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A Final Skeletons-and-Holes-and-Fences Survey for 2017
Dec 11, 2017 11:35 AM
I somewhat unexpectedly found myself wandering around on Sunday, and though the official JDLand camera stayed home and drank hot chocolate, the JDLand cellphone (a Pixel 2, thanks for asking) stepped in to catch some progress pics.Here's a rundown:
* HELLO, AVIDIAN: After being burned multiple times over the years with projects being said to include condos during the design phase only to end up as rentals, it's nice to have confirmation via the purty new fence signage at South Capitol and M that not only that the corner will be home to the new headquarters for the National Association of Broadcasters, but that the sibling building immediately to the south that was oddly dubbed 10 Van is now known as the Avidian, and that it will be condominiums, "Selling 2018." The building should have 170ish units and will probably be completed in 2019.
* PEEKING OUT: We have three newcomers to ground level, as the 380-unit apartment building at South Capitol and I is now clearly visible from the street, as is the 190-unit rental sibling to the further-along Bower at Yards Parcel O on 4th Street. Plus, the 420-unit West Half building immediately north of Nats Park now has its first batches of rebar out of the ground, if your eyes know what to look for. (And yes, I'm still completely failing at catching the work underway on what's now known as the Emblem at Barracks Row, the 20-unit condo building at 8th and Virginia. One of these days.)
* ONWARD AND UPWARD: The new DC Water HQ continues to get its face put on, while the condo building known as the Bower at 4th and Tingey has completed seven of its 10ish floors, and at 2nd and L the next Capper mixed-income building is through Floor #4 of its own 10ish floors. {Trying to avoid any arguments about whether penthouses = floors.}
* DOWN ON THE CORNER: There's officially another project underway, as digging is now proceeding at 2nd and I for The Garrett, the third and final portion of WC Smith's "Collective" development that also includes the Park Chelsea and Agora (and this, of course). Meanwhile, there are still holes at the second phase of the Parc Riverside at Half and L (below), and at Monument Valley, which is impossible to get a shot of from street level so you'll just have to imagine it. And I forgot to look behind the fence at Parcel L.
There will probably be some new holes in the ground in coming months, as both the rumor mill and the permitting pipeline hint that at least three more projects will get underway: Dock 79's residential sibling at the old Florida Rock site, the large residential development on the old "Congressional Square" site at 1st and K, and Paradigm's 275ish-unit residential building on the old Market Deli site at 1st and L. (Though I'll note that each of these still do not have permit applications in the system yet beyond the initial shoring/sheeting/excavation step.) The number of still-empty lots keeps a'shrinking....

A First Peek at One Hill South's Second Phase
Dec 5, 2017 12:00 PM
Late last week the developers of the apartment building at Half and I known as One Hill South filed with the Zoning Commission initial documents for a required design review for the project's second phase, a 300ish-unit C-shaped building fronting South Capitol Street.
While the existing 383-unit building (One Hill South One?) has about 22,000 square feet of as-yet-unspoken-for retail space, the developers (Related Companies and Ruben Companies) are not currently planning to use any of the second building's ground floor space for retail, unless the demand for retail along South Capitol Street increases in the future.
There is an alley (or, shall we say, "private drive") that separates the two buildings, but the new building will be built with connections above the drive, as shown in the rendering below as seen from K Street, which is paired with a shot of the alley/private drive from a somewhat similar angle.
The new building will have approximately 190 below-grade parking spaces, accessed via the existing ramp in OHSO.
It is designed by Eric Colbert and Associates, and Morris Adjmi Architects.
ANC 6D will be taking up the proposed design at its December meeting on Monday, while a Zoning Commission hearing date has not yet been scheduled.
Comments (26)
More posts: One Hill South, Development News, zoning

A Visual Catching Up on the Latest Goings-On
Oct 23, 2017 3:24 PM
Time for my quarterly {ahem} update on all of the construction projects you are picking your way past when you walk/drive/bike around the Hood:
I'll start with the new openings and the coming soons, with both Due South Dockside and Morini Piccolo now operating (softly) on the Yards Park boardwalk, and Cava in the Homewood Suites at Half and M in Any Second Now territory:
As for buildings getting their faces on, I present Skanska's 99 M office building and the new DC Water headquarters:
There's also now two new arrivals above ground, as PN Hoffman's condo project The Bower has at last made its debut at 4th and Tingey, as has the DC Housing Authority's as-yet unnamed mixed-income rental building at 2nd and L, both of which are shot from the south instead of the intersection because it's now the time of year when anything shot to the south-southeast, south or south-southwest will look terrible, no matter what time of day:
Next on the assembly line, two more residential projects projects are likely to be making their above-ground debuts before the end of the year: JBG's West Half project directly north of Nats Park, and the McDonalds-slaying 2 I Street project:
Other holes in the ground I won't highlight this time around include the Bower's sibling rental project at 4th and Water, Toll Brother's Parc Riverside Phase II at Half and L, the Jair Lynch residential project at the Half Street Hole, and the combo project at South Capitol and M for the new National Association of Broadcasters headquarters and its next-door residential project labeled 10 Van.
Also, WC Smith has cleared the lot at 2nd and I to make way for the beginning of work on the Garrett, the third and final apartment building that makes up "The Collective" on that block. Plus, fences are up along 3rd Street for the next project in the Yards lineup, the 270-unit apartment building currently known as "Parcel L2." (Great, I have to update my Highlighted Projects map again.)
Just to make sure all ends of the construction spectrum are represented, one hole is even starting to get covered over, and that's in the 200 and 300 blocks of Virginia Avenue, where the Virginia Avenue Tunnel work is far enough along that you can actually start to imagine a street appearing again in those blocks in the coming months:
Finally, I'll close with a shot of a tearing down rather than a building up, and that's the pile of debris formerly known as 37 L Street SE--just in time to mark the 40th anniversary of the Cinema Follies fire, on Oct. 24, 1977.
So, while the neighborhood is taking a back seat these days to all of the excitement surrounding the opening of the Wharf down the road, there is still a fair amount happening. (And hopefully the neighborhood blogger will someday get back in the groove. Still riding the rollercoaster of my new not-yet-ready-to-call-it-normal.)

Tuesday Tidbits: Amazon HQ2 Proposal, Bower Sales, Cava, Rasa
Oct 17, 2017 10:36 AM
* AMAZON HQ2: Jonathan O'Connell reports on the announcement yesterday that DC has included Southeast DC in the four sites it plans to pitch to Amazon* in the company's quest for a location for its "HQ2," a second headquarters that will need up to 8 million (!) square feet of space. It would require the cobbling together of multiple parcels in Near Southeast, Buzzard Point, and Poplar Point, almost none of which are currently controlled by the DC government. Amazon is expected to make a decision amongst the many cities putting themselves in contention in 2018. For more information on the #ObviouslyDC pitch, go to AlexaWhyDC.com. (And yes, the movie theater site is among the highlighted parcels. But remember, this is the city highlighting which parcels are still available, not what might necessarily come to pass.)
* BOWER SALES: Readers report receiving e-mails from PN Hoffman saying that the sales center for The Bower is expected to open on Sunday, Oct. 29, with some "preview appointments" available for scheduling in the time span between now and then. This is the 138-unit condo project that has been under construction for what seems like forever on the southeast corner of 4th and Tingey at the Yards. The official web site now has floor plans available (which I think I already mentioned, but whatevs).
* CAVA PROGRESS: In response to a Twitter query last week, Cava Grill says that "they are working hard" to get their new location on M Street between Half and Cushing ready to go. "Stay tuned for updates."
* RASA PROGRESS: Eater DC reports on the progress at Rasa Indian Grill, on 1st Street SE between M and N, which the owners "hope" to open in November.
* CHLOE PROGRESS: The restaurant coming to the ground floor of Arris is having a hiring open house on Oct. 26 and 27.
* SE BLVD: No pressure, but today is the last day to make comments on the environmental assessment for Southeast Blvd.
* CONSTRUCTION UPDATES: The JDLand camera has been lazy of late. But, given the weather forecast, I expect that to be rectified this weekend.
* Full disclosure: I work for the Washington Post, now owned by Jeff Bezos, Amazon's grand poobah. But Amazon does not own the Post, it must always be emphasized.
Comments (26)
More posts: cava, Development News, rasa, Southeast Blvd., Yards/Parcel O

37 L Street SE to be Demolished; Condos Planned
Sep 19, 2017 6:46 AM
A raze permit has been approved, fences have gone up, and the two-story building at 37 L Street SE that has been home to the Empire and DC Flyer cab companies for a number of years is apparently in its final hours/days/weeks.
The site was purchased last year by DBT Development for $6.7 million, with plans for an eleven-story 74-unit building that apparently will be condos. DBT was also the developer of the condo building at 1350 Maryland Ave., NE.
I had hoped to get some renderings, but decided to stop waiting and get this post up, in case people wonder why fences are now in place.
It is a small site--less than 8,000 square feet--and does not include the WMATA Navy Yard Metro station "chiller" operations immediately to its east, on the corner of Half and L, though that site is also expected to be a residential building, by MRP Realty, if that project is still happening.
It will be interesting to see if it is demolished before October 24, which will be the 40th anniversary of the Cinema Follies fire, when a ground-floor explosion and the resulting flames blocked the exit from the 50-seat x-rated gay movie theater on the second floor, killing nine people with thick toxic smoke.
Comments (24)
More posts: 37l, Development News, square 698

Photographic Evidence of Additional Progress in Additional Forms
Aug 8, 2017 1:24 PM
The siren song of a stunningly clear and breezy Saturday in August was of course irresistible to me, and I walked more than nine miles over four hours to grab a whole lot of pictures from a whole lot of locations. Here's some highlights. Click to enlarge, as always.
It turns out having a public roof space at a central location in the neighborhood is going to be veeeeery handy for me, as it allowed me to grab a great shot of the DC Water Headquarters construction that shows exactly how the new steel is wrapping around the existing O Street Pumping Station. It also allowed me to check on the progress of the excavations at 1250 Half, West Half, and the One M/10 Van combo project in a single shot.
Then there's the Any Minute Now retail offerings, with the Juice Laundry telling Instagram followers that they really are coming soon (really!), and representatives of the new Taylor Gourmet on 1st Street telling nearby office tenants that they expect to open on Aug. 23. We shall see!
Meanwhile, exterior work seems to be starting to wrap up at the 1221 Van residential building just north of the ballpark (and note all that retail space on the first two floors), while the 99 M office building is celebrating its topping out later this month. And while the neighborhood waits with baited breath to see exactly when the Whole Foods build-out will begin at Agora, there are now nice new sidewalks on the stretch of H Street SE that is in the process of materializing.
Finally, there are holes in the ground that now show evidence of the start of vertical construction, so these might be my final downward peeks into the two residential projects at the Yards Parcel O on 4th Street, the large residential project at 2 I Street, and the mixed-income Capper Hope VI apartment building at 3rd and L.
And, finally, while I have no intention of adding the new DC United soccer stadium to my lineup, I was surprised to see how visible it is from just within the JDLand boundaries at South Capitol and Potomac. So, here.
But this is just a very small sample. If you want to see a whole lot more of the shots I took, here's 333 of them. Or follow any of the above links, or click on the projects on the map at the upper right of any JDLand page to see the latest for those projects under construction.

Friday Tidbits: 1st and K Sliver, Yards Park Kiosks, 49 L for Sale
Jul 28, 2017 10:39 AM
Some brief items while I continue to be more or less on sabbatical:
* 1ST AND K SLIVER? Urban Turf reports that the owner of garage on the northeast corner of 1st and K has finally sold his lot, and a developer is planning a 12-story 34-unit residential building. Urban Turf has a rendering, but I prefer looking back to December 2004, right after the garage building was rehabbed and opened as A1 Tires. JPI attempted to buy the site back when planning 909 New Jersey, but the owner was, shall we say, not interested. (The expletives still ring in my ear from when I asked him about it a decade ago.)
* YARDS PARK KIOSKS: With the return finally of the approved building permits feed, I was able to report in the comments a few days ago that the construction visible in the kiosks along the boardwalk at the Yards Park were for ventures from the owners of Lumber Shed tenants Due South and Osteria Morini (along with what I believe is office space for the marina). I posted last year about the possibility of "Due South Dockside," but Eater has now reported that the Morini kiosk is not going to be the long-ago announced pizza joint Nicoletta, but a "summer sister spot" for Morini that could open late this summer. "Details about the offshoot are limited, but expect a bar serving draft beer and wine, as well as a pared-down menu of what’s available at the flagship restaurant. That includes made-to-order salads, the New York-transplant’s iconic meatballs, and simple desserts," Eater says.
* FED WAREHOUSE: Another twist in the long-running saga of the warehouse at 49 L Street: There is now a sign up announcing that the site is up for sale, and a commenter found the GSA listing.There was talk a few years back of this building being traded to the city, but that apparently is not coming to pass. (Nor apparently did the city choose it as the site of a homeless shelter.) And once upon a time a group of residents wanted it to become the Half Street Market.
* ROSE PT: The BID Newsletter reports that Rose Physical Therapy Group is now open in the ground floor of 1015 Half Street.
* ROOFING: The first "roof cap" on the rebuilt original Virginia Avenue Tunnel was pored last week, in the 200 block of Virginia Avenue. It seems odd to say these words, but the project is expected to be completed next year. (Time flies.)
* YOU'RE AN ALL STAR: The preparations and publicity for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game at Nats Park are now underway, with the unveiling of the logo and also information on how one might actually procure tickets.

A Few Tidbits From Bisnow's Capitol Riverfront Shindig
Jul 12, 2017 2:31 PM
To prove (to myself) that I am not completely out of commission, I attended this morning's Bisnow event focusing on current goings-on development-wise in the Capitol Riverfront.
Here are a few bullet points of the development-type items I found of most interest:
* Dock 79 is 92 percent leased, and MRP Realty expects to begin construction on the residential building next door (71 Potomac) late this year or early next year--and that it is expected to have a lot more 2-bedroom units than Dock 79. I was also told that All-Purpose will probably open in the fall, and Dacha in the spring--and also that the planned small additional storefront for All-Purpose fronting Potomac Avenue has fallen by the wayside.
* One Hill South is 60 percent leased, and the developers have just begun design meetings for the project's second phase, another 300ish-unit building fronting South Capitol Street. That could get underway in a year or so.
* As the attendees were taking their seats at Arena Stage, a splashy video was played for the 25 M Street office building project planned by Brandywine REIT and Akridge. I can't link directly, but go to the (new to me) official web site at 25mst.com and scroll down to click on Property Video. Janet Davis of Brandywine did say that this building will not get underway until it's about 50 percent leased.
* Skanska's 99 M office building at 1st and M is expected to top out in about a month or so. Skanska's EVP Mark Carroll said that they expect to announce their first signed tenants soon, and that they are "not typical tenants." Both Carroll and Davis agreed that there has been a clear uptick in interest in Capitol Riverfront office space in the past six months or so.
* District Winery is crossing its fingers for a September opening. (Perhaps even earlier than September, but best not to get ahead of the permitting process.) Owner Brian Leventhal was on the Yards panel, and told the story of branching out from the original operations in Brooklyn without having any specific location in mind, and how once they narrowed to DC, everything about the lot at the Yards "was perfect, [so] we didn't consider any other space." (He also has moved to DC from Brooklyn, and said that living at the Yards is "like living in a resort.")
* 1221 Van is expected to begin move-ins later this year, and leasing should start in the relative near future.
* Forest City's Debbie Ratner Salzberg talked about how the Yards came to be, and said that "the minute Bluejacket opened [in 2013], we were on the map."
* And we definitely appear to be referring to the blocks immediately north of Nats Park as the "Ballpark District" once again.
* It was only mentioned in passing, but I should still officially note here that Cosmopolitan Nail Salon is now open in Arris at the Yards.
Comments (48)
More posts: 1221 Van, 20 M, One Hill South, 99m, Development News, Florida Rock, West Half St.

Shortest Post Ever: Roti Open, Chix Closed
Jun 27, 2017 4:22 PM
I am not in a proper blogging situation and getting terribly behind, so need to get a fresh thread up for the commenters who are doing such a great job keeping the conversation going. The headline basically says it all, but I guess I have to type SOMETHING more:
* Roti is now open in the ground floor of F1rst, on 1st Street SE between M and N.
* Unfortunately, one block away, on Half Street, Chix has already closed, not even a year after opening. (Their third location on 11th Street has closed as well, leaving just the original one on 14th, and their online presence has gone quiet, so something must be amiss.)
Enjoy the conversation below!
Comments (23)
More posts: chix, Development News, F1rst Residential/Hotel, Restaurants/Nightlife, roti

Zoning Design Approval Given for Yards Parcel L Hotel
Jun 9, 2017 11:30 AM
Last week the DC Zoning Commission gave a unanimous thumbs-up last week to the design review for the first hotel at the Yards, to be constructed on the southwest corner of 3rd and Tingey on the north end of what is known in Yards parlance as "Parcel L."
It will be 10 stories tall, with 227 rooms and about 7,500 square feet of ground-floor retail, plus additional space for a rooftop bar. No operator for the hotel has been publicly announced, but apparently those talks are far along.
The hotel is expected to be completed more or less at the same time as its sibling to the south, the 280ish-unit residential building that first hit the boards a year ago. That building will have about 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The residential building is being developed by Forest City, but the hotel is actually being developed by JW Capital Partners and Geolo Capital.
As part of the construction of these two buildings, a new pedestrian "mews" along what would be the footprint of 2nd Street SE will be constructed, making for an easier and less traffic-y flow between the Yards Park and points north and west.
There will also be a new Tingey Square built at the intersection of N, Tingey, and New Jersey, which should change the traffic flow at that spot considerably.
There's been no official announced timeline on these projects, but the closure on June 1 of the public parking lot on Parcel L might lead one to believe that there is some expectation of work at least on the southern end of the block looming before too long, but I know nothing for sure. UPDATE: I see now that an excavation-only permit was approved for this site recently (looks like they need to run water, sewer, gas, and telecommunications infrastructure to the block), and there is a shorting/sheeting permit application filed for the residential building, which jibes with the estimated 2018 start date that was given last year.
See my Parcel L page (such as it is) for additional details (such as they are).
Comments (9)
More posts: Development News, tingeysquare , yardsparcell, yardsparcellhotel

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.

A Photo Tour of Insignia on M; Bethesda Bagels Opening June 3
Jun 2, 2017 8:54 AM
The JDLand camera shook off the cobwebs on Thursday and took a tour of Insignia on M, the new 324-unit apartment building at the corner of New Jersey and M, SE.
The full gallery is here, and it was good timing that the visit came on the first non-gloomy day in what felt like weeks, since the bright sunlight (remember that?) gives many of the photos, especially from the roof, some added pop.
The final stop on the tour was at the building's first retail tenant, where the official word came that Bethesda Bagels will open for business at 6:30 am tomorrow, Saturday, June 3.
For actual information about the building, check out the official web site, or to be reminded of the "befores" of 1111 New Jersey, see my project page.
Here's a sampling of shots, but there's plenty more in the full gallery:
And while the photo isn't from yesterday, here is the official before-and-after of the northwest corner of New Jersey and M, as another project moves to the "Completed" column.

2017 Development Update: Focus Shifts To By the Ballpark, At Last
Apr 13, 2017 8:35 AM
While I was on the roof of F1rst earlier this week, the view to the west was striking. Immediately north of Nats Park, with the long-forlorn block of Half Street between the Center Field Gate and the Metro station running down the middle of the frame, my camera spied:
* The first piles being driven for JBG's West Half residential and retail project;
* Some evidence of initial activity at Monument Valley, where Jair Lynch's 1250 Half Street residential and retail project is set to finally fill in the hole that has existed on the east side of Half Street since 2007; and
* Shoring/sheeting/excavation underway on the southern part of Monument's combination project of the new headquarters for the National Association of Broadcasters and a residential building at 10 Van Street (here's a closer shot).
Here's what West Half, 1250 Half, and the NAB HQ will look like when they are finished, perhaps in very late 2018 or probably 2019:
These three projects join the other buildings that complete the N Street lineup across from the ballpark--JBG's under construction apartment building at 1221 Van (at the upper left of the above photo) and the Hampton Inn that's been open at 1st and N since late 2015.
What this means is that we will now move from nine years' worth of complaining about how nothing has been built directly north of Nats Park to two years of complaining about construction noise and ickiness, leading into the inevitable future complaining about how these new buildings with all of the retail people have complained about not having end up ruining what views remained of the Capitol dome from inside the ballpark.
Progress!
And these are not the only projects just getting started. Piles have also been driven for the DC Housing Authority's latest Capper Hope VI mixed-income apartment building at 3rd and L, and digging is well underway for the new apartment building at the old McDonald's site at 2 I St., which I don't actually have a recent photo of and so one from February will have to do. I suck. Plus, digging sloooowly continues at the Yards Parcel O apartment/condo dual project.
On the bright side, we're about to have a long-watched hole finally graduate to above-ground construction, as Skanska's 99 M office building is at last reaching street level.
With the completions in 2016 and early 2017 of eight apartment buildings, and with eight more buildings looking to join them in the next two years, the neighborhood now has what can not-so-charitably be called a "glut" of new apartments, as Bisnow reported last week in its story on how the city is seeing a record number of residential units deliver in the second quarter of 2017. (I should of course give you hard numbers of total units, but see my earlier comment about my current state.)
However, if you are looking for a place to live in Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards, having multiple buildings vying for your business is certainly good news for you.
Comments (72)
More posts: 2ist, Development News, jbghalf, lynchhalf, One M, Square 697n

Photo Tour of F1rst and Residence Inn; Solidcore Signed
Apr 11, 2017 9:49 PM
On Monday the JDLand camera took another spin in the neighborhood, this time heading to 1st Street SE to visit the F1rst apartment building and its sibling the Residence Inn, which both of which are now open.
The photo gallery is a big one, with so much newness for me to capture. The official F1rst web site and the Residence Inn site has all of the details you probably want, and so I am just let the photos do most of the talking.
But before I get to those, there is some news, which is that it's been announced that fitness studio Solidcore is the latest retail tenant now signed, joining Chop't, Taylor Gourmet, Chipotle, Roti, Rasa Indian Grill, and Declaration. Solidcore is expected to open in the latter stages of 2017. (For those of you salivating at the rest of the lineup, it looks like Chop't will be the first to open, perhaps next month, followed by Taylor, Chipotle, and Roti in late summer/early fall.)
With that, onto the photos of both the apartment building and the hotel. This is a sampling--see the gallery for the full narrated tour.
Comments (3)
More posts: Development News, F1rst Residential/Hotel, solidcore

Checking Out the Rooftop Views at 1221 Van
Apr 4, 2017 9:36 AM
Using Opening Day as a lure, JBG provided a hard-hat visit to the roof of its under-construction 290-unit apartment building 1221 Van, which is directly across N Street from the Nationals Park and is expected to begin move-ins this fall. The panorama above, while showy, is a wide-angle shot, giving a sense of the full vista from the roof, but at the expense of making everything look farther away.
This image at right is a more accurate representation of the size of the field as your eyes see it. A good chunk of far left field is obscured by the parking garage, but right field is mostly visible.
While you can't see the outfield scoreboard's display, those with good vision can see the scoreboard above the Nats dugout, and perhaps people with good hearing (i.e., not me) could hear the public address system. I did hear the organ a few times.
As for the other views from the roof, you didn't expect me to just take ballpark views, did you? The full gallery of photos is here, but here are a few previews.
Also, I couldn't resist one photo of the workers taking a break to catch some of the action. And a JDLand friend couldn't resist a photo of 1221 Van from inside the ballpark, unaware that the shot also captured a rare glimpse of the official JDLand photographer in action. (The yellow blob. Trust me.)
Check out the full gallery for more shots of the surroundings, and for what the view from the "infinity pool" will look like. And see my 1221 Van project page for renderings, before-and-after photos, and more information. The official web site is 1221van.com.
Comments (9)
More posts: 1221 Van, Development News

Photo Update: Surveying the Landscape, Part I
Feb 27, 2017 8:32 PM
These days I'm generally the last person laying eyes on something new in the neighborhood, but I still find it necessary to conduct photo documentation when the calendar and forecast align. Which they did on Sunday.
Let's look at signs and entrances, starting first at F1rst and its Residence Inn, where it looks like the homestretch has been entered (click to enlarge, of course):
Then, let's go over to 4th Street, where the District Winery building continues to zip along. It's also where the Bower is now signed, as is Conte's space in Arris:
Then we'll double back westward (you're getting a sense for how far I walk on these excursions), taking a look at the new sidewalk on New Jersey Avenue in front of Insignia on M. Shake Shack's signage at the Homewood Suites, and the One Hill South entrance (very New York, isn't it). (I caught the Bethesda Bagels signage back in December, just in case you think I'm missing it.)
I even caught the view from the bridge of the new Bardo beer garden at Florida Rock, with a few hardy souls in attendance. Plus, views of both Agora on New Jersey Avenue (aka the Whole Foods Building) and 1221 Van (aka That Big Building On South Capitol Immediately North of the Ballpark):
All the links above to project pages have additional brand spanking new pics, and of course Before photos.
Next up, checking out holes in the ground, both current and coming soon.

Thursday Tidbits: Morning Flizzard Edition
Feb 16, 2017 9:04 AM
Hope everyone enjoyed that 45-second snowstorm this morning!
Here's a roundup, mostly from the running linkage I've been posting in the comments. And the photo at right has nothing to do with any of the tidbits--it's just from 11 years ago today. A little different.
* STYMIED: The developers of the proposed large residential project at 1333 M are asking for a two-year extension on their zoning PUD, citing beiing "stymied" in finding financing. (Capitol Hill Corner)
* UNVEILED: Forest City has shown ANC 6D the first renderings of its planned hotel at 3rd and Tingey, SE, on the north end of "Parcel L," where they are already planning a large residential building as well. (Urban Turf)
* TUNNELED: In Virginia Avenue Tunnel news, next week or thereabouts, watch for daily closings of 4th St. SE between I and Virginia, as well as the return of two (shifted) lanes on the 6th Street exit ramp. Also, the portion of 5th (or is the 6th) Street immediately south of Virginia is now closed for seven weeks or so. And the next "Coffee with Chuck" update is at 8 am on Feb. 22 at 861 New Jersey Ave., SE.
* FLICKED: Vote on the lineup for this summer's Thursday Outdoor Movie Series.
* PROMOTED: The 2017 Nats gameday promotions and giveaways lineup is now available.
* SALTED: Ryan Zimmerman is an investor/part-owner of The Salt Line, opening this year across the street from his place of employment. (City Paper)
* STUFFED: Five Guys is back.
Given this weekend's forecast, I may try to get out to take some photos, if the stars align.

An Early Peek Inside One Hill South
Dec 14, 2016 9:08 AM
With an agreement to not photograph unfinished areas (which the JDLand camera only grudgingly agreed to), I recently got a hard-hatted first look inside One Hill South, the 383-unit apartment building at 909 Half/28 K* that is on its way to opening in February-ish 2017.
The list of amenities and services is lengthy, even for a neighborhood that might be starting to get somewhat jaded about luxury residential buildings. There's a residents-only fitness center by Equinox, which includes a full-sized basketball court/gymnasium as well as the expected oodles of machines and a private yoga and personal training studio. There's a "Kennel Club" that offers walking, grooming, and day care for residents' dogs. There's street-level storage for 130 bicycles, with a work stand and tools. There's a children's playroom, a private internal courtyard, and all manner of rooftop pool-and-party offerings. Plus there's the more standard billiards room, private dining room, private conference rooms, and communal and private workspaces. And there's 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail (no, nothing's been announced yet).
My camera did get to see the one- and two-bedroom models that have been completed. Here's the two-bedroom model, showing neither of the bedrooms but the living space and the kitchen:
And the same, in the one-bedroom model:
And a few more shots:
Otherwise, you'll just have to settle for these renderings (though I can confirm that the chandelier shown in the drawing of the two-story lobby has already been hung).
(I also whined and begged enough to get this one shot from the roof.)
According to the official web site, studios start at $2,000 a month, 1BRs at $2,450, and 2BRs at $3,895. (There are also eight 3BR units, but if you have to ask how much they are, you can't afford one.)
The portion of the block fronting South Capitol Street will eventually be another residential building, but there's no timeline on that as yet.
If you are looking for more specifics on the many amenities, services, and features, visit the official web site. And my project page has more details on the history of the site, at least going back to the days when the block was known mainly for being home to a Wendy's and an Exxon.
*The address is actually officially going to be 28 K Street SE. But "909 Half" has been part of the JDLand lexicon for a long, long time, so I figure there needs to be a transition period.
Comments (21)
More posts: One Hill South, Development News

Development Update: Last Looks Up and Down for 2016
Dec 12, 2016 5:16 PM
The blistering pace of new projects slowed a bit this year, allowing me some (needed) breathing space in terms of keeping up with construction progress. But I wandered around on Saturday, and here's a few things of note I saw:
* The JBG apartment project now known as 1221 Van is speeding along, and has changed the skyline along South Capitol considerably. Taking southward-facing photos in the winter months is always dicey, but I couldn't pass up a shot of the new structure and its neighbor directly to the south.
* Insignia on M's logo at the top of its New Jersey Avenue face does easily catch one's eye.
* The preparation work to transform the O Street Pumping Station into the glimmery new DC Water Headquarters is now underway.
* CSX announced this week that the new second-track Virginia Avenue Tunnel is "nearing completion," and it certainly looks that way at the western mouth of both new and old tunnels. And I got to see a train coming out, too! (But the project isn't over--next work will shift to reconstructing the 100-year-old original tunnel.)
* The excavation for the combination condo-and-rental buildings project known as "Parcel O" at the Yards has proceeded apace.
* Conversely, the hole for the 99 M office building has remained basically unchanged since late summer. (Compare the below photo to this one taken in August.) There was a new crane-related after-hours permit approved for the site last week, so maybe things are about to start moving again. UPDATE, 12/13: A representative for the 99 M project has gotten in touch with me to say that there has actually been considerable "complex" work going on at the site, it's just that it's mostly underground/out of sight.

Paradigm Buys 1st Street Lots, Planning Residential
Dec 9, 2016 11:25 AM
I mentioned a few days ago that a sale to an unnamed buyer was pending, but it can now be said officially that the group of empty lots along 1st Street SE between K and L has been bought by Paradigm, with plans to build a 275-unit apartment building. Construction could start about a year from now, but We Shall See.
There are actually 14 individual lots facing 1st, two of which Akridge owned back before 2001 and the rest of which the company bought piecemeal in 2006 and 2008. Word had gotten out earlier this year that Akridge had put them on the market.
Old-timers will remember this stretch of 1st as the home of the Market Deli and some small auto-repair shops, which where all demolished in 2011. Here's a stroll down 1st Street Memory Lane, back to 2004:
(I'll also note that the purchase was technically made by Who's on First Properties, LLC. [I DON'T KNOW!!! THIRD BASE!!!])
Comments (16)
More posts: Development News, paradigm, sq740

Wednesday Tidbits: Pre-Turkey Day Offerings
Nov 23, 2016 5:42 AM
I'm going to try to get back into the tidbit biz to make up for my generally decreased output (except for the past few days!). We'll see how it goes, and it also means I have some catching up to do, so apologies if some of these are old news to you.
*I WORK, YOU WORK, WEWORK: Co-working provider WeWork has signed a 69,000-sf lease at 80 M St. SE. (Bisnow)
* NATS PARK DIGITAL SIGNS: This has been brewing for a number of weeks, and has been discussed in the comments threads, but some may still be unaware of the plans by the Nationals to install 10 large digital billboards on the ballpark's exterior. The Hill Rag wrote about it in detail in October, and last week ANC 6D's Andy Litsky offered this blistering testimony in opposition to the DC Council's Subcommittee on Urban Affairs. UPDATE: Oops, I guess the initial subcommittee vote was last week, a 4-1 approval. Washington City Paper has more on the controversy.
* COMMUNITY CENTER BACKSTORY: Capitol Hill Corner writes of how the new Capper Community Center had and then lost plans for an operator for the new building, and what it means for the center at this point.
* ANACOSTIA RIVER TRAIL EXTENSION: Back at the end of October, the stretch of the Anacostia River Trail from Benning Road to the DC/Maryland line officially opened, providing not only another five miles of trail offerings within DC but creating an all new gateway to the large Anacostia Tributary Trail System. (WashCycle)
* WSJ ON THE HOOD: If you have a Wall Street Journal subscription, here's their recent piece on the explosive growth of the neighborhood.
* CHANGING HANDS: I totally meant to mention back in July that the Empire Cab building at 37 L St. SE was sold for $6.7 million, according to WBJ (scroll down). This building, as I wrote a number of years ago, was the site in 1977 of a terrible fire where nine people died. In other changing-hands-news, a little birdie tells me that the land held by Akridge along 1st St. SE between K and L that was put on the market earlier this year is now under contract to a residential developer. I imagine we'll find out more when the sale closes in coming weeks.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Comments (22)
More posts: 37l, Community Center, Development News, riverwalk, sq740, square 698, Nationals Park

909 Half Street Now Has a Name - One Hill South
Nov 21, 2016 2:41 PM
When it comes to the residential project we have been referring to as 909 Half Street, I may have engaged in some gentle mocking throughout its development and construction, given the lack of information released as the building made its way through the pipeline.
But, it has now been revealed that the 380ish-unit building has been christened One Hill South, and even has a new address of 28 K St. SE.
The newly launched official web site announces an "early 2017" opening date, and saying that the rental offerings will range from studios to 3 BRs. (No floor plans or other detailed info as yet.)
As for the retail spaces, no news in that department as yet either.
One Hill South is the first project in DC for Related, and is a joint venture with Ruben Companies. It's the first of two phases of development on the block bounded by Half, I, K, and South Capitol Streets SE.
My project page has the history of the site, from when it was home to Wendy's to when it was bought by JPI to the purchase by Ruben.
Next year is going to be a busy one for new residential buildings, as One Hill South should be joined by F1rst, 1221 Van, Insignia on M, Agora, and the Bixby. (ORE 82 has already snuck in under the 2016 wire.)
So, everyone be nice to the tidal wave of new neighbors about to arrive!
Comments (20)
More posts: One Hill South, Development News

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.
Comments (13)
More posts: Capper, Capper New Apt Bldgs, Development News, sq767

Homewood Suites at 50 M St. SE Now Open
Nov 9, 2016 7:39 PM
With a small ribbon cutting this afternoon, the new Homewood Suites hotel at Half and M Streets, SE, officially opened for business, directly across the street from the west entrance of the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station and one block north of Nats Park.
It's true! You can reserve a room and everything!
I hope to get in for a tour before too long, but I'm sure if you are wandering by you can poke your head into the public spaces.
As excited as denizens may be for the third hotel to open east of South Capitol (a mere 10 years after the first one, the Courtyard Marriott at New Jersey and L, and about a year after the Hampton Inn at Half and N), the real excitement will come sometime in 2017 when Shake Shack opens in Homewood's ground floor.
The next hotel won't be another 10 years down the road, however; the Residence Inn that is part of the F1rst development on 1st Street is expected to open early in 2017.
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More posts: Homewood Suites, Development News

District Winery Popping Up, Parcel O Digging Down
Oct 17, 2016 8:55 AM
At 4th and Water Streets, SE, the steel has started popping up for District Winery, the winery/restaurant/events space coming in late 2017 to the Yards.
The official web site is online, along with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, though right now the site's links are mainly for how to reserve the events space for your wedding or how to work for the winery.
Here's a few more images, along with recognition that I need to get my act together and create a project page, though in the meantime you can read my previous posts for more info.
Just to the winery's northeast, digging is well underway at Parcel O, where a joint project is underway that will beget a 138-unit condo building by PN Hoffman and a 190-unit rental building by Forest City. There are hints that the condo building will be called The Bower, though PN Hoffman's web site hasn't quite gotten there yet. Completion is expected in 2018.

Wednesday Tidbits: Names, Addresses, and Sidewalks
Sep 21, 2016 10:31 AM
First, two photos of now-open Chix, to correct yesterday's out-of-date image:
Residential tidbits:
* 1244 TO 1221: The JBG apartment project going up across N Street from Nats Park, known up to now as 1244 South Capitol, has been rechristened as 1221 Van Street (the little street on the building's east side, in case you think someone just made it up). There's now a web site to boot, announcing that leasing will begin in the summer of 2017, which is probably about when the building will be finished.
* NEW JERSEY SIDEWALKS: At some point in the recent past (I'm only just now seeing it), WC Smith built and opened the sidewalk along New Jersey in front of Agora, meaning that you can now walk not-in-the-street-or-behind-a-barrier from I Street all the way to the freeway on the east side of the street. Meanwhile, on the west side of New Jersey, the ORE82 sidewalk is looking close to being finished.
* ORE82 LEASING: Speaking of ORE82 (or ORE 82 or Ore82 or Ore 82 or 82 I or 801 New Jersey), it's now leasing, and even offering building tours. That official web site is here.
* JOULE: The 440-unit apartment building slated to be built upon the Half Street Hole just north of Nats Park is going to be called Joule, which I think I've mentioned before but shockingly people don't always remember every word I've written, so why not mention it again? That official web site is here, with the spiffy marketing brochure for the up-to-70,000-square-feet-of-retail here. Mention is made of a first phase delivering by summer 2018.
Non-residential tidbits:
* DC WATER HQ: The first permit for construction of the new DC Water headquarters on the banks of the Anacostia has been approved, for exvacation and site work.
* 250 M STILL WAITING: WC Smith, developers of the long-planned office building at 250 M Street, have filed with the Zoning Commission a request for another two-year extension to the building's approved PUD, noting that "most of the same factors and circumstances still exist in the Capitol Riverfront office submarket today" that were cited to receive extensions in 2010, 2012, and 2014, namely the tightness of the leasing market and the requirement that the building be 70 percent pre-leased in order to secure construction funding. (This is the building that would front M Street on the south end of the same block where DCHA is expecting to start soon on its next apartment building.) WC Smith appears to remain committed to this being an office building, citing the abundance of residential buildings and the need for the neighborhood to be a "truly mixed-use community."
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More posts: 1221 Van, 250 M, ORE82, Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, chix, Development News, 1250 Half St.

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, sq769napts

New Renderings for the Garrett
Aug 31, 2016 10:50 AM
While this isn't technically a "first look" (thanks to the sign that popped up a few weeks ago), we can now get a close look at two renderings of the Garrett, the third and final apartment building at WC Smith's "Collective." It will join siblings Agora and the Park Chelsea on the block known as Square 737, and will be positioned along 2nd Street between H and I.
The renderings show the building's frontage along 2nd Street (across from the old Post Plant/200 I), first looking north from I Street (see the Park Chelsea at far left and the freeway at far right to help orient yourself) and then the reverse view south down I from H, where the edge of Agora is in the frame at far right. The design gives 2nd Street the look of three different buildings, but it will all be one.
(If you're having a hard time with the location, perhaps this photo of the current view of the Garrett's footprint, a similar angle to the first rendering, will help. It also shows how Agora does not extend all the way to 2nd Street, but that the Garrett does become slimmer on its north end.)
The Garrett will have 375 units, and will also have over 13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail (perhaps taking advantage of the proximity to Canal Park and to the 200 I Street government office building). It will also have 5,000 square feet of shared work space, a 9,500-square-foot rooftop fitness club, and even basketball, outdoor tennis, and racquetball courts.
Plus, it will have access to all of the other amenities in both the Park Chelsea and Agora as part of the Collective's sharing configuration (not to mention being steps away from the Whole Foods that will be in the ground floor of Agora).
When the Garrett's construction marks the completion of The Collective, there will be more than 1,100 residential units on this block bounded by 2nd, H, I, and New Jersey. A little different than this:
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More posts: Development News, garrett, WC Smith/Square 737

Signs and Wonders
Aug 22, 2016 8:38 AM
Tidbits from a Saturday morning's wanderings:
* The first sign has been hoisted at the Homewood Suites at 50 M St., on the north side.
* Toll Brothers has put up fence signage announcing the second phase of Parc Riverside on Half between K and L, with a delivery date of 2018; We Shall See.
* WC Smith has put up a sign at 2nd and I that gives a first peek at The Garrett, the third apartment building that will fill out "The Collective," aka the block where the Park Chelsea already stands and where Agora (the Whole Foods building) is already under construction. (I don't have a project page for the Garrett yet--awaiting the results of my begging for an electronic version of the rendering on the sign.)

Also:
* I got to see the Insignia on M crane dismantled, though my attempts to get actual video with the new JDLand camera were unsuccessful (I need to RTFM, clearly).
* The Trapeze School building is now a little more decorated.
* Time is not being wasted on vertical construction of the apartment project at 1244 South Capitol, where the skeleton is now four stories high.
Finally, for the fun of it, here's photos of ORE 82 and Agora taken from the Southeast Freeway. Don't try this at home--leave it to those who are willing to lean out the passenger window of a car speeding down the road while holding a very expensive camera. Don't ever say I don't do nothing for you.
There's also updated photos of Insignia, F1rst and 909 Half, should you wish to peruse them.

Move-Ins Underway at Dock 79; A Look Inside
Aug 18, 2016 11:32 PM
It will be a mere 11 years ago next week that I wrote my first real post focusing on the site on the banks of the Anacostia known as Florida Rock, and there's been at least 120 posts since then, covering numerous changes in plans and designs.
And yet all of a sudden, here we are, with the first residents now moving into Dock 79, the development's first-phase 305-unit rental building. I'm getting verklempt!
The new JDLand camera got its first workout on Thursday with a tour of much of the building, and it should come as no surprise that this camera, as previous ones, was as interested in the views out of the windows as in the inside of the building itself. To the north, Nats Park fills the field of vision, while to the south (and east and southwest), the Anacostia River and its banks make for a vista that is not a standard Washington D.C. apartment building offering.
You'll want to browse the entire gallery of course to get better views of the model unit, the current state of the Riverwalk and new public plaza, and the common areas, but here are a few highlights:
Plus, there's this stitched-together panorama taken from one of the unit's balconies. Thank heavens it wasn't raining.
As for Dock 79's retail spaces, there are already announced plans for restaurants The Salt Line and All-Purpose Pizzeria to arrive in 2017, and I'm told that there should be announcements of additional tenants Any Minute Now.
For more specifics on the building, such as rents, floor plans, amenities, and all the stuff that normal people would be interested in, visit Dock79.com. For many more photos and details on the long road to this point, see my Florida Rock project page.
And with hardly a chance to catch our breath, Dock 79's forthcoming sibling next door is now in the early stages of its own trip through the Zoning Fun Factory.
Comments (23)
More posts: Development News, dock79, Florida Rock

Project Updates: Watching the New Neighbors Get Dressed Up
Jul 20, 2016 7:43 AM
The output of the current official JDLand camera (an eight-year-old Canon 50D with a Sigma 18-200 lens) has been a bit less sharp of late (like me!), and given that the shutter has fired more than 110,000 times since 2008, I have been figuring it's probably time for a new camera. But since I knew I'd also want a new lens as well, I decided to buy that first and see if maybe the far cheaper component was the problem. I finally got the chance to take the new lens for a workout on Sunday, and the ruling after looking at the 730 photos I took is: I need a new camera. (Will probably be the 80D.)
All of that is just a time-wasting intro to a roundup of the progress photos I took.
Dock 79 is getting pretty close to the finish line, with the sidewalk along Potomac Avenue now open and work proceeding on the open plaza to its east. (Yes, those are sculptures.) There's also emerging placeholding signage for The Salt Line in advance of its 2017 opening.
ORE 82 now has some completed balconies overlooking New Jersey Avenue and I Street, but mainly I just wanted the excuse to post my rather striking shot (below left). And speaking of red buildings, the Homewood Suites at 50 M is making steady progress as well.
The walls of windows at 909 Half Street are making for some interesting reflections, not only from the reflected bright blue sky but from the patterns of recesses and bump-outs, as well as the windows that are left open to presumably give the poor workers a little air.
If you stand at New Jersey and M, you can get good views of Insignia on M to your north and the F1rst apartment/Residence Inn hotel project to your west.
Then we have the even newer neighbors, the ones who we can't quite see just yet, although the 1244 South Capitol apartment building now has one floor above ground level. (I admit, this is one I am looking forward to watching rise up.) Then there's the office building at 99 M, which seems to be slooooowly getting ready for vertical construction, though a peek down in the hole indicates that a skeleton is still some weeks away.
I also took photos of the Bixby, but nothing much is changing on the outside there. And I only took morning-light photos, which means I don't have any good ones of Agora, unless you like looking at its backside. (So to speak.)
Then there's Parcel O at the Yards, where one condo and one apartment building are to be built. Fences are up, and there is some infrastructure work going on along with breaking up the concrete pad that the trapeze school stood on until last year. I believe the shoring, sheeting, and excavation permit is approved, but whether the true Digging of the Dirt is underway, well, We Shall See.
There are more new photos than just the ones above--follow the links for additional shots, plus I've also updated a bunch of before-and-after sliders. And maybe soon I'll get out in the afternoon light to get photos of the western side of all of these projects--with a new camera!
(If you're thinking that these photos don't look that blurry, it's really more on the edges of the shots where the problem lies, plus I do some sharpening of all photos after I size them down for posting.)

Skanska to Build New DC Water HQ, Expected to Start This Year
Jul 19, 2016 8:19 AM
Another construction project is now confirmed to be starting soon, with the announcement earlier this month that Skanska has signed a $60 million contract to build the new DC Water headquarters on the banks of the Anacostia River.
For those who haven't been following along, the new building will be built as a "surround" to the existing red-brick O Street Pumping Station (no, not the historic Main Pumping Station).
Skanska's press release says that construction will begin this year, and is slated for completion in late 2017.
The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail bridge between the Yards Park and Diamond Teague Park will offer a prime viewing location for the construction, as you can see in the latest renderings passed along with the announcement (and I've included one of my shots of the existing O Street building for those who need refreshing).
This is the second office project that Skanska currently has in the neighborhood, as it is building the on-spec 99 M office building a few blocks to the north.
Comments (14)
More posts: Development News, DC Water (WASA)

Additional Yards Parcel L Details, Plus Tingey Square
Jul 18, 2016 8:48 AM
I wrote two posts back in June giving the first details of the plans for "Parcel L" at the Yards, the block west of 3rd and south of Tingey where Forest City is in the early stages of plans for a 270ish-unit apartment building.
Last week the Zoning Commission received the filings for the project, so now there are some additional details about not only Parcel L's residential building, but a few other items percolating nearby.
First, the basics on Parcel L, some of which may or may not be new (what, you think I'm actually going to go back and read what I wrote?):
The plans are for a 110-foot-high building with somewhere between 270 and 285 units, 54ish of which will be set aside for households making up to 50 percent of the Area Median Income.
There will be a little more than 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, on the building's southern and eastern sides, facing 3rd Street and the Yards Park.
Two levels of below-grade parking will provide 270 vehicle parking spaces for both the residential building and a planned future hotel on the north end of the block. There will also be 109 long-term bicycling parking spaces in the garage.
Originally the plan was to open to vehicles 2nd Street south of Tingey down to an extension of Water Street, but that has been replaced with the idea of a 2nd Street "mews," helping to create a much more pedestrian friendly approach to the Yards Park from points north and west.
In the rendering below, you can see the apartment building's position on the block with the planned hotel site to its north. What you also see, in the foreground, is Tingey Square, the planned reconfiguration of the intersection of New Jersey, N, and Tingey. The site plan at right shows the Parcel L layout, the 2nd Street position, and Tingey Square. You can also see how then the residential entrance is keyed to the road on the southern side of Tingey Square while the hotel sits on the square's eastern edge.
In honor of all of this additional info, I have now created a Parcel L page, my 10th Yards-related project page. I also added to the main Yards page a spiffy updated Yards development map that was included in the Parcel L zoning filing, with all the parcel markings and whatnot.
Forest City representatives told me in June that the company is looking to get started on the Parcel L apartment building in 2018.
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More posts: Development News, The Yards, yardsparcell

First Look at Florida Rock's Next Residential Building
Jul 16, 2016 9:07 AM
With the 305-unit Dock 79 apartment building very close to completion, the developers of the site on the Anacostia River that us oldsters still refer to as Florida Rock have now filed with the Zoning Commission their plans* for the project's next phase, a 130-foot-tall 253-unit residential building with 12,500 square feet of retail at 71 Potomac Avenue.
There will be at least two levels of underground parking, with a third level being pondered "given the parking demands of [Nationals Park] and the pending soccer stadium." And although the building is not covered by the city's Inclusionary Zoning laws, the filing says that eight percent of the units will be set aside for households with incomes up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
The construction of this building will also bring the completion of "Florida Rock Alley," running between 71 Potomac and Dock 79 and providing another route for pedestrians to move between Potomac Avenue and the waterfront along with the access to parking and loading for both buildings. The waterfront Esplanade will also be extended along 71 Potomac's frontage.
The 12,500 square feet of retail is an increase the previously approved 5,600 square feet. In the filing statement, developers Florida Rock Properties and MRP Realty mention that "based on the success in leasing retail space in Dock 79, the Applicant is confident that there is a retail market along Potomac Avenue," and that "the desire for retailers to locate in this area has only increased" since the previous plans were approved in 2013.
The site plans are very helpful to not only understand where this Phase 2 building at 71 Potomac will be, but how the eventual third and fourth phases are dependent on the construction of the new Douglass Bridge and its accompanying traffic oval, and the demolition of the existing bridge. (The filing mentions DDOT's current estimated schedule of a notice to proceed on the new bridge in 2017 and completion in 2020, but We Shall See.)
There are a slew of renderings in the zoning packet, which of course I'm snagging (we'll call it a one-for-one exchange for all of the photos of mine they used in the site overview portion of the package!).
These plans will require ANC presentations and a vote and zoning hearings and building permits and financing, so don't pack your bags just yet.
*For those to whom such things matter, this is a second-stage PUD filing.
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More posts: 71potomac, Development News, Florida Rock

Congressional Square Site Sold, Switching to Residential
Jul 13, 2016 9:45 AM
There have been hints in recent weeks (soil borings, the removal of signage) and now there's confirmation via the Washington Post that the block bounded by Half, 1st, I, and K has been sold, with former plans for 825,000 square feet of office and retail now out the window, to be replaced with "800 upscale apartments along with at least 44,000 square feet of retail space."
The block's multiple parcels were bought for nearly $70 million in 2007 by DRI Development Services and Jamestown Properties, with the project first dubbed Plaza on K and then Congressional Square. However, given both the overall climate for office space in the city and the neighborhood's clear shift toward being a residential center, it's not surprising that this project never found its way.
The Recorder of Deeds database lists $63.75 million as the purchase price, but sometimes that doesn't tell the entire story. (And since the RoD site uses Java for its viewer and these days I don't have Java installed, that's the most I can give you right now.)
The Post says that Tishman Speyer is the new owner, and quotes a company representative as saying that the "first apartment building will be completed at the end of 2019 and the second in 2021." No architect has been chosen as of yet. Also, the project could have as much as 80,000 square feet of retail, but "we'll balance supply with demand as the project moves forward."
This block was once home to a firewood lot, a towing company, and a cab company garage, but was mostly cleared by 2008. You can see my older photos and lots of renderings of the now-defunct office project on my Not-Congressional-Square-Anymore project page.
(h/t to commenter jdc)
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More posts: Development News, Plaza on K/Square 696

The Latest Arrival Above Ground: 1244 South Capitol
Jun 23, 2016 11:15 AM
For those keeping score at home, we have a new member of the above-ground-construction fraternity, with rebar now poking up at 1244 South Capitol Street, JBG's 290-unit apartment building on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N, immediately north of Nats Park.
(This is the site that has the tower crane with the lit crescent moon hanging from it, if you're someone who has gotten used to seeing that tableau from your seats at the stadium.)
The building is expected to be completed in late 2017ish, and will have 26,000 square feet of retail.
This lot is at the south end of the same block where the new National Association of Broadcasters HQ and its sibling 163-unit condo building 10 Van are expected to begin construction later this summer.
While I don't know anything specifically, I'm guessing that the owners of the Public Storage building that within two years or so will be sandwiched between two new luxury residential buildings get a lot of phone calls from developers.
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More posts: 1221 Van, Development News

Ground Ceremonially Broken for National Assoc. of Broadcasters HQ
Jun 20, 2016 6:21 PM
I always say that I will never take another photograph of a person behind a microphone, but my resolve is weak, so I headed down to the southeast corner of South Capitol and M on this lovely Monday to document the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new National Association of Broadcasters headquarters at One M Street, SE.
While actual construction isn't underway just yet, the shovel-wielding VIPs did their duty. Mayor Bowser, Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen, DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, NAB chairman Gordon Smith, and other luminaries made remarks, and noted local radio personality Tommy McFly acted as master of ceremonies (his radio station is after all only a block away).
You can see all my photos here, if microphones and shovels are your thing. But here's a few, if that one extra click is more than you can handle:
It's expected that construction will get underway later this summer on both the 120,000-sq-ft NAB HQ (which will have about 4,800 sq ft of ground-floor retail) and a 163-unit condo building immediately to its south, also fronting South Capitol but with an address of 10 Van Street. Both are being developed by Monument Realty, and you can see my project page for more details. If both do get started this summer, the buildings would probably be completed in 2018.
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More posts: avidian, Development News, One M

NAB HQ and 10 Van Residential Edging Toward Summer Start Dates
Jun 15, 2016 1:49 PM
If you are wandering by the southeast corner of South Capitol and M Streets next week and are wondering about seeing a bunch of well-dressed VIPs wielding shovels, it's not a new job training program--it'll be a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new headquarters for the National Association of Broadcasters at One M Street SE, being developed by Monument Realty.
The real work of construction, I'm told, is slated to start later this summer, but the NAB bigwigs were apparently going to be gathering in DC for a board meeting this month and so will take the opportunity to mark the occasion.
(And of course there is no statutory requirement that ceremonial groundbreakings take place x number of days before or after the start of actual digging.)
This headquarters will be a 120,000-square-foot offering with about 4,800 square feet of ground floor retail, and is expected to open in 2018. NAB and Monument announced the deal in April of 2015, calling it the "culmination of a rigorous search for a location with easier access to Capitol Hill that will allow NAB to improve its advocacy efforts."
Monument also tells me that the current plan is to also start this summer on 10 Van Street, the NAB HQ's 163-unit residential sibling immediately to the south, which you can see here and on my One M/10 Van project page.
And the big news that I'm burying all the way down here is that Monument tells me that the decision has been made that 10 Van will be condos, with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units as well as multi-level two-bedroom townhouses facing both Van and South Capitol.
Once it gets started, the NAB HQ would be the second office project under construction, joining Skanska's on-spec 99 M a couple of blocks to the east. The 10 Van project will become part of the long list of residential projects currently being built, and will be the second in this block of South Capitol Street, along with JBG's 290-unit rental building at 1244 South Capitol that is expected to be completed in 2017. These will also be the first projects to get underway in 2016, unless the Yards Parcel O condo and rental buildings get started first.
I guess we'll know for sure that NAB/10 Van construction is truly at hand when the surface parking lot there stops accepting Nats gameday parking....
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More posts: avidian, Development News, One M

Early Renderings of Yards Parcel L Residential Project
Jun 14, 2016 4:45 PM
I wrote last week that Forest City was making its first steps into the public processes for a new 270-unit residential building on the block along 3rd Street south of Tingey known as Parcel L.
On Monday night, there was an initial presentation to ANC 6D about the project, and some renderings were shown to the assembled masses, shots of which have arrived in JDLand's inbox.
I think there is still some tweaking going on--6D was not asked to approve these specifically and there is as yet no zoning filing--but the general idea of a terraced building that would be a large focal point from the Yards Park just to the south probably won't change.
The top image, obviously, is that Yards Park view. These others are the view looking west on Water Street and then looking southeastward from Tingey Street.
Note that this building would not front Tingey Street--there are eventual plans for a hotel to be built along Tingey to the north of the residential project.
Forest City told me last week that a 2019 completion date is the target for this Parcel L project.
As for what used to stand on this site, the old Southeast Federal Center Building 159 was in residence until about 2000, long enough for me to remember it but not long enough to have photographed it with the JDLand camera. (Waaaaaaah!) However, a few years back I did uncover this photo, taken in about 1992, as part of the Library of Congress's Carol M. Highsmith archive. Building 159 is the white building directly between the DC Water Main Pumping Station and what's now the Foundry Lofts building. (You can also see two low red brick buildings fronting M Street next to Spooky Building 213 that I also didn't get to photograph, along with a little red brick annex on the north side of the still-empty Building 170 at 3rd and Tingey.) If you want to see more photos of the neighborhood taken from above in the early 1990s, check them out.
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More posts: Development News, The Yards, yardsparcell

Plans For Another Residential Project at the Yards Coming into View
Jun 7, 2016 10:27 AM
The grapevine informs me that Forest City is moving forward with plans for a new residential building on "Parcel L," the site at the Yards along 3rd Street south of Tingey between DC Water and the Foundry Lofts where a parking lot currently sits.
It would have 270 rental units and two levels of underground parking, and currently has a targeted completion date of 2019 (which just isn't as far away as it used to be).
No renderings are available for public (or blogger) consumption, but my understanding is that it has a "terraced" design, and will be a U-shaped building with a courtyard that opens southward toward the Yards Park and the river. There will be retail along 3rd Street, but I don't know the exact amount.
Also, it should be noted that for the very north end of this parcel, along Tingey, there are also plans to have a "boutique" hotel, but there's no time frame for that.
Forest City is on the agenda for next Monday's ANC 6D meeting to give an initial presentation on the residential plans, in advance of heading off to Zoning Land later in the year.
This is not the only Yards residential project in the near-term pipeline, as the condo and apartment projects two blocks east on "Parcel O" at 4th Street are expected to begin construction in coming months. These projects would join the lineup of already completed Yards residential buildings Foundry Lofts, Twelve12, and Arris. It's also expected that there will be additional residential buildings along 1st Street SE near the planned movie theater.
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More posts: Development News, The Yards, yardsparcell

Plans Afoot to Replace Splash Car Wash with Self Storage
May 26, 2016 11:02 AM
JDLand has received word that a plan is in the works to replace Half Street's longtime resident Splash Car Wash with a 10-story, 200,000-square-foot self-storage building.
This will require a zoning variance, so that hurdle needs to be passed first, but Splash owner Tim Temple tells me the hope is to start construction in spring of 2017. Splash will remain open in the meantime.
This is a separate project from the plans to redevelop the McDonald's next door as a two-phase residential-and-maybe-more-residential project.
If you look at my favorite overhead photo of this area just south of the Southeast Freeway, you can see Splash's footprint to the north-northeast of the McDonald's and just to the west of the Capitol Power Plant operations.
More as I get it.
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More posts: Development News, splash

Tuesday Tidbits: The Latest from Seattle on the Anacostia
May 17, 2016 11:19 AM
The rain has sapped my energy, plus I'm in just-back-from-vacation-mode (a short trip to Vegas, which means I'm currently wearing a barrel and standing on a street corner begging for money), but I'm trying to bring you tidbits anyway.
* 909 HALF: The Project Of Which Its Developers Don't Speak has apparently topped out, according to the architects, who I hope won't now be canned for daring to publicly refer to the 380-unit apartment building under construction at Half and I. They also posted a color version of the one rendering we've seen, showing the view up Half Street from south of K. There had been an additional post from the architects saying 909 Half would be opening in December, but that's now gone, probably because getting to completion seven months from now would be, shall we say, optimistic.
* NEW WEB SITES: Actual web sites are now up for both F1rst and ORE 82. (The former had just a placeholder and the latter's URL didn't actually work a few weeks ago when the fence signage went up.)
* JOY EVANS: ANC 6D Commissioner Meredith Fascett has an update on last week's meeting on Joy Evans Park, with a deadline of today (oops) for any comments you might have.
And, a few meetings this week to mention:
* COFFEE WITH CHUCK: The Virginia Avenue Tunnel project has hit the one-year mark this month (only 30 more months to go!). The monthly Coffee with Chuck meeting is on Wednesday, May 18, from 8 to 9 am at the CSX Community Office trailer at 861 New Jersey Ave., SE. RSVP here if you plan to attend.
* PUBLIC SAFETY: The monthly meeting of PSA 106 is Wednesday, May 18 at 7 pm at 200 I St. SE. MPD holds these meetings to address any public safety-related questions and concerns from the neighborhood.
* BIKE TO WORK: I'm too scared to look at the weather forecast, but Friday, May 20 is Bike to Work Day, and once again Canal Park is one of the pit stops.
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Parc Riverside Phase 2 Apparently in the Near-Term Pipeline
May 11, 2016 7:36 AM
It appears that we can now add the second phase of Toll Brothers' Parc Riverside development to the lineup of projects that look likely to get underway in coming months, as evidenced from this page deep within a recent Toll Corporate Profile document that lists a 2016 start date and 2018 completion date.
This would be built just to the west of the Parc Riverside and Velocity, along Half Street SE between K and L.
The "Apartment Living" header does also seem to indicate that the planned 314 units will be rentals.
Just as soon as I found this, though, my digging was rendered unnecessary when representatives for Toll appeared at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting requesting support for a public space permit they are applying for.
I wasn't at the meeting, but my understanding is that while Toll said they are hoping to break ground in 2016, they are still in the design phase and are going to need a minor variance for some projected balconies and windows, which would then need to be followed by the usual building permit process.
As for the design, a rendering was shown that looks remarkably like the first-phase Parc Riverside. (I don't have permission to share it, alas.)
And there is apparently a fly in the ointment in that Toll is planning that the access to the Phase 2 underground garage will be through the Velocity garage, as was designed back when the entire block was going to be developed by its then-owner, the Cohen Companies. But Cohen, still the owner of Velocity, apparently disagrees that this access was part of the deal when Toll purchased this lot from Cohen for $14.5 million in 2012.
ANC 6D voted 6-0-0 to send a letter to DDOT recommending that the agency determine whether Toll should be able to use the Velocity garage entrance, but that even if it's decided that Toll does have that right, that "DDOT should still consider the traffic impact of allowing a large number of additional cars to use this garage entrance." The commission also supported the request for a curb cut for a loading dock, but "believes that K St. SE is a better location for a curb cut and loading dock because L St. SE already has numerous curb cuts," while recognizing that this switch "would require substantial redesign" for the project but with what it believes would be a "far superior outcome." (The letter also notes 6D's "general philosophical concern with projections into public space for bay windows.")
More information should be available once the variance is applied for, assuming that remains part of Toll's plan.
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More posts: Development News, Square 699n, Toll Brothers Lots, Velocity Condos

Raze Application Filed for McDonald's
Apr 26, 2016 3:53 PM
I suspect this will bring about some strong feelings, but it is still incumbent upon me to report that a raze application has been filed in recent days for the McDonald's at South Capitol and I Streets.
This is where RCP Development is planning a two-phase project that will start with a 380-unit apartment building.
I know nothing about any expected closing date for Mickey D's, which was just renovated in 2012. But I have heard rumors that the developers are looking to start construction on the apartment project late this year, and this raze application would certainly seem to be in line with that.
As a devotee of McDonald's fountain Diet Coke, I am willing to go on record in saying that this pains me.
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More posts: 2ist, Development News, mcdonalds

Windows.
Apr 20, 2016 6:39 AM
The apartment projects F1rst and the as-yet-unnamed building at 909 Half aren't even waiting to be topped out before starting to put their faces on:
There's also now plenty of windows on the Homewood Suites at 50 M, where there is clearly No Time To Lose if they are going to make that October 2016 opening date on the signage. And I bet there will be some windows on Insignia on M before too much longer.
I've also posted updated photos of Agora, ORE 82, the Bixby, and Dock 79, in addition to new shots at the links above.
And there's lots of Slider updates, too, a few of which are previewed below.

What's New Outside Nats Park, 2016 Edition: All About the Skeletons
Mar 31, 2016 8:01 AM
It's that time of year, when every media outlet in the DC Metro area is about to unleash a tidal wave of Nationals Park pre-Opening Day content: Here's what's new inside the ballpark, here's the Opening Day specials outside the ballpark, here's how to get to the ballpark, and here's where to park at the ballpark.*
I am not immune, of course, but I also add a separate category: Here's what you will see that's new outside the ballpark. And it's considerably different than what you would remember if you haven't ventured to Near Southeast/Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard/#NeCaBaRY since the end of the we-shall-not-speak-of-it 2015 season.
The short version? You'll see skeletons. Concrete skeletons. In all directions. In various stages of progress. Buildings are erupting in the blocks surrounding Nats Park the way that {insert tortured Bryce Harper-erupt-home runs reference here}.
Alas, none of them are precisely on the block of Half Street just north of the ballpark (wait 'til next year!), but this latest pulse in the neighborhood's transformation will be one more obvious to stadium-goers than in any year since the ballpark opened, resulting in close to 3,000 new residential units, 365 new hotel rooms, and 230,000 square feet of office space by the time these current projects all finish up in 2017.
And all of the activity means that there are lane closures and sidewalk closures to be on the lookout for, no matter which mode of conveyance you use to get to the stadium.
You can check out my quick-and-dirty map of what you'll be seeing, but should you want a typically wordy JDLand guided tour, read on:
* If you arrive via South Capitol Street, either from the north or the south, you'll be greeted with new apartment-buildings-to-be Dock 79 on the waterfront (below, left) and 909 Half (below, middle) just south of the freeway, along with a hole just north of Nats Parking Garage B that will soon sport a skeleton of its own, for the 1244 South Capitol Street apartment building. Then when you turn onto M Street you'll see the new Homewood Suites (below, right) rising up on the northeast corner of Half and M:
* If you take the subway and get out at New Jersey Avenue to avoid the crowds, you'll see the new Insignia on M apartment building (below, left) rising just behind the station entrance, and then you'll smartly cross M Street immediately to take advantage of new wide walkways (below, right) that should be completed soon to cut across the block formerly occupied by Spooky Building 213, all while noticing the skeletons just north of the ballpark that are the F1rst residential building and a new Residence Inn (with a hole where the 99 M office building will probably be its own skeleton by late in the season) .
* If you head down toward the ballpark from Capitol Hill, you'll be greeted with an entirely new vista on New Jersey Avenue, with the Agora and ORE 82 apartment buildings under construction and the Park Chelsea now all but finished (below, left). If you choose to use 3rd or 4th or 5th or 7th or 8th or 11th for your pre-game arrival or post-game departure, you'll have the pleasure of crossing the multi-block Big Dig that is the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion and reconstruction (below, middle)--be forewarned, lanes and sidewalks are shifted and will likely shift again during the season. On the flip side, there's now a new block of I Street open, between 2nd and New Jersey (below, right).
* If you decide to wander over to the Yards (you know, where Bluejacket is), you'll see that the Arris apartment building is finished and open, and the new marina at the Yards Park is well on its way to an opening in the coming months.
* NEW FOOD AND DRINK: As for new food and drink offerings, there aren't a lot of changes from the lineup at the end of last season (when Due South and Scarlet Oak snuck in under the wire). Buffalo Wild Wings will be the most obvious to most people, in its prime location between the Half Street Metro entrance and the ballpark Center Field Gate. The former Park Tavern at Canal Park is now "Il Parco," serving pizza and other Italian fare. And Barracks Row mainstay Las Placitas has now moved south of the freeway to 8th and L.
* SOON FOOD AND DRINK: As of this writing there are also three new ventures shooting for openings in May. Whaley's, a raw bar and restaurant from the DGS Delicatessen folks, will open in the Lumber Shed at the Yards in the space between Osteria Morini and Agua 301. In addition, Philz Coffee will be coming to the 300 block of Tingey Street, if you need your caffeine before gametime. And long-awaited beer garden The Brig will be opening at 8th and L.
What's not different from last year? Most of the food and drink establishments you likely frequented in 2015 are still around, including the Fairgrounds. (Though if you were a fan of Sizzlin' Express or Buzz Bakery, well, my condolences on your loss.) Also not different from last year is that there's still no "brew garden" immediately south of the ballpark, after Bardo's application for a liquor license was turned down.
If this post (and the accompanying What's New Since Last Season page, with all the details) seems like a messy hodge-podge, well, the neighborhood is pretty much a messy hodge-podge at the moment, too. But it was my fiduciary duty to provide this rundown.
* A post on the 2016 updates to my Stadium Parking Map will be coming soon, though there's already some early intel, including the official return of the lot at 1st and N.
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More posts: Development News, Nationals Park

Additional Renderings of Planned 25 M Street Office Building
Mar 15, 2016 8:04 AM
With a zoning hearing coming up later this month, developers Brandywine REIT and Akridge have submitted additional materials to the Zoning Commission on their proposed 25 M Street, a 247,000-square-foot office building on the southwest corner of Half and M Streets, SE, currently home to the north end of the Fairgrounds.
The submissions expand on the details and renderings we first saw a few weeks ago, but the basics remain the same. The building received zoning approvals back in 2009, but now with a change in the development team and with an eye toward shifting desires of office tenants, some modifications to the approvals are being sought, most specifically reducing the distance from the edge of the building to its core to 45 feet to allow for "more natural light flowing into the interior offices," which resulted in the building's gross floor area space being reduced by about 23,000 square feet.
There are also now new terraces on the 3rd, 4th, and 9th floors in addition to the roof, and the building will also have about 21,000 square feet of retail space. However, the planned third underground level of parking has been removed, with the building now having 157 spaces on two levels.
The drawings below show the new design as seen from street level on M Street looking east (left), on Half Street looking west (middle) and on Van Street looking east (right), while the one at the top of this post is the building's Half Street facade and the second is of the view at Half and M. The second and third photos below show the "Via", a pedestrian walk between 25 M and JBG's planned Half Street residential project on the south end of the block.
The design was approved at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting 6-0-0--you can read the full text of the ANC's letter to the Zoning Commission about the project here.
No timetable for construction has been announced, but it is now the third of the three "missing pieces" on the block of Half Street just north of Nats Park to go through the zoning approval process in the past year with a revised design. So maybe the neighborhood's most visible and most lagging block will be on its way to completion by the time the stadium celebrates its 10th anniversary--and hosts the All-Star Game--in 2018.
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More posts: 25m, Development News, zoning

A Photo Tour of the Arris Apartment Building at the Yards
Mar 7, 2016 12:17 PM
A visit that the Official JDLand Camera has been hoping for came together on Monday morning, as representatives of Forest City Washington were nice enough to lead a tour of Arris, the 327-unit apartment building that is not only now leasing but also has its first residents beginning to move in as well.
The full photo gallery is here, with a slew of photos of the lobby, the amenity spaces, and the model units, a 1 BR/den, a 2 BR, and a 385-square-foot "micro" unit complete with built-in Murphy bed.
But of course I can't just expect you to click on that link to see all the pictures, so here's some previews (click to pop up/enlarge). The gallery has the captions, though!
The official web site has specifics on amenities and the floor plans and rents, which start at just under $2,000 a month and then head well north of $5,000 for 2-bedroom units--though note that 66 of the units are earmarked as affordable housing units for people earning up to 50 percent of the area median income. I was told that about 50 units have already been leased.
Also, given Arris's location just north of the Yards Park, it boasts some sweeping views from its roof and a number of units, which as you might imagine I was powerless to resist. (The views to the east aren't bad, either, but it was too early to take photos in that direction.)
Check out the full gallery for many more photos than these, including shots of the progress on the Yards Park marina and of the initial work underway at Philz Coffee, Arris's first retail tenant. Forest City as always remains tight-lipped about any other leases, though I did pass along the impatience of a number of my readers for announcements on that front.
With that, Arris moves into the Completed column, as the first delivery of 2016 and the 32nd (!) since I started this little project back in early 2003.
PS: if you are wanting to visit the building, be aware that the leasing center is actually around the corner at 301 Tingey Street, in the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts--for now anyway, because the plan is for the leasing center, which covers all of Forest City's buildings at the Yards, to move to the empty retail space on 4th Street, between the Twelve12 lobby and TaKorean.
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More posts: Development News, Arris/Parcel N/Yards

Monday Tidbits: Burnout Protection Edition
Feb 29, 2016 3:13 PM
While I like passing along news to the 15 of you out there who read this stuff, the reality is that my favorite part of continuing to maintain JDLand is the photos. I like taking them, I like archiving them, I like choosing which ones to post, I like updating the before-and-after Sliders and the project pages, and I like looking at the old photos to remind myself of what I used to see when wandering around the neighborhood.
However, with so many active construction sites, by the time I walk around to visit all of them and do all of the photographing and database-ing and project page-updating and slider-updating, my energy wanes when it comes time to write actual posts.
Oops.
So here's a few tidbits while I recover, and if you want to see new pictures taken in Sunday's glorious sunshine, I invite you to check out the updated sliders as well as my pages on Dock 79/Florida Rock, 909 Half, Agora/Whole Foods, Insignia, F1rst, Homewood Suites, the Bixby, the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, and Southeast Blvd., where I, ahem, finally posted photos of the finished project a mere 13 months after it opened.
In the meantime:
* JBG HALF ST. ZONING: Last Thursday the Zoning Commission heard testimony on JBG's plans for its 420ish-unit combination condo/rental building planned for just north of Nats Park at Half and N.
Urban Turf has a detailed summary of the hearing, but having watched it myself, I can boil it down to: the commissioners didn't really spend much time talking about the not-a-typical-DC-box design, which they seemed to like. Instead, most of the discussion was centered around zoning issues of setbacks and LEED certification. It comes back for an expected vote on April 11.
However, developers working on designs of future projects might want to know that Commissioner Peter May took a moment to tell the hearing that he's "getting tired of all of the glass buildings" coming to the commission, apparently losing interest in "seeing the inside of everyone's apartment and the inside of everyone's office."
* BRIDGE PARK DELAY: Did we say 2018? How about late 2019? A feasibility study will be happening soon to see whether the piers that were left in the Anacostia when the old 11th Street bridges were demolished are going to be able to in fact be used for the bridge park. One other note: the project has currently raised a little more than $11 million of the expected $35 million construction costs.
* OKAY, ONE PIC: A JDLand gold star to Clark Construction for what has to be the tidiest excavation hole I've looked into. This is the hole from which JBG's 1244 South Capitol residential building will arise, just north of the ballpark's western parking garage.
* JDLAND HAPPY HOUR: Been wanting to meet fellow residents/office workers/JDLand readers? Then mark your calendar for Thursday, March 10 at 5:30 pm at Scarlet Oak, and come say hello and hang out! I'll even have a few coveted JDLand t-shirts available for purchase.
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More posts: bridgepark, Development News, West Half St., zoning

Movie Theater Update: Still Waiting for DC Water's Moves
Feb 24, 2016 1:26 PM
Residents anxious to see the construction get underway on the planned Showplace Icon movie theater will be displeased to read this, but...:
Earlier this month Forest City filed a two-year extension request with the Zoning Commission, as the continuing bureaucratic machinations to move DC Water's fleet maintenance and customer care operations off of the site at 1st and O SE have moved slowly enough that Forest City has been unable to file for a building permit by the date required in the zoning approvals received in early 2014.
While there have been steps that have moved the process forward, including the official execution of a lease with Showplace Icon theaters back in July, Forest City writes in its letter to the Zoning Commission that the lack of a building permit filing "is due to continuing challenges in identifying and developing appropriate relocation facilities that are acceptable to DC Water. DMPED and DC Water have worked diligently--with continued assistance from Forest City--to identify appropriate relocation facilities [for the operations], but substantial work still remains."
Land in Prince George's County has been acquired for the fleet operations, but Forest City says that DMPED and DC Water "are currently negotiating an agreement on the scope of improvements to be built out at the new site," and that once those are completed, "the improvements must be designed, permitted, and built."
As for a potential new customer care operations site, there is apparently work underway between DMPED and WMATA "to acquire a property that would serve as a new location." But, while "the parties are actively discussing the terms of the site control with DC Water," there would still need to be design and construction before a move could happen.
The letter goes on to say that DMPED and DC Water--the entities with "sole responsibility" for the moves--"estimate that the relocation of one of the two operations could be completed within 10 months," but that "out of an abundance of caution and in recognition of the complex negotiations and construction required" for either or both of the operations to be relocated, Forest City is requesting the two-year extension, because even after relocation, the movie theater parcel will need environmental remediation before construction can proceed.
There are also plans for two residential buildings to be built along 1st Street, once both sets of operations are moved and the construction of the movie theater is finished.
(For those zoning fanboys out there, I'll be a bit more precise and say that technically Forest City is requesting a two-year extension of the consolidated PUD approval for the movie theater parcel and the first-stage PUD approval for the remaining parcels, plus a two-year extension of the original first-stage approval, because doing that would reset the clock on the twelve-year time frame originally approved for filing for a second-stage PUD for the remaining parcels. {pantpantpant})
Finally, while only tangentially related, I'll remind readers that not all of DC Water's operations will be leaving this plot of land between Nats Park and the Yards, and that DC Water's plans for its new headquarters to be built on top of the existing O Street Pumping Station immediately to the south of the movie theater site received final approvals from the Zoning Commission in recent weeks, and construction should/could be underway there this summer.
My DC Water and Yards at DC Water pages give more details and background on these projects, should you so desire.
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More posts: Development News, DC Water (WASA), The Yards at DC Water, zoning

Zoning Commission Gives Approval to District Winery Design
Feb 23, 2016 1:48 PM
On Feb. 18 the Zoning Commission unanimously approved the submitted plans for a new-construction building at the Yards on the southwest corner of 4th and Water Streets, SE, that is to be home to District Winery, DC's first-ever winery (at least, as far as the owners can tell).
Brian Leventhal, one of the owners of both Brooklyn Winery and the coming DC venture, told the commission that this will be a full commercial winery, processing fresh grapes brought in from various US locations (including Virginia).
And since "you can't have wine without food," there will also be a 90-seat interior restaurant open seven days a week, which will also have outdoor seating.
In addition, the 2nd floor will be an events space, which the winery hopes will become a "very coveted wedding space," as well as a location for corporate and political events. There will also be tours of the winery, and bottles will be available for purchase (with "Bottled in the District of Columbia" on the labels).
Leventhal also showed some slides of Brooklyn Winery's operations to the commission, which you can see here.
Forest City's Jonathan Gertman testified that the company is targeting June 1 for the start of construction, and Leventhal said that they are hoping to be open by September of 2017. A liquor license is already in hand.
I posted a few weeks ago the early designs for the building, which will be a sibling of sorts for the Lumber Shed (and eventually there will be a third retail pavilion nestled between the two). The image at the top of this post is a slightly more realized version, though note that the red dots and lines aren't actually part of the design (I grabbed it from the zoning filings). The entrances will be on the wall facing west toward the Lumber Shed, and the restaurant will be on the south end of the building, where outdoor seating will look toward the Anacostia River.
Other than concerns about whether a winery would be a permitted use or an associated use under the zoning overlay, and some small frustrations about not being exactly sure what the differences were between the original approvals back in 2009 and the new case, all the zoning commissioners were enthusiastic about the project and the design. Michael Turnbull said that "I think this is going to be such a cute little building, and I think it'll be a fun place to go," while Robert Miller called it a "very exciting project, a very attractive building, a unique activating use in this Yards area," and that he looks forward to sampling it.
The commissioners felt no need to request additional information or changes, and with the Office of Planning recommending approval, and with ANC 6D's unanimous vote in support earlier this month, the commission took final action and approved the case 5-0-0.
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More posts: Development News, Restaurants/Nightlife, winery, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

February Update on Vertical Construction, Incomplete Edition
Feb 12, 2016 9:53 AM
You may have noticed that it's cold.
But I managed earlier this week to squeeze in an abbreviated trek to the construction sites where recent change is the most visible. And, I have to say, by the time folks arrive in the neighborhood for Opening Day, it's just going to be a vastly different place than it was at the end of last season, even if these buildings are still quite a few months from completion.
The first shot is of the 277-unit apartment building at 82 I Street (now called ORE 82, I believe), where masonry work is speeding right along, and making that stretch of I quite the Red Brick Row.
Next, we move a few blocks to south of M Street, where the combination F1rst apartment building/Residence Inn construction is about to put an end to the Hampton Inn Grain Silo effect, illustrated here with a heavily cropped shot taken from a block away, at New Jersey and M. I'm also including an up-close shot of the spot where the apartment building and hotel converge, because the renderings haven't been all that clear in showing that there is a break above the ground floor between the two:
Next, let's take a moment to highlight the fact that Donohoe's Insignia on M 324-unit apartment building is at last truly above ground and visible, nearly a year and a half after excavation started. Here's the project as seen looking south along New Jersey from L, and looking at its M Street frontage behind the Metro station canopy:
In the Wait, Where Did That Come From All of a Sudden? category, we have the Homewood Suites at Half and M, with nine of its eleven stories almost completed, while three blocks to its north, the as-yet-unnamed 383-unit apartment project at 909 Half Street is starting to display exactly how large of a building it will be.
Finally, on the northern end of things, I'll offer a rear view of Agora, seen from 2nd Street and offering clear evidence of how the parking for the Whole Foods will be on the two floors immediately above it. (This photo is also my choice because winter sun angle and shadows make it almost impossible to get a decent shot of the New Jersey Avenue side of the building right now.) And then to wrap things up, I'll give you one hole in the ground, at Skanska's 99 M office building.
I also managed to update the before-and-after "sliders" for these locations and a few others, if you are as big a fan of those doohickeys as I am.
That's all I've got, so you'll just have to conjure up visions of the latest progress at Dock 79, Arris, the Bixby, the Capper Community Center, and 1244 South Capitol. Or go take a walk around the neighborhood yourself--just be sure to bundle up.

First Peek: Park Chelsea's Leasing Center and Models
Feb 11, 2016 2:18 PM
While move-ins are probably still a good two months away, the folks at the Park Chelsea at 880 New Jersey Ave., SE, have now opened their ground-floor leasing center inside the building.
So of course I had to immediately scurry over to get some photos of both this space and the one-bedroom model units that are currently available.
If you have your heart set on a unit on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th floors, pre-leasing has already begun, with the "release" of units expanding upwards in coming weeks.
This will actually be the leasing center for all three buildings on this block, officially known as "The Collective." Agora (aka the Whole Foods Building) is already under construction immediately to the north, and then the Garrett will come eventually along 2nd Street. All together there will be close to 1,200 units when build-out is finished.
Alas, despite my best attempts at looking sad, forlorn, depressed, despondent, crestfallen, and miserable, I didn't get to see the amenity spaces throughout the rest of the building, as work is still in progress. And two-bedroom models aren't available just yet, either.
Check out the full gallery, but here's a preview.
The official web site has floor plans, details on the amenities, and contact information.
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More posts: 880 NJ/Park Chelsea, Development News, parkchelsea, WC Smith/Square 737

Updated Design for Residential Project Planned for McDonald's Site
Jan 29, 2016 1:29 PM
With a Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing coming soon (as now advertised), the developers planning a residential project on the site where McDonald's currently provides (among other items) tubs of Diet Coke to addicted bloggers have submitted some revisions to the design first seen back in October. The original version is on the left, the new submission on the right:
While there is no change to the overall "program"--a first-phase apartment building with about 380 units and around 2,700 square feet of retail, plus a second phase with either another 170ish apartments, or condos, or maybe even a hotel--there have been some "enhancements and modifications" in response to comments from ANC 6D at its December meeting, including revising the facade facing South Capitol Street and adding glass balconies to the southwest and northwest corners of the building.
They've also revised the rendering of the entranceway (original here, new one seen below). I'm also including the floor plan of the ground floor to show where the "phases" will be, as well as how the interior driveway/courtyard is laid out.
The BZA hearing is February 9.
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More posts: 2ist, Development News

Revised Design for Planned Office Building at 25 M Street
Jan 14, 2016 2:49 PM
Not long after JBG filed its designs for a new residential/retail project on the southern end of the "Fairgrounds" site along Half Street SE, the plans on the block's north end is now getting a makeover, with co-developers Brandywine REIT and Akridge submitting this week a revised design for the 25 M Street office building project.
In what is described as a response to "the office market's demand for more column free spaces and more natural light flowing into the interior offices," Brandywine/Akridge and architect HOK have reduced the distance between the edge of the building and its core to 45 feet. New terraces on the 3rd, 4th, and 9th floors have been added as well, while keeping the "strong three story presence" at Half and M "to allow the building to 'hold' that important corner."
These changes have resulted in a decrease in the building's gross area floor space of about 22,600 feet, making the building just a smidge under 247,000 square feet overall, which includes nearly 21,000 square feet of retail.
The filing with the Zoning Commission, which is technically a modification of the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review approved back in 2009, includes these before-and-afters (or, in this case, "Approved"-and-"Revised"), which of course is a guaranteed approach to getting them shown on JDLand.
As seen above, 25 M will stand in between the pending JBG project to the south and Monument Realty's National Association of Broadcasters HQ to the west, both of which are looking to get started at some point in 2016.
No hint in the filings as to when 25 M might get underway, though the big question would be whether it would be built "on spec" (like Skanska's 99 M a block to the east) or whether tenants will need to be lined up first. The filing does say though that the developers believe the new design "is a significant and necessary change that will result in a higher quality building," which will allow the project "to move forward in an expeditious manner."
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More posts: 25m, Development News

A Look into the Crystal Ball at What's to Come in 2016
Jan 5, 2016 10:10 AM
I ended 2015 with a quick look back at the major development news of the neighborhood over the previous twelve months, so it would be fitting to not get too far into 2016 without a look ahead. But it is to be remembered of course that crystal ball gazing is inherently dicier, which is why I like writing posts that look back a whole lot more than I do ones that look forward.
First Out of the Gate
Let's start with the easy ones, the 436-unit Park Chelsea at 880 New Jersey and the 325-unit Arris at 4th and Tingey, both of which are showing signs of opening their doors in coming weeks.
In fact, let's look at photographic evidence from this weekend to support this theory, starting with the Park Chelsea's still-fenced-but-prepped front entrance and New Jersey Avenue frontage, plus the new section of I Street that at this point I believe is being kept closed merely for the fun of driving me insane.
At Arris, the sidewalks on Tingey and Water, on the building's north and south sides, are now open, and landscaping and lighting has arrived in the courtyards on the building's west side--along with most interesting sculptures/screens/whatever you want to call them that serve to give the courtyards and the units that face them a little bit of privacy.
Other Expected 2016 Deliveries
The JDLand crystal ball feels confident that the DC Housing Authority's two current projects, the Community Center at 5th and K and the 195-unit mixed-income Bixby/Lofts at Capitol Quarter at 7th and L will be the next developments to make it across the finish line, though the specific time frames are still a bit cloudy.
And work is now underway on the Yards Park Marina, which is supposed to be finished in spring/summer 2016.
Beyond that? The 305-unit Dock 79 at Florida Rock topped out in early November, and the exterior masonry and glass work are well underway. MRP Realty has said that it expects the building to deliver in July, but at the very least Signs Point to Yes on a delivery before the end of the year.
While 82 I/801 New Jersey looks about finished with vertical construction, and its red brick exterior is already up to its third floor, and a 2016 delivery had been announced last year, this one should probably be filed under We Shall See.
Otherwise, the rest of the current lineup of skeletons and holes in the ground are probably coming to you in 2017.
Retail on Tap for 2016
There's not a lot of announced retail in the 2016 pipeline at this point. All we have so far is that Philz Coffee will arrive Arris this spring and that optimists believe that the Brig beer garden at 8th and L will at last open its gates. The new Italian venture at the Park Tavern should (?) be arriving at some point as well, and maybe the Bardo Riverfront venture.
But there's at least 30,000 combined square feet of additional retail space in both Arris and Dock 79 that I imagine we'll be hearing about as the year goes on.
Projects That May Get Underway in 2016
(This category always gives me the shakes.)
The crystal ball feels reasonably confident that the condo and rental projects on what's known as Yards Parcel O will get started, with financing for the PN Hoffman condo portion already announced and various types of construction permit applications submitted and awaiting approvals.
Also looking likely to join the 2016 lineup is the new National Association of Broadcasters headquarters at the corner of South Capitol and M, presumably along with the 163-unit residential building that development Monument Realty is also planning for the site.
DC Water is itching to get going on its new headquarters, which will be built as a wraparound to the existing O Street Pumping Station, which happens to be immediately to the south of the Showplace Icon movie theater site, which is supposed to see construction start in 2016.
JBG's recently unveiled condo/rental/retail project for the west side of Half Street is scheduled to begin construction late in 2016, if all zoning and permitting goes according to plan.
Beyond that? The crystal ball would not be totally shocked to see the Jair Lynch condo/rental/retail project on the east side of Half Street get started sometime before the end of the year, and would be equally not totally shocked to see that wait until early 2017.
Movement on a new Douglass Bridge might also be on the boards for 2016, but whether actual start of construction can happen within the next 12 months, well, hope springs eternal.
As always, if this slew of words has you overwhelmed, check out the full development map and the guide down below it (yes, scroll down!) to give more clarity.
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A Speedy Summary of 2015's High Points
Dec 31, 2015 11:28 AM
With a few hours to spare before the year ends, I present to you a Pics-and-Clicks summary of the big moments in Near Southeast/Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard/Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards (#NeCaBaRY) in 2015.
New Restaurants
I think the pictures speak for themselves in this section.
New Retail
Tingey Street saw the opening of Pacers Running, Hugh & Crye Menswear, and Banfield Pet Hospital.
Completions
The Hampton Inn at 1st and N and the new Trapeze School space at New Jersey and Tingey snuck in under the wire for 2015. (This section will be considerably larger next year.)
At the Ballpark
Nats Park saw the NHL Winter Classic, new food offerings, and the Taylor Swift invasion. (But not the October games many had been expecting.) Plus, there was the announcement that the 2018 MLB All-Star Game will come to Half Street.
Farewell
The "new neighborhood" is now old enough that some establishments are exiting. We said goodbye to Sizzlin' Express and Buzz Bakery, and await the Italian-themed retooling of the Park Tavern. Plus the Hill Country gameday BBQ pop-up at South Capitol and N will be no more, with development now underway in that spot.
Underway
A mere seven development projects (four residential, two hotel, one office) broke ground in 2015, to go with the mere seven development projects already under construction. (Need a map to keep them all straight? You're in luck!)
Coming soon, an equally speedy summary of what's on tap for 2016.
Comments (6)
More posts: Development News, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail

Hampton Inn Now Open at 1st and N Streets, SE
Dec 19, 2015 3:32 PM
The neighborhood's second hotel has now officially arrived, with the Hampton Inn and Suites at 1265 1st Street SE having opened to guests on Thursday, Dec. 17.
I wandered in off the streets without the official JDLand camera, but my S6 stood in pretty well as I took some quick photos of the public areas, and of the views off the roof deck, even though that space doesn't appear 100 percent ready yet. (The door was unlocked, honest!)
The official web site for the location probably tells you more than I can about amenities, etc. It looks like the rates are pretty low for dates over the coming days (starting at $99 if you arrived on Monday the 21st), but I'm guessing that won't be the case for long. And there are rooms that are specifically labeled "Ballpark view."
I tossed together a photo gallery that isn't exactly a barn-burner, but here are a few highlights. Apologies that the shots of the ballpark from the roof are ghastly, but I pretty much couldn't have picked a worse time of day in December to try to take photos to the south-southwest. I think you can get the idea.
More in the gallery.
As for the space at street level between the wings of the hotel, directly on the corner, that land is not part of the Hampton footprint--it's part of the Grosvenor F1rst/Residence Inn project immediately to the north, and will eventually be home to a two-story retail building, which you can see in this F1rst rendering that helpfully doesn't include the Hampton Inn.
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More posts: Development News, hamptoninn, Square 701

PN Hoffman Announces Financing for Yards Condo Project
Dec 16, 2015 7:58 AM
Last week developer PN Hoffman announced the completion of a $20 million financing deal that will allow its 138-unit condo project at 4th and Tingey in the Yards to break ground in the first quarter of 2016.
The building, seen on the left side of this rendering, will have about 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail as well as below-grade parking, and is expected to be finished in 2018. It was designed by Handel Architects and WDG, and it's not hard to see brick-and-glass echoes of Arris, its cousin across 4th Street.
The financing was provided by Grosvenor Americas' Structured Development Financing program, for those of you keeping score at home.
According to the sign erected a few weeks back, sales are supposed to start this spring.
And at the same time Hoffman's condo project is being built, Forest City will be building its own rental building immediately to the south, with 190 units in two towers (as seen on the right side of the rendering and in other renderings on the project page).
This is the site where the trapeze school has been camped for the past few years, and it's why they are moving to their new digs at New Jersey and Tingey Any Minute Now.
Hoffman's building (technically known at this point at as Parcel O-1) will be the first condo project in the Yards, and will also be the first condo project to get underway in the neighborhood since Velocity started its construction in 2007--and looks to be on the vanguard of a mini-wave of condo offerings, as both developments at Half and N just north of Nats Park are slated to have condos, along with perhaps a future project at Half and L and one on Square 767 on the old Capper footprint.
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More posts: Development News, The Yards, Yards/Parcel O

JBG Unveils Designs for Residential Project on Half Street
Dec 14, 2015 8:55 AM
Another piece of the puzzle that has been Half Street directly north of Nats Park is falling into place, as JBG filed plans last week with the Zoning Commission for a 424ish-unit combination condo/rental project at Half and N Streets, SE, with more than 65,000 square feet of retail on two floors, in a design that most assuredly can't be described as a typical Washington, DC "box."
The Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay requires buildings just north of the ballpark to "minimize unarticulated walls," and there is no doubt that this design, by ODA Architecture of New York, passes that test, with "extensive modulation" through the use of "balconies [and] extensive landscaping incorporated into the elevations." (This mondo-articulated approach to building design seems to be an ODA hallmark, as you can see from the company's portfolio.)
The condo portion, on the south side of the building at Half and N facing the ballpark, would have approximately 224 1- and 2-bedroom units, while the rental portion on the north end would have 200 units, mostly studio and 1-bedroom units but also with about 10 3-bedroom units. (And the units will have irrigation systems for the balconies, to keep that greenery nice and lush, though I'd still suggest branded watering cans placed strategically as well.)
The rendering above is the view at Half and N, like you were standing at the Nats Park ticket booths looking to the northwest, on the site currently home to the southern portion of the Fairgrounds. Here's a few more drawings, looking down Half Street toward the ballpark (maybe from just a little south of Buffalo Wild Wings) and looking down from On High.
The residential entrances would be on Van Street, facing JBG's just-underway residential building at 1244 South Capitol, which also has two stories of retail, as you can see in the rendering at below left, looking north on Van from N. In the below-right rendering, you can see at left the "Via," a wide pedestrians-only alley that will run along the north end of this project and the south end of Brandywine's planned 25 M Street office building.
For zoning geeks, this filing is actually a modification, revising the design that Akridge received approvals for back in 2009, which planned one office building and one residential building for this portion of the west side of Half Street. A graphic included in the new filing gives a handy siteplan comparison of the modifications, and made me laugh as I realized the line drawing of the new design looks like it could have been drawn on an Etch-a-Sketch. These massing drawings are also worth a look, to give an idea of exactly how the building undulates along Half, as well as how the condo (green) and rental (orange) units are situated.
The only thing that will probably dismay observers is that it's likely the project won't get underway until after the 2016 baseball season ends, making it likely that it won't be completed by the time the Major League Baseball All-Star Game arrives at Nats Park in July of 2018, though the exterior should at least be finished by then.
And because JBG gets a gold star for the thoroughness of its filing, I'll just toss in a few more of the renderings they included, showing the building's interior courtyard (open to Van Street and the west) and the anticipated view from inside the ballpark, with the view of this new building flanked by 1244 South Capitol and the Jair Lynch condo/rental/retail project coming to the Half Street Hole site.
I've added a few of these renderings to the project page, which of course also has a big pile of Before photos and some history of the lot--part of the corner of Half and N has a history that's a bit spicier than we normally discuss around here.
Next, we'll wait to see how the zoning commissioners feel about such an outside-the-box design.
Comments (11)
More posts: Development News, West Half St.

Another New Project Name: 1111 New Jersey is Now Insignia on M
Nov 19, 2015 8:36 PM
You may have noticed that I only rarely have referred to Donohoe's under-construction apartment building at 1111 New Jersey by its announced name, "Gallery at Capitol Riverfront," because, well, if you can't say something nice....
And my hesitancy appears to have been rewarded, because as a reader noticed, the 1111 development is now "Insignia on M," and its marketing (and presumably management) is now being handled by Bozzuto.
The building, currently under construction right next to (but not truly on top of) the east entrance to the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station on the northwest corner of New Jersey and M Streets, SE, will have 324 units (a mix of studios and 1- and 2-BR units), and 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, along with the increasingly standard amenities found in new "luxury" buildings.
The building's progress up to now has not been lightning quick, with vertical construction only beginning to reach ground level nearly 15 months after site-clearing began. (Digging a big hole immediately next to a Metro station and tunnel is not undertaken lightly.)
At least with this change there's finally some new renderings available of the design by WDG Architecture. The one at the top of this post shows the view looking south along New Jersey Avenue from L Street, the same view as seen in this photo from a few days ago, standing near the small patio space at the Courtyard Marriott (though without that big white building in the distance).
Here's a few additional renderings that I purloined from the official web site, showing the roof view (left), and the ground-floor retail facing M Street (middle) and L Street (right, with the lovely pink of Ann's Beauty and Wigs clearly shown at right). You can see more renderings at the official web site and at Donohoe's site. And there's my project page, for more history and photos.
And this is not really the most major change this project has seen, because originally 1111 New Jersey was going to be a 250,000-square-foot office building, before the decision was made in 2013 to go residential.
This is the second renaming I've posted about this week, after the Lofts at Capitol Quarter appeared to get re-dubbed as The Bixby, though I think the Housing Authority maybe ain't all hep to that notion.
But that's not all! There's another residential project that has an official name previously unmentioned here, and it is...
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More posts: 1111 New Jersey/Insignia on M, Development News

The Whole Foods Building? Say Hello to 'Agora'
Nov 19, 2015 8:36 PM
So, we've got the Lofts at Capitol Quarter becoming the Bixby (perhaps), and 1111 New Jersey ditching "Gallery at Capitol Riverfront" for "Insignia on M." Time to fill out the lineup by finally getting around to mentioning that the 336-unit residential building currently under construction at 800 New Jersey is going to be named:
Agora.
This is the project better known as "The Whole Foods Building," on the north end of New Jersey Avenue just south of the Southeast Freeway and immediately to the north of the Park Chelsea. It's the second of three planned apartment buildings by WC Smith on the block bounded by New Jersey, 2nd, H (to come), and I (to come).
Construction started in June of 2014, and is now just coming out of the ground, while residents for many blocks in all directions tap their toes waiting only somewhat patiently for the 36,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market that is signed for the first floor.
I cannot in any way lay claim to being the fast out of the gate in mentioning this Agora news, since it was in a BID newsletter back in July. I meant to mention it sooner, but I also thought that at some point WC Smith would unveil it. Also, it was July. It was hot. I was tired.
As for what "Agora" means, Wikipedia says in its entry on the ancient Greek marketplace of that name that "the literal meaning of the word is 'gathering place' or 'assembly.' The agora was the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual, and political life of the city." (There's a few other Agora entries as well, including a very early "email" browser.)
I doubt this is the end of the naming dance, either, since you have to figure there will be "real" names for 909 Half and 82 I/801 New Jersey and 1244 South Capitol.
I have, however, updated my maps and project pages with all these new names.
(I should also note that this Agora shouldn't be confused with this Agora.)
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More posts: 800 NJ/Whole Foods, Development News

Gas Station Canopy at South Capitol & N Finally Bites the Dust
Nov 19, 2015 3:45 PM
A mere eight years after shutting down, the BP Amoco station on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N Streets is 100 percent no more, with visual confirmation coming via Twitter of the tearing down of the canopy that had remained standing since 2007.
This can be considered the opening salvo in the construction of JBG's 290-unit apartment building at 1244 South Capitol Street, which I mentioned last week would be getting underway Any Minute Now.
For much of its post-gas station existence, this site immediately north of Nats Park was used as a parking lot during Nats games, but during the summer of 2015 it was home to Hill Country's game-day barbecue pop-up, "The Home Stand."
As for the canopy, it's enough of a demolition to memorialize it as entry number 173 in my Demolished Buildings Gallery. (If you haven't wandered through the gallery, it's quite a stroll down memory lane.) The photo above shows the gas station still operating, in August 2005.
The apartment project is expected to be finished in late 2017 or early 2018. And soon I'll have (yet) another hole to look into.
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More posts: 1221 Van, Development News

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.
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More posts: Capper, Capper New Apt Bldgs, Development News, sq767, sq769napts

City Looking at Using 49 L Street as a Homeless Shelter
Nov 17, 2015 7:56 AM
While it needs to be stressed that there is currently no evidence of this being a done deal, it should be passed along that city officials have apparently been considering renovating the old GSA warehouse at Half and L Streets, SE, into a shelter for homeless families.
This is the building that was the subject of a drive back in 2013 by residents who hoped that it could be transferred to city control and eventually become a "market and community space" called the Half Street Market. And it was a little over a year ago that the news came out that the federal government was indeed looking at swapping the building for construction services to be provided by DC at the St. Elizabeth's/Department of Homeland Security site.
My understanding is that Ward 6 council member Charles Allen, while acknowledging the need for such a shelter, is not in favor of using this particular building in its current one-story warehouse form for such a project, citing the loss of potential development above ground level on the site as well as retail in a space so close to both the Navy Yard Metro station and Nationals Park just down Half Street.
(And, it must be said, the optics of having the words "warehouse" and "homeless shelter" so closely tied together are a bit cringeworthy.)
The building is also getting a new neighbor on its southern end, as a Homewood Suites hotel is currently under construction at 50 M.
I sent a request on Monday to the mayor's press office for additional information, but haven't as yet heard back. If I do (because you know how top-level offices love responding to requests from low-profile bloggers), I'll update this post.
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More posts: 49l, Development News, halfstmarket

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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More posts: The Bixby, Capper, Development News, The Bixby

Project Updates: Upward Bound, Plus Some Digging
Nov 12, 2015 12:20 PM
This week I've looked at the buildings that are far along in their construction, and I've looked at the newest topped-off project, and I've even mentioned the project that is just about to start digging, so what's left? A mere seven projects that are in their vertical construction phase, at various levels of out-of-the-ground.
We'll start with 801 New Jersey/82 I (above/left), now a smidge more than halfway toward its eventual 13-story height. This is the Graystar/RCP 227-unit apartment building that is expected to open in 2016.
Just up the block is 800 New Jersey, aka the Whole Foods building, which looks just barely out of the ground from New Jersey (below left), but if you venture up 2nd Street (below right) you can see evidence of the ramp for the grocery store parking that will be on the second and third floor. (Resident parking will be below ground, shared with its sibling the Park Chelsea and the eventual third residential building along the east side of the block.) This building will have about 336 rental units:

Two projects have at least some hint of their first floors built: the 380-unit building at 909 Half Street will be a lot larger than this small section of construction at Half and I makes it look like at the moment (below left), while the Homewood Suites at Half and M really does also have a portion of its first floor built, though the nasty late fall shadows make it hard to see.
Next up are three projects that are technically out of the ground, although it's just rebar breaking the plane at the moment, but concrete shouldn't be far behind. Behold terribly unexciting pictures of the status of the F1rst residential project and the Residence Inn immediately to its north, plus the Gallery at Capitol Riverfront/1111 New Jersey.
But if you like photos of holes being dug, you're still in luck. There's now clear evidence of the excavation work at Skanska's 99 M office building project, and while nothing will ever really arise from the cut-and-cover work on the new portion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel (seen here looking west from 5th Street) it's still digging.
In the midst of all of these updates over the past few days, I did some redevelopment of my own, and finally created individual pages for the Square 701/Not-Ballpark-Square trio of projects, so now you can check out the progress on the Hampton Inn, F1rst/Residence Inn, and 99 M in a less jumbled format.

Residential Project at South Capitol and N Getting Underway Soon
Nov 10, 2015 8:53 PM
I've received word that work is about to get started on 1244 South Capitol, a 290-unit residential building on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N Streets. This is the site where Hill Country operated a game-day pop-up barbecue stand this summer, and many moons ago it was a BP/Amoco station. The land was originally purchased by Monument Realty during the 2005-06 Gold Rush era, then was bought by JBG in 2013.
It's expected to take about two years to complete, and when done it will be the first new building on the east side of South Capitol Street since Nats Park opened more than seven years ago. It will have 26,000 square feet of retail on two stories, giving the corner immediately north of Nats Parking Garage B the sort of "activation" that has been expected ever since it was announced the stadium was coming to South Capitol Street.
For those of you scoring at home, let's go through the lineup of projects currently under construction in the neighborhood east of South Capitol and south of the freeway. Not merely in the pipeline, actually under construction:
* Park Chelsea, 430 rental units, expected delivery early 2016;
* Arris, 326 rental units, expected delivery early 2016;
* Dock 79, 305 rental units, expected delivery summer 2016;
* Lofts at Capitol Quarter, 195 mixed-income rental units, expected delivery 2016;
* Gallery at Capitol Riverfront (1111 New Jersey), 324 rental units, expected delivery 2016;
* 801 New Jersey, 227 rental units, expected delivery late 2016;
* 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods, 336 rental units, expected delivery 2017;
* 909 Half Street, 380 rental units, expected delivery late 2016/early 2017;
* F1rst. 325 rental units, expected delivery 2017;
* Hampton Inn and Suites, 168 rooms, expected delivery Any Minute Now;
* Homewood Suites, 195 rooms, expected delivery late 2016/early 2017;
* Residence Inn, 170 rooms, expected delivery 2017;
* 99 M, 224,000-square-foot office building, expected delivery 2017;
* Capper Community Center, expected delivery early 2016.
If you don't feel like doing the math, that's more than 2,900 rental units being built right now, as well as about 530 hotel rooms.
No wonder I'm so tired.
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More posts: 1221 Van, Development News

First Renderings of Lerner's 1000 South Capitol Residential Project
Nov 10, 2015 11:57 AM
With a BZA hearing in the offing later this month, Lerner Enterprises has submitted more filings on 1000 South Capitol, its proposed 330ish-unit residential building at South Capitol and K Streets, SE. And those filings contain the first spiffy renderings of the building, so of course must follow my fiduciary duty to pass them along. Shalom Baranes is the architect.
On Monday night, ANC 6D supported 5-0-1 the project's application for two zoning variances (side yard and loading berth) and a special exception (roof structure). In its motion, the ANC did mention that the loss of Nats Parking Lot K and the addition of more residents "will place further demands on an already difficult parking situation," and asks for the developer's commitment to "place information in all leases stating that tenants are not eligible for [residential parking permits.]" The ANC also mentioned concerns with potential use of the curb lane on South Capitol for loading, deliveries, and drop-offs, and suggested a small signed zone on K Street for such uses.
And, while the building does not have an affordable housing requirement, Lerner has committed to having two such units in the building, one with a household income of 50-80% area median income (AMI) and one of 80-120% AMI. Commissioner Rhonda Hamilton made a strong plea for the AMI to go as low as 30% AMI, noting that "it's not fair" that people who work at the stadium or nearby restaurants for low pay are being priced out of the ability to live near where they work.
Note the angled windows along South Capitol, alternating between south-facing and north-facing on each floor, to give residents views toward the Capitol and toward the ballpark.
I am not seeing any evidence in the filings of any ground-floor retail--this block is not covered by the Capitol Gateway Overlay District, so it does not have the same requirements for retail space that buildings along and south of M are bound by.
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More posts: 1000 South Capitol, Development News

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!
Still to come, the skeletons-and-holes report.

Developer Planning 22-Unit Condo Building at 8th and Virginia
Nov 4, 2015 9:40 PM
Perhaps the third time will be the charm for the long-empty lot at 801 Virginia, as in recent weeks the bureaucratic wheels have been turning on a new plan to put 22 condos and 3,000 square feet of ground-floor retail in a four-story building on the southeast corner of 8th and Virginia.
Both Urban Turf and Capitol Hill Corner have reported on the plans by Northfield Development, which include 16 one-bedroom units, three studios, and three two-bedroom units, along with 11 ground-floor parking spaces tucked in behind the ground floor. Both the parking entrance and the resident entrance will be on L Street.
Developers apparently told a supportive ANC 6B that they anticipate breaking ground in March 2016, making it a busy time for that stretch of Virginia, which is currently closed for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel reconstruction.
In late October the Historic Preservation Review Board found the plans to be "generally compatible" with the Capitol Hill Historic District, though the developers are being asked to "refine the design so that it has more of the character of Capitol Hill, including a weightier base, an attention to details and materials, [...] and more substantial corners."
If one takes a long stroll through the JDLand archives, one can read about how the land was bought in the summer of 2005 (not a typo) for $2.5 million with plans for a mixed residential/office/retail building advertised in 2007 as "The Admiral." The former gas station seen here that stood on the site was demolished in early 2006 (#34 in the Demolished Buildings gallery), but the lot remained unbuilt. Then in the fall of 2008 it reappeared as a planned office building, which actually got BZA approval before also not moving forward. Then the land was purchased by Northfield in July, for what property records say is $1.825 million.
While for a few years the tunnel construction will be yet another hurdle (literally) to getting visitors at the main section of Barracks Row to cross under the freeway, the opening of Ziaafat Grill as well as the arrivals Any Minute Now of Las Placitas and the Brig at 8th and L plus potential plans by the National Community Church for the Blue Castle could perhaps be the first tugs southward that Lower Barracks Row has been looking for. We Shall See.
As for the condo lineup in the neighborhood, the list of potential projects is finally starting to grow, with PN Hoffman's 140-unit building at 4th and Tingey (Yards "Parcel O") looking to be the first out of the gate with construction expected to start next year. The Jair Lynch Companies have said that a portion of his project to fill in the Half Street Hole will be condos, and of course there's the possibility of a condo building on Square 767 in the Capper redevelopment footprint. And 10 Van Street is being "contemplated" as condos, as is the MRP building slated for the Navy Yard Metro station Chiller Plant site at Half and L. It will be interesting to see what comes to fruition.... (If you are keeping track at home, the last [well, only] condo building to be built in the neighborhood was Velocity, which opened in 2009. The co-ops at Capitol Hill Tower opened in 2006.)
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More posts: 801va, Development News, 8th Street

At Last: A Look Inside Building 202 at the Yards
Nov 1, 2015 6:36 PM
When the news hit in recent days that Forest City is entertaining offers from developers interested in renovating the massive Building 202 at 5th and M, a long-dormant ember deep in my brain was re-sparked: would someone ever take pity on the JDLand camera and allow some interior "before" photos of the 1941 building also known as the Broadside Mount Shop and the Gun Assembly Building?
It turns out that sometimes the best way to do something you've wanted to do for 12 years is to actually ask.
Last week I was given a tour of the 215,000-square-foot building, often by flashlight since there is no power currently on inside, and here is a gallery of photos for your perusal. There were some areas I was not allowed to depict here: I guess when I finally write a book about all of this in 2030 or so I will get to unveil that particular mystery.
However, you are still able to see a pretty astonishing space, even given its current run-down state, and it's easy to see why developers would be eyeing it as a potential high-risk high-reward rehabilitation of a historic building. The inner atrium runs the complete length of the building and up to the roof, while the sides of the building (where the four narrow strips of windows are in the above photo) offer the sort of industrial/exposed-brick goodness that plenty of architects spend a lot of time trying to emulate.
As mentioned above, Forest City does not have plans for the building anytime soon, and decided to market it to see whether another company might potentially have a vision for it that meshes well with the general direction of the Yards--and one that of course would be willing to pay more than a few pennies to buy the building.
Here are some of the photos, but look at the gallery to see the complete set.
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More posts: Development News, Factory 202/Yards, The Yards

New Residential Project Planned for McDonald's Lot
Oct 27, 2015 4:13 PM
Of all the "old" lots in the neighborhood, one that never really seemed to enter into the discussions of "will it get redeveloped?" has been the McDonald's lot on the northeast corner of South Capitol and I Streets, SE. But lo and behold, RCP Development (the company behind the under-construction apartment building at 82 I/801 New Jersey) has filed plans with the Board of Zoning Adjustment for a two-phase residential building with a total of 558 apartments.
(RCP doesn't actually own the land, but is listed with Crescent Communities LLC as "Contract Purchaser/Development Team," and there is a letter from McDonald's authorizing RCP and Crescent to "represent the Property owner" in all BZA proceedings. McDonald's has owned the land since 1985.)
The first phase would run along South Capitol Street and turn toward the east in an L-shape, paralleling the Southeast Freeway. Tthe second phase would be a tower built to the east, with a glass walkway structure connecting it to the first tower along I Street, and with an open courtyard and driveway (as seen below).
The filings show only about 3,200 square feet of retail at the building's southwest corner. (No word as to whether McDonald's would return, though I note that the rendering above shows a "bank" in that space.) The architect is SK&I.
(As for that Southeast Freeway ramp shown just to the west of the proposed building in the top rendering, it is slated to eventually go away as part of a not-yet-funded not-yet-scheduled later phase of the South Capitol Street reconstruction, with cars instead turning left onto a ramp at a location under the freeway about where Nats Lot HH currently is.)
More as I get it, clearly.
UPDATE: One or two additional tidbits: the first-phase building would be about 380 apartments--the second phase could be more apartments, or condos, or a hotel, at this point undetermined. Also, it's worth keeping in mind that the design in the renderings is a pretty early one.
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More posts: 2ist, Development News, mcdonalds

909 Half Street, For Real?
Oct 14, 2015 3:32 PM
Looks like the Washington Business Journal caught the first glimpse in the wild of the 383-unit residential project at 909 Half Street, now that the permit for building above ground level has been approved.
(And is it really all that different from my rendering?)
No official comment or additional info to be had at this point; however, maybe now that it's out there the development team of Ruben and Related will catch up with the party and pass along some tidbits.
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More posts: One Hill South, Development News

Holes and Cranes, October Edition: Moving On Up
Oct 12, 2015 9:39 AM
There's a milestone of sorts right now in the Holes report, as the current lineup of excavations for six developments-to-be are all now in the vertical construction phase. (The seventh technically-underway project, Skanska's spec office building at 99 M Street, does not appear to have broken ground, either ceremonially or literally.)
The longest serving member of the holes lineup, 800 New Jersey (aka the Whole Foods Building) continues its slow (did I mention slow?) progress toward reaching ground level on its western side, having hit that milestone on its eastern edge a number of months ago. Meanwhile, the list's first runner-up, 1111 New Jersey (which I suppose someday I'll have to start calling The Gallery at Capitol Riverfront) is pouring concrete and rebar-ing at last. (Do not underestimate the intricacies of excavation and construction near a Metro station.) Here's 800 and 1100, both captured a few days ago:
Then there's the as-yet-unrendering'ed residential project at 909 Half Street, as well as the hole that will sprout both the Residence Inn hotel and F1rst apartment building along 1st Street south of M, all of which were started within weeks of each other in the spring and none of which are small:
Lastly there's the Homewood Suites project at 50 M Street, which despite only going down about two floors has lagged behind its spring cohorts, but which now has a partial concrete floor and some columns, though with a dirt floor still partially in evidence. (See my previous comment about the intricacies of excavation and construction near a Metro station.)
Given how I am getting jolted by the skyline changes from a mere two new skeletons (at Florida Rock and 801 New Jersey), imagine the joltings that are on tap for 2016 as these additional projects rise out of the ground. The image below may help prepare you (and me), with my having marked the locations where the view is going to change.... (UPDATE: Dang it, I had the F1rst and Residence Inn locations swapped. The image is correct now.)

The Changing Skyline: Catching Sight of Dock 79 and 801 New Jersey
Oct 11, 2015 8:04 PM
As someone who has, shall we say, a pretty firm grasp on the plans and locations for new buildings in the neighborhood, I admit to a jolt here or there when skeletons arise and become visible--especially in spots at which I hadn't yet imagined seeing them.
With the residential buildings at Florida Rock and 801 New Jersey now in the showy above-ground portion of construction, I got jolted quite a few times during a four-hour walk around the neighborhood on Sunday to catch up on photos.
Here's a few images that perhaps might jolt you too, starting with the one above, looking directly at Dock 79 from the DC Water bridge along the Riverwalk, which also should be compared to this view from just before the final demolition of the concrete plant. And while there's this one that I've been waiting to see, looking east along Potomac Avenue from South Capitol Street, with work on the top floor now underway, there's also the "surprise" view from the Yards Park (click to enlarge):
Dock 79 is also quite visible now when looking south along 1st Street, and even from New Jersey and M (in person, not with a wideish-angle lens!).
As for 801 New Jersey, it hasn't risen more than a couple floors, but it's still starting to show itself at locations other than the intersection of New Jersey and I--like along K Street, at 1st and at 2nd Place (I've added a small helpful pointer in case you aren't seeing it). It's going up a total of 13 floors, so it's only going to get more noticeable from more locations.
Of course, if a favored view is being eclipsed by this "progress," my sympathies. At least someone thought to take "before" photos.
(PS: The Reader Poll will be closing soon, so hurry up and vote. Tell us your favorite haunts around the 'Hood, and tell me a little about yourself. Pretty please? There may be a coveted JDLand t-shirt in it for you!)
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More posts: 801nj, Development News, Florida Rock

Forest City 'Entertaining Offers' for Building 202 at the Yards
Oct 6, 2015 8:15 AM
Near the northeastern edge of the footprint of the Yards, on the southeast corner of 5th and M, stands the old Gun Assembly / Broadside Mount Shop building, also known as Building 202, built in 1941 and waiting its turn as the next historic building in the neighborhood to be "adaptively reused."
When plans to redevelop the old Southeast Federal Center into The Yards were unveiled, Building 202 was included in the lineup of the project's first phase, and was said to be on the boards to be redeveloped by PN Hoffman as a 270ish-unit condo building. But other than some very basic renderings and a few tentative dates that quietly came and went, the building has remain untouched.
But perhaps that is about to change, as the Washington Business Journal is reporting that "numerous developers have approached Forest City about buying and redeveloping" the 215,000-square-foot building, prompting the decision to now actually market the site for sale, with offers due on Oct. 15. ("Price not disclosed.")
(This second image of Building 202 was taken from the roof of the old Capper Seniors building in late 2007, shortly before its demolition and long before Twelve12 and its Harris Teeter arose next to 202.)
The building is described as having potential "as an industrial loft-style office space, a boutique hotel, high quality condominium units or cultural use." The sales flyer also mentions the central atrium that "extends the full height of the building" and that 202 is part of the Washington Navy Yard Historic District, which means that any buyer will have quite the steeplechase of approvals to get before doing anything to the building. (One would also imagine that Forest City would want any future plans for the building to fit in with the rest of the tableau at the Yards.)
As for PN Hoffman, the developer did not forsake the Yards--the company purchased the "Parcel O" site at 4th and Tingey last year and is moving forward with a 130ish-unit condo building on that site, with a new Forest City rental building planned immediately to its south. Both buildings are expected to begin construction early in 2016, and in fact just today a reader alerted me to a new sign on the lot announcing "Condo Sales Spring 2016/PN Hoffman."
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More posts: Development News, Factory 202/Yards, The Yards

First Look at Monument's Residential Project, 10 Van Street
Sep 11, 2015 11:05 AM
Earlier this week Monument Realty filed plans with the Zoning Commission for what it is calling 10 Van Street, its 13-story, 163-unit residential project immediately to the south of its planned headquarters of the National Association of Broadcasters at the corner of South Capitol and M Streets, SE.
The new project, designed by Gensler and which is Monument is "contemplating" as a condo building while still "keeping all options on the table," will have a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units as well as multi-level two-bedroom townhouses facing both Van and South Capitol.
In the renderings provided by Monument, you can see the red-and-black-and-glass 10 Van paired with the more beige One M (and also the Self Storage building and JBG's 1244 South Capitol at the far end of the Van Street rendering below). The townhouse portions are visible as the areas with the dark "glazed brick material" at street level. In the rendering at below right, you can see the building from above South Capitol Street and how it is paired with the NAB HQ and also its west-facing courtyard that will front South Capitol.
It's expected to be built concurrently with NAB/One M beginning next spring, with completion in 2018. The project will need to complete this Capital Gateway Overlay Review first.
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More posts: avidian, Development News, One M, zoning

Across the Way: Possible Residential on South Capitol St. SW
Sep 9, 2015 2:52 PM
Many moons ago, I decided that the written-in-stone boundaries of JDLand coverage stop where the Southeast quadrant stops--in the middle of the South Capitol Street median. (This was also written into the peace agreement negotiated with SWill.)
But I can't completely ignore the recent news that Ronald D. Paul Cos. has now bought 31,000 square feet of land south of N Street, directly across from the Nats Park, and just north of Camden's 1325 South Capitol apartment building.
And while WBJ says the company "is in no rush to build," according to SWill this is part of a joint venture with Altus Realty Partners to build 1319 South Capitol, a 250-unit building that could get underway in 2016.
The rendering below is paired with a photo of mine from 2013 from a strikingly similar angle:
As seen in the drawing, the new building is designed to for an L shape around the existing rowhouses on South Capitol.
The project will need to go through zoning hearings since that stretch of South Capitol St. SW is covered by the Capitol Gateway Overlay.
This tidbit also gives me an excuse to post photos of the Jas. T. Warring building (Est. 1918!) building that used to be on the site until it disappeared sometime in 2008 or early 2009.
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More posts: 1319southcap, Development News, South Capitol St.

Out and About: The Latest Above-Ground Report
Sep 3, 2015 8:39 AM
For posterity's sake, here's a quick survey of the late-summer state of construction at various sites--hope you like the Douglass Bridge-based views of the Arris and Dock 79 residential projects, for a bit of variety. Arris is close to having all of its exterior glass installed, while Dock 79 is just about halfway through to its eventual 10-floor height.
Otherwise, the masonry work continues slowly at the Lofts at Capitol Quarter (lower left), while the windows are in at the new Community Center (lower middle) and the Brig beer garden at 8th and L does show evidence of progress.

99 M Office Building Looks to be Starting Soon
Sep 2, 2015 12:11 PM
Eagle-eyed JDLand readers (are there any other kind?) have noticed in recent days that the final remnants of the former Nats Parking Lot F on the southwest corner of 1st and M Streets SE has been shut down and that some equipment has arrived on site.
This is the location where Skanska is planning 99 M Street, a 233,000ish-square-foot building that would be the first new office development in the neighborhood since 1015 Half Street was finally completed back in 2011.
Excavation and foundation permits were both issued back in July, and my understanding is that the construction team is indeed "mobilizing," plus plans for a formal groundbreaking are in the works.
No tenants have been announced as yet.
When complete, the building will have 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and one heck of a rooftop. And it will look slightly different from the former resident of the site.
Once the digging begins, it will then mean that the entire west side of 1st between M and N will be under construction, as the Hampton Inn on the south end of the block nears completion and the Residence Inn and F1st residential projects in the middle of the block are at the start of their vertical construction.
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More posts: 99m, Development News

Out and About: The End-of-Summer Holes-in-the-Ground Report
Sep 1, 2015 7:04 PM
After struggling to point my camera over the tops of multiple construction fences this weekend (at least I don't walk around with a stepladder, because THEN I'd be a crazy person), I can report that two projects are on the cusp of graduating from the Holes in the Ground report: Greystar's 227-unit apartment building at the corner of New Jersey and I (below left), and WC Smith's 330-unit residential building/Whole Foods project at 800 New Jersey (below right). Neither of them are 100 percent above-ground, but both now have some smidgens of rebar breaking the plane, as it were:
In the meantime, vertical construction is underway at the bottom of three of the neighborhood's other four holes in the ground, starting from below left with the 909 Half Mystery Residential Building, the joint Residence Inn/F1rst residential project on 1st Street, and at the Gallery at Capitol Riverfront residential building at New Jersey and M. The Homewood Suites at 50 M hasn't hit bottom yet (so to speak), but its crane is now up.
But is there about to be a new entry in the Holes in the Ground lineup? More on that soon!

Lerner Now Planning 330-Unit Residential Building at 1000 South Capitol
Aug 30, 2015 1:16 PM
After years (and years and years) of expectations that Lerner Enterprises' 1000 South Capitol Street project would eventually be a 320.000-square-foot office building, an application filed in mid-August with the Board of Zoning Adjustment has revealed the company is now looking to build a 330ish-unit residential building on the site between K and L Streets, SE.
There are no renderings included with the filing, and the company has let me know that they are not quite ready to offer up details on the project, but the BZA documents do show that the building would be 110 feet/13 stories high, with three levels of underground parking, and is being designed by Shalom Baranes Associates.
The site is the western half of the block where the 1015 Half Street office building has stood since 2011, and has served as Nats Parking Lot K since 2008.
This would be Lerner's second development project in the neighborhood, with the company having built the 20 M Street office building back in 2005-2007. (The other neighborhood project owned by the Lerner family, the one with the Curly W logo, has its headquarters a few blocks further down South Capitol.)
This 1000 South Capitol project actually came to ANC 6D way back in 2006 (no, really) with a request to close a portion of the alley that runs between this lot and 1015 Half, and in fact the alley closing is still marked as "proposed" on the new BZA documents.
For your zoning nerds, Lerner is looking for variances from side yard requirements and loading requirements, and a special exception from roof structure requirements. In addition, the project will have a 15-foot setback along South Capitol, which is not currently required since the site is not within the Capitol Gateway Overlay boundaries, but will become a requirement once/if the city's zoning rewrite is ever completed.
The BZA hearing is currently scheduled for Nov. 24.
More as I get it.
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More posts: 1000 South Capitol, Development News

Showplace Icon Theaters Lease Signed; Projected 2018 Opening
Jul 16, 2015 11:32 AM
The news that so many people have been waiting for just crossed the transom, with a press release from Forest City announcing that a lease has at last been signed with Showplace Icon Theaters and that construction on the planned 16-screen, 1,500-seat "premium cinema complex" on DC Water land just east of Nats Park is "expected to begin in early 2016 with opening projected for early 2018."
From the release: "Each theater in the new Showplace Icon at The Yards will feature wall-to-wall screens and premium sound, deluxe leather recliner seats and reserved seating. The facility will also have exclusive VIP levels with adults-only access and tables for enjoying food and beverages inside the auditoriums. The theatre's Lobby Lounge will feature a full bar, along with a tasty menu of appetizers, small plates, snacks and desserts for enjoying before, during or after the show." The theater will also have its own 320-space parking garage.
Word of Forest City's plans for a movie theater first leaked out in the spring of 2013, but it wasn't until just a few months ago that the deal to take control of this portion of the DC Water site was locked down. Though note that the press release also says that "the theatre construction start is dependent upon DC Water’s timetable for vacating that portion of the property."
There are also plans for two residential buildings along 1st Street, though no timeline for those has been announced.
See my Yards at DC Water page for more details, or read my previous posts on the theater.
(PS: deep in the release, it mentions that the Due South restaurant at the Lumber Shed is expected to open "this summer." No date for Nicoletta, though. It also says that the PN Hoffman condo building and Forest City's apartment building immediately to its south on the current trapeze school lot are expected to break ground in early 2016.)
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More posts: Development News, theater, The Yards at DC Water

Getting Their Faces Put On: Arris, Lofts at CQ, and Others
Jul 14, 2015 9:00 AM
The holes in the ground have been surveyed, so now it's time to catch up on the latest neighborhood façade action, starting at 4th and Tingey, where Forest City's Arris apartment building at the Yards is now starting to get the floor-to-ceiling glass panels that will surround the building's top six floors. The photo on the left, from Tingey Street, shows how the glass reflects the sky and clouds when caught at the proper angle; the photo at right, from Water Street, shows them as being a little less opaque. Either way, the glass makes for a substantial contrast with the brick of the building's lower floors.
Speaking of brick, up at 7th and L the Lofts at Capitol Quarter mixed-income apartment project is just starting to get its masonry on--though that's an awful lot of square footage to cover, as you look at that loooooong wall stretching west from 7th Street.
While the beer garden coming to 8th and L known as the Brig will win no awards for its speed of construction, progress is evident (below left), with light fixtures now in place along the roof line. Over at 5th and K the Community Center continues to move closer to looking like its renderings.
And thanks to everyone who stopped to say hi while I was roaming around on Sunday, though I can't imagine how people guessed that the old lady standing in the street taking pictures of construction was me.
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More posts: brig, Community Center, Development News, The Bixby, Arris/Parcel N/Yards

Holes in the Ground Report: And Then There Were Six
Jul 13, 2015 7:57 PM
With Florida Rock/Dock 79 having graduated from the lineup, the neighborhood now has "only" six holes in the ground, representing five residential projects and two hotels.
Photographic evidence obtained through cyclone fences shows that 800 New Jersey (at right), aka the building that's going to have a Whole Foods in the ground floor, is currently looking like it will be the next development to arrive at ground level, now a little over a year after excavation began.
The other five sites have at least partially gotten to the lowest part of their excavations, and cranes have sprouted at four of them.
From left, in order of time spent shoring and sheeting and excavating: 1111 New Jersey, 801 New Jersey, 909 Half, the Homewood Suites at 50 M, and the Residence Inn/F1rst hotel/residential project at 1st and M:
Which one will make it to ground level next? (Please, no wagering.)

More Zoning News: Hearing on One M Street/NAB HQ
Jul 1, 2015 10:55 PM
Last Thursday the Zoning Commission held a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review hearing for One M Street, the building planned for the southeast corner of South Capitol and M Streets that is to be the new home for the National Association of Broadcasters.
Monument Realty had come to the commission back in 2013 with plans for a 328,000-square-foot office building, but now the developer is planning both this 120,000-square-foot NAB HQ (seen at right) and a 175ish-unit residential building immediately to the south that will come to the commission at a later date. (More on that below.)
Architect Bill Hellmuth of HOK testified that the location is a "gateway" that presents an "opportunity to make a building that is unique" to the city and also acts as separate gateway to the neighborhood by Nats Park. He also mentioned that having the very un-Washington curved facade start at an overhang 29 feet above the sidewalk is a "special moment" for the building.
Retail will make up about 35 percent of the ground-floor space, although there's a possibility that some of that space will be taken by a broadcast studio in the space facing M Street (and that there would also be a window to see into the studio from the lobby). NAB will apparently occupy about half of the building, which it will be buying from Monument Realty once it's constructed.
The filing contained a few new renderings, which I of course have pilfered (UPDATE: and two of which are now nice high-res versions, thanks to Monument Realty), showing the building as seen from both the west and east along M and also from the south on South Capitol:
All in all, there were no major issues, with most commissioners commenting on the "tremendous improvement" of this design over the original one, and the board was also happy that the developers will now be applying for LEED Gold certification.
There were also discussions about whether the concrete on the penthouse is light gray or dark gray, whether portions of the facade are a dark tan or a light tan, about whether the "rectilinear" facade is more appropriate for South Capitol and the curved one being better suited for M Street, and whether a small portion of the penthouse was in violation of the Height Act or could be handled by a special exception allowing for enclosing walls of different heights. There were also a few minutes taken to dicuss whether the glass in the building is the type that can help prevent birds from flying into it (WAKE UP, I'M STILL WRITING HERE).
It's expected that the commission will take its vote on this case at its July 27 meeting.
As for the 175ish-unit residential building being planned for the south half of this site, you can see its ghost in the new rendering up top and in two of the other new renderings, plus the filing had this keen photo showing a model of the two buildings, as seen from the northwest. You may note that the residential building has its courtyard open to South Capitol Street, in a very similar fashion to JBG's 1244 South Capitol Street residential project that will be at the south end of the same block (also ghosted in the main photo up top).
See my somewhat paltry One M Street project page for shots of the site's past (spoiler alert: it's the old Domino's site) as well as links to my posts about it over the years.
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More posts: Development News, One M, zoning

New Residential, Retail Plans for the 'Half Street Hole' Get Zoning OK
Jul 1, 2015 11:14 AM
On Monday night, with all of about three minutes of discussion, the Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for Jair Lynch's new residential and retail plans for the northeast corner of Half and N Streets, immediately north of Nats Park.
At the initial hearing for the project back in May, commissioners reacted positively to the design, which includes at least 60,000 square feet of retail on two floors topped with somewhere between 350 and 445 rental and condo residential units and possibly a small hotel as well.
The issues that prevented a vote back in May appear to have been addressed, among them the removal of plans for catenary lights to be strung across Half Street and for bollards that had been placed to protect pedestrians on the curbless sidewalks during non-game times, when traffic will be allowed on Half.
New renderings were also provided to the commission, showing the view of the building along both Cushing Place and the new "Monument Place" between this building's north end and the south side of 55 M. And of course it is required that I snag them from the filing and show them to you, with the Cushing Place view looking down from M Street, showing the "intersection" with Monument Place, and then the Monument Place view looking in from Half Street:
The developers have said that their plan is to begin construction in 2016, with completion by 2018, a timeline that gets speeded up somewhat since the bulk of the excavation was done, ahem, about eight years ago.
For much more about this project, including additional renderings, you can read my summary of the May zoning hearing, my look at the initial submission, and the project page.
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Post-Vacation Tidbits: Cranes Up, Roads Closed, and Carryout Pizza
Jun 29, 2015 9:26 AM
I'm now back from a much-needed respite in north-central and northeast Wyoming, where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play (sometimes in your yard), and where the skies are (mostly) not cloudy all day.
While I'm miffed that all work in Near Southeast did not grind to a halt while I was gone, I will still pass along these quick tidbits of news, for those who weren't doing their own newsgathering over the past 10 days.
* CRANES A'PLENTY: The residential projects at 801 New Jersey and 1111 New Jersey have now joined the lineup of sites where tower cranes are in place. This of course means that vertical construction at these locations won't be too far off, should everything go according to plan. And there's probably a crane coming before long at 909 Half as well. (Speaking of cranes, they are often lightning rods--literally, as the Dock 79 crane found out last week.)
* ROADS A'CLOSING: On Wednesday, June 24, Virginia Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets SE was closed and fenced, as part of initial Virginia Avenue Tunnel work. And a missive from CSX a few days ago says that the expectation is that Virginia will close between 4th and 5th "on or about" Wednesday, July 1. (But the cross streets will remain open.) Drivers will need to use K Street over to 5th to then continue north under the freeway, or to continue east on Virginia Avenue until that portion of road is closed as well.
* PIZZA PIZZA: There's still the pesky detail of actual construction, but at last a building permit has been approved for Nicoletta, the pizza/pasta carryout kiosk long planned by Osteria Morini's Chef Michael White in one of the small retail bays beneath the Yards Park overlook, on the Riverwalk.
* BARDO DELAYED: The plans for an outdoor park and "brew garden" on the west end of the Florida Rock site are "now looking like a fall opening," according to WBJ--"if we're lucky." "Red tape" is the reason given. WBJ also notes that the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that was looking for $200,000 to help fund the venture closed with $4,330 in contributions.
There's probably more to come, but that's good enough for now.

Zoning Commissioners React Favorably to Lynch Half Street Plans
May 28, 2015 10:35 PM
Developer Jair Lynch's plans to finally get development going on the site at Half and N just north of Nats Park known in some parts as "Monument Valley" or the "Half Street Hole" went before the Zoning Commission on Thursday night for a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review.
I went into detail on the updated designs a few weeks ago, but the quickie summary is that there will be somewhere between 350 and 445 residential units (including condos!) in two buildings, and as much as 68,000 square feet of retail on two floors. (There could possibly be a small hotel as well, which would bring the residential count to the lower end of the proposed spectrum.) There would also be 231 parking spaces and bike parking in three underground levels, the hole for which, as we all know, has already conveniently been dug.
Both Jair Lynch and project architect Chris Harvey of Hord Coplan Macht talked about how the building is designed to bring the "indoors out, and the outdoors in," with huge windows for retail spaces and with the upper floors designed to take in views not of the surrounding skyline but of the street below, especially as the festive gameday atmosphere unfolds. "We believe it will define the ballpark entertainment district," Lynch said, calling it a "unique destination" for the three million people who visit the ballpark and the neighborhood every year.
The comments from the zoning commissioners were uniformly positive*, with the discussion going through especially zoning-y zoning issues, such as the design of the roof, the status of LEED certification (they're going for Silver, apparently), the lack of affordable housing (short version: this project is expensive!) and the location of a lobby entrance at the corner of Half and the new pedestrian-only Monument Place.
Much of the remaining discussion ended up centering around the streetscape plans, with commissioners agreeing that a curbless street being a wise decision with thousands of people walking through and not watching where they are going, but with DDOT needing to work with Lynch's group to decide exactly how to approach, since as of now DDOT really has no guidelines for such a design.
DDOT also appeared to be putting the kibosh on the idea of "catenary lights" across both ends of Half Street (which has been in the drawings for the site for many years), as well as wanting planned bollards ditched and wanting a different layout for sidewalk trees, since the lack of overhead wires on Half means that there could be a substantial tree canopy if the proper trees are used.
In response to a question from commissioner Robert Miller, who described the project as "very long-awaited and dynamic and exciting," Lynch said that the expectation is to break ground in 2016 and be finished in 2018 (presumably in time for a certain all-star event). Cushing Street would be used as the route for construction vehicles (though work would stop three hours before any Nats game), but Lynch also said that the fact that the excavation is mostly complete "should help tremendously."
With the Office of Planning and DDOT each supporting the plan as long as a few items are addressed, and with ANC 6D having voted to support it as well, there appears to only be the need for some mopping up submissions (renderings from street level for Cushing Street and Monument Place, better roof plans, the fixes for OP, yadda yadda), it sounds as if this project should be voted on favorably, perhaps at the June 29 commission meeting.
My page for this Half Street project gives additional details on the site, as do my previous posts.
And maybe before too much longer we'll see some details of JBG's plans for the other side of the street.
* Or, in the case of Peter May, not actually negative.
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More posts: Development News, lynchhalf, zoning

Looking Ahead: New Drawings for Lynch Half Street
May 18, 2015 4:45 PM
With a May 28 Capitol Gateway Overlay design review on the calendar, the Jair Lynch/Half Street Hole project has within the past few days submitted additional materials to the Zoning Commission. And since I know how much everyone loves renderings....
The one I know will be of most interest is above left, showing what the new skyline would look like just to the northeast of Nats Park as seen from home plate, where Lynch's planned residential project will be situated. (They seemed to have tried to go for some sort of tilt-shift look, so it's not your eyes or my image file that's blurry, it's the original.) At right is a sharper/snazzier view of the building as seen from ground-level at Half and N, with the glass-walled corner portion of the planned 60,000-plus square feet of retail space a definite focal point. The darker façade facing N Street delineates the planned condo portion of the project from the rental units (and possibly a hotel, or possibly not) around the corner on Half.
I wrote in detail about the plans for the site a few weeks ago, or you can check my Lynch Half project page for additional details.
Meanwhile, in other Ballpark District 2.0 news, I see an indication of forward progress on JBG's planned 290-unit residential project just north of the ballpark at 1244 South Capitol: an application was filed last week for a shoring/sheeting/excavation permit (got to dig down before you can build up!). The company has said they are looking to begin construction in late 2015 or early 2016.
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More posts: 1221 Van, Development News, lynchhalf, zoning

Latest Renderings of 82 I Street Apartment Building
May 4, 2015 3:05 PM
New renderings have been passed along today of the apartment building in the early stages of construction on the northwest corner of New Jersey and I Streets, currently known in the parlance as 82 I Street:
(Of course, that lush green field just across New Jersey is architectural license, since we know that space is not now, nor has it likely ever been, a grassy expanse. Instead, this building will be facing the Park Chelsea and 800 New Jersey apartment buildings, as well as the Whole Foods scheduled to go in on the ground floor of the latter.)
It's now confirmed that the building will have about 5,500 square feet of ground-floor retail (making a certain someone so very excited!), and the new drawings give a clearer view of the ground-floor spaces.
UPDATE, 5/5: With word of a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site today, within which the site is referred to as being at 801 New Jersey, I am going to make an executive decision and dispense with the 82 I stuff going forward. So say hello to 801 New Jersey!
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The Big Picture: Taking a Moment to Look at Where Things Stand
Apr 30, 2015 10:11 AM
With the late-winter flurry of new construction starts now over, and with so many projects now underway, I started to think about exactly how far along this whole Building of a New Neighborhood is, and how much is left to go.
So of course rather than looking at acreage, or square feet of build-out, I just made a goofy map, based on my now Google'd Neighborhood Development Map.
The filled-in blocks are projects that are now completed or currently under construction. (And, with the exception of Van Ness Elementary, the Carroll Apartments, and that big brown Navy Yard block, all of them have been built or "adaptively reused" since 1999.)
The dark blue squares are projects that would seem to have a pretty good chance of getting underway within the next year or so, though of course I retain my hard-won skepticism of not truly believing a project timeline until I see shovels in the ground.
Finally, the red circles are the locations where buildings are planned but don't at the moment appear to be close to getting started.
The tally?
* 21 new buildings completed, plus the seven-block expanse of townhouses at Capitol Quarter;
* Three buildings renovated extensively for new uses;
* Three parks completed;
* One baseball stadium completed;
* 12 buildings currently under construction;
and
* 36ish buildings to go, with nine of them looking to potentially be getting underway by mid-2016.
That would appear to place things at somewhere around 50 percent complete, it would seem, while keeping in mind all manner of caveats about changing plans, poor counting decisions on my part, and more.
I wouldn't want to begin to attach a timeline to when every project will be completed, but I'd note that we are 16 years into the razing and rebuilding of Near Southeast, a time frame which included not only the Housing Bubble and the stadium-related Land Rush but both the post-9/11 recession and the Great Recession of 2008. So, one might reasonably ponder that there could be another 15 years to go, with some "pauses" built in.
I might need a new camera at some point.
UPDATE: Of course, within seconds of posting this, I realized I missed creating a circle for one in-the-future project, so that ups the count to 36. {pause} Or 37. I totally meant 37.
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A Real Name for Florida Rock's First Building: Dock 79
Apr 28, 2015 7:39 PM
I imagine there's some sort of more official rollout to come, but I'll just jump the gun as I see evidence this evening that "Riverfront" isn't going to be the name for the apartment building currently under construction at the old Florida Rock site.
Instead, say hello to "Dock 79," now on Twitter at @Dock79DC.
It looks like there will be an official web site in the near future, but I don't think they are ready for company just yet.
Way (way!) back when, the project was christened "Riverfront on the Anacostia," so I admit to never quite being sure that the "Riverfront groundbreaking" was referring to the project or the building, but no one ever corrected any of posts here or in lots of other outlets using that name for this building.
But now we know.
And I now I must roam through my site to add the new name everywhere.

The April Out-of-the-Ground Report
Apr 28, 2015 10:37 AM
I already looked down this month, now it's time to look up.
* ARRIS: Let's start with the now-topped-out Arris apartment building at the Yards. In addition to its having reached its final height, the masonry work on the five lowest floors of the eastern portion of the site is pretty far along, and windows have started appearing in the second floor.
While the three "pavilions" on the western side (not seen real well in this shot, but check the rendering) will be brick-faced all the way up their eight floors, the east tower's upper façade will be all glass, with an undulation that's obvious even with just the concrete in place.
This building will have 325 rental units and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and is expected to open in early 2016.
* PARK CHELSEA: It certainly won't win the prize as Speediest Construction Project Ever, and the countdown to the start of leasing has changed its target from July 1 to September 15, but work on the 430ish-unit rental building on New Jersey Avenue does continue. You may have seen the forms with the planets-and-the-stars design that have now been hoisted up to their final perches on the roof--I've been told this is based on Johannes Kepler's "star polygon tessellations," which I concede is way too much education for JDLand to normally pass along.
* LOFTS AT CAPITOL QUARTER AND CAPPER COMMUNITY CENTER: They may not be tall, but they are wide--as is my lens, thankfully. If you are wondering about the concrete portion on the western end of the Loft's construction, that's parking for residents of the building's 195 mixed-income units. The two projects, both along L Street between 5th and 7th, should be completed in 2016.
* THE BRIG: I certainly could have used a drink after the 11 miles of walking I did in two passes on Sunday to properly update my photo archive, but while work on the beer garden at 8th and L to be known as The Brig continues, it still has a ways to go before it begins quenching thirsts. But it's interesting to now start to see the outline of its contribution to the "skyline" along 8th.
The links above have lots more information on each project, of course. And I skipped the Hampton Inn in the roundup, but I wouldn't want it to feel left out.

Catching Up with the Cavalcade of Shoring, Sheeting, and Excavation
Apr 27, 2015 9:44 AM
"Honey, what do you want to do when you grow up?"
"I want to peek through construction fences to take pictures of huge holes in the ground!"
While I'm pretty sure this wasn't on my childhood list of aspirations, I'll still present to you the latest JDLand State of the Dirt report.
From oldest hole to newest hole, we have residential projects 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods*, Florida Rock/Riverfront, 1111 New Jersey/Galley at Capitol Riverfront, 909 Half, and 82 I, then the Homewood Suites at 50 M, and finally the F1rst/First residential and Residence Inn combo.
* If you are wondering about the new one-story structure at the far left of the above photo that has popped alongside the Park Chelsea and the 800 NJ excavation, which you can, it is the "covered vehicle court" that will serve the garage and loading docks for these two projects and the eventual third building on the block.
(Click to enlarge, as always)
If you wish for more context with any of these photos, follow the links up top to go to the project pages.

It's Spring, and the (Re-)Branding Signage is in Bloom
Apr 26, 2015 5:12 PM
I see that the two new owners on Half Street decided it was time to clear away the traces of the previous occupants and introduce themselves to the neighbors:
Also now appearing on Half Street (below left) is a spiffy logo for Due South, the restaurant coming this year to the Lumber Shed at the Yards. (The restaurant is a Bo Blair enterprise, as is the Fairgrounds, hence the cooperative crossover deal.) And, one block to the east (below right), it didn't take long for Grosvenor to make its F1rst presence known.
(Yes, I finally went out and took pictures. Be prepared for the coming onslaught.)

Arris: Topping Out the Next Apartment Building at the Yards
Apr 17, 2015 11:02 AM
It's a noteworthy enough event that Forest City has issued a press release this morning announcing the final pour of concrete that marks the "topping out" of its 327-unit Arris apartment building at the Yards, on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey. (So if you see a bit of a celebratory-looking luncheon at the construction site today, that's why.)
The eastern side of the building, along 4th, is 11 stories high, while the three western wings reached eight stories a few weeks ago. When finished, Arris will have 19,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and "some of the best waterfront views in the city."
It's now being said that the project will be "substantially complete" in early 2016.
An initial web site where you can sign up for information on leasing is at LiveArris.com.
Forest City tells me that work on the facade will continue through the next few months, with the expectation that the building will be completely enclosed by the end of the summer.
Also nestled into the press release about Arris is the statement that sometime this summer "development will begin on a 50-slip public marina as the newest addition to Yards Park," with completion expected by the end of the year.
(I was planning to get updated photos this weekend, so dang it, no up-to-the-second shots available. But you can see what it was looking like in late March.)
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Akridge Sells Its Remaining Half Street Lot
Apr 13, 2015 10:12 AM
Word is hitting the streets this morning that Akridge has now sold its remaining holdings on the west side of Half Street just north of Nats Park, ending an ownership that began in 2008 but that saw the Fairgrounds as its only development.
Back in February, Akridge sold the southern two-thirds of the block-long lot to JBG, and at the time it was said that the company was also "under contract to recapitalize the northern third of Half Street." It turns out that that "recapitalization" was a sale to an affiliate of Brandywine Realty Trust for $20 million, according to WBJ.
Akridge's arrival on this lot began back in 2007 when the company won a WMATA bidding process for what was then the Southeastern Bus Garage site. But Monument Realty, expecting to have the rights to develop the site, was quite unhappy, and sued, which resulted in the settlement that awarded the bus garage site to Akridge for $46.5 million and the adjacent Metro parking lot across Van to Monument for $22.6 million. Monument then sold its holdings on the south end of the bus garage block to Akridge for $9.66 million.
The company got zoning approvals in early 2009 for its Half Street plans, as a 700,000-square-foot mix of two office buildings, one residential building, and 56,000 square feet of retail. But, of course, none of that ever happened, and in the meantime Akridge provided the space for first The Bullpen, then Das Bullpen, then the block-long Fairgrounds site.
Now we wait to see what the plans for the north end will be, now that JBG has said it will be building two residential offerings on its portion near the ballpark.
(And I know the web site response is atrocious this morning. Guess I'm going to have to stop just wishing it will get better, though the support people tell me that a lot of this is supposedly now the fault of another site on the same server, which has two more days to clean up its act or else it'll be shut down. We Shall See.)
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More posts: 25m, West Half St., Development News

Washington Humane Society Officially Purchases 11th & M Site
Apr 12, 2015 8:25 PM
The notion of the Washington Humane Society acquiring the former Exxon site at 11th and M SE was in the news back in February, and I can now report that the land deal has been completed, thanks to a $5 million grant from the city.
This location will apparently replace the WHS facilities on both New York Avenue NE and Georgia Avenue NW.
But this won't be the agency's only presence on the block: it already operates its spay and neuter clinic in a building at 10th and L adjacent to this Exxon lot.
I had hoped to include more details on the plans for the site, but this post couldn't wait any longer, thanks to the newly released Draft EIS for the Marine Barracks hunt, in which this 36,500-acre lot was identified as one of five possible sites for the new barracks. {Cut to Barracks hunters despondently crossing yet another potential location off their list. Or not.}
This site, officially located at 1022 M St., SE, has been vacant since the Exxon closed and was demolished in 2008, except for a brief residence by a chair.
More to come on the Humane Society plans.
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Ceremonial Ballthrowing For Newly Christened 'F1rst' Development
Apr 8, 2015 3:46 PM
We've been calling it Ballpark Square, but now the Grosvenor/McCaffery residential, hotel, and retail project along 1st Street SE between M and N has its official name:
F1rst.
(Yes, that's a numeral "1" in place of the "i".)
We also now have an operator for the 170-room hotel--it will be a Residence Inn by Marriott, joining the chain's Courtyard location that's been in the neighborhood since 2006.
The residential building will have 325 units--a mix of studios through 2 BR/den--plus a fitness center, club room, outdoor courtyard, garage with bike parking, and a rooftop deck with a pool, grilling stations, dog park, and an "outdoor multimedia theatre" on the building's southwest corner that will have stadium-style seating and a view into Nats Park.
It will take about two years for the buildings to be completed, though some retail tenants could move in starting in the first quarter of 2017.
And, as I reported a few weeks ago (even though nobody believed me), Taylor Gourmet and Chop't are already signed for some of the project's 25,000 square feet of retail.
The event today did not have shovels and hardhats--which made sense given that the ground has already been broken--but there were dignitaries and speeches, and a ceremonial throwing of baseballs into the construction footprint.
I took photos, of course, and here's the full gallery. A few snippets here, though:
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More posts: Development News, F1rst Residential/Hotel

Ceremonial Groundbreaking Wednesday for Not-Called-Ballpark Square
Apr 7, 2015 9:33 AM
The digging is already underway on the west side of 1st Street SE midblock between M and N, but that won't get in the way of a ceremonial groundbreaking scheduled for Wednesday, April 8, at 2 pm, that will celebrate the start of the 450,000-square-foot Grosvenor/McCaffery residential/hotel/retail project just north of the already under construction Hampton Inn.
This development has been referred to up until now as "Ballpark Square," but apparently its real name will be unveiled at this event.
The rendering above shows, from left, the project's two-story retail building at 1st and N, just across from Nats Parking Lot C, then a blank spot where the Hampton Inn is being built, then the 285-unit (or is it 325-unit) residential building, then the 170-room hotel (no operator so far named). At far right is the 233,000 square foot 99 M Street office building being developed by Skanska, which isn't technically part of this groundbreaking but which appears to be close to getting its own permits to start digging.

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More posts: Development News, F1rst Residential/Hotel

The Riverfront Apartments at Florida Rock, Now Going Vertical
Mar 29, 2015 10:23 AM
It's been a while since I've been down to the shores of the Anacostia at 1st Street (I'm old/it's been cold/I'm tired/I'm lazy), but on Saturday I finally made the trek to Florida Rock, and saw what I expected to see--a concrete slab at the bottom of the two-story excavation for the 305ish-unit residential building "The Riverfront," along with the base of the project's crane being put together.
I snagged a peek-through-the-fence shot of the hole, though before long I'll get to start taking photos of it from up above, on the viewing platform at Nats Park. (While I, uh, watch baseball, too. Yeah, yeah, that's it.)
Here's the riverfront view of the Riverfront footprint (below left), matched to the rendering of the same spot (center). Plus, at right, a shot looking from Diamond Teague's pier to the staircase at Nats Park, giving a sense of the plaza that will be there (and that one sightline from the staircase to the river will still exist after the apartment building is completed).

/This building, the first phase of the overall 1.1-million-sq-ft mixed-use redevelopment, is expected to be finished in late 2016. It will have a little more than 18,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and two levels of underground parking (as you see!). There will also be an extension of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
The Phase 2 land immediately to the west of the new building is expected to be temporarily remade as a "beach" area, including volleyball courts, with additional space for parking and other temporary uses. Which is all separate from Bardo's potential "brew garden" plans for the two acres to the west of THAT site, on the portion of the Florida Rock footprint that edges up to the current Douglass Bridge.
See my Florida Rock page for lots more photos and renderings.
UPDATE: I finally made it up onto the Douglass Bridge on Sunday for the first time in forever to take some photos, and got an even better view of the excavation and its position in relationship to the ballpark. So, let's all look at this and start to mentally prepare for the change in the view not only of the ballpark, but from the ballpark.

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More posts: Development News, Florida Rock

Tidbits: Declaring Another Project Underway; Food-Related Items
Mar 18, 2015 5:33 AM
Just some things that didn't make it to the blog during the outage:
* MORE GROUND BROKEN: I had posted a photo last week of the new fence at not-Ballpark Square but wasn't quite ready to say that construction had started. However, the pile driver has arrived, and steel beams are already sticking out of the ground, so I think it's now safe to add the residential/hotel portion of the project to the ludicrous lineup of developments currently underway. (The office component at 99 M is expected to get started before long as well.) It's also the fourth to break ground just within the past month or so, joining residential projects 909 Half and 82 I and the Homewood Suites hotel at 50 M. And I think that's probably it for major projects getting started until the end of this year or early next year.
* BONCHON GETTING CLOSER: The paper is off the windows, so I was able to see where things stand at Bonchon--and it's looking well along. (Not pictured are the five or so boxes containing large flat-panel TVs.)
* DEMO PERMIT APPS: Applications have been submitted to demolish two buildings on the DC Water site--a 50,000-square-foot brick building and a 1,980-square-foot wood shed. Whether these are on the footprint of the planned movie theater/accompanying residential, I cannot tell you.
* SPRING! SPRING! There's now quite the inventory of outdoor tables at Willie's Brew & Que, and work is underway for a patio at the Big Stick (photo by Mr. JDLand):
* MORE ABOUT FOOD: I mentioned it in passing before, but there's been enough tweets sent my way to mention again that work has now started at the Scarlet Oak space at 909 New Jersey. And there's purty window ads now, to both get their name out there and to THWART my PEEKING. And closer to the river, at the Lumber Shed, both Due South and the Navy Yard Oyster Company have gotten their building permits.
With all that cleared out of the hopper, I now may be a bit scarce for the rest of the week. Hopefully the site will behave, though.

Renderings of Condo, Rental Buildings Planned at 4th and Tingey
Mar 17, 2015 2:51 PM
For those who missed out on my interim Facebook blogging on Monday....
The designs for two new buildings coming to the current Trapeze School site at the Yards (known in the parlance as Parcel O) are going before the National Capital Planning Commission in April for an early "35% design review."
One is the 140ish-unit condo building being planned by PN Hoffman. It will front Tingey Street between 4th and a newly (re-)built 5th Street. Its design echoes the brick+glass look that Arris will have when it is completed. It will be the first condo project within the Yards.
Immediately to its south will be a two-towered 190ish-unit rental building to be developed by Forest City. There will be 16,700 square feet of ground-floor retail across both buildings, along with 246 below-grade parking spaces, and in addition to the return of 5th Street there will also be a one-block extension of Water Street along the block's southern side.
Both developers are looking to begin construction late this year or early next year.
In honor of now having renderings, I created a Parcel O project page--and while putting it together, I found the photo at right, showing the corner of 5th and Tingey from May, 2004, back when there was a 5th Street (such as it was). This view matches the rendering at far right in the row of three.
As for the Trapeze School, it will be moving later this year to the southeastern portion of Spooky Park, at the corner of New Jersey and Tingey.
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More posts: Development News, The Yards, Yards/Parcel O

Getting Framed: Community Center Gym, Lofts at Capitol Quarter
Mar 12, 2015 1:43 PM
If you blinked this week, you missed the lickety-split steel framing of what will be the gymnasium at the Capper Community Center, on the northeast corner of 5th and L:
Just up the block, at 7th and L, the Lofts at Capitol Quarter is starting to look like a real building as well:
Click on any and all to enlarge.
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More posts: Community Center, Development News, The Bixby

Bonchon Signage, Homewood Suites Underway, Ballpark Square Fences
Mar 10, 2015 9:33 AM
The second week in March started off pretty notably in Near Southeast:
First, the one that's probably of most interest, the arrival of Bonchon's signage, now hung outside of its space on the southwest corner of Half and K, inside 1015 Half Street.
I peeked in the door, and it appears to still be a few good weeks from opening, which would seem to jibe with the "early April" target date that the restaurant posted on its Facebook page back in February. So everyone will just have to look at these signs and dream for a little while longer.
One block to the south, fences and equipment arrived at the parking lot on the northeast corner of Half and M, and this morning ground was being broken (for real, not ceremonially!) for what will become a 195-room Homewood Suites.
This will be another addition to the neighborhood's burgeoning lineup of hotels, with the long-established Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L about to be joined by the under-construction 168-room Hampton Inn at 1st and N, plus eventually also the as-yet-unnamed brand in the as-yet-unnamed Ballpark Square project.
Speaking of which.... Fences went up Monday afternoon around the sidewalk on the west side of 1st Street south of M, generally along the boundary of the residential and hotel portion of the Grosvenor/McCaffery project currently referred to as Ballpark Square. No heavy equipment has arrived, and as I mentioned recently there's plans for a ceremonial groundbreaking in coming weeks, but fencing off the public sidewalk would seem to be a bit of a "tell."
This project will have a 285-unit apartment building alongside the 180-room hotel, and 45,000 square feet of retail that will stretch across these two buildings, the Skanska 99 M office building at the corner of 1st and M that is also expected to get started Any Minute Now, and a separate two-story retail building at 1st and N.
And, just to emphasize how many new projects have gotten underway in the past few weeks, here's official documentation (finally) of the work underway at residential projects 909 Half (left) and 82 I (right), which together will add another 615ish units to the neighborhood inventory when they open.
Having a hard time keeping all of this straight? Check out my refreshed-for-2015 What's New in the Neighborhood Since Last Season page, with handy maps of the restaurants that have opened or are coming soon, the new lineup of project plans just north of Nats Park, and the 10 (TEN!) residential projects currently under construction or starting momentarily. Be prepared for a lot of blocked sidewalks and a lot of construction vehicles on your way to the ballpark this year....

Monument Adding Residential to Planned Office Project at One M Street
Mar 9, 2015 11:18 PM
At Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, Monument Realty presented to the commission an early look at revised plans for the company's One M Street site on the southeast corner of South Capitol and M streets (i.e., the old Domino's site).
And instead of a third variation of the previously presented 328,000-square-foot office building, Monument is now proposing a 120,000-square-foot office building on the northern portion of the lot, fronting M Street, with a new 175ish-unit residential building immediately to the south (and just to the north of the self-storage building).
While there is no signed tenant for the office building, Monument's representative told me that they have a "user" that they "feel pretty good about," and that they hope to have an announcement within the next few months. (Note that "user" was a very specific choice of words.) In the presentation to 6D, the notion of some of the space being used for "conferences and events" was mentioned, and that they would be shooting toward starting construction in the latter part of 2016.
The residential building is not quite as far along in the design process, but the architects are apparently toying with the notion of a "townhouse"-like feel for the ground-floor units that would face South Capitol Street. There was also talk of some three-bedroom units being included in the plans.
Monument expects to file a new case with the Zoning Commission within the next few weeks, at which point there will be purty drawings and much more detailed information.
(As for the rest of the goings-on at the ANC meeting, that can wait until morning!)
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More posts: Development News, One M, zoning

Getting a Peek at the New Plans for Monument Valley, Headed to Zoning
Mar 8, 2015 6:53 PM
Not quite six months after buying the land on the northeast corner of Half and N streets across from Nats Park currently known as Monument Valley, the MacFarlane/Jair Lynch joint venture has now submitted to the Zoning Commission its new plans for the site, a 10-story building with 461,700 square feet of residential (and possibly hotel) development, combined with at least 60,000 square feet of retail.
Back a couple of lifetimes ago, Monument Realty also planned a residential, retail, and hotel project on this site, so this filing is actually a modification to the previously approved plans. The new designs by architectural firm Hord Coplan Macht, seen in these renderings purloined from the zoning filing, would add at least 23,000 square feet of retail to what had been planned, mostly in the second-floor space along Half Street, as shown in the drawing below, as well as potentially an additional 8,000 square feet on the second floor facing N Street, depending on the all-important "market conditions."
The new project would have either 445 residential units and no hotel at all, or 365 residential units and a 80-room hotel on the north end of the site (down from a 200-room hotel in Monument's designs). The new design includes condos (apparently 130ish of them) in the south wing along N Street, with the rest being rental units.
As in the original designs, there would still be a small street called "Monument Place" running between this building and its neighbor to the north, 55 M Street, allowing the retail offerings to wrap around onto the building's north side--however, in these new plans it would be a pedestrian-only street, negating the need for a curb cut on Half Street.
In addition, the basically-an-alley Cushing Place would still be extended through to N Street, through an opening in the ground floor of the south side of Lynch's building. (If you look closely at the top rendering, you can see it.) There would still be three levels of underground parking with approximately 231 spaces. And there would be all manner of streetscape work to make the sidewalks--and the walk to the ballpark--a bit more inviting than they are now.
For you zoning groupies, there's also one special exception being requested, that the project be allowed to have two roof enclosures instead of one on the south wing of the building that fronts N Street. And note that this is all under the Capitol Gateway Overlay design review process.
These new plans will be presented to ANC 6D on Monday night (March 9), with a zoning hearing date apparently as yet unannounced. My Monument Valley project page has a few of the old Monument renderings, should you wish to compare.
UPDATE: The zoning hearing is apparently now scheduled for May 28.
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More posts: Development News, lynchhalf, Monument Valley/Half St., zoning

Taylor Gourmet and Chop't Slated for Ballpark Square
Feb 26, 2015 1:16 PM
If your tastebuds are on the lookout for additional options in the neighborhood, tell them that I am hearing that Taylor Gourmet and Chop't are slated to be tenants in the pending Grosvenor-McCaffery-Skanska mega project along 1st Street SE between M and N currently dubbed Ballpark Square.*
But said tastebuds will need to be patient, as the project is still a few weeks away from an expected ceremonial groundbreaking, and then it will take a while to construct the project's 285-unit apartment building, 180-room hotel, and 233,000-square-foot office building in the block just north of Nats Park.
All told, there will be about 45,000 square feet of retail across the project, with about 7,000 of it in the separate two-story 7,000 square feet retail building at the corner of 1st and N, also being developed by Grosvenor/McCaffery.
The rendering at right showing the 99 M office building, the hotel, and the residential building as seen from the northwest corner of 1st and M may help get your bearings on the location and plans.
No operator for the hotel has been announced as yet. (And note, as always, that this is separate from the Hampton Inn currently going up on the south end of the block.)
* I've also heard that "Ballpark Square" is actually not the final name of the development. This allows me to yet again point people to my June 2007 post, Name Your Own Near Southeast Development Project!
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More posts: 99m, Development News, F1rst Residential/Hotel, Restaurants/Nightlife

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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More posts: Capper, Development News, sq767, zoning

Zoning Approval for Residential Project at 1333 M
Feb 24, 2015 11:57 AM
On Monday night the Zoning Commission gave final approval to first-stage plans for the Cohen Companies' 1333 M Street residential project, along with second-stage approvals for the development's first phase, a 10-story 218-unit building.
The final approvals had been slowed by a number of items that concerned the commissioners. Among them:
* While a memorandum of understanding detailing benefits and amenities of the project had been worked out earlier in the process between the developer and ANC 6B, neighbors that live along L Street SE north of the project continue to have objections to various aspects of the project, such as there only being 220 parking spaces for a 673-unit development, as well as the impact of the standard hours of construction on their "quality of life," which Chairman Anthony Hood keyed on as an item where there could have been some "negotiating," though commissioner Peter May noted that the building is not particularly close to L Street SE (with the new Southeast Blvd. and the CSX train tracks separating the two).
* The lighting plan for the building, which had originally been shown with a fair amount of up-lighting but is now all down-lighting after the commissioners objected.
* The plan for a "place-making sign" on the building's penthouse had gotten Peter May up in arms at the Proposed Action stage, and so the developer came back with additional options. (If you click to enlarge the rendering at the top of this post, you can see up at the roofline a smidge of the BROOKLAND-like sign facing north.)
May and the other commissioners still sighed a bit over there being a sign up there at all, but did agree that Option 1 is a "more subtle" version that is an "improvement." I have a notion that some readers might disagree:
In the end, though, there were no showstoppers, and the commission voted 5-0 to approve both the first-stage PUD for the overall project and the second-stage PUD for the first residential building.
My 1333 M project page has additional renderings and information--and if you are new to the story and can't quite visualize where 1333 M even is, it's on the part of M Street that proceeds eastward underneath and past the 11th Street Bridges.
UPDATE: Forgot to include that the project made it past the National Capital Planning Commission as well.
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More posts: 1333 M, Development News, zoning

Akridge Sells Majority of Half Street Site to JBG
Feb 20, 2015 3:51 PM
From WBJ: "D.C. developer Akridge has sold the majority of its Half Street parcel across from Nationals Park to The JBG Cos., which is expected to redevelop the site with two new residential buildings and a large amount of what one executive called "dramatic" retail."
JBG has acquired the southern two-thirds of the block, far better known as the shipper container-ringed location of the Fairgrounds, directly across N Street from Nats Park and also directly across Van Street from JBG's own under-development 1244 South Capitol residential project.
Akridge apparently is maintaining a minority stake in that portion of the site, but JBG will "take over day-to-day development duties." WBJ says Akridge is also apparently "under contract to recapitalize the northern third of Half Street."
After Akridge acquired the site in 2008--which was once home to WMATA's Southeastern Bus Garage--plans were run through the Zoning Fun Factory for two office buildings on the north end of the site and a 280-unit residential building on the south end (along with 55,000 square feet of retail), but WBJ says that JBG's portion of the block is now expected to include two residential buildings, with one office building on the land Akridge still owns along M Street. Plus "dramatic retail."
WBJ pegs the sale price for the JBG portion of the site at $45 million.
This is not unexpected, as news had surfaced back in September that Akridge was looking for a new partner to develop the site.
It also dovetails with the sale of Monument Valley on the east side of Half Street to the MacFarlane/Lynch development team, which is early in the process of bringing residential offerings along its own portion of N Street.
You can look at my Akridge Half Street project page for reminders of what had been planned for the site, though I look at that page (and my Monument Valley page) more as a marvel of the tens of thousands of words I have expended on plans for these sites over the past 10 years.
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More posts: West Half St., Development News, West Half St.

Tuesday Tidbits: Shoring, Scaling Down, and Meryl Streep
Feb 10, 2015 9:36 AM
* 82 I GETS A PERMIT: Add another project to the ready-to-start-anytime lineup. In this case, it's the 234-unit residential project on the northwest corner of New Jersey and I, which as of this morning has an approved shoring/sheeting/excavation permit. They've looked ready for this moment for a few weeks now, so it'll be interesting to see when work gets underway.
* 909 HALF GETS A PERMIT: Late last week 909 Half Street got its shoring permit as well. This is a 380-unit residential building by Ruben Companies and the Related Companies, and at least one resident is sure that activity is already underway at the site on the southwest corner of Half and I, in the wake of construction trailers having arrived within the past few weeks.
This is the first time in my 12 years of JDLand-ing that a project has gotten this far along without making available a least a token rendering of what's coming, so I figured I'd just fill in the blank. Feel free to create your own.
* BALLPARK SQUARE TEA LEAVES: The parking attendant kiosks have disappeared, the gates have been locked, and cars have stopped parking on the former Nats Lot F along the west side of 1st Street south of M. The residential and hotel project known as Ballpark Square has had excavation permits in hand for the southern part of this lot since November--keep an eye out for the arrival of heavy equipment.
(Note that the north end of the block is going to be the 99 M office building--sort of part of Ballpark Square, sort of not. It doesn't have its excavation permits approved yet, though they are in process.)
* FOUR READY TO GO: If you are keeping track, there are now these approved excavation permits for 82 I, 909 Half, Ballpark Square, and the Homewood Suites at 50 M. That's a lot of new digging to kick off 2015--it's also another 940 residential units and 365 hotel rooms about to drop into the pipeline. Already under construction? Residential projects Park Chelsea, 800 New Jersey, Lofts at CQ, Arris, 1111 New Jersey, and Riverfront, plus the Community Center and a Hampton Inn, too.
* MONUMENT VALLEY TEA LEAVES: At Monday night's ANC meeting, a representative from Jair Lynch's development company was there to discuss the revamped plans for the Half Street Hole, aka Monument Valley, which Lynch and partners bought last year. According to reports from the meeting (I wasn't there), the plans are shifting to include 130 condos alongside the rental units, and to scale it all down because it was "too large." SWill was kind enough to tweet a cellphone grab of the design shown to the commission for the northeast corner of Half and N. This will need to go through a Capitol Gateway Overlay zoning review before moving forward, so there will be more opportunities to see renderings and get additional information. Lynch's rep told me after the meeting that the project is expected to be back in front of the ANC "in the very near future."
* THE DEVIL LIVES AT PARK CHELSEA: Curbed DC took a look at the pile of new renderings on the Park Chelsea web site (with a clock counting down to the start of leasing on July 1) and noticed a very familiar someone in a few of them. Clearly this is the week for having a bit of fun with drawings.

Washington Humane Society Eyeing 11th & M for Headquarters
Feb 6, 2015 10:59 AM
In a WaPo piece about DC budget wranglings, Mike DeBonis dropped this little tidbit:
"Several council members pressed [City Administrator Rashad M.] Young to unfreeze a $5 million grant to the Washington Humane Society, which contracts with the District government to handle its animal control functions. The grant would help the nonprofit group acquire property near the Washington Navy Yard for a new headquarters to replace its facilities on New York Avenue NE and Georgia Avenue NW."
And budget documents even tell us exactly where this property is--the 36,500-sq-ft lot on the northwest corner of 11th and M streets SE, where an Exxon station stood until 2008.
The Exxon lot also just happens to abut the Society's spay and neuter clinic. which has operated at 10th and L SE since 2007. The current appraised value of the Exxon site is a smidgen over $6 million.
The article also says that "Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) told Young that the deal’s closing is rapidly approaching and could be jeopardized if the funds aren’t unfrozen."
Kittehs! Doggies!
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More posts: Development News, humanesociety

Progress Report: Arris About to Break Out of the Box
Feb 3, 2015 1:33 PM
If you spend much time on 4th Street in the Yards, you can be forgiven for looking at the concrete skeleton rising up next to the Foundry Lofts and assuming that Forest City's Arris is going to just be another boxy DC apartment building.
And that is more or less true--for the five floors that have been built.
But there's for the next six floors, there's going to be a shift, as the design--by Robert A.M. Stern Architects--turns into a very angled, wavy, and even slightly off-centered ultra-modern offering. It's going to look like a glass tower was plopped not-altogether-carefully on top of a rectangular brick low-rise offering.
Look closely at the renderings (click to enlarge), which both show the building from Water Street, and compare them to the above photo, counting the floors already constructed to confirm that along 4th Street the construction is about to look very un-rectangular:
On the building's west side, next to the Foundry Lofts, there will be no glass top, but instead three eight-story mini-towers, with two private courtyards. It's not quite so easy to get photos that clearly show the "reverse-E" outline of the west side, but I did at least try.
The from-above rendering also gives a good view of the rooftop "amenities deck" on the glass tower.
One thing not readily apparently in the drawings is how much taller this building is going to be than anything nearby. So, get ready for a veeeeeery different skyline in the coming weeks.
Arris has 20,000 square feet of retail on three sides of the building's ground floor, facing 4th, Tingey, and Water streets, and the building is scheduled to open late this year or early next year.
There's more drawings and photos on my project page, including some "before" shots of the building's footprint that emphasize how much this block has changed, even before work started on Arris.
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More posts: Development News, photos, The Yards, Arris/Parcel N/Yards

Progress Photos: Looking Up into the Deep Blue Sky
Feb 2, 2015 9:46 AM
Thankfully my camera shutter does not seize up in cold weather, because I spent more than two hours on Saturday wandering the neighborhood* to catch up on all of the latest doings, of which there are so many these days.
I looked at The Brig.
I looked at Subway and the Big Stick.
I looked at a few other spots that you'll hear about soon.
Unsurprisingly, I also looked up.
And what a sky to look up at.
(Just ignore all those dust artifacts marring the magnificent blue. Time to buy my own sensor cleaning kit.)
I looked up at the Hampton Inn at 1st and N, which now has most of its windows and appears to be about to get its facing. Maybe it looks a smidge less like a grain elevator now.
Then I looked up at the VIDA Fitness complex at Twelve12, originally to document the new Bang Salon and Penthouse Pool Club signs, but how I could resist yet another shot of the VIDA sign when I saw this?
I've mentioned the Banfield Pet Hospital sign before, but seeing it there reminds me that a reader passed along a Banfield tweet from early January saying that Banfield would be opening Feb. 7. Keep an eye peeled for the removal of the window coverings....
And finally, we have the Park Chelsea, which remains thisclose to getting its masonry completed, with the second photo included mainly to give me an excuse to sneak in a shot of the scaffolded Capitol dome.
If you like photos of vertical construction against a deep blue sky, stay tuned.
* But, hey, 11,000 steps!

BID Annual Meeting: Documents, a Video, and Some Tidbits
Jan 22, 2015 4:00 PM
The Capitol Riverfront BID held its annual meeting on Thursday in the PNC Diamond Club at Nationals Park, where Max Scherzer was not in attendance, though Matt Williams stopped by and spoke for a few moments.
The main purpose of an annual meeting--beyond the networking and schmoozing--is the unveiling of the Annual Report, which is worth digging into for all sorts of numbers and graphs and summaries, though note that it hides no truly bombshell pieces of news for loyal JDLand readers (whew!).
That said, there were some items I haven't passed along before, one being that Forest City is planning to build a 190ish-unit apartment building alongside the PN Hoffman condo building coming to 4th and Tingey on the current Trapeze School site, with construction expected to begin on both late this year or early next. Forest City is also apparently planning to begin work this year on the marina and piers at Yards Park, and expected 2015 start dates were shown for Skanska's 99 M Street office building and Ruben's 909 Half Street residential building, alongside the already expected pending starts of Ballpark Square, Homewood Suites, and 82 I.
Also unveiled was a spiffy new promotional video for the neighborhood, which I encourage all residents to watch mainly to see if you are in it anywhere (UPDATED with the link).
The featured speaker was Andrew Altman, who helped spearhead the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative during the Williams administration, then became the first chief executive of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation before moving on to jobs that including helping London plan for the future of its Olympic Park and other sites after the 2012 summer games. A quick characterization of one aspect of speech--which included visuals of a lot of watercolor renderings and photos that took me down memory lane--could be something along the lines of "Wow, all this stuff we planned is actually happening!"
I took the opportunity of a visit to the ballpark to get a few photos, including one that may address the question many people have had: will any of the rooms at the new Hampton Inn have views of the playing field? I'm still not sure if the angle will allow unobstructed views of anything other than the center of the infield, but it is at least visual confirmation that the skyline outside the ballpark has changed for the first time in a few years.
In other news, fences went up this week in front of the Center Field Gate, leading some to hope that perhaps the planned move of the team store to its new home inside the stadium and the arrival of a restaurant in the N Street space might be moving forward. But apparently the work (which I captured sneakily from above) is to move the entrance gates a few feet closer to N Street.
I also had to get a shot I shall call Monument Valley in Winter, plus a decent view of the No Longer Spooky Parcel A at 1st and N. Forest City says that the parking lot planned for the near portion of the lot should arrive in late spring, with the sidewalks, grassy areas, and Trapeze School space coming later in 2015.
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Development News

2014 Year in Review: New Buildings and Holes Edition
Dec 26, 2014 9:44 AM
I'm trying a visual approach to rounding up the goings-on in 2014 (see my 2014 Year in Review: Restaurants and Retail post as well), but I'm not sure quite how to replicate it when it comes to the mammoth rundown of everything that has happened from a development standpoint this year in Near Southeast/Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard Territory/Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards.
But I'm giving it a shot, and at least you can quickly see the current state of all of them. Click to go to the project pages.
Completed/All-But Completed
Vertical (or About to Be)
Just Getting Underway
And we should also use this space to bid a final farewell to Spooky Building 213, which came down (sloooooowly) to make way for Forest City's "Parcel A" plans:
What big buildings are looking to be starting in 2015? More residential at New Jersey and I, a Homewood Suites hotel at Half and M, hotel/residential/retail on 1st Street (and maybe its office component, too). Late in the year, there could perhaps be the start of the first condo project at the Yards and a movie theater. And who knows what else.....
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More posts: Development News

Tidbits: Wishing You a Happy Holiday of Your Choice
Dec 23, 2014 2:43 PM
Cleaning out the tidbit hopper with some new and not-quite-so-new items of note. I imagine posting will be light in the next few days, but you never know.
And so a Happy Holidays to all, from the entire staff of JDLand.com! Including from George, pictured at right.
* MOVIE THEATER LATEST: I mentioned this on Twitter last week, and appended it to my post on the subject, but I've heard kvetching from certain quarters that I did not specifically post anew that last week the DC Council passed the emergency versions of bills that among other things declare portions of the DC Water site at 1st and O as "surplus." This will allow the process of Forest City developing its movie theater there to move forward another step.
* VAN NESS KINDERGARTEN: I have been embarrassingly slow to report that earlier this month DCPS made known its decision that Van Ness Elementary will open next year with two kindergarten classes (in addition to PK-3 and PK-4). There will be 15 out-of-bounds spaces in these classes. The school system also released this FAQ about Van Ness's opening if you are just catching up.
* 100 M STREET SOLD: GlobeSt.com reports that Lionstone Investments and Hermes Real Estate have purchased the 100 M Street SE office building, with a source "pinpointing the purchase price at $78.9 million, or $324 per square foot." The building originally went up for sale back in 2012. This is the Gordon Biersch building, for those of you who don't look at address signs.
* METRO BALLGAME USE: WMATA's "PlanItMetro" blog took a deep dive into ridership patterns on Nationals game days at the Navy Yard-Ballpark and Capitol South stations. "Carrying an average of 11,000 riders to every Nationals home game, Metrorail maintained a 34% mode share to Nationals park in the 2014 season." There's also a good discussion of what the numbers may mean in the comments of this Greater Greater Washington post (along with chit-chat about the new Southeast Blvd.).

Progress Photos: Dirt and Concrete in Your Stocking Edition
Dec 14, 2014 8:03 PM
I could blather on in some kind of forced introduction about how the weatherman sold my camera and me a bill of goods this weekend ("mostly sunny," eh?), and how the low sun and weak light and wispy clouds made for less-than-stellar images, but instead let's just jump in.
We'll start with the photo at right, which shockingly reveals that dirt is actually being moved on the northwest corner of 8th and L, where the beer garden now known as The Brig has been planned for such a long time. Clearly work is in the very early stages, but that's a nice change from no progress at all. It's supposed to open in the spring.
Continuing the tour....
Digging continues at the 1111 New Jersey apartment project (above left), with the shoring at far left helping to give a sense of how far down they've gotten so far. (Spoiler: they have a long ways left to go.) And at the Capper Community Center Building House (above right), the foundation on the south end of the site along L Street is now a pretty sizeable structure.
It's hard to get a decent shot of the Lofts at Capitol Quarter construction, because the building is so long, though the wide open space of Nats Lot W helps. Vertical construction continues at the far east end, at 7th Street, while the western end waits its turn. Here's a big version of the latest image, to make it easier to see. (But remember, you can click on all photos to pop up larger versions.)
From there I wandered to the Yards (after rejoicing that the Hull Street Gate to the Navy Yard was closed, so I was able to take photos of the Lofts construction without hassle). The Arris apartment building is now getting its second floor, from south to north, as seen in the below left shot from the corner of 4th and Water. And a different sort of progress is visible a few feet away, in the windows of the northwest corner of the Lumber Shed.
Not pictured is the lunch stop I made at 100 Montaditos, mainly to watch Mr. JDLand's continued march through the menu.
Meanwhile, the Hampton Inn at 1st and N (above left) continues to stand all but alone (I find myself thinking of it as Near Southeast's grain elevator). I also think I managed to capture a construction milestone when I spied its first installed windows. And, up at New Jersey and I, the Masonry Marathon continues at the Park Chelsea (above right), though it does look like that phase may not last too much longer.
There's one other batch of progress photos I took on Saturday, but you're just going to have to wait a bit longer for those.

Bureaucratic Wheels Turning Slowly for Movie Theater at DC Water Site
Dec 11, 2014 10:09 PM
A DC council hearing on Thursday afternoon shed some light on the current status of Forest City's planned 16-screen luxury movie theater on property near 1st and O Streets, SE, a development which has been stalled for nearly a year during the hunt for a suitable location to move a portion of the DC Water operations currently housed at the site.
The good news for those tapping their toes waiting for the project to get started is that city officials testified that land is under contract in Prince George's County that would house DC Water's fleet operations, and the sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015.
While the fleet ops footprint at 125 O Street does not perfectly match the theater footprint, it was indicated that between the Prince George's site, the rest of the O Street site, and a potential interim site controlled by Forest City nearby, there would be the ability to shuffle DC Water's needs enough to clear the way for construction of the theater, which Forest City wants to get started by the end of 2015. (Apparently there is a looming end-of-2017 deadline in the letter of intent with Kerasotes Showsplace Theaters to get the project completed.)
So, assuming that the purchase of the PG County property takes place, and assuming that the DC Council approves the emergency legislation to declare the DC Water site as surplus, and assuming that there are no hitches in the move of DC Water's fleet operations, the theater may in fact be inching toward getting underway. (Though that's a lot of "assuming," especially when dealing with municipal government--but at least the fleet operations move already has its funding.)
However, the horizon isn't quite so clear when it comes to getting DC Water off two additional parcels on the site, where Forest City plans 600 residential units in two buildings along with 35,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The agency's customer care and sewer services operations currently located there need to be moved somewhere within the city limits, and these days there are precious few industrial-type locations to choose from.
A suitable location has been identified, and it just so happens to be the trash transfer station on W Street in Brentwood that has long been a thorn in the side of residents. However, talks between the city administrator and the station's owner apparently didn't get very far, and so Ward 5 councilmember Kenyan McDuffie has (again) submitted a bill to authorize the use of eminent domain to take control of the site if city officials feel that no agreement can be reached. (At-large councilmember and former Ward 5 rep Vincent Orange, in attendance at the hearing, spent much time warning about possible litigation over such a move, how long that would tie things up, how the lack of spelled-out funding for the acquisition of the site could tie things up, what a bad idea it is to not be planning non-industrial development for the site, etc. etc.)
In other words, the theater portion of the project seems to be lurching towards being a "go," but the residential/retail phase still needs a lot of massaging.
The emergency legislation should come up for a vote at next week's council session.
(And I'll note, as I always do, that DC Water will not be completely departing the site--the main pumping station in its historic structure certainly isn't going anywhere, and the agency is working on plans to move its headquarters into new construction on top of the O Street Pumping Station building on the southeast portion of the property.)
UPDATE, 12/17: The DC Council today passed the emergency versions of the bills related to this land disposition. This means that Forest City gets the Land Disposition Agreement needed to gain "site control," allowing them to continue to move forward on this project.
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More posts: Development News, The Yards at DC Water

Ground Ceremonially Broken for The Riverfront at Florida Rock
Dec 9, 2014 12:58 PM
When you schedule an event for December, you have to be prepared for Mother Nature to be uncooperative, but a cold rain didn't stop the ceremonial groundbreaking for The Riverfront, the 300-unit apartment building that's the first phase of the redevelopment of the Florida Rock site on the west bank of the Anacostia River next to Nationals Park. (Unlike a lot of these events, this one actually came after the real breaking of ground, which started last month.)
The theme throughout the remarks by MRP Realty's Frederick Rothmeijer and David deVilliers of Florida Rock Properties was one of relief. Rothmeijer spoke of the trials of getting this phase--originally planned as an office building--approved by the Zoning Commission after MRP joined the project in 2011, and even mentioned Commissioner Michael Turnbull's broadsides about the design and the "four red doors" originally facing the ballpark (which was probably one of the most memorable diatribes I've seen in my years of watching these proceedings).
FRP's deVilliers was even more relieved, as well he should be--he spoke of his initial discussions with the Office of Planning about redeveloping the site, which occured in 1994--a mere 20 years from there to construction! (I came in at about the halfway point, and have probably spent more time writing about the zoning ins and outs of this project than any other.)
Soon it was time to leave the warm, dry tent for The Flinging of the Dirt, and there were a lot of people with shovels in hand, as you can see above (and that's not even the full lineup).
It was not a prime day for photography, but I still have thrown together a quick gallery of shots from the day, including a few showing the current progress of the site footprint. It also occurred to me that this was the first time I've been inside the fences at the site--and it quickly becomes even more obvious than I already thought that this is one prime piece of riverfront property. And my Riverfront/Florida Rock project page has more renderings and photos, including nice ones from when the sun is actually out.
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More posts: Development News, Florida Rock

Banfield Getting Closer; 82 I Hints; Florida Rock Shindig; Food Updates
Dec 8, 2014 9:30 AM
More notes about buildings and food:
* BANFIELD: The sign is now up, and "early 2015" looks on track for the Banfield Pet Hospital at Twelve12 on Tingey Street in the Yards.
* 82 I: The lot has been cleared of cars, a new fence has been put up and construction-related signage ("Hard Hats Required") has appeared on the northwest corner of New Jersey and I, where Graystar's 234-unit residential building appears to be ready to get underway the second its shoring/excavation permit comes through.
* FLORIDA ROCKIN': Excavation permits for the first phase of Florida Rock's redevelopment were approved a few weeks ago (hence the beginning of earth-moving), and as of Friday there's now an approved permit for the nine-story apartment building itself. The project's ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for tomorrow morning (Dec. 9) at 10 am--in a tent, thank heavens. Given that it took more than a decade to get this project to the digging phase, you can't blame developers MRP Realty and Florida Rock Properties for going beyond the normal speeches and ornate shovels: they are having a pig roast as well, after the ceremony until about 3 pm.
* 100 MONTADITOS: It looked very very close to opening last week, but there appears to have been some sort of fly in the ointment (or a Spaniard in the Works, if you will). The Yards tweeted this morning that it is opening this Thursday. Mr. JDLand is monitoring the situation closely. UPDATE: A missive from the Montaditos folks confirms the Thursday opening, with a "Dollarmania" promotion through Sunday, Dec. 14, with all Montaditos sandwiches selling for $1. There will also be $2 beers and sangria and $3 premium beer and wine for the eatery's first 100 days.
* WILLIE'S: Now offering brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm.
* OSTERIA MORINI: "Morini Mondays" begin tonight, with $10 pasta dishes.

A Brief Q&A with Mark Batterson on Plans for the Blue Castle
Dec 3, 2014 12:25 PM
It was a blockbuster piece of news a few weeks ago that the National Community Church had decided to buy the Navy Yard Car Barn, aka the Blue Castle, at 770 M St. SE.
There hasn't been any official statement about the purchase from the church, but recently its lead pastor, Mark Batterson, agreed to reply by e-mail to a list of questions I sent his way about how this move came about and what the church may be envisioning for the landmark building. (Hyperlinks added by me.)
JD: How did the idea of buying the Blue Castle end up on your radar?
MB: Our team had been actively seeking ways to build out our Virginia Ave property, but we’ve been in a holding pattern because of the CSX project. When we heard that the Blue Castle was for sale, it made sense. We just had to make the math work. After quite extensive research with a development team, we came to the conclusion that it will be easier, faster, and perhaps less expensive, to build on top of the castle than it would be to build on Virginia Avenue.
We feel very fortunate to have gotten the contract. We know this is an incredibly iconic building that is interwoven into our city's history. We hope to steward it well.
JD: What are your plans for the building? i.e., Will it be purely uses for your church, or will the neighborhood see some sort of benefit as well? Also, do you have any plans to expand the building itself? How much additional square footage could that potentially include?
MB: We plan to develop the Blue Castle property by building what NCC needs on the roof deck of the existing structure. The key components of the build-out are a multi-purpose performance space with 1500-2000 seats, as well as a central location for our staff. The performance space will be designed for seven day a week use as a music venue and/or theater space. We will assess community needs to make sure the castle serves the best and highest use. We have some preliminary ideas that we think the community will be excited about, but we need to get a little further down the planning road. One thing we know for sure is that we’d like to build out another Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse, like our coffeehouse at 201 F Street, NE.
JD: What about the existing tenants?
MB: The existing tenants have a lease through July of 2018. We have not made any decisions beyond that, but our goal is for the space to serve community needs. Part of our process will be listening to the needs and goals of neighbors, as well as figuring out what best compliments NCC. We will explore a wide variety of uses, along with current uses; in determining it's future.
JD: What sort of timeline are you looking at for making it into what you are hoping it will be?
MB: Until the architectural designs are completed, we can't estimate an accurate timeline. But we have already initiated some conceptual design work. So the wheels are turning. National Community Church continues to outgrow our spaces, so we need it as soon as possible. We also know that there is a timeline and protocol to follow. This is an iconic building, and we want to make sure we get it right.
JD: How does this impact your previously announced plans for your land along Virginia Avenue?
MB: We view the Blue Castle as a better path forward in addressing spacing needs because development of the property is not directly impacted by CSX. The building is also three times larger than Virginia Avenue. This will help us move toward our 2020 vision of 20 expressions of NCC by 2020.
Ultimately, our goal is to master plan both the Blue Castle and Virginia Avenue. Because we own both properties, it positions us to have a more coordinated development.
JD: And, finally... What. About. the. Blue?
MB: Honestly, we hope that someday the Blue Castle will just be the Castle. Of course, we have to factor in the financial impact. And we'l obviously need to work with DCRA and HPRB to make a determination on any changes to the exterior of the Blue Castle.
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More posts: Blue Castle, Development News, 8th Street, Nat'l Community Church

100 Montaditos Seemingly About to Open; Other Yards Updates
Dec 2, 2014 3:36 PM
Word is filtering my way that 100 Montaditos should at last be bringing its menu of Spanish sandwiches and other items to the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, perhaps even as early as this Thursday, Dec. 4
Mr. JDLand has been keeping close tabs on the progress of this latest offering, and provided this photo of the sandwich board (literally!) out front of the space last week.
That Montaditos is close to opening is also referenced in an end-of-year press release from Forest City that details the rather blockbuster year they've had at the Yards, with the openings of Twelve12, Teeter, VIDA, Sweetgreen, TaKorean, Ice Cream Jubilee, Unleashed, Willie's.....
The release also says that Banfield Pet Hospital is expected to open in the first quarter of 2015 in Twelve12's last retail space on Tingey Street, and that the Navy Yard Oyster Company and Due South restaurants are both expected to open in the Lumber Shed in the spring. Also coming in the spring should be the landscaping of the no-longer-Spooky Parcel A lot, with both a temporary park and parking lot. (No mention of the Trapeze School move, though.)
On the residential side of things, "late 2015" is given both as the completion date for the 327-unit Arris building next to the Foundry Lofts and also the planned start of the 135-unit PN Hoffman condo building at the southeast corner of 4th and Tingey.
If you see action at Montaditos, let me know. And let @TheSlot know, too.

Status Updates for Holes in the Ground and Topped-Out Buildings
Nov 18, 2014 8:42 AM
Worn out from all these photo updates? Imagine how I feel. But I start getting the shakes if I don't at least touch on the status of each project currently underway, and having given the latest from Florida Rock and Arris and the Lofts at CQ, I need to run through the rest of them. It's a sickness.
Let's start with the holes in the ground. First are the two newest ones, with the initial hints of the foundation at the Capper Community Center Building House (left), and the more substantial digging underway at the 1111 New Jersey/Gallery at Capitol Riverfront apartment building.
Meanwhile, up at 800 New Jersey, the hole, it is deep. (And, as an aside, this poor project desperately needs a name, other than "that building that's going to have the Whole Foods." Even the signage looks a little forlorn.)
On the other end of the spectrum, we have the three topped-out buildings in various stages: at left is the Hampton Inn, which just reached this milestone within the past few weeks, then there's the Park Chelsea residential building, which may someday see the completion of its exterior masonry work, and finally the Parc Riverside apartment building, which is probably about to graduate out of my project updates given that the first units are expected to open in December.

Arris and Lofts at Capitol Quarter, Now Entering the Showy Stage
Nov 17, 2014 7:22 PM
The skyline is definitely going to be changing in the coming weeks at 4th and Tingey and at 7th and L, as the residential projects Arris and the Lofts at Capitol Quarter are now peeking up from behind the construction fences.
You can see the first floor along Water Street, which is the south end of Arris, Forest City's 327-unit apartment building at the Yards--and here's What It Shall Be from the same angle (albeit overhead):
In other words, get ready for that block to look and feel really different when the building is completed, probably in early 2016. And yes, there's ground-floor retail--about 20,000 square feet of it.
Meanwhile, the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, the 195-unit mixed-income apartment building at 7th and L is on quite a hill, so the west end (left) is starting at ground level while the east end (right) is just now coming out of the ground. And these two photos, which don't make it easy to discern exactly what's going on with the construction, do at least give an indication of the length of the building.
Both my Arris and Lofts at CQ project pages have more photos, renderings, etc.
Also, I hope everyone enjoys the Lofts photos taken from Nats Lot W, because when I left there and walked across M at Hull to take pictures TO THE NORTH of the construction TO THE NORTH, a Navy Yard guard approached me and asked to see my photos, to ensure that I was up to nothing nefarious. This even though I had never pointed my camera anywhere close to the direction of the Navy Yard gate--I had even very theatrically held up my camera with its lens clearly pointing in the opposite direction as I crossed M--and even if I had taken photos of the gate, I was on public property the entire time.
"We have to ask, ma'am," he said; "No, you don't," I replied, so really it's a wonder I didn't end up getting thrown into the back of a Suburban and detained. But there's always next time--I told him that they'd better get used to me being there. At least this time they didn't call the DC cops and have one chase me down a few blocks away like they did a few years back.
#PhotographyIsNotaCrime
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More posts: Development News, photos, Arris/Parcel N/Yards

Visual Confirmation of Work Now Underway at Florida Rock
Nov 17, 2014 9:14 AM
I was a bit skeptical when I got the heads up that construction "had started" on the 321-unit first phase apartment building at the old Florida Rock site (which I guess we're eventually going to have to start calling The Riverfront). Even with a ceremonial groundbreaking coming in a few weeks, the twists and turns on this project over the past decade left me scarred enough to want to really see some movement before I believed it could finally be happening.
So let's compare the site as seen back in June, and then yesterday (click to enlarge, as always):
Or, heck, let's go from an ugly day in December 2005 to June 2014 to November 2014 to what it should look like when built:
(And now you know why I try to always wait for the most glorious of sunny days to take photos. Also, thank heavens for the Teague pier vantage point, allowing me to shoot northward-facing photos instead of just ones from Potomac Avenue.)
Ground was definitely being moved on Saturday, as you can see in these not-really-full-of-action action photos:
Construction of this first phase is expected to take about two years. And it should include a plaza and ground-floor retail alongside Diamond Teague Park. You can actually see in the pattern of the digging in the photo at top right the building footprint versus the plaza footprint--the project was required to keep the view from the ballpark's grand staircase out to the river.
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More posts: Development News, Florida Rock

The Big Picture from N Street; A Little Picture from Tingey
Nov 16, 2014 6:13 PM
The now-empty lot where Spooky Building 213 used to stand looked plenty big as demolition progressed, but in the past few weeks the old iron-and-brick fence has come down as well, and now the block looks gargantuan. (As well it should--someday it will be three separate blocks, with three different buildings.)
Plus, if you stand in the middle of the south end of the block these days, you get one heck of a panoramic view of the new Near Southeast, as evidenced by the eight (!) photos stitched together to create this image.
See the very very large version here.
From this spot, you can see almost so many of the buildings that have gone up in the neighborhood since 2000--the now-topped-out Hampton Inn, 55 M, 1015 Half, 80 M, Velocity, 100 M, the almost-bricked Park Chelsea, Capitol Hill Tower/Courtyard by Marriott, 1100 New Jersey, USDOT, the Boilermaker Shops, Twelve12, the Foundry Lofts, and even the tower crane for the soon-to-sprout Arris. (I'm kicking myself for not swinging enough to get some portion of the ballpark.)
Before long, the interim phase of this location should start to appear--a public park on the north end, a parking lot in the southwest corner, and a spot in the southeast corner at New Jersey and Tingey for the Trapeze School, if they desire it.
Now, for my next item--anyone who accuses me of going overboard on minutiae probably should stop reading here. But for the rest of you, here's a little item from the intersection of 4th and Tingey, where street signs have recently appeared (left). But, then look a little more closely.....
Are we supposed to be voting? Or perhaps it's like A/B testing for web sites, with DDOT trying to determine which one will leave drivers less bewildered as to their location....
Snark aside, my photo archive indicates that the west-side "Fourth" sign was put up sometime in late summer, with the east-side "4" sign appearing within the past month or so. The numeric version is in fact DDOT's current style (ick), so perhaps this was a corrective measure of sorts.
(And, be forewarned, I took a lot of photos on Saturday. Much more to come.)
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More posts: Development News, Traffic Issues, Parcel A/Yards

National Community Church Buying the Blue Castle
Nov 4, 2014 3:31 PM
WBJ's Michael Neibauer, with his teeth as always deeply sunken into the news of Lower 8th Street, is reporting what I had heard within the past few days but could not confirm, that the National Community Church is buying the old Navy Yard Card Barn, aka the Blue Castle, at 770 M Street SE.
Madison Marquette, the current owners of the Blue Castle, put it on the market about a year ago, after purchasing it in 2007 from PREI, which had bought it in 2005.
WBJ reports that the sale price is expected to be between $25 million and $35 million, with the church benefitting from a $4.5 million donation to help fund the purchase, along with income from existing leases for the Castle's remaining tenants to help cover the $1.5 million-a-year mortgage.
As you may recall, NCC went on a Lower 8th buying spree back in 2010 and 2011, snapping up 10 lots on the block bounded by Virginia, 7th, 8th, and K, including the old Miles Glass building at 8th and Virginia, which was demolished in 2012. (Their holdings do not include the lot on the corner of 8th and L, where "The Brig" beergarden is going to go.) The church also owns and operates out of the former People's Church a few blocks to the north, on Barracks Row.
When making the Square 906 purchases in 2010 and 2011, it was with an eye toward perhaps some combination of coffee house, performance space, and church offices, though no designs or plans have ever publicly begun moving forward.
The church's Virginia Avenue lots are also right on the front lines of the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project--and back in August the Post quoted NCC head Mark Batterson as saying, "It’s been difficult to take the first step because we don’t know exactly what or when CSX will build and how that will affect us." Which, alongside today's news, does make one wonder about the NCC-related future of those properties.
WBJ says that Batterson told his congregation that the church "hopes to tack on several new floors" to the building--though I have no doubt that that will be a festive trip through the historic preservation review process, along with the Navy giving the stink-eye from across M Street.
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More posts: Blue Castle, Development News, 8th Street, Nat'l Community Church

Another Residential Building Underway, This Time at (Gasp) Florida Rock
Nov 1, 2014 11:23 AM
Well, I'll be darned: I've been given the heads up by the developers that construction is now underway on the 350 321-unit apartment building dubbed "The Riverfront" that's the first phase of RiverFront on the Anacostia, better known to all as Florida Rock. It will be built on the east end of the site, next to Diamond Teague Park.
The $65 million construction loan for the project was announced on Oct. 8, as was an expected delivery date of September 2016. I've been told there will be an official groundbreaking in the next few months.
It should also be noted that this is the first residential project in the neighborhood actually being built right on the west bank of the Anacostia River.
This building is now part of a frighteningly long list of apartment projects underway: the Park Chelsea (430 units), River Parc (277), Arris at the Yards (325ish), the Lofts at Capitol Quarter (195), 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods (336), and the Gallery at Capitol Riverfront (aka 1111 New Jersey, 324 units).
That's a smidge over 2,230 units in all, and close to 2,450 if you add the recently completed 220-unit Twelve12.
And that tally of non-single-family residential units begun since 2012 is a bit more than double the 2,340 units that were built in the neighborhood between 2004 and 2011. So get ready for a lot of new high-rise neighbors!
Having written more than 100 posts on Florida Rock over the years, I think I'll skip yet another full rundown other than to say that the entire project is designed as a four-building 1.1-million-sq-ft residential/office/hotel/retail project, with no timeline as yet for the rest of the development.
The construction now underway will also expand the plaza by Diamond Teague Park directly across from the grand staircase at Nationals Park, adding ground-floor retail there and along an extension of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail that will eventually run all the way to the new Douglass Bridge.
All of which looks a little different from these views of the Florida Rock footprint, seen first in August 2005 before the construction of Nationals Park (left) and in January 2012 (right), after the concrete operations were removed and demolished:
It's been a long time coming. And I can't wait for all the steps I'll get trudging down there to take pictures.
More photos through the years and drawings are on my Florida Rock project page.
UPDATED 11/2 with what appears to finally be a definitive unit-count for the building--321 units in a 9-story building . There will also be 18,650 square feet of retail and 286 parking spaces on two below-ground levels. And the amenities will include "grand lobby with onsite leasing presence, ground floor level club/game room with billiards, bar area, and gaming, state of the art health club, rooftop swimming pool, Wi-Fi service and storefront business lounge, conditioned storage, bike storage, 24 hour front desk service and fully access controlled building." All of these tidbits from the MRP Realty page for "The Riverfront."
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More posts: Development News, Florida Rock

GSA Proposing to Trade 49 L Warehouse to City
Oct 28, 2014 12:01 PM
A press release put out by Eleanor Holmes Norton this morning says that the General Services Administration "has entered into formal negotiations with the District of Columbia government regarding property located at 49 L St. SE[.]"
The proposal apparently is to exchange both the L Street building and its land for various streetscape and construction improvements to be performed by the District along of Martin Luther King Avenue adjacent to St. Elizabeths. "In return, the District would own 49 L Street SE in fee simple with full rights and ownership over the property."
Quoting the quote from the EHN release: " 'This exchange takes GSA further with work necessary to complete the DHS headquarters,' Norton said. 'In the process of moving a DHS priority, GSA has found a way to dispose of the long-underutilized 49 L Street SE by exchanging it for construction services from the District.' "
This is the building that residents have eyed as possibly becoming the Half Street Market, envisioning the building as a "public venue for a food market, restaurant, and flexible community space." (The group recently posted a new video rendering of their reimagining.)
As the release says, this is still in the negotiations stage, and even if the city does get the building there will then be I imagine a process about how to handle the site, but it's the first sign of movement since the flurry of activity about the building and the market idea back in 2013.
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More posts: 49l, Development News, halfstmarket

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.
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More posts: Capper, Capper New Apt Bldgs, Development News, sq769napts

Parc Riverside: Some Leasing Details, and Virtual Tours
Oct 23, 2014 2:13 PM
While the Parc Riverside leasing office has been open for a few weeks now, I'm only just now getting caught up with their status and offerings.
Move-ins are being billed as starting around Dec. 1, at least if you go by the Craigslist ads for low-floor units posted in the past few days. The base prices as published give the rate for 1 BR/1 BA units as being between $1,970 and $2,165, going up to 2 BR/2 BA ranging from $2,385 to $3,485. The Craigslist ads include two studios priced at $1,600 and $1,770, and on all units advertised there are showing a current one-month-free deal. (Parking and storage units extra.)
The building isn't open for tours yet, but there's PDF floor plans on the official web site.
However, if you're looking for something a bit more three-dimensional, they've created virtual tours of five upper-floor units (hence the killer views depicted): a studio, a junior one bedroom, a one bedroom, a one bedroom/den, and a two-bedroom penthouse.
You can also virtually tour the roof and the ground-floor amenity spaces. And check out the new twilight-time building rendering.
The office, in the trailer across from the building on the southeast corner of 1st and K, is open seven days a week.
(By the way, this is the first rental apartment building in DC for Toll Brothers.)
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Ballpark Square Could Start Soon, 250 M Extension, 1244 South Cap Review
Oct 20, 2014 9:57 PM
ANC 6D ventured across South Capitol Street into Southeast for its meeting on Monday night, with enough items of interest on this side of the street to draw even me to attend. The rundown:
BALLPARK SQUARE: Grosvenor and McCaffery Interests, developers of this hotel/residential/retail project along the west side of 1st Street north of N Street, say that they hope to start construction before the end of the year, though at this point the building permits are still pending. The 325-unit apartment building and 170-room hotel (operator not yet announced) are expected to take about two years to complete once construction gets underway. Their "intention" is to construct at the same time the separate two-story retail pavilion nestled between the arms of the Hampton Inn on the corner of 1st and N, with an eye toward completing it before the 2016 baseball season, though no tenants have been secured at this point.
Once construction begins, the existing sidewalk will be blocked, with pedestrian traffic expected to be moved to a covered structure in the 1st Street parking lane (and bike lane), though the final configuration is still under negotiation with DDOT, with the Nationals offering input as well, given the site's location just north of the ballpark.
Also, note that the 99 M Street office building planned for the north end of this block is being developed separately by Skanska and is on its own schedule, separate from these projects. (Building permits are filed, not yet approved.)
250 M: WC Smith is asking the Zoning Commission for a second third extension to the second-stage PUD for its long-planned 230,000 square foot office building, which was originally approved in 2007, then revised in 2008, and given its first extension in 2010 (and another in 2012). This would push the required date to file for a construction permit to Sept. 2016, with construction being required to commence by Sept. 2017. WC Smith's representatives noted the current state of office development basically requires a building to be 70 percent leased before financing can be procured, but that recent activity in the office leasing market "gives us hope" (especially with about 33 million square feet of GSA leased space turning over in the next few years.) Smith's Brad Fennell said that the company is "committed to the site," feels that office space "is the right use for this spot," and has been working hard to find potential tenants. (All of which is laid out in more detail in the zoning filing.)
The ANC supported the request for an extension 6-1, with Roger Moffatt voting against.
Fun fact for readers who haven't been around for this building's history: it is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Planned Unit Development. It would only occupy about half of the block bounded by 2nd Place, 3rd, L, and M--the north end of the block is slated to someday be a Capper mixed-income apartment building.
(In other WC Smith-related news, I was told that the company hopes/expects to begin pouring the slab at the bottom of 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods in two months or so.)
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL: JBG came to the ANC looking for its support for this project's Capitol Gateway Overlay Review, which I wrote about in detail a few weeks back and which is scheduled for Nov. 13.
There have been some small tweaks to the design, along with now an additional variance request to have two 20-foot and two 30-foot loading bays, since original plans to have a 55-foot bay and two smaller bays has run afoul of the teensy width of the block's alley and of Van Street, where the bays will be located. Otherwise, this remains designed as an apartment building with 290ish units and about 26,000 square feet of retail.
The ANC voted to support the project 7-0.
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More posts: 1221 Van, 250 M, Development News, F1rst Residential/Hotel

Yards West Zoning Hearing: The Need for More Bedrooms
Oct 20, 2014 11:44 AM
Last week the Zoning Commission heard Forest City's request for more height (and thereby additional density) in what is being called "Yards West," specifically four sites along N Street between 1st and New Jersey.
The early questions from the commission centered mainly around Peter May's contention that granting this density--which the applicants refer to as an additional 1.0 FAR but which May was happy to always refer to as "264,000 square feet"--was akin to "incentivizing something that's going to get built anyway." May expressed that the additional height and additional density were "perfectly appropriate" but that he was "not seeing the greater good that comes out of this," i.e., what Forest City would be providing in return.
Initially May zeroed in on proposed language he felt was too weak, that the eventual review of any building proposed along the Yards West M Street frontage would ensure that its design and site plan would "facilitate the provision of a public entrance to the Navv Yard Metrorail Station" on the southwest corner of New Jersey and M. (He also mentioned as an aside concerns he said he had heard recently that the explosion in residential development in the neighborhood instead of office projects was restricting the amount of available evening and weekend garage parking for stadium events.)
But then ANC 6D chair Roger Moffatt testified, noting that while the ANC voted 6-0 to support Forest City's request, it did so while strongly encouraging the Zoning Commission "to require units have more than two bedrooms as a condition of this added height and density." He continued: "ANC 6D supports growing DC into a larger population, but we don't want to exclude families who have children from being able to live in our section of the District. We believe this is an issue whose time has come and we hope that Zoning will take a step in the right direction here tonight."
A light bulb then seemed to go on, with each commissioner supporting May's request that Forest City work with the Office of Planning and the Office of the Attorney General to come up with stronger language not only on the Metro issue but on a "greater mix." Marcie Cohen spoke of families being pushed out of the city, and that Forest City needs to offer "compelling evidence" that there is no market and will be no market for units with more than two bedrooms. Michael Turnbull discussed how if a family has a boy and a girl "you are looking at a three-bedroom unit to make things work" and that "two children is not unreasonable for a lot of families."
While agreeing with the desire to have the language of the proposed text amendments looked at, commissioner Robert Miller did say that the board shouldn't treat lightly that granting the additional density would result in an additional 350 residential units to the area beyond what's already allowed, 70 of which would be affordable housing units, which is "something we need."
Finally, chair Anthony Hood admitted that the commission hasn't concentrated on the issue of units with more than two bedrooms ("I don't call it derelict because I'd call myself derelict"), and that it is something that the board needs to "start looking at this in other projects across the city." However, he seemed a bit skeptical that anything could really come of taking the extra time for the Office of Planning to work on the language in this particular case to achieve that end: "Let's see what happens. Make me wrong."
This case is scheduled to be back in front of the commission in late November.
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More posts: Development News, Parcel A/Yards, zoning

Snapshots of the Latest Construction Goings-On
Oct 19, 2014 7:46 PM
I fear I am going to be run ragged by the scope of construction 'round these parts over the next few years. Fitbit tells me I took about 15,000 steps across two outings to snag this slew of photos, and I still didn't quite get everything I wanted. But let's see what's going on. (As always, click on any image to enlarge it, and then page through the slideshow of all of them).
At 1015 Half Street, the new CBS Radio space along L Street is moving along, with a ticker now hung on the building (below left) and the ground-floor studio space being built out (below right).
There's four holes in the ground in various stages of construction, though alas I missed getting pictures of the Arris apartment building at the Yards, which has reached ground level and so should be starting the showy part of its progress within the next few weeks. The Lofts at Capitol Quarter are about at ground level on the east end of their not-at-all-level footprint at 7th and L (left), while digging down down down continues at 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods (right). (The third one, the new 1111 New Jersey apartment project, isn't all that much of a hole just yet.)
(Speaking of 800 New Jersey, I noticed that the rebuilt-but-not-open H Street has had its asphalt laid and is now a good nine inches or more higher than where it meets 2nd Street. Preparation for that intersection and Virginia Avenue to be bumped up with the construction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel?)
Getting close to topping out is the Hampton Inn at 1st and N (left). And, apropos of nothing (but needed here for layout purposes), a photo of the signage for the Subway Café at 20 M Street, which sounds to not be too long from opening.
And wrapping up the tour, here are the two buildings nearest to completion, the Parc Riverside at 1st and K (left) and the Park Chelsea on New Jersey Avenue (right), seen from one block to the south because it's So Freaking Big.
Now, everyone chime in and tell me what I missed.
If you want more photos of these projects (and who wouldn't?), just follow the links to the project pages.

RiverFront (aka Florida Rock) Residential Gets Financing, First Permit
Oct 9, 2014 9:28 AM
Given that the plan to redevelop the Florida Rock site along the Anacostia River just south of Nationals Park has been in the works for about 15 years now, it's worth giving a post to the news that yesterday a permit was issued to allow the initial excavation, shoring, and sheeting for the 350-unit apartment building that will be the first phase of the 1.1 million-square-foot mixed use project that's now known as RiverFront on the Anacostia.
There's been no announcement of construction financing (see update), or any sort of "Hey, we're starting!" missive, but snarky observers can no longer point to the lack of even an initial permit as a signal that the project might be about to get underway. The permit for the actual vertical construction of the building is still in process, however.
UPDATE: From GlobeSt., via a reader, showing that I was off by 24 hours: "MRP Realty and Florida Rock Properties have secured a $65 million construction loan provided by First Niagara's Commercial Real Estate Group for the development of a mixed-used residential building on the Anacostia Waterfront. Yvonne Ulrich, vice president of the Plymouth Meeting, PA-based lending group, managed the transaction for First Niagara."
This construction financing release also says that the apartment building will be called "The Riverfront." And a delivery date of Sept. 2016 is mentioned.
This building will go up at the far eastern end of the site, next to Diamond Teague Park, expanding the existing public plaza and offering some retail there as well. I wrote more about the design back in 2012, though admittedly the final zoning approvals for the project came during my hiatus and so I didn't watch too closely.
When will work start? All together now: We Shall See....
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More posts: Development News, Florida Rock

Telling the Story of Monument Realty's Rise, Fall, and the Half Street Hole
Oct 2, 2014 4:50 PM
The Post's Jonathan O'Connell has posted a story today detailing the rise and fall of Monument Realty on Half Street--how the company snapped up parcel after parcel of land just north of the ballpark footprint during 2004 and 2005, how they spared no expense to market their holdings, and how just as they dug the hole for the residential portion of their project, the economy collapsed, taking with it Lehman Brothers, their big financial backer.
It also gets itno how it's now been sold to the MacFarlane/Lynch partnership, even though "Monument wanted to see the project through as well, but had its hands tied by the Lehman estate, which wanted to sell."
You may recognize some of the photos accompanying the piece, and I also cop to being the owner of all of the "swag" displayed in the article, thanks to attending various Monument shindigs over the years, and thanks also to being an unrepentant pack rat. I spent years holding onto t-shirts, brochures, and even trading cards all because "someday someone might want to see them." And that someday is today!
It's a good read, and I'd say that even if I hadn't provided some assistance.
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More posts: Development News, lynchhalf, Monument Valley/Half St.

Gallery at Capitol Riverfront--aka 1111 NJ--Officially Underway
Oct 2, 2014 8:34 AM
Though my feelings are desperately hurt that I had to find out about this via a Twitter .jpg, I'll still pass along Donohoe's announcement that the Gallery at Capitol Riverfront project is now officially underway, thanks to the formation of a joint venture with MetLife, Inc.
This is the 324-unit apartment building planned for 1111 New Jersey Avenue, where site clearing work has been on-going since the demolition of St. Matthew's church a few weeks back. (So don't feel bad if you thought it already was underway.)
There will be three levels of underground parking, 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and a lineup of amenities that are now more or less standard in new "luxury" developments: a penthouse clubroom/pool/deck, a second clubroom and lounge on the ground floor, a courtyard on the second floor, a fitness center, a pet spa (!), secure bike storage, and private balconies.
The Gallery won't have the Metro station built into its ground floor like, say, 55 M, but there will be a landscaped pedestrian plaza running the 125 feet from the building's front door to the subway entrance at New Jersey and M.
Delivery is expected in the summer of 2016.
This project was a long time in coming, and spent a number of years designed as an office building until the notion to switch to residential began to percolate in 2012.
It now joins the cavalcade of residential projects in the neighborhood, with Twelve12 open, River Parc/Parc Riverside leasing, and the Park Chelsea, Arris, the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, and 800 New Jersey in various stages of construction. That's a smidge over 2,100 new rental units coming from 2014 through 2016.
And who will be next? {eyes glancing furtively toward Florida Rock and 82 I.}
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More posts: 1111 New Jersey/Insignia on M, Development News, New Jersey Ave.

Did We Say River Parc? We Totally Meant Parc Riverside
Sep 17, 2014 12:15 PM
It always seemd a little odd that Toll Brothers chose "River Parc" as the name for the new apartment building now in its final stages on the southwest corner of 1st and K--after all, there's been the mid-century goodness of the River Park townhouses and apartments over in Southwest since, well, the middle of the 20th century.
A few weeks ago, promotional signage went up across street from the new building, trumpeting RiverParc.com, and all systems seemed go. However, a reader passed along the news today of an e-mail from Toll Brothers announcing that River Parc is now the Parc Riverside.
River Parc/Parc Riverside, which according to the e-mail is now expected to deliver in November, does now have a functioning web site, with floorplans, lists of amenities (hey, everyone gets a garbage disposal!), and a few new renderings, but not the rental prices that I'm sure people would like to see at this point.
And now I shall go do a River Parc/Parc Riverside search-and-replace all across my site.
UPDATE: And, oops, I guess I should have included that the leasing office will open this coming Monday, Sept. 22.
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More posts: Development News, Toll Brothers Lots

Meanwhile, On the Akridge Side of Half Street, a Capital Search
Sep 12, 2014 4:02 PM
Does everyone want some more Half Street news? Last night's Monument Realty news about the east side of the street isn't enough for you? Are you tapping your toes, wanting to know when the shipping containers are going to disappear from the other side of the street?
The Washington Business Journal, having now heard the same rumors I heard a few weeks ago (hence my sneaky comment in my Monument post about "whether Akridge is currently making any moves"), is reporting that Akridge is working to market its Half Street project to potential investors, with the company needing to replace a capital partner "that desires to leave the project." WBJ says that Akridge "expects to have some closure on a new partner by the fourth quarter," and that "All forms of transaction are on the table."
Akridge has been planning since 2008 to build two office buildings, a residential building, and 55,000 square feet of retail on the west side of the street. Whether those plans will stay the same once capital is found, well, We Shall See.
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More posts: West Half St., Development News, West Half St.

Monument Realty Exits Half Street
Sep 11, 2014 10:26 PM
Documents filed today show that Monument Realty, which sunk its teeth whole-heartedly into the Nationals Park-fueled land rush of 2004 and 2005, is exiting Half Street, with the sale of the company's two remaining parcels, best known to baseball fans and residents as the location since 2009 of the big hole in the ground on the east side of the street.
The buyer of the properties is officially Half Street Residential PJV, LLC, which the Washington Business Journal is reporting is a new partnership of MacFarlane Partners and Jair Lynch Development Partners.
WBJ: "MacFarlane already owned a 50 percent stake in the residential portion of Half Street. With local partner Jair Lynch, MacFarlane essentially bought out Monument and Lehman," with an expectation that the "new team will bring this languishing project to life."
The price of the sale is roughly $12.5 million. (UPDATE, 9/17): A follow-up WBJ story on the new owners' plans for the site says that a check was cut for $34 million.
Monument had planned a hotel and 320 units of residential on this site, and went ahead and dug the hole back in 2007 and 2008 as it built the 55 M Street office building at the north end of the block. But the economy tanked, and the "Monument Valley" hole languished (and became quite the urban forest).
This move isn't exactly a surprise: it had looked a few months ago like something was coming, as Lehman had taken back a portion of this stretch of Half Street just as it had with two other Monument properties that quickly ended up being sold: the 50 M site that is soon to be a Homewood Suites, and the lot on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N that JBG is now planning to develop as a residential building.
Monument now is involved in only one property in the neighborhood, the old Domino's site at South Capitol and M that they made initial moves to develop as an office building a few years ago. (But, in what may or may not mean anything, there have been permits issued in recent days for soil borings on that site, which is often a precursor to a sale. I'm not saying--I'm just saying.)
This is the end of quite a chapter in the neighborhood's rise--and the beginning of a new round of toe-tapping about progress on what was once envisioned to be one of the liveliest stretches of street in town. It will be interesting to see how quickly MacFarlane/Lynch move, and what their new plans may be, (And, for that matter, whether Akridge is currently making any moves on its side of Half Street.)
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More posts: Development News, lynchhalf, Monument Valley/Half St.

Chiller Site Condos: An Initial WMATA Vote, and a Rendering
Sep 9, 2014 3:12 PM
The next step in the process to redevelop the Metro "chiller site" on the southwest corner of Half and L streets, SE, is expected later this week, with the WMATA board set to vote on the term sheet for the sale of the site to MRP Realty and CAS Riegler.
It was announced back in June that WMATA had chosen MRP/CAS's plan to redevelop the site with a 126-unit condo building with 6,000 square feet of retail.
The term sheet lays out the requirements of the sale, which include the preservation of the existing chiller plant operations at or below grade level, chiller plant cooling towers on the building roof, and 500 square feet of office space for ten years for Metro staff. In addition, Metro will have five parking spaces at the building, which is currently designed to have 55 parking spaces for the 126 units.
The documents prepared for Thursday's vote include the above drawing, showing the new building as seen from the northeast corner of Half and L. (That's 20 M at left and 1015 Half at far right.)
However, because nothing ever moves swiftly with this site, this vote just means that WMATA and MRP/CAS can then negotiate the full Joint Development Agreement, setting the terms for the purchase of the site, construction of the project, and continued WMATA operations on the site. It's not expected that agreement will come back to the WMATA board until spring--and then the closing of the sale of the site would be 24 months after that approval, which pushes the timeline into 2017.
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More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Development News, Metro/WMATA

Catching Up: Wait, Where Did that Hampton Inn Come From?
Sep 7, 2014 9:00 AM
I admit, it's been a while since I've done any wandering south of the freeway (newcomers to JDLand may not be aware that I don't actually live in the neighborhood I've been photographing for the past 11 1/2 years). So on Saturday morning I went out to check on the progress in various locations.
Thanks to the demolition of Spooky Building 213 (STILL not done!), it was at New Jersey and M where I was able to catch my first glimpse of exactly how behind I've gotten. My exact words can't be printed on a family blog, but I quickly hustled down to 1st and N to document the vertical construction of the Hampton Inn, now five floors above ground.
The developers are looking to have the 168-room hotel open by mid-2015, and clearly they aren't dilly-dallying.
And if you're wondering about the space in between the wings of the hotel, where the white fence is, that's not part of the Hampton project--it's an annex of the big Ballpark Square residential/hotel/office/retail project that will be filling up the rest of 1st Street between M and N. As you can see on the project page, a two-story retail building is planned for that site.
As for a before-and-after of the Hampton Inn site, let's go to the north side of N Street, just across from the stadium's Parking Garage C, and see the difference:
A bit of a change from the Quality Carryout.
And when I say that the Spooky Building 213 demolition isn't done, here's all that's left, other than rubble. So close. So very close.
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More posts: Development News, hamptoninn, photos

Catching Up with a Big Batch Of Items on Coming Projects
Aug 22, 2014 11:20 AM
These are all items I had hoped to write about more fully, but at this point I'd better just pass them along.
* FLORIDA ROCK: MRP Realty is now in control of the land at the Florida Rock site that will become the 350-unit apartment building that is the first phase of RiverFront on the Anacostia. A $65 million loan is expected to be finalized soon, and the developers say that the project will "commence construction by late summer 2014." (WBJ)
* BEVY OF PERMITS: If you browse the teeny type in the right margin of the JDLand home page, you'll already know that building permits have been approved in the past few weeks for the apartment projects at 1111 New Jersey and 1331 4th Street (aka Parcel N at the Yards, aka Arris). A tenant layout permit has also been approved for CBS Radio's first-floor performance studio at 1015 Half Street. Also, fresh off its zoning approvals, developers of the Homewood Suites at 50 M have filed for shoring/sheeting/excavation permits.
* LATEST ON 1333 M: Late last year plans were filed with the Zoning Commission for a three-building, 673-unit residential project on M Street east of the 11th Street Bridges. After some delay, a Dec. 1 hearing date has been set, and WBJ takes a look at recent filings, including some new renderings.
* THE YARDS, ONE PIECE AT A TIME: "Rather than purchase all 42 acres up front, Forest City buys each parcel from the General Services Administration as it is ready to build. The latest: The $28.37 million acquisition of 1331 Fourth St. SE, site of the 327-unit Arris apartment project." Total land costs so far across the Yards? $46 million. (WBJ)
* TUNNEL LATEST: With a council hearing about the project coming on Aug. 26, the Federal Highway Administration has postponed its final decision on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel until at least Sept. 15. But the delay is affecting residents and businesses. (WaPo)
* SCHOOL BOUNDARIES: The planned reopening of Van Ness Elementary next year passes another milestone, as its boundaries get included in the city's revamped map, released earlier this week. The final boundaries cross into Southwest south of M Street, shifting some students over to Van Ness from Amidon-Bowen, "to better align school building capacity with population and with boundary participation rates, and to support racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, where possible." (WaPo)

Details and Drawings for 1244 South Capitol Residential Project
Aug 20, 2014 2:13 PM
Materials filed with the Zoning Commission earlier this month are giving a first glimpse at JBG's plans for 1244 South Capitol Street, on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N, just across from Nats Park's Parking Lot C.
It will be a residential building with 290ish units and about 26,000 square feet of retail, and the renderings indicate that the design by architect Eric Colbert and Hariri Pontarini isn't a "typical" Washington DC box-like building. Images show the building's west side, facing South Capitol Street, with only six floors of height at its middle, allowing the interior courtyard to be open to South Capitol from the 6th floor on up, breaking up the pure U-shape that is so often employed 'round these parts. A few more views (click to enlarge):
At left is a stylized version of the view that you'd see standing at Van Street one block west of the Center Field Gate, looking toward the big self-storage building and points to the northwest. At right is a closer view of the South Capitol Street facade and the courtyard, upper floors, and roof. (Note that in these three drawings you can see hints of Akridge's proposed Half Street residential building on the perimeter, though that's not appearing to be getting underway anytime soon.)
The 26,000 square feet of retail will of course warm the hearts of stadium-goers, and the filing indicates that the retail spaces will wrap around on three sides of the building. This rendering depicting the corner of South Capitol and N (with a certain dome in the distance) shows two stories of retail along both streets, with more ground-floor spaces designed along Van Street.
There would be 176 parking spaces on three levels below ground for vehicles and and 100 spaces for bikes. Residential units would range from studios to 2 BR/den. The courtyard and 6th-floor open space would have plantings and seating areas, while the roof would have a pool, lounge areas, and a bocce court (!). These plans also show "rooftop dining" at the far northwestern corner. (And will residents be able to sneak a peek at games while hanging out poolside? The image up top seems to show an angle for that to work, but it's hard to tell if the entire field would be visible.)
The design will get its Capitol Gateway Overlay District Review hearing on November 13, and it will be interesting to see how the Zoning Commission members react to the design.
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More posts: 1221 Van, Development News, zoning

Homewood Suites at 50 M Gets its Zoning Approvals
Jul 30, 2014 12:26 PM
On Monday night, the Zoning Commission voted to approve the design for the proposed Homewood Suites hotel on the northeast corner of Half and M, just across from the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station.
According to the Washington Business Journal, "Commissioners were not thrilled with the hotel design, specifically the rooftop trellis, but it wasn't a 'show stopper' for any member of the panel."
The commission also okayed the 175-room hotel's plan to only have 40 parking spaces (instead of the mandated 53), but to get that approval, developer Englewood LLC agreed to various transit-related requirements, including offering full-day Circulator passes to guests, designating a "transportation coordinator," partnering with Bikeshare, and installing an information screen in the lobby showing transit status.
Earlier reporting said that it was hoped that construction could begin later this year or early in 2015, though building permits still need to be secured.
While the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L has had the Near Southeast hotel market to itself since 2006, this Homewood Suites is not the only new entrant--a168-room Hampton Inn at 1st and N is already under construction, and an additional 170-room hotel is expected in that same block once "Ballpark Square" gets underway.
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More posts: Homewood Suites, Development News, zoning

Ho Hum, Another Apartment Project, at New Jersey and I
Jul 18, 2014 1:10 PM
The empty lot on the northwest corner of New Jersey and I with the address of 82 I Street is the latest entrant in the latest wave of residential news in Near Southeast, as public records show the 20,000-square-foot site has been sold for what the deed says is $12.25 million.
The Washington Business Journal reports that the lot was purchased by Greystar with plans for a 234-unit apartment building, with what they say is an October 2014 start date, though they'd better start filing building permit applications soon to meet that date.
WBJ also has a rendering of the building, designed by R2L and echoing its neighbors, the 70/100 I buildings and 909 New Jersey,
If it does start this year, it joins a number of other residential projects underway, including its neighbors-to-be across the street the Park Chelsea and 800 New Jersey, along with River Parc one block to the south, Arris at the Yards, the Lofts at CQ at 7th and L, and (presumably) 1111 New Jersey down the block (with Twelve12 now considered substantially completed, as move-ins have begun).
I do wonder if at some point we'll hear the story of the deeds exchanged between the previous site owners and CSX earlier this year for small plots of land, in what appears to be the wake of a lawsuit filed by CSX.
(And I'm irked because I had been hearing rumors of this for weeks, and had been checking public records religiously looking for confirmation. Then as soon as I leave town, boom.)
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More posts: 801nj, Development News, New Jersey Ave.

Yards Parcel N Residential Project Gets a Name and a Web Site
Jul 17, 2014 8:01 AM
I mentioned this the other day in reporting on the new oyster bar coming to the Lumber Shed next year, but in case people didn't read to the end of that post (gasp!), I'll pass along that the 327-unit apartment building under construction at 4th and Tingey in the Yards finally has a name: Arris. And a new web site, though there isn't much there as of now.
The project is now beginning its vertical construction, and is expected to be completed in late 2015. It will also have 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
The above rendering is the angle from 4th and Water, looking to the northwest. The shorter side of the building is the one that will face the Foundry Lofts, with the taller half facing 4th. Additional renderings are on my now-Arris project page.
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More posts: Development News, Arris/Parcel N/Yards

Whither the Near Southeast Office Buildings? A Historical Survey
Jul 2, 2014 11:04 PM
City Paper's Aaron Wiener has a piece out looking at how office buildings are turning out to be a smaller part of the Capitol Riverfront development pie than had originally been envisioned.
Some numbers from the article: "As of last year, according to the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, 50 percent of the eventual office development in the neighborhood was built out. By 2017, the BID projects, that figure will be 51 percent—an increase of just one percentage point over four years. In the same time period, the BID forecasts, residential development will have jumped from 24 percent to 47 percent, hotel development from 16 percent to 58 percent, and retail development from 22 percent to 50 percent."
The neighborhood cut its teeth in the late 90s and early 00s on office projects along M Street, so much so that officials such as Eleanor Holmes Norton warned of ending up with a "concrete canyon" that would be empty at night and on weekends. By the time Capitol Hill Tower opened in 2006 as the first new residential building in the neighborhood, seven office buildings had already gone up or were under construction. Since then, four more office projects have been completed, compared to 10 new multi-unit residential buildings (plus five more currently underway).
Wiener pegs his story on the transition of Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey project from a 190,000-square-foot office building (seen above in its original incarnation) to now a 394-unit apartment building that is expected to get underway in the coming months. However, long-time observers can point to multiple other projects where offices were the original plan. Let's go to the roll call:
* Yards Parcel D: You know that Harris Teeter at 4th and M you are tapping your toes for? Originally it was going to be in the ground floor of a 320,000-square-foot office building, paired with a 170ish-unit residential building at 4th and Tingey, when plans were first unveiled in 2007. It was in 2010 that developer Forest City then announced that the entire block would be residential and retail.
* Florida Rock Phase 1: When I started following the neighborhood lo these many years ago (i.e., 2003), the project known as Florida Rock was already well into its decade-long trip through zoning, with the eastern-most building on the site planned to be a 275,000ish-square-foot office building. But after stalling out around 2008, the first phase was recast in 2011 as a 350-unit apartment building that could be getting underway Any Minute Now.
* 50 M: This never got all that far, but after Monument Realty snagged the old Sunoco site at 50 M Street in 2007, the developer did market a 135,000-square-foot office building at the site. Now, after the land was sold in 2013, it's the location of the planned Homewood Suites hotel. (Interestingly, though, my initial posts about the sale of the property in 2006 mentioned rumors of a hotel.)
I don't have any renderings, but over on Square 737, home of the Park Chelsea and the spot where the Whole Foods will be, WC Smith had plans for that block to be home to both 600,000 square feet of office space and and 600 units of residential (though the company wanted a grocery store there ever since it acquired the land in 1999). By 2011, the plans had gone to nearly 1,200 residential units and no office space.
And original plans for the Yards had plans for office buildings on the H and I parcels (on the south side of N just east of 1st, where the big parking lot is), but now it's looking like there will be residential buildings on that site, possibly even within the next few years.
There's plenty of office developments still on the boards for the neighborhood--but while a few will no doubt eventually get started, will others eventually turn into apartments, or hotels, or gather dust for years to come? Or with so many residential projects underway/about to be, is there a housing bubble in the neighborhood that may take a few years to be worked through? We shall see. Time will tell. No one knows for sure. Reply hazy, ask again later.
UPDATE: Dang it, I forgot one! There's the huge project being considered down at 1333 M Street, which was announced in 2010 as an 815,000-square-foot office/hotel/retail project, but is now all residential (673 units) and retail.
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More posts: Development News

Updated Drawings of Planned Homewood Suites at 50 M
Jul 2, 2014 9:37 AM
With its Capitol Gateway Overlay Review hearing now less than two weeks away, the developers of the Homewood Suites hotel planned at 50 M Street SE have submitted to the Zoning Commission new drawings of the building. Click to embiggen.
The angles are from Half Street (left) and Cushing Street (right). The site is directly across M from the west entrance to the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station.
The building is planned to be an 11-story, 140,000-sq-ft structure with one level of underground parking with a requested 40 vehicle parking spaces instead of the mandated 53, and 12 spaces for bicycles. I wrote more about the plans a few weeks back, or you can check out the project page for more details and photos of the current location.
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More posts: Homewood Suites, Development News, homewoodsuites, zoning

Velocity Residents to New Neighbor River Parc: Down in Front
Jun 14, 2014 8:31 AM
Way back when, the Cohen Companies' plan on Square 699N was to build the Velocity condo building at 1st and L and then almost immediately start work on a twin residential building directly to the north.
Velocity went up, but the twin did not follow for nearly four years--after Cohen sold the empty lot to Toll Brothers, which is now building the River Parc apartment building on the site. And having a different developer build the twin has brought about a sticky situation.
Within recent days, Velocity residents have discovered that Toll's layout for the River Parc roof includes a wall that completely obscures the formerly expansive Capitol dome views from Velocity's roof deck.
This Facebook page shows the old view from Velocity's roof--and the photo below, provided by a resident, shows the new one.
In addition, the new building's design appears to place the building's 237 air conditioning units on the south side of the concrete wall, facing Velocity.
A recent e-mail to Velocity residents informed them that "[T]he ANC Commissioner, The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the offices of Planning and Zoning have all been contacted and we are being told that all construction is being done in accordance with all plans, permits, zoning, and easements" and that "Every avenue is being pursued to somehow make this situation better for us." Alas, "[A]s long as they are within all legal parameters of their construction of this building, there is little we can do."
Capitol Dome views are a sticky wicket in the neighborhood, since almost all of the buildings that have already gone up stand to eventually lose their panoramic vistas as newer projects continue to fill in the empty spaces. (Just ask Nationals Park!)
The exceptions are 70/100 I (aka the Jefferson and Axiom) and the about-to-be-built 800 New Jersey, all of which border the freeway and so will likely keep their views pristine, as long as Capitol Hill north of the freeway doesn't suddenly start to allow 13 stories of construction.
But an impenetrable concrete wall certainly puts an exclamation point on the issue.
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More posts: Development News, Toll Brothers Lots, Velocity Condos

Friday Bonus Tidbits, Noun Edition: Lots, Piles, Trailers, Ferries
Jun 13, 2014 7:46 AM
I've got a few more itty bitty items, so let's have another tidbit go-round:
* LOT LAYING: Enough people have written (and progress has been so slow) that I finally have to post that the work many of you are seeing on the Congressional Square block at 1st and I isn't the beginning of development there--the word is that the parking lot on the west side of the block is being extended eastward.
* PILE DRIVING: Pile driving has started at 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods, if your ears haven't already alerted you.
* TRAILER PLACING: A building permit just came through the pipeline for a temporary sales trailer at 1000 1st St. SE. The land. owned by Akridge, is unlikely to be about to see any large-scale construction, so might this instead be the beginnings of a leasing center for Toll's River Parc across the street?
* FERRY DOCKING: Following up on the ferry news from last week, I finally heard back from the office of Frank Principi in Woodbridge--it sounds like the routes and docking locations are still not 100 percent decided on. There is a stakeholder's group that will ultimately make the decisions, and it is meeting later this month to work on the project. So reports of a "Navy Yard" destination or a St. Elizabeth's destination or a Bolling destination appear to be premature.

Condos, Retail Coming to Chiller Site at Half and L
Jun 11, 2014 5:25 PM
Metro announced today that it has chosen MidAtlantic Realty Partners and CAS Riegler Companies to develop the agency's 14,000-square-foot lot on the southwest corner of Half and L streets, SE, known as the "chiller plant" site.
Plans are for a 126-unit condo building with 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, in addition to integrating the chiller facility into the building.
The deal still has to be approved by Metro's board of directors, but the press release says "construction is expected to begin in 2016."
The press release does not say if the team plans to also purchase the 7,700-square-foot lot next door, which is for sale (and which has a bit of a history).
This will be MRP's second foray into the neighborhood, after having entered a deal in 2011 to co-develop the (still pending) first phase of the Florida Rock development.
The path to developing this site has not been a short one, given that WMATA has been trying to get the site developed since 2006. Three bids were received for the site earlier this year, two residential and one for an office building.

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More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Development News, Metro/WMATA

800 New Jersey Officially Underway; Park Chelsea Photos
Jun 9, 2014 5:02 PM
The week begins with the news that WC Smith is officially beginning construction this week on 800 New Jersey, the 336-unit apartment building just south of the Southeast Freeway and just north of the topped-out Park Chelsea.
And, in case you don't believe me, I have proof! Witness dirt being dug! A press release from WC Smith officially announcing the start of the $87 million construction project says that pile driving operations will be getting underway this week.
But of course the excitement in the neighborhood surrounding this project isn't for the arrival of still more residential units--it's for the building's 35,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, which will be home to a long-sought Whole Foods after the building is completed in late 2016.
And, just like with its sibling to the south, 800 NJ's construction will include the construction and opening of a "new" street between 2nd and New Jersey--this time it will be H Street, running from just north of 200 I over to New Jersey just south of the freeway.
This is the second of three residential buildings on the block, with a third, 393-unit building fronting 2nd Street to follow. Residents in all three buildings will be able to use the facilities in every building, giving them "unparalleled access" to club rooms, game rooms, rooftop pools, an indoor lap pool, exercise facilities, dog walk areas, a demonstration kitchen and the 15,000 square foot courtyard.
As for the Park Chelsea, having been topped out a few weeks ago, work continues, with the bricking of the exterior being the next obvious milestone now underway.
My camera got a tour of the Park Chelsea this afternoon, and everyone better appreciate the 12 flights of stairs I walked up to get some of these pictures. (I do and I do and I do for you people.) It is expected to open in Spring 2015.

Prep Work at New Jersey and M for Donohoe Residential Project
Jun 4, 2014 12:20 PM
Readers have reported--and Donohoe has confirmed--that the company is beginning to put up scaffolding to erect "overhead protection" around the canopy on top of the Metro entrance at New Jersey and M. And within the next couple of weeks, demolition is expected to begin at St. Matthew's Church on the north end of the block, at L Street.
This is in preparation for what the company "hopes" is a start date later this summer for its 324-unit residential building at 1111 New Jersey (I'm not quite ready to call it "The Gallery at Capitol Riverfront" just yet).
Note that the building will not be directly on top of the Metro station, as 55 M is over at the west entrance. But the big concrete retaining walls and small hill of grass will go away, and the new building will be right at street level.
If 1111 does in fact get underway (my caution is well earned!), it will join the now-lengthy lineup of under-construction residential projects in the few years: Twelve12, Park Chelsea, River Parc, Parcel N, the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, and 800 New Jersey (which should be getting started Any Minute Now, and did in fact get its excavation permit last week). Including 1111 NJ and 800 NJ, that makes about 2,100 new units in the active pipeline. (And maybe 320 more if Grosvenor gets the residential and hotel part of Ballpark Square off the ground this year like it seems to be planning.)
That's a lot of new neighbors....
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More posts: 1111 New Jersey/Insignia on M, Development News

PN Hoffman to Bring a Condo Building to the Yards
Jun 2, 2014 10:07 AM
A move like this was previewed a few months ago, and now it's come to pass: it's being announced this morning that Forest City is selling the "Parcel O" site on the southeast corner of the 4th and Tingey at the Yards to PN Hoffman, who will be building a 130-unit/10 floor condo building.
The trapeze school is currently occupying the site, but they will be moving to the corner of New Jersey and Tingey once the NGA building demolition is completed.
This would be not only the first condo building at the Yards, but the first condo building in the neighborhood since Velocity was finished back in 2009. Judging by my inbox over the years, the demand for ownership opportunities in the neighborhood is strong.
The press release about the project gives some small amount of detail: "These luxury condominium residences will echo the unique industrial past of the site both in building architecture and unit finishes. A range of residence sizes are currently planned from studios to two-bedroom units. A rooftop resident’s lounge, outdoor kitchen and fire pits, private terraces and balconies, and front desk staff are just a few of the features."
Hoffman is a busy company these days, since they are the behind the massive Wharf development in Southwest. The company has been tied to the Yards before, having been attached way back when to the renovation of Building 202 (the big red brick building now just behind Twelve12), but that project seems to be in perpetual turnaround.
There won't be shovels in the ground next week--scuttlebutt says that Hoffman could start the project in late 2015 (about the time that the under-construction 327-unit apartment building across the street delivers), but there's nothing stated officially one way or the other.
This would be the fourth residential building at the Yards, following the 170-unit Foundry Lofts, the about-to-be-completed 218-unit Twelve12, and the aforementioned 327-unit building on Parcel N, which needs a name desperately.
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More posts: Development News, The Yards, Yards/Parcel O

Lehman Takes Sole Ownership of Part of the Half Street Hole
May 29, 2014 12:46 PM
Documents filed with the Recorder of Deeds within the past few months show that Lehman Brothers has executed the necessary legal and financial maneuvers to take sole ownership of a portion of the infamous hole in the ground on Half Street just north of Nats Park (which I can't believe I didn't until this instant ever think to call Monument Valley).
The site, on the northern part of the hole and just south of 55 M Street, was going to be the hotel portion of Monument Realty's block-long Half Street development.
This is the third time in the past few years that Lehman has taken ownership of property in Monument's once-vast holdings just north of the ballpark. Lehman was one of Monument's investment partners on these properties, in addition to being the lender.
In both of the other cases, the "foreclosure" by Lehman ended up being a precursor to the sale of the property--both at 50 M, bought by investors in May 2013 and now the site of the planned Homewood Suites hotel, and at 1244 South Capitol, bought by JBG in late 2013 and likely to be a residential project. (The company's 55 M Street office building was sold in late 2013 without a Lehman takeback.)
Whether this is another precursor to another sale, we will have to see.
As of now, Monument retains an ownership stake in only two properties in the Ballpark District: the southern half of Monument Valley, where a residential project was planned, and the old Domino's site at One M Street, where back in 2012 Monument had been starting to shepherd an office project through zoning.
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More posts: Development News, Monument Valley/Half St.

A Peek at the Plans for 50 M's Homewood Suites Hotel
May 9, 2014 9:00 AM
Last week developers submitted to the Zoning Commission plans and drawings for the Homewood Suites Hotel being developed at 50 M Street, on the northeast corner of Half and M SE, one block north of Nationals Park.
This is part of the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review that projects in many parts of the neighborhood are required to go through, to make sure that new buildings meet the many goals for design that were set when the area was just a gleam in the Office of Planning's eye.
The filing mentions the basics: the hotel will be 11 stories/40,000 square feet, of which about 4,800 square feet will be reserved for ground-floor retail. There will be a pool and fitness center, a rooftop terrace, and a green roof. And if the current design becomes the final design, the project would most likely meet LEED Silver requirements.
Also included were some early elevations, such as the one at right and a few others that I snagged and have put on a newly thrown-together 50 M Street project page. (And yes, it's in the new JDLand design format--I can't be bothered to build a separate one in the old layout. If it's not displaying right for you, drop me a line and tell me what browser you're using.)
The only special exception to the CG Overlay being sought is that the developers are asking to include only 40 parking spaces, when 53 would be the normal base requirement, because of the hotel's "urban location" directly across from the west entrance of the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station. Judging from the drawings, the underground parking entrance will be on Cushing Street; and the developers stated in the filings that they would be building a new sidewalk along the property's frontage on that street.
ANC 6D will be reviewing the project at its next meeting, on Monday, May 12 at 7 pm at 200 I St. SE., in advance of the Zoning Commission's as-yet unscheduled hearing.
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More posts: Homewood Suites, Development News, homewoodsuites, zoning

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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More posts: Capper, Development News, The Bixby

Grosvenor Looking for Ballpark Square Equity Partner
Apr 23, 2014 11:48 AM
Even readers without untold millions available to invest might be interested to see Grosvenor's recently released solicitation for a joint venture partner to help fund the development of its portion of Ballpark Square, on 1st Street just north of Nationals Park.
Grosvenor's part of the project includes a 325-unit apartment building, a 170-room hotel by an as-yet-unnamed operator, and 22,000 square feet of retail, with some of the retail in a planned two-story building at the corner of 1st and N. (Skanska is developing 99 M, the office building at the north end of Ballpark Square; the under-construction L-shaped Hampton Inn toward the south end of the block is a separate development.)
There's a colorful brochure with highlights and renderings of the "shovel-ready" project (I especially like the fake "McCaffery's Irish Pub"), along with the basic information page, which has a gallery with a few not-quite-high-res renderings of the buildings' interiors. There's also the details on the amenities, which will include "a 5,000 sf fitness center, indoor/outdoor clubroom, multi-level rooftop amenity space with two pools, grilling stations, stadium seating and a dog run."
The documents say that Grosvenor is expecting to start construction this summer, which tracks with what I heard when doing my shoeleather parking lot reporting a few weeks ago.
Grosvenor also now has a page about the project on its own web site.
Let me look in my sofa cushions....
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More posts: Development News, F1rst Residential/Hotel

Forest City Looking for More Residential Height in 'Yards West'
Apr 7, 2014 10:06 AM
Forest City Washington, desiring to begin development on the western portion of the Yards, is requesting a change to the Southeast Federal Center Overlay that would "align the height and density of any residential development in the Yards West with similar residential density to the west in the CG/CR Overlay and the south in the DC Water Sites PUD."
(And yes, this "Yards West" thing is new, but it does make some sense, given how the properties along 1st Street are mostly separated from the heart of the Yards between 3rd and 4th.)
As shown on the graphic Forest City provided to the Zoning Commission, the four parcels along N Street just east of 1st dubbed F, G, H, and I currently have a maximum allowed height of 110 feet, while to the north, south, and west there's a 130-foot maximum. (There's also a density difference that caps Yards residential development at 6.0 FAR versus 7.0-8.2 in the Capitol Gateway (CG) Overlay.)
This means that the SEFC Overlay permits less height and density than on the surrounding properties because, Forest City says, "no one fully anticipated the success of the tremendous public and private investment that is transforming the area."
Further proposed text amendments would "require Zoning Commission design review for any property utilizing bonus height and density for residential use" and would "authorize deviations from the ground-floor preferred use requirements, only after approval from the Zoning Commission."
During the zoning hearings a few weeks back to allow some changes to the NGA building site (known as Parcels A, F, and G, but which for now I just call Parcel A because I'm lazy), it was mentioned that Forest City was in the process of hiring an architect to design a residential building on Parcel H, which is on the southeast corner of 1st and N, with hopes of beginning development in 2015. Though I'm guessing they'll want to find out whether they can build to 130 feet instead of 110 before finalizing that design.
More as it develops.
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More posts: Development News, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards, Yards/Parcel H, zoning

Three Bids Received for WMATA Navy Yard Chiller Plant Site
Mar 25, 2014 12:25 PM
WBJ reports today that three developers have submitted proposals to WMATA for projects on what's known as the Navy Yard Chiller Plant site, on the southwest corner of Half and L, SE.
Sayeth Michael Neibauer: "Akridge wants to build office there. Trammell Crow has bid to construct a residential building, as has a joint venture of MRP Realty and CAS Riegler. All three buildings feature ground floor retail."
Apparently the next step will be public forums "to gauge community interest" in the proposals, and WBJ says that Metro is looking to make selections as soon as mid-summer.
This is not the first time that WMATA has looked to redevelop this 14,000-sq-ft parcel, but a two-year negotiation with Donatelli broke off in 2010 when the developer pulled the plug on a planned 84-unit condo building, saying that the neighborhood was "getting saturated" with residential and that "it didn't look like condominiums were a viable alternative."
WMATA has been looking to get this lot developed since 2006, and you can relive all the twists and turns through my many posts on the subject.
Most likely any developer chosen would buy the 7,700-sq-ft lot with the two-story building next door (which has a big For Sale sign draped on its western side) to expand the site. (That building has quite a history, for those who weren't around for my post on it back in 2010.)
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More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Development News, square 698

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.

Deal Struck for a Homewood Suites Hotel at 50 M Street
Feb 26, 2014 5:55 PM
According to the Washington Business Journal, the empty lot on the northeast corner of Half and M is now slated to become a 195-room Homewood Suites Hotel, with a deal having been reached between Hilton and the development group that bought the lot last year.
Back in the pre-ballpark pre-land rush days, a Sunoco station sat on this lot, known as 50 M Street, until 2006, and then the site was bought by Monument Realty in 2007.
The WBJ article says construction could begin on the 11-story building, one block north of Nationals Park, late this year or in 2015, with an opening in 2016. The hotel will have a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom suites, and about 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, which will come in handy with its location directly across the street from the west entrance to the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station.
This hotel would join the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L and the just-getting-started Hampton Inn at 1st and N that is expected to open next year. There is also expected to be another hotel as part of the Ballpark Square development just a few feet north of the Hampton Inn on 1st Street south of M.
Note that this deal does not affect the red brick warehouse just to the north of the empty 50 M lot--that building is owned by the feds and is being salivated over by residents who dream of creating the Half Street Market there.
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More posts: Homewood Suites, Development News, homewood, hotel

DC Water Relocation Plans Hit Snag, Stalling Theater Project
Feb 19, 2014 5:32 PM
The Washington Business Journal is reporting that DC Water has rejected the new spot proferred by the city for the relocation of some of the agency's operations at 1st and O SE, stalling forward progress on Forest City's plans for a 16-screen movie theater along with residential and retail offerings just east of Nationals Park.
Apparently additional relocation sites have been offered by the city to DC Water and are being reviewed, but the article says they have not been named. There's no real explanation of why the agency rejected the site east of 11th Street SE south of Water Street, except for this quote from Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins: "They [DC Water] have criteria, and what you think works doesn't necessarily work. [...] We were very clear that the site worked, but they were clear that it did not work. They had the option to say no."
In addition to the movie theater, expected to be operated by Showcase Icon, Forest City has plans for 600 residential units in two buildings, along with around 50,000 square feet of retail on about five acres of land near (but not including) the historic Main Pumping Station between N Place SE and the Anacostia River.
While this relocation is getting sorted out, you can read my past posts about the DC Water site project, and check out the latest renderings of the theater and buildings planned for the site, some of which came along during my hiatus and so haven't officially been mentioned on the blog. Until now!
UPDATE, 2/20: There's now a follow-up WBJ story with DC Water's side of the story, saying that the 11th Street site was too small, too narrow, too difficult to navigate, located in a flood plain, in a heavily contaminated Superfund site, and has "tremendous traffic challenges."
It does quote agency head George Hawkins as saying that DC Water is not trying to drag its feet: "We're engaged, we're analyzing sites as fast as we get them."
The article also mentions that if a solution isn't found soon, the DC council may want to reallocate the $15 million it has budgeted for the land acquisition of a new site. "And that could potentially set the Showplace icon theater and associated development back a number of years."
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More posts: Development News, DC Water (WASA), The Yards, The Yards at DC Water

Tuesday Tidbits: Flaky and Distracted
Feb 11, 2014 9:17 AM
A looming snowstorm will always divert my attention, but before the flakes fly, here's a few tidbits:
* I was not there, but the developers of the Florida Rock site apparently told Monday's ANC 6D meeting that they are looking at a June start of construction for the project's first phase, a 350-unit residential building. However, no building permit applications have been filed yet, with one reason being the need for some curb cut approvals, which the ANC voted to support. So, We Shall See.
* SWill reports that a developer is in the planning stages for a 260-unit apartment building on South Capitol Street across from Nationals Park, just north of the Camden building that opened last year. There are older rowhomes on the north end of the block, some or all of which could be incorporated into the project in some way. However, this is technically outside of my boundaries, so other than snapping photos of what will come, I'll be leaving this to Will to cover.
* I feel like I've already mentioned this, but in case I haven't, a raze permit has been filed for St. Matthew's Baptist Church on the southwest corner of New Jersey and L, to make way for Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey residential project. UPDATE: And commenter Alan below adds the tidbit that the church's message board out front now says "Looking for our perfect home."
* Washingtonian had very good things to say about Osteria Morini, while the Post's Tom Sietsema waxes saltily on Agua 301.

Condo Project May Be Coming to Yards; Other Yards Updates
Feb 3, 2014 8:38 PM
During Monday night's Zoning Commission hearing on allowing the move of the trapeze school from "Parcel O" at 4th and Tingey in the Yards to another space at New Jersey Avenue, Forest City's Ramsey Meiser revealed that the company is planning to sell a portion of Parcel O to allow for the development of a condo project there.
Meiser explained that while Forest City doesn't do condo development, "we want to have for-sale product at the Yards," hence the potential deal. The zoning filings say that "Parcel O will be developed in 2014/2015 and construction on Parcel O is expected to be completed by 2016/2017."
I've asked for further detail on this, which I may or may not get anytime soon, and I will update when I receive more.
Other tidbits that came out of the hearing:
* Forest City is in the process of hiring an architect to design a residential building for Parcel H, which is the western half of the parking lot on the southeast corner of 1st and N, directly across from Nationals Park and north of DC Water. There appears to be a desire to develop that site within the next couple of years.
* The company expects the demolition of the NGA building at 1st and M to take approximately six months, and that the reconfiguration of the block to include the trapeze school, a new park on the north end, and a slightly shrunken parking lot would be completed by the end of 2014.
* The new park, which with the rest of the block would be a temporary use until office buildings are constructed, has enough open green space that Forest City expects to work with the BID to activate it for some sorts of smaller sports activities (bocce and kickball yes, softball probably not).
Oh, and the commission voted 5-0 to approve the special exceptions to allow trapeze school and parking lot on the south end of the 1st and M block, on the sites technically known as Parcels F and G. (The park would be on Parcel A.) There was some back-and-forth about the need for trees on the site--they weren't included in the plans because Forest City expects buildings to eventually replace the temporary uses, but Forest City has agreed to work with DDOT and the Office of Planning on the issue, and the zoning commissioners did not feel it warranted delaying their vote.
UPDATE: In my haste to get this posted, I should have mentioned that the original Yards plans did include a condo project--a plan to have PN Hoffman convert Building 202, the red brick building at 5th and M east of what's now Twelve12. But that project has seemed to stall.
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More posts: Development News, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards, Yards/Parcel O, zoning

NLRB to 1015 Half St., And Going Outside the Boundaries
Jan 30, 2014 12:32 PM
UPDATE: I tried to hint with my wording down below, but the cat is now out of the bag, as it has been announced that the National Labor Relations Board will be taking 143,000 square feet of space at 1015 Half Street.
Original post: I don't have official confirmation, so the best I can do is be all cagey and say that word is filtering out that 1015 Half Street may finally be about to get a tenant for some of its 410,000 square feet, six years after construction started and nearly three years after it was finished. If this pans out, the newcomers wouldn't arrive before next year, since of course there will first be the inevitable labor to build out the tenant space.
I've also got a bit of non-Near Southeast content to pass along, as the Post's Capital Business section is featuring "A Walking Tour in Pictures: The Final Days of White Flint Mall," a gallery of photos I took as the go-to shopping destination of my Montgomery County teenage years prepares to close to make way for a 5 million-square-foot mixed-use development. (And because we all know I can't bear to be shackled by space constraints, here's some additional shots that didn't make the initial cut.)
This is the second one of these features I've done with Jonathan O'Connell and CapBiz, after my Buzzard Point photo tour last fall, and there will probably be more to come from other soon-to-change areas around the Metro area.
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More posts: 1015 Half, Development News

Hampton Inn Construction To Start 'Any Day Now'
Jan 24, 2014 12:05 PM
With newish Sigal Construction signs now up on the fences on 1st Street just north of Nats Park acting as confirmation, WBJ reports today that construction is going to start "any day now" on the 168-room Hampton Inn and Suites that was announced a little while back. A shoring/sheeting permit for a portion of the site was approved in late December, though the building permit itself is still in process.
The article says that construction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2015--perhaps the lack of underground parking for the project and the shoring permit only for one of the five lots the hotel will be situated on means that there won't be as much digging as one would normally see for a 13-story project, which would speed up the timeline.
This hotel, being developed by the Buccini/Pollin Group, is an L-shaped building that will be wrapping around a separate two-story retail project by Grosvenor right on the northwest corner of 1st and N. And Grosvenor has its own hotel (and a residential building) planned on the same block, just to the north of the Hampton Inn, though no start date has been announced.
The start of this project may be taking some parking away from the far southern end of Nats Lot F, though I have to admit that I'm not 100 percent sure that this portion of the lot was used last season. Rocklands BBQ had set up a food truck during games on the corner lot (where the retail building will go), but I don't remember if more fences went up a little north of that lot or not. Perhaps someone who parks in Lot F as a commuter can help with the timeline.
Confused? Don't worry, it'll all become clear, but perhaps checking out my Square 701 page--which covers the Hampton Inn, and the Grosvenor/Skanska Ballpark Square project--will help.
This is the first non-residential new construction building in the neighborhood since the 1015 Half Street office building was completed in 2011. And it is the second hotel in Near Southeast, joining the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L that opened in 2006.
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More posts: Development News, hamptoninn, hotel, lhotel

Tuesday Tidbits: Speeding on By
Jan 21, 2014 9:00 AM
* TEETER AND VIDA: At last week's BID meeting, Michael Stevens said that Forest City would soon be "handing the keys" to Harris Teeter to begin their build out at the north end of Twelve12. And apparently the Vida Fitness space on the south end of the block will be turned over very soon to its tenants as well. Vida is looking at a summer opening, and Teeter in the fall. And leasing for the apartments themselves should start this spring.
* WHOLE FOODS: Meanwhile, at that other grocery store/residential site, I'm told that some initial infrastructure work is already underway (probably hard to really differentiate it with all the work going on at the Park Chelsea next door). The plan is still for 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods to officially get underway this spring, probably in March (which so often is the month that a developer's thoughts turn to excavation).
* A VIEW OF THE PARK: And, speaking of the Park Chelsea, I can now offer this high-speed photo of the construction from a different vantage point from usual (and no, I didn't walk up onto the freeway):
Of course, this view of the Park Chelsea will only last until 800 New Jersey starts sprouting in the spot in between this construction and the freeway.
* FREEWAY VISTAS: It's been a while since I've updated my skyline-from-the-freeway images, but I did get them this weekend. I would suggest taking a look at the whole lot, but this is probably the best comparison, of January 2005 to the present:
At center of the new image is the River Parc residential building speeding along next to Velocity. But these two don't even tell the entire story of the eight years that passed between them--check out the complete lineup of images from this angle to see the other buildings that went up since 2005 but are now obscured.
But really, check out all the before-and-afters I've taken from the freeway at South Capitol over the past 14 years, and click on the See All Photos of This Angle icons to see the progressions.
* THE CRAZY AUNT AND HER SLIDES: Sunday was the 11th anniversary of that fateful drive around the neighborhood that resulted in some photos on my web site, and then yadda yadda, here we are. So of course I have to point you to those pictures. (Though yes, technically I took my first photos of the area in fall 2000, but those were on bad film and I didn't even rediscover them until 2004.)
***UPDATE***: Adding on to this post with the news that Bluejacket and its much-touted head brewer Megan Parisi have parted ways, according to the Post.

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:

Late Monday Tidbits: Starting 2014 Off Right (Kind Of)
Jan 6, 2014 6:47 PM
Trying to start 2014 off right--even if it means posting a few things I didn't quite get to in 2013.
* ANC: Ed Kaminski has resigned as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 6D02, the area basically from the ballpark northward to the south side of I Street. A special election will be in the offing before too long.
* METRO: Via CapBiz, Metro has put out "development concepts" for the five station sites it is touting to developers. However, when it came to the Navy Yard/Chiller Plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L, there were no pretty drawings, just a suggestion to acquire the privately owned lot next door, and that maybe a project with ground-floor retail would be nice, too. If you want to know the increasingly long history of WMATA's attempts to find a developer for this land (and get a new chiller plant as part of the deal), here's some reading for you.
* BALLPARK SQUARE: New fence signage along 1st Street north of Nats Park touting the Ballpark Square residential/hotel/retail development, "delivering in late 2015." There do appear to be building permits for the residential and hotel parts of the development currently working through the pipeline, though there is No Time To Lose to hit that "late 2015" date (and co-developer McCaffery hedges a bit with "early 2016"). I will note, though, that there is something kind of missing in the rendering shown on the fence signage. (Hint: It's L-shaped, and is by a different developer, and is supposed to start soon too.)
* WAYBACK: The Hill is Home's "Lost Capitol Hill" series looks at the Anacostia Engine House, located at 8th and Virginia for most of the years from 1839 until the glorious arrival of the Southeast Freeway in the 1960s.
* NO, REALLY: My latest excuse explanation for my decreased blogging output. (Though if you follow JDLand on Facebook or Twitter, you already know this.)

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.
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More posts: Capper, Capper New Apt Bldgs, Development News, sq767

Florida Rock Site Needs Decontamination Before Development
Jan 1, 2014 8:09 PM
The land along the Anacostia River south of Nationals Park known to longtime observers as Florida Rock has not had a simple path to redevelopment from its prior life as a cement plant site, and now the Washington Business Journal reports there's a new hurdle: "Preliminary environmental testing completed in the summer of 2012 on the portion of the site that comprises Phase 1 of the project found contaminants related to the previous tenant, Vulcan Materials Co. - specifically, releases from an underground storage tank, 'along with other activities by the tenant on the property.' ” Plus, subsequent testing in late 2013 "revealed more contamination in the remainder of the site."
Patriot Transportation Holding, Inc., owner of the 5.8-acre property that may someday finally become the huge mixed-use RiverFront on the Anacostia development, stated in its year-end report to the Securities and Exchange Commission that "the presence of contaminated material at our RiverFront on the Anacostia development site may subject us to substantial environmental liability and costs.”
The company has already recorded a $1.77 million expense for the cleanup, but WBJ says that the actual price tag could be higher, and that while the company is requesting that Vulcan Materials, which leased the land from 1986 to 2011, take financial responsibily for remediation costs, Patriot could end up on the hook for the total cleanup cost, as owners of the land. (See the company's SEC filing for more details, though you'll want to search on "RiverFront" rather than reading the whole thing. Trust me.)
The first phase of the project, a 350-unit residential building with 18,000 square feet of retail on the site's east end, near Diamond Teague Park, is a joint venture with MRP Realty. The filing says this first phase is expected to start construction in mid-2014, but I will note that no building permit application for the project appears to have been filed as yet, and those don't always sail through the bureaucracy with lightning speed. We shall see.
(As an aside, one wonders how prospective visitors to the open air temporary bar/events space proposed for the site but ultimately delayed because of liquor license issues might have reacted to the news of pending environmental remediation. Or if they would have even much cared, as long as they could still play kickball or bocce.)
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More posts: Development News, Florida Rock

JBG Picks Up South Capitol and N Lots from Monument
Dec 22, 2013 6:17 PM
DC property records report that JBG has purchased the former Monument Realty parcels on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N, just north of Nats Parking Lot B.
The property records on this week's sale show the buyer as "1244 South Capitol Residential, LLC," which may be a hint at what JBG has in mind for the site. Bisnow, in quoting JBG's Matt Kelly, says "the firm is 'a probably a year or two from starting anything' at the newly purchased site, and that it could be developed for any number of uses." Bisnow also says JBG paid $17 million for the site.
The main parcel was once home to a BP/Amoco gas station, and five other parcels were undeveloped as well (except for the cutest little yellow building on South Capitol that disappeared about seven years ago).
Monument and its investment partners (including Lehman Brothers) paid about $10 million for the six lots in multiple transactions in 2005 and 2006, and in 2008 began some initial bureaucratic moves on plans for a residential building that went nowhere. In late 2010, they went to the Zoning Commission with a request to review new plans for a 12-story office building, but that review didn't move forward until mid-2013, and is in fact scheduled to have its final vote in early January. In the meantime, about a year ago Lehman Brothers took full ownership of the site (since it had been the lender on the original loan).
JBG has just one other property in Near Southeast, but it's a big one: the 1.1 million-square-foot US Department of Transportation headquarters at New Jersey and M, which began construction in 2004 and opened in 2007.
Thanks to many purchases in the Great Ballpark District Land Rush of 2004-06, Monument at one time controlled quite a few properties in the blocks just north of the ballpark. And while the company still owns the old Domino's site on the southeast corner of South Capitol and M, as well as the infamous Half Street hole in the ground, the other properties have since fallen off their inventory, including the recently sold 55 M office building. The company's 50 M site, on the northwest corner of Half and M, was also returned to Lehman Brothers a year ago, and then sold this past May for $13 million to a team mulling a hotel. And at one point Monument had owned the land along N where the southern end of the Fairgrounds now stands, but sold it to Akridge in 2008 during all the fallout of the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage.
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More posts: 1221 Van, Homewood Suites, Development News, Monument/South Capitol St., sq700

1111 New Jersey to Go Residential, Start in 2014
Dec 20, 2013 10:50 AM
WBJ reported on Thursday that Donohoe has made its decision to switch the long-planned 1111 New Jersey office development to a 13-story, 324-unit residential building with 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 213 underground parking spaces. It will be called the "Gallery at Capitol Riverfront."
Further, the construction contract has already been "awarded" (to, ahem, Donohoe Construction), and WBJ quotes a company official as saying the project will begin in the first quarter of 2014, with delivery in 2016.
The site, which is above the New Jersey Avenue portion of the Navy Yard-Ballpark subway station, also includes the land upon which sits the St. Matthews Baptist Church at New Jersey and L (seen at right), which Donohoe has apparently acquired. As you can see in the rendering, the building will sit right next to but will not contain the Metro station entrance (the way 55 M Street contains the west entrance at Half Street).
Donohoe bought most of the project's property back in 2005, then purchased the rest from WMATA.
If they do intend to get underway next year, that brings the total of new residential units expected in the neighborhood over the next two years to nearly 1,900, with Twelve12, River Parc, and the Park Chelsea already out of the ground and Yards/Parcel N, 800 New Jersey and now this Donohoe project in the lineup to start in 2014.
I think I might have to buy a new camera.
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More posts: 1111 New Jersey/Insignia on M, Development News, Square 743N

Progress and More Progress on 900-Plus Residential Units
Dec 15, 2013 7:40 PM
After not having a new high-rise residential project under construction in the neighborhood since spring 2009, it's sort of amazing to realize there are now three such buildings up out of the ground, with more than 900 new rental units in the pipeline for delivery within the next year to eighteen months. (And there could be another 650 units added to tally if both the Yards/Parcel N and 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods projects get going as expected in the coming months.)
The farthest along is the Twelve12 building at 4th and M, SE, at the Yards, which has its two residential towers topped out and its Harris Teeter space glassed in. Plus, it is also now seeing the glass being hung on the Vida Fitness/retail area at 4th and Tingey:
It will have 218 units, and the first move-ins are expected to happen by mid-year. This project is also where Sweetgreen and TaKorean will be located.
Meanwhile, the Toll Brothers building dubbed River Parc is racing right along, with five-plus of its 13 stories completed, helping to make the southwest corner of 1st and K look a teensy bit different than it did seven years ago:
This building will have 277 units, and is expected to begin leasing toward the end of 2014.
And up near the freeway, at New Jersey and I, the Park Chelsea is moving along, though the vertical progress of this 433-unit building is a bit slower than its smaller brethren. But as of now neighborhood eyes are probably more fixed on the completed paving of the new block of I Street between 2nd and New Jersey, though when the street will actually open to the public is not being trumpeted. (Spring 2014? Late 2014? We shall see!)
I think that, of the three, the Park Chelsea will have the biggest impact on the neighborhood skyline, both from on the ground (as you can now start to see in the various vantage points in the project's expanded before-and-after archive) as well as when looking into Near Southeast from the freeway. (And then it won't be too long until the Chelsea's sibling 800 New Jersey sneaks in just to its north and tweaks the views even further.). The downside is that a lot of views of the Capitol dome from Canal Park and Capitol Hill Tower are going to be lost to progress....
For more information/renderings for each project, and for more photos showing how these construction sites looked before work got underway, check out the Twelve12, River Parc, and Park Chelsea project pages. And join in with me in looking forward to the days starting to get longer, so that I can stop having to deal with the rotten winter sun angle and shadows.

Tidbits: Whole Foods Dough, Blue Castle For Sale, Yards Doings
Dec 13, 2013 2:29 PM
* WC Smith has lined up $87 million in financing for its planned apartment building at 800 New Jersey Ave., better known as the home-to-be of Whole Foods. Construction is expected to start next year, just north of the currently climbing Park Chelsea. (WBJ)
* The old trolley barn known as the Blue Castle at 770 M Street has been put on the market by owners Madison Marquette, who bought it for $25 million in 2007 from Preferred Real Estate Investments, who bought it for $20 million in 2005. (WBJ)
* Forest City held a little shindig at the Yards today to celebrate the official "topping out" of the Twelve12 apartment/Teeter project and also to officially receive the 2013 Urban Open Space Award from the Urban Land Institute for the Yards Park.
The party also celebrated the "groundbreaking" of the Yards's next project, the 325-unit residential building just east of the Foundry Lofts on Parcel N, but until the heavy equipment shows up and starts digging up the existing parking lot on the site, let's just note that the actual work should be getting underway sometime soon. But in the meantime, you can gaze upon the latest rendering of the project (this is looking toward the northwest, up 4th from Water Street).
UPDATE: I also should have mentioned that Forest City is now expecting an official mid-January move of its offices to the 2nd floor of the Lumber Shed (hence the visible work underway up there).

55 M Street Sold to Hines Global REIT
Dec 11, 2013 2:41 PM
It's been announced that 55 M Street, the 265,000-square-foot office building at Half and M on top of the Navy Yard Metro station just north of Nationals Park, has been sold by Monument Realty (and its investment partners Lehman Brothers and McFarlane Partners) to Hines Global REIT, for an as-yet undisclosed amount.
Open since 2009, 55 M has 89 percent of its space currently leased, with tenants including the District Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration. The ground-floor retail spaces remain empty except for Bank of America on the building's northeast corner, but perhaps now that the sale has been completed, some movement on the other spaces may be seen.
The building was to be the first phase of Monument's Half Street development when construction began on it in 2007, but the Great Economic Difficulties of the late 00's stopped the subsequent phases in their tracks, leaving only the large hole that was dug for them at the same time 55 M was being built. Monument still has on the boards its Half Street plans for a 200-room hotel and 350 units of residential, though with no announced timeline.
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More posts: 55 M St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St.

Four-Phase Residential Project Proposed for East M Street
Nov 6, 2013 9:01 AM
In another blast from the past, we've learned from WBJ that the Cohen Companies have filed zoning paperwork for their proposed project at 1333 M Street SE, a mere 3 1/2 years since they last discussed the development of this three-acre triangular plot of land east of the 11th Street Bridges near the Anacostia River.
However, it's no longer the 815,000-sq-ft office/hotel/retail project that was unveiled in 2010 -- Cohen, developer of the Velocity Condos at 1st and L, now is proposing a four-phase, three-building project with 673 residential units and 10,370 square feet of retail use. WBJ quotes Eric Siegel of Cohen as saying "the office market is just not there" in DC, and that the company felt that "creating a sense of place with a residential community was a much better opportunity than just creating an office environment."
Currently the site is home to, well, not much. Temporary trailers and surface parking were installed as part of the 11th Street Bridges project, and this stretch of M is pretty ripped up now as part of DC Water's big dig. To the west of the site are the two buildings and large surface parking lots of Maritime Plaza, and south of Water Street is the stretch of waterfront uses known as Boathouse Row. The invisible "intersection" of 13th and M is probably known to passersby only because of the somewhat incongruous mini-traffic circle built there. The eastern end of the triangle is where Water Street meets M, which isn't exactly exciting either (though my photos of that spot are from before DC Water started ripping it up). Directly to the north of the triangle are both the CSX train tracks and the stretch of road that is on its way to becoming Southeast Blvd.
The first phase of the project would be a 10-story, 218-unit building, viewed in the design as the first of two towers in a single building at 1333 M. A large open lawn area would be installed to the south of the building, at least until construction of the second tower, planned for Phase II, which would have 133 units in a nine-story building.
Together, the two buildings would have 7,200 square feet of retail and 112 parking spaces. A retail plaza would be on the south side of Tower B, and a ground-level pool would be built during the second phase between the two towers, as would a large "grand staircase" down to Water Street from the promenade along the southern edge of the property that is expected to be built during Phase I.
Phase III/Building 2 would be built on the west end of the triangle and would have 234 units in an 11-story building that would also contain 3,170 square feet of retail, and Phase IV/Building 3 would be a teensy nine-story 88-unit building on the eastern end of the site.
There would also eventually be a new street coming off the traffic circle on a portion of the south side of the site at 13th and M, named Virginia Avenue since it is on the footprint of the original avenue (which disappeared east of 11th at some point many years ago).
The zoning application describes the project as "a visionary mixed-use development that reactivates the Anacostia River and provides evocative public spaces giving a full life cycle to the previously underutilized site," intended to "celebrate the waterfront, by creating a dynamic promenade down to the river with a flexible retail plaza space where pedestrians, cyclists, retail users, residents and cultural events come together."
It may be worth noting that, should the Maritime Plaza folks ever build the final phases of that development, the river views across huge parking lots to the southwest of the Cohen site will probably be altered somewhat.
Someone will probably ask about the remediation issues for this site (which I mentioned back in 2010). This is part of the old Washington Gas/Steuart Petroleum site, and it was previously discussed that soil approximately 11 feet below grade is contaminated. There is no mention in the new zoning filings about this, but I'm guessing it will be brought up at some point. UPDATE: The magic of Twitter allows me to get word that Cohen says the contamination has been cleaned.
I could go into all manner of additional detail about the plans, but with a project this big with a zoning PUD to go through I figure I have plenty of time to get to the nitty gritty. But don't let that stop anyone from hashing over the design, the location, the probability of completion, and more. (Meanwhile, compare it all to the 2010 office/hotel/retail plans, just for the fun of it.)
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More posts: 1333 M, Development News, zoning

WMATA Looking for Chiller Plant Developers - Again
Nov 5, 2013 9:53 AM
The Post's CapBiz section reported yesterday that "In an effort to take advantage of some of the boom in development near public transit, Metro launched a search Monday for companies interested in building on properties the transit agency owns at five of its stations: Brookland, Navy Yard, Fort Totten, Grosvenor-Strathmore and Morgan Boulevard."
The Navy Yard-Ballpark land the transit agency is looking to develop is a bit to the north of the station's Half Street entrance, and is known as the Chiller Plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L.
While this sounds like positive progress to those who are wanting to see that corner developed, I do invite readers to come with me on a trip through the JDLand archives:
* Donatelli, WMATA Break Off Chiller Site Plans (Aug. 2010)
So, while it would be keen to see some movement on the 14,000-sq-ft site, it might be wise to not break out the backhoes just yet.
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More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Development News, Metro/WMATA, square 698

Toll Brothers Apartment Building Quickly Out of the Gate
Oct 27, 2013 2:41 PM
At 1st and K SE, the neighborhood is getting a great demonstration of how quickly a just-started apartment building project can pop into view if the below-ground infrastructure is already completed.
Toll Brothers bought the site from the Cohen Companies last year, and because Cohen had originally planned a sister building to Velocity on the lot, it had gone ahead and built the garage and other underground necessities at the same time Velocity was built in 2007. But then, well, Phase 2 never actually happened, and the covered garage remained a Tetris-like landscape until Toll came along.
It was at the end of last month that nearby residents started seeing the first hints of work at the site, and now a few weeks later the ground floor of the building is already up, as you can see.
Toll is keeping details about the building pretty close to its vest--unless you're a Velocity resident. That group received a briefing in September and was told that the building will be called River Parc, will have 277 rental units, no retail, and is expected to start leasing next fall with completion in spring 2015.
And Velocity residents were even shown a rendering of the new building (thanks to Jake for grabbing a pic of the poster board, which I've straightened out a bit--UPDATE: and see below for two more).
This stretch of 1st Street between K and L used to be made up of small auto-related businesses, with the buildings facing K having a bit more tawdry offerings, such as the "In & Out Video 'and so much more'". All were demolished in Spring 2007, and now the vista looks a little different, not only on this block but elsewhere:
See my Toll Brothers page for more details and photos.
UPDATE: And now two additional renderings have fallen into my hands, showing the view that the Velocity folks will see across the courtyard (left), and the view coming up 1st Street from L (right):
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More posts: Development News, photos, riverparc, Square 699n, Toll Brothers Lots

Hampton Inn Announced for 1st and N
Oct 24, 2013 5:54 PM
The latest edition of the Capitol Riverfront BID's newsletter reports this evening that the Buccini/Pollin Group is planning to break ground by the end of the year on what I've referred to as the "L Hotel" on the northwest corner of 1st and N streets, just across from Nationals Park on Square 701.
It is going to be a 13-story, 168-room Hampton Inn and Suites, says the BID, and would be completed by spring 2015.
This all jibes with some guessing I did back in April when it was reported that PM Hospitality Strategies (an affiliated company to Buccini/Pollin) was close to a deal to manage a hotel "in Capitol Hill." BPG owns many properties throughout the mid-Atlantic, including the Madison Hotel.
Note that the hotel project does not include the two-story building it wraps around in the rendering above; that is anticipated to be a retail building and is part of Grosvenor's planned mixed-use project immediately to the north, which currently has no announced timetable for construction.
This would be the second hotel built in Near Southeast, along with the Courtyard by Marriott that has had the neighborhood to itself since 2006. There are plans on the boards for three other hotels, including on the same block as this Hampton Inn, in the aforementioned Grosvenor project, plus around the corner on Half Street in Monument's long-planned Half Street project, and perhaps even at 50 M Street, as was recently reported by WBJ.
As of now there is no approved building permit for this site, though there is an application currently working its way through DCRA with an address of 1299 1st Street SE, filed back in August. So, until a permit is approved, don't look for any action.
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More posts: Development News, hamptoninn

Whole Foods Makes it Official; Updated Rendering
Oct 23, 2013 8:48 AM
I guess Whole Foods figured that waiting another month for an official announcement after yesterday's flurry of news was a little unnecessary, because this morning there is an official release--and a new rendering, with all the appropriate signage (click to embiggen). The under-construction Park Chelsea is visible to the right, so this view is of the corner of New Jersey and H.
The William C. Smith release:
"Washington, DC - Developer WC Smith has signed Whole Foods Market to anchor the retail portion of its $443 million development in the District’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. The 36,000 square foot store will be located on the first floor of the second of three residential buildings the company has in development on New Jersey Avenue SE, two blocks from the Navy Yard Metro station.
"'We are delighted to welcome Whole Foods to the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood,' said Chris Smith, chairman and CEO of WC Smith. 'Their dedication to healthy living and commitment to community dovetails with our mission of creating green, sustainable communities for residents of the District of Columbia.'
"The first component of the new development, a 432-unit luxury apartment building known as Park Chelsea, is currently under construction with a projected fall 2014 delivery date. Construction on the second building is scheduled to begin early in 2014, with a 2017 opening of the Whole Foods Market and delivery of 336 residential units. The residential units will offer 10 foot ceilings and a commanding view of the Capitol and the monumental skyline. Completion of the third Class A residential building will bring the unit total to over 1,100 for the development.
"All of the buildings will provide on-site parking and will be highly amenitized with club rooms, rooftop pools, and exercise facilities. Additionally, each site will offer a unique amenity space for use by residents of all three buildings. Those amenities include an indoor lap pool, an all-purpose gymnasium, a demonstration kitchen, and a 15,000 square foot courtyard. The development is within walking distance of both the Navy Yard and Capitol South Metro stations and adjacent to newly created Canal Park with water features, ice skating rink, public art, programmed activities, and Park Tavern restaurant."
UPDATE: The separate joint release with Whole Foods is a little long to cut-and-paste, but there's this quote:
"'Washingtonians asked and we listened,” said Scott Allshouse, Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic regional president. “People who live and work in Southeast have been requesting a Whole Foods Market for some time. We are thrilled about finding the right fit given the combination of factors that go into deciding on a new location.'"
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More posts: 800 NJ/Whole Foods, Development News, Retail, WC Smith/Square 737, wholefoods

Whole Foods Signs Lease for 800 New Jersey Avenue
Oct 22, 2013 9:55 AM
A mere 11 years after the notion was first floated, there is apparently finally a signed contract to bring a Whole Foods grocery store to 800 New Jersey Avenue SE. Though the chain isn't expected to make an official announcement until next month, a representative of WC Smith told Monday night's ANC 6D meeting of the news.
Note that the store won't be at the Park Chelsea, WC Smith's apartment building currently under construction at 880 New Jersey. This will be a new apartment building just to the north, running along the to-be-rebuilt H Street between New Jersey and 2nd, immediately south of the freeway. It's expected to have 330ish units and all the usual amenities. But with construction not currently expected to start until spring 2014, and the timeline of the buildouts of both the building and the interior work for the store, you probably won't be buying your quinoa there before 2017.
This is a deal that has started and stopped more than once, the last time around in 2011 when Smith looked for an $8 million tax break for the project, an idea which died a few months later.
The neighborhood's other grocery store, Harris Teeter, is currently under construction at the Twelve12 apartment project in the Yards, and is now expected to open in the fall of 2014.

Catching Up on Photos - Park Chelsea
Sep 29, 2013 4:03 PM
Construction at the 430ish-unit Park Chelsea apartment building at New Jersey and I is now poking out of the ground:
The skyline in this location will be changing quite dramatically over the next few months, but the ground-level view already has evolved a whole lot in eight-plus years, as evidenced when looking westward along the footprint of the can't-open-soon-enough new stretch of I Street between 2nd and New Jersey:
Or, you can look at the change at 2nd and I this way:
before
after
(Told you I was working on something new. More to come.)
See before-and-after photos and information about the project here.
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More posts: 880 NJ/Park Chelsea, Development News, parkchelsea, photos, WC Smith/Square 737

Catching Up on Photos - Twelve12
Sep 29, 2013 4:02 PM
Work is speeding along at Twelve12, the apartment-Harris Teeter-Vida Fitness project at 4th and M at the Yards:
The Teeter portion of the building is even getting some windows:
See before-and-after photos and information about the project here.

Catching Up on Photos - Toll Brothers
Sep 29, 2013 4:01 PM
Some work appears to be underway on the southwest corner of 1st and K, where Toll Brothers now has building permits for a 13-story, 250ish-unit apartment building. The Tetris-like boxes that have covered rebar and other infrastructure since work was completed on Velocity and the accompanying garage under what's now the Toll site are being removed:
This will allow Toll to begin work on their building more or less at ground level, rather than spending months on excavation and below-ground construction.
See more photos and information about the project here.
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More posts: Development News, photos, riverparc, Square 699n, Toll Brothers Lots

Update on the Planned Demise of Spooky Building 213
Jun 5, 2013 9:38 PM
There's a bit of news on one of my favorite buildings to rag on over the years, the all-but-windowless formerly armed encampment at 1st and M that housed the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and other spook-ish groups over the years before it was vacated in 2011.
You may have seen the holes punched into the side of the building recently, but if you're fearing that any work is a precursor to the brown-and-white structure being salvaged and redeveloped, don't worry your pretty little heads.
Yards developer Forest City has passed along word that after the current environmental remediation is finished late this summer, the former Building 213 will then be going off to meet its maker. It will cease to be. Bereft of life, it will rest in peace. (Sorry, I'm a bit punchy tonight.)
Demolition, once started, is expected to take about six months.
As the northwestern edge of the Yards, this prime corner spot just northeast of Nats Park will eventually see new construction, most likely an office building.
But that's a good ways off--in the meantime there will continue to be parking on the site, and Forest City is also looking at maybe putting in some grassy areas both as open space and possible special events uses, though their plans aren't firm as yet.
And it also will be a bit different to be able to see well into the Yards when standing at 1st and M instead of looking at the remnants of a cloak and dagger operation.
(And, for the record, I'm allowed to be snarky about this place. Back in 2005 the guards there called DC cops to chase me down on 1st Street when I was taking photos in the opposite direction of the building, never having once taken any shots of 213 itself. And I did get tired over the years of seeing them reach for their guns as I walked by their fence with camera in hand.)
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More posts: Development News, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

Renderings of Sweetgreen, Yards at DC Water
May 24, 2013 12:18 PM
The Friday of a holiday weekend is no time to post anything that requires a lot of concentration, so I'll just go with a couple of pictures.
First, at right (click to enlarge), a rendering of the Twelve12 development's southwest corner at 4th and Tingey SE, now updated to show in the corner ground-floor retail space that Sweetgreen will be coming to when the project is completed in mid-2014.
And below, an overhead view of what some of the DC Water acreage could look like if/when Forest City's plans to Yard-ify the site come to fruition:
Working from the far left, you see Nats Park at 1st Street and the two green-roofed residential buildings totalling 625ish units, along with the 16-screen movie theater just to their east. There's also a whole lot more grass and greenery around the two DC Water buildings that would remain on the site, the historic Main Pumping Station and also the more midcentury O Street station building by the river. And, if you know what you're looking for, you can see that Diamond Teague Park has been expanded northward, and Potomac Avenue has been extended one block east to a new street (1 1/2 Place) that would run between the theater and the residential buildings.
(There's also a couple of other interesting tidbits on this drawing, including two new buildings at far right just to the north of the Yards Park's great lawn, and two other buildings just to the north of the theater and 1st street buildings. All of these are within the footprint of the Yards, on sites currently occupied by surface parking lots. But those are probably still a good ways off. And you can also see at the very bottom right the first hint of the marina that is supposed to be coming to the Yards Park someday.)

Council Restores Funding for Partial DC Water Relocation
May 22, 2013 3:25 PM
As part of a first vote today on the city's FY14 budget, the DC Council restored funds for the planned relocation of some of DC Water's functions currently at 1st and O SE, monies that had been moved to Ward 4 projects by the council's Economic Development Committee chair Muriel Bowser (who happens to represent Ward 4, and who happens to be running for mayor).
The relocation, once completed, makes way for an expansion of the Yards footprint and the potential addition of residential and retail offerings, including a planned movie theater.
Originally $8 million was earmarked for the DC Water relocation--according to the Post's Tim Craig on Tuesday, $5 million of that money was to be restored. (I am working to confirm exactly what the final number is, and will update.) UPDATE: The restored funding is $6 million, according to Charles Allen.
(Note that DC Water will not be removed completely from this area--the Main Pumping Station will continue to operate in its lovely historic building. It appears to be mainly "fleet management"/parking operations that will relocate.)
In a press release on the restoration, Tommy Wells (also running for mayor) is quoted thusly: "This is great news for the riverfront. I’m very glad we were able to restore these funds to keep this important project on schedule. Working with my colleagues, these funds will be used to create a project that develops new jobs and residences, and importantly, will serve as a critical link in the revitalization of the riverfront neighborhood."
Additionally, the press release quotes Forest City Washington president Deborah Ratner Salzberg: "Today’s action by Council allows us to continue to work with DC Water to keep this project on schedule for the neighborhood and the city. This mixed-use component of The Yards is an important link for the overall project and its riverfront neighborhood – bringing jobs, residents and desired new amenities. We appreciate the work of Chairman Mendelson working with Councilmembers Wells, Grosso and Barry and the unanimous support of their Council colleagues to restore the funding and ensure the project moves forward on schedule."

Budget Moves May Delay Yards Movie Theater Project
May 10, 2013 4:01 PM
On Thursday, the news broke that the DC Council's economic development committee voted to shift $8 million of the city's 2014 budget from the planned relocation of some of the DC Water facilities at 125 O St., SE, to three projects that happen to be in the ward of the committee's chair, Muriel Bowser (who also just happens to be running for mayor).
This relocation is a step on the path to Forest City's plans for a mixed-use development including a movie theater on that site. The project is currently going through the zoning process, and is expected to have a hearing within the next few months.
Let's hand the narrative over to the Washington Business Journal: "Bowser described the D.C. WASA project, in the report, as a 'poor use of capital funding,' given that a replacement WASA site has not been identified. Later Thursday, the councilwoman said that she supports the relocation project and that she left enough money in the fund -- $1 million in 2014 and $9 million in 2015 -- to continue community outreach and relocation work.
"The WASA project, she said, will require extensive environmental remediation and can't possibly be done next year.
"'They can't use it,'" she said of the $9 million set aside in 2014."
As for how the mayor's office feels about the move? "'Stopping the Yards project -- who in their right mind thinks that's a good idea?' responded Pedro Ribeiro, Gray's spokesman."
This is not the final word in the budgeting process--the full council still needs to vote on the budget, and there could still be some maneuvers to come.
UPDATE, May 21: And, 11 days later, the full council voted to restore funding.

Tidbits from the Multi-Unit Residential Dwellings Department
Apr 10, 2013 9:11 AM
A few items that are small, but worth passing along:
* Forest City has put up fence signs around the Twelve12 construction site, showing new sleeker renderings of the exterior. The signs also announce the official web site, Twelve12dc.com, which is pretty much just a placeholder at this point, but does at least show two of the new renderings, including the one at right that I pilfered. (I asked for the other drawings on the signs, but Forest City isn't ready to release them yet. Waah.) This is the 220ish-unit rental project at 4th and M that will be home to both Harris Teeter and Vida Fitness when it's completed in spring 2014. And if you look through the fences, you can see that the northern end of the construction, near M Street, is already about up to ground level.
* Construction at the 432-unit Park Chelsea at New Jersey and I continues to move along, and the two tower cranes should be up on the site by late May/early June. While the increasingly large hole on the site makes it look like they are excavating the entire block, folks at William C. Smith tell me that they dug beyond the building's actual footprint to make excavation easier, and will be filling it back to the property line as construction continues. Also, they have now cleared and smoothed out the small hill that used to exist between the old Canal Street and New Jersey Avenue, so that you can even see a dirt-road version of H Street running from 2nd Street west to New Jersey. (It would help if I had new pictures of what I'm talking about to match to the old ones, but soon.)
* Technically outside of my borders, but yesterday there was a ribbon cutting at the new Camden South Capitol apartment building at South Capitol and O, across from Nationals Park. The 276-unit building begins leasing its lower floors today, with rents ranging from $1288 per month for the smallest studio to $3225 per month for a 2BR/2BA unit. The web site, which includes floor plans, is available here. I used to follow this project back when it was getting underway, so you can see my before-and-afters of the site going back to 2006, though I haven't gotten into the ballpark yet to get the true "afters" from there.

Movement on Planned Hotel, Probably at 1st and N
Apr 3, 2013 9:36 AM
A report this morning from GlobeSt.com says that PM Hospitality Strategies is close to a deal to manage a hotel located in what they describe as "in Capitol Hill, specifically the Navy Yard" (eww). "Principal Joseph Bojanowski tells GlobeSt.com that the developer is currently wrapping up development financing and will ink a deal on the project shortly. 'The land was purchased last month and the hotel is expected to roughly deliver in mid-2015,' he says."
The article doesn't give any additional details on where the hotel might actually be, and the story's RSS summary describes it as "a 165-key hotel in Capitol Hill," but given that the story's headline is actually "PM Hospitality Eyes Navy Yard Hotel," and assuming that the project won't actually be *in* the Washington Navy Yard, signs point to this being the L-shaped hotel planned for the corner of 1st and N SE on land formerly owned by the Welch family. Those plans for a 13-story 167-room hotel were okayed by the Zoning Commission in December, and in mid-March a $5.44 million sale was recorded of the Welch lots to Capital Riverfront Hotel LLC. (The rendering at right is from the zoning filings.)
At the zoning hearing, representatives of the developer said that it was expected that construction would take about 16 months, which would point to a start date sometime in early 2014 to then deliver in mid-2015 as the article says.
This is one of three hotels currently planned for the block just north of Nationals Park, along with no-timeline projects by Monument Realty and Grosvenor.
The 1st and N hotel will have no on-site parking, and no ground-floor retail space. (UPDATE: Per commissioner David Garber in the comments, there will be no "traditionally leased" retail space, but there will be a retail space operated by the hotel facing N Street, which is shown in the final zoning drawings as a restaurant or bar.). It wraps around Grosvenor's planned two-story retail building, and would be nestled between the residential buildings also planned by Grosvenor and Monument. My previous post on this hotel project has additional details.
PM Hospitality Strategies is an affiliated company of the Buccini/Pollin Group, which is the developer listed on this project's zoning documents. BPG owns properties throughout the mid-Atlantic, including the Madison Hotel. Not known at this point is the brand this hotel will operate under, though of course I hope they call it the L Hotel. (UPDATE: Or not, given how now we're all mistakenly referencing it being on L Street.)
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More posts: Development News, hamptoninn

Movie Theater Zoning Plans Submitted; Late '15 Opening?
Mar 1, 2013 11:06 AM
Forest City Washington is moving forward with the plans for a sixteen screen movie theater near Nationals Park, having submitted a truckload of documents this week to the Zoning Commission for its plans to redevelop more than five acres of land currently occupied by DC Water.
This site, which sits between the current footprint of the Yards and the ballpark, would be turned into four new city blocks with 600 residential units in two buildings, an expansion of Diamond Teague Park, and somewhere around 50,000 square feet in retail, which would include the theater that we first heard about a few months ago.
The plan apparently would be to build the theater first (and in fact FCW is requesting second-stage PUD approval for the theater plans, for those of you who know what that means), and in the zoning filing FCW says that they intend to file for building permits by this fall and start construction by the beginning of 2014, with an expected opening of the theater by late 2015.
There would be 337 parking spaces at the theater, which would be above-ground and contained within the first four floors of the theater building. DC Water would continue its operations on the other three blocks that are part of this plan while the theater is constructed and operating, with the development of those blocks waiting until those operations can be relocated (and, of course, "subject to market conditions)."
A few months ago I wrote in great detail about the plans for the theater itself, expected to be operated by Showplace Icon, after a public meeting was held for residents about the crowds that might be drawn, who seemed mostly mollified by the "policies to encourage courteous behavior." Read that post for more.
There should be a hearing on these plans within the next few months. And I'll dig through the documents to look for more tidbits, but mainly I wanted folks to finally see a rendering!
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Residents Eyeing L Street Warehouse as 'Half Street Market'
Jan 10, 2013 10:41 AM
Could Near Southeast get a new "food destination"? Resident Nathan Alberg and new 6D02 commissioner Ed Kaminski are proposing that the federally owned warehouse at Half and L SE be converted to a market and community space called the "Half Street Market," and are now starting the process of drumming up support.
Alberg, who lives just across the street and so presumably has spent a lot of time looking out his window at the warehouse, envisions the building as a site similar to Eastern Market or the new Union Market in Northeast DC, or Milwaukee's Public Market. He hopes it could "offer independent merchants a market to sell their artisan foods and prepared food products to the public, provide a managed risk incubator for self-employment, to provide public culinary training and education in a working demonstration restaurant, drive the development of new food markets, income generation, increased economic growth." In other words, it could be a combination indoor/outdoor market, cooking school, and rentable event space.
A survey to gauge interest in the idea is currently being run (so go give them your input!), and a public meeting will be held sometime in early February to discuss the notion further. This presentation was made to residents of Velocity this week, though it's stressed that these are early concepts.
How exactly the building would go from excess GSA space to Half Street Market is a bit murky--Alberg, Kaminski, and 6D07 commissioner David Garber say that the feds are "in the process of potentially auctioning the building or possibly giving it to the city." The warehouse, built around 1924, is on a nearly 30,000-square-foot lot, which was most recently assessed at $19.2 million. Just to the south is an empty lot facing M Street where a Sunoco station once stood and is the current home to Nats Parking Lot J.* Those two lots together, creating a block the same size as the 80 M office building, directly across M Street from the Navy Yard Metro station and a block away from Nats Park, would presumably be pretty appetizing to deep-pocketed developers, so if the warehouse property were to go to auction, it probably wouldn't be sold on the cheap.
What do you think, readers?
(* Side note: The old Sunoco site has been known as 50 M Street, being marketed by Monument Realty and owned in a partnership by Monument, MacFarlane, and Lehman. But my understanding is that, with the property being worth less than the loan, and with Lehman also being the lender on the loan, this site, along with the lot on the old BP site at Half and N that had the same ownership configuration, has gone through "foreclosure" in recent days so that Lehman now is the sole owner.)
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More posts: 49l, Development News, halfstmarket, sq699