JDLand.com Search
In the Pipeline
25 M
Yards/Parcel I
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
More Capper Apts.
Yards/DC Water site
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
SC1100
Completed
Thompson Hotel ('20)
West Half ('19)
Novel South Capitol ('19)
Yards/Guild Apts. ('19)
Capper/The Harlow ('19)
New DC Water HQ ('19)
Yards/Bower Condos ('19)
Virginia Ave. Tunnel ('19)
99 M ('18)
Agora ('18)
1221 Van ('18)
District Winery ('17)
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
 

Search Blog Entries:

Specify a Time Frame: (opt.)

Starting    Ending

| New Search
 

  

Limit your search to a certain project/topic area:
(hold the CTRL key while selecting to choose multiple entries)

 

Search term: (monhalf) : 186 matching blog entries

Dacha, Punch Bowl Social, and Other Retail Catching Up
Jun 11, 2017 8:16 PM
Running down a few things that happened while I was otherwise occupied, but that I want to finally mention in an actual blog post for those who don't camp out in the comments for weeks at a time.
* DACHA: Way back in March it was learned that Shaw's popular beer garden Dacha will be coming to Dock 79, and signage now confirms that. It will occupy the space along the riverwalk on the building's southwest corner--closest to Bardo, for some hot beer garden-on-beer garden action.
* PUNCH BOWL SOCIAL: Less way back, in May, it was announced that "eatertainment" venue Punch Bowl Social will occupy 24,000 square feet on two floors at 1250 Half Street, aka the residential building that will soon fill the Half Street Hole directly north of Nats Park. To quote from the press release, Punch Bowl "has made a name for itself with its remarkably balanced execution of the eat, drink, play concept, pairing a Chef Hugh Acheson designed, southern inspired scratch-made menu and craft beverage program with social activities including pinball, skee-ball, karaoke, vintage video games, bocce, bowling, and more."
* STEADFAST SUPPLY: The "unique marketplace that connects brands with consumers" has opened anew, now at the Boilermaker Shops on Tingey Street in the space formerly occupied by Hugh & Crye. Hours are 12-6 pm Tuesdays-Sundays. (Alas, I got my photo about 24 hours too soon, so it's out of date already, but "progress, not perfection" is the current JDLand motto.)
* OTHER COMING SOONS: While wandering a week ago, I procured photographic evidence of the work going on at Roti at F1rst on 1st Street, as well as some of the recent Coming Soon window signage that I don't think I have posted, for Cava Grill next door to Shake Shack at the Homewood Suites at 50 M, and both the Juice Laundry and Cosmopolitan Nail Salon at Arris. (I didn't get Eighteen Eight Salon because I know I posted that at some point. Not sure if I missed window signage for Shilling Canning Company and/or Chloe, though?)
There. Now I feel a little better.
Comments (101)
More posts: cava, cosmonails, dacha, Restaurants/Nightlife, juicelaundry, Monument Valley/Half St., punchbowl, Retail, roti, steadfast

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

6D Report: Due South Liquor License, Half Street Support, More
Mar 11, 2015 9:30 AM
UPDATE: Well, that was a fun few hours. Sorry about the outage--fingers crossed that we're back. It's the price I pay for keeping JDLand on a shared hosting service. (I actually kind of enjoyed the respite!)
I somehow managed to make it through four hours of Monday night's ANC 6D meeting (yay?). I already gave you the big headline (at least from the JDLand vantage point), but here's some other tidbits:
* DUE SOUTH: After initially applying for a Class CT Tavern license, the southern food restaurant planned for the Lumber Shed agreed to amend the application and change to a CR license as part of the settlement agreement negotiated with 6D. However, the city's liquor license board apparently voted on March 4 to approve a CT license. After much (much!) discussion and consternation about process, 6D voted 4-2-1 to send a letter to ABRA saying that if in fact Due South is being given a CT license, the ANC requests to be reinstated as a protestant to the license application and also moves for reconsideration of the CT order.
* HALF STREET HOLE: A presentation was made on the new plans I posted about for the northeast corner of Half and N, i.e., Monument Valley, i.e., the Half Street Hole, which received a generally positive response from the commission, along with suggestions for a better external differentiation between the condo wing facing N Street and the rest of the building and a request that the new sidewalks be made of softer materials if possible. The commission then voted 4-0-2 to support the project, which is now scheduled for its Capitol Gateway Overlay review on May 28.
* BREW GARDEN AT FLORIDA ROCK: Representatives of MRP Realty and Bardo presented their brew garden/neighborhood park concept. It was very late in the meeting, and so the discussion was hurried, but the commission raised issues based on concerns from when similar aborted attempts were made to use this site in previous years. These ranged from the fact that initial discussions with MPD and DCRA have apparently not yet been had, nor has the BID been talked to (which came up when the MRP/Bardo folks said they were looking to the ANC to "program" the site's offerings beyond the brew garden). One thing emphasized to the commission was that this is not envisioned as a place for baseball fans to come and swill down Bud Light, and that no hard liquor would be served. In the end, with time running out and the somewhat muddled presentation leaving the commissioners a bit quizzical as to exactly what the team is planning to do at the site, no vote was taken.
There was also one item just barely outside the JDLand border region, so you can read SWill on a new residential project planned at 1319 South Capitol, immediately to the north of the Camden South Capitol building and across the street from the ballpark.
Comments (10)
More posts: Alcohol/Liquor Licenses, ANC News, duesouth, Florida Rock, Monument Valley/Half St.

Getting a Peek at the New Plans for Monument Valley, Headed to Zoning
Mar 8, 2015 6:53 PM
Not quite six months after buying the land on the northeast corner of Half and N streets across from Nats Park currently known as Monument Valley, the MacFarlane/Jair Lynch joint venture has now submitted to the Zoning Commission its new plans for the site, a 10-story building with 461,700 square feet of residential (and possibly hotel) development, combined with at least 60,000 square feet of retail.
Back a couple of lifetimes ago, Monument Realty also planned a residential, retail, and hotel project on this site, so this filing is actually a modification to the previously approved plans. The new designs by architectural firm Hord Coplan Macht, seen in these renderings purloined from the zoning filing, would add at least 23,000 square feet of retail to what had been planned, mostly in the second-floor space along Half Street, as shown in the drawing below, as well as potentially an additional 8,000 square feet on the second floor facing N Street, depending on the all-important "market conditions."
The new project would have either 445 residential units and no hotel at all, or 365 residential units and a 80-room hotel on the north end of the site (down from a 200-room hotel in Monument's designs). The new design includes condos (apparently 130ish of them) in the south wing along N Street, with the rest being rental units.
As in the original designs, there would still be a small street called "Monument Place" running between this building and its neighbor to the north, 55 M Street, allowing the retail offerings to wrap around onto the building's north side--however, in these new plans it would be a pedestrian-only street, negating the need for a curb cut on Half Street.
In addition, the basically-an-alley Cushing Place would still be extended through to N Street, through an opening in the ground floor of the south side of Lynch's building. (If you look closely at the top rendering, you can see it.) There would still be three levels of underground parking with approximately 231 spaces. And there would be all manner of streetscape work to make the sidewalks--and the walk to the ballpark--a bit more inviting than they are now.
For you zoning groupies, there's also one special exception being requested, that the project be allowed to have two roof enclosures instead of one on the south wing of the building that fronts N Street. And note that this is all under the Capitol Gateway Overlay design review process.
These new plans will be presented to ANC 6D on Monday night (March 9), with a zoning hearing date apparently as yet unannounced. My Monument Valley project page has a few of the old Monument renderings, should you wish to compare.
UPDATE: The zoning hearing is apparently now scheduled for May 28.
Comments (13)
More posts: 1250 Half St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., zoning

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

Telling the Story of Monument Realty's Rise, Fall, and the Half Street Hole
Oct 2, 2014 4:50 PM
The Post's Jonathan O'Connell has posted a story today detailing the rise and fall of Monument Realty on Half Street--how the company snapped up parcel after parcel of land just north of the ballpark footprint during 2004 and 2005, how they spared no expense to market their holdings, and how just as they dug the hole for the residential portion of their project, the economy collapsed, taking with it Lehman Brothers, their big financial backer.
It also gets itno how it's now been sold to the MacFarlane/Lynch partnership, even though "Monument wanted to see the project through as well, but had its hands tied by the Lehman estate, which wanted to sell."
You may recognize some of the photos accompanying the piece, and I also cop to being the owner of all of the "swag" displayed in the article, thanks to attending various Monument shindigs over the years, and thanks also to being an unrepentant pack rat. I spent years holding onto t-shirts, brochures, and even trading cards all because "someday someone might want to see them." And that someday is today!
It's a good read, and I'd say that even if I hadn't provided some assistance.
Comments (4)
More posts: 1250 Half St., Development News, lynchhalf, Monument Valley/Half St.

Fence Peeking, Part III: Signage, Glass, and Urban Forestry Edition
Oct 1, 2014 8:48 AM
The final installment of this week's Fence Peeking is a bit more haphazard. Let's start with looking on fences:
(Left) The new Parc Riverside signage has been hung along 1st Street by the sales trailer, though at least I have the River Parc signs recorded for posterity.
(Right) There's a bunch of new signage on the black fences along Half and N, presumably to at least in part draw attention away from the big hole in the ground behind them. One portion of the sign is a map of places to see things, eat food, drink beverages, and spend money, placed by the Capitol Riverfront BID. And it helpfully provides confirmation of the Unleashed by Petco coming to the Boilermaker Shops, and lets the cat out of the bag (ahem) that the pet hospital at Twelve12 will be a Banfield.
(Left) While we wait to see when Willie's is going to open, I did at least finally get a photo of the ready-to-go interior. (Yeah, yeah, the glass isn't technically a fence, but work with me here.)
(Right) Speaking of the spiffy new signage on the black fences across from the ballpark, I finally got an updated photo from on high of exactly what those fences are hiding. Let's imagine the potential interim uses while Jair Lynch and MacFarlane Partners decide what to build -- Urban campground? ATV track? Wildlife sanctuary?
Comments (5)
More posts: 1250 Half St., banfield, Monument Valley/Half St., photos, Retail, Parc Riverside Apts, unleashed, willies

Tidbits: Unleashing the Tunnel Decision on Half Street, Or Some Such
Sep 18, 2014 9:30 AM
A few tidbits to throw your way, but first let's start off with one of my favorite photos, taken eight years ago yesterday while standing at 1st and M. You can see more shots from Sept. 17, 2006 in the archive.
* UNLEASHED BY PETCO: It was rumored back in May, and there's still been no official announcement from Forest City, but a building permit issued last week seems to be the final confirmation that Unleashed by Petco is coming to the Boilermaker Shops.
* CSX: The Post reports that "It could be a few weeks before the Federal Highway Administration releases a decision on the proposed expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Southeast Washington." The "Record of Decision" hasn't yet been finalized. In the meantime, the Committee of 100 has let it be known that any decision short of an indefinite delay will result in a lawsuit. (Shocker!)
* HALF STREET: WBJ talks to new Half Street poobah Jair Lynch about his group's plans for the Half Street hole, now that they've bought it from Monument Realty. "While the project is expected to remain a mix of residential, retail and hotel, Lynch said he is now considering condos in addition to apartments, tweaking unit sizes, adding green features and amenities and bringing in a 'completely different retail mix.'" (Longtime area observers note that in Monument's original plans, the two residential buildings at the south end of the block were planned to be condos and apartments. And of course it's easy to "change" the retail mix when there isn't any to begin with.) They hope to get underway by 2016, WBJ says.
* MLB LATE NIGHT WITH METRO: WTOP: "Although the Washington Nationals have clinched the NL East, the team has not reached a deal with Metro to keep trains running past midnight during home playoff games." The Metro policy is that the Nationals would have to pay at $29,500 deposit to stay open an extra hour during the week; some of you may remember that back in 2012, the Nats did not step forward to pay, so Livingsocial offered to foot the bill.

Monument Realty Exits Half Street
Sep 11, 2014 10:26 PM
Documents filed today show that Monument Realty, which sunk its teeth whole-heartedly into the Nationals Park-fueled land rush of 2004 and 2005, is exiting Half Street, with the sale of the company's two remaining parcels, best known to baseball fans and residents as the location since 2009 of the big hole in the ground on the east side of the street.
The buyer of the properties is officially Half Street Residential PJV, LLC, which the Washington Business Journal is reporting is a new partnership of MacFarlane Partners and Jair Lynch Development Partners.
WBJ: "MacFarlane already owned a 50 percent stake in the residential portion of Half Street. With local partner Jair Lynch, MacFarlane essentially bought out Monument and Lehman," with an expectation that the "new team will bring this languishing project to life."
The price of the sale is roughly $12.5 million. (UPDATE, 9/17): A follow-up WBJ story on the new owners' plans for the site says that a check was cut for $34 million.
Monument had planned a hotel and 320 units of residential on this site, and went ahead and dug the hole back in 2007 and 2008 as it built the 55 M Street office building at the north end of the block. But the economy tanked, and the "Monument Valley" hole languished (and became quite the urban forest).
This move isn't exactly a surprise: it had looked a few months ago like something was coming, as Lehman had taken back a portion of this stretch of Half Street just as it had with two other Monument properties that quickly ended up being sold: the 50 M site that is soon to be a Homewood Suites, and the lot on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N that JBG is now planning to develop as a residential building.
Monument now is involved in only one property in the neighborhood, the old Domino's site at South Capitol and M that they made initial moves to develop as an office building a few years ago. (But, in what may or may not mean anything, there have been permits issued in recent days for soil borings on that site, which is often a precursor to a sale. I'm not saying--I'm just saying.)
This is the end of quite a chapter in the neighborhood's rise--and the beginning of a new round of toe-tapping about progress on what was once envisioned to be one of the liveliest stretches of street in town. It will be interesting to see how quickly MacFarlane/Lynch move, and what their new plans may be, (And, for that matter, whether Akridge is currently making any moves on its side of Half Street.)
Comments (19)
More posts: 1250 Half St., Development News, lynchhalf, Monument Valley/Half St.

Break On Through to the Other Side, and More Views of Note
Jun 2, 2014 9:32 PM
It's a lot of building to knock down, but a milestone of sorts was reached late last week at Building 213 when the demolition punched through from the west to the east, splitting the remnants in two and giving a peek at the vistas to come once it all comes tumbling down.
So I've added a bunch of new photos of the destruction to my Yards Parcel A page, and I also think the destruction is now far enough along to add the 171st entry to my Demolished Buildings Gallery.
In addition, I've scoured the archives and have come up with more than more than 40 vantage points where Spooky Central has been visible from and will be for just a bit longer.
But if you want a few more moments of the building not looking torn apart, go stand about halfway between M and N on first and look eastward above the "Event Parking" sign, as I did above. (I didn't even notice this quirk until I got home and looked at the photo.)
A few blocks away another man-made creation that won't be much lamented is being dismantled, as seen here in its before-and-after, with the Park Chelsea now looming:
Then there's some signage I have needed to officially record, that of the Subway Café and the Big Stick at 20 M (which got its tenant layout building permit approved recently), and the new Homewood Suites banner at 50 M. Plus there's now a tower crane at the Hampton Inn site.
To bring some green to the page, I'll close with this lovely photo of the increasingly lush Monument Valley just north of the ballpark.
And I'll have an even more interesting batch of photos coming soon.
(Click on any of these to launch a mini-slideshow of all of them.)
Comments (1)
More posts: 20 M, Homewood Suites, the Big Stick, Monument Valley/Half St., photos, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

Lehman Takes Sole Ownership of Part of the Half Street Hole
May 29, 2014 12:46 PM
Documents filed with the Recorder of Deeds within the past few months show that Lehman Brothers has executed the necessary legal and financial maneuvers to take sole ownership of a portion of the infamous hole in the ground on Half Street just north of Nats Park (which I can't believe I didn't until this instant ever think to call Monument Valley).
The site, on the northern part of the hole and just south of 55 M Street, was going to be the hotel portion of Monument Realty's block-long Half Street development.
This is the third time in the past few years that Lehman has taken ownership of property in Monument's once-vast holdings just north of the ballpark. Lehman was one of Monument's investment partners on these properties, in addition to being the lender.
In both of the other cases, the "foreclosure" by Lehman ended up being a precursor to the sale of the property--both at 50 M, bought by investors in May 2013 and now the site of the planned Homewood Suites hotel, and at 1244 South Capitol, bought by JBG in late 2013 and likely to be a residential project. (The company's 55 M Street office building was sold in late 2013 without a Lehman takeback.)
Whether this is another precursor to another sale, we will have to see.
As of now, Monument retains an ownership stake in only two properties in the Ballpark District: the southern half of Monument Valley, where a residential project was planned, and the old Domino's site at One M Street, where back in 2012 Monument had been starting to shepherd an office project through zoning.
Comments (5)
More posts: Development News, Monument Valley/Half St.

55 M Street Sold to Hines Global REIT
Dec 11, 2013 2:41 PM
It's been announced that 55 M Street, the 265,000-square-foot office building at Half and M on top of the Navy Yard Metro station just north of Nationals Park, has been sold by Monument Realty (and its investment partners Lehman Brothers and McFarlane Partners) to Hines Global REIT, for an as-yet undisclosed amount.
Open since 2009, 55 M has 89 percent of its space currently leased, with tenants including the District Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration. The ground-floor retail spaces remain empty except for Bank of America on the building's northeast corner, but perhaps now that the sale has been completed, some movement on the other spaces may be seen.
The building was to be the first phase of Monument's Half Street development when construction began on it in 2007, but the Great Economic Difficulties of the late 00's stopped the subsequent phases in their tracks, leaving only the large hole that was dug for them at the same time 55 M was being built. Monument still has on the boards its Half Street plans for a 200-room hotel and 350 units of residential, though with no announced timeline.
Comments (0)
More posts: 55 M St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St.

Bank of America Branch Opens at 55 M Today
Jul 23, 2012 12:14 PM
Readers are reporting that, on schedule, the new Bank of America branch in the ground floor of 55 M Street opened today. The BoA web site also now lists it as well, though it doesn't include the lobby hours yet. It's still called the "Waterfront" branch, since this is technically a move of the branch that was at 4th and M SW for many years, in the old Waterside Mall/new Waterfront development.
This is also the first retail tenant in 55 M, the building right on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station.
If I were a good blogger, I'd run over there and get a photo, but, given that this is the fourth bank to open in the neighborhood, my Financial Services Excitement Meter is not exactly exploding off the charts. (UPDATE: But the Twitterverse comes through and makes up for my malaise.)
Comments (4)
More posts: 55 M St., Monument Valley/Half St., Retail

Bank of America Branch at 55 M Coming July 23?
Jun 21, 2012 5:59 PM
A reader reports that a sign has been posted on the ATM at the Bank of America branch/trailer at 4th and M, SW, alerting users that the location will be closing on July 20, reopening in Southeast on July 23.
We already knew that BoA is coming to 55 M Street, the building on top of the Half Street entrance to the Navy Yard-NotYetBallpark Metro station, and so now there would indeed seem to be an actual date attached to the arrival. A permit application was submitted to DCRA last week for a Bank of America sign at 55 M, in case a flyer on a machine isn't quite official enough.
When it opens, it will join Capital One (ex-Chevy Chase), Wells Fargo (ex-Wachovia), and PNC SunTrust in blanketing Near Southeast with banking options. (Wherefore art thou, Citibank?)
UPDATE: Oh, I guess there's already a Navy Yard BoA branch. So, all you "Navy Yard residents", feel free to try to use that one. {tee-hee}
UPDATE II: Oops, wrong bank with orange-based color scheme. Fixed PNC to SunTrust. And, also, it looks like Navy Yard-NotYetBallpark has become Navy Yard-Ballpark, at least on the WMATA web site.
UPDATE III: The sign at the SW branch, for those who want visual proof.
Comments (3)
More posts: 55 M St., Monument Valley/Half St., Retail

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

Bank of America Negotiating for 55 M Retail Space
Dec 20, 2011 12:07 PM
It looks like Monument Realty's office building at 55 M Street may be close to getting its first retail tenant, as they have confirmed to me that they are in negotiations with Bank of America for a branch office in one of 55 M's ground-floor spaces, on top of the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, just north of Nationals Park.
BoA is apparently leaving its swank construction-trailer digs at 4th and M SW this spring, and so is on the hunt for a new close-by home. Some workers at that branch have apparently told patrons that they are definitely moving to 55 M in June, but for now we'll go with Monument's statement that things are still in the negotiating phase.
If it comes to pass, BoA would be the fourth bank to open a branch in the neighborhood. (My own bank not being among them, alas.)
Comments (1)
More posts: 55 M St., Monument Valley/Half St., Retail

Tidbits: Some SoCap Bridge $, Half Street 'Thinking', DPW, More
Nov 21, 2011 9:32 AM
I've tried over the past few months to clampdown on runaway Tidbits posts, but these are some pretty small tidbits, so I think I'll let them through:
* Douglass Bridge: The Feds have "freed up" $68 million from previously appropriate funds to allow DC to start buying up right-of-way land for the new South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge. NBC4 quotes DDOT chief Terry Bellamy as saying "If I had my way and we had the money, we could possibly see a new bridge in about six to seven years." But, considering they're looking for $800 million for not just the bridge itself but all the associated improvements to South Capitol Street and its interchanges with I-395 and I-295, getting the rest of the money might be a little trickier.
* Half Street: According to the Post, Monument Realty and investment partner Victor MacFarlane "are now thinking about when to begin" developing the rest of their Half Street project. The southern portion of Monument's side of Half Street (the east side--you know, where the big hole in the ground is) was originally designed with both a hotel and a residential building. And there's still no word from Akridge on a start date for their side of Half Street (the Bullpen side).
* DPW Move: While the timeline for getting DPW into their new home on Okie St. NE and out of their New Jersey and K site has slipped (shocker!), things are still moving forward, and I'm hearing that they should be moved early in 2012. But this delay is not as yet impacting William C. Smith's plans for a new apartment building just to the north--various permits have recently been approved, and WCS expects to start some deep infrastructure work, along with some clearing and grading along New Jersey Avenue north of I, sometime in December. (But WCS needs DPW out before too long because a smidge of DPW land crosses what will eventually be the new I Street and onto the WCS property.)
* Wha?: Is it just me, or does this article seem like it was written in 2009? It's a bit odd to trot out version 83 of the "there's no food in Near Southeast" story when there are leases signed for at least 10 new eateries to open in the next 12 months: Lot 38 Espresso at the old Little Red Building site (Any Minute Now!), Potbelly and Kruba Thai in the Foundry Lofts by spring, the Park Tavern at Canal Park by summer, and six choices at the Boilermaker Shops by the end of 2012. Not to mention probably another couple places in the Lumber Shed, perhaps a big one at 100 M, and a Harris Teeter in 2013. But I still predict that, when the slew of What's Happening Around Nationals Park stories come pouring out in advance of Opening Day 2012, the focus will still be on the lack of movement along Half Street (see Tidbit #1).
* New Bridge: Don't forget the dedication ceremony for the Yards/Teague bridge on Tuesday at 1:30 pm on the Yards Park side of the bridge. In addition to the mayor and DC Water chief George Hawkins, the organizers are also expecting Eleanor Holmes Norton, Naval District Washington Commandant Rear Admiral Patrick Lorge, USDOT deputy secretary John Porcari--and the Racing Presidents!

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

Monument Officially Announces FAA Lease at 55 M
Feb 17, 2011 3:19 PM
This was referenced in the flurry of stories on the company a few weeks ago, but Monument Realty has now officially announced that they have signed a 10-year 50,000-square-foot lease with the Federal Aviation Administration at 55 M Street, the building on top of the Navy Yard Metro station just north of Nationals Park. With this lease, DDOT's 150,000-square-foot lease signed last fall, and two other smaller tenants, the 275,000-square-foot building is now 85 percent leased, with only three smaller office suites remaining (as well as all of the building's ground-floor retail space).
The press release says that the FAA is expected to move into their new spaces on the 8th and 9th floors in April, and that DDOT is expected to complete its move to the fourth through seventh floors during the second quarter of the year.
As for the rest of the Monument Half Street project, which as designed includes a 200-room hotel and 332 residential units and plenty of ground-floor retail to the south of 55 M, the press release quotes executive vice president Douglas Olson as saying that they are"actively working to move forward with Monument's next phase of Half Street."
Comments (2)
More posts: 55 M St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., officespace

Monument Realty: Back from the Brink? (FAA Lease at 55 M, But No Half Street Movement)
Jan 28, 2011 4:04 PM
Both the Washington Post and the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) came out with stories this week chronicling the rise and fall and now re-rise of Monument Realty. They both describe Monument's high-flying ways during the real estate bubble of the early 2000s with "high-risk, high-return deals and an aggressive, cowboylike approach to development that rubbed the old guard the wrong way," followed by their near dissolution thanks to the collapse of their backer, Lehman Brothers. But thanks to some new deals around the region with different financing partners, Monument appears to be rebounding.
There's not been an announcement from Monument that I've seen, but the WBJ article says that Monument has signed the Federal Aviation Administration to a 55,000-square-foot lease at 55 M Street, which I believe would bring the building to about 90 percent leased. (At the time Monument announced their deal to lease 150,000 square feet to DDOT, they said the 275,000-square-foot building's office space was 70 percent leased.)
However, in detailing what it says are $500 million in new Monument projects around the Metro area leveraged from a $10 million deal with Atlas Capital Group, WBJ makes no mention of any intentions for construction to get underway on Monument's remaining Half Street plans just north of Nationals Park. The well-known hole in the ground, dug in 2007 when 55 M was built, is eventually supposed to be 330 residential units and a 200-room hotel, which you can see a rendering of on my project page or on Monument's Half Street web site. Monument also owns all of the land on the east side of South Capitol between M and N except for the self storage building, as well as the 50 M street lot on the northeast corner of Half and M.
Comments (3)
More posts: 55 M St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., officespace

Barry Releases Hold on DDOT Move to 55 M
Jul 28, 2010 8:26 PM
From City Paper's Housing Complex blog: "The Department of Real Estate Services tells me that Councilmember Marion Barry has dropped his disapproval resolution on the District Department of Transportation's move to 55 M Street SE, which momentarily put the whole thing in limbo. That means the move can go forward as planned, without having to wait until reconsideration by the Council in September."
Comments (0)
More posts: 55 M St., Monument Valley/Half St., politics

Barry Files Disapproval Notice on DDOT 55 M Move
Jul 22, 2010 2:21 PM
Yesterday I posted about how the city council had until close of business to decide whether or not to slow down DDOT's planned move to 55 M Street, SE--and now I'm hearing that Marion Barry has filed a "disapproval notice" that does delay the DDOT move. (Apparently he did the same thing with the contract for the new headquarters for the Department of Employment Services.) There will now probably be some behind-the-scenes wrangling to convince Barry to withdraw his disapproval--once/if he does, the contract would then be considered immediately approved, and the move can proceed.
Comments (6)
More posts: 55 M St., Monument Valley/Half St., politics

DDOT's Move to 55 M Still in the Works
Jul 21, 2010 10:15 AM
WBJ updates its story from a few months ago to basically say, yes, DDOT is still planning to move to 55 M Street, Monument Realty's building on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard station. The city council has until close of business today (Wednesday) to decide if it wants to hold up the plans, and apparently the council's budget office is taking a close look at the lease, since it will cost DDOT about $6.9 million per year over 10 years to consolidate all of its workers in Near Southeast, compared to the $3.1 million it's paying now to lease space in multiple buildings.
With USDOT just two blocks to the east, M Street SE would turn into Transportation Row if DDOT does indeed come to 55 M.
Comments (0)
More posts: 55 M St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., officespace

DDOT Rumored to be Moving to 55 M Street
May 7, 2010 9:42 AM
Oh, I've wanted to post this rumor for so long (and have hinted at it on Twitter) but never could bring myself to pull the trigger when I couldn't get anything out of Monument or DDOT or any first-level source. But, here's WBJ going where I wouldn't (subscribers only): "[The District Department of Transportation] has signed a letter of intent and is close to a deal on a 10-year lease for 150,000 square feet in Monument Realty's Half Street building at 55 M St. SE, according to sources." Neither Monument nor DDOT would confirm to WBJ either, with DDOT spokesman John LIsle quoted as saying, "We are hoping to move this year. It may be ambitious, but that is our goal."
Originally DDOT was going to move to the Anacostia Gateway project, but that was cancelled a few months ago. WBJ says that, between DDOT's space and existing tenant Sayres and Associates (who apparently will be adding another 10,000 square feet to their lease), 55 M will be about two-thirds leased.
Comments (0)
More posts: 55 M St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., officespace

Forest City, Monument Looking at HUD Money
Apr 23, 2010 12:54 PM
From today's Washington Business Journal, for subscribers only right now, "Capitol Riverfront builders turn to HUD in hard times," which talks about Forest City's previously reported dealings with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to back bonds for the affordable housing component of the stalled Foundry Lofts project. Forest City's Ramsey Meiser is quoted as saying, "We are at a stage now where we are going back and forth. We have submitted paperwork. They have replied with questions. Hopefully, we will be back on track no later than this summer." (This is a little different than some recent breathless reporting that said that the project "could" restart this month.) It would then take about a year to finish the 170-unit apartment building that will also have ground-floor retail space.
WBJ also says that Monument Realty is "mulling" Section 220 FHA mortgage insurance to help get the residential part of their Half Street project restarted. But the 220 option, which has been used elsewhere in DC (Yale Steam Laundry and Rhode Island Station), doesn't sound real close--"Monument Realty has not yet applied for the Section 220 program but says it has been investigating the possibility since last summer. Russell Hines, the company's president, said the program's per-unit cost limit is a challenge," although there is federal legislation pending that would increase the per-unit statute.
(And, one correction for WBJ--this sentence could use a little love: "The Forest City and Monument Realty housing projects are just a portion of a four-building development planned at Half Street." The Foundry Lofts building, part of the Yards, is four blocks away from Half Street. UPDATE: It's been corrected.)
Comments (1)
More posts: Foundry Lofts/Yards, Monument Valley/Half St., The Yards

Yards Gets LEED Gold; Buzzard Point Planning; Other Links (Parking, DOT HQ, Lower 8th, Jeff Neal)
Nov 24, 2009 9:42 PM
* The Yards has been designated a LEED Gold Certified Neighborhood Development Plan, based on the 42-acre project's stage two design plan, which "integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design." Read Forest City's press release, or learn more about the LEED for Neighborhood Development program.
* Southwest...The Little Quadrant With the Really Long Blog Name (hey, we kid because we love) gives a full report on the meetings last week to create a plan for Buzzard Point. The American Planning Association has posted its press release summarizing the sessions, saying that "Buzzard Point is a distinct area and should build on its strong existing residential character" and that any future plans should "[a]void using a cookie-cutter approach to redeveloping the neighborhood; the type of redevelopment taking place east of South Capitol Street is not what should occur west of South Capitol Street." (Yikes, now there's going to be a rumble in the South Capitol Street median.)
* Michael Perkins is not the person you want to be unable to find a parking space. Speaking of which, here's the second part of GGW's report on last week's Ward 6 Performance Parking public meeting.
* The US Department of Transportation HQ on M Street has been named a winner of the Phoenix Award, which "honors excellence in brownfield redevelopment" and honors companies and individuals who have worked "to solve critical environmental and community challenges when transforming formerly used real estate into productive new uses."
* Voice of the Hill reports on the latest Lower 8th Street visioning sessions: "Barracks Row Main Street executive director James Dalpee suggested that a Columbia Heights-style model, with several big anchor stores, might be what's needed to spur retail in the area," though "while they are dreaming big dreams, planners also have to contend with a number of potential obstacles. They include CSX's plans to tear up Virginia Avenue from 2nd to 11th streets for up to three years to make room for a double-stack train tunnel; the Marine Barracks master plan, which is set to be unveiled soon; and the 11th Street Bridges expansion project."
* WBJ's Breaking Ground blog points to a video by the Huffington Post's investigative unit on "Commercial Real Estate: the Next Hole in the Economy," which "stars" Jeff Neal of Monument Realty talking about the buying "binge" his company went on to snap up lots around the ballpark site in 2004 and 2005. (Though I think it's funny to see WBJ getting a bit snippy about news organizations "discovering holes in the ground" after they did, since I'd be willing to wager that they weren't the first to report on those sites, anyway.) WBJ also says that Neal is developing a reality TV show. Also be sure to check out the comments on the YouTube video for the sort of level-headed, reasoned discourse that we've all become accustomed to on the interwebs.

Monument Gets its First Tenant at 55 M
Oct 20, 2009 3:42 PM
From WBJ, the news that government contractor Sayres and Associates has signed a seven-year deal to lease 20,000 square feet at 55 M Street, Monument Realty's office building on top of the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M. Sayres currently is at Maritime Plaza, and is expected to move into 55 M in April of next year. This is the first tenant for 55 M; with the Bureau of Land Management moving in across the street at Lerner's 20 M next year, all of the office buildings in Near Southeast completed since 2007 will have lease deals (100 M was nearly 40 percent leased when it opened at the end of 2008).
Monument is still looking for financing to complete the south end of the block, where they have been planning to build a hotel and two residential buildings.
Comments (6)
More posts: 55 M St., Monument Valley/Half St.

Streetcar Meetings; Corus/Starwood Deal; ANC 6D; Seniors H1N1 Shots
Oct 15, 2009 10:23 AM
If you can wait an extra minute or to before going back to bed and pulling the covers over you until this cold rain is over, here's a few (very) small items:
* DDOT sent out a press release late Wednesday announcing a series of public meetings to "engage residents and businesses in the implementation of improvements proposed for the transit system for the city, including streetcars", the first phase of which should eventually run across the 11th Street Bridges from Anacostia to H Street NE. They haven't posted the release on their own web site yet, but Streetcars for DC has it (UPDATE: it's now posted at DDOT, and amended slightly). The closest meeting to Near Southeast is the first one, Oct. 22 from 7 to 8:30 pm at J.O. Wilson Elementary, 660 K St., NE. For more information, visit DDOT's Streetcar pages.
And, via BeyondDC, the WBJ is reporting that the H Street portion of the first phase will be completed first, thanks to lobbying by Tommy Wells. Wells is also working to overturn the longtime ban on overhead wires in parts of the city that include H Street, according to the article. But no timeline for the start of construction has been mentioned. (UPDATE 2: In a tweet, DDOT says this: "Our official target date is still late 2012 for Anacostia, but we are working to accelerate that line as well as H/Benning.")
Unfortunately, DDOT's current site doesn't include the early studies for the project, but Richard Layman ferreted out the web archive version of the site, where you can see the line down M Street SE and SW was one of the possible additional lines at this time. Will there be one in the next phase of plans?
* It may not seem like the sale of Corus Bank's portfolio of distressed construction loans to a group led by Starwood Capital Group would be of much interest, but included in that portfolio are the construction loans for both Velocity Condos and Monument's 55 M Street office building. This shouldn't have much of an impact on Velocity, but could help 55 M in its quest to lease space, as potential tenants see more certainty surrounding the building's financing.
* ANC 6D's October monthly meeting is Monday, Oct. 19, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's, 6th and M streets, SW. No agenda released as of yet (which is why I cry when I see other ANCs that post their agendas well over a week [sometimes two] before their meetings).
* Tommy Wells has arranged for free seasonal flu shots (not H1N1) to be given to senior citizens in Southwest and near Southeast on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 9 am to noon at the Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street, SW. The shots will be free for seniors with Medicare Part B as their primary insurance, or $30 otherwise.
* (ADDED) I linked to a story about this idea a few weeks back, but here's a detailed post from TSArchitect (cross-posted at GGW) on "McMillan Two," which would radically remake the Anacostia Waterfront by filling in much of the river to narrow it to a width of about 500 feet, the same as the Seine in central Paris.
Comments (2)
More posts: 55 M St., ANC News, meetings, Monument Valley/Half St., streetcars

100 M Under Contract?; Rent the Ballpark; Monument Half Street Update
Sep 1, 2009 11:00 AM
* GlobeSt.com says that the 100 M Street office building built by Opus East--and now owned by its bank after Opus went into Chapter 7 liquidation--is under contract to be sold for $80 million to Mayfield Gentry. Gentry has been pursuing the purchase since late last year. GlobeSt: "If events play out as expected, 100 M St., SE will fit nicely into the story line emerging for the District's real estate community: namely, that buildings in the city limits are still holding their value and attracting investor interest--so much so that the growing levels of distressed real estate are not likely to impact the District to any great degree."
And two quick links that I Tweeted on Friday but forgot to post here (oops):
* Want to rent out the ballpark or a portion thereof for a shindig? The NationalsEvents.com web site is now launched, with details on packages, rates, and more. (I needed this when I was trying to put together my high school reunion last year.)
* WBJ's Breaking Ground blog posted on the status of Monument's Half Street project, talking about "the hole" ("'The hole. Yes, the hole,' sighed Russell Hines") and the 55 M office building completed earlier this year which "is still empty but has experienced 'a distinct change in the level of activity' over the past two months, with a few seriously interested tenants." They're looking for ways to find financing to start construction on the residential and hotel portion on the south end of the block, but aren't finding any outlets yet; but because the site is owned outright between the equity partners (Monument, the shell of Lehman Brothers, and MacFarlane Partners), "no construction lender or mortgage holder is going to demand the keys" to the site.
Comments (8)
More posts: 100 M, 55 M St., Monument Valley/Half St., Square 743N, Nationals Park

Capitol Quarter Ribbon Cutting Tomorrow; A Few Late-Summer Not-Really-News Links
Aug 25, 2009 1:16 PM
* A reminder that tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 am the DC Housing Authority is holding an official ribbon cutting and grand opening at Capitol Quarter, Fourth and L, with the mayor expected to be in attendance. If the sun is out, I may use this as the motivation to finally get some updated photos of the construction, with the framing in block three (north of K between Fourth and Fifth) now well underway.
* The Post reports on how the many new apartment buildings in the area are aggressively competing for tenants, with the new buildings in Near Southeast apparently leading the way: "The ones around Nationals Park, for instance, collectively have offered the deepest concessions since Delta started tracking rents 18 years ago. Some of those projects gave away the equivalent of four months' rent in concessions, which helps explain why effective rents in the District plunged 7.8 percent in June compared with a year ago. Without the ballpark area, rents fell 4 percent."
* From the BID's newsletter last week: "Mark your calendars for September 19th for the FRONT Door Home Tour & Canal Park Picnic from 10 am - 2 pm. The FRONT Door Tour will feature a variety of unique residents' homes and highlight the Capitol Riverfront as a new residential neighborhood in DC. The event will include a community picnic at the future site of Canal Park (located at intersection of M St., SE and 2nd St., SE) with food, music, and lawn games. The FRONT Door Tour will be free and open to the public. More information to come soon."
And, two items about off-topic projects by Near Southeast developers:
* Monument Realty announced yesterday that its long-planned renovation of Potomac Place Tower on Fourth Street in SW is now going to move forward. From their press release: "Monument Realty acquired the Potomac Place project in 2001 and in 2005 completed construction of a new, 302-unit condominium adjacent to the existing Potomac Place Tower, which was built in 1959. In 2003, Potomac Place Tower was designated a historic landmark by the District of Columbia and in 2005 the residents of Potomac Place Tower elected to convert the property to a condominium. Monument Realty's longstanding history and commitment to the project gave the new lender the confidence to retain its services for the completion of Potomac Place Tower."
* Forest City Washington has been selected by the government of Puerto Rico as the program manager for the redevelopment of a 100-acre portion of San Juan's waterfront district. Residential, hotel, office, retail, public parks, and a marina--sound familiar? (I don't think I mentioned that a few weeks ago the District selected Forest City as an advisor for the redevelopment of Poplar Point.)
Comments (0)
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Canal Park, Capper, Capitol Quarter, Monument Valley/Half St., The Yards

MSG Looking for Entertainment Venue Space
Aug 13, 2009 10:37 AM
From WBJ, a few days ago: "Madison Square Garden LP, owner of the famed New York City arena that bears its name, is looking to open a major entertainment venue in the District. The sports, entertainment and media company began contacting the office of Valerie Santos, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, and major landowners in early summer[...] According to sources close to the company, MSG would open a venue of a 6,000 seats or more, requiring up to 100,000 square feet near shopping and public transit." The head of the Washington DC Economic Partnership apparently made presentations to MSG "on sites near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and in the area around Nationals Park."
In this Breaking Ground blog post today, Jonathan O'Connell tries to guess where MSG might be looking, and includes the Yards and Half Street (either the Monument or Akridge sides) as possibilities. And this NewsChannel 8 report interviews Michael Stevens from the BID about it all.
Comments (5)
More posts: West Half St., Monument Valley/Half St., The Yards

55 M Street Awarded LEED Gold Status
Jul 29, 2009 7:49 PM
Monument Realty just passed along word that 55 M Street, the 275,000-sq-ft office building at Half and M that was home to Artomatic 2009, has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the US Green Building Council. A quote from Monument's head, Michael Darby: "This is a great accomplishment for us. We expected to earn LEED Silver certification at 55 M, so to be awarded Gold is a true testament to the hard work that all the team members put into this project."
Comments (4)
More posts: 55 M St., Monument Valley/Half St.

Tough Times for Opus East and Monument Realty
Jun 19, 2009 9:05 AM
Two pieces from today's Washington Business Journal, both for subscribers only, tell of difficulties for two of Near Southeast's developers:
* Opus East, which birthed 100 M and the under construction 1015 Half, is "teetering on the verge of bankruptcy" because the "U.S. General Services Administration has refused to pay the developer for 'even one penny' of the more than $35 million the company has invested in erecting a new federal building in College Park." Its parent company, Opus Corp., is exploring bankruptcy or restructuring for Opus East and Opus West--two other Opus companies went into Chapter 11 this spring. The article also says that Opus East's deal with MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors of Detroit to buy 100 M fell through in May; but 1015 Half is, for now, "continuing in full swing."
* And Monument Realty is having trouble, though not on Half Street--"At the end of May, at least three contractors filed suit in D.C. Superior Court to enforce more than $1.3 million in mechanic's liens the contractors filed against the last of three condominium buildings Monument is building at Potomac Place Tower near the Southwest waterfront. [...] At least one of the contractors is asking the court for a forced sale, if necessary, to collect amounts due."
Comments (6)
More posts: 100 M, 1015 Half, Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., officespace, Square 743N, square 697

Dreary Thursday Links Roundup
Jun 18, 2009 9:42 AM
* The news about perhaps paying for the convention center by taking money from various in-the-pipeline projects around the city has generated a lot of comment, not only here but in the form of a letter from Monty Hoffman of PN Hoffman to Chairman Gray in which he said that moving funds away from the planned redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront "would be a horrific business, legal, and community tragedy for the city." And SWDC Blog is reporting this morning that Kwame Brown says the list in the original WBJ article was of all tax-increment-financing plans approved by the City Council, which might be a wider list than just projects from which funds could be diverted.
* Roll Call has a piece on the "slow-to-develop" Capitol Riverfront neighborhood: "Today, visitors to the stadium emerge from the Metro onto an almost empty street flanked by tall fences. Billions of dollars of real estate is planned for the area, but for now, it only offers a few half-empty buildings and the occasional fast-food restaurant." But there is this as well: "The buildings aren't all empty. BID estimates that about 1,600 people live in the area, leasing about half of the available apartments. Office buildings hold about 35,000 workers; Opus East, for example, has leased 50 percent of the units for its new building at 100 M St. SE." (Full disclosure: I'm quoted a few times.)
* On the flip side, a just-released CBRE report on the impact of the federal stimulus package on the DC and Baltimore region says: "The commercial real estate industry has begun to see an impact from the transportation-related stimulus activities. Government contractors are actively touring office buildings in the Capitol Riverfront submarket of Washington, DC, home to the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Transportation, for new growth related to stimulus-funded contracts. These tours are noteworthy as the submarket has seen limited interest over the first six months of the year as a result of the national and local economic recessions." We're also still waiting to hear which federal agency might be about to lease 100,000-sq-ft of space at 20 M, and whether Booz Allen Hamilton is taking 30,000 sq ft at 55 M or elsewhere in the neighborhood.
* And, if you saw a boat full of partying real estate professionals cruising up the Anacostia on Tuesday, it was the Urban Land Institute Washington's annual boat tour, which took the Odyssey from the Southwest Waterfront up to the Yards and then back toward Rosslyn and Georgetown.
* The news of the day gave the Republicans some trouble in the bullpen at last night's Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park. And the GOP's woes in Washington continued, with the Democrats winning the game for the first time in eight years, 15-10.
* I forgot to post this last week: M.L. Clark Real Estate, which negotiated the deal for the city to sublet 225 Virginia Avenue, is going out of business, says WBJ, with its two brokers moving to Cassidy & Pinkard.
* A reminder that this Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm is the Third Annual Ward 6 Family Day.

Tenants Coming to 20 M and 55 M?
Jun 5, 2009 12:17 PM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only), news that two as-yet-unoccupied office buildings in Near Southeast may be close to securing tenants. WBJ says that Monument Realty is "in discussions" with Booz Allen Hamilton to lease more than 30,000 square feet of space at 55 M (currently home to Artomatic), though Booz is apparently also looking at Lerner's 20 M across the street and the under-construction 1015 Half a block to the north.
The article also says that an "undisclosed federal agency is on the cusp of announcing" a 100,000-sq-ft lease at 20 M. I have heard murmurings of some outfit moving to 20 M--if someone wants to whisper in my ear who it is, I'm listening!
Comments (2)
More posts: 1015 Half, 20 M, 55 M St., artomatic, Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., officespace, square 697, square 698

Quick Pics from Artomatic Sneak Preview
May 29, 2009 3:02 PM
Hard to believe, after the weeks of buildup, that the opening of Artomatic is going to turn out to be the *second* most exciting event in Near Southeast today, but it should still be noted that it did indeed open its doors at noon today, running for hours and hours between now and July 5. You can get all the specifics at the Artomatic web site, and I'm sure many local blogs and media outlets will give it coverage far beyond what my left-brain-ness is capable of providing, but I did take a few photos at the kick-off this morning that might whet your appetite to go give it a visit. And these shots were from just one of the eight floors' worth of offerings, so there's plenty that I plan to go back to see. (I also took a few photos of the surrounding skyline, since this was my first visit inside Monument's 55 M.)
Comments (3)
More posts: 55 M St., artomatic, Events, Monument Valley/Half St.

Upcoming Events, Updates, and Whatnot
May 27, 2009 4:22 PM
* Tomorrow (Thursday, May 28) at 10:30 am is the groundbreaking ceremony for the Park at the Yards, the first phase of which is scheduled to be completed next spring. The mayor is supposed to be in attendance--I may have to create a Shovel-Wielding Fenty photo gallery, since I now have quite a few of those shots.
* Friday (May 29) at noon is the opening of Artomatic at 55 M Street. I'm giving everyone advance warning that I am hopelessly left-brained, so I won't really even be trying to cover it much beyond wandering through to get the flavor. It runs until July 5, so everyone has plenty of time to get there and check it out. (You can see some of the installations already through the windows.) See my calendar for the specific days and hours (it's closed Mondays and Tuesdays).
* An extremely helpful commenter in this thread has explained why some of the flyovers and ramps are missing from the new Skanska/Facchina schematic of the new 11th Street Bridges design that I linked to: "[It] does not show all the ramp connections in the FEIS design because the District could only find $260 million to fund the project, and the FEIS design is estimated to cost $360 million. The District asked for proposals to build as much of the project as possible for the availible $260 mill, and the schematic shows how much the winning bidder Skanska/Facchina proposed to build. It is a lane-mile more than the next best proposal. The District's plan is to build the rest when they can secure funding (maybe sooner than later.)"
* While not mentioning Near Southeast specifically, this Post article from yesterday talks about the very tough office-space market in DC and surroundings: "'Unless they're already in the ground, they're not starting,' said Steven A. Levin, managing director at Spaulding & Slye. 'Any development project needing a loan over $25 million requires multiple lenders, and the guarantees are onerous. The amount of money you can borrow is also reduced.' [...] Dennis K. Moyer, a commercial real estate lawyer with Goulston & Storrs, said some of his clients are reviewing their existing loans and wondering whether they'll be paid, even on properties that are doing well. 'The next wave that comes is likely the workouts, foreclosures and restructurings,' he said."
Comments (1)
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, 55 M St., artomatic, Events, Monument Valley/Half St., The Yards, Yards 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.

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.
Comments (4)
More posts: 1100nj, West Half St., circulator, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., parking, Nationals Park, The Yards

A Pile of Little Items
Mar 19, 2009 4:19 PM
All sorts of tidbits came down the pike in the past 24 hours. In no particular order:
* I didn't make Tuesday night's Anacostia Waterfront Forum, but the presentation slides ("Economics of Developing the Anacostia River") have been posted. The slides have a good batch of economic data and detail for those interested; it's estimated that there could be nearly $6.7 billion in public investment along the river over the next three decades. In addition, the February forum is now available via streaming video, and the next forum has been scheduled for April 21, with the topic being "Green Waterfront, Green Jobs, Green Living in a Green DC." (The March "Waterfront Watch" newsletter has these additional tidbits, plus stories on the DC streetcar project and the Diamond Teague Park groundbreaking.)
* The WashTimes's Tim Lemke gets a first peek (along with suiteholders) of what new concessionaire Levy Restaurants might have in store for Nationals Park this season.
* Via the eckington blog, a list of the "shovel-ready" transportation projects in the district being funded by ARRA (aka "the stimulus package"). Apparently the demolition of the ramps connecting the 11th Street Bridges and RFK were on the request list, but didn't make the final cut. DDOT's been saying for a while that this demolition would happen Any Minute Now. (Read more about DC and the stimulus package at recovery.dc.gov.)
* Back in December, the owners of the 810/816/820 Potomac Avenue properties (the building that houses Quizno's, the abandoned apartment building, and the space between) announced a sealed bid sale for the lots. While some bids have been submitted (interest from hotels keeps getting mentioned in the communiques I've received from the landowner), the original March 15 deadline has been extended by another 30 days.
* A link that I saw this morning that I've subsequently lost says that the Circulator route replacing the N22 from Union Station to New Jersey and M will begin on March 30.
* Two readers reported that the 55 M construction cam has been turned off. For the first time since 2006, there are no active web cams in the neighborhood. Waaah!
* Another reader reported that the sign put up in 2006 at the corner of Second and M advertising 250 M Street ("Delivery 2008") has been replaced with a new sign, minus any delivery date.
* I know that it's been a *long* time since I've posted new photos. I had grand thoughts of going out this morning, until I looked at the radar. I'm hoping to take some this weekend, though I have a very tricky schedule to work around. But at least know that I'm now feeling guilty about it.

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

Scraping the Barrel for News
Feb 25, 2009 9:37 AM
I'm still here, though perhaps you can't see through the large tumbleweeds currently blowing across the JDLand.com landscape. There just hasn't been hardly any news of late, and in a strange way, the less news there is, the harder it is for me to carve out time from real life (where a couple big projects are consuming much of my time) to do the deeper digging. Plus, I'm on strike from taking photos until the weather gets warmer.
That being said, I can report (h/t to reader E. and the 55 M construction cam) that the new sidewalks around 55 M are starting to go in. There's also some utility work being done across Half at the bus garage to prepare for its demolition. The web cam also has a view of the back of the Red Porch restaurant at the ballpark, where I'm keeping an eye on when the upgrades might start to that space.
Speaking of sidewalks, there's some very nice public space work being done at 909 New Jersey, with a combination of concrete and brick sidewalks being put in along New Jersey (along with the front steps to the building). And anyone who's been close to Near Southeast at night has now seen the blue lights that run along the top of the building's "bow." (They match the color of the lights on the Douglass Bridge.)
And Capitol Quarter framing work has now made the turn up Fourth Street north of L.
If the lack of news is bumming you out, you can always go back and read what was happening this time last year. It was *slightly* busier, as we were hitting the final weeks before the opening of the ballpark. Then again, if we go way back, to February 2004, I posted one entry for the entire month. (I'm just now realizing there's no easy access to the monthly archive of blog entries from the home page--but if you look down the right margin of any "interior" page on the site, you'll see the "Browse by Month" links.)
Comments (5)
More posts: 55 M St., 909 New Jersey, West Half St., jpi, Monument Valley/Half St.

Work Stopped at Foundry Lofts; Gordon Biersch Coming to Half Street?
Feb 13, 2009 11:57 AM
Eagle-eyed workers at USDOT had asked me about this lately, and now WBJ confirms (subscribers only) that work has stopped at the Foundry Lofts rehab project at the Yards: "Forest City Washington started transforming a former Navy industrial building into 170 loft apartments last year but recently called off the construction crews thanks to, you guessed it, a lack of financing -- in this case an inability of the D.C. Housing Finance Agency to sell bonds for the subsidized units."
And, there's this: a Forest City rep says "work continues on a waterfront park and landing retailers for the 44-acre, multiyear project, but sources say Dogfish Head Alehouse, once in discussions to open on the waterfront, is no longer interested."
So now the neighborhood has its first "skeleton."
UPDATE: On the other hand, WBJ is also reporting that chain brewery Gordon Biersch might be coming to Half Street, with a broker confirming that there is interest, but no deal has been signed: "Gordon Biersch is remaining mum, but sources point to Monument Realty's Half Street project as a likely candidate. The D.C. developer is putting the finishing touches on 55 M St. NW [um, no: SE], a 275,000-square-foot office building with ground-floor retail above the Navy Yard Metro station. The project, on the main pedestrian drag to the baseball stadium, doesn't have any announced tenants."
Comments (5)
More posts: 55 M St., Foundry Lofts/Yards, Monument Valley/Half St., Retail, The Yards

Artomatic 2009 Official Announcement
Feb 12, 2009 3:30 PM
(h/t DCist) What has been unofficially official around here since early December is now officially official: Artomatic 2009 will be held in Near Southeast, at Monument Realty's 55 M Street office building on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, from May 29 to July 5. Here's the Artomatic press release, which says that registration for artists wishing to participate will begin in March.
What exactly is Artomatic? "Held regularly since 1999, Artomatic transforms an unfinished indoor space into an exciting and diverse arts event that is free and open to the public. In addition to displays by hundreds of artists, the event features free films, educational presentations and children's activities, as well as musical, dance, poetry, theater and other performances." Free to the public, it will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 1 a.m., and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m. (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.) Artomatic is also looking for volunteers; see the press release for more details.
Comments (3)
More posts: 55 M St., artomatic, Events, Monument Valley/Half St.

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

New Construction Photos: Teague, Capitol Quarter, 1015 Half (and More)
Jan 25, 2009 5:49 PM
I took a nice tour of the action spots around the neighborhood today, getting updated photos of the very showy progress at Capitol Quarter and 1015 Half Street.
I also snuck across the river (don't tell) to get a peek through my zoom lens at the goings-on at Diamond Teague Park, plus I took a photo or two through the fence at First and Potomac. It looks like the gangplank from the shore to the pumphouse has been dismantled; and there's definitely "in-water" work going on.
I also got a good batch of updated photos for 55 M, and gave my Monument Half Street page a badly needed refreshing--there's also this shot of the construction on the extension of the underground garage (and the shored-up hole on the south end of the block), as seen from Nats Parking Garage B.
I even took my first(!) set of photos at 11th and L, where the Southeast Freeway bends toward the 11th Street Bridges, to get an official "before" baseline in advance of the reconstruction and reconfiguration of it all. (And I found this plaque on one of the flyover pillars, which might be worth a chuckle or two.)
If you want to see the entire batch of new photos on a single page, here they are, though it's about a hundred of them so be patient. But the links above are better if you want to see them matched with their "before"s.
(Oh, and that dinky little For Sale sign at 10th and M by the Exxon that I wrote about on Friday is gone. Drunken property advertising?)
Comments (4)
More posts: 1015 Half, 55 M St., Capper, Capitol Quarter, Monument Valley/Half St., square 697, Teague Park

Tidbits: Teague Park Started, Bridges and Stimulus, Reservation 17A, Exxon For Sale?, Capper Zoning, More
Jan 24, 2009 2:40 PM
Some items from the past few days. Big ones first:
* It's probably been true for weeks, but I've just now been by Diamond Teague Park for the first time in a while and can confirm that construction is definitely underway there. Fences are up, cranes (three of them?) are in place, and workers were there. Pictures tomorrow. (Probably *lots* of pictures tomorrow from all over, as long as the weather stays reasonably clear.)
* City Paper got its hands on the letter Mayor Fenty sent to DC Delegate Norton about the city's priorities should the Feds decide to toss some stimulus package dollars in this direction. As I predicted, the two Near Southeast bridge projects were mentioned: "In particular, aspects of the Eleventh Street and South Capitol Street Bridge replacement projects could be undertaken immediately." He also mentions the city's backlog of maintenance projects, along with investments in Metro and the implentation of the streetcar project. And school modernization. And public safety issues.And environmental initiatives. And housing affordability. And health care. (And now here's the stimulus bill itself, though it doesn't get down into specific projects. On the other hand, considering these two bridges ease the commutes to and from the district of the House Majority Leader....)
* Back in mid-November, the transfer of the plot of land known as Reservation 17A from the Feds to the city finally took place; it runs between New Jersey Avenue and Second Street, and is straddled by the trash transfer station building. With this now under District control, various wheels can start turning in that area, including allowing the establishment of I Street between Second and New Jersey that will form the southern boundary of WC Smith's 800 New Jersey Avenue project. There's hopes that the trash transfer station could be demolished in 2010.
* Reader T. reported yesterday that a small bought-at-the-hardware-store For Sale sign went up at 10th and M yesterday, in front of the fence of the Exxon station. I'm not sure what the deal is, since the land is actually owned by the Exxon Corporation, and you'd think they'd have better methods of marketing the land.
* The public notice for the March 19 Zoning Commission hearing on various Capper PUD alteration requests is now available.
* WBJ reports that the Nationals have parted ways with Centerplate, last year's concessionare at the ballpark. This year it will be Levy Restaurants for the food and Facility Merchandising Inc. for the retail.
* More of the fences are coming down at 55 M, as you can see on the web cam. (Though it took me more than a month to notice that the plywood "tunnel" at the Metro exit had disappeared.)
* The Douglass Bridge will be closed at 5 am Sunday until 10am-ish to test the swing span.

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!
Comments (3)
More posts: 55 M St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., M Street

Post Surveys the Commercial Real Estate Slowdown Near the Ballpark and Elsewhere
Dec 1, 2008 11:06 PM
The front page of Tuesday's Post has "Building Slowdown Turns Grand Visions into Vapor," a look at projects in the DC area that are on hold because of the slumping economy: "The economic boom of recent years promised to deliver gleaming homes and high-end retail to struggling and newly forming neighborhoods across the Washington region. But that quest is running headlong into a withering economic slowdown and paralyzed credit markets, bringing new construction to a virtual stop and fueling anxiety among those who dreamed that their neighborhoods were the next frontiers."
Among the examples in the article are three delayed projects near the ballpark--WC Smith's 250 M Street office building, the residential and hotel portion of Monument's Half Street project, and also the Corcoran's Randall School development at Half and I, SW (which Monument pulled out of recently): "Perhaps no area is more central to the District's long-term ambitions than the streets around Nationals Park. At every opportunity, Fenty talks of a cosmopolitan destination featuring new parks, offices, stylish apartments and restaurants, all of it along the Anacostia River. Yet, how soon that vision materializes is fraught with uncertainty."
(Full disclosure: I provided a bit of basic status on ballpark-area projects for the piece, hence the "contributed" line.)
Some additional perspective: Certainly there's a slowdown afoot. (It's almost like there's some sort of cycle of boom and bust in commercial real estate!) I've been joking that I should just put a "Gone Fishin'" sign up here at JDLand during 2009, and come back in 2010 to see what's cooking, because other than the first offerings at the Yards and perhaps Canal Park {cough}, I'm not expecting much to get underway in the next little while. On the other hand, Capitol Quarter is moving forward, 1015 Half Street is now out of the ground, Diamond Teague Park is expected to open in the spring, and 100 M and 55 M and 909 New Jersey and Velocity will all be opening their doors before long, and perhaps the lure of another season of baseball will get some retail into the empty ground-floor spaces of those buildings and 20 M.
So, it's not like tumbleweeds are blowing down M Street or vines are growing on buildings a la Logan's Run--and it would be hard to make the case that it's the neighborhood's fault or the stadium's fault when the entire region is feeling the pain. The expectation would be that when the market improves, development in Near Southeast should pick up again. But we'll all just have to wait and see, won't we?

Half Street Hole Getting Filled
Nov 24, 2008 11:24 AM
Reader M., who keeps a better eye on the Monument Half Street web cam than I do, has passed along the word that, within the past week, the Half Street Hole (just north of Nationals Park) has started being re-filled with dirt, except for the far northern portion where additional underground garage space next to the 55 M Street office building is being completed. The small piece of garage construction is where a new street dubbed "Monument Street" has been planned, to connect Half to Cushing Street to the east; doing this work also will now give southern walls to the 55 M garage. The rest of the block is where Monument had plans for a 200-room hotel and 340 residential units, along with lots of ground-floor retail. I don't know anything beyond what I'm seeing on the webcam, so we'll have to wait to find out What This Means (though certainly filling back in a three-story hole isn't particularly likely to indicate a project moving forward).
Comments (7)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St.

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.

Half Street Hole: Construction Starting, But....
Oct 23, 2008 1:01 PM
Folks watching the Half Street Hole just south of 55 M Street have noted the arrival of a crane in the past few days. I've contacted Monument Realty, and they've confirmed that some construction is getting underway--but it's just to complete the three-level underground garage on the southern portion of the street, not to begin the hotel and residential projects. Perhaps all that parking directly north of the ballpark is seen as some worthwhile income while waiting for the residential market to improve....
Comments (0)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St.

What's Happening in the Half Street Hole?
Oct 12, 2008 8:10 PM
One of the many folks on the ground keeping an eye on the neighborhood while I slack off these days has reported that concrete is being poured in the bottom of the hole on the south end of Monument's Half Street project. You can see it on the 55 M web cam if you zoom in; judging from the web cam archive, it looks like the first bits of action began in September, with real work getting underway a week ago. This south end of the block is where Monument has been planning a hotel and 340 residential units, which were originally slated to be finished by the end of 2009 or early 2010.
In mid-September, when a construction trailer was delivered to the south end of the site and a "Bovis" sign went up, I contacted Monument to ask if this meant that work was getting underway; I was told the while they are "hoping" to begin the hotel/residential project by the end of the year, the movement seen at Half and N was for work related to the office building and other improvements (not defined) on Half Street. We'll see if there's some sort of announcement or communique as to what's happening.
In other Monument Half Street news, their public space permit request for various fixtures (" 23-benches, 9 trash containers, 32 lights, 146 fountains, 8 bollards, 18 bike racks") at 1200 Half is now going to be heard at the Oct. 23 Public Space Committee meeting, after having been postponed from September. I can't wait to find out what the heck this "146 fountains" part of the agenda item actually means!
Comments (0)
More posts: 55 M St., Monument Valley/Half St.

More on Monument's Lehman Entanglements
Sep 22, 2008 11:02 AM
Today's Post has a piece that gives more details on how Monument Realty has been tied to Lehman Brothers over the years, and how that might impact Monument's Half Street project: "In addition to an equity stake in Monument's Half Street project with San Francisco-based MacFarlane Partners, Lehman holds a $12 million secondary loan and Chicago-based Corus Bank holds the $72 million construction loan on the first phase of that development, a nine-story office building rising above the Navy Yard Metro stop. The rest of the project has not secured outside financing. [...] Monument began searching for another investor to buy out Lehman's positions soon after the credit markets began to tighten. Some bids were presented earlier this year, two sources familiar with the negotiations said, but Lehman rejected them as too low."
Comments (0)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St.

Movement on South End of Monument Half Street? (UPDATED)
Sep 17, 2008 1:36 AM
I think I Twittered a few days back about a couple of Monument Realty-requested building permits recently approved by the city for construction of a three-story underground garage in the 1200 block of Half Street. I wasn't sure whether this was just Monument getting its bureaucratic ducks in a row, or if it's an indication of movement on the south end of Monument's Half Street project, where a hotel and 340 units of residential are slated to be built just past the getting-close-to-completed 55 M office building.
Then, a few correspondents wrote in today to mention seeing the delivery of a construction trailer nearby to the site, along with a new "Bovis Lend Lease" sign hung on the fence at Half and N. Does this mean construction is about to commence? I've sent a message to Monument, but haven't heard back yet. In the meantime, there's always the Half Street Cam to keep an eye on possible action in that big hole in the ground.
A few folks have also written in about today's WBJ piece on the impact of Lehman Brothers's demise on various projects in the DC area, which mentions that Lehman holds an interest in Monument's Half Street project. This starts to get way above my pay grade, but there are some "Certificate of Satisfaction" land records from the mid-August where Monument appears to have paid off two "purchase money deed of trusts" held by Lehman totaling a little more than $23 million for lots on the east side of Half Street between M and N. (It then did the same a few weeks later for its property on the northwest corner of Half and N, which it then sold to Akridge.) So, perhaps Monument has disentangled itself from Lehman on these properties? (Like I said, this is totally out of my comfort zone, so if anyone wants to explain further or correct me, please drop me a line.)
As always, we shall see....
UPDATED, 9/17: Sometimes, the tea leaves aren't quite saying what they seem to be. Monument tells me that while they are "hoping" to begin the hotel/residential project by the end of the year, the movement seen at Half and N over the past few days is for work related to the office building and other improvements (not defined) on Half Street (perhaps the public space stuff I've been writing about).
Comments (2)
More posts: West Half St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St.

ANC 6D Meeting Tonight; Monument Half Street Withdraws Public Space Approval Request
Sep 15, 2008 11:55 AM
* Tonight is ANC 6D's monthly meeting. Alas, no agenda has been released yet, so I can't tell you what might be happening. (And I can't go, so I won't be able to tell you what happened.)
* We'll have to wait a little longer to find out what exactly was meant by that "146 fountains" part of the public space improvement application by Monument for 1200 Half Street (aka 55 M) that I posted a few weeks back--they've asked for a postponement and are no longer on the Sept. 25 Public Space Committee agenda. The draft agenda had said: "Application by M.R./BR Residential #1A, LLC for installing various fixtures in public space ( 23-benches, 9 trash containers, 32 lights, 146 fountains, 8 bollards, 18 bike rack all located around Half Street in public space."
Comments (0)
More posts: 55 M St., ANC News, Monument Valley/Half St.

Monument/Half Street Public Space Improvements; Akridge Press Release on Bus Garage Acquisition
Sep 3, 2008 11:34 AM
On the agenda for the Sept. 25 meeting of the city's Public Space Committee: an application by Monument Realty for 1200 Half Street (better known here as 55 M) to install various fixtures in public space around Half Street, described as 23 benches, 9 trash containers, 32 lights, 146 fountains, 8 bollards, and 18 bike racks. (UPDATE: I don't know what the deal is with "146 fountains"--that's what was in the meeting agenda.)
And, on the other side of Half Street, Akridge celebrates its closing on the Southeastern Bus Garage site (mentioned last week) with a press release. According to the Washington Business Journal, construction could begin on the planned 700,000-square-foot mixed-use project in 2010.
Comments (2)
More posts: 55 M St., West Half St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Morning Roundup: Office Space Market, Gun Stores, Live Online Chat about Drag Queens
Aug 11, 2008 10:08 AM
* Monday's Post has a couple of pieces on the state of the area's commercial real estate market, and looks specifically at how NoMa doesn't have tenants racing in despite the high-profile acquisitions of NPR and the Justice Department. It also compares NoMa to Near Southeast, and quotes Russell Hines of Monument Realty as saying that "although the slow economy has made leasing the building more complicated, the company had seen interest from some associations and other private companies looking to escape high rents downtown." Alas, the piece mentions "50 M" as Monument's 275,000-sq-ft office building scheduled for completion next year when it means 55 M. (50 M is Monument's project, too--a proposed 130,000-sq-ft office building on the old Sunoco station site, but they are looking for tenants before starting construction there.)
* A Sunday Examiner piece looks at the temporary zoning rules covering where gun stores can be located in DC: "Firearms dealers who apply for a D.C. location will be largely restricted to high density commercial areas downtown and kept at least two football fields away from where people live, play and pray, according to emergency rules now in place." Included in the allowed zones are C-3-C areas, which means that the area of Near Southeast between South Capitol, Second, M, and the freeway (my "North of M" area) is covered. (See the map on page 8 of the OP report for exact boundaries.) Other restrictions: "All applicants, under the new rules, must appear before the Board of Zoning Adjustments to obtain a special zoning exception. Retail stores will be limited to the downtown area, generally between Massachusetts and Pennsylvania avenues Northwest, in addition to about 25 square blocks between Independence Avenue and M Street in Southwest. No dealer will be allowed within 600 feet of a residence, school, library, church or playground." Of course, the gun stores would have to be able to afford the rents in the pricey new buildings going up, since there aren't too many other places left in the neighborhood.
* Late notice (unless you're subscribed to my Twitter feed, in which case you heard about this yesterday), but there's a Live Online chat today at noon with the author of the Post magazine's piece on the drag queens of Near Southeast, and the man known as "Mame Dennis" who was the focal point of the article will be participating, too.
Comments (0)
More posts: Homewood Suites, 55 M St., mnorth, Monument Valley/Half St., Nationals Park, zoning

Capper Foundations, Bike Valet, More New Photos
Aug 5, 2008 1:20 PM
* The foundations are rising at Capitol Quarter on the south side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth. Next obsessive milestone to watch out for: delivery of lots of lumber!
* Speaking of foundations, I peeked into the big hole at 1015 Half Street on Sunday and saw that they appear to have reached bottom--there's concrete poured on the northern portion.
* In addition to the other photos I've pointed you to in the past couple days, I've posted updated shots of Velocity and 55 M.
* The August issue of the Hill Rag has an interesting little piece on the bike valet service at the ballpark.
* The annual National Night Out is tonight--the closest event is at 13th and Potomac, starting at 6:30 pm. See Tommy Wells's web site for details.
Comments (0)
More posts: 55 M St., Capitol Quarter, Monument Valley/Half St., Square 699n, Velocity Condos

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."
Comments (0)
More posts: West Half St., Development News, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St.

Late Night Roundup, and Some Wondering
Jun 24, 2008 12:45 AM
* Sorry I missed this until now: the Post reported that on Saturday evening "[a] motorcycle was headed west on M Street SE about 6:30 p.m. when a car traveling south on Seventh Street began to turn onto M Street. The car and motorcycle collided, and the motorcyclist was fatally injured, police said."
* The Post's Grounds Crew blog has only now discovered that there's a Five Guys just around the corner from the Navy Yard subway station east entrance (on Second Street north of M, if you haven't discovered it yet, either).
* The PSA 105 mailing list announced yesterday that they are having a "Summer of Safety Ice Cream Social" at Capitol Hill Tower "to show unity with the citizens of Capitol Hill and the Metropolitan Police Department by sharing some nice and cool ice cream while sharing information." The message said that the social is from 2 to 5 pm on June 25. A Wednesday afternoon? I wrote asking for confirmation, but haven't heard back. Anyone out there with the {ahem} scoop?
* Washington City Paper and WBJ both note layoffs at MacFarlane Partners through the prism of how it might affect the drive to put a soccer stadium at Poplar Point; I see the news and wonder about the capital that MacFarlane is supposed to be investing in both The Yards and Monument Realty's Half Street.
* Is the report in the July Southwester that Monument Realty and the Corcoran Gallery have received zoning approval to delay to 2015 (from 2011) their planned redevelopment of the the Randall School site at Half and I SW something to wonder about, too?
* And, while I'm heading off the reservation with all of this wondering, did anyone else read this Post story on fuel prices causing problems for school districts' transportation budgets and ponder whether buses would have to drive farther to and from their daily routes from a parking lot at DC Village as compared to one at Second and M, SE?
Comments (1)
More posts: Canal Park, Capitol Hill Tower, Restaurants/Nightlife, Monument Valley/Half St., The Yards

More on Neal/GVA Adventis Deal; Monument Impact?
Jun 13, 2008 3:22 PM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only): "Since announcing his takeover of GVA Advantis, Monument Realty co-founder Jeffrey Neal has remained mum about his future at Monument, one of the region's largest developers. [...] [P]rivately, several insiders said it is also an indication that Neal is parting ways with Monument, the 50-person company he formed with business partner Michael Darby in 1998. [...] For almost three months, Monument's equity partner in 15 transactions, Lehman Bros., has been seeking to sell its interest in the Monument projects it has backed, according to sources close to the deal. Lehman announced on June 9 it expects to lose $2.8 billion in its second fiscal quarter, its first loss since going public in 1994. Since April, Lehman has shed some $130 billion in assets to raise capital and to reduce its exposure to mortgages and loans used to finance leveraged buyouts, according to The New York Times. Lehman has invested about $620 million in Monument projects, according to Monument's Web site, including The Chase at Bethesda, a failed condo conversion. The Chase partnership's loan was 'transferred to special servicing on Feb. 4, due to maturity default,' according to Fitch Ratings." The article doesn't specifically mention any of Monument's Ballpark District projects.
Comments (0)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St.

Monument's Neal Becomes Chairman of GVA Advantis
Jun 9, 2008 12:46 PM
With interest high in Monument Realty's Half Street developments (and with recent speculation in WBJ as to Monument's financing situation), I'll pass along this portion of a press release I just received:
"GVA Advantis, a full-service real estate services company specializing in development, construction, property management and brokerage needs, announced today that it has completed a recapitalization with a private equity group based in Washington, DC, and controlled by Jeffrey T. Neal. Neal's firm will have controlling interest in GVA Advantis; providing equity, leadership, and strategic vision for the company. [...] Neal's private equity group is comprised of individual investors with specific real estate and other industry experience and expertise that will be instrumental to Advantis's future. The group was assembled to assist senior management with setting the strategic direction and leadership of the company. The most significant change will occur in the culture of delivering a full line of services. GVA Advantis will be able to take advantage of the intellectual capital within the company, as well as Neal's and his investors' diverse expertise, and strengthen its service and leadership to their clients. Immediate steps will be taken to size the company for growth within the markets already served by the company, as well as other markets in the United States. In addition, the headquarters of GVA Advantis will move from Atlanta to Washington, DC."
Neal is now GVA Advantis's newly appointed Chairman; I'm told that he remains a principal at Monument Realty and "intends to remain active" in Monument's business. Will update if there are news stories with additional information.
UPDATE, Minutes Later: WBJ says: "Neal declined to comment on the deal or on his future with Monument. He did say it's unlikely that GVA Advantis will merge into Monument."
Comments (0)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St.

Harry's to Ballpark? And Monument Responds to WBJ
Jun 6, 2008 2:00 PM
Two articles from today's Washington Business Journal (online for subscribers only at this point):
* Arlington-based Harry's Tap Room has signed a partnership deal with concessionaire Centerplate that could include a plan to put a Harry's in at the ballpark where the Red Porch currently is. There could also eventually be Harry's outlets at FedEx Field and the DC Convention Center, both locations where Centerplate provides the concessions.
* After last week's piece that detailed what WBJ described as the "pinch" that Monument Realty is feeling in the current real estate climate, Monument principal Michael Darby has penned a WBJ Guest Comment, rebutting many of the points made in the original article. As for Monument's Half Street projects, where the southern part of the block has a deep hole where the hotel and residential offerings are planned, Darby writes: "We have not had trouble finding construction financing for the residential building in the first phase at our Half Street project. We could not start construction until we received construction pricing after the building design was completed. We received prices from three prominent Washington contractors last week. These prices will be incorporated into our financing package and sent to lenders. Once we agree to terms and complete the loan documentation, we can begin construction."
(This would be a good place for my mea culpa that I've not yet gotten around to writing a summary of last week's council hearing about the alley closing Monument is requesting for the BP Amoco site at South Capitol and N. I'm trying to pace myself.)
Comments (0)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., Retail, Nationals Park

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."
Comments (0)
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.
Comments (2)
More posts: West Half St., Chiller Site/WMATA, Development News, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., square 698

New Photos from On Top of 20 M
May 9, 2008 2:01 PM
Since it's such a rotten day, I'll go back to when the sun was shining (Tuesday), and give you my first-ever photos from the roof of 20 M Street. (I've taken a few photos from inside the 10th floor going back to April of last year, but from the roof I don't have deal with the pesky glass reflections.) Here are these new photos matched with the oldest ones from the same angle, so you can compare 13 months' worth of changes easily; you can also look at all the photos if you want to watch the progression of changes. There's views to the north (above), showing the digging now underway at 1015 Half Street along with the construction progress at 70/100 I, 909 New Jersey, and Velocity (plus the site-clearing at 23 I). To the south is the increasingly-shiny 55 M, as well as the ballpark, of course. I also tossed in some photos toward the west, showing the skyline of Southwest.

Now, About that Retail..... (A Space Survey)
May 2, 2008 10:09 AM
With the ballpark now humming along like it's been here forever (Tom Boswell has a litany of good things to say in today's Post) , interest is starting to turn toward what sort of retail/restaurant options are going to come to the neighborhood, and when. For your Friday time-killing pleasure, I've tossed together a quick a survey of what's either available now or will be coming within the next two years. (I'm not including already existing retail; I'm just looking at where new stuff could arrive.) As of now, I've seen no announcements of tenants for any of these spaces, but maybe if residents, workers, and ballpark fans clap their hands and wish real hard....
* 20 M - Completed in March of 2007, its 11,000 sq-ft of ground-floor retail space would seem to be an enticing location (just across the street from the Navy Yard subway station's ballpark exit), but so far there's been no takers. "Coming soon" signs that were in the windows last year for Wachovia and Kinko's are now gone.
* Capitol Hill Tower - A 7,000-sq-ft restaurant space in the ground floor of this co-op building has been advertised ever since the building opened in 2006, but no takers so far.
* 100 M - The 240,000-square-foot office building at First and M is scheduled to be completed later this year, and they're offering 8,500 sq ft of "corner restaurant/retail space" with "great ceiling heights, storefront and outdoor seating." (There's no ground-floor retail planned for Onyx on First in the same block.)
* 55 M - The first part of Monument's Half Street project is this 275,000-sq-ft office building now under construction at Half and M (it's the building on top of the subway station entrance). It has over 10,000 sq ft of retail spaces on Half, M, and Cushing, and should be completed by mid-2009. (See retail spaces 1 through 4 on this page at the official web site.)
* 909 New Jersey - For the folks who choose to walk from the Capitol South Metro station, the under-construction residential building at New Jersey and K is going to have 6,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail space when it's completed in summer 2009.
* Velocity - The ground floor of this 200-unit condo building at First and L will have retail (I can't find how much), and will be finished by late 2009.
* The Yards - By the end of 2009, the renovation of the old Boilermaker Shop at Third and Tingey into a 46,000-sq-ft retail space should be completed, and there is also 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space planned for the Pattern Shop Lofts building on the south side of Tingey, which should have its conversion into a rental building completed by the end of next year as well. Both of these are situated on the route that most Nats Express users walk along to get from the shuttle stop at 300 M to the ballpark. (But will the Nats Express run after this year?)
* Half Street Part 2 - The southern part of the east side of Half Street north of the ballpark is going to be a combination of a 200-room hotel and two residential buildings totaling 340 units, with about 40,000-sq-ft of ground floor retail to entice the throngs that walk along Half Street before and after games. (See retail spaces 5 through 8 on this page at the official web site.)
* 1015 Half - Opus East hasn't yet committed to whether there will be ground-floor retail in this 410,000-sq-ft office building at Half and L, though about 10,000 sq ft of space will be there.
* 23 I - If this 420-unit apartment building does indeed begin construction in September of this year, there could be 15,000 sq ft of retail available at Half and I by the end of 2010.
That's about 200,000 square feet of space to be filled within the next few years--and this doesn't include the retail spaces in the ground floor of the baseball stadium along First Street (who knows when those will be occupied). It's possible other buildings slated to have ground-floor retail could pop up between now and the end of 2010--1111 New Jersey and 250 M are the main candidates.
And there will also could be more offerings at the Yards by 2011 (including that grocery store planned for 401 M as well as the Lumber Storage Shed and other to-be-built pavilions at the Waterfront Park). And maybe the first building at Florida Rock, across from the ballpark's grand staircase, could be done by the end of 2011. But this is getting a little too far down the road....

Monument Realty's Plans for 50 M Street
Apr 30, 2008 1:04 PM
The northeast corner of Half and M is home to Nats Lot J these days, with the Sunoco station that used to be there having closed in 2006 (taking with it my first Gas Prices in the Hood location). The land was purchased in 2007 by Monument Realty for $14.3 million, and they're currently marketing the site as 50 M Street, a 135,000-square-foot build-to-suit office building, targeting associations in the area as possible tenants. Monument was nice enough to pass along this early conceptual rendering of the building (bigger version here). Waiting for a tenant means that this building probably won't get started anytime soon.
The project's M Street location means it will have to go through a Capitol Gateway Overlay Zoning Review, which includes the requirement that all the building's non-entrance frontage along M Street be devoted to retail space, and that no less than 35 percent of the entire first floor be retail. (See page 15 for more of the overlay's M Street requirements.)
As for the one-story red brick building behind the 50 M lot, that's a warehouse owned by the Feds, which as of now doesn't seem to be going anywhere. But that little spot is getting kind of valuable, isn't it?
And, since I don't have much else to show you these days, take a few minutes to "drive" M Street, first heading east then back west, to see the changes since 2003. Remember to click on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon for any location where you'd like to see the photos between the before and the after....
Comments (4)
More posts: Homewood Suites, Monument Valley/Half St., M Street

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."

On the Fly Daily Lunch Vending on Half Street
Apr 22, 2008 10:23 AM
If you're looking for more lunchtime food options in Near Southeast (and who isn't?), here's word from the Capitol Riverfront BID that local "eco-vending" company On the Fly, which has been setting up shop before Nationals games on Half Street about 100 feet north of the ballpark entrance, will now be offering lunch from their neon-green electric "smartkarts" at that location daily from 11 am to 3 pm, starting today (April 22). Quoting: "In addition to its spicy turkey chili, named a "Home Run" by the Washington Post, On the Fly will offer Rocklands BBQ sandwiches, soft tacos with your choice of chicken estafado, pork carnitas or veggie filling, Japanese edamame salads, Brazilian chopped salad with beef tenderloin, couscous, vegetarian sides, energy bars and other organic natural snacks and beverages." Here's a coupon for a complimentary side order or snack between now and Friday--and it mentions Julia's Empanadas as another of their offerings (yay!). On the Fly also has carts at Farragut North, Gallery Place, and the Arboretum.
Comments (1)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St.

Updated Before and Afters: Half Street (and Others)
Apr 11, 2008 1:18 PM
The surprise appearance by the sun on Thursday gave me the chance to update some north-and-east photos on the way to the ballpark, mainly along Half Street, with a few from First, Cushing, and Van thrown in. You can see the entire batch of new photos, or you can check the 70/100 I, 909 New Jersey, Velocity, and Monument Half Street pages for a little bit of context as to what you're seeing, or you can look for the icon by intersection (Half and I, Half and K, Half and L, Half and M, First and I, Cushing and L, Cushing and M, Van and M). Make sure to check out the new photos I took last week along First Street if you missed them, to get a pretty complete view of what's happened in the neighborhood in the past two years. (Or just come down and see for yourself.) Hopefully soon I'll get some additional updated shots from along South Capitol Street and New Jersey Avenue (which will be changing thanks to 909 New Jersey now beginning the showy phase of its construction).
Comments (0)
More posts: 70/100 I, 909 New Jersey, jpi, Monument Valley/Half St., Square 699n, Velocity Condos

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.
Comments (0)
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., Nationals Park

This Afternoon's Ballpark News Roundup
Mar 26, 2008 3:33 PM
(I'm not sure there's anyone who is wishing more than me that the dang thing would open already....)
* The Examiner looks at Southwest residents just across from the ballpark who are selling the parking spaces that came with their homes to Nats fans for as much as $3,000 a season. But if you park near these houses and don't have a visitors pass (or aren't one of the chosen few who fork over the dough for these private spaces), expect the residents to call DPW to have you ticketed and towed.
* The Post's newly reconstituted DC Wire blog catches up with Ken Wyban, the only resident homeowner on the ballpark footprint to lose his house when the city invoked eminent domain to take over the land. (City Paper talked to him a few weeks ago in their big ballpark Winners and Losers cover story.)
* Reader Sean alerts us that the Express has a special section on the ballpark today too. Looks like a bunch of the pieces are available here.
* Even the Annapolis Capitol newspaper gets in on the fun with its own overview of the ballpark, though they get a demerit for misspelling South Capitol Street and for mentioning the "Southeast neighborhoods west of the ballpark." (Uh.....)
* WTOP talks about the plans for security around the ballpark, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $1.2 million.
* And, just as I'm finishing this up, I see that MLB.com has a new article about the preparations and plans for this weekend's festivities.
Apparently the beautifying of the neighborhood is underway, too--the black fence along Half Street at the Monument hole in the ground now has art on it (see 55 M web cam) as well as banners on the upper floors of 55 M facing the ballpark, and the Stadium web cam shows a "Welcome Home Nats" sign on the side of 100 M. The recent jet-black paint job on the old Domino's at 1200 South Capitol is part of this, too, and look for more Monument Realty "art" around all of its holdings.

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!

More Updated Photos and Progress Reports
Mar 3, 2008 1:59 PM
Yesterday I posted a whole batch of updated photos of the ballpark's exterior; today you can check out the project pages for the residential projects 70/100 I Street, Onyx (both opening later this year) and Velocity (2009) along with the office projects 100 M (2008) and 55 M (2009) for lots of new shots of those projects, or you can look at alllllll the photos from yesterday on a single page (ballpark shots, too). Don't forget the icon if you want to look at how an intersection has changed over the past few years.
Items of note from my wanderings:
* The south side of I Street is now paved between New Jersey Avenue and Half Street, and I've been told that I Street will be "driveable" by Opening Day;
* First Street is now paved south of K, and paving up to I doesn't look far off;
* The Merritt Cab garage at First and K now has a "Moving March 31, 2008" sign on it; and
* JPI's 909 New Jersey Avenue residential building (between I and K) is not far from reaching ground level, so be prepared for the arrival of another skeleton in the skyline before long.
If *I'm* finding it all hard to comprehend and harder to keep up with, I can only imagine how non-obsessive observers must feel. I'm kind of looking forward to the pace slowing back down a bit come May....

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.
Comments (2)
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St.

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.
Comments (0)
More posts: 55 M St., West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., Nationals Park

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."
Comments (9)
More posts: Florida Rock, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., parking, staddis, Nationals Park, DC Water (WASA)

Washingtonian Articles, Signs, and More
Feb 25, 2008 9:36 AM
The Southwest Freeway now says there's a ballpark in our midst, so it must be true! (And of course the Bike Route signs started telling us this last week.)
Other news of the morning:
* The March issue of Washingtonian (not yet available online, but now on newsstands) has two articles of possible interest. One is an overview of the ballpark itself. The other is called "Ballpark Living: Can the Nationals Stadium Do For an Up-and-Coming Waterfront Neighborhood What the Verizon Center did for Downtown DC?", in which yours truly gets a mention. It's mainly an overview of the neighborhood's offerings now and down the road, most of which should be no surprise to anyone visiting here on a regular basis. UPDATE, 2/26: The article on the ballpark is now available online, though the other one isn't there yet.
* Speaking of magazines with special ballpark offerings, I mentioned On Site magazine last week--I'm told it's available this week (bundled with the current issue of the Washington Business Journal) at CVS, Borders, and Barnes & Noble.
* In both of these magazines, there's an updated rendering of the Monument's 340-unit residential building slated to be finished by the end of 2009 on the northeast corner of Half and N, just across from the ballpark's Center Field Gate. Monument was kind enough to pass it along, and I've added it to my Monument Half Street page (scroll down past the 55 M stuff).
And, be sure to catch my new photos from inside the ballpark (both inside and INSIDE) if you haven't seen them.
Comments (0)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park

WBJ On Site: In Depth on Near Southeast
Feb 22, 2008 9:23 AM
I believe it's only available to subscribers, but if you've got any way to get your hands on this week's Washington Business Journal, you'll probably want to see the quarterly magazine "On Site" that's included--seven stories on development around the ballpark, as well as a big map showing all the plans over the next few years (what a great idea!). Stories on Monument Realty and on the plans for The Yards, an interview with Michael Stevens of the BID ("Preaching Patience in Washington Nationals' New Neighborhood"), a piece highlighting how residential developers are feeling bullish about the area, and even a short profile of some pesky neighborhood blogger who's been tracking the area since 2003. I haven't read all the stories yet (it's gonna take a while!), so if I find some nuggets that I haven't covered here in the past, I'll post them.
UPDATE: Also, the March issue of Washingtonian is hitting the stands (though the articles won't be online for a while), with articles on the ballpark and also on the planned residential projects nearby.
Comments (3)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park, The Yards

Whole Lotta Photos From First and Half Streets
Feb 11, 2008 9:51 PM
While hopefully you've already wandered through the pile of new stadium exterior photos I posted over the weekend, those aren't the only new pictures I grabbed during my camera time on Saturday and Sunday. Get your clicking finger going:
* The Velocity condo phase 1 building on L Street west of First is now one floor out of the ground, so that will now be added to my regular rotation of photo updates. For those who haven't been following along, this is a 200-unit condo building that will eventually be joined by a twin on the north side of the block (running along K Street). However, they decided to dig the entire parking garage and below-ground structures for both buildings at once, which is why only half the block is now rising above ground level. The other portion will be landscaped over until Phase 2 begins. (Phase 3, which will run along Half Street where the sales center is now located, could be either an office building or a hotel--I haven't heard of any decision being announced.)
* The Normandie-less corner at First and M has now been immortalized in digital imagery, and goodness gracious, has that spot changed. (Ditto for the other end of the block, at First and N.) This stretch is on its way to becoming temporary surface parking until Willco Construction moves forward with its reported office/residential/retail project on that site (no timeline).
* The road work on First Street continues, and on Saturday they put down the first asphalt between L and M (in front of Onyx and 100 M). Looking south and north you can see how much wider the street has now become. You can also see the windows starting to be hung at Onyx and at 100 M. Meanwhile, First north of L continues to be a war zone. They *say* it'll all be done (I Street, too) by Opening Day. First Street and Potomac Avenue appear to be pretty much done except for the striping.
* 55 M is almost topped out. As we heard a few days ago, they say the Metro entrance in 55 M's ground floor will be ready by Opening Day, too.
* How much has M Street changed in five years? Take a look. (This should be one of those list-the-differences-in-the-pictures contests.)
* Or you can just look at all the photos from Saturday and Sunday on one page (including the ballpark shots), though I cannot be held responsible for any sensory overload you may experience. Imagine how I feel, especially considering that what I've posted is probably only about a third of the photos I actually took....

Monday's Public Meetings (Parking, Half Street)
Jan 29, 2008 1:47 PM
Last night ANC 6D held a special public meeting to decide whether or not to support Tommy Wells' Performance Parking bill when it has its council hearing on Wednesday. I was unable to attend, but reports from my vast network of moles indicate that the ANC will be supporting the bill, albeit it while "expressing strong concern" over some still-outstanding issues. (We'll find out what those are during Andy Litsky's testimony at the hearing.) The ANC vote was 4-2.
At almost the same time, the Zoning Commission held a brief special public meeting to take up the series of minor modifications that Monument Realty requested to its design for the east side of Half Street (yes, the area that's already under construction). I talked about these in slightly more detail a few weeks ago when this first came to the Zoning Commission; the ZC declined to approve these as part of its consent agenda at that meeting because the commissioners wanted a little bit more clarification, which they got in the filings for this second hearing. The only question that came from the dais was why Metro nixed the wire mesh panels with LED lights that Monument had originally envisioned as the walls around the Navy Yard station entrance at Half and M--the reply was that, in addition to weatherproofing concerns, Metro wanted its security people to be able to see into the station by shining a light from a car on the street, instead of having to go into the station. The wire mesh is now being replaced with a glass "frit" (yes, I had to look it up, too) that will be backlit with the lighting scheme Monument wants. With that, the commission approved the request 5-0; all the minor modifications are explained in the Office of Planning report.
Comments (0)
More posts: ANC News, Monument Valley/Half St., parking, staddis, Nationals Park, zoning

Photo Update: N Street, 55 M, Willco, 23 I
Jan 28, 2008 11:02 AM
I wandered around on Sunday for a photo session, wishing that spring would hurry up and get here so that the sun will rise higher during the day and set farther west so that I can stop dealing with the damn glare whenever I face southward.
* I have new images along N Street just north of the ballpark between Half and First, which show the work at the entrance plaza at Half Street, including glass now being installed on the ground floor of the western parking garage, as well as the structures that will make up the entrance gates.
* In fact, I updated all 12 angles of the Half and N intersection, which now that it has its new wide sidewalks, curbs, streetlights, and an initial paving job, is really a stunning testament to 24 months of change, not only on the four corners of Half and N but the blocks to the north as well. It's definitely worth a look.
* I took a lot of photos of the now-demolished Willco stretch along First Street (and gave the project its own page as well), and of course I got all the usual angles of 55 M Street.
* On Half Street between I and K, where JPI's 23 I Street residential project is expected to start this year, a pile of red-and-black advertising banners have been hung on every available surface, and a "JPI Permit Parking only" sign has appeared on the entrance to the former towing company's parking lot on that block. I'm guessing JPI's purchase of the property just closed. I haven't heard anything about potential start dates for this project, or when the Wendy's might close.
* If you browse all the photos I took yesterday, you'll also see a smattering of 70/100 I and 100 M shots as well as images of the two blocks along Third Street where temporary surface parking lots are going in (so now my pictures of those blocks have changed from post-demolition views of nothing to pre-blacktop views of nothing). And the always popular shots from the SE Freeway at South Capitol are updated, too.
And don't forget to click on the icon wherever you see it to see all photos in the archive of a certain location.

Ballpark and Beyond This Week - ANC Wrapup
Jan 24, 2008 10:52 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column is a shortened summary of last week's ANC 6D meeting; but here's the links to my more detailed reports on the what transpired at that meeting with 1111 New Jersey, an alley closing request by Monument Realty, and Florida Rock.
And, since it's been a busy week, you might have missed my 2008 State of the Hood, which rises above all the daily minutaie to look at what's happened in Near Southeast in the last 12 months and what's coming in 2008; if you're coming late to the party and are looking for an overview, take a few moments to browse it.
Comments (0)
More posts: 1111 New Jersey/Insignia on M, ANC News, Florida Rock, Monument Valley/Half St., Square 743N

New Frozen Tundra Photos; Archive Tweaks
Jan 21, 2008 11:40 AM
I braved the chilly temps and gusty winds on Sunday morning for what turned out to be an abbreviated venture to get some updated photos. (I didn't post them yesterday because I thought I might go out this afternoon to get more, but it's a holiday, it's still cold, I'm pretty warm and cozy here on the sofa, and, and, and....) You'll see some shots of the demolition along First Street on the Willco site (which is about 50 percent completed), as well as a few updated shots of the ballpark, some of which show that the steps are now being poured on the grand staircase. There's also a smattering of shots of 55 M, 100 M, 70/100 I, and the at-ground-level Velocity construction, and some other vantage points that I got before high-tailing back indoors.
You can see the complete batch of photos, remembering to click on the icon if you want to see all archived photos of a certain view.
This is a good time to mention that I recently made a few changes to the Photo Archive. First, you'll now see links that allow you to toggle between seeing all photos of an angle and just the oldest and newest, which comes in handy as the number of photos continue to escalate. And, because the archive is getting pretty big, I've changed the default for when you choose to look at all angles of an intersection to show just the oldest and newest of each angle--you can then choose to see all photos for a specific angle.
Comments (1)
More posts: 100 M, 55 M St., 70/100 I, jpi, Monument Valley/Half St., Square 743N, staddis, Nationals Park, Square 701

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.
Comments (0)
More posts: 1221 Van, ANC News, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., Monument/South Capitol St., zoning

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."
Comments (1)
More posts: 55 M St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park, zoning

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.
Comments (0)
More posts: 250 M/New DDOT HQ, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, zoning

ANC and Zoning Commission Reports - Coming Soon
Jan 14, 2008 11:48 PM
Having pledged to pace myself a bit better over the next three months so that I don't have to cover Opening Day from a padded room, I'll be posting the results of Monday night's ANC 6D and Zoning Commission meetings in drips and drabs over the next few days. So stay tuned, especially if you're interested in Florida Rock, or Diamond Teague Park, or Monument Realty's projects north of the ballpark, or 1111 New Jersey, or 250 M Street.
This of course means that all the local media outlets checking in at JDLand looking for leads and tips will have to wait too. (The information is all free, of course, but some small hat tip some day would be nice. Although I do enjoy being an assignment editor of sorts....)

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.
Comments (1)
More posts: 100 M, 1015 Half, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., parking, Square 743N, square 697, staddis, Nationals Park

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

Too Darn Many New Photos, Including N Street, At Last
Jan 6, 2008 9:32 PM
It was time this weekend to catch up on photos for a bunch of locations, including the most aged batch of them all, the views of the ballpark's northern footprint along N Street, which haven't been updated since September, so you can now have your fill of photographs of imposing parking garages. The curbs and historic streetlamps are now in, and N Street has been paved from South Capitol to Half, and it looks like the paving east to First isn't far behind. So even though the half-shadow half-sunlight conditions weren't the best to work with, I took full updates of the First, Half, Cushing, and Van intersections along N, all of which you can see here.
One thing that really struck me today for the first time is just how wide First Street is becoming, as you can see in this batch of northward-looking photos. I also saw that all the businesses on the west side of First south of M have now vacated--as you can see above, it's odd to see those old about-to-be-demolished buildings with sparkly new sidewalks and streetlamps in front of them.
I also trudged around the road construction along First Street north of M as best I could to update photos of 100 M, Onyx, and 70/100 I, and also got a good new batch of 55 M photos as well as the always showy views from the freeway at South Capitol. And I finally got the last set of old Capper Seniors photos to show that the building is indeed gone. And heaven help me I even took a photo of the new sign advertising the Square 696 project, and also a few shots barely showing that work started this week on the first Capper parking lot at Third and I (because there's nothing more exciting than documenting the construction of a parking lot). There's just too much change, and I couldn't stop until it had all been documented! Aaaiiiieeeeee!!!!
For those of you brave enough to try, here's all the photos from the past two days on one page. (Thank heavens I've done a lot of work over the past year or so to automate the update process as much as possible.) Don't forget to click on the icons to see all photos of a location over the years....

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....
Comments (0)
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park

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.

Quick Photo Update - Capper Seniors, 55 M
Dec 8, 2007 12:19 PM
Foggy air with low-in-the-sky not-very-bright December sun is not conducive to snappy photos, so this is just a brief update to capture the most pressing changes to the skyline. Demolition started back up this week at Old Capper Seniors: the southeast wing is now gone, and the east wing is getting smacked with the wrecking ball this morning. You can see the demolition from all angles in the old Capper Senior Expanded Archive. I also took a few shots of 55 M's progress (look for the icon in its Expanded Archive).

New Photos, and a Moratorium on Ballpark Pictures
Nov 25, 2007 12:06 PM
Thanksgiving weekend is a good time to take photos of the neighborhood, given that traffic is close to nonexistent. (Great weather helped, too.) The showy construction work has now slowed down at 70/100 I, Onyx on First, and 100 M, so after this update I'm now going to scale back the updates to those project pages (and their expanded photo archives). Demolition continues at old Capper Seniors, though not much happened to the building itself in the past week as work appeared to focus on clearing the ground of the debris from the initial work. And 55 M continues along, though it's hard right now to get a feel for the progress from ground level (beyond the festive steel beams along M Street), which is why having the webcam is so handy.
You can see all of the weekend's photos on this page, and of course feel free to click on the icons to see all photos of a certain location to watch the buildings go up (or down, in the case of Capper Seniors).
Then there's the ballpark.
[Long pause. Sigh.]
Taking photos of the stadium's exterior started to be constrained in late summer by the infrastructure work being done along First Street and Potomac Avenue; and by October access to N Street had pretty well been cut off too, again because of the infrastructure work. While I grumbled about the loss of access to those locations, I respect the perimeters of construction sites, and totally understand the need for security to keep people out of the ballpark, and so I stayed north of N. But yesterday, while standing on the northeast corner of First and N streets, on an open public sidewalk outside of the stadium footprint, I was approached by a security guard telling me repeatedly that I was "not allowed" to take photos of the ballpark. (At least I wasn't screamed at through a megaphone, as happened to a correspondent of mine at the same location recently.) This is, of course, ridiculous--there are no laws against taking photographs of anything while standing on public property, and it deserves its own separate rant about stupid attempts to clamp down on civil liberties in public spaces.
But the cumulative effect of the run-ins I've had over the past few months when I am absolutely positively 100% in no way trying to set foot inside the ballpark (my favorite being the time I was shadowed by a guard all the way down South Capitol from N to Potomac and back despite never coming any closer to the ballpark than South Capitol's median) have left me drained and uninterested in continuing the battle. At the same time, I'm dealing with the fallout from a recent memo sent out by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission reminding ballpark contractors and subcontractors that they are not allowed to talk to "the media" without prior approval by the DCSEC, leaving workers who have been nice enough to answer such probing questions as "how many panels make up each row of the HD scoreboard?" feeling that they can no longer be helpful.
I imagine something could be worked out, though right now I'm worn out from all the drama and not quite ready to fight the fight. In the meantime, I'm not going to update any ballpark photos or post news of the stadium other than links to accounts in the ("real") media. (Of course, the vast majority of the exterior work of the ballpark is already completed, so this isn't exactly a breathtakingly brave stand!) Once the roads are reopened, and the ballpark is close to opening, I'll of course get back in gear, but until then I'm taking a breather.

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.

Ridiculous Number of New Photos
Nov 12, 2007 10:11 AM
It started innocently enough. On Sunday morning, when I woke up to find such a brilliant sunny day, I decided to go take a new batch of photos of the demolition at old Capper Seniors to replace the dreary ones from Saturday. Then I started moving away a few blocks, to catch more distant views of the building. Then I decided that there were a bunch of locations where 70/100 I and Onyx on First were changing the skyline that I hadn't captured. Then I realized that it had been a long time since I had taken a complete set of photos of the western side of South Capitol Street at O and P streets, to show the changes since the demolition of the viaduct and all the streetscape improvements. And then of course, while I was there, I had to take a set of shots of the ballpark's western facade. Then there were more shots needed of the changes along M Street thanks to 55 M and 100 M. By the time I was done, I had a ridiculous number of new images up on the site, which you can see all on one page; you can also see most of them paired with past shots by clicking on the "Photo Archive Before-and-Afters" links at the top of that page, like the "South Capitol Street Makeover", which shows the new photos from both sides of the street (along with some older angles I didn't update). After a while they all run together, I know. But they make for some spiffy before-and-afters!

New Photos (Everywhere but the Stadium)
Nov 4, 2007 8:33 PM
As I took two ventures out over the weekend to take pictures (and cursed the skies for only seeming to be cloudy when I was hitting the shutter, so be prepared for rotten lighting), I came to realize that my desire to capture the changing skyline means that I pretty much have to take photos at every intersection between New Jersey, I, South Capitol, and N, because there's hardly any spot covered by those 10 blocks or so that isn't seeing a big change to its view.
The new player is 55 M Street, with the signature steel beams above the Metro station now visible from two blocks in any direction. And I had to capture the brick work on 70 I, and the continuing climb of 100 M, and the preparations for glass hanging on the sides of Onyx, which gave me way too many photos to post, so it's probably just as well that I have no ballpark photo updates for you. (But be patient, there might be some coming soon.) You can see all of this weekend's photos here, or check out the Expanded Project Archives if you want to see the new photos paired with their "befores."
A couple things to note: 1015 Half Street now has signs marking it as a construction zone, and apparently all that stands between it and the start of excavation is waiting for permits from DCRA. (Snicker.) And Tingey Street, behind DOT, closed last week, I imagine for infrastructure work and perhaps streetscape work as well.
Looking ahead, this coming week should see the start of demolition at old Capper Seniors; I'll be lurking there pretty regularly for the next few weeks, I imagine.
And by the way, a general hat tip to the various folks who have said "hey" when coming upon me taking photos over these past weeks and months. Always nice to talk to people who read the site, and I also always appreciate everyone's kindness in not running over me when I'm standing in the middle of the street.
More posts: 100 M, 1015 Half, 55 M St., 70/100 I, jpi, Monument Valley/Half St., Onyx, Square 743N, staddis, 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.
More posts: 55 M St., West Half St., ANC News, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., Nationals Park

Quick Morning Links and Site Updates
Oct 26, 2007 9:44 AM
I don't normally do this, but I've got a bunch of pretty small items, so I'll just run them together:
* There's finally a small piece in the big media about the plans to redo the 11th Street Bridges, from WTOP. Nothing new, except that DDOT hopes to begin the construction in 2009, contingent on that pesky little thing called federal funding.
* Monday's kick-off ceremony for the Capitol Riverfront BID is making its debut on DC Cable 16 tomorrow (Saturday), at 3 pm, with additional showings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday also at 3 pm. If you don't have cable, you can watch its feed via streaming video.
* I've now posted Monument's 90-second animation of what the east side of Half Street will look like when finished. If it goes by too fast (or if you can't get it to work), you can see the stills I took from it on my Monument Half Street page. There's no sound, and in order to make it small enough to download in less than 12 hours, the quality is lower than the crystal clear original. But you'll get the idea.
* You may notice that the map at right on my homepage has acquired a bunch of new stars. Showing that razor-like sharpness I'm known for, I took just under five years to figure out that I could display projects on the map even if I didn't have enough room for them under the "selected projects" lists at left. But at least the stars are color-coded! Just hover your mouse over them, and you'll get the descriptions. And don't forget that you can also click on the tabs above the map to get to the directory of all completed, under construction, and in-the-pipeline projects. Now I just need to work on freshening up some of the neglected interior pages of the site; I'll do it during all that spare time I have.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Capitol Riverfront BID, Monument Valley/Half St.

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

More New Photos Than Should Be Allowed by Law
Oct 23, 2007 1:17 AM
For months now, I've been dreading this part of 2007, when so many projects would be underway--and it turns out I was right to be worried. Goodness gracious, tons and tons of photos were needed to keep to my perfectionist mandate, but at last I've gotten them up on the site, even though it's pretty much taken a week to get every shot I wanted. For your perusing pleasure:
*The Stadium Exterior Construction Gallery is more updated than it's been in nearly three months, though N Street was unavailable to me this weekend thanks to lots of digging going on. The photos on that page, as well as on the expanded galleries of views along Potomac Avenue, South Capitol, and from the ballpark's viewing platform at First and Potomac show not only the progress on the stadium but also on the streetscape improvements. Sidewalks, curbs, and streetlamps continue to be installed--and the stoplights along South Capitol are gearing up as well (it looks like the P Street light that's now flashing yellow is going to get turned on pretty soon).
* 70 I Street and Onyx are just about topped out, while their siblings 100 I and 100 M aren't far behind. In fact, progress at 70 I is outpacing me so much that within the five days since I took photos of its western side, the bricking of that wall has begun, and is already reaching the second floor in some spots. There's some nice long-distance shots of these projects, from the freeway and the ballpark, highlighting how much the skyline has changed in just a few short weeks.
* Velocity's three-story-deep hole is now getting a concrete floor, which means vertical construction is starting before long. (The crane arrived within the past few days.) And Monument's 55 M Street office building (where the Navy Yard Metro west entrance is being expanded) is poking up above street level, with the first concrete pillars poured along M Street. And it's been hard to get any photos of the work at The Yards, but I finally snagged a few from up on high.
* Plus there's the shots from the top of 20 M Street this morning, including a few panoramic views across Southwest.
If you don't want to plow through all those links above, you can see all the new photos on one page, though it's just a touch overwhelming. (Yes, even I know it's overwhelming.) But the project links above (and their expanded archives) are really worth it, because the scope of the changes is now so amazing. So click on a or two to watch the progression.
And now I will rest myself and my camera for a while. Hope you enjoy the photos.

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.)

Big Photo Update - South and East Stadium Exteriors, and More
Oct 15, 2007 10:08 PM
I took advantage of great weather and an unplanned opening in my schedule to make a photo run through the Hood on Monday. The pictures that will probably be of most interest are of the east and south sides of the stadium exterior, which I've been unable to get shots of since First Street and Potomac Avenue were closed to traffic and pedestrians a number of weeks back. While the stadium itself doesn't look incredibly different on those sides (lots more window glass being installed, including in the areas along First Street slotted for retail), I did get a nice surprise when I found a new sidewalk already in place on the south side of Potomac Avenue east of South Capitol. But don't be expecting to get to "drive the ballpark circuit" again much before Opening Day--the infrastructure work on Potomac and on First (and eventually on I) is scheduled to continue through February. (I also want to plead my case that I've now lost a lot of my "guideposts" around the stadium that I used to line up my before and afters, so if you determine that new photos aren't 100 percent in the same location as the old ones--just remember, as usual, you get what you pay for here at JDLand.)
I also made it to Poplar Point with camera in hand for the first time in two months, and posted a few of those shots, with more to come in the next few days. And there's a lot of photos of 70/100 I, Onyx, and 100 M, although not the complete lineup that I usually post--I hope to get the rest, along with the north and west sides of the ballpark, this weekend. Onyx and 70 I appear to be within seconds of completing their top floors, with their siblings 100 I and 100 M not too far behind. And believe me, I can't wait for those four buildings to get their exteriors finished, so I can rest a bit! Of course, it'll be a short breather, since Monument's 55 M is now at ground level, and the concrete is being poured at the bottom of the Velocity Condos hole.
You can also see all the photos I posted from today on a single page, though it might be too much to digest in a single sitting.
More posts: 100 M, 55 M St., 70/100 I, jpi, Monument Valley/Half St., square 0699n, Square 743N, Nationals Park

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?)
More posts: West Half St., ANC News, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

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.
More posts: West Half St., ANC News, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, zoning

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.)
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park

MacFarlane Profiled
Oct 4, 2007 9:47 AM
There's a profile in today's Post of Victor MacFarlane, who over the past few years has invested huge sums of money in the District, including purchasing a 25-percent stake in The Yards and coming on board as a partner in Monument Realty's Half Street project. Oh, and he bought DC United, too, and was offering to build a new soccer stadium and huge mixed-use development at Poplar Point until the Fenty Administration decided to open the land to a Request for Bids process.
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., The Yards

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.

More posts: 55 M St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, The Yards, Yards/Parcel H

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

New Half Street Renderings
Sep 13, 2007 9:55 AM
Within the past few days Monument Realty has added a couple of new renderings to its Half Street web site (which it's now moved to halfstreet.com from halfstreetdc.com). The new featured view is looking south down Half Street from M Street, toward the ballpark, showing the east entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station at left, on the first floor of their 55 M Street office building. This image also gives the first hint of what they might have planned for the west side of the street, if they did indeed win the bidding for the Southeastern Bus Garage site on the southwest corner of Half and M--I don't see any indication of the garage being preserved. Also, under the "Work" icon, there's a new image of 55 M, which appears to indicate that they've dispensed with the large LED screens they had originally planned to use to shield the Metro entrance from the street, and are now planning a more standard glass-enclosed entrance. I've added both of these images to my Monument Half Street project page; I should also note (h/t to reader Tom) that banners advertising the project have now been hung on the fences along Half and M.

More posts: 55 M St., Monument Valley/Half St., 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.

Ballpark and Beyond: This Week's Links
Jun 28, 2007 10:09 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post is on Tuesday's groundbreaking at Capper / Carrollsburg, and Monument's purchase of the Sunoco site. If you're visiting here for more information, you can check out my Capper / Carrollsburg overview page for more details and links on the project's redevelopment as well as photos from the groundbreaking, and my Capitol Quarter page has lots and lots (and lots!) of photos showing the area before, during, and after demolition. You can see what Monument Realty is up to at Half and M on my Monument Half Street page.
More posts: Homewood Suites, Capper, Capitol Quarter, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

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!

More posts: Homewood Suites, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., M Street

All Sorts of New Overhead Photos Posted
May 24, 2007 10:46 PM
What a beautiful day! And with that weather, what luck that I had arranged some trips high up into a few of the tall buildings around the neighborhood to get new shots of the latest demolished lots and holes in the ground. I've uploaded these new pictures From Above and matched them with "before" shots on a whole slew of pages (you might have to scroll a bit to see the new pictures): Nation/1015 Half, the old Edge/Wet block on Square 699N, the North of M overview page, the Monument Half Street page (that's a biiiiig hole in the ground), the 100 M/Onyx on First page (where the construction on the Onyx end of the block is getting close to street level), 70/100 I Street, 909 New Jersey (showing the A1 garage all alone) and even the Stadium Construction Gallery (waaaaaay at the bottom, with a view from just a bit to the side of Dead Center Field, albeit four blocks away). I also created a new Overhead Photos page, showing all the ones I've posted on the site, grouped together by location. And I also created a special view with larger-than-usual pictures from today (don't miss it!), because it was so beautiful and you really could see forever from those high-up locations, and I wanted people to be able to see more than just little specks of buildings.

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!)

More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, staddis, Traffic Issues

Coming Soon - The Future! (In Video)
May 17, 2007 2:22 PM
From a press release, word arrives that soon we'll be seeing a spiffy video showing us what the Southeast and Southwest Waterfronts are projected to look like in the future: "Interface Multimedia, a leading provider of state-of-the-art visualization services, and WDCEP, the Washington DC Economic Partnership, announced today the debut of the Capitol Riverfront video, the highly anticipated overview of $13 billion of development along the southern waterfronts of Washington, DC. Following a five-month collaboration with the WDECP and 25+ area developers and architects, Interface Multimedia's Capitol Riverfront video will debut on Monday, May 21st at the ICSC Spring Convention in Las Vegas. The five-minute video fuses massing models, renderings, map graphics, fly-by animations, copy writing and narration into a montage of the current and planned development of this highly sought-after area of Washington, DC. [...] The high-density area embraces neighborhoods around the new 26-acre Washington Nationals' baseball stadium, delivering in the Spring of 2008, and creates a vibrant, walk-to-work lifestyle with retail, shopping and entertainment at every doorstep. Within the next five years, development is expected to bring 1.3 million SF of retail and 10.1 million SF of office space to the Capitol Riverfront. More than 11,500 residential units are set to deliver by 2012. Cultural additions include the new 250,000 SF Arena Stage, pedestrian-friendly bridges, 10 scenic parks, waterfront promenades and the 22-mile Anacostia Riverwalk trail. " There will soon be a web site hosting the video, according to the release. The video's creation has been sponsored by a laundry list of the heavy hitters of the neighborhood's redevelopment: the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, Forest City Washington (The Yards), JBG (the new DOT HQ), Monument Realty (bringing you Half Street in the Ballpark District), PN Hoffman (the Southwest Waterfront and also the redevelopment of Building 202 at The Yards), and Urban-City Ventures. And it should be noted that "Capitol Riverfront" is the name given to the Business Improvement District now being set up that will cover most of Near Southeast (just in case you might have thought that a branding opportunity was being passed up, which as we know rarely happens).

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

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

MacFarlane Partners Brings $$$ to Monument Half Street
May 3, 2007 11:17 AM
From today's Washington Times: "The real estate investment firm MacFarlane Partners this week joined the $700 million mixed-use redevelopment project in Southeast near the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium. Although work has already begun on the 1.9-million-square-foot project, San Francisco-based MacFarlane Partners said it had agreed to make a large investment in the development. The amount was not disclosed." Uh, WHICH project would that be? Only thanks to a quote from Monument Realty's Russell Hines in paragraph #3 is there any hint of exactly which project MacFarlane is investing in, so I'm really still only guessing when I tell you MacFarlane appears to be investing in the Monument Half Street project just north of the stadium site. Mr. MacFarlane is of course one of the new owners of DC United, and is spearheading the redevelopment of Poplar Point, a somewhat salient point that isn't even mentioned in the story (and no, I'm not going to start covering Poplar Point, so stop asking!). MacFarlane is also already an investor in The Yards.
UPDATE, 5/8: Here's a piece from Commercial Property News confirming that it is indeed the Monument Half Street project that MacFarlane is investing in.
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, The Yards

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.

Nation and Sunoco Sites to Change Hands?
Apr 27, 2007 10:36 AM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only for now), word arrives of two big Near Southeast real estate transactions: Opus East, developer of 100 M Street, is on track to purchase the 1015 Half Street/Nation site from Potomac Investment Properties (the story says Republic Investment, but I don't think that's correct). And Monument Realty is reportedly adding to its vast Hood holdings by buying the old Sunoco lot at 50 M Street. (I have heard rumors of these two items for weeks/months, but it turns out what I was hearing wasn't 100% accurate--score one for waiting for confirmation) The article says that Opus plans to retain the plans for a 440,000-sq-ft office building with retail on the Nation site, and are rumored to be paying $100 a square foot; Monument has not disclosed what it might do with the Sunoco site or what it's paying. The article also has some vague mention of some other transaction on the "corner of Half and K", but doesn't say which corner (the northeast and northwest ones are the two possibilities), or who's buying it. More on these transactions (such as actual prices) as I get it. (And yes, I'll have photos of the Nation demolition as soon as the sun comes out.)
More posts: 1015 Half, Homewood Suites, mnorth, Monument Valley/Half St., M Street

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.

Views from the Freeway
Apr 10, 2007 8:47 AM
I've added updated photos of the Near Southeast vista from the Southeast Freeway (don't worry, I wasn't driving at the time) to the Photo Archive--I have one shot going back to 2000, when the only new buildings were still under construction (300 M and 80 M), so it's a festive comparison to today, with four additional developments completed and the ballpark now visible as well. And I did post some new "after" photos from Van and from Half of the demolition across on N Street from the stadium.

More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., Monument/South Capitol St.

Today's Demolished Building: 26 N Street
Apr 3, 2007 2:14 PM
I wasn't expecting this one just yet, but today the red brick building at 26 N Street has been demolished (flip through the Stadium Construction Camera images from Camera #2 starting at 8:40 am to see it disappear); it was home for many years to the Patent Reproduction Company, until a deal was made by Monument Realty in August 2005 to purchase it for $3 million (see Post and WBJ articles from the time of the sale). This site is directly across from the stadium, but is not part of Monument's first phase of development in the area (which is in Square 701 on the east side of Half Street--the demolished building is on the west side, in Square 700 at Van and N streets); Square 700 redevelopment will probably not begin before 2009. But I'm guessing there might be some stadium parking made available on the north side of N between South Capitol and Half in the meantime. And 26 N has now been enshrined as #118 in my Demolished Buildings gallery; I imagine its neighbors (including the Good N Plenty carryout) are in their last days as well.
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Photo Updates - Stadium Shots and More
Mar 31, 2007 7:55 PM
I gave you inside-the-ballpark photos on Monday, and today there's a new set of exterior shots of the Nationals baseball stadium (note that I've now separated the interior and exterior stadium photo galleries into separate tabs). Remember that clicking on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon will show you all uploaded photos of that angle, not just the oldest and newest (so you can watch the stadium construction change in two-week intervals). I also "freshened" the Photo Archive's database of photos at all the intersections around the perimeter of the stadium, giving you additional viewpoints not shown in the Construction Gallery: check out 1st Steet at N, N Place, O, and Potomac; Half Street at N and Potomac; and South Capitol Street at N, O, P, and Potomac. (You can also browse the archive by map to pick and choose locations.)
I also did what is probably the final major photo update for 20 M Street, and updated some other intersections as well--Half and M, Cushing and M (both of which are part of the Monument Half Street footprint); Cushing and L; and 1st and M and 1st and L, home of the construction sites for 100 M Street and Onyx on First, which each got updated as well, although the pictures aren't particularly exciting (still just a big hole in the ground). Or you could just look at all the photos I took today, then click on the intersection link if you want to see previous photos.
And now, I must go watch my Gators.

More posts: 100 M, 20 M, Monument Valley/Half St., Onyx, Square 743N, staddis, Nationals Park

Firms Starting to Look at Near Southeast
Mar 30, 2007 9:14 AM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal: "CNN and a couple of law firms are sampling the wares in Southeast DC by taking tours of new office buildings cropping up around the new baseball stadium. No leases have been signed yet, but the buzz of these high-profile tenants looking at Southeast as an option is quite a victory for a neighborhood formerly known as an industrial zone crawling with seediness and crime. [...] Also, rents in Southeast are expected to be around $40 per square foot for full service, $20 to $30 cheaper than new or renovated buildings in the Central Business District." Of course, right now, "tours of new office buildings" means 20 M Street, the only new office building currently completed and with plenty of space to lease. But by 2009 there will also be 100 M, 55 M, and probably 250 M and 1111 New Jersey. And maybe a couple more, depending on what happens within the next few months at Square 699N, Square 697 (Nation), and the Willco site at 83 M. (The article fudges a bit by mentioning 1.8 million square feet of office space was under construction in Near Southeast back in December, but, well, 1.35 million of that was the DOT HQ.) UPDATE: Added the link to the story, since WBJ was nice enough to bring it out from behind the pay wall.

Speaking of Demolition.... 68 N Bites the Dust
Mar 24, 2007 1:05 PM
On a dreary, marathon-tinged Saturday morning, it was nice to be able to check the goings on along Half Street without having to leave the house, thanks to the Stadium Construction Cam--and, lo and behold, on Camera 2 starting at around 8 am, I was able to watch the demolition of the last building on the Monument Half Street lot, the gray garage at 68 N Street, which is now memorialized as #117 on the Demolished Buildings lineup. This building is where the glorified alley known as Cushing Street will be punched through to N Street as part of Monument's project--the apartment building along N Street will actually be built above and around the Cushing Street right of way, leaving just enough space for vehicles to squeeze under and through.

More posts: Monument Valley/Half St.

Finishing the Newest Batch of Photo Updates
Mar 19, 2007 6:01 PM
I gave you new stadium, Monument Half Street, and 20 M photos yesterday; today I've posted new Community Center and DOT HQ shots, including some pretty neat ones of the new New Jersey Ave. and Tingey Street intersection (amazing what bright sunlight can do for a bunch of buildings and fresh asphalt!). I also added to the 20 M page new shots of the festive scrolling information sign they've installed over the main entrance, as well as the "Coming Soon - Wachovia" sign that I missed by minutes when taking my pictures on Sunday. You can also see on one page all the photos from yesterday and today that I've posted.

Other New Photos
Mar 18, 2007 9:56 PM
Still working my way through the pile of pictures I took today.... New shots posted of the ongoing work at the Monument Half Street site, and also some "substantially complete" shots of 20 M Street--in a couple photos you can see men working on the far left window on M Street, and a reader gave me a heads up that not more than a few minutes after I came through, they posted a sign saying "Wachovia Coming Soon." So, if that's indeed the case, that would be the first 20 M tenant we've heard of.
More posts: 20 M, Monument Valley/Half St., M Street, Retail, staddis

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

Square 699N Hints
Mar 15, 2007 11:31 PM
On Wednesday a "shoring and sheeting" building permit application was filed for 1001 First Street, which is on the block known as Square 699N, bounded by 1st, Half, K, and L streets. It was bought in September 2005 by local developer Ron Cohen for $51 million, and was the home to nightclubs Wet, Edge, and Club 55, along with various other small businesses that slowly moved out until the block was left vacant in September 2006. As for the building permit app, shoring and sheeting is how the walls of a big hole in the ground are held up during excavation (I hope that isn't too technical of an explanation), and is another sign that Cohen is getting his ducks in a row to do .... something .... on this lot, as were the public space permits that were granted in December 2006 for the necessary water and sewer shut-off work on the site. I haven't seen evidence of raze permits, but I only started seeing those in Fall 2006 and it's possible that they were applied for earlier. What I did notice during a drive-by today is that all of the trees on the block--including a pretty huge one at 1st and L--have been chopped down (I'm pretty sure within the past week). Will we hear word of Cohen's plans soon?
(I was hoping to give you an equally enticing report on a building permit app filed for 83 M Street, the Normandie Liquors lot at 1st and M, but apparently it's for the placement of a construction trailer, which I'm guessing is for Monument's Half Street project, though I don't know for sure. Ah well.)
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Monument Valley/Half St., Square 699n, staddis, Velocity Condos, Square 701

Site Clearing Continues at Half Street
Mar 12, 2007 4:45 PM
(I was out of town last week, and am also currently under the weather, so I'm only slowly catching up.) At some point during the past week, more buildings on the footprint of the Monument Half Street project met the wrecking ball, giving us some new additions to my Near Southeast Demolished Buildings page. There's also getting to be quite a hole already on the north end of the lot, around the Navy Yard Metro entrance at Half and M.
More posts: 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

More New Photos
Feb 26, 2007 11:26 AM
In addition to the latest stadium photos that I posted on Saturday, there's also a smattering of new photos on the 20 M Street and Capper Seniors #2 pages, and even the Monument Half Street page (showing the hole in the ground starting to be dug as part of the Navy Yard Metro station upgrade). I also tossed in a few updated photos of the 4th and K and 4th and L intersections into the Photo Archive as well.

More posts: 20 M, 400m, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

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

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

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

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

Traffic Planning in the Ballpark District
Jan 29, 2007 8:24 PM
The February Hill Rag has an article about the "complex challenges" of traffic management facing Near Southeast and Southwest as development projects come online over the next few years--including, of course, the new ballpark, which will draw 40,000 fans 80 times a year. The DC Sports and Entertainment Commission is required to provide a Traffic Operations and Parking Plan by April 30; there will then be community meetings for discussion (lots of it, I imagine) of the plan, though DCSEC takes pains to note that the TOPP is just for game day-related traffic, and not the entire surrounding area's general traffic flow. Ward 6 council member Tommy Wells is working on a gathering of representatives of the usual suspects (agencies, DCSEC, business and property owners [including the Navy], and community members) to work toward coordinating plans and solutions addressing the flow of people in and out of Southeast and Southwest. Even before the arrival of thousands of baseball fans and other neighborhood newcomers (including the 7,000 DOT workers scheduled to arrive in Spring 2007), traffic along South Capitol Street is, shall we say, terrible, so coming up with a solution will be an interesting challenge.
If you're interested in traffic issues, you might also want to look at this Transportation Impact Study (PDF, 3.6 MB; for a taste, here's the introduction and conclusions) of the area bounded by South Capitol, First, M, and N streets submitted by Monument Realty as part of its Dec. 2006 Zoning Commission filings for the 55 M Street project (which I just got my paws on). While it primarily deals with Squares 700 and 701, section 5 of the study also has an analysis of projected ballpark weekday evening traffic in 2008. For more background (from a government source), you can also go back and read the 2004 South Capitol Gateway Corridor and Anacostia Access Study prepared by DDOT.
(On another subject, there's also an article in this issue on the soccer stadium and Poplar Point, for those who are interested in that project....)
[Entry UPDATED to add the complete Monument transportation study document.]
More posts: US Dept. of Transportation HQ, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: 1221 Van, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., Monument/South Capitol St., staddis

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

Building Permits Approved for 909 New Jersey
Jan 22, 2007 10:38 PM
With the daily Building Permit feed continuing to be on the fritz, it's back to finding out about approved permits on Mondays, via the Never-Ending PDF File. Today's news (on pages 182 and 186, for those of you following along at home) is that the building permit has been approved for 909 New Jersey Avenue, JPI's 244-unit residential project on the block where the Nexus Gold Club recently closed; an excavation permit was approved as well. In one of the articles on the Nexus closing, JPI said it was planning to begin demolition on the site in March. In other permit news, a bunch of soil boring permits were approved (page 183) for the Monument Realty/Half Street site.
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi, Monument Valley/Half St.

New Monument Half Street Renderings and Web Site
Jan 19, 2007 6:44 PM
Monument Realty has created a web site for its mixed-use project on Half Street in the Ballpark District, dubbed HalfStreetDC.com. Not a lot of info there right now (at least nothing that JDLand devotees don't already know!), but there's a contact form to fill out if you're interested in getting information from them as the project progresses. There's also a spiffy rendering showing their vision for Half Street, as seen (I believe) from N Street looking north toward M. They were also kind enough to pass along to me a nice version of the rendering of the 55 M Street office building that will sit atop the expanded Navy Yard Metro station, and I've added that to my Monument Half Street page as well. (I had a cruddy version of this same rendering posted for the past week or so, nice to replace it with something decent!) My post from last week about the zoning hearing on this project also has more information.
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., 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.
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Post Piece on Nexus Auction; Also, Reaction to AWC Dissolution Bill
Jan 16, 2007 10:20 PM
As I posted last week, the Nexus Gold Club is auctioning off its furnishings and, more interestingly, its nude dancing license tomorrow (Tuesday), and today the Post picks up the story. One piece of news, JPI says that the demolition of the site (which will eventually be home to the 909 New Jersey Avenue residential project) will begin in March. On the same page as the Post story, there's also a box with a short piece on the surprising move by Jack Evans reported last week to abolish both the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the NCRC. UPDATE: Here's an Examiner article noting that Tommy Wells, the new Ward 6 council member whose district includes a lot of the Anacostia Waterfront, is "not convinced that legislation proposed Tuesday to dissolve a District organization charged with the redevelopment of the Anacostia River's waterfront is the best way to proceed. [...] Wells campaigned in part on redeveloping the Anacostia's waterfront into a walkable community for families, with green space, shops and restaurants. He said Friday he wondered whether putting Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration in charge of redeveloping the waterfront now is prudent considering his desire to take over the District's schools."
UPDATE, 1/16: The Post reports that no one ended up bidding on the Nexus nude dancing license, perhaps because the minimum required bid was set at $2 million. But they have a cute little sidebar noting the prices that some of the furnishings went for--the 13-foot brass dancing poles went for $50.
UPDATE, 1/17: Oops, I dropped a rather important part of the Tommy Wells quote above. He is quoted as saying he is "not convinced" the legislation is the best way to proceed.
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Restaurants/Nightlife, jpi, Monument Valley/Half St.

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!

More posts: ANC News, Florida Rock, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, zoning

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

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....

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

Alley-Closing-Palooza Comes to a Close: Everything Passes
Dec 19, 2006 4:19 PM
With no debate, the four Near Southeast alley closing bills that have been snaking their way through the DC legislative process in 2006 were passed at today's city council session, with both emergency and permanent bills being passed (emergency bills allow the statutes to take effect immediately, allowing the closings to be considered law as the permanent bills await mayoral and congressional approval). To recap, this batch included the closing of alleys on the west side of Square 701 between M, N, Cushing, and Half (at Monument Realty's 55 M Street site); the closing of alleys and the creation of streets named 2nd Place, 3rd Place, and an official designation of a portion of L Street, all part of the Capitol Quarter footprint; the closing of alleys and the eventual reopening of H and I streets between 2nd and New Jersey to make way for W.C. Smith's 1-million-sq-ft mixed-use project at 800 New Jersey; and finally the closing of alleys on the east side of Square 700 (between Half, Van, M, and N), where Monument will eventually add to their Half Street domination. That makes seven Near Southeast alley closings and street changes put on the books in 2006, when you include the stadium street closings, the Willco land on the east side of Square 701 (M, N, Cushing, and 1st) and the Square 743N west-side alley closings that allowed the start of construction on the 100 M Street office building and the Onyx on First residential tower. There's one more potential alley closing wandering around out there somewhere, and that's for Lerner's 1000 South Capitol Street office building; representatives came before ANC 6D way back in April, but (believe it or not!) a squabble broke out about an acceptable community benefits package in return for the ANC's report, and nothing's been heard on this since.

Razing in the Offing
Dec 15, 2006 4:47 PM
I've finally uncovered a roundabout way to find out about pending raze permits (right now, raze permit applications are not tracked or listed in any way on DC.gov--waaah!). The city's Historic Preservation Office sends out via e-mail weekly permit reports for the entire city (the HPO is contacted by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to confirm that building/raze permits aren't for buildings with some landmark status or other hold). Recently mailings have indicated that raze permits are in process for 1015 Half Street (Nation) as well as most of the buildings on Monument Realty's properties along Half, N, and South Capitol Streets (26, 30, 32, and 68 N Street, 1241 and 1243 Cushing Place, and 1236 South Capitol). This reports from HPO don't mean that razing is imminent (for instance, the Monument Realty raze permit requests came through HPO in mid-October), but do show that plans for demolition are more than just theoretical. UPDATE: I knew I forgot something when I posted this; I meant to include that, while I haven't seen a raze permit, a correspondent has reported that tenants told him that the beige brick building at South Capitol and O SW is scheduled to be demolished just after the New Year, to make way for the 1325 South Capitol 244-unit residential building.

More posts: 1015 Half, 1325sc, Monument Valley/Half St., South Capitol St., square 697, staddis

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

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

Developer Reaction to the Stadium Garages
Nov 20, 2006 9:21 AM
In the second part of today's Dana Hedgpeth column in the Post, various developers of projects near the stadium (Monument Realty, Faison, and Ron Cohen) are quoted about their feelings on the tortuous process that led to the aboveground parking garages at the baseball stadium. Said F. Russell Hines of Monument Realty, who owns much of the land directly across N Street: "It's an unfortunate solution[.] Our development would be better if there was complimentary retail and a mix of uses on the other side of N Street. It's not a disaster . . . but this is a significant setback[.] We spent months and months of great plans of what this area was going to look like with the Anacostia Waterfront Corp., and in the end it feels like it's every man for himself. We're going to do what we can to create an area where people come off the Metro and they walk along the streets, where there's restaurants and stores and a real experience." (I wonder if this could be interpreted as also a bit of a smack against the AWC's still-never-released "Ballpark District Master Plan" process.) One of Monument's principals, Jeffrey T. Neal, is quoted as saying "We have a vision for Half Street SE between M and N streets Southeast that has the potential to be one of the most exciting neighborhoods in the mid-Atlantic, but that vision won't happen if the process looks like the one that produced two parking garages[.] There's a better solution . . . than two parking garages. Let the private sector do it. There are zoning laws already in place." For balance, there's Ron Cohen, developer of Square 699N (bounded by Half, K, L, and 1st): It's not going to be good, bad or indifferent[.] "It would have been nice to have buildings lining the parking but there's so much activity and energy in that corridor that it doesn't make a heck of a difference one way or the other."

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!)

More posts: 1221 Van, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., Monument/South Capitol St., staddis, zoning

Another Page Gets Revitalized - Ballpark District
Nov 15, 2006 3:22 PM
Now that the parking garage issue has been resolved (at least until Opening Day 2008, when hordes of stadiumgoers gasp in disbelief at what they're confronted with when they arrive and descend on the owner's box with pitchforks and boiling oil), I finally felt ready to tackle a reorganization of my Ballpark District page. Mainly I added a new "tab" specifically for the Monument Realty projects along Half Street, which also includes the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station; I also added some additional photos of other Ballpark District sites. I hope to get renderings of the Monument residential project at Half and N and the W Aloft hotel mid-block before too much longer, but at least I do have drawings of the office building planned for Half and M (above the Metro station). And I now decree that the parking garages are on the stadium site, not in the Ballpark District, and will remain so until they get torn down and redeveloped, sometime around 2025.
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., parking, staddis, Nationals Park

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

Alley-Closing-Palooza; 2008 Start for Smith/NJ Ave, W Aloft Hotel Coming to Ballpark District
Oct 31, 2006 4:35 PM
Today was a bonanza of Near Southeast alley closing requests, as four pending bills received their public hearings in front of the city council "Committee of the Whole" (i.e., Chairman Cropp, the only council member in attendance).
The first was B16-0799, alley closings and new street designations as part of the Capitol Quarter/Capper Carrollsburg project. Nothing really new in the testimony, except that it has been requested that the bill be considered by the council on an emergency basis, in order to help speed the process of getting the project underway. Ms. Cropp called the project "very, very exciting" and seemed particularly enthused by the mixed-income aspect of the project, noting that the city's past creation of "economic ghettos" hasn't worked out well.
Next up was B16-0888, which seeks to reopen H and I streets between 2nd and New Jersey, and to close alleys and streets within those two blocks; I was not aware until today that a portion of this land is actually federal land (Reservation 17A), which is part of the land transfer bill currently pending before Congress. The northern block (Square 737, north of I) is where William C. Smith is planning a mixed-use project, which in their testimony they broke out as two office buildings totalling 600,000 sq ft, two apartment buildings totalling 600 units (with a 10% affordable housing component), 1100 parking spaces, and 80,000-100,000 sq ft of retail space. They mentioned that back when they first bought the land in 1999 they got a letter of intent from Whole Foods to include a grocery store in this location, but then Whole Foods came down and saw that at that point there wasn't a whole lot of development going on, they pulled out; but Smith is still very interested in getting a grocery store in this development. They anticipate beginning work on this project in 2008 and completing it in 2011. As for Square 739 (where the DPW trash transfer station currently resides), it is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment, and plans are for a 322-unit apartment building with 115 affordable units, and also ground-floor retail. They don't anticipate beginning work on the building for at least another 4 to 5 years. Ms. Cropp did express some concerns about where the DPW vehicles will be relocated to, given the lack of industrial land left in the city.
After lunch was B16-0879, Monument Realty's request for alley closings on Square 701 between Cushing, Half, M, and N (in the block just north of the ballpark) as part of their "Ballpark Phase I" project, which also includes the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station at Half Street, which Monument is responsible for as part of their purchase of the WMATA land on the southwest corner of Half and M. New news from the hearing is that there will also be a hotel in addition to the previously announced 275,000-sq-ft office building at Half and M and the 350-unit residential building (mix of rental and condo, with up to 20% affordable housing) at Half and N--Monument is working with W Aloft to develop a 200-key boutique hotel on Half Street. The entire project will have 700 parking spaces, and Monument is planning to begin construction in January 2007 so that these three levels of underground parking (as well as perhaps some of the 50,000 sq ft of planned ground floor retail) can be completed by Opening Day 2008; they will then continue work on the upper floors to have the entire project completed in 2009. UPDATE: I should also note that as part of their plans, Monument will be extending Cushing Place approximately 80 feet, so that it will run through to N Street
Finally came B16-0880, another request from Monument Realty, this time for alley closings on the west side of Square 700, just across Half Street from the Phase I project in the previous alley closing hearing. They are still negotiating with WMATA to attempt to purchase the bus depot land on Square 700, but in the meantime are moving forward with a 115,000-sq-ft/100 unit residential project on the northwest corner of Half and N, on the site of the Good N Plenty carryout (whose lease expires today, it was mentioned). This project will have 12,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail, which, given its location directly across from the stadium plaza entrance, will be quite a prime location. Ms. Cropp was concerned that the project will only have two levels/74 spaces of underground parking (you got the feeling that parking is very much on her mind these days!). There was no stated timeframe for this project, except to say "after Square 701." And of course by then they'll have probably secured the bus depot.
For all of these bills, the next step I believe is getting them on the council consent calendar, for votes to be taken.
Is that enough information? Can I stop now? :-)
UPDATE: These hearings are all available via DC Cable 13's on-demand video offerings.

Metro Board Approves Navy Yard Station Expansion
Oct 20, 2006 9:57 AM
At yesterday's WMATA board meeting, a resolution was approved to expand the Navy Yard Metro station at a cost of $20 million (to be paid with federal funds). The changes will be, to quote the Post, to "increase the number of fare gates and vending machines, add two elevators and relocate the station kiosk, fare gates and fare vendors from the mezzanine to the west entrance. The changes are planned for completion before the first home game of the 2008 baseball season." At the same time, the board approved the sale of the WMATA land above the Navy Yard station and the adjoining parking lot to Monument Realty, and also approved a Construction Agreement with Monument, whereby Monument will handle the construction of the station upgrades in concert with it's construction of an office building with ground-floor retail on the corner of Half and M. Monument has also agreed to reserve 20 percent of the residential units in it's other Half Street project for low- and moderate-income purchasers. And buried in the Construction Agreement documents I found a pretty snazzy rendering of Monument's planned building at Half and M, which I've added to my Ballpark District page (scroll down a tad past the map). The Construction Agreement also has detailed drawings of exactly what will be done to the station. You can also read the Sept. 21 WMATA Board Meeting minutes to see the discussion about the sale of the land. Or you can really go wild and listen to the audio from yesterday's meetings. And here's the Examiner's story on the agreements and plans.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park

Hearings, Hearings (Updated)
Oct 20, 2006 9:45 AM
City Council hearings have now been scheduled for October 31 for three Near Southeast alley closing bills (Monument's Square 700/west side and Square 701 requests, and William C. Smith's Square 737/739 request). I've added them to my busy Neighborhood Events Calendar; I've also (belatedly) added the DC Register announcement of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration hearing on the license request for a new liquor store at 156 L Street (the old Star Market) scheduled for Nov. 8. Note that the Square 701/east side alley closing bill had its hearing on Oct. 10. UPDATE, 10/20: The starting times of the three alley closing hearings on Oct. 31 have been revised, and an additional council roundtable has been scheduled for the same day on the Capper alley closings and new streets bill. All the hearing notices are available in this file, which also includes the notices on the Oct. 23 hearing on the Capper PILOT funding bill and also an Oct. 26 roundtable on LSDBE participation in the baseball stadium. My Neighborhood Events Calendar has been updated as well. Also, the Square 701/east side alley closing bill has been placed on the council's Nov. 14 consent agenda.

ANC 6D Doings
Oct 17, 2006 6:06 PM
A quick roundup of Near Southeast-related doings at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting. After a plea from 6D07 commissioner Robert Siegel, the ANC voted to support the previously-voted-down alley closing request on the east side of Square 701 (between Cushing and 1st streets), saying in effect that a $95,000 community amenities proffer is not something that should be turned down. Monument Realty came before the commission to request support for it's two alley closing bills (in Squares 700 and 701 in the Ballpark District), and the request was referred to the ANC's Development Subcommittee for further discussions about Monument's community amenities package, which includes a pledge of up to 20% affordable housing in the residential project at Half and N, LSDBE participation, LEED standards, and an offer to spend approximately $500,000 to upgrade the electrical/HVAC systems at Amidon Elementary School (but there's some question as to whether Amidon will be open past 2007). Finally, the ANC voted not to support the request for a liquor license to open a liquor store at the old Star Market site at 2nd and L (the license hearing is Nov. 8). I'll link to the Hill Rag/Voice of the Hill reports on these meetings when available for additional details since it must be admitted that I bailed before the meeting was over and am relying on a vast network of informants and stringers to provide the few meager details I included here.

Latest Alley Closing Bills Now Online
Sep 25, 2006 11:26 AM
The City Council's long summer break is at last over, and three alley closing proposals that we've been hearing about all summer have finally been entered into the council's online legislation system: Monument Realty's requests for alley closings on both the west side of Square 701 and the southern section of Square 700 (both part of Monument's Ballpark District sites), and William C. Smith's request for realigning the streets in Squares 737N and 739 to make way for a 900,000-sq-ft mixed-use project at New Jersey and H. (And, just for fun, here's the description of what's being requested in Square 739: "[T]he closing of the public alley in Square 739, bounded by New Jersey Avenue, Canal, 2nd, and K Streets, S.E.; the opening [of] I Street, S.E. between 2nd Street and New Jersey Avenue, S.E.; the widening [of] 2nd Street, S.E. between I and K Streets, S.E.; the widening of New Jersey Avenue north of Canal Street, S.E.; the opening of H Street, S.E. to connect to New Jersey Avenue, S.E.; the closure of Closing Canal Street (North), Canal Street (South), and a portion of First Street, S.E.; to accept the dedication and designation of Reservation 17-A and Lot 801, Square 737N for public street purposes; to authorize the improvement of the dedicated land for street purposes; to authorize modifications to the permanent system of highways in the District of Columbia; and to designate the dedicated streets as I Street, S.E. and H Street, S.E and New Jersey Avenue, S.E. in Ward 6." Whew! UPDATE: I should also note that the two Monument Realty requests (Square 700 and 701) are delegated agenda items at the Oct. 5 National Capital Planning Commission meeting.
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., New Jersey Ave., WC Smith/Square 737, staddis, Square 701

Another Day, Another New Map
Sep 12, 2006 4:34 PM
With the latest news about Florida Rock's design modifications, Monument Realty's bid for the WMATA land at Half and M, the still-in-limbo Stadium Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness, and the apparent moving forward by the Cohen, Camalier/Davis, and Welch families to develop their land along First Street, it appears that the Ballpark District is moving forward, despite the AWC's still never having released it's "Development Strategy" for the area. So, fresh off my success with my North of M map, I've created a Ballpark District map to better help keep track of what's happening. Be aware that the boundaries I drew for the new public plaza at the foot of 1st Street are not really based on anything other than trying to remember how it looked in Florida Rock's exhibits to the ANC. And no final design for the traffic roundabout at South Capitol and Potomac has been released yet, either. UPDATE: And, for the heck of it, I just added a page with both maps fused together, creating a pretty nice Stadium Corridor Development Guide. But be prepared to scroll :-).
More posts: Florida Rock, Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Square 701

Monument Realty Teases Ballpark Plans
Sep 1, 2006 10:09 AM
Monument Realty has added to it's web site an "Upcoming Projects" page, listing "Ballpark District - Phase 1." This is the project on the east side of Half Street between M and N we've been hearing about, but it's nice to see it "confirmed" on their web site. It's described as 275,000 sq ft of office space (which would be at M Street, above the Navy Yard Metro station) and 450 condos (down toward N Street and the stadium). The site says "more details to come by Spring Training 2007." No word yet on the outcome of the bidding for the WMATA land.
More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Square 701 Alley Closing Application - Cohens Starting to Move?
Aug 24, 2006 10:08 AM
The parade of alley closings and street closings/realignments this year in Near Southeast continues, as the National Capital Planning Commission has on its September meeting agenda the proposed closing of a public alley in Square 701 (the square bounded by 1st, M, N and Half Streets, SE--see my cruddy tax parcel map for assistance on where the squares are). I figured that this was going to be the alleys in the footprint of the Monument/WMATA properties, since Monument has made clear it's plans to move forward with developing the land along Half Street, but instead I find out that the alley closings being requested are on the east side of the Square, between Cushing Place and 1st Street, where the land is owned by the Cohen and Camalier families, who have said little about their plans for these properties. Does this mean we'll be seeing development coming to 1st Street south of M soon, too? And believe it or not, as I was writing this very entry, I received word that Monument has now filed it's application for alley closings on the west side of Square 701 as well as one small alley on Square 700 (behind the Amoco Station). Note that neither of these applications request closings of Van or Cushing. These applications follow successful alley closing requests already this year for Square 0743N as part of the 100 M and 1100 1st Street projects, the street/alley closings for the new ballpark, and the closed alleys and new streets for Capper/Carrollsburg--plus there are the still-pending requests to realign the streets in Square 737 in preparation for William C. Smith's big mixed-use project at 2nd and H and the Lerners' request to close a small portion of an alley in Square 697 as part of their 1000 South Capitol office project (no bills for these yet appearing in the DC Council legislation database).


Monument Submits Bid Directly to WMATA For Half Street Land
Aug 18, 2006 9:56 AM
From today's Washington Business Journal print version (available online to subscribers only for 30 days), news that Monument Realty, which owns most of the land facing Half Street between M and N not controlled by WMATA, has stopped waiting for the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation to get the Ballpark District rolling and has submitted an unsolicited proposal directly to WMATA to incorporate the Navy Yard Station's Half-and-M entrance and the adjacent WMATA parking lot into an office building that Monument wants to build. Metro then put out a Request for Proposals so that other developers could bid on the land (bids are due by 3 pm Aug. 21). If Monument's bid is successful, they say they can move forward "more promptly" with their plans for an office building with ground floor retail at that spot. AWC doesn't really seem all that concerned; Adrian Washington is quoted as saying "Our goal is to redevelop the ballpark district. We're fine either way." Monument, which would manage the government-funded $15 million expansion of the Metro station, says that they need to get control of the property ASAP in order to be able to have the station upgrades completed by Opening Day 2008. The article also notes that AWC expects to have a land disposition agreement completed by next month for Forest City Washington to purchase a portion of the WASA land at 1st and O; but color me a bit skeptical on timeline announcements from AWC these days.
More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Ballpark District Master Plan Delays
Jun 23, 2006 3:02 PM
This week's Washington Business Journal has "Developers, AWC Wrestle with Ballpark-Area Plans" (not yet available online). It mentions (just like someone else!) that the unveiling of the Ballpark District Master Plan is now more than two months behind schedule, and that the lack of plan is hampering what is already a pretty complicated venture, especially when you add in the new potential garages deal with Western Development and the fact that the AWC still has not finished negotiating with either WMATA or WASA to get access to their acreages that are considered part of the Ballpark District. AWC head Adrian Washington says he'll have something ready for the council to approve by fall (though it would then need approval by the Zoning Commission as well), but you wonder if Monument Realty (one of the four Master Developers, and the only one that actually owns land within the Ballpark District) is starting to get just an itsy bit antsy to start building and start recouping their $50 million investment....
More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, zoning

Hints on Ballpark District Plans
Jun 22, 2006 9:39 PM
A story in Wednesday's Baltimore Examiner about the Cordish Company signing a deal with NASCAR to develop a string of racing-themed restaurants also gives a teeny tiny bit of information about Cordish's part of the Nationals stadium Ballpark District (Cordish and Monument Realty are working together to plan the northern part of the district, the "gateway" to the park from M Street to N Street and from South Capitol to 1st). According to the article, "plans for the company's Nationals stadium development are expected in the next few weeks." (Original delivery date for the AWC's Ballpark District Master Plan was April 15, but who's counting?) Also from the article: " 'The goal is to create a truly vibrant destination and gateway into the stadium,' said Jon Cordish, vice president of Cordish. 'It will be a dynamic and entertaining ground-floor experience [similar to what] we've done throughout the country on these types of developments.' Cordish is also creating entertainment districts for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. While no concrete plans have been released yet on what the Nationals development will look like, John Cordish said the company is exploring licensing options, such as the NASCAR Sports Grille, as well as original concepts. 'Aspects of it may well feel like the Inner Harbor at Baltimore, yes,' he said. 'But will there also be things unique to the Anacostia Waterfront? Definitely.' "

More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

WBJ Looks at Ballpark District
Jun 16, 2006 8:30 PM
This week's Washington Business Journal has a cover story ("Seeing the Future") about the coming Ballpark District, and the challenge of creating from a blank slate something new and vibrant that works but isn't "Disneyfied." There's a lot of comment from architects and planners about which design cues the area should take (Navy Yard and Southeast Federal Center, not the stadium itself). A little bit of news: Monument Realty is planning its first two buildings in the Ballpark District, on the east side of Half Street between M and N, a residential project designed by Shalom Baranes (one of the firms working on the SEFC) and an office building designed by Davis Carter Scott. (UPDATED to add the link now that the story's posted.)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park, The Yards

Picture Day
Jun 16, 2006 3:17 PM
A beautiful afternoon for a photo excursion, and you can see a smattering of new shots on my pages for 20 M Street, the Ballpark District (with shots of the new bright-yellow Monument Realty signs), Capper/Carrollsburg (where in one month they've managed to demolish just two of the two-story buildings at 3rd and Virginia), Capper Seniors #2 (which is showing good progress) and of course the baseball stadium. The icon is your guide for the latest offerings.
More posts: 20 M, 400m, Capper, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park

Monument Realty Signs
Jun 13, 2006 6:19 PM
Within the past few days, a series of bright yellow signs have appeared along N Street and Half Street, across from the northern edge of the ballpark site--the signs are all from Monument Realty, which has spent nearly $40 million buying property to build nearly 750,000 sq ft of mixed-use offerings as part of the Ballpark District (not the area on the stadium land that the parking garage squabble is endangering, but the two blocks between N and M and South Capitol and 1st). The signs have big baseball-related slogans on them, like "Play Ball!", "Heavy Hitter", "Home Run" and so on, and then the Monument Realty name and logo, but no information on what's coming. A Post article from March did quote Monument as saying that they plan to begin construction in early 2007, so perhaps we'll hear details before long.
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., staddis

Ballpark District First Phases in 2009
Mar 16, 2006 11:30 PM
With the stadium now moving forward, attention will turn to the areas immediately surrounding it and the mixed-use developments the city wants to see in order to make the Ballpark District a year-round destination. In Friday's Post article "D.C. Stadium Likely to Open Without Entertainment Area," developers are quoted as saying that first phases probably won't be done before 2009. The four developers chosen by the AWC have hired urban planning firm Cooper, Robertson & Partners to create the master plan for the 40 acres of mixed-use development. In the meantime, Monument Realty says it expects to begin construction in early 2007 on the land it owns in the blocks just north of the stadium footprint. So, be prepared to walk through a lot of construction to get to the stadium in the early days. (On the other hand, the delays that everyone seems to anticipate will occur with the stadium could help get the ballpark district further along before the ballpark debuts.) Also, the article mentions that the plans for the stadium itself incorporates retail space within the park's facade along 1st Street, and also manages to sneak in another mention that the parking garages raising eyebrows in the stadium renderings will most likely disappear.

More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Monument Valley/Half St., Retail, staddis, Nationals Park

Ballpark District Developers Chosen
Dec 12, 2005 10:10 AM
Today the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation named two teams of development companies to "enter into exclusive negotiations" to develop mixed-use projects on two sites in the ballpark district. Forest City Washington (developers of Capper/Carrollsburg and the Southeast Federal Center) and Western Development Corporation (Herbert Miller's company, responsible for Potomac Mills and many other projects) lead one team, and Monument Realty LLC (which has purchased many parcels of land along N and Half Streets) and The Cordish Company LLC (developers deeply involved in the Baltimore Harbor) lead the other. What does this mean? Not as much as it sounds right now--the Forest City/Western team will be negotiating with AWC to develop the 6 acres of excess land at the WASA site on 1st Street, and Monument/Cordish will be negotiating for the 3 acres of WMATA parcels along Half Street. However, at this time AWC does not own either of these properties. The teams will be working together (coordinated by Forest City/Western) to create a Development Strategy for the entire ballpark district, which is due to the AWC in draft by March 15, 2006 and in final version by April 15, 2006. The teams have committed to provide payment to the AWC through a combination of up-front payment, annual base rent, and participation in development profits. UPDATE: Here is the mayor's office press release. UPDATE II: The Post's web site now has its story about the announcement. UPDATE III: And here is the AWC's press release. UPDATE IV: Here is the Baltimore Sun's Cordish-centric story.
More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, DC Water (WASA)

Oct 17, 2005 8:20 AM
According to the Washington Business Journal, owners of land north of the new stadium site recently met with DC council members Cropp, Evans, and Ambrose to discuss limiting the heights of their future developments in order to preserve views of the US Capitol dome, with buildings being able to get progressively taller as they near the Capitol. Russell Hines of Monument Realty is quoted as saying that they're willing to work with the city on this point. (A WBJ editorial supports this idea.)
More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park

Sep 19, 2005 9:41 AM
Anyone who's lived in DC for any amount of time will be stunned to read today's Post story, "As Stadium Clock Ticks, DC Officials Bicker," detailing the difficulties of getting a design for the new baseball stadium agreed upon. Much of the trouble revolves around the desire (pushed most vehemently by Jack Evans) to have views of the Capitol Dome from as many seats at the stadium as possible. More from the story: "Evans argued that a view beyond center field of one of the city's signature buildings would give fans a sense of place and provide grand shots for national television cameras. At Evans's urging, city planners recently stopped work by Lerner Enterprises on construction of a 130-foot office building on M Street SE, one block north of the stadium. People familiar with the matter said the move angered the company, founded and run by Theodore N. Lerner, who is among those bidding to buy the Nationals. City officials said late last week that they will allow the company to resume work because it has abided by city building regulations. Company officials declined to comment. Evans also has discussed limiting the heights of buildings being planned by Monument Realty, which owns land on N Street SE that abuts the stadium site. City planners worried that such a move would inadvertently harm the creation of an entertainment and shopping district around the ballpark, which has been promised by another powerful player, the Anacostia Waterfront Corp." The article also says that groups are bickering over who has final say on the design. The stadium is supposed to begin construction in March, 2006.

More posts: 20 M, Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park

Aug 25, 2005 9:08 AM
Two baseball stadium-related stories in today's Post : "Stadium Estimates Still in Ballpark" reports that DC is still beneath the $165 million cost cap for acquiring the 14 acres of land in the stadium footprint, despite an increase of $18 million in the amount the city expects to pay for the land. Letters with the city's offers will go to out to the 33 landowners on Tuesday, according to the article; the owners will have 30 days to negotiate, and after that the city can take the land through eminent domain. The plan is still for the city to control all the land by the end of the year, so that construction on the stadium can begin in March 2006 for a scheduled opening in 2008. I was interested to see this tidbit: "By law, the city can make offers based on property values that do not take into account plans for a stadium," which will keep prices well below those for properties near (but not on) the stadium site.

Which brings us to article #2, "Monument Realty Buys Coveted SE Site," describing the purchase of a small lot at N and Van streets (right across the street from the stadium site, in the "stadium district") for $3 million, as part of Monument's assembling of acreage for a 750,000-square-foot office / retail / residential project. UPDATE: Washington Business Journal adds a bit of info.

More posts: Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, Nationals Park

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

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

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

Aug 11, 2005 11:28 PM
The DC government is negotiating to purchase five acres of land in the area near the new baseball stadium, reports the Post, to help influence the development in the neighborhood by creating a "ballpark district" with restaurants, stores, and residential units. Two of the acres would come from the DC Water and Sewer Authority's land at 1st and O Streets, with another 3.2 acres to be acquired by taking control of the WMATA (Metro) bus depot and parking lot at Half and M Streets. Developers are already snapping up plenty of parcels in the area (specifically Monument Realty, which is assembling the acreage to build 750,000 sq ft of mixed-use offerings in the block north of the stadium), but by controlling some of the most desirable land (the Metro land on Half Street lies directly along the envisioned "promenade" entrance to the stadium), DC can do more to ensure that the stadium area sees the sort of development the city wants, and that the area is made into an attractive destination even on non-game days. And in other news, the article mentions that the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation is close to unveiling its master plan for the waterfront redevelopment. (It also reminds us again that DC will be tendering their offers to landowners in the stadium footprint "within the next several weeks.")

More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Metro/WMATA, Monument Valley/Half St., staddis, DC Water (WASA)

Jul 8, 2005 9:42 AM
Monument Realty continues to buy up property in the area surrounding the new baseball stadium land, according to Friday's Post. The DC Real Property Sales Database indicates that Monument nows own 1242-1260 Half Street, 50-68 N Street, and 1236 South Capitol Street, and The Post mentioned contracts for other parcels on the north side of the unit block of N. They have assembled half of the 8-acre parcel they covet for a huge office/residential/retail complex just north of the stadium. WMATA (Metro) owns 3 of the additional acres (at Half and M), and had asked developers for proposals for the land in early May, but withdrew the offer on request of the Office of Planning, who are working on the Master Plan for the area (now not expected to be delivered until the end of the summer, wah!). The article says that the John Akridge Cos. (developers of Gallery Place) is also pursuing deals in the area (but I think it's looking in Southwest, down by Buzzard's Point).

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