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Search term: (floridarock) : 133 matching blog entries

Recovery Tuesday Tidbits: Sprint Store, Bridge Groundbreaking, Tunnel
Feb 27, 2018 10:11 AM
It has taken me much longer to clear the post-surgical cobwebs from my brain than I expected, so don't have many expectations for this post. I just hope it's in English. (But the hip repairs--NOT REPLACEMENT!--went well, and I should start getting off of crutches soon.)
* SPRINT STORE: I have said for years that no new neighborhood has truly arrived until it gets its first cellphone retailer, and I would not have guessed it would take until 2018 for that box to get checked, but numerous approved building permits indicate that Sprint will be opening a store in the old Sizzlin' Express space on the northwest corner of 4th and M.
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE GROUNDBREAKING: As if to taunt me after 15 years of watching and waiting, the Feb. 13 ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Douglass Bridge and associated first-phase improvements to the South Capitol Street Corridor was held while I was very much horizontal and hopped up on goofballs. But since it's right on our DMZ line, SWill was there and took some photos. Estimated completion date is 2021. (Speaking of SWill, he is the one to read for coverage of Buzzard Point, since that is outside my purview.)
* TUNNEL DOINGS: The last section of wall on the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel was poured on Feb. 22. an effort that overall totaled three miles of 24-foot-tall concrete. Meanwhile, 3rd Street should be reopening to two-way traffic Any Minute Now, which then paves the way (sorry) for both the 4th and 5th Street intersections to close, probably in mid-March, to dismantle the temporary bridge decks and complete the new tunnel's roof in those blocks, and wrap up the final street restoration. And no, the 6th Street exit ramp from the freeway won't close. The entire project is "on time," for completion this fall, according to CSX.
* ANOTHER PROJECT READY TO GO: A shoring/sheeting/excavation permit has been approved for the second phase of the "Riverfront" project, aka the Florida Rock site. This will be a 13-story, 260ish-unit residential building with about 12,000 square feet of retail, and will go up immediately to the west of Dock 79. When I'm a little more mobile I'll write a roundup of what's currently underway.
* WINERY HAPPY HOUR: If you don't have a supply of post-surgical painkillers like some people, there's now a Happy Hour at District Winery, from 3:30 to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday, with $8 signature cocktails and select wines, $5 select beers, and 50 percent of District Winery wines by the bottle.
There's probably more, but this wore me out. Hey, it's a start.

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)

Open Thread, For a Spell
Mar 7, 2017 10:06 AM
My focus is now zeroing in on a very targeted area in my world, so I am going to be pulling back from full-sized posts here for the foreseeable future. I may still pop up in the comments, and may find a moment or two to pipe up for whatever reason on Twitter, but for now my time is best spent elsewhere. Continued thanks to the "erstwhile" JDLand commenters for keeping the chatter up in my absence.
But at least before I go I can post links to the news of Dacha coming to Dock 79, and that maybe a bowling alley will go into some of the retail space in the Jair Lynch residential/retail project above the Half Street Hole just north of Nats Park. And a reader reports this morning that steel beams have arrived at the NAB HQ site at South Capitol and M, so work might be starting there.
And thanks to everyone for your patience and good thoughts in these past months.
Comments (42)
More posts: dacha, Florida Rock, Restaurants/Nightlife, lynchhalf, JDLand stuff

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.

Juice Laundry Coming to Arris; Bardo License Approved, at Last
Dec 2, 2016 10:25 AM
(Sorry for short and sweet. My Own Private JDLand, etc. etc.)
* The BID reports that Forest City has announced (I never hear about Forest City things directly anymore) that all-organic, vegan, and gluten-free juice bar and raw-food kitchen The Juice Laundry will be coming to Arris in the spring, its first location outside of its home base in Charlottesville. If you want a sneak preview, there's a pop-up version of the Juice Laundry this weekend at the corner of 4th and Tingey, from 10 am to 6 pm today (Friday, Dec. 2) and tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 3).
* Barred in DC says that "the long saga for the Bardo River Brewery appears to be over," with Bardo and ABRA having entering into a consent order this week that will finally pave the way for a liquor license. Barred says that the order means that Bardo can be open until midnight, but is "required to create a security plan and maintain a comprehensive security camera system and cannot seek permission to have entertainment, such as live music or DJs." However, an "anonymous" comment on Barred's post disputes these items, and says that Bardo "is still pursuing legal measures due to the delays ABRA's illegal actions caused." Gosh, I wonder who wrote that!
I kind of gave up on following the many twists and turns after last year's liquor license veto, but Barred has posts to catch you up on this new brewery plan.
UPDATE, DEC. 7: The owner of Bardo has been busy on Twitter yesterday and today, making clear his vast displeasure with ABRA and ANC 6D.

A Belated Look at the New Plaza and Riverwalk Extension
Oct 19, 2016 2:26 PM
It took a while for the weather and the calendar to successfully dovetail, but on Sunday the JDLand Camera finally got a look at the new plaza now nestled between Diamond Teague Park and Dock 79, as well as the extension of the Anacostia Riverwalk westward. (I missed out on the fountains, though.)
Once The Salt Line and All-Purpose open in their spots next year, and baseball fans figure out that there's a spot to hang out on the stadium's southeastern side (with handy built-in tables to eat carryout pizza at), this may become a pretty activated location. Especially in comparison to what it looked like 11 years ago.
Comments (23)
More posts: allpurpose, Florida Rock, riverwalk, saltline

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.)

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.
Comments (12)
More posts: 71potomac, Development News, Florida Rock

All-Purpose Pizzeria Announced for Dock 79
Jul 15, 2016 8:07 AM
The second I posted the news of Slipstream I realized I had forgotten one other restaurant announcement* that slipped through recently while I was otherwise occupied, which is that All-Purpose Pizzeria has been announced as the second restaurant tenant at Dock 79, joining The Salt Line.
All-Purpose is another venture from the folks behind Red Hen an Boundary Stone, with its first location having opened earlier this year at 1250 9th St., NW.
That location is open six days a week for dinner, and the the menu has flights of cheese, cold and hot antipasti in addition to the centerpiece pizzas.
City Paper profiled All-Purpose back in May, describing the process with a 650-degree oven that results in a crust "crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and sturdy enough for the 'New York fold hold.'"
*Though, if you are a wise reader of the JDLand comments, you would already know about this, since we discussed passing references to this without any official announcement back in May.
UPDATE: Washingtonian has additional details, including that there will be a separate takeout shop serving square Sicilian-style slices.
Comments (6)
More posts: allpurpose, Florida Rock, Restaurants/Nightlife

Dock 79 Leasing Center Now Open
Apr 17, 2016 3:49 PM
Earlier this week the leasing center opened for the 305-unit Dock 79 apartment building at 1st and Potomac on the old Florida Rock site. It's in a trailer west of the building (not in the building itself), so I wandered by to (of course) document it and say hello to the new neighbors.
The current rate sheet shows studio units starting at $1,875, 1 BR/1 BA starting at just under $2,000, 1 BR/den starting at $2,740, 2 BR/1 BA at $2,885, and 2 BR/2 BA at $2,740. There are also additional parking fees, pet fees, amenity fees, and application fees.
They are currently expecting the first move-ins to happen somewhere mid-summer-ish.
The official web site has floor plans and additional info. The residential portion of the building is being managed by Kettler.
As for the building itself, the exterior is getting close to being finished, and when I was there I also saw the planks being laid for the extension of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail west of Diamond Teague Park, as you can see in the first photo below. The second photo gives a decent view of the rest of the walk that is under construction:
Comments (11)
More posts: dock79, Florida Rock

Seafood Restaurant 'The Salt Line' to Open at Dock 79 in 2017
Mar 31, 2016 11:17 AM
The first news of a retail tenant at Dock 79 arrives today, with the news that "The Salt Line," a seafood restaurant from the group behind Sixth Engine, Town Hall, and the Dubliner, will open in the Spring of 2017.
Featuring a "New England-inspired menu in a casual and relaxed 3,500-square-foot space with ample outdoor dining and an outdoor riverfront bar," the menu from Chef Kyle Bailey will have seafood and a raw bar at its heart, with "a selection of straightforward New England classics, along with Bailey's own intepretations on the regional fare, and a few Chesapeake Bay-influenced specials."
The restaurant will also have a lineup of regional craft beers and a "creative cocktail program."
The Salt Line will join Whaley's, coming this spring, up river at the Lumber Shed, as seafood restaurants along the west bank of the Anacostia River. The name "Salt Line" apparently "pays homage to the delicate nature of DC's waterways, referring to the point in an estuary in which the water salinity transitions from salt to fresh water."
Dock 79 will have 305 rental units, and is expected to be finished later this year. It's on the site known in these parts as "Florida Rock," the old concrete plant footprint on the river just south of Nationals Park. It has 19,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space overall, facing both the Anacostia and the new plaza that is being built between it and Diamond Teague Park.
Comments (11)
More posts: Florida Rock, Restaurants/Nightlife, saltline

Liquor License Denied for Bardo Riverfront Project at Florida Rock
Mar 17, 2016 2:21 PM
Word has arrived today (h/t Barred in DC) that the city's Alcohol Beverage Control Board has denied the application for a liquor license submitted by Bardo for its proposed outdoor beer garden and "neighborhood-oriented park" on the west end of the Florida Rock site, just across Potomac Avenue from Nats Park.
This was Bardo's second attempt at a license for this site (having withdrawn the original application before a ruling was made), and a previous similar notion for the site was denied a liquor license for similar reasons back in 2013.
You can read the entire ruling here, but the gist of it is on page 2:
"While Bardo has presented a modified Application, the Board is not convinced that this new business plan alleviates the problems previously identified at this site. Specifically, the Board is still not convinced that an open air tavern has the capability to prevent unreasonable noise disturbances; that the neighborhood has a sufficient amount of parking; that Bardo can coexist or be included in the neighborhood's official traffic plan; that encouraging stadium attendees to cross Potomac Avenue, S.E., is safe; and that Bardo can exist without delaying or interfering with people and vehicles attempting to the leave Nationals Park after games or other events. Consequently, Board finds itself compelled to once again deny an application at this location."
Bardo optimistically started construction on the site more than a month ago, plus started advertising for staff, and was telling outlets that it "might start serving customers as early as April." As recently as this morning Bardo tweeted a photo of the "freshly milled wood going into the construction of our riverfront brewgarden."
However, this afternoon, there was this tweet:
In the meantime, construction continues on the Dock 79 apartment building just to the east of the Bardo footprint, with leasing about to start and move-ins coming later in 2016.
Is the writing now perhaps on the wall/bulkhead for the notion of an outdoor drinking/congregation establishment on this site?
PS: It's probably worth emphasizing for people wandering through who don't read this stuff religiously that this is not the Fairgrounds site north of the ballpark.
UPDATE: The full transcript of the Feb. 10, 2016 hearing may be illuminating, as might be the first Bardo hearing in April of 2015, and perhaps the ruling rejecting the pre-Bardo venture back in 2013.

Wednesday Tidbits: Not Going Underground Edition
Mar 16, 2016 10:47 AM
How's that Metro Shutdown Day working for you? At least it was a beautiful morning for a walk/ride/telecommute to your sofa, for those lucky enough to have those options.
Here's a few things, some of which could be their own posts, but, well, my walk wore me out.
MOVIE THEATER EXTENSION: On Monday night the Zoning Commission granted Forest City's request for a two-year extension to the PUD governing the plans for the Showplace Icon movie theater on the current DC Water site, which has continued to see delays because of DC Water's issues with moving some of its operations off of the site as planned. And, probably in response to a WBJ story a few days ago headlined "Big trouble for proposed multiplex at The Yards? Site 'may be in limbo for many years'," Forest City issued a press release quoting its president, Deborah Ratner Salzberg, as saying that "We look forward to beginning construction on the Showplace Icon Theater at The Yards by the end of this year," and that "DC Water, the District and Forest City meet weekly on this project to ensure that this first-ever theater complex for Southeast DC opens on time." There is also a quote from the CEO of Kerasotes Showplace Theaters, Tony Kerasotes, saying that "We realize this is a complicated site and remain fully engaged in seeing it through and moving forward with construction."
HISTORIC DESIGNATION: The little Lincoln Playground Field House at 555 L Street SE, now nestled between Van Ness Elementary School and the Bixby, has been designated a DC historic landmark. It was built in 1934, and you can read more about its significance here. As for getting it rehabilitated, ANC commissioner Meredith Fascett says there will be a community meeting upcoming on both the field house and a redesign of the adjacent Joy Evans Park.
POLLING PLACE MOVE: The DC Board of Elections has announced that the polling place for Near Southeast's Precinct 131 will be moving from Van Ness Elementary School to the gym at the new Capper Community Center one block to the north, starting with the June 14 primary. However, DCBOEE might want to double-check the address they are using for the community center, since in the past it's always been 1000 5th St., SE, and "1005" would be one of the townhouses across the street.
DOCK 79 LEASING: Pre-leasing of the apartment building on the Florida Rock site just south of Nats Park starts on April 7, the day of the Nats home opener.
BIG STICK HOURS: The beer and brats place at Half and M SE has applied for a "substantial change" to its liquor license, looking to extend its allowed beverage sales/service/consumption hours to 1 am Sunday-Thursday and 2 am Friday and Saturday.
Comments (2)
More posts: the Big Stick, Florida Rock, lincoln, The Yards at DC Water

Vertical Construction Completed on Dock 79 at Florida Rock Site
Nov 8, 2015 10:02 PM
This is mainly an excuse for me to post photos I got by schlepping up onto the Douglass Bridge on Sunday, but it's worth noting that it was announced last week that vertical construction is now finished on Dock 79, the 305-unit residential building that is the first phase of the never-thought-it-would-finally-happen redevelopment of the Florida Rock site along the Anacostia River. And so let's take a moment to look back to what the site looked like in 2005, and what it looks like now:
One other item of note at the site--as seen below, beams have been placed connecting a portion of the main concrete walkway at Diamond Teague Park to what will be Dock 79's plaza and Anacostia Riverwalk footprint, and without realizing it I did a pretty good job of matching my photo of the beams to the rendering of the same location:
There will be over 15,000 square feet of retail in the building, and in a press release from developer MRP Realty last week, John Begert is quoted as saying the retail space is being "programmed" with "a dynamic mix of local authentic restaurant operators," though no retail tenants have been announced as yet.
Most of this retail space will be facing the "esplanade" and this plaza, which MRP's press release says is "inspired by the concept of the “ecotone,” an ecological term referring to the transitional zone between two ecosystems."
The plaza also is directly south of the "grand staircase" of Nationals Park, ensuring that (some) views of the river from those steps and the viewing platform on the upper concourse are not completely lost.
The building is expected to deliver in the summer of 2016, and will have a ground-floor club/game room, a health club, a rooftop swimming pool, WiFi, air-conditioned storage, bike storage, a business lounge, and a 24-hour front desk.
The subsequent phases of the six-acre project are currently envisioned as a second residential building with 282 units and 5,600 square feet of retail, followed by a 313,000-square-foot office building with 11,500 square feet of retail, and then a fourth building that could be a hotel or another residential or office building, with 260,000 square feet of space and 12,600 square feet of ground-floor retail. (The footprint of the final two phases is, however, right up against the western end of the existing Douglass Bridge, so it might be awhile before those come to pass.)
See my Dock 79/Florida Rock page for lots more photos and renderings.
Comments (3)
More posts: dock79, Florida Rock, riverwalk

Tidbits, Florida Rock Edition: Bardo Again, Dock 79 Virtual Floorplans
Oct 20, 2015 8:08 AM
* BARDO RIVERFRONT, AGAIN: Last week a new "placard" was posted for an alcoholic beverage license application for Bardo Riverfront, the proposed combination outdoor brew pub and family-friendly riverfront park at Florida Rock.
This is Bardo's second attempt at the ABC process for this site (the first placard having been rescinded just a few weeks after a filing in August), and is now technically the fourth time that the notion of a large outdoor activity/party/drinking/whatever space has been attempted at this spot across from Nats Park.
This application is for a Retailer's Class D Tavern license (as opposed to a Class C Tavern license last time), and is described thusly: "Outdoor Beer Garden. Beer made on premise. Food Trucks to supply food. Total number of Summer Garden seats: 700. Total Occupancy Load: 750. Brew Pub Endorsement."
As to why Bardo's application earlier in 2015 never made it all the way through after being announced back in March, one might want to read this transcript from the April hearing at the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to see the many (many) concerns raised by the board and by MPD, which clearly is not supportive of any venture of this type in this location. (And I can't not highlight the comments from Commander Jeff Brown of MPD about how the "applicant here says it's going to be cornhole bean-bag toss, which I'm not even going to pretend to know what that is, but I think I'll be safe to say that it's not very popular.")
* DOCK 79 FLOOR PLANS: While the potential Bardo Riverfront footprint is on the western, later-phase portion of the Florida Rock site, construction is progressing on Dock 79, the 320ish-unit residential building at the east end of the property (seen above from across the Anacostia River at Poplar Point). The project's web site and Facebook/Twitter accounts having been active for a while, and there are now virtual tours available of studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units, as well as the roof.
* JUST BECAUSE: Like that photo up top? Here's the same spot, more than 10 years ago.
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More posts: bardo, dock79, Florida Rock

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

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.

Pictures That Have Been a Very, Very Long Time in Coming
Jul 13, 2015 8:41 AM
Florida Rock/RiverFront/Dock 79, out of the ground.
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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.

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.
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More posts: development, dock79, Florida Rock

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.

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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Bardo Looking to Raise $200K for Florida Rock Brew Garden
Mar 27, 2015 4:53 PM
I wrote a few weeks ago about the latest plans to use two acres on the western part of the Florida Rock site along the Anacostia River as a "brew garden" and neighborhood park while waiting for the project's later phases to get underway--and I also wrote about the muted reception the idea got from ANC 6D after a somewhat nebulous presentation by developer MRP Realty and representatives of Bardo.
Now the Bardo folks, who already operate a similar brew garden in Northeast, are trying to raise $200,000 to "do this thing deluxe," to create what it calls Bardo Riverfront, described as "100,000 square feet of BeerDisneyLand." This would include flush toilets instead of porta-potties, a bike shop, a kiddie playground, and "the largest dog park in DC," as well as parking for 500 bicycles, cornhole, food trucks, outdoor movies "projected onto a floating screen in the river," and other ideas.
(Their main web site has a festive graphic of how they envision the layout.)
Donations of $20 now will get you four pints of beer when it opens, or four pitchers for a $50 donation, or numerous other options up to a $5,000 donation allowing you to take over the entire place on any Monday-Thursday when the Nats aren't playing. If you don't have money to contribute, you could donate wood trips, or "big tree logs to make into totem poles."
More details as they become available....
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More posts: bardo, Florida Rock, Restaurants/Nightlife

6D Report: Due South Liquor License, Half Street Support, More
Mar 11, 2015 9:30 AM
UPDATE: Well, that was a fun few hours. Sorry about the outage--fingers crossed that we're back. It's the price I pay for keeping JDLand on a shared hosting service. (I actually kind of enjoyed the respite!)
I somehow managed to make it through four hours of Monday night's ANC 6D meeting (yay?). I already gave you the big headline (at least from the JDLand vantage point), but here's some other tidbits:
* DUE SOUTH: After initially applying for a Class CT Tavern license, the southern food restaurant planned for the Lumber Shed agreed to amend the application and change to a CR license as part of the settlement agreement negotiated with 6D. However, the city's liquor license board apparently voted on March 4 to approve a CT license. After much (much!) discussion and consternation about process, 6D voted 4-2-1 to send a letter to ABRA saying that if in fact Due South is being given a CT license, the ANC requests to be reinstated as a protestant to the license application and also moves for reconsideration of the CT order.
* HALF STREET HOLE: A presentation was made on the new plans I posted about for the northeast corner of Half and N, i.e., Monument Valley, i.e., the Half Street Hole, which received a generally positive response from the commission, along with suggestions for a better external differentiation between the condo wing facing N Street and the rest of the building and a request that the new sidewalks be made of softer materials if possible. The commission then voted 4-0-2 to support the project, which is now scheduled for its Capitol Gateway Overlay review on May 28.
* BREW GARDEN AT FLORIDA ROCK: Representatives of MRP Realty and Bardo presented their brew garden/neighborhood park concept. It was very late in the meeting, and so the discussion was hurried, but the commission raised issues based on concerns from when similar aborted attempts were made to use this site in previous years. These ranged from the fact that initial discussions with MPD and DCRA have apparently not yet been had, nor has the BID been talked to (which came up when the MRP/Bardo folks said they were looking to the ANC to "program" the site's offerings beyond the brew garden). One thing emphasized to the commission was that this is not envisioned as a place for baseball fans to come and swill down Bud Light, and that no hard liquor would be served. In the end, with time running out and the somewhat muddled presentation leaving the commissioners a bit quizzical as to exactly what the team is planning to do at the site, no vote was taken.
There was also one item just barely outside the JDLand border region, so you can read SWill on a new residential project planned at 1319 South Capitol, immediately to the north of the Camden South Capitol building and across the street from the ballpark.

Brew Garden, Park Envisioned as Interim Use at Florida Rock
Mar 3, 2015 1:59 PM
With the western portion of the 5.5-acre Florida Rock site along the Anacostia River just south of Nats Park not likely to be built on for a number of years (thanks to that pesky little detail of needing to demolish the existing Douglass Bridge first), there are again plans being discussed to "activate" the area with an interim use, even while construction continues to the east on the project's first-phase apartment building.
Developer MRP Realty will be going to ANC 6D in the coming days/weeks to look for feedback on what the space could offer, but the basics they are envisioning at this point are to use the space as an outdoor "brew garden" while also providing a large neighborhood-oriented park.
MRP would partner with the brewing team from Bardo, who would be in charge of the on-site vats and the craft beer-filled taps, while the rest of the site could see a number of sub-vendors offering various activities, like a putt-putt course or maybe even batting cages. There would also be picnic tables along the river, food (on-site offerings and food trucks are both possibilities), and family-friendly programming as yet undetermined.
What the site will not offer is large concerts or private events, though smaller-scale music could be a possibility. I'm told the site would have a maximum capacity of around 1,000 guests.
This is not the first rodeo for the idea of using this large open space, although previous notions were on a larger scale and perhaps might be described as more Fairgrounds-like, a comparison that this new proposal is apparently trying very hard to avoid.
Since it's all still in the brainstorming phase, and still has to go through the ANC, the alcohol/beverage folks, and various city agencies for permits, it remains a bit nebulous. (Feel free to use the comments to pass along any ideas for activities and offerings.)
In the meantime, work continues on the Riverfront, the 300-unit apartment building on the east end of the site, by Diamond Teague Park. This first phase construction will also see an expanded plaza between the building and Teague Park, a westward extension of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail into the Florida Rock site, and an already planned temporary use space separating the brew garden/park from the new building, with some surface parking, a small green space, and "The Beach," a sand-covered spot with volleyball courts. The building is expected to be completed in 2016.
More details as they become available....
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More posts: bardo, Florida Rock, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail, riverwalk

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.

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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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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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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Fence Peeking, Part II: Cleared, Being Cleared, Ready to Be Cleared
Sep 29, 2014 8:33 PM
Having gotten out of the way the vertical construction going on behind neighborhood fences, we can now move on to the "clearing" portion of this fence survey.
The roof of Nats Parking Garage C gives a great view of Yards Parcel A, and how far the site clearing has come along since the final days of Spooky Building 213.
Next up will be the creation of a park on the far end of the site, a parking lot in the corner closest to this intersection, and the new home for Trapeze School New York at far right. (Here's a map if that's too many words.)

Meanwhile, along New Jersey Avenue....
(Left) This isn't my best work, but you can compare the rubble in this photo to the lush grass-covered hill that used to run along New Jersey Avenue between L and M. All this dirt is being moved to build the 324-unit Gallery at Capitol Riverfront residential building, aka 1111 New Jersey Avenue.
(Right) Up in Whole Foods land at 800 New Jersey Avenue, the hole is still being dug. But the new block of H Street between New Jersey and 2nd is looking like a real street, though no doubt it will continue to taunt us by remaining closed throughout the construction of 800 NJ, like its sibling I Street a block to the south has sat unopened, waiting for the Park Chelsea construction to finish.

Next, do you like construction trailers? How about construction trailers on sites where work isn't yet underway?
(Left) Here's the Capper Community Center site at 5th and K, where a ceremonial groundbreaking a few weeks back was not quite enough to jolt the project into action.
(Right) Looking down upon the vast Florida Rock footprint from the ballpark, and noting the new construction trailer visible at the far end. As I mentioned a few days ago, there's not as yet been an announcement of construction financing for the planned first-phase 350-unit apartment building, nor are the initial necessary building permits approved.

Tidbits: Vet Hospital Permit, Winter Classic Now Official, Ramp Reopened
Sep 25, 2014 7:42 PM
* VET HOSPITAL PERMITTED: An approved building permit made it through the pipeline on Thursday for the "construction of a new pet veterinary boarding hospital and vet uses" at Twelve12 in the Yards. There has as yet been no official announcement from Forest City as to the name of the operator, but this new retail offering was telegraphed thanks to some necessary zoning reworkings earlier this year. Look for a lot of pet traffic along Tingey Street between this store and the still-as-yet-not-officially-announced Unleashed by Petco that got its building permit for a space in the Boilermaker Shops earlier this month.
UPDATE: A reader reports that promotional signage on Half Street by Nats Park showing the neighborhood's offerings does let the cat out of the bag, that it's going to be a Banfield Pet Hospital.
* CLASSIC UNVEILED: The publicity machine for the NHL Winter Classic at Nats Park on Jan. 1 is beginning to ramp up, with the official announcement (finally) of the game, alongside the unveiling of the Capitals' throwback jerseys, which begat lots of photos of somewhat uncomfortable looking hockey players at the ballpark. There was also the cool outline of where the rink will be set up.
* RAMP REOPENED: This week saw the reopening of the new-ish ramp from 11th Street SE to the westbound SE Freeway/I-695. It had been closed down in June to allow for demolition of the old flyover exit ramp from the inbound freeway to I Street SE. And some day I will actually get over there again to check it all out.
* TRAILER PARKED: A few readers have passed along the news that a construction trailer has appeared within the past week or so on the Florida Rock site along the Anacostia River just south of the ballpark. While plans are to get underway Any Minute Now on the first-phase 350-unit apartment building at the site's eastern end, next to Diamond Teague Park and Piers, there's not yet been any news that the construction financing has been finalized, nor is there as yet an approved shoring/sheeting/excavation permit. But the time does appear to be drawing nigh that development of this 5.8-acre parcel will finally get underway, at which point people will shift from complaining about the empty lot right across from the ballpark to complaining about a tall building ruining the views of the river.
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More posts: ballpark, Florida Rock, Retail, vet, winterclassic, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

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)

Catching Up, Illustrated Version III: Around and About
Jun 29, 2014 7:44 PM
First off, you may have noticed that Saturday was a lovely day. The neighborhood's waterfront was most definitely in use:
Not far away, at the Yards' Parcel N, concrete has appeared in the large hole in the ground (left), meaning that the digging down is almost over, and the rising up should start before too long (its tower crane permit application was approved not too long ago). And in a totally different illustration of progress (right), the sales-trailer-to-be for the River Parc apartment project appears to now be in its proper place.
(I wanted to get a photograph of the outdoor patio signage at the soon-to-arrive Ice Cream Jubilee at the Lumber Shed, but the hordes standing in line on Saturday to get into the Jazz Fest completely blocked the view.)
I recorded the current state of the Florida Rock site across from the ballpark {insert Logan's Run reference here}, because the developers have now filed applications for both sheeting and building permits for the site's first-phase apartment building. This doesn't necessarily mean the project is close to getting started, but it deprives me of my snarky "they haven't even applied for their permits yet" response whenever someone mentions that it might get underway soon.
Finally, I present to you official evidence of the new 11th Street SE exit from the freeway, which I'm doing mainly as a mea culpa for not having gotten over there to photograph the ramp and environs, and to hopefully shame myself into action.
I also deserve additional shaming, or at least parallel shaming, for not yet documenting that the Southeast Freeway signage I have griped about for years has been fixed.

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

First Street Fields 'Social Sports Venue' in the Works
Apr 8, 2014 4:26 PM
Right as I was posting about all the fence signage in bloom, another batch of new banners appeared, at the Florida Rock site on Potomac Avenue at South Capitol Street.
The banners announce First Street Fields, and point to a placeholder website that says the "Social Sports Venue | Events Venue | Private Rentals | Beach Bar" will arrive in "Late Spring 2014."
The Hill Rag reports that the plan is for a "unique-to-Washington sports facility featuring playing fields for sports like bocce and whiffle ball, beach volleyball and kick ball." There would also be food trucks, pop-up "restaurants," farmers markets, and public and private field days.
And if this all sounds a bit familiar, that's because a similar proposal last year didn't quite make it through the process. Which is perhaps why the developers emphasized to ANC 6D during a presentation in March that it will be a "safe place to come," according to the Hill Rag, and that they "are looking at such issues as safety, medical issues, and crowd control[.]" The developers said that the sound would be carefully controlled with “integrated speaker management.”
The commission subsequently voted 4-2 to support the concept, once a settlement agreement is hashed out that covers issues like closing times, noise mitigation, and crowd capacity.
The Alcohol Beverage Control Board is having a fact-finding hearing on the venture tomorrow (Wednesday, April 9).
(I do wonder how that decontamination is going....)
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More posts: Florida Rock, Restaurants/Nightlife

Tuesday Tidbits: All About the Preparation
Feb 18, 2014 3:04 PM
* PREPARING TO DIG: After a couple of articles highlighting residents' opposition to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the Post takes a look at how CSX and some rail experts view the reconstruction and expansion of the tunnel as a necessary step.
* PREPARING TO DECLARE: Also, there's now scheduled a council hearing about the tunnel project, on March 25 at 11 am. The hearing is actually on proposed resolution PR 20-601, "Sense of the Council for a Hearing on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project Resolution of 2013," which "is to the declare sense of the Council that the Unites States House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit should hold a hearing on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project." (So it's a hearing by one governmental body about whether they should tell another governmental body to hold a hearing.)
* PREPARING TO DE-SPOOK: The arrivial of bulldozers and dumpsters on site at the old NGA building at 1st and M SE has sharp-eyed observers tapping their toes waiting for the demolition to start, but as was mentioned previously, it's going to take about six months to complete. But maybe they can at least knock out some exterior walls before Opening Day, as a statement of intent to Nats fans who haven't kept up with the latest news (tsk, tsk).
* PREPARING TO ROCK: I showed a touch of hard-won skepticism last week in reporting that developers told ANC 6D that they expect to begin work on the first phase of Florida Rock's redevelopment in June. So I will follow that up by noting that, two days later, they appear to have filed an application for a shoring/sheeting permit. (Not seeing an application for any building yet, though.)
* PREPARING TO WANT: The WashBiz Journal last week looked at the retail states of four "hot neighborhoods" (subscribers only), highlighting what they "flaunt" and what they "want." After the flaunting (20 restaurants, Nats Park, Vida Fitness, and Whole Foods), Michael Stevens of the BID listed the "wants": child care facilities, apparel retailers, a large home furnishing store, and college classrooms (saying that the area "is positioning itself as a satellite campus destination for those maxed out on their space"). Non-subscribers can watch some video of Stevens's talk at the BID's annual meeting, at least..

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.

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

Liquor License Denied for Florida Rock Temporary Event Site
Nov 15, 2013 12:09 PM
PopVille reported this morning that the Alcohol Beverage Control Board has denied the Class C (Tavern) liquor license application by "River Front at the Ball Park" for the event site it was wanting to create on the empty Florida Rock site on Potomac Avenue SE between Nationals Park and the Anacostia River. It had been described as "a food and drink venue before and after Nats games," plus the operator was also intending to have "partnerships to bring kickball and bocce, weekend food and flea markets, and other events to the site."
While a stipulated liquor license was narrowly supported by ANC 6D in May after some teeth-gnashing, in June 6D ended up protesting the full license application, as did commissioner Ed Kaminski of neighboring 6D02--though 6D07 commissioner David Garber sent a separate letter in support. MPD also filed a protest.
The Finding of Fact and Order rejecting the license is pretty lengthy (and you are welcome to read it, because I shan't try to hit every high point), but the overriding issues came down to the following:
"First, the Board is not confident that MPD has sufficient resources to police the establishment and the surrounding streets during events at Riverfront; especially, when Riverfront is requiring some patrons to come to the establishment from off-site parking areas.
"Second, as an undeveloped lot, Riverfront cannot prevent noise generated at the venue from bothering nearby residents.
"Third, based on its proximity to South Capitol Street, S.E., the Board lacks confidence that Riverfront can ensure the safety of pedestrians.
"And fourth, the Board is unconvinced that approximately three foot bicycle racks and silt fences sufficiently block patrons from the river bordering the proposed location."
Commissioner Garber, in whose single-member district the Florida Rock site is situated, took to Twitter this morning with his disapproval of the board's decision, a thread which also includes a fair number of comparisons by local resident Mike Mills to the Fairgrounds at Half and M and the noise problems it has caused for residents north of M.
What do YOU think?
UPDATE: WaPo's Mike DeBonis adds some detail, especially one I {ahem} didn't know--one of the members of the team trying to launch the event site is Carlos Gray, the 37-year-old son of the mayor.
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New Temporary Event Site in the Works at Florida Rock/Riverfront
May 3, 2013 11:30 AM
Today a liquor license notice appeared in the DC Register for a Class C Tavern application for "Riverfront at the Ball Park" [sic!], at 25 Potomac Ave., SE, which is the address just south of Nationals Park of the Florida Rock/Riverfront on the Anacostia development that has long been in the works.
The application is for a "new tavern," and "food will come from various local restaurants nearby," plus "there will be a stage for live entertainment."
According to ANC commissioner David Garber, the plans are for the site to be a food and drink venue before and after Nats games, plus the operator is also creating partnerships to bring kickball and bocce, weekend food and flea markets, and other events to the site.
The developers of the 5.8-acre site that was long home to a concrete plant have plans but no firm timeline to build the first phase of the project, a 350-unit residential building on the eastern portion of the lot, near Diamond Teague Park. In the zoning hearings for the latest designs, there were discussions of installing temporary uses just to the west of the residential building, similar in nature to what's currently in the works. The additional phases of the project as currently designed would include another residential building, an office building, and a hotel, also with no timelines.
And, in a similar vein, Rocklands Barbeque is applying for a license to serve beer at the temporary site they are operating on game days just north of the ballpark at 1st and M SE.
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More posts: Alcohol/Liquor Licenses, Florida Rock

Florida Rock Update at ANC 6D: Tweaked Designs, More Retail
May 16, 2012 7:56 AM
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, representatives of MRP Realty made a presentation showing the updates to the RiverFront on the Anacostia project (aka Florida Rock) that they will be taking to the Zoning Commission later this year.
These designs are part of the quest to make changes to the original design approved by the commission in 2008, chief of which is to switch the first phase of the 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project from an office building to a 300ish-unit apartment building at 1st Street and Potomac Avenue, along with a series of other changes that I've written about previously. (Dear heavens, don't make me write it all again.)
Here are the slides that were presented by the developers, which should be of interest even without the accompanying narration. The renderings are much more detailed and "showier" than those given to the Zoning Commission back in February, which was part of what the developers were tasked with providing in their next go-round with the ZC.
Most obviously, the developers appear to have gotten the "more retail!" message that had been delivered pretty clearly at the last two zoning commission sessions on the new design, with 18,650 square feet of retail now covering most of the first floor of the Phase I residential building, bumped up from 12,520 sf in the previous version (some of which the developers had been wanting to mark off for "temporary resident uses" until the market for retail in the area could be proven). The entire site is now designed to have 48,360 sf of retail, but this is still down from the 64,200 sf that was in the plans approved by the Zoning Commission back in 2008. (This increase in retail also means that the "four red doors" facing Potomac Avenue that sent zoning commissioner Michael Turnbull through the roof back in February are now gone.)
There was also much time spent on the designs for the public spaces that span the 5.5-acre site. With large lawns, wetlands-type areas that would actually be bio-filtration mechanisms, quieter tree-covered spaces, and a marina that could potentially have 40-50 slips, the additions could be seen as echoing the Yards Park a couple blocks to the east.. But there are also some "beach" areas where sand would be placed, and a large sculpture could be included in the "Riverfront Plaza" at the foot of 1st Street. The esplanade is still a major part of the design, but there is no longer a separate bike path--pedestrians and cyclists would share the boardwalk as it runs through the entire site, from South Capitol Street to Diamond Teague Park. And there may even be locations where some of the concrete blocks from the old concrete plant site would be incorporated into the public spaces.
I could write more about the specifics, but since the project will be back in front of ANC 6D looking for a resolution of support in July, and then at the Zoning Commission on Sept. 20, I'd prefer to save some words for the presentations to come.
I've added some of the renderings from this presentation to my Florida Rock project page. And, when looking at all of this, remember that the western two buildings (phases 3 and 4, an office building and a hotel), are not be able to be built until the new South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge is built a bit to the south of the current bridge, which now runs directly through the Florida Rock footprint. And there's as yet no timeline for that new bridge.
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More posts: ANC News, Florida Rock, meetings, zoning

Photos: Up High at Nationals Park, Looking Out
Apr 19, 2012 10:02 PM
While much of my time on Opening Day each year is spent racing around getting pictures of the festivities, it's equally important to me as the first time after a multi-month lull that I can go to the various viewpoints on the upper deck and get updated photographs of how the ballpark's immediate surroundings have changed.
On the ballpark's western side, overlooking South Capitol Street, there's now the Camden South Capitol apartment building rising out of the ground, more than four years after the lot was cleared in preparation for construction. While technically this new 244-unit building is outside of my boundaries, I've taken enough photos of the western side of South Capitol Street over the years to maintain a pseudo-project page, where you can get the basics on the development and some before-and-afters but where I'm not going overboard in documenting the building's arrival. The photos above were taken from the ballpark's northwest viewing platform, and you can see the other images I've taken from that perch since my first visit there in September 2007.
If you want some additional views to the west, I have a series of before-and-afters from the small opening at O Street near the elevators, including these looking straight out O:
Meanwhile, on the ballpark's south side, there's two changes since last summer worth getting photos of: the completed Riverwalk bridge between Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park, and the clearing of the Florida Rock site. And, since my 2007 "before" shots are from the time that Potomac Avenue and First Street were being reconstructed, and long before the waterfront started getting spiffed up, the transformation is pretty striking, though you can tell that I had my wide-angle lens in 2007 but had to settle for stitched-together images this time:
You can browse my many variations of these before-and-after Anacostia River views, both to the southeast and to the southwest. And, note at the top of these pages the links to other "on high" photographs from various rooftops around the neighborhood.
(PS: Apologies for the site's extended outage on Thursday--a botched move by my hosting company to upgrade the hardware of my shared server resulted in what to you was a nearly seven-hour outage but to me was the equivalent of a couple of ice ages.)
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More posts: 1325sc, Florida Rock, photos, riverwalk, South Capitol St., Nationals Park

Florida Rock Zoning Update - Revised Plans OKed for Set Down
Feb 15, 2012 10:46 AM
I wrote recently about the bumpy first trip back to the Zoning Commission for the new designs for the project known as Florida Rock. The developers (MRP and FRP) want to build a residential building at 1st and Potomac instead of the originally planned office building, and also are looking for some tweaks to the plans originally approved in 2008 by the Zoning Commission for the rest of the six-acre site.
At that meeting on Jan. 30, reactions of the zoning commissioners ranged from generally supportive of the changes to concerned about specific aspects of them to labeling the new filing "an affront." Because commission chair Anthony Hood was not in attendance, and because there were a few items that the commissioners wanted from the developers, the vote on whether to "set down" the case for a full hearing was deferred.
On Monday, Feb. 13, the full commission took up the case again. Despite the developers offering to increase the total amount of retail for the entire site by about 11,000 sq ft (up to 36,370 sq ft total), vice chair Konrad Schlater again felt the retail offerings to be lacking, describing the designs as having "no vision" and a "missed opportunity" for one of the city's few large-scale waterfront developments, adding that he doesn't get the sense that the design takes full advantage of the site and "how it can meet the waterfront."
Commissioner Michael Turnbull, who had unleashed the strongest broadsides last time around, said that he was "not going to go down the same road," but echoed Schlater's concerns about the lack of retail, especially the design of the east residential building that shows "four red doors" along Potomac Avenue, with no retail on that street despite being directly across from Nationals Park. "This is a destination, a prime piece of land that begs for a gripping design," Turnbull said, agreeing that there is a lack of vision for the entire site.
Commissioners Peter May and Marcie Cohen both said there are parts of the new design they prefer, with Cohen mentioning how the old design "had its back to the river," and that the new residential building opens up toward the Anacostia. But May also echoed the others by saying the idea that the project is "lacking in vision and missing an opportunity along Potomac Avenue is certainly right on."
Chairman Hood also expressed his concern that this is a prime site and that "we don't want a lost opportunity," but is happy that there is a new residential component in the revised design.
"Are we fully satisfied? No," Hood said, and while he feels the designs need "some refining and revisiting," he felt that "the applicant has heard us." With that, the commission then voted 4-1 to approve the motion to "set down" the case, with Turnbull voting against. Now the developers will work with the Office of Planning to come back to the Zoning Commission with detailed plans for the new Phase 1 residential building and general revisions to the rest of the project that they feel can get the commission's approval.
For more details on the latest design, read my two recent posts, and also check out my Florida Rock page for drawings from the initial filing in December that will now presumably be tweaked before the hearing, whenever that may be. The developers will also need to come before ANC 6D before the zoning hearing to get that commission's support (or not) before going to zoning.
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More posts: Florida Rock, Retail, zoning

Florida Rock Zoning, Take 356: Concerns About New Design
Feb 2, 2012 5:43 PM
On Monday night, the city's Zoning Commission had its first crack at the new request for modifications to the existing Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the Florida Rock site across the street from Nationals Park, as the commissioners deliberated on whether to "set down" the request for a hearing. As mentioned previously, the developers want to change the site's first phase from office to residential, and also have done some reworking of the rest of the design for the six-acre site that the Zoning Commission approved after much deliberation and tweaking back in 2008.
Commissioner Michael Turnbull was first out of the gate with comments about the new designs, and he was not at all happy, calling it a "major gut" to the original PUD, saying that he felt the applicant should start the PUD process all over again. Describing the new plans as "bastardized," "stick architecture from the suburbs," "boxy," "10 steps backward," and "an affront to the Zoning Commission" and city residents, Turnbull pledged to be "so damn critical" if the new design moves forward. (If you've got a few minutes, you can watch his remarks for yourself.)
Commissioner Peter May, on the other hand, said that he is actually more comfortable with the new design, given that there were features he "really questioned" in the 2008 design, but that the latest filing is "pretty simplistic" in terms of the drawings, and did say that the architecture is "kind of boring," especially from the waterside view. (The image at right is the Phase 1 residential building, as seen from the river.) He also wanted to see more comparisons to the previously approved design so that they could understand more what they may be giving up with the new design, but that he found the overall plan "more appealing than before."
Vice-chair Konrad Schlater's biggest concern was over the scaling back of the retail component, which has gone from 80,000 square feet of "retail and service uses" in the 2008 PUD to about 23,400 square feet in the new filing, with 7,000 sf of that being turned over to residential amenities "until a retail market is established." "It seems like a missed opportunity to have space on the boardwalk that is not retail," Schlater said, adding that the city does not have a lot of projects right on a waterfront like this, and that the entire development really should be a retail destination. (He also caught that, while the 2008 PUD called for LEED certification for each phase, the new filing says that the project "will be LEED certifiable for each phase." Semantics, or...?)
With commission chair Anthony Hood not in attendance, the four commissioners decided to defer a decision on the set-down request until Hood can weigh in with his thoughts; this would also give the developers time to file additional information, such as comparing the new designs with the 2008 plans. This could come up at the next public hearing, on Feb. 13.
So, what are the differences?
With the entire filing available online (if you search), I was able to go through and cull out some of the most representative drawings from this new design, which I've put on my Florida Rock project page. At the bottom of that page you can also see some images of the designs that were approved in 2008. The first image at left, from 2008 (click to enlarge), shows the four buildings and the public spaces with a lot of curves and glass and "articulation."
Compare that to the latest design. While this is clearly a very early drawing, it does show four much more boxy structures, as commissioner Turnbull said. You can also see the curves-versus-corners differences in the site-plan comparison graphic I created, which also shows the differing layouts of the public spaces, again going from a lot of flowing, rounded paths and open areas to straighter-edged movements, with the total amount of "lot occupancy" going down to 44 percent in the new design from 58 percent in the old. The phase 1 apartment building is the most fleshed out in the renderings, but there are additional drawings giving a general sense of the site layout.
The Office of Planning's setdown report goes through the changes requested in a fair amount of detail.
It will be interesting to see how this the Zoning Commission handles this, as well as ANC 6D, which has always been very supportive of this project during its long gestation but has not yet had an opportunity to weigh in/vote on the new design. (And of course, we here at JDLand want to know what YOU think!) The developers are hoping to begin construction on the first phase apartment building in Spring 2013, but it would appear that this zoning process, like everything else tied to this project up to now, may not be as speedy as they might want.
If you want more background on how the commission reached its approvals in 2008, my many (MANY!) posts on the project are worth browsing, including the one I wrote in December detailing the changes in the new request. And do check out the latest drawings (and scroll down for the old ones).
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More posts: Florida Rock, zoning

Waterfront Photos: Cleared Florida Rock Site and More
Jan 9, 2012 12:43 PM
I have been lazy, l-a-z-y, about getting to some of my more far-flung photo spots in recent months, but the guilt of a new year finally overwhelmed me on Sunday, and I ventured up onto the Douglass Bridge and over to Poplar Point with camera in hand, mainly to get updated shots of the now-cleared Florida Rock site (above) and the Yards Park, Yards/Teague Bridge, and other waterside sites.
I pulled the most interesting of them together in an Along the Anacostia Photo Gallery, but you can also see the progression of images I've taken over the years from the Douglass Bridge and at Poplar Point looking toward Florida Rock/Nats Park and toward the Yards. I also gave my Florida Rock project page some much-needed freshening up, and you can also read my post from a few weeks ago about the latest news on the plans for the site. And maybe this year I'll head back to these spots when the ground isn't brown.
And, if you want to see almost the entire Near Southeast waterfront in one (panorama'ed) shot....:
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More posts: Florida Rock, photos, Teague Park, The Yards, Yards Park

Tidbits: Catching Up After a Lazy Holiday Season
Jan 2, 2012 12:42 PM
Hope everyone has had a good holiday season, and made it into the New Year relatively unscathed. I took some blog vacation time myself, but while it's looked like pure slacking, I've actually been hard at work on my 2012 State of the Hood roundup, which will be coming tomorrow.
Until then, here's a few very short tidbits to catch up on, some of which were already tweeted (so blog-only folks might have missed them) and others of which were just little things that have piled up on my To-Do list.
* In the days before Christmas, the final demolitions were finished up at Florida Rock, making the concrete tower #166 in my Demolished Buildings gallery. I didn't get down there for mid-demo photos, but DCMud has a few stylized shots.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID said last week on Facebook that construction will begin in April on turning the Lumber Shed at Yards Park into a combination retail pavilion and office space for developer Forest City. No such announcement from Forest City yet, and no details on who any of the retail tenants may be.
* Suspect fleeing from police jumps the fence into Nationals Park on Dec. 28, finally found hiding in a public restroom.
* The Examiner surveys what's coming for DC's various waterfronts in 2012.
* The Post's annual list includes "Renting in Navy Yard" as one of the "In"s. (To which the smart-ass in me replies, "Oh, you mean actually in the Washington Navy Yard, the Navy's oldest shore establishment, now 202 years old?")

Florida Rock Headed Back to Zoning Commission With Changes
Dec 9, 2011 2:29 PM
I almost can't bring myself to write the words, but the owners of the Florida Rock site just south of Nationals Park have filed with the Zoning Commission for not only the previously reported plan to change the planned first phase office building to a residential one, but also to revisit parts of the site plan for the three subsequent phases. (For those of you versed in zoning speak, they are requesting to "revert Phases II, III, and IV to First Stage Approvals with modifications.")
This is going to be a lengthy process, with hearings at the Zoning Commission, reports from the Office of Planning and others, and presentations to the ANC (starting with one this coming Monday night, Dec. 12). So I'm going to avoid getting into the weeds too much too early, and will just give some bullet points of what changes they are looking for. (You're free to read these 57 pages of the filing for more detail.)
* The new Phase 1 building, at the far east end of the site (next to Diamond Teague Park) will now be the aforementioned residential building, a nine-story U-shaped design oriented toward the river with 300-350 units and 286 below-grade parking spaces. There will still be 12,500 square feet of retail, though they are asking that 7,000 of it be "flex space" that "may alternatively be dedicated to residential amenity space" until retail gets going. There will be a private courtyard within the "U", but there will also be the open space on the buildings' east side, now dubbed Anacostia Plaza, that will be open enough to maintain open views from First Street and the stadium's Grand Staircase to the river but will also provide "passive recreation space."
* The esplanade that has always been such a big part of the site plan remains, acting as the portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail connecting South Capitol Street to Teague Park, the new pedestrian bridge, and the Yards Park. The Esplanade will "relate" to the "design vernacular" of the newly constructed boardwalks, and will also have a lot of stormwater management and bio-filtration offerings.
* On the building's west side will be the "Mews," which they call a pedestrian boulevard separating the Phase 1 building from the planned Phase 2 residential building. This path will also provide access to parking and loading for the first two phases, but "a dynamic paving design . . . will help distinguish this area as an urban space that privileges pedestrians over vehicles."
* The filing says they anticipate construction to begin in the second quarter of 2013, with first move-ins in early 2015 and the entire phase completed by summer 2015.
As for overall changes, here's what seem to be the most interesting changes from the previously approved design that the developers are looking for:
* The new plan would bring 1,164,640 square feet of gross floor area (4.6 FAR), up from 1,115,400 sq ft/4.4 FAR in the last plan. The other three phases' uses would remain unchanged (residential, office, hotel).
* Building heights of 130 feet for Phase 2-4 are being requested, compared to 130/112/130 last time around.
* Below-grade parking spaces would go from 1,010 to 1,144.
Plus, though It's hard to tell from one small site plan concept drawing, a lot of the public space design, especially to the east of the Phase 3 and 4 buildings, looks scaled back from the 2008 design. (UPDATE: Here's a graphic put together from another part of the filing that compares the 2008 site plan with the current one.)
The filing also says that "the Applicant would like the flexibility to provide interim uses on Phases, II, III, IV so that the site will not simply lay dormant pending construction," and lists a park, a farmers market, or other "simple, temporary retail uses" as examples.
And, just as in the previous plans, development of phases 3 and 4 are completely dependent on the construction of a new South Capitol Street Bridge, since the current bridge bisects the property where those buildings are planned.
Again, this is early in this new process, and there will be plenty of filings and presentations to come for all the additional detail you're going to be clamoring for. For now, the takeaway is that FRP/MRP want to get started on a residential building at 1st and Potomac in the spring of 2013, and still want to move forward on the rest of the site with a design similar to what was approved 3 1/2 years ago, but with some modifications.
This project first began its zoning quest in 1998, and went through a four-year process ending in 2008 to get its second-stage approvals. I should also note that Davis Buckley Architects, who worked on the project throughout that 10-year ordeal, is no longer part of the design team; SK&I is now on board, with Oculus as the landscape design firm. The site's owners, FRP Development/Florida Rock Properties, announced their partnership with MRP Realty earlier this year.
(As for the concrete plant currently on site, I haven't looked lately, but demolition is underway, and the filing says it should be done by the end of the year. Tom Boswell's heart will be broken.)
UPDATE, 1/3: Just before Christmas, demolition was finished on the plant, making it #166 in my Demolished Buildings Gallery.
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December ANC 6D Agenda: Florida Rock, CSX, M Street, More
Dec 8, 2011 4:20 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D December meeting is now available (and actually posted on their web site, too!). My hopes for a pre-holiday pass from this have been dashed, though, since there are a number of Near Southeast items on the agenda:
* There is an application pending for landmark designation for the historic 1905 DC Water Main Pumping Station, to which I'm sure we all say, "What do you mean it isn't already designated?"
* CSX will give an update on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel NEPA process. (Or you can just read my summary of last week's public scoping meeting.)
* The new partners in the RiverFront/Florida Rock project will be giving a presentation on their new zoning filing, which I'll be writing more on shortly.
* There's also going to be an update(?) on the long-desired Maine Avenue/M Street comprehensive traffic study, which we haven't heard much about in a while.
You can check the agenda for the other items. (it's a pretty long lineup. Yay. As always, December seems to be the ZOMG WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING portion of the year, not just for ANCs but throughout the development/bureaucratic sphere.) The meeting is at 7 pm in the DCRA offices on the 2nd floor of 1100 4th St., SW.

Most Minor of Modifications to Yards' Teeter Building OKed by 6D
Nov 15, 2011 10:23 PM
On Monday night, ANC 6D gave its support to a series of minor modifications (very minor--did I mention they were minor?) to the previously approved design of the new residential/retail/grocery development planned for the southeast corner of 4th and M, SE.
Because the lease with Harris Teeter has been executed since the project's zoning approvals were received, Forest City needs an okay for the company's signage, which you can see in the updated rendering. An outdoor seating area on 4th Street has also been added, and the design of the residential building's vestibule on 4th has been altered in order to use "structural glass." There were also slight changes to the roof structure, the sunscreens on the residential windows, the design of the trellises shielding the parking deck, and other items that should probably just be read about in the Office of Planning report that supports the proposed changes. (If you want the real nitty gritty of the updated design for this block, you can look through the full submittal to the Office of Zoning.)
Alex Nyhan of Forest City told 6D that he expects excavation on the site to start in about a month, with superstructure work beginning in the spring. This would bring the opening date to late 2013 or early 2014. (The entire block, consisting of the 55,000-square-foot Teeter, 218 apartments, and the as-yet-unnamed health club and other retail spaces at the south end of the site, is being built at the same time.)
There weren't many questions from commissioners. David Garber, who said that this was the first project reviewed by his new 11-member Near Southeast Citizen Development Advisory Committee, did question the project's representatives about the plans for bike parking. (Shocker!) Nyhan said there would be racks on 4th Street, and that they would be working with Harris Teeter to allow bikers to bring their bikes into the store and take them down to the parking level via elevator, but that no biking would be allowed into the parking garage. There was also discussion of whether the entrance to the garage could be expanded to allow for bike racks at street level, but Nyhan said there is not enough room in the design to widen the entrance.
The ANC then voted unanimously to support the project. It will be taken up by the Zoning Commission at its Nov. 28 meeting, having been removed from the Monday night agenda so that the ANC could be allowed to weigh in before the ZC voted.
You can see my Yards Parcel D project page for more details and photos.

Raze Permit for Concrete Plant on Florida Rock Site Approved
Oct 6, 2011 10:11 AM
The DC approved building permits feed, now back online (thank you!), brings the news today that the raze permit filed in February for the concrete plant on the Florida Rock site across from Nationals Park has now been approved. With the move of the operations around the corner down South Capitol Street to Buzzard Point finished, demolition should be able to get underway fairly soon. (Though whether it actually WILL....)
As we found out a few months ago, site owner Florida Rock Properties has entered into a joint venture with MidAtlantic Realty Partners to move forward on the first phase of the 1.1-million-square-foot "RiverFront on the Anacostia" redevelopment of the site, which they are hoping will be a 200-unit apartment building on the eastern edge of the site (across from the Nationals Park grand staircase at First and Potomac, next to Diamond Teague Park) instead of the office building originally planned. The Zoning Commission will need to approve this change, and that process should be beginning soon. Apparently there will be a presentation on the new plans at the Oct. 17 ANC 6D meeting (though the agenda isn't out yet). Their hope is to begin construction in the spring of 2013.
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Operations Winding Down at Florida Rock Site by Ballpark
Sep 19, 2011 11:32 AM
Back in March we learned that the plans were underway to move the gravel/stone/concrete operations that have been at 25 Potomac Ave. since the 1920s around the corner to South Capitol and S Street SE, down in Buzzard Point. All that needed to be done was build some new infrastructure at the new location, and get a raze permit approved, and then the site long known as Florida Rock could be demolished, which the site owners were hoping would be happen by early summer.
Of course, as is so often the case, the actual timeline didn't quite match up to expectations. Most notably, the new site had problems getting electricity, which was a mite ironic given its location within spitting distance of the huge power plant at Half and S SW. But I'm told that a temporary Certificate of Occupancy has finally been secured, and operations are starting to move from Potomac Avenue to Buzzard Point. And, once the raze permit applied for back in March is approved, demolition can begin.
Plans have been on the boards for a number of years now to transform the 5.8-acre site into the mixed-use RiverFront on the Anacostia, and in July it was announced that owners Florida Rock Properties will be partnering with MidAtlantic Realty Partners to develop the first phase of the project, an apartment building on the far eastern end of the site near Diamond Teague Park and across from the Grand Staircase at Nationals Park. This is a change from the office building originally planned for this phase, and will need to go through the Zoning Commission for approvals. It's hoped that construction could begin in spring 2013.
If you want to know more about the plans for the site, my Florida Rock/RiverFront page is chock full of renderings and details.
(Hat tip to eagle-eyed Man About Town David Garber, who noticed on Saturday afternoon that the cement tower on Potomac Avenue appeared to be losing some of its panels.)
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Joint Venture in the Works for Florida Rock Site's First Phase; Would Be Apartments Instead of Offices
Jul 16, 2011 10:49 AM
A press release that went out on the wires on Friday has announced that a joint venture is being structured between Patriot Transportation Holdings (through its subsidiary Florida Rock Properties) and MidAtlantic Realty Partners, LLC, to develop the first phase of RiverFront on the Anacostia, just across the street from Nationals Park.
And, in an even more interesting tidbit, the release says that the companies are going to request a modification to the existing Florida Rock PUD to make the first phase an apartment building, rather than the planned office building. They expect that construction could start in the spring of 2013, with leasing to start in the fall of 2014. This portion of the site is the eastern end, directly across from the ballpark's Grand Staircase, closest to Diamond Teague Park and the planned expanded public plaza that will be adjacent to Teague.
It would be after the PUD modification is received that the joint venture would actually be formalized, and the current Letter of Intent "contemplates no commitments or obligations between the parties with respect to Phases II, III and IV of the Master Development Plan." MidAtlantic is apparently investing $4.5 million and receiving a 30 percent interest in the venture.
This of course will be huge news to everyone who looks out from the baseball stadium at the concrete plant just to the south, and probably is a more complete explanation for the filing of the raze permit earlier this year. In late 2009 this first phase of the project was given a two-year extension of the zoning order that had originally called for construction to begin by the middle of this year. FRP's representatives cited the difficulties of getting financing to get work underway in their request.
If you're just joining us, the Florida Rock site took about a decade to wind through the zoning process, with all sorts of changes along the way (especially when a major league baseball stadium was suddenly plunked down just across the street).
The design that was approved in 2008 calls for 1.1 million square feet of development on the 5.8-acre site, which would include a 75-foot-wide promenade along the river that would be part of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Originally there were going to be two office buildings, one residential building, and one hotel, along with 84,000 square feet of retail and a number of large open public spaces, but we'll have to see as the new zoning request comes through how those numbers are going to change.
My Florida Rock project page has a slew of renderings and details on the development's design as it was approved.
UPDATE: WBJ says that the new first-phase apartment building would have about 200 units.
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Concrete Plant on Florida Rock Site to be Moved, Razed
Mar 24, 2011 9:55 AM
I've gotten a bit more information about the raze permit application at the Florida Rock site, the concrete plant on the banks of the Anacostia directly across from Nationals Park.
According to Florida Rock Properties, the owner of the site, the tenants are building a new plant on land also owned by FRP down South Capitol Street on Buzzard Point (at S and Water streets near the Pepco plant and the Coast Guard building). Once that new site is completed, the existing operations on Potomac Avenue will be shut down and the structures will be razed, which should happen sometime this summer (though timelines on these sorts of projects are never written in concrete, ha ha).
The plant is one of the last specimens of the ballpark area's previous life as an industrial zone, and has housed a gravel/stone/concrete operation since the 1920s, when Smoot Sand and Gravel operated there after moving from what is now the Yards Park site when the Navy Yard expanded its boundaries during World War I. I have taken scads of photos that have included it over the years, and should probably thank my lucky stars that I was never mowed down by any of the trucks coming in and out of there during all my photographing of the ballpark's construction. There was certainly a close call or two.
As I've noted about a billion times over the past eight years, the site's redevelopment plans call for a 1.1-million-sq-ft mixed-use four-phase development, but Florida Rock Properties does not as yet have any deals in place to get this new "RiverFront" project started. In 2009 they received a time extension on their zoning PUD, and are not required to file building permits until June 2012. The site will probably remain fenced and unused in the interim, but at least the dismantling of the tower will finally allow unobstructed views of the Anacostia River, the Douglass Bridge, and the east bank of the river from the ballpark's southeastern viewing platform. Not to mention nicer views of the ballpark from the river, for boats such as those using the Diamond Teague Piers next door. At least until the new development goes up....
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Florida Rock Raze Permit, and Other Tuesday Tidbits
Mar 22, 2011 11:03 AM
All sorts of small stuff that has recently been Tweeted, or just left to molder until I finally got around to posting:
* A raze permit application has been filed by the Florida Rock folks for the concrete plant operated by Vulcan Materials Co. on Potomac Avenue just south of Nationals Park. This in an of itself is quite interesting, made even more interesting by a lack of response from Florida Rock Properties when I inquired as to what this planned razing might mean. From what I'm told, raze permits are valid for one year from the date of issuance (and this one hasn't been issued yet). The plan has been for a 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project that would include office, residential, hotel, and retail in four buildings, plus lots of open space. (Note that the western part of the project can't be built until the new Douglass Bridge is built and the current one is demolished, which doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon). Whether the current plans will still be going forward with the current owners or if changes are in the works, we'll just have to wait and see, though considering that it took FRP a decade or so to get zoning approvals for the site, it would be no fun to see the process start over again.
* There was a kitchen fire on the 3rd floor of the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St. SE on Monday night, according to tweets from DCFireEMS. The bulk of the fire was handled by the sprinkler system, they say, and there were no injuries.
* The DC Music Fest planned for the Yards Park on May 7 has been cancelled "due to a lack of funding and sponsorships."
* The Five Guys at Nationals Park will not be back for the 2011 season, says Curbed DC. (The one on 2nd Street across from Canal Park is not affected by this.)
* Speaking of the ballpark, in case your attention hasn't yet turned to baseball, note that Opening Day is next Thursday (March 31), with NatsFest being held at 4 pm the day before. The first series of games (Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday) will all be early afternoon starts (1:05 pm on Thursday and Saturday and the normal 1:35 pm start on Sunday).
And Saturday's game is bookended by Family Fun Day at Yards Park, being held from 11 am to 4 pm in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (Plus there's all the goings-on that day on the Southwest Waterfront, including the big fireworks display.)

The Anacostia Waterfront, Seen from On High
Sep 26, 2010 1:44 PM
With the opening of the Yards Park, I've needed to get up to the southeast viewing platform at Nationals Park to update my photos of the Anacostia's Near Southeast riverfront, and thankfully I chose this weekend's sunny Saturday to do it. The before-and-afters seen above of the Yards Park footprint are pretty cool, and I've posted enlarged versions of these shots on my Yards Park page (scroll down about five photos to see them). The other before-and-afters of the southeast platform views are here.
It was just a smidgen over three years ago that I first got to look out at the Anacostia River from this vantage point, on a very memorable day while the stadium was under construction, and it's a spot that I really like returning to. With Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park completed, and Potomac Avenue and First Street reconstructed, the view has certainly changed, even if there isn't the overwhelming amount of redevelopment that had been envisioned. (And that includes the still-untouched tracts of land at Poplar Point on the other side of the river.)
So, just for the heck of it, I tossed together a single collage, looking from USDOT and the Navy Yard all the way around to South Capitol Street and Buzzard Point, capturing nicely what this entire stretch of waterfront looks like in the fall of 2010. It's a view that won't change much until the RiverFront/Florida Rock concrete plant site starts getting redeveloped (whenever that might be), but it's still a nice image to have.
And if you want to know what the Capital Bikeshare station at First and N across from Nats Park looks like, here you go.
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A Few Links of Note, Since It's Pretty Quiet
May 24, 2010 7:36 PM
I'm happy with my move to Twitter for much of my "little" linking, but here are a few (somewhat) recent items that still deserve the "hail of bullets" treatment on the blog, especially during a bit of a lull. (But I might have something somewhat cool tomorrow, if the weather holds.)
* From City Paper's Housing Complex blog, a report on some reimagining of the Anacostia Waterfront by middleschoolers as part of the National Building Museum's CityVision program. The Navy Yard, Poplar Point, and Florida Rock were given the treatment, with an underwater library envisioned at the latter, among other notions.
* Urban Turf asked a group of soothsayers to look ahead five years on which "unsung" DC neighborhoods would be attracting homebuyers five years from now. The "Southeast Waterfront" was one of the 'hoods (as once again people make clear that no name yet floated for the area is truly capturing the populace's fancy, which is why I stick with the REAL name ;-) ), and while it will take a while to be "fully realized," the writer reminds readers that Near Southeast has some pretty solid "bones": With "proximity to Capitol Hill, access to Metro and major roads, Nationals Park, a potential streetcar line, a waterfront park that I think will be one of the best in the city and of course the river[,] this neighborhood starts to make a lot of sense as a place to live."
* SWill reports from just across the way about the plans for hip, happenin' shindigs once again this summer at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. "The parties [...] have been named Liquid Lounge and will feature some of the best house music DJs from Washington, DC and beyond. The hotel and Nocturnal Vibe will host their inaugural event on Saturday, June 5th from 2 p.m. - 9 p.m., poolside at the architecturally iconic DC destination."
* With the DC season of Top Chef now having an announced premier date of June 16, it's been confirmed (by DCist) that Nationals Park was the site of one of the challenges (apparently on May 6, according to this tweet). I'm going to LOL if they make guest judge Eric Ripert chow down on nachos, half smokes, two-pound pretzels, or other ballpark haute cuisine.
* And, the subject of filming at Nationals Park reminded me to go see what the latest is on the Reese Witherspoon/Jack Nicholson/Paul Rudd/Owen Wilson/James L. Brooks movie filmed at the park a year ago. It's called How Do You Know, and IMDB says it has a release date of December 17. (Prime Oscar season!)
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Zoning Commission Okays Florida Rock Time Extension
Nov 16, 2009 12:33 PM
Catching up from last week.... On Monday (Nov. 9), the Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to approve Florida Rock Properties' request for a two-year time extension on the 2008 zoning order for its RiverFront project at First and Potomac, across from Nationals Park. Citing the current Economic Difficulties, the developers requested the extension so that their deadline for securing building permits for the project's first phase (an office building on the east side of the site, near Diamond Teague Park) is now mid-2012, with a construction start date deadline of mid-2013. My RiverFront page gives all sorts of additional details on the project, if you need a refresher.
The Office of Planning supported the extension request (you can read their report for details), and zoning commissioners Hood and Turnbull both called the project a "good effort," mentioning how much work by the developers, the architect (Davis Buckley) and the commission had gone into the zoning order. (Those of you who haven't been around quite so long may not be aware that Florida Rock first began its long and winding road through the DC zoning process in the late 1990s.) This extension was supported by ANC 6D at its October meeting.
If you want to see the zoning hearing, you can go to the Office of Zoning's wonderful fabulous incredible Video on Demand section, where not only can you pick the meeting you wish to see but can then use their index to skip to the portion of the meeting you're interested in. I may never watch an entire public meeting live ever again!
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ANC 6D Doings (Short Version: Three Thumbs Up)
Oct 19, 2009 8:56 PM
While my dinner is in the oven, here's the speediest of reports from tonight's ANC 6D meeting:
* The ANC voted 7-0 on a resolution supporting the city council's proposed marriage equality act.
* They voted 5-2 to support Florida Rock Properties' pending request in front of the Zoning Commission to extend the deadline for the first building permit application at RiverFront two years, to June, 2012, which would push the deadline for the start of first-phase construction to 2013. (Read this entry for more details, and see my project page for specifics on the development itself.) It's expected that this will be taken up at the November 9th ZC public meeting.
David Briggs of Holland and Knight, representing FRP, said that while the developer has worked "assiduously and tenaciously" since last year to find either equity or construction funding, the notion of starting the first-phase office building within the current zoning timeline is "just not viable." FRP does say, though, that they will be continuing to search for funding if they receive the extension. In the meantime, FRP made its required $800,000 payment to the city last fall to help defray the costs of Diamond Teague Park next door; I asked if there were any possibility that perhaps the land on the very east end of the Florida Rock site, which will eventually be a public plaza that abuts Teague Park, might be cleared and opened as public space before the construction begins on the office building--they're "looking at options."
* The commissioners also voted 7-0 to support the zoning special exception request by the operator of the six-unit "Casa degli Angeli" at Third and L, which is currently operating as a month-to-month room rental and which is looking for a zoning change to become a full-fledged bed and breakfast. The Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17.
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RiverFront/Florida Rock Seeking Time Extension From Zoning Commission; More Zoning, CSX, CapitalSpace
Oct 18, 2009 2:49 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting has been posted, with two Near Southeast items listed. The first is that the developers of the RiverFront (aka Florida Rock) site between the Anacostia and the ballpark are apparently filing for a time extension on their zoning PUD ("planned unit development," for those of you mercifully unaware). When the zoning approval for this project finally came through in 2008 (after years of slogging through the process), the developers were given until May of 2010 to apply for building permits for the first phase of the project (an office building on the east end of the site, near Diamond Teague Park), with construction then required to start by May 2011. So, although it was recently reported that Florida Rock Properties is looking for an equity partner to help finance the development of the site, they clearly believe that it will be tough for them to meet the zoning order timeline.
Timeline extensions are increasingly common cases being heard by the Zoning Commission these days, as financing for commercial real estate development continues to be extremely difficult to procure; the Capper redevelopment received one earlier this year. I don't yet see a hearing date for FRP's extension request on the zoning calendar.
In other tidbits:
* Also on the 6D agenda is the "Casa degli Angeli" at Third and L, which has a Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing scheduled for Nov. 17. The six-unit building, which is currently operating as a month-to-month room rental, is looking for a zoning change to become a full-fledged bed and breakfast.
* The latest issue of Voice of the Hill has more detail on the CSX plans to expand the Virginia Avenue tunnel; you can read the documents that CSX submitted to the National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board for some additional details. Quoting the Voice: "CSX spokesperson Bob Sullivan said the project would take between two-and-a-half and three years, while a District Department of Transportation Department official made a slightly lower estimate. 'We anticipate that there would be some traffic impacts during the course of this project, which is probably going to last a couple of years,' said agency spokesperson John Lisle.'" Neighbors in the area are concerned: ANC 6B will be getting a briefing about the plans at its Nov. 10 meeting.
* On Oct. 27, there's a public meeting about the CapitalSpace plan, "the first comprehensive analysis of Washington's parks and open space in almost 40 years," which is attempting to get the various federal and local agencies that run the many parks in the city more closely coordinated, along with other plans to improve the parks themselves. The meeting is at the MLK Library from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Florida Rock Seeking Equity Partner
Jul 21, 2009 12:54 PM
(I Tweeted this a week ago, then forgot to ever post it here.) From the WashBizJournal: "Florida Rock Properties Inc. is on the market for a joint venture partner to help develop its much-anticipated 1.1-million square foot project, which will put retail, office space and a waterfront plaza on the land across from Nationals Park." My RiverFront page has scads of renderings, showing the designs and planned phases; the initial plans were to construct the office building and public plaza on the east end of the site (by Diamond Teague Park) first; the later phases can't be built until the new Douglass Bridge is constructed and the old one demolished.
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Mayor Receives $800k From Florida Rock for Diamond Teague; Latest on RiverFront Timetable
Oct 6, 2008 7:05 PM
A press release from the mayor's office (not yet online) tells us that this afternoon Mayor Fenty accepted $800,000 from the developers of Florida Rock/RiverFront for the construction of Diamond Teague Park next door. This contribution was part of the second-stage Planned Unit Development approval given by the Zoning Commission a few months back for the 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project.
Here's what the press release says about the park (emphases mine): "The District will use the $800,000 contribution from Florida Rock to help pay for Diamond Teague Park, which is dedicated to the memory of Diamond Teague, a member of the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) who was murdered five years ago. The Park will include a water taxi; new boat slips for the ECC and fire and life safety vessels; an environmental pier for educational groups, kayaks and canoes; and a riverfront boardwalk and a half-acre park. Construction of the park is expected to start in November and will be completed this spring."
The event was also touted as an "unveiling" of the plans for the Florida Rock site, which I'm assuming (since I wasn't able to be at this event today) haven't changed too much since they were approved by the Zoning Commission in May. The press release has the raw numbers, which don't look too different: "Florida Rock's 'Riverfront on the Anacostia' will include about 560,000 square feet of residential and hotel space - with 29,000 square feet is reserved for affordable housing. It will also include about 545,000 square feet of commercial office space, at least 80,000 square feet of retail and a large waterfront plaza with a waterfront promenade."
But there is one line in the release that's going to chagrin those who have been looking forward to this project: "Construction could begin as soon as 2011." During the time leading up to the final zoning approvals, RiverFront's developers had said that it was possible that the first phase of the project--the eastern office building and the public plaza, adjacent to Teague Park--could see construction begin in fall 2009.

A Smattering of Ballpark and Soccer Links
May 29, 2008 9:41 AM
* The Post's DC Wire blog is reporting that at 5 pm today DCRA will be having a lottery for the 28 street vending spots near Nationals Park. "Winners will enjoy their spots for one month, starting on June 1. Then the process starts all over again with a lottery on the last Tuesday of each month until the baseball season ends." (Vendors grumbling about neon-green On the Fly's vending on Half Street have found out that the eco-vendor is actually on private property.)
* From the Examiner: David Catania gets back into the baseball carping business, saying the city should get its money back from the consultants who predicted in 2005 that the Nats would average 39,000 fans in the first year at Nationals Park, since there's only been an average of 29,000 fans during the first third of the season. Catania says "that ERA may have seriously overestimated ticket sales, which represents a major portion of stadium-related revenues." However, DC CEO Natwar Gandhi has replied that "the ballpark bonds are structured in such a way "that a significant drop in attendance would not hinder our ability to pay debt service" and that "in a worst-case scenario, total attendance at the new stadium could drop to approximately 10,000 people per game without affecting debt-service payments." The Examiner also says: "Ticket prices at the new ballpark are 20 percent higher than the consultant predicted, Gandhi said, which will drastically reduce the effect of reduced attendance." I wonder if the consultants factored in cold and miserable April weather? The Post's DC Wire has more on this.
* The Nats announced earlier this year that tours of the ballpark are available on non-gamedays; yesterday they sent out word that proceeds from those tours will benefit the team's Dream Foundation, which currently has a number of initiatives underway, including the Neighborhood Initiative that's providing three years of funding to the Earth Conservation Corps. Info about the tours is available here.
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra is short and sweet, with blurbs on the RiverFront/Florida Rock zoning approval and the almost-arrival of 700 new residential units at 70 and 100 I Street.
* Also in the District Extra is a big piece on whether the diversity of the Nats' roster, "combined with their state-of-the-art stadium, will be enough to attract young blacks and Latinos to the game in the District."
* DC United wants the city to pay $225 million for its Poplar Point stadium, which the Post says is "far more than some city leaders say they would support" and that "even the amount officials have considered, $150 million, has raised some concern with D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, whose analysis has concluded such a deal could push the government above a Wall Street debt ceiling that he recommended last year." In the meantime, Marc Fisher thinks it's all a bad idea.

Florida Rock Gets Its Final Zoning Approval
May 23, 2008 10:35 AM
With a unanimous 5-0 vote after a brief discussion, the Zoning Commission approved last night the plans for "RiverFront," the 5.8-acre mixed-use project on the Anacostia River south of Nationals Park, ending the decade-long trip through the zoning process for the site long known as Florida Rock.
Before the final vote, chairman Anthony Hood quoted from the recent ruling by the National Capital Planning Commission that the RiverFront project "would not adversely effect" any federal interests. Remarking that the passage "says it all," Hood read: "This project is expected to bring activity and amenities to the Anacostia waterfront and is respecting the planning for the South Capitol Street corridor and the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Furthermore, it is enhancing the connection of the Nationals Baseball Park and surrounding district to the Anacostia waterfront, goals supported by the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative[.]"
Now it's onto construction drawings and a trip through the city's permitting process. It's not expected that work will begin until sometime in 2009 on the first phase of the site, which includes an office building with ground-floor retail and a public plaza across Potomac Avenue from the ballpark's grand staircase. [see update below for caveat]
If you want to know more (dear heavens, I'm not going to go through all the details AGAIN), look at my project page for renderings and also scroll through five years' worth of news items on it all. UPDATE: The press release is out, and I'll note that it gives no indication of when the first phase could start. Given the Monument Realty news of financing troubles, Camden's pause at 1345 South Capitol, and the commercial real estate biz in general, it's probably best to now be pretty skeptical of start dates until permit approvals start popping up and shovels start digging into the ground.
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Big Pile of Morning Links (Ballpark, Florida Rock)
May 9, 2008 10:17 AM
* Don't forget the Metro track work this weekend, and the impacts it's going to have on getting to the ballpark. Read Metro's press release for how it will handle getting fans to and from Saturday's and Sunday's games. (Dr. Gridlock's posted about it again this morning.)
* Now that the ballpark is open, some are wondering what the need is to keep the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission running; read this WBJ piece for a good overview.
* Today's Post has a big article on what DC is going to look like in the future, saying that "the overarching key to redefining Washington resides along the miles of undeveloped land that borders the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, terrain slated for at least four new neighborhoods that District officials and developers hope will be built during the next 20 years," and mentioning the Ballpark District, Southwest waterfront, Poplar Point, and Hill East as the new destinations that could "counterweight" the Mall. (A nice rendering of the vision for the Southwest waterfront is included, too.)
* Ballpark concessionaire Centerplate had a rough first quarter of 2008, reporting a net loss of $11.2 million.
* A columnist from Idaho likes Nationals Park.
* Patriot Transportation Holdings sent out its earnings announcement, which has a nice summary of where the Florida Rock project stands, mentioning that the National Capital Planning Commission gave its "no adverse effect on federal interests" stamp to the project at its May 1 meeting (here's the report). May 22 is the date that the Zoning Commission is expected to give final approval.
* Remember the Community Benefits Fund that was a big part of swaying council members to approve the financing for the stadium? City Paper takes a look at what Mayor Fenty is doing with the money.
* The Nats are holding a youth baseball clinic at the ballpark for more than 100 children from Prince George's County on Saturday morning (May 10) at 10 am. (No link yet.)
* I had to laugh when I read this Post article about the opening of the new Southern Maryland Blue Crabs ballpark last week, since it read an awful like what we all thought we'd see after Opening Night at 1500 South Capitol: "[A]n otherwise celebratory Opening Night last Friday was marred by traffic jams and a significant parking shortage that left some people to walk more than a mile to the new ballpark. 'It was horrible to get here,' said Jane Thomas, who parked on Route 488 and estimated it took her 45 minutes to reach the stadium from her La Plata home. 'They're going to have to figure out what to do about that traffic, because I want to come to games, but I won't do it if it's always this bad.'"
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Now, About that Retail..... (A Space Survey)
May 2, 2008 10:09 AM
With the ballpark now humming along like it's been here forever (Tom Boswell has a litany of good things to say in today's Post) , interest is starting to turn toward what sort of retail/restaurant options are going to come to the neighborhood, and when. For your Friday time-killing pleasure, I've tossed together a quick a survey of what's either available now or will be coming within the next two years. (I'm not including already existing retail; I'm just looking at where new stuff could arrive.) As of now, I've seen no announcements of tenants for any of these spaces, but maybe if residents, workers, and ballpark fans clap their hands and wish real hard....
* 20 M - Completed in March of 2007, its 11,000 sq-ft of ground-floor retail space would seem to be an enticing location (just across the street from the Navy Yard subway station's ballpark exit), but so far there's been no takers. "Coming soon" signs that were in the windows last year for Wachovia and Kinko's are now gone.
* Capitol Hill Tower - A 7,000-sq-ft restaurant space in the ground floor of this co-op building has been advertised ever since the building opened in 2006, but no takers so far.
* 100 M - The 240,000-square-foot office building at First and M is scheduled to be completed later this year, and they're offering 8,500 sq ft of "corner restaurant/retail space" with "great ceiling heights, storefront and outdoor seating." (There's no ground-floor retail planned for Onyx on First in the same block.)
* 55 M - The first part of Monument's Half Street project is this 275,000-sq-ft office building now under construction at Half and M (it's the building on top of the subway station entrance). It has over 10,000 sq ft of retail spaces on Half, M, and Cushing, and should be completed by mid-2009. (See retail spaces 1 through 4 on this page at the official web site.)
* 909 New Jersey - For the folks who choose to walk from the Capitol South Metro station, the under-construction residential building at New Jersey and K is going to have 6,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail space when it's completed in summer 2009.
* Velocity - The ground floor of this 200-unit condo building at First and L will have retail (I can't find how much), and will be finished by late 2009.
* The Yards - By the end of 2009, the renovation of the old Boilermaker Shop at Third and Tingey into a 46,000-sq-ft retail space should be completed, and there is also 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space planned for the Pattern Shop Lofts building on the south side of Tingey, which should have its conversion into a rental building completed by the end of next year as well. Both of these are situated on the route that most Nats Express users walk along to get from the shuttle stop at 300 M to the ballpark. (But will the Nats Express run after this year?)
* Half Street Part 2 - The southern part of the east side of Half Street north of the ballpark is going to be a combination of a 200-room hotel and two residential buildings totaling 340 units, with about 40,000-sq-ft of ground floor retail to entice the throngs that walk along Half Street before and after games. (See retail spaces 5 through 8 on this page at the official web site.)
* 1015 Half - Opus East hasn't yet committed to whether there will be ground-floor retail in this 410,000-sq-ft office building at Half and L, though about 10,000 sq ft of space will be there.
* 23 I - If this 420-unit apartment building does indeed begin construction in September of this year, there could be 15,000 sq ft of retail available at Half and I by the end of 2010.
That's about 200,000 square feet of space to be filled within the next few years--and this doesn't include the retail spaces in the ground floor of the baseball stadium along First Street (who knows when those will be occupied). It's possible other buildings slated to have ground-floor retail could pop up between now and the end of 2010--1111 New Jersey and 250 M are the main candidates.
And there will also could be more offerings at the Yards by 2011 (including that grocery store planned for 401 M as well as the Lumber Storage Shed and other to-be-built pavilions at the Waterfront Park). And maybe the first building at Florida Rock, across from the ballpark's grand staircase, could be done by the end of 2011. But this is getting a little too far down the road....

Quick Links on Nats Express, KegBus, Coyotes
Apr 28, 2008 3:32 PM
After a week's vacation, I'm still trying to remember how this whole blogging thing is supposed to work, so while I'm figuring it out, here are a few links:
* Dr. Gridlock looks at the Nats Express from RFK, and finds it acceptable. (Except for perhaps more signage.) And talks about the fun e-cruzer electric carts that are ferrying people for free between the shuttle stop at 300 M and the ballpark.
* Last week's Weekend section has a feature on the KegBus, which shuttles revelers from the bars on Pennsylvania Avenue and Eighth Street to the ballpark.
* Not to go all Prophet of Doom on you, but the Post's Sunday Magazine has a big piece on what DC may look like in 2025. In one scenario: "His mother didn't know it, but Paxten and his friends loved to wander around the mostly abandoned Nationals Park and the ruins of the entertainment complex, despite reports that coyotes had a den in the Nationals' former bullpen. The park had been neglected since Major League Baseball dissolved Washington's team in the second wave of contractions to hit the sport." Yes, but is Florida Rock built?????
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Monday Post Article on Florida Rock
Apr 28, 2008 5:16 AM
Monday's Metro section of the Post has "Beside the Diamond, a Lump of Coal", bringing readers up to speed on the Florida Rock concrete-plant parcel just south of the ballpark. Nothing in it that folks wandering through here on a regular basis won't already know (you can read the piles of entries I've posted on the project over the past five years for additional details, including my post about last month's surprise preliminary approval of the latest design, and my project page has plenty of renderings and photos).
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Morning Links: Catania, Magnets, High School Baseball at the Ballpark, Florida Rock
Apr 3, 2008 9:58 AM
* The Post's District Notebook finds out that council member David Catania is "over" the financing deal for the ballpark that he so vociferously opposed: "Catania quickly put a damper on [Kwame] Brown's enthusiasm, saying the stadium still is not worth the more than $611 million of public money. 'I will never think differently,; Catania insisted. 'I'm over it.' "
* WTOP has another stadium-related shocker to add to its Hall of Fame: the car and schedule magnets being given out at the April 10 home game could demagnetize your Metro farecard if they get too close to each other! Don't let this happen to YOU.
* The Post's DC Wire blog posts about the plans for the four-game high school baseball series to be held at Nationals Park on May 31 (first reported by the WashTimes in early February). There will be a fundraiser for the event on May 3, asking for "corporate contributions up to $15,000 and individual contributions up to $3,000."
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra this week is about the surprise approval last month of the design for RiverFront on the Anacostia, on the Florida Rock site just south of the ballpark. See my project page for renderings of the plans as well as photos of what the 5.8-acre site currently looks like.
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Fourth Street Now One Way; Visitor Passes; Ballpark and Development; Recent Headlines Again
Mar 24, 2008 7:44 AM
* Within the past week, Fourth Street between the SE Freeway and M Street has been signed and striped to become one-way southbound. It's always been one-way southbound north of the freeway, but extending that another four blocks seems to be a bit of a surprise.
* If you live in Southwest or on Capitol Hill and received in the past few days a nondescript envelope addressed to "Ward 6 Resident" from DDOT, don't throw it out (like I almost did)--it's your Visitor Parking Pass. Guard this with your life.
* As soon as I swear off chasing every little story on the ballpark unless it somehow relates to the neighborhood, both the Post and the Examiner come out with stories this morning doing just that, talking about the development that's exploded in Near Southeast over the past few years. (And thanks for the hat tip, Michael.) Sayeth the Post, on A1: "Nationals Park opens this weekend and appears nearly complete. But it's surrounded for blocks by a construction zone. [...] Despite appearances, this is just the way District leaders hoped it would be: a ballpark set amid a vast Southeast Washington neighborhood in the middle of one of the biggest overhauls in city history. Some 500 acres are to be transformed, spreading south from Capitol Hill to the Anacostia River, sweeping away an accumulation of old auto body shops, sex clubs and debris-filled lots[.]" If you've read either of these stories and are looking to know more about all the development underway around the ballpark, I invite you to look at the big ole' map at the top right of my home page--moving your mouse across it gives you the basics on each project, and clicking the map takes you to pages chock full of additional details and photos.
* If you took a long weekend, you missed a lot of big news: Florida Rock got its preliminary zoning approvals, Metro has a plan to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage and an adjacent parking lot to the Nats, and I took scads of photos: check out the neighborhood from above with my latest rooftop photos, see pictures from Saturday's GW game at the ballpark, and see the exterior of the stadium in a pile of new shots taken yesterday.
* This is part of something bigger I'm working on that's not quite ready, but if you want to travel back to see how things used to look where Second Base now sits, here's your time machine. You're facing north, then you'll turn clockwise to catch the views in all directions....

Florida Rock Gets Preliminary Zoning Approval
Mar 21, 2008 10:13 AM
With a surprise motion at the end of last night's second-stage PUD hearing, the Zoning Commission has given preliminary approval to the design of RiverFront on the Anacostia (better known as Florida Rock), the 1.1-million-square-foot four-building mixed-use project nestled between Nationals Park, the Anacostia River, the Douglass Bridge, and Diamond Teague Park. It's been about 11 years since FRP Development first entered the zoning process for this site, and almost two years since the commission unexpectedly sent architects back to the drawing board for a design that better responded to the changes brought by the ballpark.
You can see a few renderings of the latest design on my project page, and read about the specifics (dear heavens, I'm not going to summarize it all AGAIN--read the Office of Planning report for more on this submittal). The one big addition to the design is a large sculpture to be placed on the public plaza ("Anacostia Place") across from the grand staircase of the ballpark, celebrating the Anacostia River watershed, which the commissioners seemed to respond to favorably.
The commissioners all remarked that the project has come a long way, and were pleased with the overall design. There were some concerns from commissioners Peter May of the National Park Service and Gregory Jeffries about the facades of the two western buildings that will face the proposed traffic oval on South Capitol Street at the foot of a new Douglass Bridge, that they aren't "animated" enough in terms of retail for such a prominent location. May had also called the project "too complex", with too much going on with different facades and finishes, but when longtime commissioner Michael Turnbull of the Office of the Architect of the Capitol said that he "liked the complexity," it was clear that there weren't going to be requests for large-scale changes to the design.
After 2 1/2 hours of presentations and questions, Chairman Hood brought up the idea of giving initial approval immediately, which, judging by the wide-eyed glances between the many representatives and consultants in the audience, was not expected. Commissioner May was not really in favor of moving forward, and Jeffries initially seemed to be leaning that way but then hemmed and hawed his way back to agreeing that the proposed action could go forward. (Earlier Jeffries had noted with some surprise that a project of this scope had not brought out a single member of the community in opposition.)
It was decided that the developers need to submit more detailed drawings of the plans for the South Capitol Street facades, and that no final approval would be given to the project until all commissioners approved of them. Commissioner May ended up abstaining on the vote, which was 4-0-1.
Architect Davis Buckley asked for six weeks to prepare the new renderings, and the commission scheduled a Special Public Meeting for May 22 at 6 pm to take final action.
This doesn't mean that earthmovers will arrive on May 23 to start building Anacostia Place and the eastern office building; construction drawings will have to be completed, and the trip through the vaunted DC permitting process will have to begin. But the notion of a Fall 2009 start date for the first phase of this project is looking closer to a reality. As for when the entire project could be completed, the western two buildings are dependent on the construction of the new Douglass Bridge before they can start. So, mark your calendar for about 2018.
I hope to snag some additional renderings included in last night's presentation; there was also a cool fly-over animation of RiverFront and its relationship with its surroundings, though it included the long-defunct Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness once envisioned for the north side of the ballpark, causing Commissioner Turnbull to spend some time lamenting What MIght Have Been.
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This Morning's Ballpark Odds and Ends
Mar 20, 2008 7:45 AM
* The prettiest darn fences, about four feet high, popped up around parking lots T and U on Third Street within the past two days. An unexpected touch. (I originally said wrought-iron, but now that I think about it, that's not what they are. Just black steel or some other metal I'm not smart enough to recognize. But still cool. Photos to come.)
* The Prince George's Gazette says that Nationals Park "could bring jobs and an economic boon to the southern part of the county."
* This is a few days old, but the US Park Police and the National Park Service say you'd better not think of parking at Anacostia Park during ballgames and other events at the stadium: "The NPS and USPP remind those seeking parking for events at the new Nationals' stadium that parking within Anacostia Park is open to park users only. Parking on turf is illegal within Anacostia Park. Park users are asked to be aware that increased vehicular traffic is anticipated and to make plans accordingly."
* Dr. Gridlock on his Get There blog talks about the "National Trifecta" on March 29--the National Marathon (which wrought all sorts of havoc in Southwest last year), the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Nationals-vs-Orioles exhibition game--that could make for rough driving around the city on that Saturday.
* I've taken enough photos of the stadium scoreboard to last a good long while, but Fox5 has a bunch of shots of the Scoreboard Control Room.
*This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra covers the new parking lots at Capper, and has a preview of the Florida Rock zoning hearing tonight (see renderings and photos here).
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Reminder: Florida Rock Zoning Hearing Tomorrow
Mar 19, 2008 12:50 PM
Just a reminder that Thursday (March 20) is the latest go-round in Florida Rock vs. the Zoning Commission. I'm not going to rehash the long history here (read the old news items if you need to get caught up), but tonight's hearing is on the revised design for what's now known as RiverFront on the Anacostia that first started showing up last summer. You can see renderings on my project page, and also read the Office of Planning report on tonight's hearing to find out the latest on the proposal. OP has recommended that this design be approved, subject to a couple of sign-offs from city agencies and a few other items. ANC 6D approved this plan (as it has approved most everything on this project) back in January--my entry on that vote contains a lot of information on where the project now stands as well. (Can you tell I'm in a rush?)
When could it all get underway? Quoting from that January entry: "As for when some movement will actually be seen at the site, David Briggs of Holland & Knight set out a timeline based on zoning approvals, construction drawings, and the vaunted DC permitting process that estimates the start of construction on the first phase (the eastern office building) in probably fall of 2009. He mentioned a number of times the amount of pressure that Florida Rock is under to shut down the concrete plant and to build temporary parking lots, but he explained that the site currently makes money for its company and shareholders, and there's little interest in closing it down sooner than necessary. (Briggs did say that a temporary landscaping of the eastern plaza, next to Diamond Teague, could be a possibility once the zoning approvals are received, but that the underground parking for RiverFront does extend beneath that plaza, and so excavation and construction work will need to be done there.)"
The hearing is at 6:30 pm at Suite 220 South, 441 4th St., NW; you can watch via live webcast, although that option has been problematic a few times lately. Watch this space late Thursday/early Friday for a report on it all, with perhaps further updates on timelines and whatnot.
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Boswell Looks at Everything Wrong By the Ballpark
Feb 26, 2008 11:15 PM
Wednesday's Post has a column by Tom Boswell ("Nationals Park: Best of a Bad Lot") listing the myriad problems he sees with the ballpark and its surroundings, with Opening Day now just a month away. The Navy Yard subway station. The parking situation. The Florida Rock site ("an enormous and inexcusable 5.8-acre eyesore" that will be "sitting there all season, damaging the river views from all the ramps to the first base upper deck"). (He does mention that fences to obscure the view at ground level will be going up, which I posted about a few days ago.) The WASA site (which "would be the Most Unsightly Thing Near Any Big League Park if Florida Rock and Gravel hadn't already retired the trophy.") The Monument Half Street site, where he says "construction has stopped." The fact that city views are only available in the cheap seats.
But he ends with a stab at optimism: "Someday, the Anacostia riverfront will amaze us, just maybe not as soon as we hoped. When it comes to fulfilling huge civic dreams, what's a few years, more or less. In for a dime, in for a decade. "
On the other hand, the article confirms that the garages, which have long been a focal point of much complaining, will indeed be covered, as has long been shown in the renderings, with "league logos, replicas of the 'Washington All-Stars' from the right field scoreboard in RFK as well as colorful baseball-themed ads."

Diamond Teague Park: First Phase by End of 2008
Feb 21, 2008 1:03 PM
As the clock ticks toward Opening Day (38 days away!), it's normal to be wondering about the status of some of the other projects near the ballpark. I've just gotten an update from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on Diamond Teague Park, the planned public plaza with water taxi piers on the banks of the Anacostia just across from the stadium's grand staircase at First and Potomac. The design of the park is being finalized, but you can see recent site maps and renderings on my project page (there are also links to enlarged versions of those images for better viewing).
The city is continuing to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to get permits for the piers. After the Army Corps signs off, some DC permits will need to be approved, and then construction on the park's first phase can begin--this will include all of the "in-water improvements" (i.e., the piers) and the portion of the park that's closest to the waterline. It's expected that this first phase will be completed by the time winter arrives in late 2008. The northern portion of the park site sits on land controlled by WASA, and must wait for those operations to be relocated before that part of the park can be built.
In the meantime, the park site will be "beautified" for Opening Day, with plans for a bit of a cleanup, new plantings, sandstone, etc.
As for the RiverFront site next door (which we all know as Florida Rock but which the developers want me to call either "FRP" or "RiverFront" to prevent confusion between themselves [Florida Rock Properties/FRP Development Corp.] and the not-involved-with-developing-the-site Florida Rock Industries)--I've been told that new fences will be put up around the site by Opening Day, to pretty things up a bit along that stretch as well.

Ballpark and Beyond This Week - ANC Wrapup
Jan 24, 2008 10:52 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column is a shortened summary of last week's ANC 6D meeting; but here's the links to my more detailed reports on the what transpired at that meeting with 1111 New Jersey, an alley closing request by Monument Realty, and Florida Rock.
And, since it's been a busy week, you might have missed my 2008 State of the Hood, which rises above all the daily minutaie to look at what's happened in Near Southeast in the last 12 months and what's coming in 2008; if you're coming late to the party and are looking for an overview, take a few moments to browse it.

ANC 6D Report #3: Newest Florida Rock Design
Jan 18, 2008 1:35 PM
The last Near Southeast item on Monday's ANC 6D meeting was a request for the commission's support of the latest design of RiverFront on the Anacostia, better known as Florida Rock. This is the nearly six acres of land directly south of the ballpark, on the Anacostia River, where developers have spent 10 years trying to transition away from the concrete business currently operating there to a 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use waterfront destination. They came close to an approved design in 2006, but in February 2007 the Zoning Commission unexpectedly sent the architects back to the drawing board, wanting a greater amount of residential space in the project, better views to and from the ballpark, and a better "expression of place."
After nearly a year, a revised design is ready to go to the Zoning Commission for approval. It now includes 323,000 square feet of residential space, 80,000 square feet of retail and 465,000 square feet of office space.
Some of the ideas floated early in the redesign process have been modified or removed, most notably "The Pitch", the plaza directly across from the ballpark's grand staircase and adjacent to the planned Diamond Teague Park. This space no longer has pitcher and catcher statues but is instead now a "festive" open plaza that will be more "integrated" with Teague and will help with the expected flow of ballpark visitors coming to and from the water taxi piers that someday may materialize out by the little red brick pumphouse.
Also, the residential and hotel buildings have had their heights grow to 130 feet, to allow for the extra square footage the zoning commission wanted. But the hotel's top two floors will now be "pure residential".
As for when some movement will actually be seen at the site, David Briggs of Holland & Knight set out a timeline based on zoning approvals, construction drawings, and the vaunted DC permitting process that estimates the start of construction on the first phase (the eastern office building) in probably fall of 2009.
He mentioned a number of times the amount of pressure that Florida Rock is under to shut down the concrete plant and to build temporary parking lots, but he explained that the site currently makes money for its company and shareholders, and there's little interest in closing it down sooner than necessary. (Briggs did say that a temporary landscaping of the eastern plaza, next to Diamond Teague, could be a possibility once the zoning approvals are received, but that the underground parking for RiverFront does extend beneath that plaza, and so excavation and construction work will need to be done there.)
It should be noted that this timeline is really about the first two phases (the eastern office building and the 160-unit residential building), because the western office building and the hotel can't be built until the construction of a new Douglass Bridge allows Florida Rock to use its land that is currently occupied by the old bridge. (The year 2016 was tossed around as a possible date for when these later phases could get started.)
Community benefits remain similar to past presentations, including an estimated 25 units of workforce housing, anticipated LEED certification for the buildings, First Source and LSDBE hiring, and a combined underground loading dock for the three western buildings, as well as the more basic amenity of replacing a huge concrete plant with shiny new buildings and access to the waterfront. The ANC has always been enthusiastic about this project, and this time around was no different, with the commissioners voting 5-2 to support the new design. The Zoning Commission hearing, for what is officially considered a modification to the project's second-stage PUD, is scheduled for March 20.
I'm really trying to just hit the newsiest items here--definitely take some time to look through my RiverFront page (have to stop calling it Florida Rock sometime) for much more detail on the current design. And read all the archived news items, too, if you want a better feel for the twists and turns this project has taken.
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ANC and Zoning Commission Reports - Coming Soon
Jan 14, 2008 11:48 PM
Having pledged to pace myself a bit better over the next three months so that I don't have to cover Opening Day from a padded room, I'll be posting the results of Monday night's ANC 6D and Zoning Commission meetings in drips and drabs over the next few days. So stay tuned, especially if you're interested in Florida Rock, or Diamond Teague Park, or Monument Realty's projects north of the ballpark, or 1111 New Jersey, or 250 M Street.
This of course means that all the local media outlets checking in at JDLand looking for leads and tips will have to wait too. (The information is all free, of course, but some small hat tip some day would be nice. Although I do enjoy being an assignment editor of sorts....)

Jan. 14 Public Meetings (And One from Last Night)
Jan 11, 2008 3:18 PM
Agendas are out for two public meetings on Monday night (Jan. 14) that have Near Southeast items of interest:
*ANC 6D's agenda includes presentations and requests for support on the following: a new request for an alley closing on the southern end of the block bounded by Half, M, N, and South Capitol (B17-0552, "Closing of a Public Alley in Square 700"); the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for 1111 New Jersey Ave., which will be at the Zoning Commission on Jan. 31; and new design/modified second-stage PUD for RiverFront on the Anacostia (Florida Rock), which is expected to go to the Zoning Commission in the next few months. The meeting is at St. Augustine's Church, 6th and M Streets, SW, at 7 pm.
* The Zoning Commission will hear requests for "minor modifications" to William C. Smith's 250 M Street project and Monument's Half Street project; alas, I haven't been able to find out what these modifications are. That meeting is at 6:30 pm at 441 Fourth St., NW, and is also available via live webcast.
I should also mention here that last night the Zoning Commission voted preliminary approval of a series of text and map amendments at the Yards, most of which are far too dull for even me to get into; read the hearing announcement if you want more details.

Updated Florida Rock Renderings
Dec 14, 2007 9:12 AM
I've received two new renderings of RiverFront on the Anacostia, the 5.8-acre mixed-use development planned for the Florida Rock site that sits on the Anacostia River just south of the ballpark. There's a view from the river showing the four buildings that make up the project (two office buildings, one residential, and one hotel), and a detailed view from Potomac Avenue and First Street showing the eastern office building (which would be the first building under construction) and the others along Potomac Avenue that would face the ballpark. The developers will be having a hearing in front of the Zoning Commission sometime within the next few months to get this latest iteration of the design approved; once that process is complete, construction could begin. The entire project will take a number of years to complete. As for the question most often asked--when will the concrete business still operating on the site be shut down?--my learned answer is: I don't know.
Take a look at my RiverFront page for much more detail on the current design for the site, which also includes a public plaza at the eastern end of the site that will abut Diamond Teague Park (and that helps to give unobstructed views of the river from the ballpark's grand staircase). The planned Anacostia Riverwalk runs all along the site's south side, with a promenade area no less than 75 feet wide (and with separate bike and pedestrian paths). There's also "Potomac Quay", a glass-enclosed retail walk running between the eastern office building and the residential building and a huge water feature at the "Piazza Cascade", tieing together the three western buildings of the project. And, for a look at some of the long and winding road that this project has traversed over the years, scan the news items I've posted.
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Latest Florida Rock Design Moves Another Step Forward
Nov 20, 2007 1:54 PM
At Monday night's Zoning Commission hearing, Florida Rock's request for a hearing on the revised design for RiverFront on the Anacostia was approved. (See Monday's post for the quick description of the project.) You can read the Office of Planning report on the latest design, which also includes a lot of good history as to the twists and turns this project has taken over the years.
There have been some small changes since this revised design was first unveiled back in June, and even some further changes from renderings I posted here in September, with the Office of Planning looking for more variation of materials used for the four buildings proposed for the project instead of being all glass (to "minimize the potential campus effect," according to the report). There's also been some changes to the amenities package that the developer is offering, though this is still being worked out between the developer and the Office of Planning. As of this filing, they have expanded the amount of workforce-level housing to 29,000 square feet/25 units to bring it in line with the city's inclusionary zoning requirements. On the flip side, they have scaled back their financial contribution to the creation of Diamond Teague Park to $350,000 from $3.5 million, since the park is now fully funded from other sources.
You can see some new renderings of the latest design and specifics about the project on my Florida Rock/RiverFront page (though note that the site map and the rendering of the entire project are older; I hope to get updated versions soon). And, just as a reminder, this is a project that is planned to be completed in multiple phases over many years. The developers would start with the eastern office building and the plaza known as "The Pitch" adjacent to Diamond Teague Park, perhaps in 2008.
The developers have asked for an expedited hearing on this new design (technically known as a modification to the project's second-stage PUD), so it could appear on the commission's calendar before too long.
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Florida Rock Back at the Zoning Commission
Nov 19, 2007 12:02 AM
Monday (Nov. 19) is the monthly Zoning Commission meeting, and Florida Rock (or, "RiverFront on the Anacostia") is one of the agenda items. I *believe* it's going to be a request for a new hearing on the project's revised design, which I first posted here in June, and which received favorable comments from the Zoning Commission in July. (This is a modification to the second-stage PUD, for those In The Know.) The meeting is at 6:30 pm, and will be shown via live webcast.
As always, this monthly zoning meeting overlaps with ANC 6D's monthly meeting; I haven't yet seen an agenda for that meeting, so at this point, I'm going to commit myself to finding out what's up with Florida Rock. (I knew I shouldn't have given the entire JDLand staff the week off at Thanksgiving.)
If you're arriving late and don't know what Florida Rock is, the project page will give you most of the scoop. But the short version is that it's the nearly six acres of land directly south of the ballpark, on the Anacostia River. The developers have been working for nearly 10 years to get this property transitioned away from the concrete business currently there to a 1.1 million square foot mixed-use waterfront destination.
At the February meeting where approval of the design was expected, the Zoning Commission unexpectedly sent the architects back to the drawing board, wanting a greater amount of residential space in the project, better views to and from the ballpark, and a better "expression of place." And now the developers are hoping to get this project moving forward, so that perhaps the first phase--an office-building with ground-floor retail and a public plaza on the easternmost end of the site, next to Diamond Teague Park--could get underway in 2008. The rest of the project, with a hotel, residential building, office building, public spaces, retail, and the riverwalk along the Anacostia, could take a while to be completed, especially given that the western portion of the site is probably not going to be ready until the current Douglass Bridge is demolished and the new new Douglass Bridge is built.
You can see the latest renderings, along with some watercolors and much more detailed descriptions of the revised design, on the project page.
UPDATE: The ANC agenda is now online, and other than the ballpark liquor license application that I wrote about a few weeks ago, there's no pressing Near Southeast news listed.

Diamond Teague Park on Thursday CFA Agenda
Nov 14, 2007 10:21 PM
The draft agenda for tomorrow's (Nov. 15) monthly meeting of the Commission on Fine Arts indicates that there will be a presentation of a revised design for Diamond Teague Park. The city initially brought the park in front of the CFA back in September, where according to the meeting's minutes the design was met with a number of concerns about its "fussy and timid" small-scale design when compared to the grand scope of the ballpark across the street; it was described as "overly focused on small elements that are conceptually inappropriate within the large-scale context." (And I'm not sure that the landscape architect's response that the grand staircase of the ballpark should be reduced in size in order for it to better relate to this new smaller park was the best reply.) A post-meeting letter from the CFA after the meeting outlined the revisions the commission was seeking.
I suggest reading the CFA minutes, which give a very detailed description of the initial plans for the park as well as the back-and-forth between the commissioners, Judi Greenberg of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and landscape architect Jonathan Fitch; you can look at these original park designs on the web site of Fitch's Landscape Architecture Bureau, by navigating through all the Flash ridiculousness to Projects, then Green, then Diamond Teague.
According to the minutes, the plans are to build the park in three phases, starting with the commercial and recreational piers and the central portion of the park (on the one section of land the city currently owns); later phases would be dependent on Florida Rock's development of its planned public plaza abutting Teague Park and the development of the southern portion of the WASA site as well as the construction of a floating boardwalk to connect the park to the waterfront park at The Yards (scheduled for completion in 2010). If you're interested in the water taxis that the city envisions docking at Teague Park, the minutes have a lot of detail about how their operations would work; apparently a lot of coordination is going on with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, though there's yet to be any design released by the Corps for public comment.
There was a fair amount of discussion about whether the park's scale can accommodate the large number of visitors that will be drawn over by the ballpark and by the proposed water taxi piers, as well as questions about whether the park should even be built if WASA (right next door) is not addressing sewer overflow issues. (Lovely.)
Six weeks later, on Nov. 1, the park went through another of its many required reviews, this time by the National Capital Planning Commission, which "commented favorably" on the park's design without discussion; the staff recommendation document has a black-and-white site plan for the park that does seem to have been reworked in response to the CFA comments, but I don't know for sure if that's the same design being presented to the CFA on Thursday.
I won't be able to go to the CFA meeting, so hopefully I can get some information on what transpires without having to wait too long, although so far the city has held information about the park very close to its vest. In the meantime, you can look at my pictures of the site and see what little background links and info I've been able to scrounge up.
UPDATE, 11/19: The CFA did approve this revised design at the 11/15 meeting.

Commission of Fine Arts Reviewing Diamond Teague Park Design
Oct 12, 2007 4:12 PM
I don't know how I missed this (I'm going to blame my RSS reader), but back in September the Commission on Fine Arts was shown a design for Diamond Teague Park, the new public space being planned for the foot of First Street across from the ballpark. Just posted on the CFA web site is a letter from the commission to Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, whose office is now handling the park's creation, laying out some problems that the commission had with the initial design. The letter led me to the web site of Landscape Architecture Bureau, which is designing the park, and I found deep in it some sitemaps and renderings of the park that look to be of the initial design shown to the CFA. (What is it with architecture and design firms and their insistence on building Flash sites that make it impossible to link directly to anything? Aaaaargh! Stop it! Stop it!!!!)
I've added one of these drawings to my Diamond Teague page so that you don't have to spend a bunch of time digging to find it, and on it you can see "the small triangular subdivisions and narrow walkways to the floating docks" that the CFA described as "fussy and timid and not in scale with the stadium and its visual connection to the river."
The city seems to have responded quickly, because a revised design for the park is now on the CFA agenda for its Thursday, October 18 meeting. (A pretty speedy turnaround--does this mean they are trying to get something done with the park to coincide with Opening Day 2008?)
Even if the specifics of the design change, I'm guessing the general layout will remain the same. The map shows a water taxi pier to be built near the Earth Conservation Corps pumphouse, and the floating bridge connecting this part of the riverfront with the waterfront park at The Yards. I'm also interested to see on this site map that apparently Potomac Avenue is going to be extended east of First Street, to then turn north on a line with a new "1 1/2 Street" that will eventually run parallel to First Street in The Yards.
(As for Florida Rock next door, there had originally been rumors that it was going to have a setdown hearing at this month's Zoning Commission public meeting, but it's not on the agenda, and appears to have been delayed at least until November.)
UPDATE: I've removed the sitemap of the park, after having heard that it's an older design that doesn't show what the proper boundaries of the park will be, especially on the western side that abuts the Florida Rock property. Hopefully we'll be able to see a copy of the newer design they're working on soon.

Florida Rock Heading Back to Zoning Commission; New Renderings
Oct 2, 2007 2:50 PM
The developers of the Florida Rock site immediately to the south of the new ballpark have been spending the past few months working to flesh out the new design unveiled back in June, and apparently will be going to the Zoning Commission on Oct. 15 for setdown of their new application for a second-stage PUD. (If you understood almost nothing in that last sentence, don't worry about it.) That means a full hearing on the new design could possibly happen before the end of 2007, and if the bureaucratic gods align, perhaps work could begin on the first phase of the project in 2008. I've received a few new renderings showing a bit more detail, and have added them to my Florida Rock page (I'm not ready to start officially calling it RiverFront on the Anacostia just yet). Look for the icon to see them.
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Zoning Commission Meeting Wrapup
Jul 10, 2007 9:11 AM
Once again venturing reluctantly into the world of live human beings, I went to last night's Zoning Commission meeting. Here's a wrapup:
* After waiting a month to get input from the Office of Planning, the ZC gave some guidance on Florida Rock's revised plans for its 5.8-acre site on the Anacostia. The phrase uttered most often was "on the right track" -- each commissioner mentioned something in the new designs that they weren't completely crazy about (the glass "campanile" viewing tower on the east building seemed not to have wowed them), but they were mainly complimentary, making clear that the new design was an improvement over the last go-round and is closer to what the ZC wants to see on the site. (Read my entry from February for more background on the ZC's objections to the last design.)
This was not any sort of decision-making stage--the Florida Rock developers were wanting to make sure that they didn't expend vast amounts of energy pursuing a design that would end up again being nixed by the commission, and now with the sense that their latest idea has the ZC's support, they can work on their designs in more detail and apply for a modification to their second-stage PUD, which would then have a public hearing. I don't have any idea at this point what the time frame on this would be.
* Camden Development's planned 276-unit residential building at 1325 South Capitol Street was looking for a vote to approve its PUD, after a hearing a few weeks ago when Commissioner Turnbull complained that the western side of the building (facing Southwest) wasn't designed well enough given how "on display" it will be, and Commissioner Hood wanted more information on how the affordable units would be allocated throughout the building. So tonight, after some revised submittals, it came before the commission for a vote to approve its design--and Commissioner Turnbull complained that the western side of the building wasn't designed well enough given how "on display" it will be, and Commissioner Hood wanted more information on how the affordable units would be allocated throughout the building. In other words, neither felt that their concerns from last time had been addressed, and so have requested further filings before a scheduled vote on July 30.
* In an easier item, the commission voted 5-0 to give final approval to the design of the planned office building at 250 M Street. But, as reported a few weeks ago, developer William C. Smith has indicated that they are waiting for the building to be about one-third leased before starting construction.
* Finally (yay), the commissioned approved for setdown (meaning there can be a hearing) on Forest City's request for various amendments to the Southeast Federal Center Overlay as part of their plans to develop The Yards. These requests address some pretty darn technical issues in the overlay and are pretty baffling, even for obsessives like me, so I will just point you to the Office of Planning report if you really want to know what's happening. Please note that this is not the case requesting surface parking lots at The Yards--it's having its hearing on July 26.

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

Piles of New Photos (Stadium and More)
Jul 2, 2007 9:13 AM
I've been posting over the past couple days all sorts of new photos: first off, there's the usual update to the exterior views in the Stadium Construction Gallery's main page and the more detailed north-south-east-west pages. The big change is the arrival of the scoreboard steel on the First Street side, which has also helped to give the stadium its more rounded feel when looking at it from the north. And, if you know what you're looking for, you can see the first real shots of progress on the west parking garage at Half and N, although it's still kind of hidden by trees and construction equipment. There's also my final shots from up on the South Capitol Street viaduct north of Potomac Ave. (waaaah!).
You can also see some new shots from inside the stadium, where you can get a better view of the scoreboard's progress and also of the seats being installed in right field. And the outfield restaurant is moving along as well.
I got a big surprise when I rounded First Street onto Potomac Avenue Saturday morning--all of the trees and growth on the south side of Potomac were removed this week, and the fence marking Florida Rock's property was moved back, in preparation for the widening of Potomac Avenue. I posted a bunch of new pictures showing the change on my Florida Rock page, but I'm not sure the photos do it justice. And of course it's about to change even more late this week when the Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover starts.
And finally there's a lot of new shots from various locations north of M that I took on Thursday, catching things like a new "Capitol Yards" sign at 909 New Jersey, progress on the Velocity Condos sales center, and even the new sidewalks on the northern portion of New Jersey Avenue if you have x-ray vision. It's hard to see in the photos, but the vertical construction at both Onyx on First and 70 I Street is now right at street level, so in the coming weeks expect those buildings to burst on the scene. You can see all these non-stadium updated photos compiled here if you don't want to poke around on the project pages.
That ought to keep everyone busy during a slow vacation-tinged week....

Commercial Real Estate News in Near Southeast
Jun 22, 2007 1:03 PM
Today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal has an article summing up what's going on right now with various commercial projects around Near Southeast. (The online article is for subscribers only for the first 30 days; sorry.) Here are the new items:
* William C. Smith is planning to hold off breaking ground on its 200,000-sq-ft building at 250 M Street until it pre-leases at least 30% of the building.
* Opus East has leased 80,000 sq ft at 100 M Street (33% of the building) to government contractor Parsons Corp.
* Lerner's 20 M Street does not as yet have any office tenants.
* It also mentions that Opus East is planning to build the 440,000-sq-ft office building at 1015 Half Street (the old Nation site) on spec; but it should be noted that Opus hasn't yet officially announced its purchase of this property or its plans.
(The article also summarizes what's going on at Florida Rock, using some source materials that are hard to find anywhere other than here at JDLand. Note to reporters and other professionals using my site: yup, lots of stuff is posted here, and it's all free, but be a grownup and say where you found it.)
In addition, there's an ad in the print edition giving us our first peek at the Shalom Baranes design for 1100 South Capitol Street, Ruben Companies's planned 350,000 sq ft office building on the southeast corner of South Capitol and L. There's currently no timeline for development of this project.
The print edition also has a piece written by GSA about the US Department of Transportation completing its move to its new headquarters at New Jersey and M. It describes the HQ's interiors and exteriors, and mentions that this project is the largest lease ever executed in DC.

Florida Rock Background
Jun 14, 2007 10:36 AM
If you're visiting here after reading this week's Ballpark and Beyond column on the plans for Florida Rock, here's my page with more background and photos on the project. (And thanks for dropping by!)
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Florida Rock Zoning Correspondence Deferred
Jun 12, 2007 8:18 PM
Last night there was scheduled to be a discussion at the Zoning Commission's public meeting about Florida Rock (aka "RiverFront on the Anacostia"); the developer and architect had requested guidance from the commission about whether the project's new design is what the commission was looking for when it asked for revisions back in February. However, chair Carol Mitten announced that the agenda item was being deferred to the commission's July 9 public meeting, so that the Office of Planning can submit comments on the plans. That'll teach me to drag myself down there and show up in person instead of just hanging out at home watching the webcast!
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New Florida Rock Designs Now Posted
Jun 6, 2007 2:00 PM
I've now added to my Florida Rock page the new proposed site map and some watercolors illustrating the revised design of "RiverFront on the Anacostia." As I said yesterday, the architect has written to the Zoning Commission asking if these new plans are in line with what the ZC was looking for when it sent the planners back to the drawing board in February (by the way, here's the transcript of that meeting); the commission will be addressing this letter at its Public Meeting on Monday, June 11. It would be expected that then more hearings would be held on the new designs later this year.
I've tried to highlight the changes and new features of the plan beneath each of the new images, but apologies in advance if my text comes up short; I'm not exactly known for flowery prose and colorful descriptions.
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Florida Rock Project Revised, Rechristened
Jun 5, 2007 8:30 PM
When last we left the planned redevelopment of the Florida Rock site that sits on the Anacostia River just south of the new baseball stadium back in February, the Zoning Commission had surprisingly sent the architects back to the drawing board, concerned with how the project's design was fitting in with its new neighbor to the north and with the its now-prime location as a gateway to the Capitol Riverfront area. It's been quiet for a few months, but I received word today that Florida Rock Properties and Davis Buckley Architects and Planners have a revised design for this project, as well as a new name--RiverFront on the Anacostia--and are requesting that the Zoning Commission review the new plans (described as "a holistic re-thinking", especially of its public spaces) to confirm that they "respond positively" to the concerns expressed by the ZC back in March.
There are still two office buildings, a residential building, and a hotel, but the configuration has now changed to create three distinct public spaces, including a large new commercial public plaza called "The Pitch" (with sculptures of a pitcher and catcher on a grassy mound) directly across from the grand staircase of the ballpark and next to the proposed Diamond Teague Park. There is also a "multi-story transparent atrium space" called "Potomac Quay" linking Potomac Avenue to the riverfront, and a large oval "Piazza Cascade" with a central water feature that is at the center of three of the four buildings on the site. The esplanade and bike path running along the riverfront remain unchanged.
Although the overall density of the development remains unchanged (4.4 FAR for those of you in the know), residential space is now 557,700 square feet or 2.2 FAR, which is 50% of the density (up from 40%); to achieve this, the residential building and the hotel building (which in the new plan would have two residential floors on top) would be 130 feet high; the east office building by "The Pitch" would be 92 feet high, and the west office building 112 feet. The amount of retail has also been expanded, to 85,000 square feet.
I hope to have electronic versions of the new site plan and some early watercolor imaginings of the revised design within the next day or so, and when I post them I'll include better descriptions of what the new design is hoping to accomplish. (Yes, I'm looking at hard copies right now, so I can see all these designs and you can't. Nyaaah! But hopefully you won't have to wait too long.)
The Zoning Commission has put this request for review of the new plans on the agenda for next Monday (June 11); if the commission indicates that the revised design is on the right track in terms of how it responds to the issues that the ZC brought up in February, then there would be a hearing scheduled on this proposed modification for the second-stage PUD, probably in the fall.
UPDATED to fix the incorrect amount of total residential space, which is 557,700 square feet.
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Media Briefing on Riverwalk - Update
May 7, 2007 2:49 PM
On Monday (May 7), DDOT is having a media briefing to announce that construction has begun on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. This is the first phase, and so doesn't actually include the planned portion of the trail through Near Southeast (from the 11th Street Bridges to the Frederick Douglass Bridge)--according to the AWC page and a meeting AWC held a few weeks back, I believe what's now being constructed is Phase I, the trail on the west side of the Anacostia from the Navy Yard to the National Arboretum. Phase 2 will be on the east side of the river, from Poplar Point to Pennsylvania Avenue, and Phase 3 (the Near Southeast portion) is probably looking at a 2010 date (when the Waterfront Park at the Yards is completed, and they can build the pedestrian bridge to link that park to Diamond Teague Park and Florida Rock.
UPDATE, May 7: A post-briefing press release says that the section of the Riverwalk now under construction is a two-mile stretch that will run from the Navy Yard east to Benning Road. There's also a link to a fact sheet on the trail (albeit from June 2006) that has a map of the planned trail and other information. And here's a WTOP piece on the new section.

Florida Rock Project Still Moving Forward
Feb 22, 2007 1:20 PM
Thanks to reader Scott for snagging this press release off the wires [links mine]: "Patriot Transportation Holding, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, Florida Rock Properties, Inc. ("FRP"), continues to pursue its efforts to obtain approval of a final planned unit development application for its Washington, D.C. property located on the banks of the Anacostia River across Potomac Avenue from the new baseball stadium being constructed for the Washington Nationals. In response to comments recently received from members of the District of Columbia Zoning Commission, FRP is seeking to refocus the proposed project to respond to the concerns raised. FRP believes that its proposed project, which had previously received preliminary approval, will complement the new stadium and will contribute to the overall redevelopment of the baseball stadium district. At this time, Patriot is uncertain when the Zoning Commission will act finally on the FRP application or what action the Commission may take." If you read on, you'll even get a nice little explanation as to how Florida Rock Properties, Florida Rock Industries, Patriot, and Vulcan Materials are connected (or not connected). It's like they wrote it just for me! For background, read these previous posts.
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Florida Rock Industries Inc. Acquired by Vulcan Materials - Impact on Near Southeast Project?
Feb 20, 2007 10:59 AM
Yesterday it was announced that Florida Rock Industries was acquired by Vulcan Materials for $4.6 billion in cash and stock (h/t to reader Mark). Like all good citizens of the 21st Century, my initial reaction was "Very nice, but how does this affect ME?" The Florida Rock property along the Anacostia River is actually owned by FRP Development (aka Florida Rock Properties, not the company just acquired by Vulcan) which is a subsidary not of Florida Rock Industries, but Patriot Transportation Holding Inc. Whaaa? Here's how it shakes out, according to the Patriot company profile at Reuters: "Florida Rock Properties, Inc. owns real estate, of which a substantial portion is under mining royalty agreements or leased to Florida Rock Industries, Inc. (FRI), a related party." You can get a feel for how these separate-but-related companies are intertwined by reading these transactions summaries. But to go back to the original question, of how the Vulcan Materials acqusition of FRI might impact the Anacostia riverfront Florida Rock project--I have no idea, but will watch for tidbits and hints.
UPDATE: I would have hoped this went without saying--no, this story is NOT reporting that the Florida Rock site across from the stadium was sold for $4.6 billion. It's a story about big companies acquiring other big companies. And that one of those big companies has interests in a site in Near Southeast.
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DOT Pilot Agreement; Ground to be Broken on Canal and Diamond Teague Parks in 2007
Feb 16, 2007 5:20 PM
In other news from the same press release announcing the interim AWC CEO: "Yesterday, the District of Columbia, AWC and the JBG Companies signed a Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) agreement to secure the development of the US Department of Transportation headquarters, a JBG-owned property. The PILOT will fund $140 million in infrastructure investments for the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. The revenue stream from the agreement will be dedicated to support District issued bonds. These projects include: Southeast Federal Center, Anacostia Metro, Reservation 13, Ward 7 Waterfront, Marvin Gaye Park, [and the] Southwest Waterfront." See previous posts on this PILOT agreement here, here, and here.
That $140 million must be burning a hole in the AWC's pocket, because they've already posted an RFP for a Construction Manager for several AWC capital projects: "The total construction value for these activities is up to $140 million." There is a good tidbit buried in the accompanying press release, that AWC intends to break ground in 2007 on both Washington Canal Park and on the first phase of Diamond Teague Park, the planned 39,000-sq-ft public plaza at the terminus of First Street on the banks of Anacostia, nestled between Florida Rock, the Earth Conservation Corps, WASA, and the Nationals ballpark. (And who is Diamond Teague? Read this NOW With Bill Moyers transcript from 2004.)

Reaction to Zoning Commission's Florida Rock Move
Feb 16, 2007 10:28 AM
Today's Washington Business Journal print edition (available online to subscribers only) addresses Monday's Zoning Commission decision to request large-scale changes to the Florida Rock development plan (which the WBJ had trumpeted merely a week ago as being on the cusp of approval), saying that the recommendations for a redesign "were news to the developer and the Anacostia Waterfront Corp., which has been involved in the project-planning process. 'We were astounded,' says David Briggs, FRP's representative and land-use attorney at Holland + Knight. FRP plans to meet with the District's Office of Planning to determine its next course of action. The Office of Planning is expected to reconnect [JD: recommend?] incorporating the commission's suggestions unless the developer wants to leave the site as is -- a concrete mixing and gravel storage area."
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning

Breaking News - Zoning Commission Sends Florida Rock Back to the Drawing Board (But Monument Realty Gets Its Approvals)
Feb 12, 2007 8:36 PM
The long and winding road of the Florida Rock project took a pretty surprising turn tonight, as the Zoning Commission opted not to vote on the second-stage PUD, instead asking the applicant for to come back with an altered design that addresses the commission's concerns: the need for a greater amount of residential within the project (up from the current 40%, with the understanding that this would cut down the amount of office space), better views of and from the stadium (specifically in terms of the views of the Anacostia River from the grand staircase at 1st Street, and also the views of the stadium from the South Capitol Street Bridge), and a somewhat amorphous desire for a better "expression of place" (something that makes the site and the project more identifiable on the waterfront side).
Commissioners Parsons and Jeffries led the discussion about the concerns; Parsons in particular was extremely concerned that the project--which started long ago, well before there was a stadium to the north--would be looked at as a huge missed opportunity if it were approved in its current form. He mentioned how originally there was great emphasis put on the need to keep the axis of Half Street running through the project (see the project map to orient yourself and understand the discussion), but now that Half Street doesn't exist anymore thanks to the ballpark, perhaps the site could be pushed in at the center to allow more space at its ends and to respond to the stadium. Commissioner Jeffries expressed that this should be much more of a "civic" location (i.e., more for residents and less for office workers), and that there needs to be a better design plan, and that the commission has a responsibility to "get this right." When Commissioner Turnbull said that these requests constitute "major surgery", Jeffries replied that in his view the project needs major surgery, that incremental changes aren't getting the project where it needs to be.
Next steps? Good question--there was talk about how, when an extension was requested back in 2004, there were concerns that if it weren't granted the Florida Rock people would just leave a concrete plant on this valuable land, and the commissioners expressed a bit of worry about whether they'd do that now--and Commissioner Hood, who was skeptical of these requests at such a late date in the process, said that if he were the applicant, he would leave it as a concrete plant at this point. Yeowch. I will keep you apprised, of course.
UPDATE: Monument Realty's Half Street mixed-use project was given final approval on a 5-0 vote, with the exception of one variance request. Commissioners Mitten, Hood, and Parsons all remarked on how much they like the project, and Parsons made mention of how responsive Monument was to the concerns expressed by the commission at the January hearing.

More posts: Florida Rock, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, zoning

Florida Rock and Monument Zoning Votes on Monday - AWC Meeting Tuesday
Feb 11, 2007 6:23 PM
Tomorrow (Monday) night is a big Zoning Commission meeting, with votes expected on both the Florida Rock second-stage PUD and the Monument Realty/Half Street project (The 250 M Street vote has been put off again.) This is available on live webcast if you're so inclined. If the projects are approved, there's then a public comment period before a final approval vote a few weeks down the road.
Also, the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has just announced a Tuesday meeting "to consider resolutions regarding development agreements with the JBG Companies and the Government of the District of Columbia related to the implementation of a PILOT agreement for the new US Department of Transportation Headquarters"--no, I can't really tell you what this means. The meeting can be listened to via teleconference (call 877-529-9893 and enter access code 800). See my Calendar of Events for times and locations.

WBJ on Florida Rock
Feb 9, 2007 2:12 PM
Today's Washington Business Journal has a piece (subscribers only for 30 days) detailing the arduous journey of the 1.1-million-sq-ft Florida Rock project over the years (which JDLand readers are intimately familiar with already!): "Finally, its time has come. At least that's what developers of 100 Potomac Ave. SE -- which is along the Anacostia River and smack across the street from the new baseball stadium being built -- are hoping. FRP Development of Sparks, Md. started the redevelop process for the 5.8-acre site more than a decade ago. And now is waiting a final decision on the project plan from the District Zoning Commission Feb. 12. If approved, the plan would go to the National Capital Planning Commission review and come back for final action in April. It also would finalize one of the integral pieces of the Anacostia waterfront redevelopment, which has been one of the city's goals for decades. [...] The plan, as it is now, is for development of 1.1 million square feet spread over four buildings: 600,000 square feet office, more than 60,000 square feet retail, 160 apartment units and a 235-room hotel, all with 1,087 below-ground parking spots. In addition, the project will be set back 75 feet from the waterfront and will have a river walk that would provide public access to the river. " As for a timeline? "If the approval goes through, FRP Development will start work on the office/retail buildings on the eastern side and closer to the ballpark first, which could be as soon as next year, Briggs says. The rest of the project would be a phased development that could take another 10 years to build out because construction of the third and fourth buildings would have to wait until the District completes building the new [Frederick Douglass] bridge." You can see renderings and drawings on my Florida Rock page (with updated ones hopefully coming soon).
More posts: Florida Rock, zoning

Updated Florida Rock Project Map
Feb 5, 2007 12:46 PM
The architects of the Florida Rock project (Davis Buckley Architects and Planners) have generously passed along an updated "map" showing the layout of the 5.8-acre site that sits between the Nationals ballpark and the Anacostia River. The project will have 600,000 sq ft office space, 92,000 sq ft retail, 160 residential units, and a 235-room hotel, spread across four buildings. There will also be a waterfront esplanade, and the eastern edge of the site (where a big portion of the retail will be located on multiple glassed-in floors) will be the western border of the new 39,000-sq-ft First Street Plaza that the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation is planning for the foot of First Street. The Zoning Commission is scheduled to vote on the Florida Rock second-stage PUD on Feb. 12; the project would take a number of years to be completed, but hopes are that construction would begin on the eastern portion in early 2008. And stay tuned, there hopefully will be new renderings of the buildings themselves within the next few weeks.

More posts: Florida Rock, Teague Park, zoning

Updated Monument/Half Street Renderings, Zoning Docs
Feb 2, 2007 5:05 PM
I've now posted PDFs of some of the Monument Realty submissions to the Zoning Commission for the January 11 public hearing on their Half Street/Ballpark District mixed-use project: you can grab yourself a really large, strong cup of coffee and peruse the opening statement (1 MB), the traffic study (3.7 MB, which I linked to a few days ago) or the architectural drawings (13.7 MB). I've also snagged the best of the renderings and added them to my Monument Half Street page. It's expected that the Zoning Commission will vote on this project at its February 12 public meeting, when zoning approval votes are also expected on the 250 M Street and Florida Rock projects. UPDATE: For those who aren't well-versed in the zoning process, I should emphasize that these are the submittal documents--at the public hearings, zoning commissioners ask questions and request clarifications and sometimes modifications, and so what will be voted on isn't necessarily what's seen here. But it's better than nothing!
More posts: 250 M, Florida Rock, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, zoning

Monday Night Zoning/ANC Roundup
Jan 9, 2007 5:09 PM
News from last night's ANC 6D and Zoning Commission meetings:
ANC 6D and Monument Realty finally reached an agreement on a community benefits package as part of Monument's request for support for its 55 M Street mixed-use project; in it, Monument agrees to a) give preference to ANC 6D residents in the lottery for the project's affordable housing units, b) make a $50,000 donation to be shared between Jefferson and Amidon schools, and c) make a $10,000 donation to a local scholarship fund. There was some grumbling from the audience that Bowden Elementary was left out, but the commissioners made assurances that with all the other projects coming down the ANC 6D pike, Bowden will not be forgotten. With the benefits agreement reached, the ANC then voted to support Monument's zoning review this Thursday night.
At the Zoning Commission meeting, the planned vote on the Florida Rock 2nd Stage PUD was delayed until next month. There were also three votes on amendments to the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay: Case 06-25, expanding the Overlay boundaries, was approved and sent onto the National Capital Planning Commission, with final ZC action probably coming in the spring; and final approvals were given to Case 05-10 (a series of additions and amendments to the Overlay) and Case 06-20 (an amendment officially allowing the WMATA bus lot formerly at Half and O to be moved to Buzzards Point).
And thankfully none of this prevented me from watching my Gators destroy Ohio State! That was the best part of all!

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

This Week's Events
Jan 7, 2007 8:52 PM
Just a small heads up to highlight some Near Southeast items on this week's calendar: on Monday (Nov. 8), ANC 6D is having its monthly meeting (now at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 8th 6th and M SW). The agenda has not yet been posted, but I do hear that the continuing fight over the Monument Realty request for support for its alley closings at Half and M is again on the schedule--which is kind of interesting, given that the alley closings became law back in December; there are mumblings I guess about holding up Monument's zoning application, but who knows what's actually going to happen. Also on Monday night is a Zoning Commission meeting, where the vote on the Florida Rock 2nd Stage PUD is scheduled to be held. (Note that the vote on the 250 M Street PUD/Overlay Review was originally scheduled for this meeting, but has been delayed to Feb. 12.) And then, rounding out the week's zoning festivities, Monument will present its Half Street office/hotel/residential project to the ZC on Thursday evening. Note that both the Monday and Thursday ZC meetings are available via live webcast; I may actually be watching Monday's ZC webcast on my PDA while attending the ANC meeting, which is just wrong on so many levels. And, to make it worse, these two meetings will no doubt require me to time-shift my watching of the Ohio State-Florida game, so no one spoil the result for me (Go Gators! UF '87). The sacrifices I make.... UPDATE: Oops, forgot to mention that tonight's (Jan. 8) Zoning meeting is also scheduled to include votes on proposed text amendments to the Capitol Gateway Overlay (cases 05-10 and 06-25).
More posts: 250 M, ANC News, Florida Rock, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, zoning

Zoning News
Dec 10, 2006 9:23 AM
On Thursday night there was a zoning hearing for William C. Smith's planned 250 M Street office building (approval requests for both a second-stage PUD and a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review). There was a bit of concern from the commissioners about the ground-floor corner of the building that faces Canal Park and they've asked to see more renderings. Despite that, it's anticipated that the proposed requests will go up for approval at the ZC's January 8 meeting (the same day that the Florida Rock project may get a vote on its request for a second-stage PUD approval). In the meantime, the Public Hearing notice was published for a Jan. 11 CG Overlay Review for what we'll now call 55 M Street, Monument Realty's planned 750,000-sq-ft office, residential, hotel, and retail project that lines all of Half Street between M and N. They're looking for some relief in regards to setbacks, lot occupancy, private residential recreation space, and loading. See the hearing notice for information on how to participate in the process.
More posts: 250 M, Florida Rock, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, zoning

Florida Rock Zoning Hearing
Nov 28, 2006 10:57 AM
The planned 1.1-million-sq-ft Florida Rock development at 1st and Potomac Avenues (across the street from the new Nationals ballpark) had another Zoning Commission hearing last night, to address some of the concerns expressed by the ZC at the first hearing in September, chief among them the design of the east end of the east office building (see map to orient yourself), which commissioners felt disrupted the line of sight to the Anacostia River from the stadium's grand staircase and viewing platforms. This section of the building--which will house a signficant portion of the project's retail offerings--has now been redesigned so that one will be able to see the Earth Conservation Corps pumphouse from the center of the staircase. This eastern end of the development also faces the new planned First Street Plaza, a 40,000-sq-ft public park to be placed at the terminus of First Street, to draw people to the riverfront. Florida Rock is proffering $3.7 million toward the design, construction and maintenance of this park that the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation will develop (total cost estimated to be $15 million). The record is being held open for two more weeks, so look for a vote on the project at the January 8 meeting; I hope to have updated renderings showing the redesigned east building by that point. As for a timeline, Florida Rock estimates that construction on the first phase--the east office building--would begin in early 2008; there has been no announcement from the AWC as to any sort of timeline on the First Street Plaza (which presumably also depends on the acquiring of the WASA land on that site).

Upcoming Zoning Hearings
Nov 26, 2006 5:36 PM
Just a reminder (in case you don't stay glued to my Calendar of Upcoming Events) that tomorrow (Monday Nov. 27) is the continuation of the Zoning Commission's hearing on Florida Rock's 2nd Stage PUD. It's available via live webcast starting at 6:30 pm. There are also three more Near Southeast ZC hearings in the next few weeks and months: on Dec. 7 is the zoning hearing for William C. Smith's 250 M Street office building, which could be interesting because the discussion at the July 10 ZC meeting about this project (starting on page 72 of this transcript) showed the ZC members to be, one could say, somewhat skeptical of the building's initial design. Then, on Jan. 11, Monument Realty will have its Half Street office / hotel / residential development zoning hearing. Finally, on Feb. 22, the Camden Development residential project at 1325 South Capitol Street will have its Capitol Gateway Overlay Review. Interested members of the public should note that there are mechanisms built into the zoning hearing process for public comment, and if you feel strongly one way or another about a project, this is a time when you should make yourself heard. Visit the Zoning Commission web site for additional details. (Of course, the time when I decide to highlight this public participation aspect of the zoning process is when only one of these four pending ZC hearings actually has a Public Hearing Notice--containing the instructions for participating--posted on the ZC calendar.)

New Florida Rock Renderings
Sep 27, 2006 10:49 AM
I've posted some new renderings and the revised site map for the Florida Rock project, with many thanks as always to the generous folks at Davis Buckley Architects for passing them along. The two new images of the east office building at 1st and Potomac highlight the three floors of glass-enclosed retail that has now been added to this location; you can also see on the site map the proposed 39,000-sq-ft public plaza at the foot of First Street. This east building would be the first phase of Florida Rock's development, with construction beginning if all goes well in early 2008. The project has another hearing in front of the Zoning Commission on Nov. 27 (here's my entry on how the first one on Sept. 18 went).

More posts: Florida Rock, Teague Park, zoning

Florida Rock's Zoning Commission Hearing/WASA Site News
Sep 19, 2006 1:02 PM
The Florida Rock mixed-use project had a second-stage PUD hearing at the DC Zoning Commission on Monday night; I missed the first 90 minutes, so I can't really give you a solid feel for how it all went; I did detect a fair amount of concern about the easternmost building of the project, an office building (now redesigned to include three floors of retail) at the terminus of First Street, specifically how it impacts the views of the river from the "grand staircase" of the ballpark. There were also still apparently some issues to be resolved with DDOT, the Office of Planning, and the AWC's new plan for a 39,000-sq-ft plaza at the foot of First Street. The Florida Rock folks will be back in front of the Commission in November to address the concerns brought forward. One interesting tidbit did sneak in during Adrian Washington's testimony--he said that the plans for the Ballpark District portion of the WASA site (AWC and Forest City are still in negotiations to acquire the land) is for it to be all residential, perhaps as many as 800 units. If that Ballpark Development Strategy ever sees the light of day, we'll get more details, I'm sure.

Another Day, Another New Map
Sep 12, 2006 4:34 PM
With the latest news about Florida Rock's design modifications, Monument Realty's bid for the WMATA land at Half and M, the still-in-limbo Stadium Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness, and the apparent moving forward by the Cohen, Camalier/Davis, and Welch families to develop their land along First Street, it appears that the Ballpark District is moving forward, despite the AWC's still never having released it's "Development Strategy" for the area. So, fresh off my success with my North of M map, I've created a Ballpark District map to better help keep track of what's happening. Be aware that the boundaries I drew for the new public plaza at the foot of 1st Street are not really based on anything other than trying to remember how it looked in Florida Rock's exhibits to the ANC. And no final design for the traffic roundabout at South Capitol and Potomac has been released yet, either. UPDATE: And, for the heck of it, I just added a page with both maps fused together, creating a pretty nice Stadium Corridor Development Guide. But be prepared to scroll :-).

ANC Approves Changes to Florida Rock PUD
Sep 12, 2006 11:34 AM
In advance of the Sept. 18 Zoning Hearing, representatives on behalf of the development project at Florida Rock made a presentation to last night's ANC 6D meeting on some changes that they've made to their design after consulting with the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation as the AWC works to create a Ballpark District around the stadium. One big change is a 52,000-sq-ft increase in the amount of retail planned for the site, now pegged at 92,000 sq ft. Much of it will be along Potomac Avenue, facing the stadium, but also in the first three stories of the office building planned for the eastern part of the site, at First Street--it's in this location where the AWC is now envisioning a 39,000 sq ft public plaza, with some of the WASA waterfront land being used for this park (Florida Rock has offered to contribute $3.5 million to the design, development, and initial maintenance of the plaza). It would serve to far better connect the stadium to the Anacostia River, and with the retail there as well, it's hoped it could be a destination that would draw many people down to the southern side of the stadium. Florida Rock has also been able to tweak the design of the western side of their land (which for now is under the old Frederick Douglass Bridge), and will now be able to build a large pedestrian pier sticking out into the Anacostia in that area. They've also been able to "twist" the upper floors of a the buildings to allow for much more open views. Building heights, density, and the 75-ft-deep esplanade along the riverfront all remain the same. In a stunning display of unanimity (for them), the ANC passed a resolution in support of the changes 6-0. I hope to have updated renderings and site maps of the new design within the next few weeks.

ANC 6D September Meeting Agenda
Sep 1, 2006 8:21 AM
The agenda for the September ANC 6D meeting has been released; items of Near Southeast interest include a vote on the request for alley closings on the east side of Square 701 and also a presentation on changes in the Florida Rock PUD in advance of it's Sept. 18 zoning hearing. (Perhaps the Square 737/739 alley closing will get added to the agenda as well, it was supposed to be referred back to the full commission from the Development Committee for this meeting.) The meeting is on Sept. 11 at 7 pm at 65 I Street SW.
More posts: ANC News, Florida Rock, WC Smith/Square 737, staddis, Square 701, zoning

Hotels in Near Southeast
Jul 19, 2006 7:24 AM
Today's WashTimes has "Hotel Industry Gathers Momentum in Near Southeast", keyed to today's "opening" of the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. (They're having a grand opening party tonight, but of course the hotel actually opened to customers in March.) The article mentions three other hotel projects on the boards, at Florida Rock (That's "FRP Development" in the story), Herb Miller's garage-wrapper plan just north of the stadium, Half and L (the Ron Cohen project, which I've heard nothing about for quite some time), and Maritime Plaza (east of 11th Street). The project it doesn't mention is the rumored sale at 50 M Street of the Sunoco station to a hotel developer of some sort--still no confirmation of that anywhere.

Florida Rock Returns to Zoning Calendar
Jul 11, 2006 1:33 PM
The second-stage PUD hearing for Florida Rock has now been scheduled for Sept. 18, having been originally slated for December 2005 but then postponed. Reading the two announcements (Dec. and Sept.), it doesn't look like there's been any significant changes to the application (though it might be hard to tell from these documents). My Florida Rock page has renderings of the plans for the development, taken from the documentation provided to the Zoning Commission last year. Note that this PUD was supported by ANC 6D 7-0 at it's November 2005 meeting--at this meeting, it was predicted that construction would begin in 2007 (moving east-to-west), but I don't know if that's still operative.

More posts: ANC News, Florida Rock, zoning

Stadium Construction Webcam
Jun 15, 2006 12:57 PM
The folks at Clark/Hunt/Smoot have launched a nifty webcam showing the ballpark construction site (as viewed from what looks to be the cement tower on the Florida Rock property south of Potomac Avenue). Looks like it updates around every 15 minutes. Hope this hasn't put me out of business :-).
More posts: Florida Rock, Nationals Park

New Page; New Photos; New Slideshows
Mar 13, 2006 1:46 PM
Here today, I am righting a wrong that has left me filled with guilt for years--I'm finally adding a page on my site about the Earth Conservation Corps's Old Capitol Pumphouse location, tucked away between Florida Rock and WASA on the edge of the Anacostia River. See the ECC's own web site for more information about what this group does for local youngsters and also for the river. (They certainly will have a front-row seat to the stadium!) And while I was out, I snapped a couple of shots to add to the WASA page as well as the Capper Seniors page, with construction on both #1 and #2 proceeding along. I also updated the Capper Seniors #1 slideshow. Just because.
UPDATE: I got on a slideshow roll this afternoon, and updated and enlarged the three existing ones (DOT, Capper Seniors #1, and Capitol Hill Tower), and then added two more Capitol Hill Tower slide shows, including one of the project's southeast corner, so you can watch the Star Market go from stand-alone to oppressed neighbor. So go play with them.

At Last, Updated Pictures
Dec 27, 2005 12:53 PM
It's a beautiful sunny day, so I went on a photo expedition. (Except that trying to take pictures toward the south at this time of year is almost impossible, no matter what time of day.) Check for new photos on my DOT HQ, Capitol Hill Tower, Capper Seniors, Florida Rock, M Street, and 20 M pages. As always, the  icon is your guide.

ANC 6D December Meeting
Dec 8, 2005 8:44 AM
ANC 6D has released the agenda for its December 12 meeting. Items of Near Southeast interest include: an update from DDOT on traffic and parking and the new baseball stadium; an Office of Planning presentation on the proposed text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay; a Public Space Permit Application for an emergency generator at Capper/Carrollsburg; and a ABC License Renewal for the 3rd and K Market. The meeting is at 65 I Street SW, at 7 pm. UPDATE: Agenda now posted. UPDATE II: You can read a report on ANC 6D's November meeting (with discussions of Capper/Carrollsburg, the stadium, and Florida Rock) in December's Hill Rag (page 5 of this PDF).

Zoning Commission Items
Dec 6, 2005 11:36 AM
Zoning Commission news: the expected Dec. 8 hearing on Florida Rock's second stage PUD has been cancelled, with plans for a new date in Spring 2006. Also, the new proposed amendment to the Capital Gateway Overlay has been approved for setdown (hearing date TBD); here is the Office of Planning's report and draft of the proposed text change that was submitted to the Zoning Commission for discussion.  If you have comments or questions or additional input, contact Joel Lawson at the Office of Planning.

More posts: Florida Rock, staddis, zoning

Special Community Baseball Stadium Update Meeting
Nov 17, 2005 11:39 AM
(UPDATED to fix address for Nov. 28 meeting) ANC 6D and the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly are holding a Baseball Stadium Update meeting on Monday, Nov. 28 at 7 pm at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, 222 M Street SW. They are working to get city officials, Sports Commission officials, and others to attend to discuss "traffic, construction, zoning and other important issues." This was announced at the ANC 6D meeting on Nov. 14. Also at that meeting, the ANC voted to support the Florida Rock project; as for Capper / Carrollsburg, while the ANC voted to support the alley closings/street openings portion of the zoning application, they are for now opposed to the second-stage PUD. ANC Commissioner Williams is trying to organize a special meeting to hear more from the community so that another vote can be taken by the commission before the zoning deadline (former residents are complaining they are having problems with the developers about their potential return to the development).
More posts: ANC News, Capper, Florida Rock, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues, zoning

ANC 6D November Meeting Agenda
Nov 10, 2005 3:58 PM
ANC 6D has posted the agenda for its November meeting, at 7 pm on Monday Nov. 14., at 65 I Street SW. Agenda items include votes on Capper/Carrollsburg and Florida Rock PUDs, plus an update by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission on baseball stadium zoning and construction issues.

Oct 21, 2005 2:22 PM
I've made some major changes to my Florida Rock page, with much more detailed information about this planned 5.8-acre mixed-use project along the Anacostia River. Also included are some fabulous renderings of what the development will look like. Many thanks go to Davis Buckley Architects for providing me with the information and images. ANC 6D will be voting on the project at its November 14 meeting, and the second-stage PUD will be before the DC Zoning Commission on Dec. 8.
More posts: ANC News, Florida Rock, zoning

Oct 14, 2005 11:57 PM
In case you don't have enough Near Southeast items on your calendar:
• The October meeting of ANC 6D (which includes about 85% of Near Southeast in its borders) will be held Monday, Oct. 17. The agenda includes two presentations of Near Southeast interest: one on the Capper/Carrollsburg Second Stage PUD, and one on the Florida Rock PUD. [entry repeated from a few days ago as a reminder]
• The Capitol Hill Restoration Society will be hosting a forum about the Anacostia Waterfront Initiatve on October 25. In addition to outlining the framework of the redevelopment plans (from the South Capitol Street corridor to the new stadium (!) through the Navy Yard up through Reservation 13 and RFK), the presentation will highlight how the initiative will relate to Capitol Hill in terms of business opportunities, urban density, and historic preservation. 
• The small mixed-use project at 801 Virginia Avenue winds its way through the bureaucracy with a hearing in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board on October 27. The developer wishes to demolish the auto repair shop and replace it with a four-story building with 17 residences and ground-floor retail.

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

Sep 25, 2005 11:11 PM
The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has posted the draft summary of its Ballpark District Urban Development Strategy (PDF). This is an important document that should be read by anyone interested in the development plans around the stadium. It defines the Ballpark District as 60 acres surrounding the baseball stadium site, including the two blocks north of the stadium site, the western portion of the Southeast Federal Center, a few acres of the WASA site, the Florida Rock site, and additional land at the foot of South Capitol Street (currently owned by Douglas Jemal). The document describes its vision for a "vibrant mixed-use waterfront district":

• Shops, and restaurants and entertainment venues along Half Street, First Street and the Anacostia River;
• An engaging pedestrian environment with strong linkages to and along the waterfront;
• Major public gathering spaces along Half Street, at the ballpark, and at the foot of First Street at the river;
• A grand promenade along the Anacostia River and Potomac Avenue;
• Upper-level offices, hotel rooms and housing that create a diverse population of residents, workers and visitors; and
• A state-of-the-art ballpark that contributes to the life and identity of the neighborhood.

In all, the AWC envisions 465,000-785,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant uses, 350,000-1.6 million sq ft of office space; 1,900,000 to 3,600,000 sq ft (1570 to 2980 units) of housing; and 7,000 to 8,000 parking spaces. (We also find out that the traffic circle being planned as the terminus for the new South Capitol Street Bridge will be called "Potomac Circle.")  Vision documents are wonderful things, I look forward to living long enough to see what the reality actually ends up being :-).

Sep 14, 2005 7:31 PM
The DC Office of Zoning has posted its agenda for the Sept. 15 meeting, and it includes the stadium text amendment for the Capitol Gateway overlay, as I expected. But they're taking up other Near Southeast items as well, both having to do with Capper/Carrollsburg. I'm not 100% versed in zoning minutiae (I might have made it to the 30% mark by now), so I'll just parrot what the site says, that the Capper/Carrollsburg 2nd Stage Planned Unit Development (PUD) and Modification is on the agenda. I believe that a second-stage PUD means a specific, fully engineered, plan for the site is being submitted for approval. So I hope that's something we can get a look at pretty soon. I would also think that this submittal means that the project may be kicking into a higher gear soon, as also evidenced by 15 building permit requests submitted at the end of August for addresses within the Capper/Carrollsburg boundaries.

There's also an additional agenda item for "Capper/Carrollsburg Venture LLC -- Senior Building," which I believe is a revision of the design of Capper Seniors #2, because the design submitted in 2003 included a blank wall along M Street, which is a zoning no-no in this area. The need for this vote was discussed at the Jan. 12, 2004 meeting, and is probably why the project's building permit application has the zoning section marked "Hold for Correction." (Yes, my head hurts, too.)

Speaking of second-stage PUDs, while wandering around on the web trying to educate myself on this topic, I found this 1999 National Capital Planning Commission document, showing the detailed plans for Florida Rock. However, that was then and this is now, and in December the Zoning Commission will be again taking up Florida Rock's second-stage PUD. So we'll have to wait and see what changes have been brought by six years (and a baseball stadium next door).

More posts: 400m, Capper, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs, Florida Rock, zoning

Aug 25, 2005 3:03 PM
The DC Zoning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on Dec. 8, 2005 for the Florida Rock project. According to the hearing notice, Florida Rock is requesting approval of a second-stage Planned Unit Development as well as a zoning map amendment (are your eyes glazing over yet?), to allow for a nearly 1.1-million-sq-ft mixed use project, just south of the new baseball stadium. The project "would be developed as three separate buildings, but would visually appear as four buildings as the westernmost building is separated into two towers above the 32-foot elevation"; the buildings would be set back from the Anacostia River no less than 75 feet. The project's footprint spans not only the area marked on my map at right, but under the Frederick Douglass Bridge and all  the way down into Southwest  to S Street (from South Capitol Street to the river) toward Buzzard's Point. Given the intense interest in the baseball stadium having riverfront access, as well as the ongoing planning for rebuilding and rerouting the South Capitol Street bridge, it will be interesting to see how the Florida Rock project is designed. (The notice mentions that the building heights would taper down to 92 feet at 1st and Potomac.) Project architects Davis Buckley have a few small designs of the project on their web site, but these were done long before the stadium popped up on the radar screen.

More posts: Florida Rock, zoning

Aug 14, 2005 7:29 PM
Near Southeast hits the bigtime, with a front-page story in Monday's Post ("A Transformed Neighborhood Awaits Stadium") that jumps to two full pages of information and photos about the 'hood. The story gives a great feel for the mood as the land rush by developers transforms this formerly neglected neighborhood. A huge map lists 64 spots within Near Southeast that are being developed, sought after, or are held by developers who aren't divulging their plans. If some of the information and photos seem familiar, that's because your humble Near Southeast webmaster temporarily escaped the Post's Newsroom IT department and helped put together the package. Dana Hedgpeth and I will be taking questions and comments on Monday Aug. 15 at 11 am in a washingtonpost.com Live Online chat, so please join in to talk about all the goings on.

While frequent JDLand visitors will be up-to-speed on much on the content, there are some new nuggets to be found:

• Construction is expected to start in 2007 on the first project within the Southeast Federal Center, 400 residential units with accompanying small retail, with delivery anticipated in 2008. (Don't yet know where on the SFC's 44 acres these will be built.)
Monument Realty has now acquired all parcels on N Street between South Capitol and Half streets, as well with properties on both South Capitol and Half (in what I'm anticipating the city is going to start calling the Stadium District, so of course I had to create a new page for it).
Faison Associates has just acquired an acre of property that covers almost the entire western half of the block between 1st, New Jersey, L, and M. (But the On Luck Cafeteria on the corner of 1st and M remains a holdout.)
• The owner of the Splash car wash on I Street reveals that he has received multiple $8 million offers for his property and a neighboring parcel.
The Donohoe Cos. appear to be planning an office building for their property in the 1100 block of New Jersey Avenue.
• And, for those of you who've been following along for a while, you'll also enjoy reading the story of the Star Market at 2nd and L, which lived a solitary life until Capitol Hill Tower rose up around it.

Apr 11, 2005 7:26 AM
Today's Post Business section leads with "Stadium Land Rush, Developers Deal For Prime Properties Around Ballpark Site," detailing the attempts by big companies to grab land in Near Southeast. Not much in the way of new news (especially for loyal JDLand readers!) except for the tidbit about Monument Realty trying to purchase most of the land on the north side of N Street between Half and North Capitol (across from the stadium site) for an "office, retail, and residential development." It mentions the Florida Rock project as still being a "go", with plans to begin construction near the opening of the stadium in 2008. And of course it mentions DOT, the Southeast Federal Center, and the Donohoe acquisition on New Jersey Avenue. (The story also mentions a purchase by Doug Jemal of land on Buzzard's Point for an Inner Harbor-like development, which I haven't covered because it's in Southwest, and I have to draw the line somewhere!)

Sep 24, 2004
This is technically outside my Near Southeast purview (although I may have to expand my boundaries!), but today's Post story about DC United negotiating for a 25,000-seat stadium and practice facility at Poplar Point is a great piece of news, and another achievement for the Anacostia Waterfront Iniative. This would be on the south side of the river, almost straight across from Florida Rock. Just think of the vista someday, with stadiums and parks and mixed-use developments on both sides of the river, connected by a rebuilt "promenade"-style Frederick Douglass Bridge.

More posts: Florida Rock