foundations. Yay.)
Aug 11, 2008 4:22 PM
I can't pretend that photos of not-very-high cinderblock foundations coming up along L and Fourth streets are really all that exciting (unless you own one of the houses-to-be), but that didn't stop me from taking a quick batch of new Capitol Quarter photos this morning, despite having to tiptoe around the serious infrastructure work clogging up L and Fifth.
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What's Next at Capper/Carrollsburg
Jul 31, 2008 12:04 PM
While the focus lately has been on the start of the Capitol Quarter townhouses, there is more to the redevelopment of the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex. There are the two completed seniors buildings (Capper Seniors #1 and 400 M Street), now providing 300 of the 700 old Capper public housing units that are being replaced. The first phase of Capitol Quarter includes 39 subsidized rental units, and the second phase (which is probably not going to start delivering until 2011) will have another 47 subsidized rentals; this is in addition to the sales of 121 market-rate and 91 workforce-rate townhouses throughout both phases. That leaves a little over 300 public housing units to come, which will be included in the 1,300 apartments expected to be constructed at Capper over the next five years or so.
There are five new apartment buildings slated to be built, three of which along the east side of Canal Park where the temporary parking lots are, and another at New Jersey and K on the trash transfer site. And there is a new plan for a fifth apartment building, on L Street across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (B.E.Q), on the northern portion of the old Capper Seniors footprint.
Under the original Capper plans, there was to be a strip of 61 townhouses built on this spot, but the DC Housing Authority has recognized that these homes would be dwarfed by the B.E.Q. to the north and the two planned office buildings directly behind them at 600 M Street. So DCHA has now filed a request with the Zoning Commission to allow an expansion in the total number of housing units allowed at Capper to 1,747, which would allow the construction of a four-story 189-unit apartment building (with a massing very similar to the B.E.Q.) on this stretch of L Street known as Square 882N. This Zoning Commission request is also looking to expand the number of units in the planned apartment building on the south side of L Street between Second and Third (let's call it Square 769N) to 171 units, as a result of its block-mate 250 M Street having recently gotten approvals to be built higher than originally requested.
I've updated the map and descriptions on my Capper Overview page to reflect these latest plans for the area, and it's worth taking a look at if you're not really familiar with exactly how wide-ranging the Capper Planned Unit Development is. (Reading the 2004 zoning order establishing the PUD and laying out the requirements isn't a bad idea, either.) I should also note that the apartment and office buildings will combine to have about 50,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. There should also be a new community center at Fifth and K, but it doesn't seem to be on the front burner just yet.
Of course, the question then becomes: when? Timelines are always dicey and should be taken with a couple pounds of salt, but it appears that these two L Street apartment buildings (882N and 769N) would be first up on the agenda, perhaps being delivered in 2011. The other two buildings on Second Street would come next, and the anticipated 400-unit building on the trash transfer site would probably be the last one to be built, finishing maybe sometime in 2013. The three office buildings and the second phase of Capitol Quarter townhouses would be sprinkled throughout that time frame as well, with 250 M Street probably being the first office building to get underway, possibly even later this year. (Have I thrown in enough "maybe"s and "possibly"s and "perhaps"s for you?)
At least these plans don't have to wait until school buses get moved!

Updated Capitol Quarter Photos (Digging Underway)
Jul 24, 2008 3:58 PM
You'll probably need your x-ray specs to really glean any progress from my usual vantage points, but that shouldn't stop you from taking a look at today's batch of Capitol Quarter photos, taken on the blocks bounded by Fourth, Fifth, L, and Virginia. As the above photo shows (there's a bigger version on the project page), foundations are indeed now being dug for the first townhouses, on the south side of L between Fourth and Fifth. And meanwhile, the streets are getting pretty new granite curbs and brick gutters. The blocks north of L now have a lot of "private" infrastructure work underway (meaning, the pipes and whatnot that will run beneath the houses), so all in all there's no denying that, after a long long wait, the heart of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment is now underway. We should be seeing the first hints of structures rising out of the ground next month.
And, if you really really can't get enough of seeing what's happening in that section of the neighborhood, go to the Capitol Quarter Phase I Expanded Archive, where you can see all vantage points. And be sure to click on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon anytime you want to see the complete range of photos from a certain spot (to watch the old Capper buildings come down, then see the weeds grow, then see the beginnings of construction).
UPDATE, 7/25: Within 24 hours of my visit, the first concrete footers were poured.
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Summer Arrives: News Grinds to a Halt
Jul 16, 2008 9:21 AM
With the city council now almost in its summer recess until mid-September (though not before David Catania introduced legislation yesterday trying to raise the sales tax at Nationals Park in what appears to be an attempt to get back at the Lerners for withholding the rent), and with the Zoning Commission and most ANCs taking August off, the pace of bureaucratic-type news in these parts will be slow if not nonexistent for the next few weeks. We've got a Metro board meeting next week that might (or might not) be telling us the developer of the Navy Yard station's 14,000-sq-ft chiller plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L, but otherwise the calendar is all but empty until after Labor Day. (At least I can report that on Monday night ANC 6D voted 7-0 to approve a public space permit by 100 M Street to install sidewalks and city arborist-recommended willow oak and elm trees.)
That said, I should have some interesting items in the next few days, including hopefully an update about everyone's favorite What's the Deal With....? subject. And of course I'll have photo updates every few weeks, especially since it's expected that framing of the first Capitol Quarter townhouses will get underway by early August. But beyond that, expect the pace around here to be more leisurely during the dog days. As it should be!
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Tiny Items of Note from This Weekend's Wanderings
Jun 23, 2008 12:53 PM
* DDOT told me these were coming a long time ago, and a reader whose e-mail I've lost gave me a heads up a few weeks back, but now I've finally visited for myself to see that the ugly cyclone fences on the South Capitol and M overpass have been replaced with pretty gray-painted ironwork.
* You have to look kind of closely, but construction has indeed started at Capitol Quarter, with pretty new curbs being installed on the south side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth. You can see them if you squint at the photos on my Capitol Quarter Phase I page.
* The owner of the Third and K Market at, um, Third and K must be keeping track of what's going on nearby, because there's now a For Rent sign tucked in the door. (Alas, all the info sheets were gone when I got there.) If you've ever dreamed of running a corner market, here's your chance. The market's been closed since about 2006.
* The "Wachovia Coming Soon" sign is back in the window at 20 M, so my building permit reading was on the mark. (It's in the window on the far western edge of the building.)
UPDATE: Speaking of 20 M, GlobeSt.com is reporting (tucked in a piece on LEED Gold certification for 1100 New York Avenue) that several leasing deals are pending for 20 M. So perhaps that's why Wachovia has decided to start moving forward.
* I did a bit of needed housingcleaning to the home page map and project directory--adding in 88 K as a "featured project", demoting 1345 South Capitol to "star-only" status until the project starts moving forward again, and adding a few additional stars for projects like the coming retail renovation of 900 M Street.
I also did some updating of the tabs with the lists of projects--if you don't realize the tabs are even there (look just above the map for "Residential/Office/Retail/Hotel"), take some time during this lazy summer to click on them and be stunned and amazed by the easy access to project information....

Tweaking My Capitol Quarter Page(s)
Jun 10, 2008 1:04 PM
As I was walking on Third Street toward the ballpark last night, I squinted east down L Street and thought I spied construction equipment on the south side of the street east of Fourth, which is where work is supposed to be getting underway on Capitol Quarter's first townhouses. This spurred me to finally give some long-needed TLC to my Capitol Quarter page: I've now split out onto separate pages the before-and-during photos of the Phase I blocks (between Fourth and Fifth and L and Virginia), the Phase 2 blocks, and some additional photos of the sales center and its street-layout model.
If you're somewhat of a newcomer to Near Southeast, or if you've forgotten what Capper/Carrollsburg used to look like, these pages have a lot of images from 2003 and 2004 that you might find of interest, showing the months when the eastern end of the Cappers was slowly boarded up and then demolished.
If the Phase I page isn't enough for you, I've also created a Capitol Quarter Phase I Expanded Photo Archive, showing every view in the archive of the blocks that make up Phase I. I took a lot of photos last week of the Phase I blocks, so look for the icon, and also remember to click the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon to see all photos between the oldest and the newest ones (especially if you like demolition photos). I'll now be taking photos every few weeks of the Phase I blocks where construction is underway. (This area is substantially larger than the 21-acre tract where I almost killed myself trying to keep track of the ballpark's construction, but hopefully it will be a bit easier to handle.)
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In Case You Missed It (Last Week's News Again)
Jun 2, 2008 10:11 AM
There was a big pile of news this past week from Near Southeast, so I'll boil it down to bullet points and links in case you couldn't keep up:
* Construction is really about to begin on the first townhouses at Capitol Quarter, now that financing has been closed for the public housing units;
* The first phase of the waterfront park at The Yards got the thumbs up from the Zoning Commission, and is expected to be completed by summer 2009;
* Onyx on First will be opening its first five floors of apartments in late July or early August, and initial rents have been announced;
* 100 M will be substantially completed in November, and tenants should start moving into the office building early in 2009. SunTrust Bank is the first retail tenant, and the developer is looking for restaurants for the other spaces;
* The planned office building at 250 M got Zoning Commission approval for a modification to its design; and
* Street vendors will start popping up for ballgames north of M Street on Tuesday (June 3). You can see the map of where they'll be.