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Search term: (metro) : 200 matching blog entries

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

M Street Closure This Weekend, and Other Transportation Tidbits
Dec 11, 2014 1:59 PM
* M STREET CLOSURE: DDOT has put out the word that M Street SE between 8th and 11th will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 6 am to 9 pm, weather permitting, to complete final surface paving and striping between 10th and 11th.
* CSX OUTREACH: There may be a lawsuit pending, but that hasn't stopped CSX from giving their Virginia Avenue Tunnel web site a big makeover, and also rebranding the existing Twitter account as @VATNews. The web site has all sorts of new sections and documents, though I would imagine Opinions Differ in some quarters about the contents.
* METRO PAYMENT PILOT: Navy Yard-Ballpark is one of the Metro stations that's part of WMATA's Payment Pilot program, testing out the "secure fare payment system of the future" that will allow the use of NFC-equipped credit cards and smartphones. So, if you've seen a shiny new fare gate being installed at the station lately, this is why. The program is expected to start in January, and you can still apply to be a tester
* BOATHOUSE EXPANSION: (Boats are transportation, right?) The Hill Rag reports that there are plans underway to renovate facilities along Boathouse Row, the stretch of marinas and buildings along the west side of the Anacostia between the 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue bridges. The Historic Anacostia Boating Association outlined for ANC 6B last month a proposed facility with a 228-slip marina, a pier for water taxis, and a boat ramp, along with other outdoor activity space. Fundraising is apparently now underway.
(And of course I'm sure you already read my post from yesterday about the Circulator's planned extension of the Navy Yard route into Southwest.)

Chiller Site Condos: An Initial WMATA Vote, and a Rendering
Sep 9, 2014 3:12 PM
The next step in the process to redevelop the Metro "chiller site" on the southwest corner of Half and L streets, SE, is expected later this week, with the WMATA board set to vote on the term sheet for the sale of the site to MRP Realty and CAS Riegler.
It was announced back in June that WMATA had chosen MRP/CAS's plan to redevelop the site with a 126-unit condo building with 6,000 square feet of retail.
The term sheet lays out the requirements of the sale, which include the preservation of the existing chiller plant operations at or below grade level, chiller plant cooling towers on the building roof, and 500 square feet of office space for ten years for Metro staff. In addition, Metro will have five parking spaces at the building, which is currently designed to have 55 parking spaces for the 126 units.
The documents prepared for Thursday's vote include the above drawing, showing the new building as seen from the northeast corner of Half and L. (That's 20 M at left and 1015 Half at far right.)
However, because nothing ever moves swiftly with this site, this vote just means that WMATA and MRP/CAS can then negotiate the full Joint Development Agreement, setting the terms for the purchase of the site, construction of the project, and continued WMATA operations on the site. It's not expected that agreement will come back to the WMATA board until spring--and then the closing of the sale of the site would be 24 months after that approval, which pushes the timeline into 2017.
Comments (5)
More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Development News, Metro/WMATA

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

Comments (3)
More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Development News, Metro/WMATA

Dreaming of a Third Navy Yard-Ballpark Station Metro Entrance
Jun 6, 2014 10:55 AM
As I spend a glorious late spring day reading the Office of Planning setdown report for Forest City's request for additional building height allowances in Yards West, my eyes lit up at this paragraph, in reference to the "Parcel A" site where Building 213 is currently in its final days:
"Finally, the site is located about a block east of one entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, and across M Street from the west entrance[.] Both entrances can be quite congested, particularly during rush hours and on baseball stadium game/event days. WMATA has indicated a desire to increase capacity and convenience to passengers by providing an additional entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station on the south side of M Street on Parcel A. To faciliate this, OP is proposing that, as part of Zoning Commission review of any development on Parcel A, facilitation in the site and building design for a new entrance be provided - this would not require [Forest City Washington], the developer, to provide the new entrance, but rather would ensure that any construction on the site would accommodate this additional entrance."
Not something that would happen anytime soon, I imagine, but good to know that it's at least being thought about.
Comments (0)
More posts: Metro/WMATA, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

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

WMATA Looking for Chiller Plant Developers - Again
Nov 5, 2013 9:53 AM
The Post's CapBiz section reported yesterday that "In an effort to take advantage of some of the boom in development near public transit, Metro launched a search Monday for companies interested in building on properties the transit agency owns at five of its stations: Brookland, Navy Yard, Fort Totten, Grosvenor-Strathmore and Morgan Boulevard."
The Navy Yard-Ballpark land the transit agency is looking to develop is a bit to the north of the station's Half Street entrance, and is known as the Chiller Plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L.
While this sounds like positive progress to those who are wanting to see that corner developed, I do invite readers to come with me on a trip through the JDLand archives:
* Donatelli, WMATA Break Off Chiller Site Plans (Aug. 2010)
So, while it would be keen to see some movement on the 14,000-sq-ft site, it might be wise to not break out the backhoes just yet.
Comments (0)
More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Development News, Metro/WMATA, square 698

Live Transit Page Returns to the Living
Oct 24, 2013 10:16 AM
For the two or three people who use it, I've done some cleaning up of the five million lines of code on my Near Southeast Transit Options page, and it should now be more or less functional again.
If you haven't seen it, this page gives you a quick look at the status of the neighborhood's five Bikeshare stations, including the two new ones at 3rd and Tingey & 8th and Potomac, along with other nearby stations of interest. It also shows upcoming arrival times for the Green line at Navy Yard-Ballpark, the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator bus at New Jersey and M, and Metrobus lines at New Jersey and M.
You can access this page from the "Live Transit Info" link on the JDLand home page menu bar, or by clicking the little Metro icons on the home page map. It's also available via a link from the JDLand mobile home page at m.jdland.com.

Navy Yard-Not-Yet-Ballpark Station Closing Early June 23
Jun 18, 2012 3:10 PM
Metro announced today that the Navy Yard subway station will be closing at 10 pm on Saturday, June 23, and the Half Street entrance will be closed "at various times throughout the weekend" so that a gaggle of law enforcement agencies spearheaded by Metro Transit Police can "conduct a security drill at the station."
Green Line service will continue to operate normally through the station during these times--passengers just won't be able to get on the Green Line at Navy Yard between 10 pm Saturday and 7 am Sunday.
However, the Half Street entrance to the station will close at 7 pm Saturday and won't reopen until 12:30 pm Sunday.
Even if you're not planning to be on the subway during those times, note that there may be street closures as well as a "large presence" of emergency vehicles and law enforcement personnel. But Metro emphasizes "this is only a drill."
In the meantime, while we're on the subject, I wonder when the station's official name is going to change? The new maps on trains and in stations have the updated Navy Yard-Ballpark moniker, but the street-level signs remain unchanged, and Metro is still referring to the station as Navy Yard in the above press release and on the web site.
The NoMa station got a festive renaming event last week, but that was for a complete name change, not just an addendum.
The station celebrated its 20th birthday back in December.
This might also be a good time to mention some Metrobus changes, too. The P1 and P2 lines that used to run along M Street from Archives during rush hour have been discontinued, and the P6 line, which used to run along Virginia Avenue and then up into Capitol Hill on its route between Anacostia and the Rhode Island Avenue station, now runs along M Street from the 11th Street Bridge to 3rd Street SW, then shifts to 4th Street all the way north to Pennsylvania Avenue. (A nice change for Near Southeast folks, but a sad one for me, since this bus ran right past my corner and was our chariot to the E Street Cinemas and other destinations along its route.)
Comments (1)
More posts: Metro/WMATA

Tidbits: Miles Glass Raze Permits, Navy Yard-Ballpark, More
Mar 19, 2012 11:57 AM
Couldn't leave all these morsels until the normal Tuesday Tidbits slot:
* More Demolitions Coming: Raze permits have now been approved for the Miles Glass building at 8th and Virginia and its next-door neighbor, the closed auto repair shop at 7th and K. National Community Church, which owns the lots and others on the same block, said back in January that a temporary parking lot and "community green space" will be coming to the site while the church continues to work on its final plans for the site, which in the past have been described as being a combination of coffee house, performance space, and church offices.
* Yup, Navy Yard-Ballpark. The new Metro subway map is out, and confirms that Navy Yard-Ballpark is official.
* Bike to Work: May 18 is DC's Bike to Work Day. One of the pit stops is the Yards Park, from 7 to 9 am, and you get a t-shirt if you register and then stop at your designated pit stop.
* Bridge Recreation: If the notion of the "11th Street Recreation Bridge" captured your fancy, you can see some additional stories on the idea by Lydia DePillis, BeyondDC, and WJLA. DePillis notes that the city isn't intending on paying for this entire thing itself, and a decision needs to be made by May whether or not the new 11th Street Local bridge will have the bulb-out viewpoints built (they'd be unnecessary if the current downstream bridge was being kept). WJLA, on the other hand, mentions that "some" are concerned it "could become a hotbed for crime"--which led to a fun Twitter back-and-forth that devolved into using the new bridge for a Jason Bourne/James Bond-type chase sequence.
* Mobile 'Hood: The Capitol Riverfront BID has launched a mobile version of its web site, which uses your phone's GPS to give you information on food, developments, and events near your location.
And, of course, if you want to know what your current location looked like before all the changes started happening, you can go to my mobile site (m.jdland.com) or jdland.com/here on your phone and you'll get my oldest photos looking in each direction from the corner nearest to where you're standing. (Read more about how that works.)
* Fairgrounds: DCMud looks at the plans for the Half Street Fairgrounds (which I broke the news of back in February), with a few neat new renderings. And then the piece drops a mention at the very end that "DCRE Real Estate" is handling the retail leasing for the project--that's DCMud's company, and the writer of the blog post is also the agent handling the leasing. (Just in case you like to be aware of those sorts of things when getting your news.) In the meantime, a few shipping containers were spotted on the site last week.
* Across the Way: A 5,000-seat concert hall is being designed for the Southwest Waterfront. (If you haven't been keeping up with the plans for The Wharf, SWill can help.) And the de-skinning of the old EPA buildings, visible from parts of Near Southeast, is part of their rehabilitation into the Sky House apartments.

Happy 20th Birthday, Navy Yard Metro!
Dec 27, 2011 10:59 AM
If you're looking for an excuse to have a celebration (and who isn't in the long, seven-day slog between Christmas and New Year's), you can raise a glass on Wednesday to the 20th birthday of the Waterfront, Navy Yard, and Anacostia Metro stations, which opened on Dec. 28, 1991.
Not surprisingly, it was the arrival of DC's subway in Anacostia that was the main focus of opening day celebrations: "At long last, after two decades of planning and delays, site squabbles and legal hurdles, Metro's Green Line came to Anacostia yesterday and Anacostia rolled out a green carpet of welcome," reported the Washington Post.
But, a few days earlier, the Post published a piece focusing on what changes the new Navy Yard station would bring to its surroundings:
"Metro's newest neighbors on downtrodden M Street SE have been coping for months with the dust and shambles of tunnel construction by holding onto one hope: Maybe Metro can make things better."
"'I hope that it will stop the drug traffic,' said Ann Mose, a secretary at an Aamco Transmission shop just a few yards from the new Navy Yard stop, which is at M and Half streets SE and New Jersey Avenue. 'I know one thing: Metro and the police are going to have their work cut out for them. People are scared.'"
Then, see if this part sounds familiar: "About two years ago, the biggest names in Washington real estate bought up acres of vacant lots and ramshackle warehouses there in anticipation of a mini-boom town of offices, town houses, retail stores and recreation areas to be spawned by the arrival of the Metro. In the past year, as financing for speculative development has dried up, buyer enthusiasm has ebbed."
The article then speaks of the plans to redevelop the Southeast Federal Center with 1 million square feet of office space for 23,000 federal workers at agencies like GSA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Navy, and perhaps FEMA.
"But today, as Metro cars rumble through test runs on the new extension of the Green Line, those dreams seem obscured by drug traffickers who walk undisturbed up and down M Street, in the shadows of boarded-up buildings that neighbors call crack houses, from which Metro workers solicitously warn visitors to stay away. [...]
"Between that and the subway stop is public housing. Trash piles up on the sidewalk. Hypodermic needles are discarded in open lots.
"'You've got to be something of a visionary to see what this is going to be like in five to 10 years,' GSA administrator Dick Austin said. 'There are a lot of those who are skeptics and say it's not going to happen.... Did you ever see the movie 'Field of Dreams?'"
And, in referencing the commercial developers who had bought up much of the land in the neighborhood, the article says: "Their hopes[...]: that the lackluster waterfront from Buzzard Point to the Washington Navy Yard could be turned into the Tysons Corner of the 21st century."
Comments (2)
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Rearview Mirror

Navy Yard, Waterfront Metro Stations Closed Veterans' Day Weekend
Nov 7, 2011 11:25 AM
If you thought the closure of the Navy Yard Metro station over Halloween weekend was a blast, you get to relive it again over the upcoming Veterans' Day long weekend, as once again WMATA has major Green Line track work planned.
And, if you're someone who uses the Navy Yard station to get to work, hopefully your employer follows the full federal holiday calendar, because this time the closures begin at 10 pm Thursday, Nov. 10, since Friday is the Veterans' Day holiday. Through the system closing on Sunday, Nov. 13, Navy Yard, Waterfront, Anacostia and Congress Heights stations will all be closed. Free shuttle buses will run to the closed stations from L'Enfant Plaza and Southern Avenue, but Metro advises customers to "allow 30 minutes of additional travel time."
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More posts: Metro/WMATA

Metro Approves Subway Station Renaming to Navy Yard-Ballpark
Nov 3, 2011 1:28 PM
The long road to giving the Navy Yard Metro station a new name seems to have at last come to its resolution, as WMATA's board voted to approve "Navy Yard-Ballpark."
With the city having a "private commitment" (rumored to be the Nationals) to pay the costs of the change, and with rider surveys having shown a favorable response to the new name, the board opted to approve DC's request instead of its staff's recommendation of putting Ballpark in as a secondary name.
This all started more than a year ago, with the Capitol Riverfront BID initially wanting some version of "Capitol Riverfront/Ballpark/Navy Yard." Then the Nationals started pushing for adding the "Curly W", for some variant of Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront/. Then WMATA came out with its new naming guidelines, including a requirement that names be no more than 19 characters, which prompted the BID to ask for "Navy Yard" to be dropped altogether. ANC 6D then opted to support Navy Yard-, or Navy Yard-Ballpark if the Curly W wouldn't be allowed. DDOT then officially asked that Navy Yard-Ballpark be forwarded to WMATA for approval. Then we had the staff recommendation for a split primary/secondary naming. And then today's action. Wasn't that a cinch?
This change, along with dropping "SEU" from the Waterfront station name and other changes around the system, are to take place when Metro's new map debuts in June of 2012.
Comments (2)
More posts: Metro/WMATA

Reminder on Weekend Events, Plus 11th St. Bridge Ramp Closure
Oct 27, 2011 9:47 PM
The weekend is almost here, so it's probably worth a reminder that the Navy Yard Metro station will be closed this weekend, starting at 10 pm Friday through the system's closure time on Sunday night. Waterfront will be closed as well, so if you're hoofing it to another station, make it Capitol South or another Orange/Blue station.
But it's still a big weekend for events in the neighborhood, with the Ghost Ship Barry festivities at the Navy Yard and "Truckerboo" at Half and M on Friday. (Note that the Navy Yard's portion of the Riverwalk will be closed starting at noon on Friday, so you need to go to the entrance gates at 6th and M SE in order to get to the Ghost Ship.)
Saturday is the BID's Community Planting Day, from 9 am to noon, and they're looking for volunteers to help to plant thousands of daffodil bulbs throughout the neighborhood. (UPDATE: This has been moved to Sunday at noon, because of the weather forecast.) Also on Saturday, Justin's Cafe is having a Halloween Murder Mystery event starting at 9 pm, where individuals and teams get a storyline and a clue and work to solve the mystery while, ahem, drinking some beers.
Then, just when you think you've made it through the weekend, DDOT will be closing the ramp at 11th and O streets SE to the outbound 11th Street Bridge from 10 pm to 5 am Monday through Thursday (Oct. 31 through Nov. 3). It's so they can demolish the remaining retaining wall that runs along the east side of 11th. The detour is to use the on-ramp at 8th and VIrginia, SE.

Plan Now: Navy Yard Metro Station Closed This Weekend
Oct 24, 2011 3:16 PM
If you're expecting to use the Navy Yard Metro station to get to and/or from your cavalcade of weekend Halloween events, be forewarned: as part of WMATA's continuing track work, the Navy Yard station (along with Waterfront, Anacostia, and Congress Heights on the Green Line) will be closed beginning at 10 pm on Friday, Oct. 28, through the system's closing time at midnight Sunday.
According to WMATA's press release, there will be shuttle buses running between L'Enfant Plaza and Southern Avenue, with stops at the closed stations. "Riders using the shuttles should allow 30 minutes of additional travel time"--which makes that 15-minute-or-so walk up to Capitol South sound not quite so bad.
(The Circulator that runs from the eastern entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station at New Jersey Avenue up to Eastern Market and then Union Station would be a fine alternative, except that it's now on its Winter Hours schedule of only running on weekdays from 6 am to 7 pm.)
The 10 pm Friday close might have a bit of an impact on the final hours of Truckerboo at Half and M, SE; residents might need to be prepared to see larger numbers of pedestrians than usual in the late hours hoofing it northward to Capitol South.
The Green Line isn't the only one seeing closures this weekend--read WMATA's press release for all the details.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA

Tree Planting on Saturday, Metro Name, Nats Park Uses
Oct 12, 2011 8:38 AM
* On Saturday, Oct. 15, a group of neighbors together with Casey Trees is having a tree-planting event in the "triangle park" bounded by Virginia Avenue and 4th, 5th, and I streets, SE. No prior experience is required, and coffee and treats will be provided along with a post-planting lunch for volunteers. More information and how to volunteer here.
* WMATA staff has recommended that "Ballpark" be added to the Navy Yard Metro station name as one of its new "secondary" (subtitle) names, rather than the requested "Navy Yard-Ballpark." However, since there is not yet any organization that has committed to paying for the name change (which a DDOT rep said at a recent ANC meeting would be in the $100,000 range for a two-exit station), WMATA's board will not be voting on this name change at its meetings on Thursday. They will vote on whether to change the Waterfront-SEU station to just "Waterfront," having veteoed the city's request for "Waterfront-Arena Stage" as being over the 19-character length limit and also having a "commercial naming rights issue." (via GGW)
* The ANC 6D October agenda has been sent out (but isn't yet on the web site). In addition to the very important business of giving thumbs up or down to five different races/walks that want to use neighborhood streets, the commission will be getting updates on the 225 Virginia/200 I project and the big DC Water Clean Rivers Project that will be ripping up M Street SE for a number of years. (Won't that be fun if M Street is a construction zone at the same time as Virginia Avenue?)
* DCist spent some time pondering what Nationals Park could be used for during the baseball off-season. (On the other hand, at least baseball stadiums get used 81 times a year. How about FedEx Field, which gets used only eight times for Redskins games and maybe a concert here or there?)

DDOT Requests 'Navy Yard-Ballpark' Metro Station Name
Oct 6, 2011 9:50 AM
Greater Greater Washington reports that DDOT has formally asked WMATA for four Metro station name changes, with "Navy Yard-Ballpark" being on the list. This seems to put to an end the attempt by the Nationals to add their Curly W to the station name, an idea which was supported by ANC 6D last month. (The BID's desire to have the station renamed "Capitol Riverfront-[Curly W]" also now would appear to have gone by the wayside.)
Also on the list is changing Waterfront-SEU to Waterfront-Arena Stage.
This is the last step in the city's process for requesting station name changes. Now it's up to WMATA to make the final decisions.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA

Curly W on the Metro: Blog Swarm!
Sep 16, 2011 10:27 AM
Keying off my post about ANC 6D's approval of Navy Yard- as a new name for the Metro station by Nationals Park, Greater Greater Washington expressed some displeasure ("Navy Yard-W" is worst of new station name proposals"). That post was then pondered by DCist and mocked by SB Nation for, among other things, the contention that people would think "Navy Yard-W" was named for former president George W. Bush. And now there's a GGW follow-up saying that, by appending "Ballpark" to the Navy Yard station name, people won't use other stations that might work better for them to get to the stadium. (Though, really, when the Navy Yard station is all of a block away from Nats Park, maybe it's okay to label that as the station people should use.)
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More posts: ANC News, Metro/WMATA,

ANC Recap 1: Support for Adding the Curly W to Navy Yard Metro
Sep 13, 2011 11:13 AM
With WMATA looking to tighten up the naming conventions for Metro stations and also preparing for a new map thanks to the impending service expansion to Tysons Corner and eventually Dulles, the three local jurisdictions have been encouraged to come up with proposals by the end of this month for any station name revisions they may want. This brought Steve Strauss of DDOT to Monday's ANC 6D meeting, to find out whether the community had any feelings about the names of the four stations within the commission's borders, and in particular whether the ANC had any desire to take a second look at two proposed name changes it supported last year in light of WMATA's recommitment to the notion that station names should be no longer than 19 characters (13 for transfer stations).
Yes, it's time for the Curly W discussion again.
Last December the commission voted to support requests from both the Capitol Riverfront BID and the Nationals to change the station name to Navy Yard-Capitol Riverfront-, but that is well above 19 characters (and would be even worse if the Curly W weren't approved and "Nationals Park" were substituted, as called for in the ANC resolution at the time). The discussion on Monday night centered around whether using the logo would set a dangerous precedent, whether it would be confusing in terms of pronouncing the station name, whether it's de facto advertising, and whether riders with vision impairments would or would not be better served by having a logo versus a spelled-out "Ballpark." Commissioner Andy Litsky was also vocal in wanting some assurance that the Nationals would be paying the estimated $100,000 for the changing of the name of a station, and would not try to argue that the city should pay the cost since the stadium is a public building.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nationals told the commission many of the same things he did back in December: the Curly W is the official logo of a city-owned building, and the team wants the logo to appear on transit signage just as it does on freeway signs around the area. McCarthy also said the team very much wants to promote transit as the best way to get to the stadium, and that having the logo on signs and maps helps to emphasize the connection between Metro and the Nationals year-round. There's also no desire to have any variation of "Nationals Park" in the name, given the possibility that the stadium's naming rights will someday be sold and the name changed.
An initial motion to rename the station Navy Yard-Ballpark failed on a 3-3 vote; after more discussion, a new motion to support Navy Yard- if a logo were allowed, and Navy Yard-Ballpark if not, passed on a 4-2 vote. (Technically, these motions were all about amending the resolution from December, but I'm giving you the blessedly short version.)
I should also note that the Capitol Riverfront BID's recent request to simply rename the station Capitol Riverfront- was briefly mentioned at the start of the discussion, but clearly had zero support from the commission or the audience and was never voted on.
The ANC also voted 7-0 to change Waterfront-SEU to Waterfront-Arena Stage. But the resolution acknowledged that the new station name would be 22 characters long, and so a second resolution was passed on a 4-3 vote asking to rename the station as SW Waterfront if Arena Stage does not get added to the name.
There was a brief discussion as to whether there might be interest in adding Banneker Park to the L'Enfant Plaza station, but there was little support, and recognition that the name would be too long anyway.
All requests for changing station names will first go through the city's evaluation procedures, with the mayor's office then submitting formal recommendations to WMATA.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, Metro/WMATA

BID: Rename Navy Yard Metro to 'Capitol Riverfront/[Curly W]'
Jul 26, 2011 7:28 PM
Michael Stevens, the executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, has sent a letter to the mayor, the city council, the WMATA board and other city officials, formally requesting that the Navy Yard station on Metro's Green Line be renamed " Capitol Riverfront/" (aka Curly W, for Nationals Park).
With Metro letting it be known this week that any new station names will have to be 19 characters or less thanks to the transit agency's decision to begin enforcing their own naming rules again, the BID's earlier desire to add their name and the Nationals' logo to the existing station name would not be allowed. Therefore, in order to get Capitol Riverfront added, the BID feels that "Navy Yard" can be, well, shipped out to sea.
Stevens' letter says that "the name Navy Yard station has served this area well for approximately 20 years and was very descriptive 20 years ago when the federal government owned the majority of the land up to the metro station." But the letter also says that Navy Yard "no longer accurately describes the neighborhood and destinations served" by the station.
The letter goes on to describe the changing demographics of the area since the station opened in 1991, makes mention of the fact that Capitol Riverfront is "an established office submarket recognized and named by Co-Star," and notes that "the entrance to the Navy Yard is located at 6th St., SE and M St., SE, which is approximately a half mile away and a twelve minute walk from the metro."
In explaining how the name change meets WMATA's stated principle that a new name incorporate "customer input," the letter describes the "coalition of public and private stakeholders [who] conducted a study and provided input that led to the development of the Capitol Riverfront name for the neighborhood," back in 2007.
DC and the other jurisdictions are supposed to come up with any new station names by September in order to make the new June 2012 map that Metro will be preparing to coincide with the plans to realign the Yellow and Blue lines; the Examiner wrote earlier this week about the plans to shorten 11 of the more lengthy station names.
Greater Greater Washington also wrote recently on the plans to shorten names, and in describing the focus groups that WMATA conducted on current and proposed station names, said: "The participants did like two potential station name changes: 'Smithsonian-National Mall' and adding some information about the Nationals to Navy Yard, whether a curly W logo or the words 'Ballpark' or 'Nationals.' They didn't like also adding 'Capitol Riverfront,' the name of the BID."
The Navy Yard was established in 1799; from World War I until 1963, the Navy Yard's acreage included the land south of M and east of 1st, in what then became the Southeast Federal Center and is now The Yards. The neighborhood directly around the Navy Yard has also been known as "Navy Yard," with "the near Southeast" starting to be used in 1960s if the Washington Post's archives are an accurate guide. (I have always avoided the "Navy Yard" moniker for the neighborhood so as not to have to spend every day of my life saying "No, not in the Navy Yard, near the Navy Yard.")
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Metro/WMATA

Roundup: Boilermaker Shops, WMATA Land Sale, Ward 6 At-Large Candidate Forum, Water Taxi News
Apr 18, 2011 11:37 AM
Catching up after a quick trip to Florida:
* A few readers have mentioned some work underway around the Boilermaker Shops at The Yards, but I'll burst the bubbles and note that it's not a sign of formal construction getting started on the 46,000-square-foot retail space. Forest City is taking care of some remediation on behalf of GSA, involving the paint inside the building along with some potentially tainted soil around the outside.
On the same subject, there was a tidbit in the April Hill Rag on page 85 (hat tip reader J) in an article about Barracks Row restaurateur Xavier Cervera, who runs Lola's, Molly Malone's, the Chesapeake Room, and some other new ventures on the way: "And there's even more in his culinary sights: along the Southeast waterfront near Nationals Park, Cervera has leased half of the glass-and-steel Boilermaker building (1100 New Jersey Ave. SE) for a classy, 450 seat sports bar." (Ay-yi-yi on that really incorrect address!)
I asked Forest City about the report, and received this response: "Forest City Washington expects to announce soon a number of great restaurant and retail venues that will be located at The Yards. Upon completion of these leases we will commence redevelopment construction of the Boilermaker Building. At this point, we are not able to specifically respond to the inaccuracies in the Hill Rag piece. These inaccuracies will become evident when we make our official announcement." Hmmm.
In the meantime, you can see renderings and photos (outside *and* inside!) on my Boilermakers Shops page.
* After having a contract for more than three years, WMATA and Donohoe have finally completed the $3 million sale of 5,165 square feet of land at New Jersey and M where the east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station sits. This allows Donohoe to build its planned 220,000-square-foot 1111 New Jersey office building, as soon as they find tenants. (The building won't sit directly on top of the entrance, as 55 M does with the west entrance of the station, but is pretty close, as you can see in the rendering on my project page.)
* And, in other land transactions in the 100 block of M, the longtime owners of the tiny 1,500-sq-ft sliver of land between 100 M and the alley have sold the property for Northwood Investors, the new owners of 100 M. (The property records say the price was $250,000, which, if accurate, would seem to a good deal less than what they might have been offered back when Opus East was acquiring the property to build 100 M.)
* On Tuesday, April 19 (tomorrow!), there's a Ward 6 Candidates Forum with the large field of candidates for the open at-large seat on the city council (you didn't know there's an election on April 26? You're not alone). It's in the North Hall at Eastern Market from 6:30 to 8 pm, and being hosted by the Ward 6 Democrats (but it's labeled a non-partisan event, so there will be no endorsement vote). You can submit a question for the candidates, whether you're attending or not.
* American River Taxi is getting some press as it gets its service underway between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Diamond Teague Park across from the stadium (though Saturday's rains and the subsequent flooding along the Potomac have put a crimp in their schedule over the past few days). WTOP and the The Hoya have posted articles in the past few days.

Nats Looking to Add a Curly W to Navy Yard Metro Station Name
Dec 13, 2010 8:54 PM
At tonight's ANC 6D meeting, Nationals vice president Gregory McCarthy asked the commission to support the Nationals' request for a name change for the Navy Yard Metro station. But, instead of asking to add "Nationals Park" or "Ballpark" or "Baseball Stadium" or "[Insert Corporate Naming Rights Winner Here] Park" or some other permutation, the Nationals are asking that the Nationals' "Curly W" red logo be added to Metro's maps and signage instead. McCarthy said that focus groups with fans have indicated a strong identification with the logo, and, just as the Curly W appears on freeway signs around the area directing drivers to the stadium, the team wants the same icon to direct transit users.
Commission chair Ron McBee spoke of the team's positive impact on the community, especially all the work that team players and staff do with the students of nearby Amidon-Bowen Elementary School in Southwest, and there were few other comments from the commissioners. One audience member asked if this didn't amount to free advertising--McCarthy replied that the name of the stadium (which is owned by the city, he reminded) is "Nationals Park," and that the Curly W just signifies the team's name. (In far fewer letters.) The team would be on the hook for any costs incurred for the signage and map changes, but since WMATA is undertaking a reprinting and updating of its maps and signage next year, they probably have pretty good timing.
The resolution drafted by the ANC called for support of the Nationals' request, as long as Navy Yard remains in the station's name and remains first, with "Nationals Park" being an acceptable alternative if WMATA doesn't want to use the Curly W. (They also made sure to specify that the Nats are wanting the Curly W to be red.) This means that the ANC's preference for the station's new name is Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront/, since the Capitol Riverfront BID previously came to the ANC asking for support in having its name added. The resolution also gives "Navy Yard/Riverfront/Ballpark" as an acceptable alternative if Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront/ is too long. The resolution passed 6-0-1.
In terms of how station name changes work, McBee passed out this 1987 DC government document detailing how the city evaluates requests. After an ANC weighs in, the WMATA committee looking at the request submits a formal recommendation to DC's WMATA board member(s), who then transmit a formal recommendation to the mayor, who decides on the request and transmits a request for action (or non-action) back to WMATA.
After the vote, McCarthy took a moment to thank outgoing 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel ("who I first met when he was opposing the new stadium") for all the work he has done on behalf of the community since it was decided to put Nationals Park in his single member district.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

ANC 6D Agenda Posted; Another Navy Yard Metro Station Name Change Request
Oct 15, 2010 1:44 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now being circulated (slightly revised from one that went out earlier today). One item of Near SE interest is an update on the Yards Park and also the Parcel D residential/grocery project, which is now scheduled to go before the Zoning Commission on Dec. 2.
The revised agenda also now shows a new request to change the name of the Navy Yard Metro station; while last time it was the Capitol Riverfront BID requesting that the name be changed to Capitol Riverfront/Nationals Park/Navy Yard (which the ANC supported as long as "Capitol Riverfront" wasn't first), this time it's the Nationals themselves requesting that "Nationals Stadium" be added to the Navy Yard name. (I wouldn't put 100% confidence in the request being for "Nationals Stadium" and not "Nationals Park," but that's what the agenda says.) I'm trying to find out whether the first request has bitten the dust, or if these are competing requests, or what. Stay tuned. (See below for clarifications.)
There's also a request to add "Banneker Memorial Park" to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station name. As well as a bunch of other stuff happening on the other side of South Capitol Street, which I leave to other people to pay attention to!
UPDATE: The BID has told me that this is just the Nationals requesting to be added so that they can be part of the Capitol Riverfront/Nationals Park/Navy Yard new name, though I'm not sure why they would need to have their own request separate from the one that the BID is already working on. Still trying to find out more, but may need to wait until Monday's meeting for clarification.
UPDATE II: Apparently the BID's request was officially just to add "Capitol Riverfront," but they recognized that the Nats would want the stadium included as well. So this ANC action will be to get whatever official name the Nationals want added to the station name into the mix.

WMATA Extending Deadline for Donohoe Land Purchase
Sep 29, 2010 3:25 PM
At tomorrow's WMATA board meetings, it's expected that Metro will approve a one-year extension to the 2007 agreement with the Donohoe Companies to purchase the 5,600 square feet of land that makes up the east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station. Donohoe is intending to combine the WMATA land with the 16,400 square feet it owns just to the north (the grassy knoll and parking lot where the Capitol Riverfront Markets have been held this year) to build 1111 New Jersey Avenue, a 220,000-square-foot office building.
But, according to the WMATA documents: "Given the weak economy, it has not been possible to obtain financing to construct the building. A one year extension of the closing date to December 2011 will allow time to respond to evolving market conditions and preserve the contract for both parties." I wrote back in 2007 that WMATA would be receiving $2.3 million for the property, "plus an unnamed additional payment if the approved project is larger 206,000 square feet."
It's not anticipated that the station entrance would need to be closed during construction of the new building, As you can see from the rendering, the escalators and canopy would remain outside of the new building's footprint.
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More posts: 1111 New Jersey/Insignia on M, Metro/WMATA, Square 743N

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

Reminders for a Slew of Upcoming Events
Sep 9, 2010 2:17 AM
It's a busy next few days, so here's a reminder of what's on tap. (Of course, you could just look at my Events Calendar, but....)
* Today (Thursday) is the "Transportation Day" events that are part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's 10th anniversary celebration. Get thee down to 1301 M Street, SE (site of the offices for the 11th Street Bridges project) for the kick-off at 10 am with DDOT director Gabe Klein, and/or attend the open house until 2 pm, which includes bus tours of current AWI transportation projects (like, say, the 11th Street Bridges). Circulator buses will be shuttling to and from the Navy Yard Metro station.
If you're wanting to know more about the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and what's been accomplished up to this point, here's a spiffy "10 Years of Progress" booklet with all sorts of details.
* Friday brings the start of the Yards Park Grand Opening Weekend, starting at 3:30 pm, along with a full slate of events all day Saturday and a few more on Sunday as well--here's the specifics on all the activities for all three days. (UPDATED with a new more detailed flyer showing all the events.)
* The Nats are at home against the Marlins, playing at the usual 7:05 pm Friday and 1:35 pm Sunday times, along with a somewhat rare 1:05 pm Saturday start. It's Fan Appreciation Month, with all sorts of promotions and offerings.
* Sunday, Sept. 12 is the Fourth Annual Youth River Sports Day put on by the Anacostia Community Boathouse, now at their new home just up river from the Sousa Bridge. It runs from 11 am to 3 pm, and is free and open to the public.
* ANC 6D returns from its summer recess on Monday, Sept. 13. The agenda hasn't been released yet, but rumored items include the grant the BID is applying for to beautify the New Jersey Avenue "entrance" to the neighborhood, along with what I hear might be a presentation on a possible renaming of the Navy Yard Metro station. While I haven't heard what the new name might be, I imagine that some variant of "Navy Yard / Nationals Park / Capitol Riverfront" will be on the table. Which means that my last chance to convince people to rename the neighborhood Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards is probably passing by.
* And on Tuesday there's some sort of election. Perhaps you've heard about it. But good heavens, get yourself to the polls and vote. You don't even have to wait until Tuesday to do it.

Metro and Donatelli Negotiating (Still!) for 'Chiller Plant' Site Development at Half and L, SE
Jun 30, 2010 2:01 PM
Today WMATA sent out a press release touting a new web page highlighting its "dozens" of current and recently completed Transit Oriented development projects. And lo and behold, on the page for the Navy Yard "Chiller Plant" site on the southwest corner of Half and L, we find out that Metro has been negotiating a development agreement with Donatelli Development since the summer of 2008 (!) to build an 84-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail on the 14,000-square-foot site. Metro would continue to own the land and would receive lease income from the site, while Donatelli would be responsible for incorporating two new, larger, 350-ton chillers within the project (so that everyone down in both the Navy Yard and Waterfront-SEU Metro stations stay nice and climate-controlled).
Metro says that this stalled development agreement is now "expected to be executed in the summer of 2010," with a lease between the companies to be signed about 18 months after that, once all development and construction permits are obtained. They say "late 2013" is when the project would open. At right is a rendering from the WMATA site of the proposed building. (Note that the footprint of this project does not include the cab company building just to the west at 37 L.)
(And yes, I'm hanging my head in shame for not knowing about this. I knew that Metro was negotiating with *someone*, but had never heard who, and figured it fell through as time passed with no announcement. Maybe I'll take all of August off as punishment.)
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More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Metro/WMATA, square 698

Tidbits From the Past Few Days (Foreclosure, Marines, WMATA Cuts, 11th Street Bridges, 1015 Half)
Jan 21, 2010 10:35 AM
Rounding up some new and Tweeted tidbits, now that I've recovered from cranking out the State of the Hood:
* (h/t "reader X") The second foreclosure sale held yesterday for the boarded-up apartment building and surrounding lots at Potomac, Ninth and L brought no bids above the $2 million starting point, so the properties will now return to the lender. An earlier auction back in October had brought a $2.461 million winning bid, but that deal fell through. The properties were originally bought by ICP Partners in 2006, along with the gray building at Eighth and Potomac, for $9 million.
* Via ANC 6B03 commissioner Norm Metzger, the Marines have created a web site for their "Community Integrated Master Plan." The site describes this planning process as evaluating "community-military development partnering options" because "[t]here are unmet facility needs and security requirements at Marine Barracks Washington and a potential to meet common community and military needs through the process" and that their goal is "to use a coordinated planning process to create a win-win in meeting the development needs of the local community and Marine Corps." Now that that's cleared up, you can go to the open house they're having on Jan. 27 from 5 to 8 pm in the North Hall of Eastern Market, to "assist the planning team in identifying issues, concerns, and potential opportunities for military-community development partnering."
* One of many service reductions proposed by WMATA to help close their FY2010 budget gap is to shut down one of the two entrances to the Navy Yard metro station on weekends. (They don't say which one.) The public hearing on their various proposals is Jan. 27 at 5:30 pm. UPDATE: From Michael Perkins, in the comments, it would be the west entrance, at Half and M. I wonder if this would only be when there are no stadium events?
* Via the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce's Twitter feed, there will apparently be one more Lower 8th Street visioning session, on February 22. After this final session, the group will forward its recommendations to the Office of Planning on what sort of development should be emphasized for these blocks south of the freeway.
* In Sunday's Post, Dr. Gridlock took a look at the 11th Street Bridges project, telling drivers what to expect as the construction unfolds, and that the "new bridges will forge a link between Maryland, the District and Virginia that has been missing since the original highway plan for the District was abandoned decades ago. And it will create a new link between neighborhoods on both sides of the Anacostia while relieving them of some of the commuter traffic that spills onto local streets."
* As part of the start of work on the bridges, a raze permit application has been filed to demolish the old red brick buildings between the current bridges that housed the Anacostia Community Boathouse, whose operations are now moving up-river to a temporary (maybe permanent) home at the Anacostia Marina.
* A little time spent trolling through public records shows that within the past month a bunch of the liens brought against Opus East when they liquidated and stopped work on 1015 Half Street have been settled. No indications from the new owner (Douglas Wilson Companies) as to when construction might restart, despite their statements back in October that it would be happening soon.

Live Transit Times (and Links) for Near Southeast
Jul 8, 2009 12:11 PM
I'm not really sure how useful this will end up being, but I was in a proof-of-concept mood yesterday and created a Transit Options in Near Southeast page, taking advantage of the new and existing live status options for Metrorail, Circulator, and Metrobus. You'll see boxes displaying the next trains at the Navy Yard station, the next Circulator arriving at New Jersey and M (though I'm not sure how handy this one is--aren't there pretty much always buses sitting there?), and the upcoming Metrobuses arriving at New Jersey and M.
There's also links to the live status updates for all the Circulator stops in Near Southeast and all the Metrobuses that run through the neighborhood (including the ones that stop at South Capitol and M). I even added links to the timetables to the two Maryland Transit Authority commuter buses that stop near the Navy Yard.
There's also a lightweight mobile version, if you're so inclined. The link to the full page is now at the top of the JDLand home page ("Bus/Rail Info") and in the right margin on the interior pages.
UPDATE: Thanks to the idea from commenter JT, you can now also click on the little tiny "M"s (if your eyes are good enough to see them!) on the map at right to get to the transit page.
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More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA, JDLand stuff

Billy and Elton on Saturday
Jul 8, 2009 10:40 AM
A reminder that the first big concert at Nationals Park (well, other than the Pope) is this Saturday, with Billy Joel and Elton John. Metro has just sent out a press release with its plans: "In anticipation of large crowds, Metro will operate additional eight-car trains on the Green Line leading up to the start of the concert. Additional personnel will be on hand at the Navy Yard Metrorail station on the Green Line, which is just one block away from Nationals Park. Upon conclusion of the concert, Metro will deploy eight-car shuttle trains that will operate between the Navy Yard and Mt. Vernon Sq/7th St Convention Center Metrorail station."
UPDATE: As for parking, apparently ticketholders have received e-mails urging them to prepurchase parking in the official Nats lots, and cash parking lots will be available as well.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, Stadium Events

City May Occupy 225 Virginia; Ferry Testing; More
Apr 24, 2009 8:57 AM
Catching up from a few days of slacking:
* Today's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) reports that the city is "considering" using 225 Virginia Ave. (the old Post Plant) as the new home for Child and Family Services, now that they've decided not to move the agency to a new development at Benning Station. The city continues to pay $6 million a year in rent on the 420,000-sq-ft building, though tried a request for proposals last year to see about a sublease or sale of the property (but apparently didn't get much interest). I wonder how much the city would have to spend the rejigger the very warehouse-y building into the 180,000 sq ft of office space needed by CFSA.
* From the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, a story that Prince William County is spending $225,000 to look at passenger ferry service up the Potomac: "It will conduct test boat runs on May 4, 5 and 6 from stops at Prince William marinas at Quantico, Dumfries and Occoquan to Fort Belvoir, Alexandria and the Washington Navy Yard. The test boat will be a catamaran that seats 149." (I assume they'd want to use the dock under construction at Diamond Teague Park, but there's no specifics.)
* On Wednesday evening, the Post reported (though the article is no longer on the web site) that the city had informed Metro--in the middle of a game!--that it would no longer pay the $27,000-an-hour cost of keeping the subway open if games at Nationals Park ran late because of extra innings or rain delays. By the next morning, the city had changed its mind.
* The Douglass Bridge will be closed Sunday (4/26) from 5am to approximately 10am for the monthly swing span test.

Circulator Schedule for Nats Games; Tickets Kerfuffle
Apr 14, 2009 1:44 PM
* DDOT has posted a list of the expanded service hours for the Union Station-Eastern Market-Navy Yard Circulator bus on Nationals game days. Basically, for both weekday and weekend games that start after 2 pm, Circulator service will run until midnight; 12:30 and 1:30 games will have service until 7 pm, with their usual every-10-minute headways. (Normally, the buses run from 6 am to 7 pm on weekdays, and not at all on weekends.) The running-until-midnight will make the restaurants and bars on Eighth Street happy, with their hopes that fans will hop on the buses to head to the food and drink offerings at Barracks Row because of the lack of options near the ballpark.
* The Post and City Paper cover the second annual Mayor-vs-Council free-stadium-suite-tickets standoff, with City Paper posting the transcript of a particularly feisty exchange this morning between the Mayor and the media today.
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More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA, politics, Nationals Park

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

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

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

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

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

Getting to Monday's Opener via Metro; Pre-Game
Apr 10, 2009 9:03 AM
Metro has just put out a press release detailing their service plans for Monday's 3:05 pm Nats home opener against the Phillies, which includes rush hour service starting at 1 pm, and extra trains when the game ends. (Though they should have checked their link to the old Monument Half Street construction cam before including it in their release, since the camera is no longer operating.) There's also the wmata.com/nationals page for additional details on the bus lines that run near the park--but remember that the DC Circulator bus that runs between Union Station, Eastern Market, and New Jersey and M is not run by WMATA, so DCCirculator.com is the place to go for info on that, though so far there's no details on how late it'll run on Monday (normally it stops at 7 pm).
With President Obama apparently not throwing out the first pitch after all, there might not be quite so much of a need to arrive early, but the Nats have still planned a lineup of special events, and are opening the Center Field Gate at 12:30 pm, with batting practice starting at 12:45. There will be a band playing on the new stage in the Center Field plaza and another one up on the Scoreboard Walk. Nats Extra, the MASN pregame show, will be broadcasting live from the Center Field plaza at 2 pm, and the official pre-game ceremonies (hosted by David Gregory of Meet the Press) will start at 2:35 pm. Nearby residents and office workers who won't be at the game should prepare themselves for the planned "flyover by four helicopters, a OH-58 Kiowa, two UH-1 Hueys and one UH-72 Lakota" during the National Anthem. The Nats have their own transportation page, at nationals.com/waytogo, though as I noted a few weeks ago, it still needs a bit of freshening for 2009 (the Metrobus page is still dedicated to the N22).
UPDATE: I'll add this on, since this is ballpark-related: the four parking lots at The Yards are available for baseball parking (just not as part of the official network of Nats lots this year), for either $25 or $20 per game; call or e-mail for more information. Other cash lots include the garage at 100 M and the small surface lot at 250 M and I believe the lots under 80 M and 1100 New Jersey, though I'm not 100% sure. The official Nats cash lot (where you can also buy single-game parking via their web site) is Lot U at 3rd and K, and costs $15 this year. In other words, if you want to drive down near the ballpark and pay cash for parking, you should be able to find a spot, though these lots may be more full during weekday afternoon games, since they're also used by commuters. I plan to update my Stadium Parking page soon.
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More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Photos of No-Bus-Garage; Teague Dock Status
Apr 3, 2009 4:03 PM
As already mentioned, the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M streets bit the dust this week, and when the sun unexpectedly peeked out at noontime, I had to go get the shots. You can see the basic views on my Akridge Half Street page, or you can check out the Photo Archive's Half and M and Van and M offerings.
I also took some updated photos (though not complete sets) along N Street, at Half, Van, and Cushing, if you'd like to be reminded before heading to the stadium this season of what the area just north of the ballpark looked like only a few short years ago. (And don't miss today's photos from inside the park.)
I also peeked in down at Diamond Teague Park, where signs of progress are visible (there's now concrete poured in slabs between the shore and the pumphouse), but will the docks be ready "by Opening Day" as has been touted? The dry-land parts of the park are expected to be completed in mid-Summer.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, Teague Park

Morning Roundup - Back to the Ballpark Edition
Apr 3, 2009 9:03 AM
I'll be back later today with news from a "What's New at the Ballpark" tour, but here's a few items to clear off the desk first:
* There's a baseball game tomorrow night! It's the Nats vs. the O's in what is looking to become a traditional exhibition game. It's at 6:05 pm (though there's also a shindig for season-ticket holders earlier in the afternoon), and the usual suspects are gearing up to help people get to the ballpark. Metro has updated their Go Metro! Go Nats! page, which includes a brochure on all the bus/rail options. And, because tomorrow has a sports tripleheader (Nats, Wizards, and DC United), Metro is letting people know they're ready. However, the new DC Circulator route (which is run by the city, not Metro) will not be running tomorrow--its expanded service for Nats weekend gates will start during the regular season. On the other hand, the Nats Express shuttle will be running from the free parking at RFK from noon until 90 minutes after the game ends. The Nats have a Way to Go page of their own with details on how to get to the ballpark, but it looks like it still needs a touch of refreshing for 2009.
* While the ballpark tour today will include a sampling of the food offerings at the stadium by new concessionaire Levy Restaurants, Dan Steinberg has already broken the news of the lineup of beers at the ballpark for 2009. Because it's important to have one's priorities straight.
* There may be some better feeling between city officials and the Nats during the pre-game ceremonies tomorrow (where Mayor Fenty will throw out the first pitch and council chairman Gray will give the "Washington, let's play ball!" salute), because the team has paid its 2009 rent on time.
* In non-ballpark news, UrbanTurf reports that Velocity Condos is having a "preview weekend"--apparently they've completed construction on one of the models in the building itself (they've had a full-scale model inside their sales center since it opened last year). Tours are by appointment, with prices starting in the $300s. Their official web site is velocitycapitol.com (though it doesn't mention the preview).
* The WMATA bus garage is now history. The weather's too lousy for me to get pictures today, but I'll get some tomorrow. The question is, will Half Street be open by tomorrow afternoon?
* But, the real cliffhanger of the weekend is: will we be seeing the schoolbuses driven off the Canal Park lots? Those of you with the prime vantage points are deputized to alert us all if you see them driving off (and not coming back).

Bus Garage Demolition; School Buses Leaving This Weekend; Circulator Spotted!; Third and K Pics
Mar 30, 2009 1:10 PM
A brief morning walkabout brought the following items:
* The demolition of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage at Half M continues; they had reached as far north as just across from the subway entrance at around 11:30, so the M Street facade could conceivably be gone by the end of today or early on Tuesday. You can see a couple of photos (like a bigger version of the one above) on my Akridge Half Street page, though the photos won't be as striking until the demolition reaches M Street.
* A nice fellow working at the schoolbus parking lot at Canal Park told me that the buses are being moved to their new home at DC Village on Saturday and Sunday (April 4 and 5), with drivers expected to report to work at the new lot on Monday morning, April 6. So, it does indeed sound like this is the last week of the Sea of Yellow.
* Look Mom, a Circulator bus! (This is the stop at First and K, before it turns right on I and circles back down New Jersey to the subway entrance.) You can see it lurking in a few other updated photos I took at New Jersey and M. UPDATE: There apparently was a boo-boo with the information on the DC Circulator site--the bus will be running from 6 am to 7 pm weekdays (it had said 6-6). They've also updated their service map to correct some errors.
* Here's my first shot of the repainted Third and K Market (now to be known as the Corner Copia Deli). You can compare it to its old profile here.
* The Nats are having a "soft launch" for their new food concessionaire (Levy Restaurants) via a series of invitation-only events this week. Tonight employees of the Navy Yard will be sampling the new food, and there will also be events on Tuesday and Wednesday for local businesses and invitees of the BID. On Friday the media will get its shot. I will report back later in the week, though I won't be able to provide doggie bags for everyone.
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More posts: West Half St., Canal Park, circulator, cornercopia, Metro/WMATA, Retail

Demolition Underway at Old Bus Garage
Mar 28, 2009 6:50 PM
Don't know if the work started on Friday or today, but a late-evening drive down M Street brought the surprise news that demolition is now underway on the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M. The demo is starting at its southeastern end (closer to N Street), and I can't imagine it'll take too long to dismantle the building. There's scaffolding now in place for a pedestrian walkway along the garage's M Street face. This is the first demolished building of 2009 in the neighborhood, and the 154th since I started photographing the neighborhood. (Browse the previous 153 via my Demolished Buildings gallery.) The bus garage site, now owned by Akridge, is slated to be replaced with 700,000-sq-ft of office, residential, and retail offerings, with construction perhaps beginning in 2010.
When I was circling the block to check the extent of the demolition (made more difficult by Half Street currently being closed so that infrastructure work can be done), I drove past the Center Field Gate at the ballpark and saw that the blank concrete wall that used to be the northern face of the Red Porch restaurant is now floor-to-ceiling windows, looking onto the plaza.
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More posts: West Half St., Development News, Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

New Circulator Route Info Now Available
Mar 27, 2009 4:55 PM
With minutes to spare (given that the Metro N22 bus goes out of service after Saturday), DCCirculator.com now has the information for the new route that will run from Union Station to Eastern Market to the Navy Yard Metro station, beginning on Sunday, March 29. The site says that the buses will run every 10 minutes from 6 am to 6 pm 7 pm on weekdays (only), with extended service on Nationals game days. (Not sure I had heard before this that there'd be no weekend service, so I guess it technically starts on Monday, March 30.) The stops in Near Southeast (see the map) will be at Eighth and L, Hull and M (by the Navy Yard Hull Street gate), the 300 block of M, the Metro station entrance at New Jersey and M, and also at First and K as part of the turnaround-loop the buses will do to head back east. The fare is $1, and the buses accept cash, transfers, SmarTrip cards, and passes. (The info for the route replacing the 98 bus is available now, too.)
(UPDATED to correct the hours of operation, which were incorrect on the Circulator web site.)
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More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA

Friday Morning Link Fest (Un-Nasty Version)
Mar 27, 2009 8:04 AM
Happy Friday, everyone! It's going to be a golden day! So get yourselves up, you sleepyheads, put a big smile on your face, and go take on the world!
{Yeech. That's enough of that.}
Here's some worthwhile links from the past few days, which have been piling up while I've attended to real life:
* Greater Greater Washington dug through the mayor's FY 2010 budget proposal and says that it would repeal the portion of the Performance Parking Act that sets aside a portion of the parking meter proceeds for the neighborhoods. As I wrote back in January after the quarterly Performance Parking public meeting, "legislation that created the pilot spells out that, initially, 60 percent of the program revenue will be put toward the repayment of the cost of the meters, with 20 percent of the revenue to be used "solely for the purpose of non-automobile transportation improvements in the zone." (The other 20 percent goes to the DDOT's operating fund.) "
* Also on the parking front, Michael Perkins of both Infosnack and GGW takes a long, detailed look at on-street parking around the Navy Yard: "Over the last two months, I've collected occupancy data for three blocks immediately adjacent to the Navy Yard. Between the prices and time limitations, more spaces are going empty than needed." He'll be writing again on the subject--including getting DDOT's reaction--today.
* DCMetrocentric throws open the floor to a discussion of the quality of architecture in Near Southeast. Opinions vary.
* Richard Layman thinks the Circulator replacing the N22 is a waste of money.
* The Post's District Extra on Thursday took a look at the Anacostia Waterfront forums that have been held the past two months, and will continue through June. (April's will be a "Green Living in a Green DC," on April 21.) Here are the presentation slides from the meeting described in the Post piece.
* This 1993 photo from Darrow Montgomery's archive looks to be on the field south of the old Capper apartment building at 900 Fifth Street (where Capper Seniors #1 now stands). The freeway embankment at rear is the giveaway.
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Peeking at Changes in Nats Parking Lots for 2009 (Updated)
Mar 23, 2009 9:54 AM
Sometime within the past few weeks the Nats updated their parking information pages for season ticket holders and individual game parking, which I've brought together in an update of my stadium parking map. In comparing them to the last year's parking options, you can see the following changes:
* There's no "official" parking at The Yards anymore (the "blue zone" from 2008, lots E, Z, and Y). Perhaps they'll be available as cash lots, but I haven't heard. (See Update II below.)
* Lot "S" way up at Second and H has been dropped, too.
* New official lots have cropped up at the WMATA bus garage site (lot G) and underneath 55 M Street (lot O). The WMATA garage was offered as $50 valet parking starting about mid-season last year.
* Individual game-day parking prices have dropped by $5 for most of the lots that were same-day purchase lots last year (though the purchasing system doesn't seem to exactly match the map when it comes to the red zone, which says $35 for the lots other than the official garages while the purchasing system says $40 for all red zone parking).
As for whether the Nats Express shuttle from RFK is going to run, there's been no announcement, and the page for it on the official web site, looks like it hasn't been updated since last season. (It hasn't been updated to replace the N22 references with news of the new Circulator route, either.) The "interactive trip planner" also has not yet been updated to show the 2009 parking options.
I imagine more info will be coming soon.
UPDATE: The Nationals have passed along word that the Nats Express shuttle from RFK will be running again this year. Also, the lot under 55 M won't be an official lot after all.
UPDATE II: The folks at the Yards say that they will be offering both cash parking and "season subscription" parking in their lots that were formerly lots E, Y, and Z last year. (They'll just be doing it on their own and not as part of the lineup of "official" Nats lots.) More info to come soon.
UPDATE III: Reader J. rightly notices that Lot R (under 1100 New Jersey) is also gone from the 2009 lineup.

Midweek Mish-Mash
Mar 11, 2009 1:50 PM
Lots of little things to pass along:
* Per Dr. Gridlock (because I forgot to check myself), tomorrow the WMATA board will be voting to discontinue the N22 line that runs between the Union Station, Eastern Market, and Navy Yard Metro stations. The city will be replacing it with a Circulator bus that is also supposed to stop at the new Capitol Vistors Center (but will not include the daytime loop over to Maritime Plaza at 12th and M). You can read the report to the board for a summary of the public comments received on the proposed change.
* Another Anacostia Waterfront Forum is being held, on March 17 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the MLK Library. This month's topic is "The Economics of Developing the Anacostia Waterfront" and will feature Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, Alex Nyhan of Forest City (who works on the Yards), and others. Here's DDOT's release on the February forum.
* I mentioned a few days back the summer concert series being put on by the BID; they've now released a flyer with the lineup of acts (so you can see them all on a single page rather than browsing through their events calendar).
* Potholepalooza! And it's also a good time to mention that DDOT has started its own Twitter feed.
* I've been remiss in not mentioning the city's new web site, consumer.dc.gov, devoted to consumer protection issues, with a focus right now on targeting unlicensed towing businesses, auto repair shops, and home improvement contractors. And DCRA has been Twittering for a while now (if you follow them you've gotten to read my pleas to get the building permits feed flow unstuck, which they took care of yesterday. Thanks!).

First Posted Rendering of Akridge Half Street
Mar 6, 2009 2:37 PM
With a hat tip to reader M. for seeing that this page has finally gone live (I figured out the URL a few months back, but they hadn't linked to it anywhere yet and hadn't included any drawings), I can point you to Akridge's small info page on 25 M Street, which includes one of the many renderings that Akridge displayed at the ANC and Zoning Commission hearings over the past few months. It's a view of the northern section of the west side of Half Street; at the very far right you can see Lerner's 20 M Street building, if that helps orient you. (It's drawn as if you're standing on Half Street at the very southern corner of 55 M, looking northwest). It shows the two office buildings, with the "Via" being the open space between them. (Not shown is the horseshoe-shaped residential building on the southern end of the block.) You can read my more detailed description of the Akridge plans here, and see my project page for photos of what the site currently looks like (hint: it's the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage).
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More posts: West Half St., ANC News, Metro/WMATA

Zoning Commission Approves Akridge Half Street
Feb 26, 2009 7:51 PM
On Monday night, the Zoning Commission gave final approval to the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review of Akridge's Half Street project, on the site of the old WMATA bus garage at Half and M. Normally this would be where I would link to my entry with a detailed description of the late January hearing on this review--except that I couldn't find it. And as I thought back, it then dawned on me that I didn't actually write one. I think I was waiting to see if maybe I could get some renderings (which I've failed at), and then life sped onward. Oops. Feel free to ask for your money back.
But at least I wrote a long description of the project when it was presented to ANC 6D in December--or, if you really want to know how the hearing went, here's the transcript. (Though it will be pretty hard to follow along without any drawings to look at.)
The 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project could get underway in early 2010. The bus garage will probably be demolished pretty soon, to clear the space for stadium parking.
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More posts: West Half St., Development News, meetings, meetings, Metro/WMATA, zoning

Navy Yard East Entrance May Close on Weekends; Lead in Water Forum
Feb 19, 2009 10:06 AM
* From Dr. Gridlock, news about a work session being held today by the Metro board of directors to find ways to close their budget shortfall. On the long list of items: closing the east entrance of the Navy Yard station (at New Jersey and M) on weekends, unless there's an event at the ballpark. Metro numbers say that fewer than 700 people use that gate on weekends. The P2 line that I believe runs down M Street could also be on the chopping block. See the list here, though remember it's just a first cut at ideas.
* From Tommy Wells: "On Monday, February 23rd, Councilmember Wells will host a Community Forum on the Latest Information Regarding Lead in DC Drinking Water. [..] Officials will be on hand from the DC Water and Sewer Authority, District Department of the Environment, District Department of Health, Washington Aqueduct and DC Appleseed to address your concerns and questions regarding the lead levels in the DC water system." It will be at Tyler Elementary School at 10th and G, SE, at 6:30 pm.
* And a swing span test at the Douglass Bridge will take place on Sunday morning (Feb. 22), with the bridge being closed from 5 am to approximately 10 am.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

A.M. Tidbits: 8th Street Lot, Anacostia Waterfront, N22
Feb 18, 2009 10:36 AM
* The folks at Barracks Row Main Street have passed along the news that today the chain link fences are being removed from around the parking lot under the Southeast Freeway at Eighth and I. New lighting has been installed, and once the parking meters and striping are complete, this lot that was formerly restricted to use by the Marines will become a 60-space public parking lot.
* I didn't make the Anacostia Waterfront Forum meeting last night; hopefully the DDOT folks will post any slides or other materials on the Anacostia Waterfront web site. However, yesterday WAMU did two reports on the initiative, with interviews with many of the people scheduled to speak at the forum: you can hear them here. (And, a PS to DDOT: it might not be a bad idea to have the old AWC URL redirect to the new web site instead of dc.gov.)
* A reminder that tomorrow (Thursday) is the WMATA public hearing on decommissioning the N22 Union Station/Eastern Market/Navy Yard bus line, so that DC can replace it with a shiny red Circulator bus. It's at 6:30 pm at Metro's headquarters, 600 Fifth St., NW.
* (h/t G St.) I have to admit I found this pretty funny, but only because I've been lucky enough to never discuss dog parks, nor have I come up with a "ridiculous acronym" for the neighborhood. (Though goodness knows plenty of other people are trying.) Plus, I was born on Capitol Hill, and really am a "DC Lifer." Nyaaah!
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More posts: 816-20 Potomac, circulator, 8th Street, Metro/WMATA

Feb. 19 Hearing to Replace N22 With Circulator
Feb 4, 2009 9:49 AM
Just out from WMATA: "A public hearing will be held on Thursday, February 19, to receive the public's input on the proposed elimination of Metrobus route N22, the Navy Yard shuttle service, with that service switching to the DC Circulator. The public hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m., at Metro's headquarters, 600 5th Street, NW, Washington, D.C." Why? "The District Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) notified Metro of its intent to transfer operation of Metrobus route N22 to the DC Circulator effective March 29, 2009. Therefore, it is proposed to discontinue Metrobus service on route N22 so that DDOT can transfer the funds to a new DC Circulator route that would serve the Navy Yard - Union Station area. Details of the proposed DC Circulator route are being developed by DDOT." See my previous posts on this switch from N22 to Circulator for more information and background. See the Metro release for information on how to be a witness if you wish to testify.
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More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA

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

First Tidbits on Akridge's 25 M Project at Half Street
Dec 9, 2008 2:00 PM
It's been more than a year since WMATA first awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage property at Half and M to Akridge (and almost six months since the suit brought by Monument Realty over the bidding process was settled), and at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting there was a first public peek at the designs for this central site being called 25 M Street, on the block just north of Nationals Park bounded by Half, M, N, and Van. And clearly Akridge is taking this project very seriously, as they arrived at the meeting with an army of people, including heavy-hitter architects Bill Hellmuth of HOK (who designed the office portion), Philip Esocoff of Esocoff and Associates (designers of the residential portion), and Jon Eisen of StreetSense (the group working on the retail).
I don't have any renderings yet (hope to within a month or so), but the ones displayed showed buildings with what Hellmuth described as "much more active facades" that "are not like a K Street monolith." There will be three buildings: two office buildings totaling 363,000 square feet, and a 276-unit residential building at N Street with roof terraces from which residents can look into the ballpark and watch the games. The facades step "out" and "in" (far enough in some places to require a zoning special exception), including some spots in the M Street office building that will allow tenants to look south into the ballpark, too. The general feel is not unlike the Monument designs for the other side of Half. (And, with a raze permit already requested, none of this incorporates the existing bus garage building.)
There will also be 56,000 square feet of retail, with a mix of one-, two-, and 2 1/2-story spaces occupying 69 percent of the ground floor, which will require a special exception from the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay's requirement of 75 percent. They are expecting to have national retailers for the spaces along Half Street, but are planning to look for smaller local "service" retailers for the additional space along Van Street.
They are also creating what they call the "Via," a pedestrian-only "street" that runs from Half to Van between the two office buildings at the same spot in their block as "Monument Street" will be across the way (just south of 55 M). They are envisioning a "one-of-a-kind" DC destination: a marketplace with stalls and local vendors, where you could get fresh food, "quick-bite" carry-out, etc. (They mentioned Pittsburgh as an example, and I'm assuming they're referencing the Strip District.) The renderings also showed two glass-enclosed suspended walkways above the Via to connect the two office buildings.
The entire project will be LEED certified (as is now required in DC), though they aren't sure yet what level they'll be shooting for ("the goal is to get as high as we can"). Hellmuth said that HOK is not doing a single building in DC right now that isn't at least LEED Silver, and that all major tenants want to be in LEED buildings.
I didn't get the total number of underground parking spaces, but the residential will have three spaces for every four units. (Monument's project across the street, of similar size, would eventually have about 700 spaces.)
Akridge indicated that their "ideal start date" is January 2010, with construction of the entire 700,000-sq-ft project estimated at 22 months. But there is no firm commitment that it will start at that time (thanks to the Current Economic Situation), plus it could end up being built in phases.
The ANC commissioners seemed receptive to the plans (Bob Siegel said that it gave him a "nice, warm feeling"), though with the usual questions about employment for local residents and LSDBE considerations, and concerns about residents and tenants having to work around ballpark traffic.
Akridge was officially at the ANC to request its support for both the zoning overlay review and the special exceptions being requested. While some commissioners were ready to vote to give support immediately, others weren't, and so after a number of differing motions that all failed it was decided that representatives of both sides would work together to discuss "issues" so that the ANC can vote on the project at its Jan. 12 meeting. The Zoning Overlay Review hearing is on Jan. 29.
And, not that there's much to see yet, but I do know have an Akridge/25 M project page, mainly with views of the bus garage from various angles.

Tiny M Street Doings (Glass Panes and Medians)
Dec 8, 2008 11:05 PM
On my way back from the ANC 6D meeting, I noticed a couple items worth mentioning:
* The glass has now been completely installed around the Half and M entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, at 55 M Street. I know everyone just *loved* the cyclone fences that had been there, but time marches on. The plans approved by the Zoning Commission called for a special backlit treatment ("frit") of the glass--we'll see if that's still part of the design.
* There's a long row of construction barrels in the middle of M between Cushing and First. Perhaps someone who's seen the work can comment, but my uneducated guess is that they are preparing to rebuild the median there. The developers of 100 M were given permission to remove the existing median there and between First and New Jersey so that they could occupy the curb lane, as long as they agreed to reinstall the medians afterward. Given how close 100 M is to opening, and with the sidewalk now open, I imagine this is probably what's going on. And not a moment too soon--I need back my places to stand for middle-of-the-street photos!
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More posts: 55 M St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., M Street

ANC 6D Meeting Monday (First Peek at 25 M)
Dec 5, 2008 12:44 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D monthly meeting is out, and the most enticing item is Akridge looking for the commission's support in advance of its Jan. 29 Capitol Gateway zoning overlay review for its new 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development at 25 M, on the site of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, in the block directly north of Nationals Park. At this point, little has been put forth publicly about the project other than it'll be a office/residential/retail mix, and is expected to get underway in early 2010.
Also on the agenda is a third go-round with the DC Housing Authority over the designs for some external trash enclosures for some of the units at Capitol Quarter. I wrote about the first discussion here, and the Hill Rag has the report on the second one. Will the third time be the charm, or will bad things come in threes? There will also be a status report about the Capper redevelopment in general.
There's also apparently a letter being brought by Commissioner Sobelsohn to express the ANC's support for retaining the Nats Express shuttle bus that brings stadium-goers to the neighborhood from the parking lots at RFK. I imagine that the ANC will be expressing some level of concern about increased traffic and parking problems if that shuttle service goes away (it was reported last month that Tommy Wells is in favor of ending it).
The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW.

Mishmash: Liveable, Walkable Awards, Waiting on N22 News, Navy Yard Parking, Tweets
Dec 4, 2008 10:38 AM
* Tonight (Thursday) is Tommy Wells's second Liveable, Walkable Community Awards, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street, NE.
* Metro's live streaming of its board meetings seems to have been taking a lot of time off lately, so I can't yet tell you whether the Customer Serivce, Operations, and Safety Committee has approved at its meeting this morning the request to have a public hearing on discontinuing the N22 line. (Even if they have, the request still needs to be approved by the entire board at its Dec. 18 meeting.)
* Infosnack Headquarters reports on the changes in on-street parking near the Navy Yard to discourage free all-day parking. DDOT chose to use signage to prohibit rush-hour parking, instead of using meters to garner additional revenue, and Infosnack is displeased.
* The Nats will be ending their 2009 exhibition season on April 4 at Nationals Park against the Orioles, in what is apparently going to become a tradition.
Latest Tweets, chock full of goodness:
* '09 Nats home games added to my GCal. (You can add them to yours via the buttons at lower right)
* And I'm reminded that I haven't mentioned the Parsons sign up in the windows at 100 M--they're leasing 30% of the building.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Navy Yard

Post-Holiday Scraping-for-News Post (N22, Twitter)
Dec 1, 2008 10:22 AM
With not much news afoot, and with the holiday weekend weather not meshing properly with my schedule of family shindigs to allow for any photo excursions (my new camera is crying out to be used!), I only have the smallest of tidbits to report.
* On Thursday (Dec. 4) the WMATA Customer Service, Operations and Safety Committee will be voting to approve a public hearing on the plan to end the N22 bus line that runs between Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard station entrance at New Jersey and M. The District is planning to replace this bus line with a new Circulator route covering the same route, and also adding in a stop at the new US Capitol Visitors Center. If approved, the hearing would be held in January, and the expectation is that the Circulator route would be in place by Opening Day 2009. Read my previous posts on this change here and here.
And, here's two "Tweets" from Friday of terribly important breaking news items: (follow me on Twitter to get these as soon as I post them, or be sure to check the Twitter box at the upper right of the JDLand home page)
* Not sure when this happened, but the Capitol Skyline Hotel at South Cap & I isn't a Best Western anymore.
* Holiday snowflakes hung from the streetlights on M Street. Festive!
UPDATE: One more that I forgot: tomorrow (Tuesday), the Taxation Without Representation Street Renaming Act will get its first vote in front of the city council.
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More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA, M Street, South Capitol St.

Zoning Overlay Review for Akridge Half Street Project
Nov 25, 2008 12:42 PM
While we're all busy looking at the hole in the ground on the east side of Half Street, plans are apparently moving forward across the way: Akridge's 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage site (just across from the Metro station entrance) is now on the Zoning Commission docket for a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review on Jan. 29, 2009.
This project will cover the entire block bounded by M, N, Van, and Half, which is the stretch along which fans walk to Nationals Park from the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station. (Akridge bought the southernmost parcel from Monument Realty back in late August, at the same time it finally closed on its $46 million purchase of bus garage site.) A raze permit application was filed for the bus garage building in September.
There hasn't been much made public yet about this development, other than it will be a mix of office, residential, and retail, and the hearing announcement says that the FAR will be 7.9 and the maximum building height will be 110 feet. In addition to the overlay review (which sets out some firm guidelines for projects along M Street and in the Ballpark District), Akridge is also asking for relief from roof structure requirements, loading requirements, ground-floor retail requirements, and step-back requirements.
It's been reported that Akridge is expecting to begin on the project in 2010; they've hired HOK (designers of the ballpark and the Plaza on K), Esocoff & Associates (Onyx) and StreetSense Inc. to design what an Akridge press release calls a "one-of-a-kind destination." Quoting further: "'Half Street is the city's newest and most unique urban destination,' says Matthew J. Klein, Akridge President. 'This stretch between the Metro and the ballpark has great energy and we look forward to capitalizing on that and other natural amenities like the river, to deliver the area's best urban living, working, shopping, dining, and entertainment project.'"
I've marked this movement by finally giving the site its own project page (now separate from the old "Ballpark District" page). Hopefully in the lead-up to the zoning hearing we'll get a peek at some renderings.

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

Taking Metro to the Anacostia Info Fair: Uhhhh... (Updated)
Nov 12, 2008 7:35 PM
Nice catch by reader S, who notes that the city's exhortations to arrive at Saturday Nov. 15's Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair at the ballpark via Metro appear to have one small complication:
"The Navy Yard Metrorail station west entrance on the Green Line will be closed for select days this month as a result of safety sensitive construction work directly above the station's entrance. The station's west entrance will be closed on the following dates:
"Saturday, November 15, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Monday to Friday, November 17 to 21, 8 p.m. to closing
"Saturday, November 22, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Customers who normally use the west entrance will need to use the east entrance located at New Jersey Ave. SE."
UPDATE: They're now going to be providing free shuttle bus service from the New Jersey & M Metro entrance to/from the ballpark, from 12:30 pm to 5:15 pm.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA

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

Raze Permit Application Filed for Bus Garage
Sep 26, 2008 6:51 PM
Now winding its way through the DC regulatory process is a raze permit for the former WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, at 17 M Street (directly across from the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station and one block north of Nationals Park). The garage was purchased last month by Akridge, which has indicated that it is planning a 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on the site, perhaps getting underway in 2010. The permit request is currently under review by the city's Historic Preservation Office; ANC 6D would also have been notified.
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More posts: West Half St., Development News, Metro/WMATA

Metro Board to Vote on N22 Bus Changes
Sep 22, 2008 1:47 PM
As I wrote a few days back, there are apparently plans to add a DC Circulator bus route in spring 2009 that would run between Union Station, the new US Capitol Vistors' Center (if it ever actually opens), and the Navy Yard station entrance at New Jersey and M (two blocks from Nationals Park). Since it would run on a similar route to Metro's N22 bus, Metro would then discontinue the N22, a move which requires a public hearing. So, on the agenda for this Thursday's WMATA board meeting is an item to both authorize the scheduling of the public meeting and also to amend Metro's FY09 budget to extend through March 2009 the current N22 service, which was expanded to evenings and weekends just before Opening Day as a way to move people to and from the ballpark. Here is more information detailing the agenda item.
One thing the board will not be voting on this week is the selection of a developer for the Navy Yard station's chiller plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L. Back in July there were discussions by WMATA's Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee in executive session about this selection, but nothing has been announced publicly and no items on the chiller site are on any of Thursday's agendas. Waaah.

DC Circulator Buses Replacing the N22 in 2009?
Sep 9, 2008 11:06 PM
In the agenda for Thursday's meeting of Metro's Finance, Administration, and Oversight Committee, there's a tantalizing sentence in a request to extend the special evening-and-weekend N22 (Union Station to Navy Yard via Eastern Market) Metrobus route service until March of 2009:
"The District of Columbia has advised WMATA of its intent to transfer the entire Route N22 as well as non-regional Route 98 (Adams Morgan-U Street link) to the DC Circulator effective March 29, 2009."
In poking around the DC Department of Transportation web site, I found this newsletter on the joint DDOT/WMATA Neighborhood Circulation Study that's now underway, and the newsletter has this to say: "DDOT is currently developing plans for future expansion of DC Circulator routes in 2008 to serve Union Station-the new Capitol Visitors Center and the new Nationals Baseball stadium. Another route in consideration would connect the Woodley Park/Adams Morgan/U Street/Corridor." (I'm guessing they mean 2009.) None of the four scheduled public meetings are in Ward 6, so perhaps there will be more sessions at a later date that will be more tailored to Ward 6 concerns. And WMATA will have to have its own public hearings on the discontinuation of the N22.
As always, we shall see, but I imagine just the prospect of a Circulator bus running to and from the Navy Yard station will generate some excitement.
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More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Monument Sells Land South of Bus Garage to Akridge, and Pays $22.7 Million for WMATA Parking Lot
Sep 4, 2008 3:13 PM
This hasn't been mentioned in the items over the past few days about Akridge's Aug. 27 closing of its $46.5 million purchase of Metro's Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M: On the same day they closed on the bus garage, Akridge bought Monument Realty's land just south of the bus garage for $9.66 million. The site, a conglomeration of five or six lots that Monument cobbled together in 2004 and 2005, totals about 16,000 square feet along N Street between Half and Van, where the Good and Plenty carryout used to stand (for you old-timers).
To add one more Aug. 27 transaction to the mix: Monument also closed on its $22.7 million purchase of the 27,000-square-foot WMATA parking lot nestled between the Public Space Storage building and the old Domino's site, across Van from the bus garage. This is the land (currently Nats Parking Lot M) that Monument was awarded as part of the settlement of their lawsuit over the original awarding of all WMATA land on Square 700 to Akridge.
This means that Akridge now owns all of the west side of Half Street between M and N, while Monument owns the east side of South Capitol between M and N *except* for the Public Storage Building. (See my Monument Ballpark District page for photos.)
As mentioned in the other posts this week on Akridge's purchase of the bus garage, reports are that they are looking at a 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project, beginning perhaps in 2010. Don't know anything more than this at this point. Monument had been working on a residential building at South Capitol and N (land they still own), but I haven't heard if that's still part of their plans.

Akridge Closes on Bus Garage; Could Begin in 2010
Aug 29, 2008 9:25 AM
From today's WBJ print edition (subscribers only): "D.C.-based Akridge closed on Aug. 27 its $46.5 million purchase of the Metro bus garage site, which rival D.C.-based Monument Realty had intended to include in its opulent Half Street mixed-use development just north of Nationals Park." Akridge has hired HOK (designers of the ballpark and the Plaza on K), Esocoff & Associates (Onyx) and StreetSense Inc. to design what will be a 700,000-sq-ft mixed use development on the west side of Half Street. WBJ says that Akridge is hoping to break ground in 2010. (And, one small correction in the piece: the WMATA land that Monument gets the right to buy via the settlement of their lawsuit against Metro is not at the corner of South Capitol and M--which Monument already owns--but the parking lot just to the south, known as Nats lot M.)
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More posts: West Half St., Development News, Metro/WMATA

No Chiller Site Developer Yet; Other Tidbits
Jul 25, 2008 10:17 AM
* No big news out of yesterday's WMATA board meetings--the board gave Metro staff the go-ahead to negotiate a deal with a developer for the 14,000-sq-ft Navy Yard chiller plant site at Half and L, but didn't say in public session who the developer is or what the project might be. The only tidbits in the resolutions were that the project should be LEED certified and that it should be required to make a contribution to the city's affordable housing fund (both of which, I believe, would be the case anyway given the city's new green building and inclusionary zoning laws unless there's some WMATA loophole I'm unaware of).
* I imagine all the local blogs will be talking about this AP story today on DC's levee system. To tie it to the neighborhood, one of the things currently happening at the Yards is that they're building up the ground level in places to make sure that it's above the 100-year flood plain.
* What's the Sports and Entertainment Commission doing now that the ballpark has opened? The WashTimes takes a look.
* The Nationals have announced their promotions and ticket packages for the rest of the season. They'll finally be back at home starting Tuesday after what seems like forever. See my Events Calendar for the schedule of home games through the end of the season.
* NBC4 interviews one of the coworkers of the two men killed on the open-top bus on the way to Nationals Park.
* DC Metrocentric focuses on Near Southeast by pelting me with questions.
* Off-topic, but readers might be interested in this WashTimes overview of the plans for and the current status of redevelopment in Southwest.

Navy Yard Station Chiller Site Decision Thursday?
Jul 21, 2008 10:35 AM
The agendas for Thursday's various Metro board meetings have been posted, and, barring a last-minute change, it looks like the Planning, Development and Real Estate committee will finally be taking up the awarding of the Half and L "chiller plant" site for the Navy Yard Metro station to a developer. It's going to happen in an executive session (the agenda says nothing more than "Term Sheet on Navy Yard Chiller Site"), so it could be possible it's not yet a done deal. They've been trying to bring this up at the board since February; the solicitation for bids for the 14,100-sq-ft site happened nearly two years ago.
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More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Metro/WMATA, square 698

Summer Arrives: News Grinds to a Halt
Jul 16, 2008 9:21 AM
With the city council now almost in its summer recess until mid-September (though not before David Catania introduced legislation yesterday trying to raise the sales tax at Nationals Park in what appears to be an attempt to get back at the Lerners for withholding the rent), and with the Zoning Commission and most ANCs taking August off, the pace of bureaucratic-type news in these parts will be slow if not nonexistent for the next few weeks. We've got a Metro board meeting next week that might (or might not) be telling us the developer of the Navy Yard station's 14,000-sq-ft chiller plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L, but otherwise the calendar is all but empty until after Labor Day. (At least I can report that on Monday night ANC 6D voted 7-0 to approve a public space permit by 100 M Street to install sidewalks and city arborist-recommended willow oak and elm trees.)
That said, I should have some interesting items in the next few days, including hopefully an update about everyone's favorite What's the Deal With....? subject. And of course I'll have photo updates every few weeks, especially since it's expected that framing of the first Capitol Quarter townhouses will get underway by early August. But beyond that, expect the pace around here to be more leisurely during the dog days. As it should be!
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More posts: 100 M, Capper, Metro/WMATA, Square 743N, Nationals Park

WMATA Authorizes Settlement with Monument; Akridge Gets Garage, Monument Gets Parking Lot
Jun 26, 2008 1:56 PM
I know nothing more than this right now, but the WMATA board just within the past minute voted unanimously to approve the settlement of the lawsuit brought against them by Monument Realty over the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M. The discussion was all held in executive session, and the audio feed of the vote contained no details of the settlement, but I imagine the media will be picking it up soon. More as I get it, so keep checking back. Read yesterday's preview entry for background on the story.
UPDATE, seconds later: With the darn WBJ RSS feed not working, I missed this from about 40 minutes ago: ""Monument Realty and Akridge will split a key Metro-owned property near Nationals Park under a proposed legal settlement. [...] Monument will pay $22.6 million for a parcel on Van Street SE, while Akridge will pay $46.5 million for the Metro bus garage on the site, said Candace Smith, a WMATA spokeswoman." The Van Street site is the parking lot (Nats lot "M") just south of the Domino's site already owned by Monument. This means that the Public Space Storage building would be the only parcel on the block bounded South Capitol, Van, M and N not owned by Monument. Akridge would not gain control of the entire west side of Half Street with its acquisition of the bus garage: Monument owns the southernmost portion, directly across N Street from the ballpark, up to the alley where the On the Fly vending cart sets up shop.
UPDATE II: Here's the Metro press release.

Monument/WMATA Bus Garage Settlement Coming?
Jun 25, 2008 4:56 PM
From WBJ (h/t to reader W), hints that a settlement may be close at hand between Monument Realty and Metro over the lawsuit Monument filed in October after WMATA awarded the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M to Akridge. This is the third Metro monthly board meeting in a row that has "Monument Legal Issues" on the agenda for an executive session, but maybe this time something will actually come out of it.
Back in February a judge granted an injunction to prevent WMATA from continuing with the planned $69.5 million sale of the garage to Akridge, saying that Monument "demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that they were substantially prejudiced when WMATA considered Akridge's nonresponsive bid and participated in improper ex parte discussions with Akridge."

Navy Yard Metro Chiller Site Developer Selection Pushed Back Again
Jun 20, 2008 3:32 PM
It's now becoming almost a monthly occurrence, watching for the WMATA Planning, Development, and Real Estate Committee agendas to be posted, to then find that the agenda item for naming a developer for the Navy Yard subway station's 14,000-sq-ft "chiller plant" site on the southwest corner of Half and L has been pushed to a "subsequent agenda"--and it's now happened again, with a July 24 date now attached to it. (It was last marked for June 26.) This site would be a joint development between WMATA and whoever gets chosen, and beyond that there's no hints as to what sort of development it could be, or whether they'd try to acquire the Empire Cab company next door on L. You can read all my previous entries on the chiller plant here--and I bet you didn't know that the blog has such a spiffy search interface!
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More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Metro/WMATA, square 698, square 698

Monument Realty's Financing Problems (No Money Yet for Half Street Residential)
May 23, 2008 9:13 AM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal: "With two failed condominium projects seeking apartment investors, incomplete financing at two major D.C. projects and at least one empty office building, Monument Realty is feeling the pinch from today's constricting real estate economy. [...] And, contrary to industry speculation, Monument is not for sale, [Monument co-founder Jeffrey] Neal said. In the coming weeks the company hopes to nail down financing for two ongoing projects -- the residential portion of its Half Street project and The Watergate Hotel -- and finalize negotiations to sell two residential projects, he said."
As for the status of Half Street, where the 55 M Street office building is topped out and a hole is dug awaiting the start of a planned 200-room hotel and 340 residential units: "Monument recently secured $72 million in construction financing for the office portion of Half Street, along with an undisclosed sum for the hotel piece. The development company is still in the hunt for financing for its planned 340 residential units, Neal said. Once that is in place, the residential and hotel portions 'will come out of the ground this summer,' he said."
The article, which has a lot of detail on the difficulties Monument is facing on its other projects, also mentions that the litigation between Monument and WMATA over the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage "has been put on hold while the parties mediate their dispute."
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St.

Metro Board Talking About Monument Suit Again; Chiller Site May Get Developer in June
May 20, 2008 9:25 AM
Just like last month, the agenda for the WMATA board of directors meetings this Thursday includes an executive session, and in that executive session is the agenda item "Legal Issues - Monument vs. WMATA." For those of you just joining us, this lawsuit is a result of the bidding process for the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M that awarded the site to Akridge for $69 million--Monument argued that they were supposed to have first dibs on the site after being named "master developer" by the city. A judge awarded a preliminary injunction on the sale in February, saying that Monument has "demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that they were substantially prejudiced when WMATA considered Akridge's nonresponsive bid and participated in improper ex parte discussions with Akridge." I never heard about anything coming out of last month's board executive session when this was supposed to be discussed; perhaps there will be some action needing to be taken this time outside of executive session to give us a hint.
There's nothing else of Near Southeast-interest in the other WMATA board meetings on Thursday, but the Subsequent Agenda for the Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee says that its June 26 meeting will include an action item for approving the term sheet on the Navy Yard Chiller Site at Half and L. A joint development solicitation for this 14,100-sq-ft site was released back in September of 2006. A "developer selection" was supposed to be on the board's agenda back in January, but then disappeared; we'll see if this June item actually holds. The 2006 solicitation described WMATA as "looking for innovative plans . . . that will yield quality developments for the local communities, increase transit ridership, enhance the local tax base and provide a stream of revenue to WMATA for capital needs." Proposals were also supposed to follow the principles of "transit-oriented development" -- "providing safe, walkable, mixed-use communities that emphasize transit connections and reduce auto dependency." While doing all that, the site's developer would still have to replace the chiller operations either on site or somewhere close to the Navy Yard station.

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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More posts: Florida Rock, Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Parking Meeting Tonight, Metro Work to Impact Getting to the Ballpark This Weekend and June 7-8
May 7, 2008 9:44 AM
* A reminder that tonight is Tommy Wells's community meeting to get feedback on how the new on-street parking regulations are going in Near Southeast, Southwest, and on Capitol Hill. It's at 7 pm at the Capitol United Methodist Church, at 5th and Seward Square, SE (on the south side of the Square). I'm sure it'll be a blast.
* Metro is needing to do replace a switch at Mt. Vernon Square, necessitating four weekends worth of major delays on the Yellow and Green lines, starting this weekend and going through June 8. Here's Metro's press release detailing how service will be impacted, and how they will attempt to handle the crowds at Nationals Park during the May 10 and 11 and June 7 and 8 home games: "People attending these games should add more time into their schedules if riding or connecting to the Yellow and Green Line as there will be longer waits for trains before and after the games." This quote from WMATA in today's Post story is a little more stark: "If fans 'leave the stadium and keep walking straight to Half Street [the Navy Yard station entrance closest to the stadium], there will be such a backup that they won't be able to walk around the crowd.' " Fans are being told to build in 30 to 45 minutes into their trips.
There will be special shuttle trains between Navy Yard and L'Enfant Plaza, along with shuttle buses starting at the end of the seventh inning that will run between Navy Yard and Federal Center SW. Plus, the N22 shuttle from New Jersey and M to Eastern Market and Union Station will run every five minutes. Read the press release for further details; here's Dr. Gridlock, too.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Thursday Meeting Preview (WMATA, Yards, Five Guys)
Apr 23, 2008 10:36 AM
A somewhat busy Thursday (April 24) is on the boards:
* We might be getting some news on the state of Monument Realty's lawsuit against WMATA over the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage to Akridge--the WMATA Board of Directors is meeting at 11 am, and the agenda for their executive session includes "Legal Issues - Monument vs. WMATA." I know nothing beyond that.
* Forest City's plans for the office/residential/retail project at 401 M Street will be getting a Southeast Federal Center Overlay District Review in front of the Zoning Commission at 6:30 pm at Suite 220 South, 441 4th St., NW; you can also catch it via live webcast, if it's working. Read more about this from my ANC 6D wrapup last week and an earlier entry on the project.
* And, if you want to make your voice heard about the public space application by Five Guys for a sidewalk seating area, the Public Space Committee will be bringing it up at its monthly meeting, at 941 North Capitol Street, NE, 7th Floor, starting at 10 am. This is the application that ANC6D refused to support last week because of the lack of a community benefits package for the "loss of public space."

Valet Stadium Parking at the WMATA Bus Garage; Paying Cash Now an Option at T, W, HH Lots
Apr 20, 2008 9:34 AM
The Nats continue to expand their single-game parking offerings, with new options for drive-up cash lot parking now posted on the official web site (and being mentioned during game telecasts). The latest offerings are: a) valet parking (at $50 a pop!) inside the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M (which the Nats are now leasing from WMATA), b) additional cash-lot parking in official Nats lots T and W (at Capper) for $20 and lot HH for $15; and c) pre-pay-only individual-game Red Zone parking at a mere $40 a game.
Even broadcaster Don Sutton remarked during a broadcast a few nights ago that perhaps the Nats did *too* good of a job of telling people how tight parking and traffic would be, and that now there's plenty of inventory. (Perhaps the Nats also saw the private cash lots cropping up and saw a little bit of $$ flowing away from their grasp....)
But will this additional traffic flow to parking lots increase congestion, causing angst about the volume of cars descending on the neighborhood? (Then again, if it does, perhaps the pendulum then swings back toward people using Metro or the Nats Express.)
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Morning Links: The Usual Pope and Ballpark News
Apr 14, 2008 9:31 AM
* After having its ninth-highest ridership day on Wednesday night (the predicted commuting catastrophe that never happened), Metro announces that Friday's hockey, baseball, and cherry blossoms trifecta resulted in its third busiest day ever, with 828,132 riders on Metrorail, behind only the Reagan state funeral in 2004 and a cherry blossoms/baseball doubleheader in April 2007. We'll see if Pope Day hits the list.
* The WashTimes talks about the potential traffic gridlock this week during the Pope's visit, especially for Thursday's mass at Nationals Park.
* WTOP reports that people trying to sell their tickets to the mass online are getting cease and desist letters from the archdiocese. Not to mention all-expenses-paid trips to purgatory.
* This NewsChannel 8 report from Friday talks about how the ballpark will be transformed into a "spiritual center."
* The Post writes about the Nationals Dream Foundation's Neighborhood Initiative, which I wrote about here. (This link is a day late, thanks to the Post's RSS feeds being, shall we say, untimely.)
* The Nats are out of town this week, returning on April 23 for a long homestand through May 4. This is mainly a cheap excuse to give the first link to a gallery I'm going to update throughout the season of photos I've taken at the ballpark that don't fall into the before/after or press event categories. Not much there now, but at the bottom of the page you can also follow the links to the piles of photos I took at the ballpark in March during the run-up to Opening Night.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, Traffic Issues

Link Roundup (No-Commuting-Apocalypse Edition)
Apr 10, 2008 9:05 AM
* There's not a single story that I can find in the media this morning talking about how last night's predicted commuting catastrophe went, on the roads, at RFK, or on the Metro. The announced paid attendance at the ballpark was 23,340, up a few thousand from Monday night, and judging from the 55 M web cam the vast majority of people arriving by Metro made it before first pitch. (The 10-4 drubbing at the hands of the Marlins was a disaster of a different sort.) Anyone have any problems?
(Ah, just as I finished writing, here's Metro's report, saying that yesterday was its ninth highest weekday ridership day ever, though tourists and cherry blossom visitors were part of the mix, too.)
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's Post looks at how the dire predictions for Opening Night and Monday night didn't come to pass, and also the many different ways you readers reported getting to the ballpark on Opening Night (so, thanks for all those comments--made my job easy this week!).
* An Inquirer columnist disses concessionaire Aramark's performance at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, noting that the company, which had been in charge of concessions at RFK, didn't get the gig at Nationals Park. (He also tosses in a plug for Ben's half-smokes.)
* I'm going to add a list of available cash lots to my Stadium Parking page--I'd love some on-the-ground reports to make sure I'm getting them all (Splash, Chez Resnick at First and L, 80 M, South Capitol and Potomac, perhaps Positive Nature--anyone seen any others? If so, where, and for how much?).
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Metro and Parking Doom, Preparing the Ballpark for the Pope; Pick Your Disaster Scenario
Apr 9, 2008 10:09 AM
* NBC4 sets the vibe with "Traffic Nightmare Expected in DC Area This Evening", a short piece on the Wizards-United-Nats trifecta. They list the area around RFK as the possible flash point, though all of yesterday's Impending Doom stories pointed toward Metro and Gallery Place. Remember, if you're using the Nats Express, you have to park at RFK's Lot 7 tonight, not Lot 8. Dr. Gridlock has more on getting through the evening.
* WJLA gets into the mix with "Parking Woes Surround New Stadium," retelling a story they had on Tuesday about legally parked cars getting towed during Monday's ballgame. There's also a quote from a school bus driver lamenting not being able to park free on the street anymore, which I'm guessing won't be garnering much sympathy from the pro-Canal Park folks who want the buses out. And there's dueling quotes from Barracks Row shopowners, one who doesn't think it's fair and another who likes the turnover of spaces. There will be a public meeting next month to get first feedback on the new parking restrictions.
* For something a bit more uplifting, try Catholic News Service's "Turning a Stadium into a Cathedral for Pope's Mass in DC."
And, an observation:
* Conventional Wisdom leading up to Opening Day: "OMG! The stadium is going to be a disaster because there's going to be such huge traffic, transit and parking nightmares!"
* Conventional Wisdom after Monday's game: "OMG! The stadium is going to be a disaster because no one's going to go!" (Never mind that it was NCAA finals night/cold as hell/the Marlins/a school night/a game not in season ticket partial plans.)
Stan says the Nats will get the attendance they deserve. Ask the Capitals about that, when you're mulling whether to fork over a couple thousand dollars for a ticket to one of their playoff games.
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Peeps, Yes. Pope Bobblehead....? (Update: Apparently Not.)
Apr 8, 2008 4:54 PM
UPDATE: Wow, thanks to reader S for seeing that Metro's already taken down the press release and the YouTube video. Must not have been going over quite so well, as I thought might be the case. Here's my original entry:
Apparently Metro was pretty pumped with the buzz they got a few weeks ago from their YouTube video showing marshmallow Peeps deciding to take Metro to the ballpark for Opening Night. They've now produced a sequel showing a Pope Benedict Bobblehead doing the same thing in advance of his April 17 mass. I hope the WMATA folks have said a few Hail Marys. You can check Metro's Papal Visit page for more information on how to use transit to get to the mass. (And here's the press release on the bobblehead video.)
POST-UPDATE UPDATE: Channel 7 reports (and the Post, too) that the archdiocese was unhappy about the ad.
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Use RFK Lot 7 on Wednesday; Metro Plans
Apr 8, 2008 4:43 PM
(Moved to its own entry, to give the Pope Bobblehead stuff its own glory.) Here's Metro's press release detailing preparations for Wednesday's Triple Threat of the Wizards, DC United, and the Nats all in action at the same time. And, because you can never have enough press releases, here's one from the Nats (link to come) explaining that, when DC United is playing at RFK, Nats Express shuttle parking will be in Lot 7: "Washington Nationals fans choosing to park for free at RFK Stadium and take the Nats Express to Nationals Park may park in Lot 7 on all D.C. United home game dates. RFK Stadium Lot 8 will not be available to Nationals fans on Wednesday, April 9 or any future date in which the Nationals and D.C. United each play at home. Lot 7 may be accessed off the Whitney Young Bridge (East Capitol Street) or off of Oklahoma Avenue. The Nats Express begins ninety minutes prior to Nationals home games." WTOP asks about whether there will be any patrolling of DC United fans parking free in Lot 7 (apparently not).
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Baseball Tonight, 7:10 pm (With Capitals) - Updated
Apr 7, 2008 10:53 AM
Residents and commuters should remember that tonight is the first weeknight game at Nationals Park (vs the Florida Marlins), scheduled for a 7:10 pm start time. Dr. Gridlock has a good roundup on all the different ways to get to the ballpark on his Get There blog, and here's Metro's press release from Friday on how they're preparing. Let me know how the evening goes for you, either as stadium-goer or commuter. (Reports again on how you got to the game and any counts on the number of cars using the parking lots would be great, too, since I can't get to all the lots myself. Post 'em in the comments.)
With the weather setting up to be icky again (my kingdom for a sunny day), and with tonight being the NCAA basketball championship game, and with the visiting team being, well, the Marlins, I'm not sure if this game is going to set any attendance records, meaning it probably shouldn't be used as a real indicator of how weeknight games will go. But the commentariat will certainly be watching for any meltdowns to jabber about.
To tie this into the *real* big sports news of the weekend, tonight's pre-game ceremonies will have Cristobal Huet, Mike Green, and Coach Bruce Boudreau of the Capitals throwing out the first pitch and announcing "Washington, Let's Play Ball."
ADDING: The Nats are home six of the next seven days (tonight, then Wednesday through Sunday). Wednesday night will bring issues with Nats Express parking at RFK because DC United will be playing and with Metro thanks to a Wizards Game at Verizon Center, and Friday will have the Caps playing their first playoff game vs. the Flyers at Verizon Center at the same time as the Nats are playing on South Capitol Street.
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Metro Prepares for Monday; Open House, Auditions; What Went Right
Apr 4, 2008 12:39 PM
* Metro has put out a press release (one of many to come, I'm sure) describing their plans for the first weeknight game, the April 7 game at 7:10 pm. This comes right during rush hour, and the Green line isn't exactly empty at that time of night, and until they get more of their new railcars into service Metro can't add trains, so this might be the first blemish on the Nationals Park commute. Ditto with folks driving to the lots close to the ballpark. There will be plenty of trains after the game, but an early (or late) arrival might be advisable.
* Tonight's ballpark Open House has been cancelled, but you can still go on Saturday (read how to sign up). And there may still be time to sign up for those singing auditions!
* Until then, we can take one more look back at what went right over the inaugural weekend via WTOP with Mark Seagraves's column: "The fact is very few people thought this past weekend would happen in the almost flawless fashion that it did. District officials built a state-of-the-art stadium, the first sports stadium to certified environmentally friendly, and they did it in only 22 months." He mentions that the ballpark construction itself was on budget (arguments can continue until the end of time about land acquisition costs and other "soft" costs); I'd add that three other pretty big ballpark-related projects were also completed on time over the past two years: the upgrading of the Navy Yard station west entrance (remember the wailing a few weeks back about how it wasn't done yet?), the streetscape upgrades to Potomac, First, and I (remember what I Street looked like about three days before Opening Day?), and the summer 2007 Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover and accompanying improvements to South Capitol Street.
I must say that I'd been dreading this week for about three years now, imagining the gallons of ink and millions of electrons that were going to be spilled complaining about the ballpark not being finished, or detailing the massive cost overruns, or the traffic meltdown, or the transit catastrophe, or any combination therein. In fact, I've hardly known what to do with myself over the past few days since there's been so little news (which I'm sure is equally true for the media on the ballpark beat who no doubt expected to be writing all those stories).
I think the era of four or five new posts a day at JDLand is over, which hopefully most people won't see as a bad thing. But be prepared that there might not be new posts every day anymore, if there's nothing to report. There will still be photo updates every few weeks, though!
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

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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More posts: Florida Rock, Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Wednesday Night Ballpark Story Roundup
Apr 2, 2008 11:30 PM
* If you haven't been inside the ballpark yet and want a free visit on either Friday night (April 4) or Saturday afternoon (April 5), WTOP tells you how. (Hint: it involves signing up for the Nats promotional e-mail list.)
* The credit crunch on Wall Street has caused the interest rates on a small portion of the stadium bonds to skyrocket, says the Examiner.
* WTOP says that Metro feels pretty good about its performance on Opening Night (as do most riders, at least evidenced by the comments you folks have been posting), but they've got a few tweaks in store for the homestand next week. They'd like you to stretch out on the Navy Yard platform, please, and will put in more trash cans so that people can toss drinks and food and cigarettes when they get to the station.
* Speaking of the Navy Yard station, if you've done that walk up Half Street and want information on what's planned there beyond the renderings on the east-side fences (or want to see what was there up until about 18 months ago), check out my Monument Half Street page. Plans for the west side of the street, where the Southeastern Bus Garage has now been vacated by Metro, are stalled thanks to a lawsuit brought by Monument against WMATA after the land was sold to Akridge in a way that Monument contends was unfair.
* This is a little old, but I'll toss it in anyway (I *think* I haven't already linked to it; it's all just a blur now)--MLB.com reports that Stan Kasten was very happy with how Opening Night went in terms of the fan experience.

Monday Post-Ballpark-Hangover Edition
Mar 31, 2008 12:35 PM
* Metro says that just under 21,500 fans used the Navy Yard Metro station for Sunday night's opener at Nationals Park, following the 15,141 who did so for the Saturday exhibition. (I wonder how many used Capitol South, or got off at Union Station and took the N22.) WJLA and others say that the station was cleared within a half-hour of the game's end, which can be verified by looking at last night's shots from the 55 M construction web cam.
* Moving on to the next huge event, the WashTimes says that 45,000 bar-coded tickets to the April 17 mass by Pope Benedict have arrived, and should be going out to parishes next week. Scalpers will be condemned to eternal hellfire and damnation.
* There's a nice piece in the April Hill Rag (UPDATED: now online) about this here Obsessive Compulsive Time-Sucking Vortex. And there's also a shout-out in this Virginian-Pilot story on the ballpark.
* On the flip side, I can't help but cackle at what was written in an online column by the San Antonio Express-News [emphasis mine]: "If you're craving actual photos of [Nationals Park] -- including work-in-progress updates -- go to the ballpark homepage for the Near Southeast DC Redevelopment agency. Sure, these people have a vested interest, but they also have lots of photos, a construction webcam and a well-done Q-and-A section on the park." I'm an agency now? Usually I'm just a development company. But, a note for readers who don't realize it: I'm none of the above. (I don't work for the Nats, either.) I'm just me.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, Stadium Events

Getting You to the Ballpark, and What You'll Find; and a Reminder of What Was There Before
Mar 29, 2008 10:23 PM
While I spend the weekend running around trying to figure out how to be in six dozen places at once, I'll leave up this entry with what you might need to know if you're going to Nationals Park:
* Are you taking Metro? Read this. (Getting off at Capitol South? Use the JDLand.com Suggested Route.)
* Are you driving? Learn about traffic restrictions, flow, and other important information.
* Are you driving, and have a parking space reserved? Find the route the Nats want you to take to your lot.
* Are you driving, but don't have a space? Read about the free Nats Express shuttle service from RFK.
* Are you driving, and thinking you'll just "find some spot on the street"? Good luck with that. And bring the number for DPW with you, so you can find out how to retrieve your towed car.
* Are you biking? Read about the bike racks and bike valet.
* Are you walking? You win! Best option!
* Are you wondering what festivities will greet you when you get there? Here's Saturday's lineup, and Sunday's.
* Are you wondering what there will be to eat, or where to find other facilities? Look at this interactive map.
* Are you wondering about the rules and regulations and all other important pieces of information about the ballpark? Read the new official A to Z Guide.
* Remember what your mother taught you, that patience is a virtue.
If you're not going to either of the games, you can still watch them: Saturday's is on MASN at 6 pm, and Sunday's is on ESPN at 8 pm. And watch out for intermittent closures of the Douglass Bridge and South Capitol Street on Sunday night between 7:30 and 9:30.
And....
In the midst of the excitement, I'd like to just take a moment to make sure that stadium-goers and other curious folks wandering through here get a feel for what we've witnessed over the past two years while this ballpark has gone up, as a small reminder of exactly what has happened on South Capitol Street since April 2006.
If you pass through the Center Field Gate, think of this:
If you look toward the ballpark at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue, think of this:
If you come down South Capitol to N Street, think of this:
If you want to see more, here's the photos I took of the ballpark footprint and perimeter before demolition started in April, 2006, including some that haven't been posted until now. (The Ballpark Before-and-After gallery pairs many of these photos with how things look now, with links to see all the photos between the Before and the After.) If you want to see photos from other locations throughout Near Southeast, use the Photo Browser to pick spots on the map.
And a most sincere thank you to everyone who's written me over the past few days with such kind words about this little project that has turned into such a monster. It's in some ways a very bittersweet weekend for me, because the ballpark's opening means that this totally unexpected chapter in my life is coming to a close. JDLand isn't going anywhere, but the rest of the ride won't ever quite have the rush of the past few years. Then again, I may actually get some sleep.
Feel free to post what you see and experience (good or bad) in the comments.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Early Mid-Afternoon Update: Navy Yard Station Open, Team Store Open, Ballpark LEED Certified
Mar 28, 2008 1:22 PM
The news is flying fast and furious (and watch for updates):
* As noted in the comments, the west entrance of the Navy Yard station is open for business. Here's today's press release from Metro about the $20 million in improvements that upgraded the entrance's capacity from 5,000 to 15,000 customers an hour, along with a(nother) summary on using Metrobus and Metrorail to get to the ballpark.
* The Nationals team store in the ground floor of the west garage at Half and N is also open for business. Look toward the bottom of this batch of photos from yesterday to see what the store looked like less than 24 hours ago.
* The mayor announced this morning that the ballpark is officially LEED certified, reaching LEED silver status (33 points) thanks to items like high efficiency yield lighting, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, air-cooled chillers, recycling bins, using 20 percent recycled materials in the ballpark's construction and recycling 5,500 tons of construction waste, planting a 6,300-sq-ft green roof on top of the left-field concession building that houses Red Hot & Blue and Hard Times Cafe, and more.
* Oh, I guess I should add this too--the city says the ballpark is ready to open.
* I'm not sure this has been announced (it's hard to keep track), but the Nationals web site is now offering online purchase of parking for single games. It appears the only option as of now is Lot S (at Second and H, just to the west of 225 Virginia Avenue) for $20. There's also the option to purchase single-game handicapped parking in Lot E at First and N for $35, but an official placard or license plate is required.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

New Ballpark Interior Photos From Today; Press Release from Metro on Getting to Games
Mar 27, 2008 5:13 PM
Another day of icky weather, but that didn't stop a horde of media from converging on Nationals Park, for a tour of the Strike Zone for kids, the concessions, and just a general look around with a few hours left to go. It'll be all over the media tonight (I'm not going to hunt down links), but here's my photos. I'm still captioning them, but didn't want to waste a MOMENT in getting them posted. Here's some general shots inside the ballpark, including my first shots from up on the Red Loft and also inside the Team Store. The second batch is of the concessions and the Strike Zone. See Mayor Fenty connect in the batting cage!
Also, a press release is now out from Metro with all of the details on using both subway and bus to get to Nationals Park.
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WMATA Leasing Bus Garage to Nats; Reopening of Navy Yard West Entrance; Other Items
Mar 27, 2008 12:29 PM
* This morning the WMATA board approved plans to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage and the adjoining Van Street lot to the Nationals. However, it appears that the revenue will now go into Metro's general fund, instead of back into the fund for the new Southeastern Bus Garage at DC Village. See this entry for more info on the lease plan as presented to the board. I may have more on this later today. WMATA is shutting down operations at the garage tomorrow (Friday March 28). The lease for the Van Street lot, with 80 spaces, begins Saturday; the garage itself, which can accommodate about 230 spaces, will be leased starting around April 20. These 310 spaces are all in the $35-per-game Red zone.
* Also on Friday, at 11 am, Metro will be holding a ceremony in honor of the reopening of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station. Whether the station actually opens tomorrow, I don't know. They are saying it will be open Saturday morning for National Marathon spectators. And of course Saturday afternoon for the Nats-O's exhibition.
* A correspondent reports that I Street is now open to traffic between New Jersey and South Capitol. I'm guessing that there's probably still some beautifying to be done, but I was told it would be "driveable" by Opening Day, and that appears to have been met.
* Today it's the WashTimes's turn to publish its baseball and Nationals Park special sections. The Post's special section on the stadium is tomorrow.
* The Nats are showing off the kids' Strike Zone area of the ballpark this afternoon, and letting the media try some of the food that will be sold in the stadium--check back later for photos.
* Today's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post showed some of my photos documenting the makeover of the South Capitol and Potomac intersection--here's the complete batch, from one month before the start of ballpark construction up until a few days ago.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA

Positive Nature 'Bucket Fundraiser' Saturday and Sunday; Bus Garage Sales Office Closes Thursday
Mar 25, 2008 10:47 AM
Short items:
* Positive Nature, the program for at-risk youth that is in danger of losing its rented space at 1017 New Jersey Avenue because of a sharp increase in its property taxes, is looking for volunteers to help with a "massive bucket fundraiser" on Saturday and Sunday as fans arrive for the first games at Nationals Park. They have been working on raising $200,000 by the end of March. The fundraiser info, which came via e-mail, isn't posted on their web site yet.
* Metro says via press release that the sales office at the Southeastern Bus Garage will close on Thursday (March 27), in advance of the garage itself shutting down operations the next day. And WTOP is reporting today on the proposal to lease the bus garage and its parking lot to the Nats for parking, but you can find far more detail about it all in my post from Friday than you will in WTOP's blurb.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, New Jersey Ave., square 740

Nats to Lease WMATA Garage and Lot for Parking; Bus Operations Ending Friday?
Mar 21, 2008 4:35 PM
A proposal will be going before the WMATA board next week to allow the Nationals to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M (just across from the about-to-reopen Navy Yard subway station west entrance one block north of the ballpark) and an adjoining surface parking lot just across Van Street. This would happen once the Metrobuses are relocated, which apparently is supposed to be by Friday, March 28.
The lease for the Van Street lot would start the next day, and the garage itself would be available on April 20 (after Metro takes a few weeks to remove equipment). For the first 12 months, the Nats would pay $27,370 a month to lease the garage and $9,500 a month to lease the Van Street lot. If they were to decide to lease them until 2010, the rates would be slightly higher.
This money would be used to offset operating expenses associated with the garage's closure, and could bring WMATA nearly $900,000 in revenue if the leases were to run until April 2010.
The unknown, of course, is what will happen with the sale of the garage site, which of course was originally awarded to Akridge for $69.25 million but which is now tied up in a lawsuit brought against WMATA by Monument Realty. The parking lease with the Nats does allow for cancellation by either party with 30 days notice.
The WMATA Planning, Development and Real Estate committee will vote on the propsal first on March 27, and, if it's approved, the full board will vote on it later that same day.
For Nats fans who might be wondering, the garage and lot are both in the Red Zone, so would cost $35 per game to use.
If the garage is indeed closing next week, there will be much rejoicing by pedestrians who've been dodging the buses for years, including distracted neighborhood bloggers trying to grab photos while standing in the middle of the Half and M intersection.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Quick Items on Ballpark, Peeps, and Elephants
Mar 21, 2008 3:41 PM
* A reminder that Saturday at 1 pm will the very first baseball game played at Nationals Park, between George Washington University and St. Joseph's University. MLB.com has more--and I'll have photos from it sometime Saturday or Sunday.
* MLB.com also has a Q&A with Stan Kasten about the ballpark and other items. "You want all of it to work right, but you know there is going to be a hiccup here and there. We are going to be looking at everything. We'll be getting right back at it that Monday morning [March 31] to see what worked and what didn't work -- to see what we could improve on. Hopefully, we'll have that whole week to improve things even further."
* You can't swing a cat today without hitting news of the Metro Peeps.
* Poor Phil Mendelson. He still wants to use 225 Virginia Avenue for some MPD functions, and the mayor and the executive branch appear to be ignoring him.
* Elephants will be on parade just a few feet north of the neighborhood on Monday morning. No, really. I'm serious.

Making Sure You and Your Peeps Ride Metro; Sneak Peek at Navy Yard West Entrance
Mar 20, 2008 10:51 PM
You can't say the folks at Metro aren't trying everything to get the word out about using public transit to get to Nationals Park--witness this YouTube video that hit the streets today, where two Peeps try to tell another Peep to take Metro instead of driving. The production values won't win any awards, but it manages to talk about the two-way New Jersey Avenue entrance, the capacity expansion to 15,000 passengers an hour, and the N22 bus, all while making you crave Easter-y sugar. (h/t DCist, and ABC 7, too)
If you want the less-viral version of information about the Navy Yard expansion, NBC 4 and WTOP and WUSA have video from a tour given today to the media of the revamped west entrance, scheduled to open in time for Opening Night. Also, during yesterday's Metro ride-along with Stan Kasten, Nats320 grilled WMATA's COO with a pile of Metro/Nationals-related questions.
If you haven't been following along, Metro has spent $20 million increasing the number of fare gates and vending machines, adding two elevators and relocating the station kiosk, fare gates and fare vendors from the mezzanine to the street entrance. One thing in today's reports that is quite different from anything I've heard in the past two years--Metro is now saying that the upgrade to 15,000 passengers an hour is just for the west entrance, and that the east entrance can handle an additional 5,000 passengers an hour. Seems odd that this has never been emphasized before now, that it's always just been that the upgraded station would handled 15k....
Oh, and the commemorative Nationals SmarTrip cards go on sale Friday (March 21).
You can see my Take Metro! page for more details on links.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Stan Sez Take Metro! (And Ballpark CoO)
Mar 19, 2008 3:42 PM
Nationals President Stan Kasten took the media this afternoon on the short Green Line jaunt from Gallery Place/Chinatown to the Navy Yard Metro station, to get the word out to stadium-goers that Metro will be the best way to get to the ballpark. He emphasized multiple times the 57,000 parking spaces at Metro stations around the area, which will be free on nights and weekends. [Sorry, that was my boo-boo, not his.] I'm sure there will be "real" coverage of the field trip on tonight's newscasts, so I'll update later with links to those stories.
But in the meantime, here's a few photos I took. I had hoped that the group would get to go up the not-yet-complete west entrance of the station, to see the expansion, but that didn't happen. (Waaah!) But when the group exited at New Jersey and M, there was the N22 shuttle bus to Union Station, waiting as if on cue.
In other news, the Washington Times reports that the ballpark has gotten its certificate of occupancy.
UPDATE: First out of the gate is ABC7, with a skeptical text piece (Kasten is "hoping to convince skeptical fans that the rail option is the best way to reach the team's new stadium" and that the Navy Yard station "was still a mess of construction last week"--because, you know, last week is the same as next week, that just because something wasn't done then means there's no chance it'll be done on time). And now the video's posted.
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Evening Links: Taking Metro, Lots, WashMag Article
Mar 18, 2008 7:00 PM
* I thought I was going to make it through this day with no ballpark-related items, but I can't not pass along this item about Wednesday's media event where Nationals President Stan Kasten is going to take the pack on a subway ride to the Navy Yard station, to "mimic" one of the many routes fans can take to Nationals Park. Will it include being able to come up out of the west entrance of the station? I'll have the scoop Wednesday afternoon.
* Season-ticket holders are apparently starting to receive their parking passes. I'm updating my parking lot map with the lot letters, so you can see where your lot is and whether it's surface or underground. Leave your lot letter and location in the comments if I haven't added it to the map yet. Never mind--found the Nats' interactive trip planner that has the lots marked. But on mine you get to find out what's surface and what's underground! (It's all about the value-add.)
* A few weeks ago the March Washingtonian hit the stands with a big article on the ballpark, along with a second article ("Ballpark Living") about what's coming to Near Southeast in terms of residential offerings. That second article is now online--but don't be put off by its first two words.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Mental Health Day (but Not Quitting!); And, Can You Find Your Way to the Ballpark?
Mar 17, 2008 3:39 PM
I'm taking a bit of a mental health break today, to try to rest a bit and gird myself for the coming weeks. Not much news anyway, except for this WTOP piece on people being unfamiliar with the neighborhood around the ballpark [insert obligatory "if only there were a web site..." reference here]. Of course, because of this unfamiliarity, chaos will ensue.
And there's Dr. Gridlock's column from Sunday, which along with some good information on disabled access to the ballpark also includes discussions of Scary New Jersey Avenue and the "half-mile" walk from the Navy Yard Station to the ballpark. (Whaa...?)
Also, the Examiner has a summary of Metro's plans for Pope Day, most of which were in the WMATA press release I linked to last week.
And, I guess I need to address this--I've had a number of people ask me in the past few days about rumors apparently circulating that I'm going to shut down JDLand right after Opening Day. Perhaps this is an offshoot from the flippant comment I made in the On Site profile about just making it to Opening Day "and then I'll fall over", or maybe some off-hand crack in the blog about being close to collapsing.
But while it's no secret that right now I'm overwhelmed and teetering on the brink of absolute exhaustion in my quest to keep running the site at the level of detail it's mocked known for, and to respond to all the e-mails and questions I receive every day, I also see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I know that, by May, things around here should settle back down to a more reasonable workload. I'm willing to hang on by my fingernails until then, although I acknowledge that I may miss a link here or there, or might be a bit briefer with some updates than I've been in the past, which I hope everyone can understand. But, beyond that, JDLand will still be around for a good while yet; there's still some developments I have to see arrive at the finish line, after all....
(And yes, there's probably a book in it all someday. After I sleep for a year or so.)
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Roundup: Metro and Pope Day, Positive Force
Mar 13, 2008 8:06 PM
(News is getting so overwhelming that I'm having to go to two-a-day link roundups. And still, I feel like I'm missing stuff or giving it short shrift. I guess all that patience being pleaded for by the city and the Nationals and Metro needs to extend to JDLand for the next few weeks, too.)
* Today Metro put out an expanded press release (after a similar one a few days ago) with additional details on how they're planning to handle the April 17 Mass at Nationals Park, or as I call it, Pope Day. There's also stories on Metro's plans by WTOP ("Forget about baseball, is Metro ready for the Pope?") and NBC4. In the meantime, Agence France Presse has a piece on how huge the demand for Pope tickets is.
* Via City Paper (which has taken the story to its bosom), a report from Fox 5 on the Positive Nature youth program at 1017 New Jersey, which is struggling to stay afloat after the huge increase in property taxes that has accompanied the redevelopment of Near Southeast. Don't forget that they're having an open house (they're calling it a "radical rally" to keep their doors open) on Saturday March 15 from noon to 3 pm.

Why No Nats Parking at USDOT, and Additional Ballpark-Related Items
Mar 12, 2008 11:39 PM
Here's either a late-night or early-morning update, depending on your sleep schedule:
* Marc Fisher of the Post takes a deep (and infuriated) look at why Nats fans (even just government employees with security clearances) can't park in the 1,060-space garage at the US Department of Transporation headquarters one block from the ballpark. "So how did a simple request to use empty parking spaces at night, after Transportation workers have gone home, turn into -- excuse the expression -- a federal case? A report by Transportation's inspector general makes it clear that the feds were desperate to find a way to reject the Nationals' proposal." UPDATE: Marc's blog includes a link to the inspector general's report.
* Boswell talks ticket prices.
* The WashTimes describes police plans to step up patrols during Nats games: "[O]fficers with the department's Special Operations Division would be deployed on foot, on bicycles, in cars and on Segways to at least 39 'static posts' around the ballpark to direct traffic and assist in crowd control. Additionally, he said, 10 beats -- staffed by either one or two officers -- will patrol, mostly on foot, the neighborhoods surrounding the stadium, looking out for auto thefts or other property crimes in the hours before and after games."
* The 55 M web cam doesn't show it real clearly, but Metro's signature red tile flooring is being installed in the new west entrance of the Navy Yard station at Half and M.
* There's also new stoplights (not yet activated) installed at Half and M. Which is good news for pedestrians, including neighborhood bloggers who have come perilously close to meeting their maker trying to cross that very intersection.
* A large new sign at Third and I announces that the parking lot now under construction there is Nationals Parking Lot T (in the orange zone). And while the asphalt hasn't been pored at this lot or its sibling to the south, the lightposts erected in the center of each lot are now operational, adding a bit of extra light to Third Street after dark.
* Wednesday night's public meeting on the ballpark traffic management and curbside parking plan heard many of the concerns that have been raised at previous events (visitor passes, stadiumgoers being directed to use the Maine Avenue exit from the SW Freeway, commuters and residents wondering how they'll get *out* of the stadium area on game nights, and more). Representatives of DDOT spoke what is now the official city and team mantra, along the lines of: "We've tried our best to come up with a system, and we'll be watching it closely to see what works and what doesn't, and we'll make changes to it as we need to. We're asking for patience. But there will be congestion, and there will be problems, and there will be *change.*" Which is a message that doesn't always go over very well. After the group Q&A, city and team officials answered one-on-one questions. (The somewhat striking view of the ballpark at dusk from the 10th floor of 20 M was probably not on the minds of most of these meeting-goers.) Oh, and a DPW official made it very clear: cars parked illegally on the new enhanced RPP streets will be towed.

Reminder: Ballpark Traffic Meeting Wednesday
Mar 11, 2008 7:01 PM
A reminder that tomorrow (Wednesday March 12) is the community meeting on ballpark traffic management and curbside parking issues, where representatives of DDOT, the Sports and Entertainment Commission, and the Nationals will be on hand to answer questions on the Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (so read it before you get there so you know what to ask about!). It's technically an "open workshop" that will "highlight the numerous parts of the overall transportation and parking operations that will be in effect during events at the new stadium." The press release about the meeting also says that DDOT "will also offer their appreciation to the area residents and business owners for their support and patience during the recent street upgrades in the South Capitol corridor." (Cookies? Cake? Gold stars for foreheads?) The meeting is on the 10th floor of 20 M Street, SE, from 6 to 8:30 pm.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

More on Metro's Plans for Opening Day
Mar 11, 2008 9:57 AM
Yesterday Metro put out a press release with more detailed information (beyond what I posted on Saturday) on how it is planning to be ready for Opening Day at Nationals Park. Here are the highlights, which include a few answers for items that people were concerned about:
* The west entrance of the Navy Yard station will indeed reopen "the weekend of March 29", after its year-long $20 million renovation to expand its capacity from 5,000 to 15,000 passengers an hour.
* "On game days, the west entrance will be exit-only three hours before games, and entrance-only after games. During games, the Navy Yard east entrance should be used by people traveling in the opposite direction of the crowds."
* "The newly expanded N22 Metrobus route from the Navy Yard Metrorail station to the Eastern Market and Union Station Metrorail stations will operate every 10 minutes from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m." (Note that previous announcements about the N22 had it stopping at 10:30 pm; I don't know if the 11:30 pm end-time is only for Opening Day, or for all games, or what.)
* "To accommodate the crowds, Metrorail will operate up to 18 extra trains, most of them on the Green Line. All trains will be a combination of six and eight-car trains."
* "On weekends and at the conclusion of games, Metro will have extra trains available to get fans to and from the ballpark."
Also, beyond what is in this release, WTOP and the Examiner are reporting that Metro has decided to add one additional six-car train (with a capacity of about 900 passengers) during weekday evening rush hours, for a total of 13 six-car trains and 7 eight-car trains. There will also be four trains waiting on the Green line in case of problems. NBC 4 also has a piece on Metro's plans.
For more information, look at my Take Metro! page, as well as my other Stadium Transportation and Parking pages if you're planning on driving.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

55 M Cam Back Up, Another Grumbler, and More
Mar 10, 2008 1:12 PM
* Thanks to reader K for the heads up that the 55 M web cam is back online. Looks like they painted those distinctive beams above the Metro entrance during the blackout. (UPDATE: And the webcam now shows that Half Street is getting paved today.)
* Today it's an Examiner columnist who rails against the traffic and transit catastrophe at the ballpark three weeks before the first regular-season pitch even happens, using his crystal ball to predict that an unfinished Metro station now means an unfinished Metro station then.
* The GW Hatchet explains how to get tickets to the March 22 game at Nationals Park.
* Howard University's paper looks at Southwest residents wary of the development starting to surround them.
* Get in on the Douglass Bridge design discussion in the comments from a few days ago.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park

Details on Metro Plans for Opening Day, Pope Day
Mar 8, 2008 4:03 PM
Metro has posted some information about how it plans to handle Opening Day at Nationals Park on March 30, and the Mass by Pope Benedict XVI on April 17. (This document comes from the agenda for its March 13 Customer Service, Operations, and Safety Committee meeting.) Some highlights, above and beyond the we've-put-up-a-web-site-and-printed-brochures bullet points:
* Metro is expecting 24,000 fans to come via Metro for Opening Day (21,000 of them via the Navy Yard station), and 26,000 Mass attendees. They also expect 60 percent of baseball fans to arrive via Metro during the season.
* The Opening Day plan includes the newly enhanced N22 bus service, 18 extra pre-and post-game trains (mainly on the Green line), extra eight-car trains (perhaps up to every third train), and converting the Navy Yard Station to "one-way" traffic. (I presume this means for pedestrians, though I'm not sure if this means that *no one* can enter/exit the station against the flow before and after the game.) The fact that this first game is on a Sunday night is allowing Metro and the city to avoid a possible complete meltdown of the transportation network that might happen if it occurred during an evening rush-hour.
* Because Mass attendees must be through security and into the park by 9 a.m., Metro expects the largest crushes of travel to be between 5 and 8 am (the height of the morning rush hour) and again post-Mass. All available extra trains will be used when the Metrorail system opens at 5 am, and there will be 18 extra trains after the Mass ends. And, again, the document says that the Navy Yard Station will be converted to "one-way," which ought to be interesting for the commuters trying to use the station to get to and from work during this Thursday event. And the dreaded phrase "Rolling Street Closures" is mentioned for Pope Day, in that it might affect bus routes coming into the neighborhood. If there were ever a day for Near Southeast residents and workers to telecommute....
With the uncertainties about how fans and the transportation network will handle the crush of getting to the new ballpark for the first time, and with the president expected to throw out the first pitch, the Nationals are opening the gates at 3:30 pm on the 30th, 4 1/2 hours before the 8:05 pm start time. I've been told that they've acquired more than 50 magnetometers to try to lessen the burden of passing 41,000-plus fans through security, but if you're going to the game, you might not want to show up at 7:55.
UPDATE: For more, see this Tuesday entry on additional news on Metro's plans.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Stadium Events

Tidbits: Permits, Yards Names, No SE Freeway?, South Cap Tunnel, 55 M Web Cam, A New Crusade
Mar 8, 2008 10:48 AM
Just a bunch of tiny items worth highlighting on a dreary Saturday (no new photos today in this muck):
* A building permit has been approved to build a surface parking lot along First Street between M and N, where Normandie Liquors and its brethren were demolished last month. And the Archdiocese of Washington has applied for a public space permit for the 1300 block of First Street, SE--does the Popemobile need special parking permits?
* As plans at The Yards continue to move forward, there's now official names for the first-phase projects. Say hello to The Boilermaker Shop, The Pattern Shop Lofts, and Factory 202. (And 401 M and 400 Tingey, but those aren't anywhere near as catchy.)
* The 55 M web cam is no longer available to the public. Perhaps they want the Opening Day vista to be a big surprise. Or they don't want people watching the last-minute work on the Navy Yard Metro station. (I wonder if the gas main hit on Thursday was caught by this camera.)
* Some commenters are discussing the idea that's been floated of someday demolishing the Southeast-Southwest Freeway. Getting rid of this Berlin Wall that separates Capitol Hill and Near Southeast (and splits Southwest) was brought up in the National Capital Planning Commission's 1997 Extending the Legacy framework plan, if you want to see it actually on paper. (Apparently an updated NCPC framework plan is scheduled to come out this spring, which looks like it continues to have Virginia Avenue marked where the freeway currently is.) As to whether I'll see this done in my lifetime, well, it would be a nice surprise.
If you really want to go high-concept, you can read DDOT's 2003 South Capitol Street Gateway and Improvement Study to see their ideas for a tunnel that would link I-295 and the SE/SW Freeway for through traffic, leaving South Capitol Street to become the grand urban gateway boulevard planners envision. At Wednesday's public meeting on the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement, DDOT said that the tunnel isn't totally off the table, but they decided that a new Douglass Bridge and other South Capitol Street improvements could move forward separately. But could a tunnel still work if the dream of dismantling the SE/SW Freeway were realized?
* I've tried to remain (mostly) unopinionated on various projects during the five years I've run this site. But sometimes, it's necessary to take a stand, to come out from behind the cloak of neutrality and crusade for what you believe in. So I'm going to take advantage of this bully pulpit and fight for one thing: Arched Bascule!

Afternoon Link Roundup: N22, Raw Fisher
Mar 7, 2008 2:41 PM
* Tommy Wells's web site has the details on the new times and routes for the N22 bus that runs between Union Station and New Jersey and M. The expanded hours and route changes start on March 30. I've added them to my Take Metro! page.
* After the recent columns that have caused some gnashing of teeth with their representations of the area around the ballpark, readers might enjoy Marc Fisher's "Scenes from a Changing City" posts this morning: "But it was the walk from the Metro station to the stadium that taught me something about how cities change. The Metro entrance closest to the stadium isn't open yet--it will be done by Opening Day, we're assured--so I walked the extra couple of blocks from New Jersey Avenue. Any walk around the ballpark area these days is a bit treacherous, as the area is cluttered with construction materials and work crews. But it's possible to see that what two years ago was an industrial and nightclub zone in which only the brave dared walk alone is on its way to becoming another piece of the grid. What was a collection of rutted roads, empty lots, warehouses and fringy businesses is becoming an extension of downtown in which walking around is as routine as on Seventh Street in the East End, K Street downtown or M Street NW in Georgetown." (And thanks for the shout out, Marc.)
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Morning Links: Getting to the Ballpark, Gas Leak
Mar 7, 2008 8:31 AM
* The WashTimes has a getting-ready-for-the-baseball-crowds piece, surveying what Metro and DDOT are planning, and also talking about the Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (formerly the TOPP) that I've been writing about extensively. (Read it already, would you?) Metro is planning 14 extra trains for Opening Night, and will be presenting its plan for handling ballpark traffic to its board on March 13. Central to this piece--and to many conversations I've had with city and team officials--is that residents and fans need to know that The Powers That Be will be watching Opening Day very closely (DDOT plans to be watching from the air) to see what works and what doesn't, and will be tweaking the initial plans as necessary. In fact, there's probably going to be an entire season's worth of responding to initial problems, not only in terms of getting to the ballpark but at the stadium as well. Patience is counseled, though of course that's never been a strong suit in this city. And it's worth a reminder that there's a public meeting on the transportation plan on March 12 from 6 to 8:30 pm at 20 M St., SE.
* Commenters yesterday were quick with the news about the gas leak that closed the Navy Yard and Waterfront Metro stations yesterday afternoon, thanks to construction workers at Half and M hitting a gas main. Considering all the work that is being done in the area (not just on new buildings but with a lot of digging in the streets lately), it's kind of surprising that something like this hasn't happened sooner.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, staddis, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

The Scoreboard, and Recent Items Re-Linked
Mar 4, 2008 7:34 AM
One quick outbound link this morning, to The Post's piece on the scoreboard at Nationals Park, in advance of today's official unveiling.
Plus, here's a few links for recent items that you might have missed in the flurry of posts around here these days:
* I posted new photos of the ballpark exterior, including the Center Field Gate at Half and N. (I'll probably have new interior photos later today, though the weather doesn't look to be that much better than the last time I was inside, on that icky dreary day.)
* Read the damn Ballpark Traffic Management Plan already. And my pages on on-street parking and taking Metro. And the new pages by Metro and the Nationals about getting to the games. (And listen for the radio ads that debuted yesterday urging fans to take Metro.)
* Monument Realty has won a preliminary injunction preventing WMATA from selling the Southeastern Bus Garage to Akridge.
* Watch for announcements of a community meeting about Opening Day on March 12, at the ballpark.
And, a reminder: the parking garages that look so stark in photos from inside the ballpark will have big banners draped on them by Opening Day. So what you see now is not what you're going to see in four weeks.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Monday Morning Roundup and Reminders
Mar 3, 2008 11:01 AM
* The tarp is coming off the field today--look at that pretty turf! It's probably being done today because Tuesday the Nats are holding a ceremony to install home plate and officially unveil the HD scoreboard (not open to the public).
* The Examiner reports that Metro is tamping down expectations a bit for performance along the Green line for weeknight ballgames: "The transit agency expects the number of riders on the Green Line, which serves the Navy Yard station near the ballpark, to more than triple on game days. But Metro can't add more cars to that section of the system during the week because all of its 820 railcars are committed to rush hour service, officials said." So, perhaps that notion of walking from Capitol South is looking more attractive--I've added to my Take Metro! page a map of the JDLand Suggested Route between Capitol South and the stadium, along with a few photos showing the current state of New Jersey Avenue (which certainly isn't as scary as it used to be).
And, Tuesday is just chock full of Near Southeast-related activities. In addition to the ceremony mentioned above, there's also these items to remember:
* Single-game ticket sales open at 9 am (yes, including Opening Day).
* The City Council will be meeting at 10 am for its monthly legislative meeting, and the agenda includes emergency legislation to enact the "Performance Parking Pilot Zone Emergency Act of 2008", B17-0644, the "Ballpark Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2008", and B17-0608, the "Vending Regulation Emergency Act of 2008". It's in Room 500 of the Wilson Building, beginning at 10 am, and will be broadcast on DC cable 13 and live webcast.
* The first of two public meetings on the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement is at 6:30 pm at Birney Elementary School, 2501 Martin Luther King Jr., Ave., SE, from 6:30-8:30 pm. The second one is Wednesday night (March 5) at Amidon Elementary School, 401 I St., SW, also from 6:30-8:30 pm.
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Breaking: Monument Realty Wins Preliminary Injunction on Southeastern Bus Garage Sale
Feb 29, 2008 4:58 PM
I've been passed the news that a judge has granted Monument Realty's request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting WMATA from taking "any further action to dispose of" the Southeastern Bus Garage. The two sides are to file recommendations on further proceedings by Wednesday at noon, and the injunction stays in effect until the court orders otherwise. Monument filed suit in October, asking that the planned sale be invalidated.
(Adding that this shouldn't, as best I can tell, delay the removal of the buses from the garage by Opening Day, since just yesterday the WMATA board approved a plan to fund the relocation of the buses with monies from other accounts and from the District, and not from any proceeds of the expected sale of the garage site.)
UPDATE: I now have a PDF of the ruling, which gives a lot of background on how the bidding process for the garage site was handled by WMATA. My background in law is slim to none, so I'm wanting to be very cautious about how I characterize all this (I'm sure there will be plenty of media coverage coming soon), but the ruling does state that Monument has "demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that they were substantially prejudiced when WMATA considered Akridge's nonresponsive bid and participated in improper ex parte discussions with Akridge."
UPDATE II: Here's a short Post piece on the ruling.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St.

Morning Roundup: Pope Tix Day, Metro Items
Feb 29, 2008 8:54 AM
* Today's the day that the Archdiocese of Washington is announcing the distribution of tickets for the April 17 Mass by Pope Benedict at Nationals Park to churches in the District and suburban Maryland. The Post reports on the pleas that church officials are receiving from parishioners desperate to get one of the hottest tickets in town. A spokeswoman says they've received nearly twice as many requests as there are tickets. There are even raffles where the winner gets a ticket to the Mass.
* Metro has decided to create a one-day "Pope Pass" for $9 for the estimated 25,000 Pope-goers who will be arriving at the ballpark on the subway. (Normally one-day subway passes can only be purchased after 9:30 am, but because of security concerns, those going to the Mass are going to be arriving much earlier than the 10 am start time.)
* Metro's board gave final approval to expanding the hours of the N22 bus route that runs between Union Station, Eastern Market, and the east entrance of the Navy Yard station at New Jersey and M. It will now run on evenings and weekends to help shuttle stadium-goers between those locations. And the board also gave final approval of some money-shuffling that will allow the closure of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M. More on both of these items can be found in these two entries.
* And, in one final Metro item, the Post reports that council member Jim Graham says "he has been contacted by Washington Nationals representatives who wanted to know if the name of the Navy Yard Station could be changed to reflect the name of the corporation that buys the larger naming rights of the stadium." Answer? No way. Uh-uh. Nope. Forget it.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, Stadium Events

Monument: Half Street Construction Not 'Stopped'
Feb 27, 2008 11:36 AM
After reading this in Tom Boswell's column today--"On the other side of Half Street is a huge block-long hole, several stories deep, where construction by Monument Realty has stopped"--I contacted Monument to find out if this is indeed the case.
(For those just joining us, a little background: Monument owns the entire east side of Half Street between M and N, just to the north of the ballpark, and is currently building the 55 M Street office building on the north end of the site, on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, which was expanded as part of the office construction. The south end of the block is slated to be a 200-room hotel and a 340-unit residential building, and is current a half-block-long excavated hole.)
Monument executive vice president Russell Hines has told me that construction drawings for the the hotel and residential part of Half Street are being finalized, and construction will begin in late spring or early summer, with completion in late 2009 or early 2010. The entire block was excavated early in 2007 because it made economic sense to do it all at once, but that because of the need to complete the subway station improvements by Opening Day, the 55 M construction was "accelerated" and the hotel/residential part of the project is just now "catching up." In fact, Hines says, work on the office building is continuing, with the building "topping out" in the next week or so. (You can check the web cam for up-to-the-quarterhour progress.)
Hines also wanted to make clear that what Boswell called a "legal battle between two developers" over the Southeastern Bus Garage site is in fact litigation between Monument and WMATA, not Monument and Akridge.

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."

Roundup: Pope Tix, Bus Garage, Cancellations
Feb 26, 2008 8:38 AM
* The Post says that 14,000 tickets to the April 17 Mass at Nationals Park will be distributed to 120 Catholic diocese outside of the Archdiocese of Washington, with the Diocese of Arlington getting 6,000 and the Archdiocese of Baltimore getting 2,500. And on Friday, parishes that are part of the Archdiocese of Washington will find out how many tickets they're getting--parish priests will then decide how to distribute tickets within the parish.
* The Examiner has a story about the Southeastern Bus Garage site and that the Nationals and Metro are in talks to provide 350 gameday parking spaces at the garage (plus three nearby WMATA-owned parking lots, though that's not specified in the article). The only real news in the article is that a judge is expected to rule this week on Monument Realty's lawsuit over the sale of the garage site to Akridge. For more background, read all my posts on the bus garage saga.
* Yesterday's scheduled council hearing on Monument's request to close the alley on Square 700 just north of the closed BP Amoco station was cancelled. No new session has been posted on the calendar.
* And the agenda for Thursday's WMATA Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee does not include anything on the joint development of the chiller plant site at Half and L, as had been anticipated back in January. Maybe next month?
* If you think you're excited about the local food vendors at the ballpark announced yesterday, you should read Marc Fisher.
* UPDATE: I've gotten word that the long article in the March Washingtonian on the ballpark is now online. The other related article, about residential developments planned around the stadium, won't be posted for a couple of weeks. So you'll just have to go buy it, I guess. And perhaps you too can then be like the poor soul at Safeway on Sunday reading that article, who got accosted by a pesky blogger in line in front of him pointing to a name on the page, saying, "That's me." Thankfully he didn't call security.

WMATA Gives Initial Approval to N22 Bus Expansion, Southeastern Bus Garage Closure
Feb 14, 2008 5:12 PM
A bit on the run this afternoon, so I have to be brief: today Metro's Finance, Administration, and Oversight committee gave approval to two items I wrote about earlier this week: the plans to expand to nights and weekends the N22 bus service that shuttles between Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard Metro station (the Post says until 10:30 on weeknights--hope that's late enough for baseball), and to move around some money to allow for the closure of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M. Here's the WMATA press release on the garage closure, and do read my previous entry for additional details and links to WMATA documents. These two items are expected to be given final approval by the full WMATA board on Feb. 28.
Stadium parking aficianados should note that the closure of the bus garage--in addition to lessening the chance for "encounters" between buses and pedestrians--will open up two existing lots in the "Red Zone" just north of the ballpark, as well as space within the garage itself and just to its south. Also, WMATA has been using a surface parking lot at Buzzards Point that would be vacated with this move. There's no word at this point on when exactly the garage will be vacated, and if the space will be used for parking this season.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Metro: Proposals to Expand the N22 Bus Line and Vacate the Southeastern Bus Garage
Feb 12, 2008 12:19 PM
The agenda is now out for Thursday's meeting of Metro's Finance, Administration and Oversight Committee, with votes on two items of interest to Near Southeast and to ballpark-goers:
* WMATA is proposing to expand the weeknight and weekend service of the N22 bus that currently shuttles between Union Station (and its Red Line Metro stop) and the Navy Yard station at New Jersey and M via Eastern Market (and its Orange/Blue Line stop) and the Washington Navy Yard. The buses would run every 10 minutes, and on nights and weekends the route would eliminate the loop to 12th and M streets, SE (see the map on page 2 of the current timetable), in order "to provide a shorter and faster route to the ballpark." The District of Columbia is apparently going to pay $432,000 to cover the cost of the additional service from March through August. If approved, the expanded service would begin in March. The agenda documentation doesn't say what times the expanded service would end on weeknights or operate on weekends. Read the agenda packet for more.
* The city is also apparently offering to cover the costs of relocating the buses out of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M (one block north of the ballpark), as part of a $1.39 million monetary shuffling that WMATA is proposing to undertake because the $69.25 million sale of the site to Akridge still has not been finalized. DC would cover the relocation costs until the sale is completed, and presumably by doing this the buses can get out of the garage by March 30. Read the agenda packet for more details. The city is extremely interested in getting the buses out of the way, not only because trying to operate that garage with hordes of pedestrians on their way to and from games would be a disaster waiting to happen, but also because the Nats might be able to squeeze a couple hundred more $35 Red Zone parking spaces out of the garage land and the two lots adjoining it across Van Street (one to the north and one to the south of the Public Storage building).
These are just preliminary votes; if approved on the 14th, they would then go in front of the full WMATA board for final approval on March 28.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, staddis

WMATA Still Planning to Leave Bus Garage Soon; Latest on Navy Yard Station
Feb 7, 2008 6:43 PM
For those (like myself) who have been wondering: John Catoe, Metro's General Manager, said at Wednesday's mammoth City Council capital budget oversight hearing that the agency is planning to be out of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M by "the beginning of baseball season." He only briefly mentioned "legal issues" about the site's sale to Akridge that they "hope to have resolved" within a few weeks, and didn't say anything about what plans Akridge might have for the site.
Catoe also said (a couple of times) that the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station will be ready for Opening Day. If you've been sneaking peeks at it from the 55 M web cam (the station entrance is at bottom center), you've seen some concrete poured over the past couple of days for the floor and also the arrival of the escalators' steps.
(I've made it about half way through my recording of the six-hour-plus meeting, listening with one ear when I can spare a few moments. I still haven't gotten to the testimony from the Sports and Entertainment Commission and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, which might also yield a tidbit here or there.)
UPDATE: I'm not the only one reporting on the station's status today. Friday's Post has a piece with the latest: "[T]he station renovation is back on schedule, with all of the inside work to be finished by the end of this month. Work is also proceeding at street level, where the kiosk, ticket machines and turnstiles are to be installed. Fans will come up three escalators or one of the new elevators into the office building's lobby. One wall will be open, fenced with chain link, as construction continues." It also has some tidbits that people are always asking about, such as: "Metro plans 14 extra trains on game days." And there's this: "Metro is also considering flat-panel TVs at the station entrance, which would post train information and perhaps carry video telecasts of the games." (Hmmmm.) The article also mentions WMATA's Nationals page, which was announced a few weeks back.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

DC Budget Season Gets Underway
Feb 6, 2008 7:41 AM
It's the start of budget season for the DC City Council, a process which Tommy Wells's blog explains better than I ever could. (Bleary-morning-after-Super-Tuesday-brain doesn't help.) I've added the hearings that will probably have the most impact on Near Southeast to my Upcoming Events Calendar; the entire lineup is available on the City Council web site.
Today at 11 am is the 07-08 budget performance oversight hearing for DPW, DMV, DDOT, WMATA, the Sports and Entertainment Commission, and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, which means there's a good chance that the ballpark and related issues will come up at some point. The hearing will be broadcast live on Channel 13 and streaming video, and will be available on demand a few hours after the broadcast ends.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Thursday Zoning Commission Hearing on 1111 New Jersey
Jan 30, 2008 1:39 PM
On Thursday (Jan. 31) at 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission is having its Capitol Gateway Overlay review hearing for 1111 New Jersey Avenue, Donohoe's office building at the corner of New Jersey and M. As I've written before, this project has been expanded to include 220,000 square feet of office space with 5,700 square feet of ground-floor retail in a 130-foot-tall glass-facade building, and is now subject to a CG review because of acquiring some land from WMATA that fronts M Street. This was presented to the ANC two weeks ago, which did not support the project because of the lack of a community benefits package.
The Office of Planning is recommending that this project be approved by the Zoning Commission; you can see the OP report here, which lays out point-by-point how the project stands up against the various CG requirements. There's also a request for a zoning special exception to waive a rear yard requirement; the Board of Zoning Adjustment approved a similar waiver request back in May, but they're having to apply for the exception again because the building has grown in size since the BZA ruling, so there's now more building inside the rear yard area.
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ANC Report #2: Monument Alley Closing Request
Jan 17, 2008 5:44 PM
At Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, Monument Realty presented its request for the ANC's support in closing a 2,417-square-foot alley that runs between South Capitol and Van streets not far north of N Street. This alley is north of the now-closed BP Amoco and south of what is now a WMATA employee parking lot on land owned by Monument (there used to be a neon yellow bungalow there, until late 2006). Christy Shiker of Holland & Knight told the commissioners that the Amoco property--which faces the ballpark's western parking garage--is too small to develop on its own, but with the alley closed and the lots combined, Monument would build a 130-foot-high residential building with approximately 150 to 200 units plus 14,000 square feet of ground-floor (or perhaps two-story) retail. Monument is not committing at this time to pursuing LEED certification for this building.
Shiker then described the community benefits package that Monument was offering to the ANC in return for the loss of this public space, including a $50,000 contribution to the community fund, the retail, First Source employment preferences, and an affordable housing component that would match whatever is called for whenever the city's Inclusionary Zoning mandates are finally hammered out. Monument would also work toward agreements on ANC6D resident preferences, to be determined with the ANC at a later date.
This became a sticking point, with Commissioner David Sobelsohn concerned about giving the ANC's support for this project merely on promises to make agreements later. Shiker pointed out that Monument has made these agreements before for their other Ballpark District projects, and also that the ANC will have another crack at the project when down the road it undergoes its mandatory Capitol Gateway Overlay Review. But Sobelsohn still felt that the ANC was being handed a "take it or leave it" proposition.
An audience member asked if Monument would be planning to build a temporary parking lot if the alley closing is approved, but Shiker said that Monument's goal is to develop the land, that they "want a building, not a parking lot." (Though one must admit that that is some pretty plum stadium-parking territory.) There were also questions about the Public Space Storage building just to the north (echoing my WTDW entry from last week), but Monument's representatives said that they didn't think the storage company would be moving.
Commissioner Bob Siegel moved to support the alley closing with further negotiations on the proposed benefits package as the project proceeds, but the ANC voted 2-2-1 and so the resolution did not pass.
The alley closing bill is B17-0552, and Shiker told the ANC that she expected a public hearing in late February, with perhaps council action in March or April. No date for actual construction of the project was mentioned.
Coming tomorrow--a recap of the Florida Rock portion of the ANC meeting, though you don't have to wait until then to see the latest project renderings that were presented. But my long-winded summary of what was said during the meeting will have to wait a bit longer.

ANC Doings -- 1111 New Jersey CG Overlay Review
Jan 16, 2008 1:42 PM
(This is the first of three dispatches I'll be posting over the next few days from Monday's ANC 6D meeting. Can you feel the excitement building?)
The developers of the planned office building at 1111 New Jersey came looking for the ANC's support in advance of their Jan. 31 Capitol Gateway Overlay Review at the Zoning Commission. This project has been revised over the past few months after Donohoe was chosen by WMATA to acquire the 5,000-square-foot lot on top of the Navy Yard Metro's east entrance at New Jersey and M--by expanding 1111 New Jersey's footprint to this lot, which fronts M Street, the project became subject to a CG Overlay Review (boring tutorial here). While the WMATA land is being sold to Donohoe, this is in fact a joint development project with WMATA, who I imagine will receive a dollar or two over the coming years once the building is built and leased.
The new design was described by WDG Architecture as 220,000 square feet of office space with 5,700 square feet of ground-floor retail in a glass-facade building. While it uses a smidge of the WMATA land, the project will not be built on top of the station entrance as is happening with 55 M--the station canopy will remain, and a there will be a large public plaza at this "important corner", along with a 60-foot setback with a double line of trees stretching up New Jersey. (Non-obsessive observers might not remember that 1111 NJ's footprint does not include the site of St. Matthew's Church immediately to the north--that lot is being acquired by Ruben Companies for a rumored residential project, where no plans have yet been made, a Ruben rep tells me.)
Donohoe indicated that it plans to go for LEED certification for 1111, and mentioned that some of the ground-floor space would be designed with restaurant uses in mind, though the presenters said they remain aware of the requirements for community-oriented retail and preferred uses in the overlay area.
Beyond the LEED certification, retail, and public spaces, the developer offered no community benefits package to the ANC. Donohoe considers this project a matter of right that requires no additional benefits offerings, a stand which reopened the wounds from back in April when the earlier iteration of this project came before the ANC looking for support for a zoning special exception (and was voted down, though the BZA approved the waiver anyway).
The feelings of the commissioners hadn't changed in the intervening months, and they voted 5-0 not to support the project because of the lack of community benefits. (There was some procedural wrangling about the wording of the motion, but since the church where the ANC meetings are held is absolutely impossible to hear in, I didn't get the specifics--something about voting "not to support" versus voting "to oppose", I believe.)
No timeline for the start of construction was mentioned. Perhaps more information will be forthcoming at the Jan. 31 zoning hearing.
More ANC reports coming tomorrow--I'll have news of Monument Realty's plans for the BP Amoco site at South Capitol and N, followed by the latest in the Florida Rock saga. Stay tuned!
UPDATE: Donohoe was nice enough to pass along the rendering of the new design, which I've added to the top of my 1111 New Jersey page.
UPDATE II: Correcting a smidge of misinformation on the St. Matthew's site.

Metro Web Page for Ballpark; Parking Lot Zones
Jan 15, 2008 5:52 PM
Metro has just launched a new web page to help stadium-goers plan their trips to Nationals Park via public transit. It's at wmata.com/nationals, and it gives links to Metro's Trip Planner, information on Metrobuses that stop near the ballpark, how to use the parking lots at Metro stations, and more. And, for you diehards: "Metro will soon be offering a choice of commemorative SmarTrip cards, available for a limited time only."
Also, the parking information for season ticket holders is starting to arrive in mailboxes around the area today. I'll link to the Nats' web site with the information once they've got it up, but until then, here's the map of the four parking zones and the prices per game that ticket holders will have to pay. (Note, none of the zones are in Southwest.)
I'll be updating my Ballpark FAQ and Stadium Parking/ Transportation pages with this new information as soon as I find the 25th hour in the day.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Structural Work Completed on Navy Yard Station
Jan 15, 2008 2:05 PM
The official announcement will come soon, but Monument Realty has confirmed to me that today they are turning over to WMATA the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station --on schedule--so that "fare installation" can begin (i.e., making the entrance useable). Monument says they completed their building structural commitments to WMATA back on Dec. 21. (hat tip to Nats320)
If you look at the Half Street web cam, you can see that the station entrance at lower center does look like it's getting cleaned up somewhat. Monument's initial Half Street project--office, hotel, residential, retail--is not scheduled to be completed until the end of 2009, but the Metro station is expected to be reopened in time for the beginning of baseball. The 55 M Street office building is currently being built on top of the Metro entrance; the southern half of the block, which is currently a big hole but where a hotel and residential units will be offered, should see construction begin soon. Retail will line the ground floor (and some second-floor spaces) all along Half. No tenants have been announced yet for the retail spaces, and, as I mentioned this morning, Monument appears to be looking for a new chain to operate the 200-room hotel.
As for what Half Street will look like during the inaugural season of the ballpark while construction continues, the Office of Planning report on Monument's request for some minor modifications to their Half Street designs has a description: "As part of the original proposal, the applicant showed a covered walkway on the east side of Half Street as a temporary condition during construction. Present plans call for pedestrian traffic to be directed to the other side of Half Street on non-game days, and for the entire street to be opened to pedestrian traffic on game days. Therefore there is no need for a covered walkway. The applicant has committed, however, to maintain a decorative fence at the edge of their construction zone as generally shown in the original plans."

Half Street and 250 M at the Zoning Commission
Jan 15, 2008 9:38 AM
On Monday night the Zoning Commission considered two Near Southeast cases on its consent calendar. I wasn't there (having chosen to go to the ANC meeting scheduled for the same time), and the ZC's web feed experienced technical difficulties, so I'm posting some bare bones info that folks at the meeting have been nice enough to pass along.
Monument Realty asked for 22 "minor modifications" to its previously approved design for the under-construction eastern side of Half Street. According to the Office of Planning report, the changes mostly centered on adjustments to the exterior architecture and the layout of the residential component. The most noteworthy change request is probably switching from a multicolored LED screen at the Metro entrance at Half and M (which WMATA turned down, apparently) to a backlit laminated glass panel. Also, nestled deep in the OP report is a request to modify the design for the hotel windows because the "hotel operator has pulled out" -- early on, the word had been that W Aloft would be running the midblock hotel on Half Street, but apparently this is no longer the case; I've heard nothing on any new operator. You can read the report to see the other requested changes. Though this was on the Zoning Commission's consent calendar, and the commission acknowledged that the changes are small, they still wanted to see some renderings showing the befores-and-afters of the proposed changes, and have scheduled a special public meeting for Jan. 28 at 6 pm to consider the request.
Now that the eastern side of Second Street (running along Canal Park) is considered "re-opened" (it's a long story), the developers of 250 M Street are requesting to base the office building's height on the width of Second Street, which is wider than M Street. This would allow 250 M to go up to 130 feet, which apparently is the same as the height of 1100 New Jersey on the west side of the park, although apparently the building's planned square footage would actually decrease slightly which would increase the total square footage to 233,405. Though this was on the consent calendar, the commission asked the Office of Planning to submit a report on this, and there will be a public hearing.
UPDATED to fix an error about 250 M's proposed new square footage.

Monday Morning Tidbits
Jan 14, 2008 9:26 AM
Just a quick couple of links:
* The Washington Times profiles Steve Cohen of Opus East, who's been promoted to vice president of real estate. Opus's two current projects in the District are both in Near Southeast: 100 M Street and 1015 Half Street (not "1015 F" as the article says). The article touches a bit on how Opus plans to handle any slowdown in the commercial real estate market.
* A few days back the WashBiz Blog on washingtonpost.com featured a quick overview of Monument's Half Street project and an interview with the company's executive vice president, F. Russell Hines. No news in the piece to any regular readers of JDLand--it mentions Monument's lawsuit against WMATA over the Southeastern Bus Garage, but gives no status report on where it stands.
* This is also a few days old, but I can't let an entry go by without mentioning parking, so here's a link to a WUSA piece from last week that, in a stunner, finds baseball fans who are upset at the idea of Tommy Wells's Performance Parking Plan, given that it might prevent them from parking for free on neighborhood streets for three-plus hours 81 nights a year.

Stadium Traffic and Parking Plan Hearing Summary
Jan 11, 2008 10:11 PM
Having just about reached my limit when it comes to writing about stadium parking, I'm going to cut to the chase and pass along the biggest items from today's hearing by the Committee on Economic Development on parking and traffic issues at the new Nationals ballpark. (It's a torrent of words, so I've bolded the most important items.)
The session began with ANC representatives testifying about the community's concerns that no traffic and parking management plan has yet been unveiled, and with not many days to go (no one was sure whether it was 82 or 81 or 80 days--it's actually 79, but I didn't pipe up), neighbors are getting increasingly nervous that plans and signage won't be ready by Opening Day. While Tommy Wells's proposed Performance Parking plan could eventually become the mechanism for handling on-street parking near the ballpark, it won't be able to be in place by Opening Day, and so residents want to know how parking is going to be restricted to prevent stadium-goers from descending on nearby streets in search of free parking and bringing what has frequently been referred to as "controlled chaos."
Kwame Brown became frustrated when trying to find out who is actually in charge of coordinating all the government agencies who have a hand in the ballpark and communicating information to the public--"Who do I call? Who's driving the train?" he asked a number of times. After much back and forth with Greg O'Dell of the Sports and Entertainment Commission and Judi Greenberg from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, it was finally agreed that DDOT is now in charge of organizing and implementing the stadium's traffic and parking plans.
Determining this was a good step for this hearing that had been convened to discuss those plans, except for one small detail--council member Brown's Committee on Economic Development does not have oversight responsibilities for DDOT, so no one from the agency was in attendance.
Oops. (Apparently there had been plans to hold this hearing jointly with Jim Graham's Committee on Public Works and the Environment, which oversees DDOT, but that did not come to pass.)
It was said that DDOT will be unveiling the traffic operations and parking plan next week, though of course no one from DDOT was actually there to confirm or deny this.
Greg McCarthy of the Nationals testified about the team's continuing efforts to plan for the onslaught of fans, ranging from the mailing next week of parking information to season ticket holders to a planned media onslaught beginning in February to educate stadium-goers about the best ways to get to the park. (Short version: Take Metro! Walk! Bike! Park in Metro parking lots! Don't drive to the ballpark unless you've already got a parking pass!)
There still is no signed agreement between the Nationals and the city for use of RFK as free satellite parking for non-season-ticket holders, though clearly both sides anticipate it will get done, especially since the Nationals are working out the best routes for the free shuttle buses they plan to provide from RFK to the new stadium. (But Kwame Brown did not seem too enthused that the city might not be getting any revenue from the parking spaces.)
The team anticipates having 5,000 spaces for season ticket holders available in lots within walking distance to the ballpark--and, other than one lot that sits on the west side of South Capitol Street underneath the freeway, all lots will be in Southeast and none will be in Southwest.
Tommy Wells focused a number of times on the idea of the neighborhood embracing the ballpark as part of its culture and part of the character of the community. How neat it will be for residents to be able to walk to games, he said, expressing his hopes that the ballpark is a positive experience for both fans and residents. (Putting the stadium there "was not a hostile act by the government," he said). He also spoke of how the stadium's on-time and on-budget completion should be a real celebration for the city, but that he doesn't want it to become known as the "ballpark with a traffic catastrophe."
My favorite moment of the hearing was when discussion turned to how exactly the onslaught of papal groupies will be handled when the Pope comes to the ballpark on April 17: I realized that all this time I had assumed Pope = Mass = Sunday, when in fact the event will be on a Thursday morning, which will make traffic and parking that much more of a challenge. Start planning your vacation day now.
Other items of interest:
* Charter buses are expected to be parked across the South Capitol Street bridge during games.
* The Nationals have secured 4,000 of the 5,000 spaces they are eyeing near the ballpark, and expect to have the other 1,000 by Opening Day. There will be about 3,000 spaces at RFK, in Lots 7 and 8, and the team will be running a test of the RFK shuttle buses on Friday.
* There will be 130 handicapped parking spaces in the two lots on the ballpark site.
* The Navy Yard Metro station is expected to be ready by Opening Day.
* The Nationals will be responsible for clean-up around the ballpark and surrounding streets after games, most likely through an augmentation of the Capitol Riverfront BID's "clean teams".
* There are still plans for two job fairs to be held in Southwest, perhaps on Feb. 9 and 23 at Greenleaf Rec Center.
There's probably other items I missed that some people might be interested in, but I think that's more than enough for a Friday night.
It's anticipated that a joint hearing of both the Committee on Economic Development and the Committee on Public Works and the Environment--which oversees DDOT--will be scheduled soon.
The broadcast of the meeting is already available on demand, if you have three hours of your life you're not doing anything with. I've also posted the prepared statements of the witnesses from today, which you should definitely read to get more information than I've been able to summarize here. Also available is a press release from Kwame Brown's office about the hearing, in which he calls for "enhanced coordination from DC agencies and increased public involvement."
UPDATE: Here's the WashTimes article on the hearing. And the Examiner's.
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More posts: ANC News, Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

WTDW: Another Thrilling 'I Don't Know' Edition
Jan 10, 2008 8:12 AM
Time to dip back into the What's the Deal With...? mailbag, where once again I'm being asked fabulous questions that I don't actually have any answers for. But that hasn't stopped me yet....
* Readers B. and K. are the most recent readers to ask about the Public Space Storage building on South Capitol between M and N, just a few feet north of the ballpark, wondering whether it has any plans to close. I know that Monument Realty was interested in acquiring the building, since it owns the lots just to the building's south as well as all other parts of the block not owned by WMATA, but that was before Metro awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage and its parking lot (on the north side to the storage building) to Akridge. It's certainly a valuable piece of land, and I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that I doubt it will be there many years from now, but as of this point I've heard of no deals.
* Reader R. has asked about Canal Park, which continues to appear stalled, with no public pronouncements on it in months. (And with that "Spring 2008" still displayed for all to see on the sign at Second and M.) Is it still the school buses throwing up the roadblock, which is what we last were told? Is there some new wrinkle? I haven't heard anything, I'm sad to report.
* Reader F. asks about Ann's Beauty and Wig Shop, the dazzlingly pink building sandwiched between St. Matthew's and Onyx at 125 L Street, wondering if it's going to be sold. Ann's came to this block in 2005, after I believe being forced out of Waterside Mall in SW, and the owner has apparently been pretty vehement with potential suitors that she has no intention of selling. Perhaps the pending sale of St. Matthew's to Ruben Companies could change that, but as of now, I've heard nothing.
That's the best I can do for now--absolutely no useful information at all! No doubt there's scuttlebutt on each of these that I'm not privvy to, but I continue to be unsuccessful in my quest to get all city officials and private-sector parties operating in Near Southeast to inform me at all times about all their dealings. It's almost like they think I'm just some sort of powerless pesky neighborhood blogger or something....
Got a WTDW question? (maybe even one that I might know the answer to?) Pass it along. But I'll close with a hint--when it comes to oft-discussed projects around Near Southeast, as soon as I hear information that I can confirm, I post it. (I do tend to stay away from posting rumors, and considering some of the ones I've heard over the years that have turned out to be fabulously incredibly wrong, I don't regret this.) If you haven't seen any updates lately about Canal Park, or Capitol Quarter, or the Post Plant, or any other project, it's because nothing new has come my way. I'm as desperate to post the latest news flashes as you are to read them....

WMATA Choosing Developer for Half and L Chiller Site
Jan 9, 2008 8:51 AM
Back in September 2006, WMATA solicited proposals to develop four of its properties, including the east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station at New Jersey and M and the 14,100-square-foot parcel on the southwest corner of Half and L streets, SE, where the Navy Yard Metro station's "chiller" is located. While the sale of the New Jersey Avenue land to Donohoe was approved by the WMATA board in December, there hasn't been even a smidgen of news about the chiller site in more than a year.
But now, nestled deep in the posted paperwork for Thursday's WMATA board meetings is an expected agenda for the Feb. 14 meeting of the Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee that lists "Navy Yard Station Chiller Site Developer Selection" as one of the action items. Citing the ongoing negotiations, Metro wouldn't give me any additional information, so we may have to wait for Valentine's Day for the "reveal," unless someone blabs beforehand. Once the mystery developer's section is approved by the WMATA board, the final negotiations for an agreement would begin. The property is currently assessed at just under $4 million.
The solicitation described WMATA as "looking for innovative plans . . . that will yield quality developments for the local communities, increase transit ridership, enhance the local tax base and provide a stream of revenue to WMATA for capital needs." Proposals were also supposed to follow the principles of "transit-oriented development" -- "providing safe, walkable, mixed-use communities that emphasize transit connections and reduce auto dependency." While doing all that, the site's developer would still have to replace the chiller operations either on site or somewhere close to the Navy Yard station.
There's also a 7,700-square-foot privately owned parcel next to the chiller on L Street, assessed at $1.72 million and currently home to the Empire and DC Flyer Cab Company. It has had "Build to Suit" signs flying for quite some time, so it's possible that the developer of the chiller site could acquire that land as well. And this spot is already surrounded by current and planned office projects, with the completed 20 M Street and the planned 1100 South Capitol on adjoining lots, and the starting-any-minute-now 1015 Half Street across L Street. See my Square 698 page for photos.
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More posts: Chiller Site/WMATA, Metro/WMATA, square 698

Near Southeast 'The Place to Be' in 2008
Jan 4, 2008 9:51 AM
The Washington Business Journal has a huge "Looking Forward" piece in today's print edition, and its first prediction is this: "The place to be in D.C. in 2008 will be the Southeast waterfront." It then gives a quick run-down of what's going on (some baseball stadium project leads the list), and references the expected lack of amenities near the ballpark until Monument Half Street opens in 2009. Also: "Real estate insiders will be watching to see when the first major private office tenant lands in Southeast. Both CNN and National Public Radio have short-listed sites, but no company has committed to pioneering the private office sector yet." And: "Major work is expected to get under way in 2008 at The Yards, which Forest City Washington is developing in the area formerly known as the Southeast Federal Center. The first offerings at the 42-acre project will be residential and retail, with projects slated to open in 2009." But JDLand readers knew all this already....
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park

Another Photo Update - Ballpark West Side, 55 M
Dec 27, 2007 4:00 PM
In case you've already grown tired of the ballpark photos I posted on Monday showing the eastern and southern sides of Nationals Park, I've now updated the South Capitol Street images, too. (The northern views will have to wait until the reconstruction of N Street eases.) The main Ballpark Exterior Photo Gallery is now in pretty good shape after a short span of neglect (but as I said the other day, I think I needed the break).
I also took some new photos to capture the progress at 55 M Street, plus the completion of demolition at 1345 South Capitol.
If you don't feel like clicking around on all those links, here's all the photos I've posted in the past week. Try not to be blinded by those blue skies!
A few other items of note: The BP Amoco station on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N has fences up around it--I can't believe no one let me know! It's owned by Monument Realty, and I haven't heard about any near-term plans for the site. This leaves only one gas station in Near Southeast--the Exxon way over at 11th and M. There used to be three gas stations on South Capitol, now there aren't any. (And I've lost yet another source for my Gas Prices page. Waah!)
Also, new fences have gone up around the 1015 Half Street site, taking up one lane on K Street and on Half Street. Some exterior work was done to the DC Foreign Car building, but the little building is still there. For now.
I hope to get updated photos of 70/100 I and the pile of rubble that used to be old Capper Seniors within the next week. There's just too much activity to document these days--I've got to break it up into manageable pieces....

New Page: Nationals Park FAQ
Dec 26, 2007 6:21 PM
I was trying to take a few days off, but an idea popped into my head during an attempted nap that I just couldn't ignore. So say hello to a new page: my Nationals Park Frequently Asked Questions and Rumor Destruction Page (call it the Ballpark FAQ for short). I tried to pull together the questions that I hear and see the most often, from basics about the park's location to all the questions about Metro, parking, and entertainment options around the site. I'm going to keep it updated as events warrant--I know there's going to be a flood of information from the team and the city about how to get to the ballpark as Opening Day gets closer, which will allow many of the FAQ's "specifics haven't been announced" answers to be fleshed out with actual details. It also doesn't address much of the in-the-weeds detail of baseball at the ballpark--I'll leave that to Nationals fan sites.
This FAQ is now the default ballpark page, and replaces the old Stadium Renderings gallery, which has now been moved to a new page (after all, renderings are less important when the dang thing is just about three months away from opening!). So if your bookmarks have changed, apologies. The exterior and interior stadium photo galleries are still in their proper places.
(As for why on earth I didn't do a page like this a loooooong time ago, I plead insanity. Yeesh.)
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, staddis, Nationals Park

Ballpark and Beyond, and Stadium-Related Tidbits
Dec 20, 2007 9:06 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post is my summary of ANC 6D's deliberations on the ballpark liquor license. It also references a meeting held last night between community leaders and city and team representatives (though my deadline was before the meeting, so the column couldn't actually include anything *from* the meeting).
The meeting included updates on the road improvements in the area and the Navy Yard Metro station upgrades, both of which are still on track to be basically done by opening day (the Metro station might "still need another coat of paint", it was said, but will be "serviceable").
The Nationals are still working out their parking plans, not only in terms of the lots near the ballpark but also the satellite parking at RFK, and all the additional planning that goes with it (traffic flow, signage, shuttle buses, drop off/pick up locations, etc.). It appears as of now that there might not be season-ticket-holder lots in Southwest at all, not even at Buzzards Point. There was also mention that stadium-goers will not be funneled through the South Capitol Street exit of the freeway--the team is going to try very hard to move fans through all the other close-by freeway exits, but not South Capitol Street.
Circulator buses will not be part of the transit plans for the first season. But they're planning plenty of bike racks around the ballpark perimeter, and are also still working on a bicycle "valet" parking service.
Also, there's tentative plans for two stadium job fairs, possibly on Feb. 2 and Feb. 26 (details still being worked out).
And, everybody knows that the first few games will be "a challenge."
The general tone of the meeting was more cooperative and collegial than some of these meetings have been in the past (maybe because Tommy Wells was there for the first part and everyone wanted to be on their best behavior). There's plans for more meetings and workshops between these "stakeholders" (I really hate that word) to try to hammer out the best plans for traffic, pedestrian flow, and "curbside management" (aka on-street parking) before it's all then unveiled to the community at public meetings. There was also agreement that the group should get together after the first homestand in April to talk about what works/what doesn't.
UPDATE: Speaking of public meetings, here is the official announcement about the Jan. 11 city council Committee on Economic Development oversight hearing on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium." It contains information on how to testify at the hearing, if you're so inclined.

Updated Photos, Albeit With Gray Skies
Dec 16, 2007 11:47 AM
Before the snow-that-never-was arrived yesterday, I took a quick spin to get some updated photos. There was still a smidgen of sun when I visited the old Capper Seniors site, where only the southwest wing of the huge building remained standing when I was there (but even that could be gone by now). I also wandered along Tingey Street behind the DOT HQ for the first time in a long time to see what's going on with the work at The Yards--they're now preparing to build some temporary parking lots and are doing their infrastructure work before starting the rehabs next year of three existing buildings into residential and retail offerings. I also took some shots along M Street and at Onyx on First and 100 M to take advantage of the overcast skies in those spots, since the building shadows on winter days when the sun's out are almost impossible to work with. Finally, I got updated photos of 55 M Street, the northern portion of Monument's Half Street project, where the section along M Street is now three stories high and a fourth story is underway on the southern edge of the building.
Here's the entire batch of new photos on one page--don't forget to click the if you want to see all photos in the archive from a certain angle. And in case you missed these a few days back, I recently took new overhead photos of the North of M area (looking south and west and northwest), showing quite a change in the last 21 months.

WMATA Approves Plan for New Bus Garage, Navy Yard East Entrance Sale
Dec 13, 2007 2:47 PM
While the main stories in the media coming out of today's WMATA board meetings will no doubt be the approval of fare increases, my focus was on other action items:
* Without discussion, the board voted to execute the sale announced back in June of the 5,612-sq-ft WMATA land at New Jersey and M to "NJA Associates" (aka Donohoe). For more detail, you can read my entry from last week about how this land fits in with Donohoe's plans for 1111 New Jersey Avenue.
* The board also approved the plan to build a new 114-bus garage at DC Village to replace the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M, contingent on not only a series of land transfers between the city and WMATA but also on the $69.25 million sale of the current bus garage site to Akridge, since the proceeds from that sale are necessary to both fund the new garage and the interim costs associated with continuing the old garage's functions until the new site is ready. Marion Barry spoke forcefully in support of the move, speaking not only of his constituents' strong support for building a new facility in Ward 8 but also that the current garage is "in the way of progress," situated as it is smack in the middle of the fledgling Ballpark District.
No timeframe for closing the current garage was discussed by the WMATA board, and it was only mentioned in passing that Monument Realty's litigation surrounding the sale of the old garage is still pending. WMATA employees who I've talked to at Half and M in recent days have said they were initially told the garage would be vacated this month, then were told it would be next month, and are now being told that there's no firm date planned.
If indeed WMATA is not planning to close the garage before Opening Day, it will need to come up with plans for moving their buses in and out of that space while dodging tens of thousands of pedestrians, or how they'll shut down the garage during game times. It would also mean that the garage's possible use as a temporary parking facility would be off the boards.

Details on Metro Station Music This Week
Dec 10, 2007 9:55 AM
From the BID, more details on the holiday music planned for the Navy Yard Metro entrance this week, and it's three performances over three days, not just one on one day. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, the a cappella group Reverb will be performing; Patty Reese will perform on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 4 to 5:30 pm, and on Friday, Dec. 14, Reverb will be back from 8 to 9 am. This is sponsored by the BID, WMATA, and the DC Commission on Fine Arts. UPDATE: Here's the release from last Friday (that I overlooked, grrrrrr) on the Metroperforms! program. One thing in it that might be worth noting, just to be on the safe side: "Program participants are not permitted to sell merchandise, nor ask for money from the public while performing."
More posts: Metro/WMATA, staddis

Holiday Music at Navy Yard Station on Dec. 12
Dec 9, 2007 10:40 AM
A short blurb in today's Post says that at lunchtime on Dec. 12 there will be an a cappella quintet performing holiday music at the Navy Yard Metro station. "The performances are part of MetroPerforms!, a program designed to showcase the talents of area artists at select station entrances." Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la!
More posts: Metro/WMATA

Reading the Tea Leaves on Upcoming Projects - Updated with More 1111 New Jersey News
Dec 7, 2007 1:02 PM
Because I'm not always so successful in getting people to tell me the current status of various projects, I spend a lot of time pouring through documents hoping to get hints here or there, and within the past few days I've uncovered a few new ones. I sent out some e-mails asking for additional information, but those have gone unanswered (waaaaah!), so I'll just post what I've seen, and wait for the various bureaucratic processes to move along to get more information.
The developers of the planned office building at 1111 New Jersey Avenue are having a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review in front of the Zoning Commission on Jan. 31. This review is now required because Donohoe is buying the land on top of the Navy Yard Metro station east entrance, which means that the project's property now "fronts" M Street and must get a review by the Zoning Commission to make sure it follows the design and usage requirements laid out by the CG Overlay. I haven't seen any new renderings yet to know whether the building has grown from its original 146,000-sq-ft design (note: see UPDATE below). No mentions yet of when construction might start. Presumably this design will be presented to ANC 6D, at perhaps its January meeting.
And, in the Questions and Responses posted along with the Capper PILOT underwriters RFP, there's the following statements:
* 250 M Street, the 200,000-sq-ft office building by William C. Smith, "will commence construction on or about May 2008";
* 600 M Street, the 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City on the old Capper Seniors site, "is expected to commence construction in late 2009 or early 2010 -- Stage II PUD process with the District Zoning Commission has already commenced"; and
* 800 New Jersey/120 Canal, the planned 1.1-million-sq-ft mixed use project by William C. Smith on the land north of I between Second and New Jersey (known as Square 737), "will commence Stage II PUD upon transfer of District land in early 2008."
1111 NJ UPDATE: Amazingly, just a few hours later, another document popped up with additional information on 1111 New Jersey: it's for the Dec. 13 WMATA board meeting, a request to execute the sale announced back in June of the 5,612-sq-ft WMATA land at New Jersey and M to "NJA Associates" (aka Donohoe). And it describes the "new" 1111 NJ thusly (emphases mine):
"The Developer proposes to combine the WMATA property with an adjacent 16,406 sf developer-owned site and develop an office building with ground floor retail. Its current proposal to the District of Columbia Zoning Commission is for an approximately 211,000 sf building, a portion of which cantilevers over the WMATA property. At ground level, the proposal includes a wide plaza surrounding the Metro entrance, consistent with the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Framework Plan. The Developer will make modifications to Metro facilities at its own cost and subject to WMATA approval. At present the modifications are expected to be limited to adjustments to the vent shaft and new paving in the plaza area. The existing entrance canopy will remain. The entrance will be protected during construction. The Developer has stated that it does not currently anticipate any need to close the entrance during construction."
WMATA is selling the land for $2.3 million plus an unnamed additional payment if the approved project is larger 206,000 square feet.

Update on Stadium Parking and Transportation
Dec 7, 2007 11:01 AM
Voice of the Hill has posted an article on the status of parking and traffic plans for the new ballpark, which boils down to: team and city officials say it will be okay, neighborhood residents and activists say it won't. The team, as it always has, will be emphasizing Metro as the best way to get to the stadium, and is apparently working on plans for guiding people who drive to the games on the "right way" to get to the various parking lots that will be available. As for the infrastructure work: "Street and sidewalk work is on schedule, and the Navy Yard Metrorail station will be ready to use, but possibly unfinished, by opening day, said Ken Laden, the Transportation Department's associate director for transportation policy and planning. Laden also said the agency is working with Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells on new street-parking regulations that would discourage on-street parking during games."
According to the Voice there was a community meeting about baseball-related traffic concerns on Nov. 28, which I didn't see announced anywhere. But apparently there's another one scheduled for Dec. 19 at 6:30 pm at Southeastern University.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

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

Circulator Expected to Expand to Near Southeast
Nov 12, 2007 8:54 AM
This has been rumored for a long while, but today's Examiner is reporting that it appears to be moving forward: "The D.C. Circulator bus system is expected to expand with at least two new routes in 2008, one between the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and Adams Morgan, and the other from Union Station to the new Washington Nationals ballpark. [...] But it is not expected to be implemented until late 2008, after the Nationals' season." The article doesn't give an exact route, but previous statements by DDOT and others mentioned that it could run past the new US Capitol Visitors Center (yeech--don't get me started) and the Capitol South Metro station as well. And no reason is given for why it wouldn't start until late next year. The Circulator is run by DDOT.
UPDATE: Here's the Washington Business Journal blurb on the plans, with not much additional detail but saying that the areas "should be covered by the end of 2008." And there's also a somewhat confusing statement late in the story, after it says that two new routes will be added, that says "The department will try to modify the existing three routes by extending them to the needed areas, but if that becomes too cumbersome, it will create the two new routes[.]" So now the question is, are there really two new routes, or just expanded routes being covered by the existing routes?
More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Monument Reiterates Navy Yard Metro On Time
Oct 29, 2007 8:48 AM
From the Post: "Monument Realty, which has filed a federal lawsuit against Metro over a land dispute, said Friday that the expansion of the Navy Yard station near the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium would be completed on schedule. Executives at the District company had threatened to slow work on the project because the transit agency plans to sell land near the stadium to another development company, Akridge. Jeff Neal, a Monument principal, said in a written statement that the project would be completed before the start of the 2008 baseball season. 'We have worked diligently and transparently to develop an aggressive timeline,' he said. Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for Metro, said, 'We have every reason to believe that they will fulfill that pledge.' " Monument also stated that the station would be done on time a few weeks ago in a letter to ANC6D vice chair Andy Litsky and others, which I posted here. You can see my Monument Half Street page for more information on the station expansion as well as 55 M Street, the office building that Monument is constructing on top of it. (There's also the Half Street Web Cam for tracking the progress, but it's been offline for the past few days. UPDATE: It's back now.)
UPDATE II: There's also this interview with Russ Hines and Amy Phillips of Monument, conducted last Friday by the Nats320 blog, about the on-time-ness of the project.

New Half Street Renderings Posted
Oct 24, 2007 8:17 PM
Monument Realty has created a high-tech animation of what its under-construction project on the east side of Half Street will look like when completed; some images captured from the animation are now on my Monument Half Street page. (I'm waiting to find out where the animation will reside, and hopefully will be able to link to it.) Compare the drawings of the Half and M corner with the latest shots from the Half Street construction web cam, and you'll see that the steel beams are now being put in place that make up the distinctive pattern around the Navy Yard Metro entrance. (But don't look too closely at what's shown for the west/right side of the street, since that's the site of the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, which Monument thought it was going to acquire but which has been won by Akridge with a $69.25 million bid. And which is now subject of a Monument lawsuit.)
UPDATED, 10/25: I've now got a low-bandwidth version of the animation posted. Please note that in order to not have it be huge file that you'd need an afternoon to download, the animation is not as sharp as the original.
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Nats Consider Paying for Metro Name Change
Oct 17, 2007 2:46 PM
From WTOP, a story about someone thinking about maybe doing something sometime: "It looks like the Metro station nearest to the Washington Nationals new stadium will be renamed, but who will pay for it? WTOP has learned the Nats may intend to pick up the tab. Nationals President Stan Kasten says discussion of what the Metro station might be called has been delayed because stadium naming rights have yet to be determined. But as far as paying for the new signage, Kasten says it is something the organization is 'talking about' and one of the things it is 'considering.' "
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

More ANC 6D Doings
Oct 16, 2007 8:43 AM
In other news from Monday's ANC meeting:
* Council Member Phil Mendelson spoke about his concerns that the new consolidated crime lab construction schedule is continuing to slip. The new lab, which is supposed to be built at Fourth and School streets, SW, can't get underway until a new home (temporary or permanent) is found for the police department's First District station currently located there. Up until recently, of course, 1D was supposed to move to the old Post plant at 225 Virginia Avenue, but with that now scuttled, the Office of Property Management is hunting for a new 1D home somewhere in Southwest, perhaps using either the Amidon or Bowen elementary school buildings, both of which are at only 60 percent capacity and could be consolidated by moving the sixth graders to Jefferson Junior High School. Mendelson, "irritated" at how the city is handling the space shuffling, wants the process of finding a new 1D home speeded up, even if it means taking 1D out of Southwest, which of course was viewed as a nonstarter by this ANC that represents Southwest; Commissioner Sobelsohn commended Mendelson on his "bravery" for coming to Southwest and telling the residents they shouldn't have a police station. (It also sounds like Mendelson is still hoping for a return to using 225 Virginia, given his numerous references to the $500,000 checks the city is writing each month to lease the empty building.)
* The Randall School redevelopment project by Monument Realty and the Corcoran Gallery was approved, thanks mainly to a negotiated community benefits package that includes a $200,000 contribution by Monument to the ANC's Community Investment Fund, preferences for ANC 6D residents when filling the affordable housing component of the project, and agreements with the Corcoran to support various neighborhood art projects and arts education offerings for Southwest residents. The vote was 5-0; vice chair Andy Litsky did not vote, after expressing his displeasure with what he sees as Monument's threat to slow down the Navy Yard Metro station expansion when the company did not win the right to buy WMATA's Southeastern Bus Garage. Monument executive vice president Russell Hines, who attended the meeting, reiterated the points he made last week in an e-mail to Litsky, that the station expansion is not behind schedule as has been reported and that Monument is committed to getting the work completed by Opening Day 2008.
* A local resident informed the commission that three historic police and fire call boxes along First Street have recently gone missing. Those with x-ray vision can see them in my photos (up until yesterday) of First and N and First and O, deep in the heart of ballpark construction territory and along the stretch of First Street being renovated by DDOT; the now-missing First and L box is pretty hard to see behind the Onyx fencing. There's an effort called Art on Call, led by Cultural Tourism DC, to find and restore these boxes, and kids from the Earth Conservation Corps have been painting the boxes in Near Southeast and Southwest. Calls are in to the District Department of Transportation to see if the boxes have perhaps just been temporarily moved, or if they're, um, history. (The box at First and K is still in place, at least.)

Monument Replies to ANC on Navy Yard Metro Schedule
Oct 12, 2007 9:37 AM
An e-mail has just been sent by Russell Hines of Monument Realty to Andy Litsky, vice chair of ANC 6D, in reply to Litsky's Wednesday e-mail that asked for Monument to withdraw what has been publicized as a "threat" to slow down the completion of the Navy Yard Metro station's expansion in response to WMATA awarding the Southeastern Bus Garage site across the street to Akridge. Litsky had said that he would oppose Monument's proposed redevelopment of the Randall School site in Southwest if Monument did not pull back.
Hines's e-mail, which was cc'ed to the commissioners of ANC 6D as well as myself and Tommy Wells and WMATA board members Jim Graham and Marion Barry (all of whom had received Litsky's original e-mail) says that the Metro Station is currently on schedule, and asks that the Randall School project be judged on its own merits. Here's the paragraph that is probably of most interest, describing Monument's view of current state of the renovation's schedule:
"Second, Mr. Neal did not threaten to slow the renovation of the Metro Station. At the time the letter was written, the District of Columbia had asked Monument to spend its own money to accelerate the completion of the Metro Station. The project had suffered from a variety of delays, including delays that were caused by actions or inaction by other public entities; however, there was no consensus on the impact to the final completion date. Mr. Neal was objecting to spending more money to accelerate the project and pointing out that it was an unreasonable request given WMATA's recent position on the disposition of the bus garage. In short, WMATA wanted to take further advantage of Monument's resources without making any effort to reciprocate by entering into negotiations with Monument as had been promised. Furthermore, by the time this article was written, Monument had already worked with the contractor on a plan and schedule that addressed any perceived or actual delays in the completion of the Metro Station. WMATA officials had this information when they made the false claim that the Metro Station was seven weeks behind schedule. We have since met with District and WMATA officials to discuss this schedule and all parties appeared satisfied. Why WMATA continues to put out inaccurate information about the schedule or let inaccurate reporting go unchallenged is beyond me. I should also point out that when Monument took on this responsibility last December, it was considered a very difficult schedule -- in fact, WMATA staff conceded that they would probably not have finished on time even if they simply installed fare gates at grade and built the standard Metro canopy over the entrance."
Hines's complete e-mail is available here; like Litsky's, I removed the e-mail addresses it was sent to, preferring not to blab addresses that aren't mine. And see my entry from yesterday about Monument's lawsuit filed against WMATA.
UPDATE: Here's a Washington Business Journal piece with additional quotes from Jeff Neal of Monument refuting the "slow down" issue. (And, gosh, I wonder where WBJ saw the Litsky letter?)

Monument Files Suit Against WMATA
Oct 11, 2007 5:08 PM
The Post is reporting that Monument Realty filed a lawsuit today against WMATA, asking that the planned sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M to Akridge be invalidated, arguing that "it deserves the property because it has been working with Metro and the District government for three years as 'master developer' of the area, with the implicit understanding that Metro would sell Monument the land." If the court were to not invalidate the sale, Monument wants $100 million in damages. I haven't seen the documents myself (though I hear one of my JDLand maps is used as an illustration), so I don't know whether the previously implied threats to slow down the Navy Yard station renovation are addressed anywhere.
UPDATE: Here's the Washington Business Journal piece on the suit, and the Associated Press's.
UPDATE II: And the Examiner's.
UPDATE, 10/12: Here's the link to the basic information on the lawsuit, though you'll need a subscription to PACER if you want to read the lawsuit documents themselves.
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

ANC Commissioner Warns Monument on Navy Yard Metro Renovation Threats
Oct 11, 2007 12:13 AM
When word broke a few days back that Monument Realty had lost the bidding for the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage site at Half and M, the Post described a letter from Monument principal partner Jeffrey T. Neal to WMATA that threatened a slow-down in Monument's work on the renovation and expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station if the company was not awarded the garage site as it felt it had been promised. (It has also been reported that Monument is already seven weeks behind schedule on the project.) This station is of course the lynchpin of the city's plans to get stadium-goers to and from Nationals Park, particularly in the near-term before the parking situation is sorted out.
Now, with Monument's plans for developing the old Randall School site on I Street in Southwest about to come up before the Zoning Commission, ANC6D vice chairman Andy Litsky has written a sternly worded letter to representatives of Monument and its Randall partner the Corcoran Gallery of Art, cc'ed to Tommy Wells and WMATA board members Jim Graham and Marion Barry, that boils down to this: "[U]nless Mr. Neal and Monument Realty withdraw this threat -- in writing and in advance of our vote on Monday night -- I will oppose this PUD at the ANC and in testimony before the Zoning Commission." He goes on to say: "The time has finally come for District residents and policy makers to stand up to developers who use threats and lawsuits as leverage in one part of the city and yet expect -- and often receive -- support for their special projects, PUDs and city tax incentives in another. Enough is enough."
You can read the entire letter here (I PDF'ed the e-mail without the headers so as not to blab a bunch of e-mail addresses to the world). The ANC meets on October 15; the Zoning Commission hearing is Nov. 8.

Changing the Navy Yard Station Name - Followup
Oct 10, 2007 8:38 AM
WTOP follows up their no-one's-thought-about-renaming-the-Navy Yard-station story yesterday with a story this morning saying, basically, people are now thinking about renaming the Navy Yard station: "A name change for the Metro station near the new Nationals stadium could be on the way. The move for the change comes after after a WTOP report. 'It is something we ought to do," Metro Board member and D.C. City Council member Jim Graham tells WTOP. "It is just a matter of changing all the maps. We have the money to do it.' " The last station name changes cost almost $211,000.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Oops - No One's Thought About Renaming the Navy Yard Station
Oct 9, 2007 9:06 AM
From WTOP: "In the sprint to get the new ballpark for the Nationals up and running next year, an important element may have been overlooked, and it could cause big confusion. The name on the closest Metro station to the stadium is Navy Yard, but it doesn't say anything about a stadium being there. Right now, the only Metro station with the word stadium in it, is the Stadium-Armory stop. That name isn't changing and the Nats aren't playing there next year. D.C. leaders tell WTOP this is the first time the issue has been raised. They say they do understand there could be confusion." And: "A request for a name change at the Navy Yard stop would have to come from the District and would have to be paid in full by the District. A name change on a Metro stop isn't exactly an easy procedure. The last time there was a change was at the 'Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Station' as well as the 'Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter' stop. Both of those changes cost almost $211,000 and took months because maps and signs had to be replaced." Maybe the people who go to the wrong station can catch the RFK parking shuttle.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park

Monument and the Ballpark District - A Timeline
Oct 5, 2007 9:34 AM
Today's Washington Business Journal has a long story (not just for subscribers!) about Monument Realty's miffed-ness over not being awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage site. It details the process from 2005 when the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation issued the solicitation to develop land around the new Nationals ballpark up through the surprise awarding of the bus garage site earlier this month to Akridge. As for the next steps, in light of the acrimony and Monument's recent threats of litigation, the article sheds no light on the what course of action will be taken by the city, Monument, and/or Metro.
One thing the article cleared up for me was that brief moment in late June when the city asked WMATA to sell the bus garage to the District, then pulled back: apparently Monument Realty had complained to the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development about the open bidding for the garage, and so the city asked to buy it, until it was realized that the purchase "would require approval and tens of millions of dollars from the council, which would soon recess for the summer", and so the offer was rescinded.
If you're interested in some of the documents, here's the September 2005 Request for Expressions of Interest, the Dec. 2005 Summary of Recommendations listing the chosen Designated Developers, and the accompanying press release. (Just be nice and give proper credit to where you got them if you use them.)

New Web Cam: Monument Half Street
Sep 28, 2007 2:20 PM
Hot on the heels of the uber-successful Stadium Construction Web Cam, there's now a new webcam available, showing the progress of Monument Realty's Half Street project, which includes the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station. And it shows that the vertical construction of 55 M Street (the 275,000-sq-ft office building at the corner of Half and M that will house the subway entrance) is nearly to ground level. Also, I'm psyched that I can now keep an eye on the properties along First Street without taking off my fuzzy slippers, to watch for if and when those buildings get demolished. (It also shows that the GPO building at The Yards is still partially standing.) For baseball fans, it does show a smidgen of the ballpark, mainly from the restaurant eastward and southward, as well as all of the eastern parking garage. The images go back to Aug. 28, but I guess I kept overlooking the webcam link on the official Half Street web site.
UPDATE: Alas, the web cam has spent most of the day frozen at 12:51 pm. Hopefully someone will go to the top of 20 M Street and kick the tires.
UPDATE II: And now it's back.


Monument Files Protest Over Bus Garage
Sep 28, 2007 10:19 AM
The Post reports on yesterday's WMATA board vote to sell the Southeastern Bus Garage to Akridge (see my post on the vote here), saying that "Monument Realty, which owns several acres nearby, filed a formal protest late Wednesday. Company officials have said that Monument was promised first dibs on the site by the D.C. government and Metro several years ago when the company was named 'master developer' of the area and given the task of building an integrated 'ballpark district.' " Also: "Monument principal partner Jeffrey T. Neal has threatened to file a lawsuit to stop the sale. In a letter to Metro last month, Neal also said Monument might slow its renovation of the Navy Yard Metro station, the closest stop to the ballpark, if the company does not win Metro's bus garage property." Metro says that Monument's protest will be reviewed before the sale to Akridge is completed. It also repeats what was mentioned in yesterday's Post article, that Monument is seven weeks behind on its renovation of the Navy Yard Metro station west entrance, and that Monument has acknowledged the delays but is spending extra money to make up the lost time. Also, here's the Washington Business Journal's piece on the bus garage sale and attendant controversy, and the Examiner's.
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

Metro Board Approves Bus Garage Sale to Akridge
Sep 27, 2007 1:45 PM
Without too much discussion, the WMATA board of directors has just approved the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M streets to the John Akridge Development Company. There was a brief exchange between Jim Graham and (I believe) the corporate counsel about what was apparently an "escalator clause" in Monument Realty's bid for the garage site, stating that their $60 million bid should be raised to $250,000 above the higher bid. The counsel indicated that the sale was not being handled under a Request for Proposals, but under a sealed bid process that WMATA procedures stipulate do not allow for alternative bids. The counsel also said that Monument's bid in fact stated that if WMATA's procedures did not allow for alternative bids, to then revert to Monument's $60 million initial bid.
With that cleared up, and with a bit of discussion about how these sorts of property sales should be handled in the future, the board voted to approve the sale. However, settlement on the deal is still contingent on the board's approval of a new Southeastern Bus Garage project at DC Village in Southwest, which Graham pleaded be handled as quickly as possible to ensure that the buses are out of Half and M before Opening Day 2008, so that both pedestrian safety issues and additional ballpark parking can be addressed.
So now we'll wait and see if Monument follows through with the threats detailed in this morning's Post to possibly file suit over not being awarded the garage site, or slow down their work on the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station across the street, which would seem to not really be a good way to endear yourself to the public, the city, or WMATA.
If you want to listen to the audio of the meeting, it will be available here once the meeting itself is finished. And I did put together a new Bus Garage section under my Ballpark District pages, with just a few photos of the site. (Finally. Guess I never thought it would turn into such a perpetual topic of conversation.)
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

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

The Ballpark Parking Struggle; Monument Veeeery Unhappy About Bus Garage
Sep 27, 2007 12:21 AM
Thursday's Post has "Struggles Cloud Stadium Progress," which details a number of issues currently causing headaches in the Ballpark District. The story reveals that the renovation of the Navy Yard Metro station's west entrance, to expand its capacity to 15,000 users an hour, is seven weeks behind schedule. Also, talks that the Nationals have been having with the US Department of Transportation about possibly using the 800 parking spaces beneath the new DOT HQ have been fruitless. And, with the WMATA board set to vote on its plan to award Akridge the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage, Monument Realty has apparently "cried foul, arguing that it was promised first dibs on the property by District and Metro officials several years ago to build an integrated mixed-use 'ballpark district.' " Monument, which owns almost the entire rest of the Square 700 block that the bus garage sits on, is threatening lawsuits, and even is suggesting that its stewardship of Navy Yard Metro expansion as part of its mixed-use development on the east side of Half Street could be slowed down if Monument is not awarded the WMATA site--though, at the same time, they say they are addressing the current schedule slippage. Guess this might make the WMATA board meeting audiocast somewhat interesting.
On the plus side, "D.C. leaders expect whichever developer wins the Metro bus property to allow 350 cars to park on the site for the first season or two until more significant construction begins." And negotiations are continuing to allow gameday parking at RFK, with free shuttle buses to the new ballpark, although there are concerns that Hill East residents might not appreciate the traffic. (See my stadium parking page for more details on where parking lots are expected to be available.)
UPDATE: The board has approved the sale.
And, just some clarification, for those of you looking at the map that accompanied the article: the land that encompasses the bus garage sale is not all of the sites indicated as "Metro Property" on the map; it's just the bus garage itself and the parking lot to the garage's west, on the southwest corner of Half and M. The land on the east side of Half Street, at the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, is no longer owned by Metro, having been sold to Monument Realty in late 2006. The east entrance of the station, at New Jersey and M, is being sold to Donohoe as part of the 1111 New Jersey office development. And the little lot at Half and L is the station's chiller plant, which at one point was appearing to be offered as a joint development opportunity, but which appears to have stalled.

More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, staddis, Nationals Park

Akridge on Tap to Win Southeastern Bus Garage Site
Sep 24, 2007 11:29 AM
The agenda for the Sept. 27 WMATA board meeting is now online, and attached documents reveal that the John Akridge Development Company has been picked (pending board approval) to purchase the Southeastern Bus Garage site at Half and M, having bid $69.25 million for the 97,000-sq-ft site. Akridge's bid was determined to be "the most advantageous to the Authority" in terms of not only the purchase price but also the terms of a "leaseback" rental, which would be required until the buses currently at the garage can be relocated to other sites and which would be funded by the proceeds from the sale above the $60 million needed to fund the construction of a new garage at DC Village. Settlement on the sale would not happen until the DC Village site has been acquired from the District of Columbia and the WMATA board officially approves the Southeastern Bus Garage replacement project.
If this sale goes through, Akridge would control most of the western side of Half Street between M and N, which is the route that stadium-goers would walk to get to the ballpark from the Navy Yard Metro station. Monument Realty owns the rest of the Half Street frontage, and all of the rest of that city block (known as Square 700), except for the Public Space Storage building on South Capitol Street, and had had its eye on the WMATA site for a long time. It will be interesting to see how the development of Square 700 (smack in the center of the Ballpark District) proceeds.
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

This Week's Ballpark and Beyond Column
Sep 20, 2007 8:03 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra covers a number of items I wrote about here on the blog recently: Metro's lack of decision on relocating the buses at the Southeastern Bus Garage, the WalkingTown DC Fall Edition tour of "Capitol Riverfront," the demolition of the GPO building at the Yards, and the proposed 12-unit condo project at 1006 Seventh Street.

WMATA Committee Punts Bus Relocation Decision
Sep 13, 2007 3:28 PM
At today's meeting of Metro's Planning, Real Estate, and Development Committee, a proposal to relocate the buses currently operating out of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M to other garages throughout the region was first not supported, then ultimately forwarded to the full WMATA board without a committee recommendation.
The Maryland and Virginia representatives on the committee balked at having to shoulder some additional operating costs of $1 million a year through 2010 in order to relocate the buses (DC's share would be about $2 million a year), saying basically that baseball is a DC amenity, and so any issue with needing to be out of the garage to "accommodate" baseball is DC's problem.
Board member and DC council member Jim Graham, along with Metro General Manager John Catoe, emphasized that attempting to continue the garage's operations during baseball games, with the street closures and large numbers of pedestrians, would be impossible to do safely; Catoe also commented that the current operation of the garage is not safe "by any stretch of the imagination."
Graham also reminded the committee that the construction of a new garage at DC Village is dependent on the using the proceeds from the sale of the current garage, and even suggested that a decision not to allow the relocation of the buses in essence scuttles the sale of the garage, an interesting comment coming just as the committee was about to go into executive session to discuss the winner of the garage sale Request for Proposals.
It was also mentioned by someone (I didn't recognize the voice) that there is no "no-action no-cost" alternative; if the buses don't get relocated, and if it's decided not to build temporary facilities elsewhere until the DC Village site is ready, there will be an additional $1 million a year in costs for the rental of the employee parking lot at the Pepco site at Buzzards Point, which apparently the DC government has been paying but will become Metro's responsibility starting in 2008. And, if the sale of the site were to go forward without relocating the buses, Metro would have to pay a "leaseback" cost to the new owners, which Graham indicated he would adamantly oppose.
After initially voting not to support the recommendation to relocate the buses, the committee reconsidered that vote and decided to forward the relocation proposal to the full board at its Sept. 27 meeting without a committee recommendation, when "hopefully we'll have more information," according to one board member.
You can listen to the discussion, and look at the proposal. And mark your calendars for the 27th. (That's the same day that the WMATA Finance Committee will be meeting in a special session before the board meeting to further discuss the fare increases that has everyone all roiled, so who knows the board will actually meet that day.)

More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA

Metro Deciding What to Do With its Buses
Sep 11, 2007 1:48 PM
The agendas for Thursday's various WMATA committee meetings are now posted, and the sole item on the Planning, Development, and Real Estate agenda is the requested approval of a plan to reassign the 106 buses currently serviced at the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M to the various other WMATA garages around the area, at a cost of $9.5 million over the next few years. (It is anticipated that the new garage at DC Village will open in late 2010.) If the board does not approve the reassignment plan, the alternate plan would be to create a temporary facility or to remain at Half and M, options that would cost anywhere from $16 million to $31 million through 2010; the WMATA staff recommendation is to reassign the buses. The agenda packet gives much more background.
After this, the committee will go into executive session to discuss the sale of the Half and M garage; the bids were supposed to have been unsealed on Aug. 28 but no details have leaked out as of yet. And it's possible that we may have to wait until the Sept. 27 meeting of the full WMATA board to find out who won the bidding. (Or even later than that--some of the documents related to this Thursday's meeting indicate that the full board may not be moving on the approval of the garage sale until December.)
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

Bus Garage Sale Update: No Update
Aug 29, 2007 12:27 PM
Yesterday was the day that WMATA was supposed to open the bids received from developers who want to purchase the Southeastern Bus Garage and its parking lot at 17 M Street (I've archived the Invitation for Bids, which is no longer linked to on their web site). I keep checking around, but have found so far no indication of who the winning bidder is. I suppose it's possible that this might not be announced until the Real Estate, Planning and Development Committee meets on Sept. 13, or even not until the full board meets Sept. 27. If anyone wants to whisper the winner in my ear, I'll listen. And of course I'll keep digging.
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

New Photos and News
Aug 27, 2007 7:19 PM
After a week of days that were either overcast and drizzly or ridiculously hot and humid, today's sunny-and-warm profile gave me no choice but to venture out for a reconaissance mission. My report:
The masses of workers and the well-positioned fences make it nearly impossible to take photos of the current state of South Capitol Street, but I have added a decent photo to my Douglass Bridge makeover page showing the new South Capitol and Potomac intersection, which appears very close to being ready for traffic. Streetlights are in place, curbs have been built, paving has begun, and the historic globe streetlamps are installed all along the length of the bridge.
I also snuck a peek into the huge hole where Monument Realty's Half Street project is underway, and from N Street you can see what appears to be vertical construction is already underway at the bottom of the hole. It's along the M Street portion of the site, which will be home to the 55 M Street office building, which itself will contain the expanded entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. Because that Metro work must be completed by Opening Day 2008, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that they're already pouring concrete and working upward, eight months into construction. The office building itself and the rest of the Half Street Phase I won't be completed until 2009.
And I unexpectedly found Demolished Building entry #138, as the beige garage that has long sat on the northeast side of the Half and I Street intersection bit the dust today, which I'm sure JPI is happy to see, given that 70/100 I Street is growing like a weed right next door.
Speaking of 70/100 I, it got updated photos today, along with Onyx on First and 100 M Street. You can look at those project pages (and their accompanying expanded archives), or you can browse this page showing all photos I've posted from today, which includes a few new shots of Capper Building #2, which I believe is just minutes from opening. And I even finally added a photo of the "Starbucks Coming Soon" sign out in front of the DOT HQ, for the caffeine-deprived.

Latest on WMATA Bus Garage Move
Aug 14, 2007 1:27 PM
Yesterday Metro posted an update on its Southeastern Bus Garage Replacement page, announcing that "WMATA staff will be recommending to its Board of Directors that, rather implementing the [construction of a new bus garage at DC Village] through three phases, WMATA should design and construct the ultimate 250-bus facility at the outset with an opening in late 2010." Because Metro and the city both very strongly feel that WMATA should be out of the current Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M before the opening of the baseball stadium in April 2008, Metro is now starting an analysis of four alternative plans to make this happen: leasing/upgrading an existing crane rental facility on W Street, NE; upgrading the Carmen Turner Facility and using the Landover Bus Garage in Landover, MD; leasing and developing land on Howard Road, SE; or reassigning the 114 buses currently at the garage to other facilities. (Option #5 is staying at Half and M.) They've posted an Alternatives Analysis presentation, and will be having public meetings and briefings as they work through the options to make a decision. If you're interested in the plans for the new garage at DC Village, the project overview slides on the project page might be of interest.
In the meantime, Aug. 28 is the scheduled date for Metro to pick the developer with the winning bid to purchase the Half and M site.
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

Revised Invitation for Bids on Bus Garage Now Available
Jul 30, 2007 4:21 PM
As expected, WMATA has re-posted its Invitation for Bids to purchase the Southeastern Bus Garage land at 17 M Street, with a new deadline of 2 pm Aug. 28, at which time the bids will be opened and a winner immediately chosen. Minimum bid price is still $60 million, and settlement is to be held on Nov. 30. The IFB still contains a leaseback provision, requiring that the bidder rent the land back to Metro for 36 months. UPDATE: Here's the Metro press release on the sale process being re-opened.
So, it looks like the temporary detour taken when the city briefly expressed an interest in buying the property and then withdrew that interest (would love to know the real story behind that) has only caused about a one-month delay in the bid process. But does this mean WMATA will still have to be operating this very busy garage when the ballpark opens a block away, or is there still enough time for them to get a temporary facility built at DC Village before April 2008?
On the bright side, this means there will be at least one Near Southeast news item in August; otherwise, I think it's gonna be a little quiet around here over the next few weeks, other than some photo updates of the stadium, the Douglass Bridge, Onyx, and 70 I. But it's not necessarily a bad thing--even obsessive-compulsive webmasters can use a bit of a breather once in a while!
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

Bidding Reopened for Bus Garage; City Decides Not to Buy
Jul 27, 2007 10:10 AM
From this morning's Post: "Metro is reopening bids for the sale of its Southeastern Bus Garage in the District. The board had been scheduled to consider a request yesterday to sell the property to the District, but a Metro spokeswoman said the District is no longer going to buy the property. [...] Metro had received three bids, but after the city decided it was not going to buy the garage and an employee parking lot, Metro decided to reopen the process, agency spokeswoman Candace Smith said. 'We think some firms were dissuaded from putting in a bid because the District had said it wanted to buy the property,' she said. The bidding period will last 30 days, beginning Monday, she said." (Note that one of the stories earlier this week said that no bids were received by the original deadline. Hmmmm.)
They've taken down the links on the bid process from this page, but here's the original Invitation for Bids, with a minimum bid set at $60 million. Perhaps the documents will be reposted on Monday.
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

No WMATA Board Vote on Bus Garage Sale to City
Jul 26, 2007 10:49 AM
The WMATA board of directors had on its agenda this morning a scheduled vote on the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage property at Half and M Street to the District of Columbia (more on this proposed sale here). However, when it came time for the items from the Planning, Development, and Real Estate committee, it was announced that one of the items had been removed from the agenda--which turned out to be the Southeastern Bus Garage sale. The first 10 minutes of the board meeting were not included in the live and archived audio streams, so I don't know whether anything was explained during the "approval of the agenda" portion. I have a query into WMATA. UPDATE: WMATA posted a complete version of the audio file, but alas the sound isn't very good--with two sets of ears listening, it *sounds* as if the motion was made to remove the bus garage sale from the agenda and was then approved without any explanation or discussion.

More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

Broadcast of Recent Economic Development Roundtable; Other Thursday Events
Jul 25, 2007 10:04 AM
Back in mid-June there was a Saturday morning public roundtable by the city council's Committee on Economic Redevelopment on current development projects in Southwest and Near Southeast. If you didn't get to go, you can watch it tomorrow (Thursday June 26) at 6:40 pm on DC Cable 13, or via live streaming video. Of course, that's at the same time as the Zoning Commission hearing on Forest City's request to add temporary surface parking lots to the The Yards (also available via streaming video) so you'll have to make a choice.
And if you want to give over your entire day to monitoring developments (welcome to my world!), at 10 am Thursday is the WMATA board meeting where they will decide whether to sell the Southeastern Bus Garage to the city; this will also be available via live and archived streaming audio.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, staddis, The Yards, zoning

More on Bus Garage Sale to City
Jul 24, 2007 7:48 AM
Both the Post and the Examiner have small pieces today on the city's desire to purchase the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M from Metro, which I wrote about last Friday. New tidbits: the Post says that "Metro had offered the property to developers through a bid process that began June 8. As of yesterday's 2 p.m. deadline for bids, the transit authority had not received any offers." The Examiner notes that "Metro routinely grants local governments the first chance to purchase surplus properties at market price." The WMATA board is scheduled to vote on this proposal Thursday; here's the proposed action item, which explains why the city is interested: "The Garage is currently being offered for public sale through an Invitation for Bids process. The Garage is located in the new Nationals Ballpark District, and the District of Columbia has an interest in the successful redevelopment of the area surrounding the ballpark and is concerned that WMATA's Invitation for Bids process for the Garage will not yield the high-quality, mixed-use development that is required to achieve its goals for this area. By letter dated June 27, 2007, the District of Columbia, acting by and through the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, requested that WMATA enter into direct negotiations with the District of Columbia for the sale of the Garage."
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

DC to Purchase Metro's Southeastern Bus Garage
Jul 21, 2007 12:48 AM
Well, here's a bit of a stunner. While prepping myself for Monday's scheduled deadline for developers to submit bids to purchase Metro's Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M, SE, I peeked in on the agenda posted for WMATA's July 26 board meeting, and there's an action item about the sale: "Purpose: To request Board approval to enter into negotiations with the District of Columbia for the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage."
Whaaa?
Quoting: "The Garage is currently being offered for public sale through an Invitation for Bids process. The Garage is located in the new Nationals Ballpark District, and the District of Columbia has an interest in the successful redevelopment of the area surrounding the ballpark and is concerned that WMATA's Invitation for Bids process for the Garage will not yield the high-quality, mixed-use development that is required to achieve its goals for this area. By letter dated June 27, 2007, the District of Columbia, acting by and through the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, requested that WMATA enter into direct negotiations with the District of Columbia for the sale of the Garage."
As best as I can tell (and I'm working solely off the agenda document, because it's hard to contact people for details at 11:55 Friday night), WMATA is going to sell the 97,000-sq-ft property to the city for "the appraised fair market value", allowing Metro to use the proceeds to fund the construction of a new garage at DC Village. (The property was assessed in 2007 at $34.5 million.)
But then there's a stipulation in the sales agreement that "if the District sells or otherwise transfers the Garage site for compensation greater than the sales price between WMATA and the District, then WMATA will receive 100% of the excess value." In addition, if "the property is increased in value due to approval of a higher density allowance or other similar action by the District of Columbia in the land use approval process, then WMATA will receive 50% of the 'excess value' so created." (Or are these two statements not supposed to both be in the resolution? They would seem to contradict each other.)
What does this mean? Is this the Deputy Mayor's office showing that it will act quickly and strongly in areas where the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation was considered to have foundered? Is it in some way allowing WMATA to get its hands on the sale proceeds faster? Are Monument Realty's stated desires to control both sides of Half Street north of the ballpark in jeopardy? Will this allow the west side of Half Street to be developed faster than if WMATA's bid process had gone through? There is digging to be done. Anyone with answers is encouraged to pass them along.
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, staddis

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.

WMATA Expecting at Least $2.3 Million for Navy Yard East Entrance
Jul 6, 2007 6:17 AM
(I found out the hard way that my subscription to Metro's press releases doesn't seem to be working these days, so this item is about a week late.) In WMATA's press release announcing their choice of NJA Associates (aka Donohoe) to develop the east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, it's mentioned that Metro will receive at least $2.3 million from the sale of the 5,612-sq-ft property, but that that could grow to $3.4 million if Donohoe can get zoning waivers to expand their planned 1111 New Jersey office building up to 220,000 sq ft. (Its original design came in at 146,000 sq ft, and with the new land but no zoning waivers they could go to 206,000 sq ft.) (UPDATED because of switched numbers in the original headline.)


WMATA Board Approves Navy Yard East Entrance Sale
Jun 28, 2007 11:41 AM
Without any discussion, the Metro board has voted unanimously to select NJA Associates (a subsidiary of Donohoe) to develop the Navy Yard subway station's east entrance at New Jersey and M; there will now be negotiations for the sale itself. You can read my Monday entry for more background on the plan, or visit my 1111 New Jersey Ave. page for information on Donohoe's planned office building right next to the station, which the company apparently plans to expand onto this additional land. You can also look at the WMATA documents on the plan, although they aren't ridiculously heavy on detail. Next steps? Waiting for word of the actual sale, and keeping an eye out for Donohoe's revised design, which will now have to go through a Capitol Gateway Overlay zoning review since the expanded lot would front on M Street.

Monument Realty Buys Sunoco Site
Jun 25, 2007 12:25 PM
Thanks to the weekly update of the public version of the DC Property Sales database (which runs about five weeks behind), I can confirm what has been rumored for a little while now: on May 21, Monument Realty paid $14.26 million for the old Sunoco site at 50 M Street, on the northeast corner of Half and M. There's been no announcement as yet as to their plans for the 15,500-sq-ft site located between 20 M, 80 M, and a US government warehouse, and right across the street from the Navy Yard Metro west entrance and Monument's Half Street extravaganza. Just think--if Monument is the successful bidder later this year for WMATA's Southeastern Bus Garage, they'll control three of the four corners at Half and M. Monument Valley, indeed!


WMATA to Sell Navy Yard East Entrance to Donohoe
Jun 25, 2007 9:01 AM
WMATA's Planning, Development, and Real Estate subcommittee has recommended to the full board that NJA Associates LLC (a subsidiary of Donohoe) be picked to purchase and develop the 5,612-sq-ft east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station at New Jersey and M. Donohoe already owns 16,406 sq ft directly adjoining this property, and has received zoning approvals for its plans to build the 1111 New Jersey Avenue office building on the site; however, they would apparently expand the building's design to 206,000 sq ft with the new land acquisition, or go up to as much as 220,000 sq ft if the Zoning Commmission approves. And since the building would front M Street with this expanded configuration, it would also need to go through a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review to make sure it conforms with the design requirements now expected of M Street buildings.
The full WMATA board will consider approval of the plan to begin negotiating this sale at this Thursday's meeting; you can see a rendering of Donohoe's pre-expansion design on my 1111 NJ page, and also feel free to look at the Joint Development Solicitation from last fall that started this process. (And, anticipating your questions: no, there's been no movement that I've heard or seen on the sale of the Chiller Plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L.)
UPDATE: Of course, the west side of the Navy Yard station is already getting developed and expanded, as work continues on 55 M Street, the office building that will fill the northern portion of Monument's Half Street development.

Southeastern Bus Garage Officially Up for Sale
Jun 8, 2007 9:55 AM
Proving that WMATA's plans to move the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M to DC Village are proceeding, there's an ad into today's print Washington Business Journal announcing that the property at 17 M Street is for sale. It's two parcels (the garage itself and the parking lot across Van Street) totaling almost 100,000 sq ft, and the sale is through a leased bid process; Metro is asking for a leaseback provision for 36 months with an early termination provision with 90 days' notice. There's supposed to be more information on this page, but it's not there as of yet.
In looking around, though, I did find this page they've created on the bus garage move, though I think it's probably geared more toward the residents around DC Village. And the various board of directors meeting documents I've linked to in the past probably have more detail.
UPDATE: The Invitation for Bids and other accompanying documents are now available on the WMATA site. Minimum bid price is $60 million; bids are due by July 23 at 2 pm, and the IFB calls for settlement on whichever bid is approved to take place on Oct. 26. And if you feel like bidding, you need to include a deposit check for $300,000 and a security deposit of $3 million.

More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA

WMATA Plans for Southeastern Bus Garage Going Forward
Jun 5, 2007 2:02 PM
A few days back, I posted about the WMATA board's approval on May 24 of a resolution to take first steps toward moving the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M to a new facility at DC Village in Southwest; however, when it was approved, there was an amendment added by council member Jim Graham that required that the city come up with a plan for relocating the homeless families currently living in the shelter at DC Village within seven days, or else the WMATA board's resolution wouldn't take effect. It took a few days of digging, but today I've been forwarded Mr. Graham's confirmation that the resolution did indeed take effect, meaning (it would appear) that an agreement on finding new accommodations for the homeless families has been reached. There is a WMATA Planning, Development, and Real Estate Committee meeting on June 14, so at that time we should hear more about the next steps laid out in the May 24 resolution (holding a public hearing on the project, advertising the Phase 1 construction contract, negotiating with the city to aquire the DC Village property, applying for a Federal bus facility grant, and authorizing the sale of the garage and its parking lot).
More posts: Metro/WMATA, staddis

June: Month O'Meetings
May 29, 2007 12:41 PM
The calendar for June is quickly filling up with all sorts of meetings and hearings on various Near Southeast-related projects, and although I've been adding them to my Upcoming Events list, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight them. So mark your calendars, and if you're interested in participating, many of the links have information on how to do so.
* It's not actually in June, but on May 31 at 6:30 pm (close enough!), the Zoning Commission is having another public hearing at 6:30 pm at One Judiciary Square on Case 06-41, Camden Development/1325 South Capitol Street, this time to consider the project as a consolidated planned unit development and map amendment request to rezone as C-3-C.
* The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation public board meeting originally scheduled for last week was postponed and will now be held on June 1 at 1105 New Jersey Ave., SE, at 6 pm; agenda items include "South Capitol Waterfront Modification of Contract for Parsons Brinckerhoff" (which I believe has to do with the project to design Diamond Teague Park) and "Baseball District: Western Development Litigation" (which is the lawsuit that resulted from when the city opted not to move forward with Herb Miller's Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness plan for on-site stadium parking).
* On June 7, the DC Council Committee on Workforce Development and Government Operations is having a Public Oversight Hearing at the Wilson Building at 9 am on the proposed relocation of the Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters to 225 Virginia Ave., SE, also known as the old Star/Post plant. (UPDATED with a date change to June 7.)
* On June 12, the council's Committee on Finance and Revenue will have a public hearing at 11 am on the bill to create the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District (bill B17-0208, "Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District Amendment Act of 2007").
* On June 14, WMATA's Planning, Development, and Real Estate Committee will be meeting, and included in their anticipated agenda items is "approval of developer selection and term sheet for the Navy Yard station east entrance", which is referring to a joint development solicitation proposal back in September 2006, looking to develop the 4,400 square feet owned by WMATA above the Navy Yard station entrance at New Jersey and M with some combination of a public plaza at ground level and development above it.
* On June 16, the council's Committee on Economic Development is having a Public Roundtable on "Progress of Economic Development Projects in Southwest and Near Southeast DC," at the Westminster Presbyterian Church at 400 I St., SW, at 10 am. (This was listed in the June issue of the Southwester, I don't have a link to an official announcement yet.) UPDATE, 6/1: I've now got a copy of the meeting notice.
* And on June 20, the Zoning Commission is having a public hearing at One Judiciary Square at 6:30 pm on Case 06-32, a proposed text amendment to add Square 766 [the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave.] to the Capitol South Receiving Zone, a move that would allow greater height and density on the lot than under its current zoning.
So, don't ever say that this stuff sneaks through the political process without anyone knowing about it! The trick is trying to stay awake through it all.
UPDATE: I should add, even though it's outside of my purview, that on June 7 there will be a Zoning Commission hearing on the updated plans for Waterside Mall on M Street in Southwest.

WMATA Approves Temporary Altering of Douglass Bridge Bus Routes
May 25, 2007 10:05 PM
I mentioned this in my preview of Thursday's WMATA board meeting, but then missed it in my summary of what happened, so we'll throw it over to the Post: "Fares on four Metrobus routes that will be detoured in July and August, when District officials will close the South Capitol Street Bridge for a major construction project, will be temporarily reduced, the Metro board said.The fare on the A9 route will go from $1.25 to 75 cents, and the express bus fare on the P17, P19 and W13 routes will drop from $3 to $1.25 during construction. The routes will temporarily end at Metrorail stations on the Green Line to help buses and commuters avoid traffic detoured by the bridge closing. The A9 (South Capitol Street Line) will end at the Anacostia station, and the P17, P19 (Oxon Hill-Fort Washington Line) and W13 (Bock Road Line) routes will end at the Southern Avenue Metrorail station."
The Post piece also briefly mentions the vote to move the Southeastern Bus Garage to DC Village, and you can read my entry from yesterday for more detail on how exactly the debate went, and also for links to various documents about the move. There was no word today that I've heard as to whether the city had reached a deal on moving the shelter beds currently at DC Village--remember, if that doesn't happen by Thursday May 31, the boards' approval vote of the move and the various next steps does not take effect. And you can listen to the archived audiocast of the meeting if you're especially interested.


WMATA Board Approves Plan to Move to DC Village. Except....
May 24, 2007 1:36 PM
At today's WMATA board meeting, the board approved the plans to move forward with the move of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M streets to DC Village. The specific actions they approved were to hold a public hearing on the project, advertise the Phase 1 construction contract, negotiate with the city to aquire the DC Village property, apply for a Federal bus facility grant, and authorize the sale of the garage and its parking lot; however, board member (and DC councilman) Jim Graham asked for an amendment to the resolution, stating that if the city does not have an agreement on the relocation of the homeless shelter currently at DC Village (which would be closed with the move of the garage) within seven days, this resolution will not take effect. Graham said that he had hoped the deal would have been completed by today, but that "the word immiment really accurately describes how close we are." If there is no deal, the resolution would have to come back to the WMATA board again for re-approval next month. If the agreement is reached, then Metro is planning to have a public hearing on the proposed plan, probably in July based on now having to wait for the shelter agreement to be struck. Here is the Metro press release about the board's action and the proposed move of the garage, and also the meeting's agenda, and the link to the archived audiocast (the bus garage item is about 50 minutes into the audio).
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

WMATA Board Meeting - Bus Garage Move, Route Changes for Bridge Closure
May 22, 2007 3:33 PM
On Thursday the WMATA board has on its agenda the approval of series of recommendations to continue moving forward on the plan to relocate the Southeastern Bus Garage from its current spot at Half and M to DC Village. The recommendations are the same as what came out of the Planning and Real Estate Subcommittee earlier this month to hold a public hearing on the project, advertise the Phase 1 construction contract, negotiate with the city to aquire the DC Village property, apply for a Federal bus facility grant, and authorize the sale of the garage and its parking lot (presumably to Monument Realty, though I've yet to see any official announcement that Monument was the source of the unsolicited offer in April for the property). The plan would then be to come back to the board in September with a land transaction agreement to be executed, and a construction contract to be awarded. As I've mentioned previously, WMATA is very much wanting to be out of the Half and M garage before the Nationals ballpark opens in March 2008. In addition to the documents for Thursday's meeting, the background documents from the May 11 subcommittee meeting also have lots of good detail on the proposed move, as do my last few entries on the subject.
And also on the agenda (good thing I scrolled down!) is a request to approve temporary changes in the routes and fares for the A9, P17, P19, and W13 bus lines during July and August's Extreme Makeover: Frederick Douglass Bridge. If you ride these buses, be sure to read what's being proposed, but the gist is that because the detour route's expected congestion would impact bus schedules, WMATA is proposing to temporarily end those bus routes at subway stations on the east side of the river, but reducing the fares to help offset the higher cost of riding the subway.
If you're really interested in this meeting, WMATA provides live streaming and archived audiocasts of its meetings. (Yay!)


WMATA Subcommittee Supports Garage Move
May 10, 2007 2:11 PM
Following up on yesterday's entry about the plans to move the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage from its current location at Half and M to the DC Village site in Ward 8.... This morning the WMATA subcommittee supported the resolution that will now be voted on by the full board on May 24--the plan is to place an advertisement in June for a demolition/utlities/environmental remediation/site preparation contract, which would be ready for the full WMATA board's approval in September. There's still some question as to whether they'll be building a temporary facility or will go full-bore from the beginning with a permanent facility that will be added onto in later expansion phases (if they get a federal grant they may go for the full facility, or they may have the funds from the sale of the land and some other transactions, etc. etc.).
DC council member Jim Graham did ask for the resolution's wording to be tweaked somewhat to make clear that the city is still working on a plan for the relocation of the homeless families living at DC Village, although Marion Barry told the meeting that just this morning an agreement was finalized between himself (as chair of the appropriate council subcommittee) and the mayor to have $10 million from the DC budget available to get DC Village closed and the families relocated by the end of 2007 (and perhaps even by the end of FY2007). Barry also told the meeting that he is strongly in favor of moving the garage to DC Village, and that his constituents in Ward 8 have also been overwhelmingly in favor of the plan. The desire to move the garage off of Half Street has been an issue for 10-15 years now, he said ("even when I was mayor") and it's "time to do it now."Jim Graham also indicated that he is very much in favor of the move, but that he just wants to make sure that the current residents of DC Village are adequately taken care of (and indicated that he will move to reconsider approval of this plan at the June subcommittee meeting if it appears the city hasn't gotten the relocation plan figured out by then). You can listen to the audio of the meeting here, and the background/information documents are here. (And read my entry from late April on all this for additional background.)
More posts: Metro/WMATA, staddis

More Info on WMATA Bus Garage Move
May 9, 2007 3:18 PM
Tomorrow (May 10), the Planning, Development and Real Estate subcommittee of the WMATA board is meeting, and the agenda links to a document detailing the continuing process of moving the Southeastern Bus Garage out of its current location at Half and M Streets (right across from the Navy Yard subway station entrance, and smack in the middle of the Ballpark District). The document contains background information so that, at the full board meeting later this month, approval can be requested of a proposed resolution (contained in the document) for the following items: "[n]egotiate a land transaction with the District of Columbia, by which WMATA may acquire the DC Village property via monetary consideration or an exchange of existing properties; hold a Compact public hearing on the project and its Environmental Assessment, General Plans and Preliminary Financial Plan; advertise the Phase 1 construction contract upon completion of the bid documents; and apply for a Federal bus facility grant." The Phase 1 part of the project would allow the buses to be moved from Half Street quickly and housed temporarily while the new facility is built at DC Village, and the documents indicate that they are hoping to award the Phase 1 contract by WMATA's September board meeting. The document also says that last month WMATA received an unsolicited bid for the garage land, but doesn't say who (and I just can't imagine who might do such a thing!). Then we can start waiting to see what the Unnamed Bidder comes up with in terms of redeveloping that side of Half Street. UPDATED to fix stupidly broken links.
UPDATE II: This story is now starting to be picked up, from the angle that the bus garage move will close the largest homeless shelter in DC. Note that the proposed resolution in the documents talked about above says that the WMATA board will take no action until "there is an approved final plan for the relocation of any shelter beds" at DC Village, and that DC's city administrator "has approved a final plan for the relocation of any shelter beds displaced by the construction of the Southeastern Bus Garage at DC Village."
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

1111 New Jersey's Zoning Special Exception Approved
May 8, 2007 12:32 PM
Today the Board of Zoning Adjustment heard an application by Donohoe to waive the rear-yard requirement for its planned 146,000-sq-ft office building at 1111 New Jersey. I don't want to get too far into the weeds of it all, but basically this rear "yard" requirement was actually applying to the airspace along the alley between L and M above the project's first floor (because by right the first floor can run right to the alley line). Donohoe's position was that, by allowing them to build to the rear property line on all floors, they could build an 11-story building with higher ceilings on the 1st floor (16 feet), making the space far more desirable to prospective retail tenants. If they were unable to use that airspace, they would instead build a 12-story building of the same square footage, but with only 12-ft ceilings on the 1st floor (and shorter ceiling heights on the other floors). Although ANC 6D opposed this application on the grounds that it lacked a community benefits package (which is not required in a "by-right" project), the BZA felt that the higher ceiling heights on the first floor that would be allowed by granting this special exception, and the resulting higher-quality retail prospects that could be drawn to the building, could be considered to benefit the community. And with the pastor of St. Matthew's Church (which sits directly to 1111's north) saying that he is in favor of the project, and with the Office of Planning, the Capitol Hill Historical Society, and the neighboring developments (100 M Street and Onyx on First both sit across the alley from 1111 New Jersey) supporting it as well, and with other required standards of the rules met (sufficient distance between 1111 and adjacent structures, sitelines sufficiently separated, and adequate off-street parking [114 spaces], loading docks, and delivery space), the BZA voted 5-0 to approve this application. I've been told that this project could begin construction this summer.
UPDATE: Actually, I now hear that the project may not start until closer to the end of 2007. I don't know for sure, but perhaps the schedule is also being impacted by an upcoming item on the WMATA Planning, Development and Real Estate subcommittee agenda for June 14: "Approval of Developer Selection and Term Sheet for the Navy Yard East Entrance", which is referring to a joint development solicitation proposal back in September 2006, looking to develop the 4,400 square feet owned by WMATA above the Navy Yard station entrance at New Jersey and M with some combination of a public plaza at ground level and development above it. So we shall see....

Monument Half Street Web Site
May 4, 2007 10:47 AM
Through an embarrassing confluence of events too geeky to explain here, I'm only now seeing that Monument Realty has now launched an exceedingly spiffy web site at its existing HalfStreetDC.com URL. Not a lot of information that isn't already available on my Monument Half Street page, but it's certainly flashier! Estimated completion for the east side of Half Street (which I think ought to be called Monument Valley) is mid-2009; the west side development is still being worked out as plans move forward for WMATA to close its Half and M bus garage.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

WMATA Speeding Up Bus Garage Move
Apr 30, 2007 9:47 PM
One of the more central sites in the Ballpark District is the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, on the southwest corner of Half and M. But Metro knows that it's time to move (although Monument Realty, which owns almost every other parcel on the block, has no doubt been tapping its toes and saying "Here's your hat, what's your hurry?"). Back in January, the WMATA board approved an effort to start finding a replacement location, with the preferred spot being DC Village, east of the Anacostia. At its April 26 board meeting, the board appears to have sped up its timetable considerably. Quoting from the documentation: "[T]he urgency for a timely replacement has increased and the strategy for replacement has evolved. The goal is to relocate the existing 114 Metrobuses to a Phase 1 facility by late March 2008 in order to avoid the impact of ballpark events upon bus access at the existing Garage. Thus, over the next twelve months, with Board approvals, staff intends to design, advertise, award and construct the Phase 1 facility for 114-bus capacity and to design and advertise the Phase 2 bus facility of 250-bus capacity." At the next board meeting, in late May, WMATA staff is expected to have the environmental assessment, general plans and financial plan and will request approval of a public hearing, the advertisement of the Phase 1 construction contract; and the agreement with the city to take control of the DC Village property. (Speedy!)
As for what will happen on the garage site, Monument has not announced any specific plans, and the site does have what has gently been referred to as "historic preservation issues" (and certainly a good portion of the building ought to be saved), so it could be a while before anything new arises on that spot. But I cannot lie, I will very much be looking forward to no more dodging of the buses that roam in that section of Near Southeast while I take pictures....

More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St.

Demolition Update
Apr 18, 2007 5:31 PM
Today's demolition news: Edge/Wet and Food and Friends on Square 699N are just about gone. The Nexus Gold Club has lost its rear wall and its innards have been mostly scooped out. And a new entrant has possibly appeared in the Demolition Derby--innard-scooping appears to be going on as well at Nation/1015 Half Street (which now has a "Wrecking Corporation of America" sign hung on its fencing). I took photos of some of these sites this morning (although this 967th overcast day in a row hampered the results): check the New Jersey and I, New Jersey and K, and 1st and L angles in the Photo Archive to see the before-and-after comparisons of those corners, or see all the shots from today in a single group. I also skipped ahead a few hours and added the three all-but-gone structures to the Demolished Buildings Gallery--there must be something about April, because we've had 17 buildings bulldozed in the last 18 days (will Nation be added to the list before the month is out?). UPDATE: Just clarifying, there's no heavy machinery or obvious demolition going on at Nation yet--but a medium-sized hole has been punched in one outer wall, some doors were opened, and it looked like the interior has been newly stripped down.
And while it doesn't really qualify as a demolition, I'll also pass along that the temporary WMATA employee lot on the Monument Half Street site has now been closed and is being dug out (they received their Certificate of Occupancy for the new lot one block over on South Capitol last week)--this means that the entire Monument site on the east side of Half has now been cleared--and no time is being wasted with excavation, as you can tell if you go peek at the massive hole already dug around the Half and M Navy Yard Metro entrance or watch the digging at the lower left of Stadium Construction Camera #2.

Articles on Capitol Quarter and Parking
Apr 13, 2007 11:04 PM
A few articles to note in the latest neighborhood newspapers--nothing really new in them (especially if you stop by here with regularity), but they might be good roundups for people who haven't been following along closely. The April Hill Rag has a profile of Capitol Quarter, the mixed-income townhome component of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment. And the latest Voice of the Hill has "Stadium Parking Plan is 'Managed Chaos'", covering last month's stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan meeting and the reaction of local residents and leaders. My notes from that meeting are here, and my Stadium Parking page has the meeting's presentation slides from Gorove/Slade, DDOT, and WMATA.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter, Metro/WMATA, parking

One More Batch of Stadium Parking Meeting Slides
Apr 2, 2007 2:48 PM
With thanks again to DDOT, I now have all of the slide presentations from last week's public meeting on the stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP). The new ones are the WMATA Slides on Navy Yard Station Upgrade and the DDOT Slides on Douglass Bridge/Other Improvements. The documents I posted last week were the slides by Gorove/Slade describing about the TOPP; with maps and charts listing expected transit/auto/pedestrian traffic volume and flow; an FAQ on parking, traffic, and other issues for Southwest and Near Southeast residents; an FAQ on the Douglass Bridge improvements going on over the next few months; and DDOT's display boards with information on the plans for the South Capitol Street corridor and other regional traffic issues.
Repeating what I said last week: If you live in Southwest, or Near Southeast, or Capitol Hill, or Anacostia, or even Prince George's County, or if you're a baseball fan planning to come to the games, I suggest taking a close look at these.... (Some of them are kind of big files, be patient if they take a moment to load.) Comments can be sent to the the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, and cc ANC 6D (office@anc6d.org) so that the ANC can track the feedback. And read my summary of the main bullet points from the meeting. Let's not all wait until March 2008 to suddenly figure out that there's a new baseball stadium at South Capitol and Potomac that has 40,000 fans trying to get there.


Stadium Parking Meeting Slides
Mar 30, 2007 1:24 PM
Thanks to the fine folks at DDOT, I've now gotten a hold of some of the documents from yesterday evening's public meeting on the stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP). First, here's the slides presented by consultants Gorove/Slade about the TOPP, with maps and charts listing expected transit/auto/pedestrian traffic volume and flow. There's also an FAQ on parking, traffic, and other issues for Southwest and Near Southeast residents. In addition, DDOT handed out an FAQ on the Douglass Bridge improvements going on over the next few months, and they also had a number of display boards with information on the plans for the South Capitol Street corridor and other regional traffic issues. If you live in Southwest, or Near Southeast, or Capitol Hill, or Anacostia, or even Prince George's County, or if you're a baseball fan planning to come to the games, I suggest taking a close look at these.... (Some of them are kind of big files, be patient if they take a moment to load.) UPDATED to correct the link to the Gorove/Slade presentation; there's also now more slides (from DDOT and WMATA) available here.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Public Meeting on Stadium Parking - A Summary
Mar 29, 2007 10:45 PM
It was a tough call between swallowing a couple of bottles of hydrochloric acid or attending tonight's public meeting on the stadium's Transportation Operations and Parking Plan, but luckily for you my JDLand duties eventually won out. I'm hoping to get electronic versions of the slide presentations, so I'm going to just type up my notes for now, and hope that the details come later; besides, much of it will sound familiar to folks who read this blog regularly. There were presentations by DDOT and WMATA about their plans for the area, as a warm up for the discussion by traffic planners Gorove/Slade on the TOPP.
DDOT gave an overview of all of its near-term plans for Near Southeast--this includes the additional ramps to be added to the 11th Street Bridges, which already has funding and is moving at (bureaucratically speaking) lightning speed, and should be done by 2010. Then the planned improvements to South Capitol Street and the South Capitol Street Bridge were profiled, including this summer's festive demolition and lowering of the northern portion of the bridge. The current bridge itself will also be painted, and will get new lighting and pedestrian rails (more like the Pennsylvania Ave. bridge). Then there will be the streetscape improvements to South Capitol, Potomac, N, 1st, and I Streets, SE, all before Opening Day 2008, with resurfacing, new streetlights, curbs, etc. There will also be some small changes to the South Capitol and I intersection to try to improve the flow, although there are no current plans to expand the ramps to/from the freeway.
Next up was WMATA, giving a description of what's being done to expand the Navy Yard Metro station in advance of the throngs of baseball fans. The station's capacity is being upgraded to 15,000 customers per hour (the same as Stadium-Armory) from the current 5,000, turnstiles and Farecards machines will be moved to street-level, elevators will be added to the west entrance, and more, all while Monument Realty's 55 M Street office building is built on top of the station. The west entrance will be one-way outbound before games and one-way inbound afterwards, while the east entrance will remain two-way. Metro will also put in place the same plan of 9-13 extra trains after each game that they currently do for games at RFK, and that the system's recent receipt of nearly 190 new rail cars will also help increase capacity over the next 18 months. They are also looking at shuttles to other stations after games, and that the possibility exists that DDOT could expand the DC Circulator bus routes that currently end in SW to include the stadium area, with a route down M Street, up 8th, and over to Union Station, but that's not decided yet.
Gorove/Slade went through a lot of numbers, but I think in some ways didn't quite emphasize what the people attending wanted to hear most, which is that non-resident gameday street parking will be prohibited in basically all residential areas in Southwest and Near Southeast south of the freeway, and they'll be using the model that's been being refined in the Hill East neighborhood around RFK for the past few years (residents receive Event Parking permits to display, and also one guest parking permit per household). They estimate that for a sellout crowd 19,000 people will come via transit (16,000 through the Navy Yard station), 750 will arrive by charter buses, 400 by taxi, 3,400 on foot or bike, and 13,600 by car (in 4,700 vehicles). They indicated that the Nationals themselves are in charge of coordinating the parking negotiations with various sites, and a slide showed that the Nationals have identified about 5,200 parking spaces that can be available (well above the 4,700 vehicles anticipated to be coming to games). Only 185 of these spaces are in Southwest (between Half and South Capitol north of M); the rest are all in Near Southeast. While there are possibilities for parking in Buzzards Point, currently it appears the Nationals are not anticipating using that area for parking. No decision has been made yet on using the RFK parking lots and shuttle buses.
In terms of pedestrian flow at game time, many of the surrounding sidewalks are to be upgraded as part of DDOT's streetscape improvements. There will be traffic control officers at the major intersections, and Half Street SE south of M will be closed entirely to vehicle traffic, while some lanes on N will be closed; also there will be no parking at all on M Street or on 1st Street north of M on gamedays.
But what all the planners want is for people to come to games via public transit.
The questions from the audience centered mainly around the impact on the residential streets of Southwest and Capitol Hill, with great concerns about parking for visitors ("what if I'm having a party?") on game days. I imagine there will be more of the meetings, with more consternation, yet to come. And I also imagine that Opening Day 2008 will be rife with tales of traffic back-ups, transit snafus, and lost suburbanites unable to find their parking lots. And then the plans will be tweaked and re-tweaked, just as they have been around RFK for the past few years.
As I said, hopefully I'll have the slides and some other materials to pass along within the next few days. If you have concerns that you want to air, be sure to contact the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, and cc ANC 6D (office@anc6d.org) so that the ANC can track the feedback.
UPDATE: See my entry with the slides from the meeting, now posted on my site.


Monument Demolition Continues - Caught on Camera!
Mar 15, 2007 11:53 PM
Another building has bitten the dust on the Monument Half Street site, and I think everyone can agree it will not be lamented on its death--it's the brown cinderblock building just north of the N Street intersection, and it's now been immortalized on my Demolished Buildings page. And, thanks to Camera 2 of the Clark/Hunt/Smoot Stadium Construction Cam, we can see that it breathed its last between 11:11 and 11:22 this morning, March 15. (I'm pretty sure I'm the only one using that camera to not watch the stadium construction!) They appear to be working around the temporary WMATA lot that they built just north of the cinder-shed; at the same time, work appears to be nearly complete on the next WMATA temporary lot, over at 1236 South Capitol (formerly home to the neon yellow bungalow, just south of the storage company).There's a zoning hearing on April 23 for permanent approval of the new temporary lot (it was approved on an emergency basis back in November).
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Sale of Half Street Land by WMATA
Mar 12, 2007 8:09 AM
It took awhile to get into the city's Real Property Sales Database, but it can now be reported that WMATA sold its land on the east side of Half Street and one parcel on M Street to Monument Realty on Dec. 26 for $15.4 million. This is the land on top of the Navy Yard Metro stop east entrance that's now going to become the first part of Monument's Half Street/Ballpark District mixed-use development; as part of this deal, Monument is handling the renovation/expansion of the subway station, already underway.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Federal Spending Bill Includes Navy Yard Metro Funding
Jan 30, 2007 11:53 PM
Wednesday's Post reports that, despite being stripped of piles and piles of earmarks, the $463 million federal spending bill working its way through Congress includes the $20 million needed to fund the upgrades to the Navy Yard Metro station. Which just goes to show, earmarks are only evil when they aren't YOUR pet projects.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, staddis

Two New Entries in the Demolished Buildings Gallery -- Two Old Entries, Too
Jan 28, 2007 4:20 PM
Within the past week, two of the unoccupied buildings in the blocks just north the stadium site were demolished: 1236 South Capitol, that funky neon-yellow bungalow sandwiched between the BP gas station and the Public Storage Building, and 1201 Cushing, a little white ramshackle building behind a wooden fence that you would never have seen unless you ventured down Cushing south of M. (In fact, *I* had never seen it until late last year.) The South Capitol Street site is being cleared so that the WMATA employee parking lot that was just moved a few hundred feet south from next to the Navy Yard Metro Half Street entrance can be relocated again (see my entry about this from back in November). The Cushing lot is the first demolition as the land gets cleared for Monument Realty's Half Street mixed-use project (55 M Street et al). These have now been added to the top of my Demolished Builings Gallery; and if you scroll down the page a good ways, you'll see two additional icons. First, I realized that I needed to include the little building demolished sometime in 2005 that was attached to the west side of Nation; then, while browsing through my photos, I found out that not only had the empty lot on the west side of the Good N Plenty carryout at Half and N contained a rowhouse within the relatively recent past, but that I actually had one photo of it, so it's added to the Gallery now as well. I imagine the Demolished Buildings page is going to get a pretty good workout over the next few weeks. UPDATE: Fixed the bad Demolished Buildings Gallery link. Oops.

WMATA Moving Forward with Bus Garage Relocation
Jan 26, 2007 11:36 AM
At yesterday's WMATA board meeting, approval was given to begin working on the replacement of the Southeastern Bus Garage, the red brick building on the southwest corner of Half and M. They've established a $500,000 budget for a three-month feasibility study, which will evaluate the DC government's preferred relocation site for the garage, within DC Village, as well as the possibility of creating an interim facility at the site for an "early relocation." The budget for this is being funded by the sale in October of the parking lot across Half Street to Monument Realty. The bus garage site is one that Monument has been negotiating for, so that it can be the sole developer of that entire block of Half Street. As for the fate of the bus garage building itself, I don't know anything one way or the other, except that during Monument's Zoning Commission testimony two weeks ago, mention was made by Monument's consultant that there are "historic preservation issues" with the bus garage, with what I interpreted as an intimation that whatever is planned for the west side of Half Street will not move forward with the same amount of speed as is seen on the east side. I imagine it will end up at the very least that the facade of the garage will be saved--and it is indeed a pretty cool building, as far as garages go (though It'll be cooler once there aren't Metro buses all around it, though).
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Navy Yard Groundbreaking on DC Cable 16
Jan 18, 2007 3:33 PM
(A news item for the three of you who aren't horrifically tired of Navy Yard Metro station expansion groundbreaking news items, a group which doesn't even include me by this point.) If you have cable TV in DC, you can see last Tuesday's station groundbreaking ceremony on DC Cable 16 Friday night at 9:30 pm and at various times over the next week or so.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, staddis

Navy Yard Station Expansion Groundbreaking
Jan 17, 2007 8:32 AM
Thanks to correspondent John for passing along news that slipped through (no advisories from Metro or the Mayor's office, darn them!). Tuesday (Jan. 16) at 10 am Mayor Fenty will be making remarks at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Navy Yard Metro station's expansion project. This is to increase the station's capacity from 5,000 riders an hour to 15,000, and is to be finished by Opening Day 2008, while work continues above it on Monument Realty's mixed-use project along Half Street. And maybe after the mayor's remarks, everyone can parade over en masse to the Nexus Gold Club auction. (And I do see now that the event is buried on the Mayor's schedule. I thought that religiously checking the News Releases and the Advisories was good enough, alas.)
UPDATE, 1/16: Here's Metro's press release summarizing today's event.
UPDATE II: There's also now a post on the Post's DC Wire blog (I know, it stunned me, too) about the groundbreaking, and some background on how exactly the $20 million to cover the station expansion was found; I imagine this will be similar to whatever story is in tomorrow's paper, though hopefully without the somewhat misleading "More DC Stadium Spending Woes" title. ("Woe" would be if the station weren't expanded before Opening Day; paying for it is just a shell game that governments go through all the time, and it's not like it really has anything to do with the stadium itself.)
UPDATE III: If you want video, here's WJLA's report on the event.
UPDATE, 1/17: And we'll bring this linkathon to a close with the Examiner story on the groundbreaking and the expansion.

Monument Half Street Project at the Zoning Commission; Renderings Snagged
Jan 12, 2007 3:22 PM
Thursday night was the Zoning Commission hearing (if you could figure out their calendar to find that out) for Monument Realty's big mixed-use project on Half Street just north of the Nationals ballpark. The webcast started late, and was without audio for a bit, so I missed the beginning, but did manage to see and hear the presentation of the designs. (Bear with me, this will be a long entry, but I know there's much interest in this project.)
I managed to get a few images of the project renderings, which ain't easy over a grainy webcast (I won't divulge my secret method), so be prepared that they have a rather impressionistic 1930s watercolor look to them that isn't necessarily what they're really going to look like. Go to my Monument Half Street page for not only the renderings (not the one at the top of the page, the others further down) but also an updated map that shows how the buildings are laid out.
As expected, the 275,000-sq-ft office building is at Half and M, and will incorporate on its ground floor a renovated entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, which will have large opaque mesh screens with LED lighting to avoid the huge black holes of space that are often seen when buildings sit atop Metro entrances (I think they also need the extra wall space that the screens provide, because the farecard machines and turnstiles will all be on the street level, not down in the station). These will be able to project lights and images and will no doubt be a big focal point.
As you walk south toward the stadium, you would then come to a new street about a third of the way down Half, which they're calling "Monument Street." This would provide a cut-through to Cushing Street (and eventually perhaps to First, Van, and South Capitol as well), and is also being used as a design feature to break up what is currently a 600-foot-long block; and creating it also allows for additional high-value corner retail spaces than if the block weren't broken up.
Monument Street will also be the location of the entrance to the 200-room W Aloft hotel, which has only a small frontage on Half Street but then runs in an inverted L across Monument Street and down Cushing Street. Running the rest of the length of Half Street would be a condominium building, which at the corner of Half and N would then meet a rental apartment building that faces the stadium across N Street between Half and Cushing (which as part of this project will be extended through to N Street). The two residential buildings will contain in the neighborhood of 320 units, and there will be a courtyard nestled between the residential and hotel buildings parallel to Half Street. Three levels of underground parking will provide about 520 spaces, and will be entered via Cushing Street.
The ground floors of all of these spaces will be almost completely taken up with retail (except for the entrance to the Metro station and small entrances that lead visitors to the second-floor lobbies of each building), and there will be a mixture of one- and two-level retail spaces. The two-level space at Half and N, directly across from the stadium, is considered to be the most prime location. There will also be a viewing platform above that retail space for residents to be able to look into the stadium.
It is anticipated that Half Street will be closed to vehicular traffic on game days (as will be N Street between Van and 1st), and because of this the design of Half Street is much more like a pedestrian plaza, with no actual curbs but using various landscape and streetscape tricks of the trade to delineate car space versus sidewalk space.
The plan is to start construction as soon as possible (in fact a Building Permit Application for 55 M Street was filed earlier this week), working from north to south, so that the office building would be finished first (Q2 2009) and then the southern portion of the site would come online in Q3 2009. Earlier comments about perhaps getting the underground parking and some of the retail completed by Opening Day 2008 seem to have gone by the wayside, as it was mentioned that the garages and retail would start to open in Spring 2009. Of course, the Navy Yard station expansion (which Monument is overseeing as well) must be done by Opening Day 2008.
As for the hearing itself, commissioners were a bit divided, some hating Monument Street and others liking it, some not being happy with a second-floor hotel lobby while others were more concerned about having as much retail on the ground floor as possible. They were happy to hear that there is no more parking than the minimum required by law, as apparently the commission feels strongly about not having an overabundance of parking right above a Metro station.
The Office of Planning and the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation both are supporting the application, though OP indicated there is still some work to be done to address their concerns. Also there apparently was a letter from DDOT detailing an almost comically long list of items that they'd like to see incorporated. Monument and DDOT are still needing to meet to discuss those, as well as the streetscape and lighting designs.
Monument indicated that it is needing to move forward with all deliberate haste (especially given the cast-in-stone deadline of getting the Metro station ready by April 2008), and in fact they asked to have the ZC vote on approval be scheduled for Feb. 12. There were a number of issues that the commissioners asked to have addressed in additional submittals, so there will be some midnight oil burned to meet that Feb. 12 date. But I didn't get the feeling that the commission was particularly negative about the project, and certainly weren't hostile. (I'm skipping the minutiae of requested exceptions and reliefs, if that's of great interest to you, you should have watched your own self!)
Worn out yet? Imagine how I feel having had to watch it all! But soothe your soul by going to look at the cruddy versions of the renderings I've posted, and hopefully before long the Gods will smile on me and send me real purty versions of the images I can use instead.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, 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!


Navy Yard Station West Entrance to Close for Construction
Dec 28, 2006 10:26 AM
A press release from WMATA: "The west entrance of the Navy Yard Metrorail station on the Green Line will close starting Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, through April 2008 due to construction related to the expansion of the station entrance. The east entrance on the northwest corner of M Street and New Jersey Avenue, SE, will remain open. The $20 million construction project is to increase the station's entrance capacity due to its close proximity to the new ballpark that is currently under construction. The west entrance at Half and M Streets, SE, is one block north of the future Nationals' ball park scheduled to open in April 2008. The entrance expansion includes increasing the number of fare gates and fare card machines; relocating the west entrance to the street level; installing a new elevator from the street level to the mezzanine; and installing a new stairway between the mezzanine and the platform. The present mezzanine's capacity can move up to 5,000 passengers per hour. The plan for the new mezzanine is to increase the ability to move 15,000 passengers per hour through the station. Funding for this project is being provided by the District of Columbia in anticipation of being refunded by the federal government." At the same time, Monument Realty's 55 M Street 275,000-sq-ft office building will be under construction above the entrance, as will Monument's other two offerings along Half Street, a 200-key W Aloft hotel and a 350-unit residential building at Half and N. The Monument projects will not be finished before 2009, although they hope to get the three levels of parking (700 spaces) and perhaps some of the 50,000-sq-ft of ground floor retail completed before Opening Day 2008.

More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Demolition Underway at 55 M
Dec 19, 2006 7:49 PM
With thanks to the many eagle-eyed correspondents who passed this along, we can report that demolition has begun at 55 M Street, the southeastern corner of Half and M, currently home to the western Navy Yard Metro Station entrance and soon to be home to Monument Realty's first offerings in Near Southeast--a 275,000 sq ft office building at Half and M, a 200-key W Aloft hotel mid-block, and 350-unit residential tower at Half and N, with 50,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail throughout the project. I talked to the workers on the site, and they said that they will be demolishing the entire length of the block between Half, M, N, and Cushing; I asked about the WMATA employee lot just south of the station entrance, how much longer that lot would be there, and the workers said "not long." This lot is to be moved to Monument's land at 1236 South Capitol (south of the Public Storage Building), but as of a few days ago that land still required its own demolition. Monument's Zoning Commission/Capitol Gateway Overlay Review hearing on 55 M Street is scheduled for January 11, but considering the very tight timeline they're working under (needing to get the upgrades to the Navy Yard station completed before Opening Day 2008, plus their plan to get the three levels of underground parking completed by that date), it's not really a surprise that demolition is moving forward. A lot of moving parts that need to work together just right for success.... (And just FYI, I'm not considering this project "underway" until after they get zoning approval.) UPDATE: I think I see their interim solution for the WMATA parking lot, there's now "WMATA Lot Only" signs on the fenced-in lot a few feet further south on Half Street, they must be planning to move the employee parking there as the demolition works north to south, until the 1236 South Capitol lot is ready....


ANC 6D December Meeting
Dec 12, 2006 4:38 PM
The agenda for last night's ANC 6D meeting wasn't made available before meeting time, so I decided to take a chance and skip the session (even though I normally adore subjecting myself to the psychological equivalent of having 2-inch nails driven into my eyeballs for a couple of hours). And it sounds like I picked a good one to miss, because my sources tell me that once again a fight over an alley closing dominated the proceedings, this time being another go-round on Monument Realty's 55 M Street project on the west side of Square 701. Monument was looking for the ANC's support in advance of their Jan. 11 Zoning Commission hearing; last night the ANC's commissioners voiced concerns (which were also voiced in the past when Monument asked for support for its alley closing bill) that Monument's proffered community benefits package is insufficient--as currently constructed, it includes a $10,000 contribution to the Southwest Neighborhood Association's Scholarship Fund, a $50,000 contribution to the local schools, and a commitment to set aside a certain percentage of the residential project for affordable housing. Monument's standpoint is that this project is a "Matter of Right" development, meaning that there is no requirement that they do anything for the community, but they are doing so, anyway. The discussion has been tabled until the ANC's January 8 meeting, and the commmissioners also passed a resolution asking the City Council to table the alley closing bill (which already passed unanimously last week on its first reading and is scheduled for its final reading and vote on Dec. 19) to allow negotiations to continue. In less fractious news, there was apparently a presentation by WMATA about its Joint Development Opportunities around the Navy Yard station, including their work with Monument at 55 M Street (on top of the Half Street station entrance) as well as the Chiller Plant at Half and L and a small bit of land near the New Jersey Avenue station entrance. Am hoping to get more information about this....

Zoning Filing to Move WMATA Parking - Update: Approved
Nov 16, 2006 11:09 AM
In order to start construction ASAP on both the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro entrance at Half and M and mixed-use offerings along Half Street, Monument Realty and WMATA are asking the DC Zoning Commission for an emergency text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay to allow a temporary parking lot for WMATA employees to be built, replacing the one currently atop the Navy Yard station. This new lot would be on South Capitol Street between M and N, on the lot just south of the Public Storage building and just north of the Amoco station (lot 0700 0046 for those of you with parcel maps), and would be accessed from Van Street. The text amendment would restrict the parking lot's life to three years--by that point, Monument's construction along Half Street should completed and WMATA employees would then be able to park in those underground lots. This will come before the Zoning Commission for setdown on Nov. 13; because it is being requested on an emergency basis, the Office of Planning is recommending that the text amendment take effect immediately upon setdown, and is requesting that it be set down for a hearing at the earliest possible date. Good to see that Monument and WMATA are moving fast. UPDATE, 11/16: This text amendment was approved on an emergency basis, which means that it goes into effect immediately and for 120 days, but Monument still has to go to the ZC during that time for a hearing to get permanent approval of the amendment plus approval of the parking lot itself because it lies in a CG Overlay mandatory review area. (See the above entry for more on THAT!)


WMATA Minutes on Navy Yard Station Expansion
Nov 13, 2006 10:30 AM
Last month the WMATA board of directors approved a plan to have Monument Realty oversee the $20 million expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M, as part of Monument's construction of an office building on that site. The minutes from the WMATA Planning and Development Committee are now posted, and there was some discussion about how WMATA can ensure that the April 2008 (i.e., Opening Day at the new ballpark) deadline for completion can be met: "Mr. Tangherlini responded that WMATA has included some penalties that involve the contractor providing transportation bridge service to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station if the scheduled completion is not met. In addition there are severe financial and operational penalties for the developer if the station is not complete by April 2, 2008."
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis