JDLand.com Search
In the Pipeline
1000 1st St.
Square 696
Yards/Icon Theater
1000 South Capitol
25 M
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
New Douglass Bridge
More Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
SC1100
Completed
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: (retail) : 200 matching blog entries

Whole Foods: Coming Soon, Sayeth the New Sign
Nov 24, 2017 10:58 AM
With thanks to reader I.F. for the photo, may I present visual confirmation that Whole Foods is indeed still coming to the ground floor of WC Smith's Agora apartment building at the corner of New Jersey Avenue and H Street, SE.
I don't know a timetable, I know nothing more than this sign, but at least this should settle people's worries a bit.
We now return to our holiday weekend, already in progress.
Comments (42)
More posts: 800 NJ/Whole Foods, Retail, wholefoods

Willow Opening on Friday, Nov. 17
Nov 15, 2017 10:56 AM
Interested parties are putting out the word that there's a Grand Opening party this Friday, Nov. 17, for Willow, the clothing and gift store that is opening its second location in the ground floor of the Arris apartment building at 4th and Water in the Yards.
Not only will there be treats and drinks and lots of stuff to buy, but "every guest will receive a complimentary Willow-designed Navy Yard shot glass."
The party will run from 5 to 8 pm.
Comments (33)
More posts: Retail, willow, The Yards, Arris/Parcel N/Yards

Solidcore Opening Nov. 4 at F1rst
Nov 3, 2017 10:05 AM
Word is out that Solidcore* will be opening for your high-intensity low-impact workout pleasure at 8 am on Saturday, Nov. 4, in the ground floor of F1rst.
The official web site for this location allows reservations for upcoming classes, and also has some grand opening deals available ($4 for your first class, plus 10-pack and 1-year membership specials).
Regrettably, I did not get a chance to swing by for an updated photo before posting this, so here's my most recent shot of the Solidcore location, located next to soon-to-be-Rasa on 1st Street SE between M and N. (Official street address is 1245 1st St. SE.)
* As for why I am not referring to it as [solidcore], it's because it would have been a divorce-level offense in my house.
Comments (13)
More posts: Retail, solidcore

Friday Tidbits: Playoffs, Willow, Dockside, and More
Oct 6, 2017 8:30 AM
I start with this photo of some recently posted signage, which I'm pretty sure debuted at the top of the list of Most Ignored Signs in Washington. (No one ever believes me when I tell them that riding bikes isn't officially allowed on the Navy Yard portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk.)
And now to a way-too-long pile of tidbits:
* PLAYOFFS: I doubt anyone at this point needs to tell me that the first of what will hopefully be numerous playoff games this October at Nats Park is tonight (Friday), when Game 1 vs the Cubs starts at 7:31 pm. They'll play again tomorrow at 5:38pm, and would return on Thursday Oct. 12 for the fifth game of the series, if necessary. Here's a rundown from the BID of playoff-related festivities and deals that might be of interest.
* WILLOW: I have been remiss in not passing along that DC-based clothing and gift shop Willow is going to be opening a second location in the ground floor of Arris, at 4th and Tingey in the Yards. As described in the BID newsletter, "The store brand adds a distinctive local twist with DC neighborhood-inspired gifts and clothes designed in-house by members of the Willow team."
* DOCKSIDE?: I have not confirmed this personally, but a reader reports being told by workers putting out tables on Thursday that the new Yards Park boardwalk kiosk outlet of Osteria Morini is expected to open this evening. UPDATE: Reader now says that no, it's Due South Dockside. But that's what I get for not reporting it out myself. {hangs head in shame}
* BYE BYE 37 L: Photographic evidence on Twitter of the demolition of the Empire/DC Flyer Cab company building, which is making way for a new residential building. It becomes the 175th entry in my Demolished Buildings Gallery (up a spot from its brief designation as #174, after a reader pointed out that I had neglected to add, of all things, the McDonald's, though I will give myself a break on that one, given the maelstrom in my life at the time).
* THIRD STREET CLOSURE UPDATE: Flashing signage north of 3rd and Virginia says that the four-month-ish-southbound closure is now scheduled to begin Oct. 11. (After the first two games of the playoffs, I might add.) I saw from the freeway yesterday that the huge reinforcing beams (more like tubes) that were installed across the footprint of the two tunnels are being removed between 2nd and 3rd Streets, and there's even now some small square footage where both tunnels are covered with dirt. (UPDATE: The sign was changed this morning to read "On or About Oct. 10," and now the latest VAT newsletter says "as soon as Oct. 9.")
* GARRETT TEA LEAVES: The building permits have been approved, and construction trailers arrived within the past few days at the staging lot on the former trash transfer site at 2nd and K, and so signs are pointing to work getting underway on The Garrett, the last of WC Smith's "Collective" troika. Joining siblings Park Chelsea and not-yet-open-but-newly-landscaped Agora, the Garrett will have about 375 rental units, and ground-floor retail. (No, I don't know when Whole Foods is opening.)
* PARC RIVERSIDE PHASE II: A reader who lives at Velocity says that management informed residents that work is expected to resume Any Second Now (or maybe already has) on the excavation for what will be the second phase of the Parc Riverside residential project, at Half and K.
* BOWER FLOOR PLANS: If you have been desperately awaiting the condo project known as the Bower to start selling, well, that hasn't happened yet, but floor plans are finally available on their web site. (h/t RMP)

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.

Cosmopolitan Nail Lounge Coming this Summer to 4th Street
Jan 17, 2017 9:07 AM
The men got their grooming news already this week, and now it's a tidbit for the ladies: Forest City has announced today that Cosmopolitan Nail Lounge will be opening in the ground floor of the Arris apartment building at the Yards, in one of the 4th Street retail spaces.
It will offer full-service nail and waxing treatments, with free WiFi, refreshments, and "individual guest tables to listen to music or watch a movie during appointments."
The new nail salon will join Arris's already-open Philz Coffee and previously-announced-as-coming-in-2017 tenants Conte's Bike Shop and the Juice Laundry.
Comments (41)

Eighteen Eight 'Fine Men's Salon' Coming to Foundry Lofts
Jan 16, 2017 7:32 AM
The photo from the 300 block of Tingey St. SE says it all--"fine men's salon" Eighteen Eight is apparently coming to the former leasing office space in the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts at the Yards.
This would be the second DC opening for the company, joining its 14th St. NW location (along with one in Bethesda and two others in Maryland).
In addition to haircuts, 18|8 offers face, scalp, and nail treatments, shaves, waxing, and coloring; there are also grooming party packages for when you guys want to get with your buddies and get all gussied up.
It's Tingey Street's second grooming outlet, joining the Bang Salon one block to the east. (Too bad Unleashed doesn't offer grooming, otherwise there'd be a Tingey trifecta.)
No official word on when it will open, so don't let your hair get too long while waiting.
Meanwhile, one block to the south, the new District Winery building is getting its face on.
(h/t to reader RMP for the 18|8 sighting)

Retail Update: Lots of 'Coming Soon' Signage
Dec 10, 2016 3:03 PM
Why, yes, I did spend part of my Saturday taking pictures of new-and-not-so-new signs in windows! (Also took lots of other photos, which will come soon.)
Both Orangetheory Fitness and Slipstream Coffee now have their locations well marked, in the new ORE 82 apartment building at New Jersey and I. Ditto Conte's Bike Shop, on 4th Street just north of the Yards Park:
Elsewhere, I alas have to improvise, having either been too lazy to walk closer or too boneheaded to take a photo when I was actually standing right in front of the dang sign. But nonetheless here's evidence of Bethesda Bagels, coming to Insignia on M, and Shake Shack, which recently received its building permit for its space at the Homewood Suites, in the retail space at Cushing and M (a second space does not yet have any announced tenant):
(I'll resort to pointing you to photos I took in October of the signage for both The Salt Line and All-Purpose Pizzeria, at Dock 79.)
In non-signage retail news, here's the current state of construction on the new District Winery building at the Yards, along with photographic evidence that the shipping containers have indeed been removed from the southern two-thirds of the former Fairgrounds footprint. They remain up by Half and M, however.
Everything mentioned here is expected to open in 2017, as are some other not-photographed venues. Scroll down below my Food Map for the full list of announced-but-not-open offerings.

Slipstream 'Crafted Coffee and Libations' Signed for ORE 82
Jul 15, 2016 8:47 AM
In its latest e-mail newsletter (no link yet), the Capitol Riverfront BID announced that retail broker Rappaport announced that Slipstream will be coming to ORE 82, the 227-unit apartment building at New Jersey and I that's expected to be completed late this year.
Slipstream's mission statement says that it aims "to elevate coffee and cocktails from seemingly common to extraordinary through engaging service, a comfortable atmosphere and a relentless focus on quality." Its first DC location is on 14th Street NW south of Rhode Island Avenue, not far from Logan Circle.
The menu for the 14th Street location shows not only coffee at all hours and cocktails, beer, and wine from 8 am to close (wheeee!), but menus of sandwiches, bowls, toasts, and soup served for breakfast/lunch until 3 pm and meats, cheeses, salads, snacks, bowls, and toasts for dinner from 5 pm to closing, plus brunch on weekends. Whether that will be the same configuration at New Jersey and I is not yet clear.
Slipstream joins Orangetheory Fitness in ORE 82's tenant lineup.
Comments (13)
More posts: ORE82, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail, slipstream

Conte's Bike Shop Coming to Arris at the Yards (Twice!)
May 17, 2016 3:27 PM
Conte's Bike Shop, a bicycling retailer with nine Virginia locations, will be opening a full-service operation at Arris at the Yards in early 2017, it's being announced today.
But if you can't wait that long, Conte's will be running a 10-day pop-up version in one of Arri's open retail spaces on Tingey Street starting Thursday, May 19 through May 29th, opening on Thursday through Sunday during each of those two weeks. This means that the store will be open during both Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20 and Tour de Fat at the Yards on Saturday, May 21.
This pop-up version will have bikes for sale or rent, repair services, clothing, gear, and "expert advice."
The permanent Conte's location will be 2,200 square feet in size, located in the 4th Street portion of Arris's ground floor.
Conte's was founded in 1957 in Newport News, and is apparently still a family-owned operation, with locations in Arlington and Falls Church in addition to elsewhere in Virginia.
The press release from Forest City also says:
"Their shops carry a full line of bikes and accessories including hybrids, mountains, cruisers and road bikes by leading brands including Giant/Liv, Eddy Merckx, BMC, Scott and more, as well as offering gear, accessories clothing and lots of expert advice. They also offer a trade-in policy and used equipment for sale. What’s more, Conte’s Bike Shop prides itself on being a community center and resource for the cycling community, offering events, clinics, structured rides and online resources."
Comments (21)
More posts: contes, Retail, Arris/Parcel N/Yards

Tuesday Tidbits: Orange You Glad There's Tidbits
May 10, 2016 2:43 PM
Photo: What may be my best "Slider" so far, looking north along 1st Street from the Douglass Bridge, from 2006 to 2016. Go slide it yourself to see.
* ORANGE: I mentioned this in the comments late last week, but now time to post officially that the BID has reported that Orangetheory Fitness has been signed as the first retail tenant at the ORE 82 apartment building at New Jersey and I, which is expected to open late this year or early next year.
* CROSSING: Via Commissioner Fascett, ANC 6D is sending a letter to DDOT requesting a review of the pedestrian-crossing-light timing at 4th and M SE, aka the Teeter Intersection. "Twenty-seven seconds is not enough time for pedestrians, including seniors and residents in wheelchairs, to cross a six lane road while dodging two lanes of east-bound turning cars."
* SPRINGSTEEN: Bruuuuuce is back at Nats Park on Sept. 1. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, May 13, at 10 am.
* ALLEN: If you are wanting some face time with Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen, he is having his Community Office Hours on Friday, May 13, at the Starbucks in the Waterfront Safeway at 4th and M, SW, from 8 to 9:30 am.
* SPOOKY: This has been in my hopper for too many months to ponder, but a reader passed along this link about the end of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building/Building 213 at 1st and M SE that included a few photos from inside (as I sob thinking about how I never got my own).
* FITNESS: The BID has announced the schedule of outdoor fitness classes this summer at parks Yards and Canal.
* LEO: Across the way by a few feet, but folks might be interested in the reopening of Leo's Wings N Pizza at 7 N St., SW. "In addition to pizza, wings, pasta, salads, subs, and breakfast items, Korean food will be added to the menu." (SWTLQTC)

Philz Coffee Celebrating its Opening with Free Coffee May 13
May 9, 2016 7:47 AM
The neighborhood's next coffee offering is now apparently only days away from arriving, as Philz Coffee has announced an opening "celebration" for its location in the ground floor of Arris in the 300 block of Tingey St., SE, on Friday, May 13, with complimentary coffee and pastries from 11 am to 3 pm. (If you think you're going to swing by, let them know via this Eventbrite invite so that they can gauge how many people will be coming.)
Full operating hours for Philz haven't yet been posted on either the corporate web site or the Yards location Facebook page, but I imagine they will open at the crack of dawn as they do at their other locations. While waiting for that information, you can check out the menu of coffee and tea offerings.
(h/t to commenter RMP)

A Look into the Crystal Ball at What's to Come in 2016
Jan 5, 2016 10:10 AM
I ended 2015 with a quick look back at the major development news of the neighborhood over the previous twelve months, so it would be fitting to not get too far into 2016 without a look ahead. But it is to be remembered of course that crystal ball gazing is inherently dicier, which is why I like writing posts that look back a whole lot more than I do ones that look forward.
First Out of the Gate
Let's start with the easy ones, the 436-unit Park Chelsea at 880 New Jersey and the 325-unit Arris at 4th and Tingey, both of which are showing signs of opening their doors in coming weeks.
In fact, let's look at photographic evidence from this weekend to support this theory, starting with the Park Chelsea's still-fenced-but-prepped front entrance and New Jersey Avenue frontage, plus the new section of I Street that at this point I believe is being kept closed merely for the fun of driving me insane.
At Arris, the sidewalks on Tingey and Water, on the building's north and south sides, are now open, and landscaping and lighting has arrived in the courtyards on the building's west side--along with most interesting sculptures/screens/whatever you want to call them that serve to give the courtyards and the units that face them a little bit of privacy.
Other Expected 2016 Deliveries
The JDLand crystal ball feels confident that the DC Housing Authority's two current projects, the Community Center at 5th and K and the 195-unit mixed-income Bixby/Lofts at Capitol Quarter at 7th and L will be the next developments to make it across the finish line, though the specific time frames are still a bit cloudy.
And work is now underway on the Yards Park Marina, which is supposed to be finished in spring/summer 2016.
Beyond that? The 305-unit Dock 79 at Florida Rock topped out in early November, and the exterior masonry and glass work are well underway. MRP Realty has said that it expects the building to deliver in July, but at the very least Signs Point to Yes on a delivery before the end of the year.
While 82 I/801 New Jersey looks about finished with vertical construction, and its red brick exterior is already up to its third floor, and a 2016 delivery had been announced last year, this one should probably be filed under We Shall See.
Otherwise, the rest of the current lineup of skeletons and holes in the ground are probably coming to you in 2017.
Retail on Tap for 2016
There's not a lot of announced retail in the 2016 pipeline at this point. All we have so far is that Philz Coffee will arrive Arris this spring and that optimists believe that the Brig beer garden at 8th and L will at last open its gates. The new Italian venture at the Park Tavern should (?) be arriving at some point as well, and maybe the Bardo Riverfront venture.
But there's at least 30,000 combined square feet of additional retail space in both Arris and Dock 79 that I imagine we'll be hearing about as the year goes on.
Projects That May Get Underway in 2016
(This category always gives me the shakes.)
The crystal ball feels reasonably confident that the condo and rental projects on what's known as Yards Parcel O will get started, with financing for the PN Hoffman condo portion already announced and various types of construction permit applications submitted and awaiting approvals.
Also looking likely to join the 2016 lineup is the new National Association of Broadcasters headquarters at the corner of South Capitol and M, presumably along with the 163-unit residential building that development Monument Realty is also planning for the site.
DC Water is itching to get going on its new headquarters, which will be built as a wraparound to the existing O Street Pumping Station, which happens to be immediately to the south of the Showplace Icon movie theater site, which is supposed to see construction start in 2016.
JBG's recently unveiled condo/rental/retail project for the west side of Half Street is scheduled to begin construction late in 2016, if all zoning and permitting goes according to plan.
Beyond that? The crystal ball would not be totally shocked to see the Jair Lynch condo/rental/retail project on the east side of Half Street get started sometime before the end of the year, and would be equally not totally shocked to see that wait until early 2017.
Movement on a new Douglass Bridge might also be on the boards for 2016, but whether actual start of construction can happen within the next 12 months, well, hope springs eternal.
As always, if this slew of words has you overwhelmed, check out the full development map and the guide down below it (yes, scroll down!) to give more clarity.

A Speedy Summary of 2015's High Points
Dec 31, 2015 11:28 AM
With a few hours to spare before the year ends, I present to you a Pics-and-Clicks summary of the big moments in Near Southeast/Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard/Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards (#NeCaBaRY) in 2015.
New Restaurants
I think the pictures speak for themselves in this section.
New Retail
Tingey Street saw the opening of Pacers Running, Hugh & Crye Menswear, and Banfield Pet Hospital.
Completions
The Hampton Inn at 1st and N and the new Trapeze School space at New Jersey and Tingey snuck in under the wire for 2015. (This section will be considerably larger next year.)
At the Ballpark
Nats Park saw the NHL Winter Classic, new food offerings, and the Taylor Swift invasion. (But not the October games many had been expecting.) Plus, there was the announcement that the 2018 MLB All-Star Game will come to Half Street.
Farewell
The "new neighborhood" is now old enough that some establishments are exiting. We said goodbye to Sizzlin' Express and Buzz Bakery, and await the Italian-themed retooling of the Park Tavern. Plus the Hill Country gameday BBQ pop-up at South Capitol and N will be no more, with development now underway in that spot.
Underway
A mere seven development projects (four residential, two hotel, one office) broke ground in 2015, to go with the mere seven development projects already under construction. (Need a map to keep them all straight? You're in luck!)
Coming soon, an equally speedy summary of what's on tap for 2016.

A Peek Inside the Now-Open Pacers Running (and Hugh & Crye, Too)
Oct 29, 2015 6:01 PM
The Official JDLand Camera was in action on Thursday, and while the main destination will be discussed in a future post, stops were also made along Tingey Street at the Boilermaker Shops, inside both the newly opened Pacers Running store and also the decidedly-not-newly-opened Hugh & Crye menswear store.
(I was waiting for the H&C space to be built out more fully, which is still in the pipeline--or at least that's the story I'm sticking to. #lazy)
While I am not one to be shopping for either running equipment or slim-fit men's dress shirts, I appreciated that staffs at both stores did not run screaming when I came in with a camera and used those words that so often strike fear, "neighborhood blogger." I did, alas, miss the bourbon cart that was set up outside H&C earlier in the day.
Pacers:
Hugh & Crye:
Also noticed during this visit--Bluejacket has repainted its sign, the result of which is that you can now actually see it (and photograph it). Yay! (No signage yet at Pacers or H&C, though.)
PS: If you want a steady social media stream of JDLand photos (current and archival), note that I have finally/belatedly joined Instagram, at jdland_dc.

Pacers Running Opening Oct. 21; Buffalo Wild Wings Nov. 16
Oct 8, 2015 9:35 PM
* PACERS RUNNING: I can't do much more than repeat what the tweet says, that Pacers Running is opening at the Boilermaker Shops at 3rd and Tingey Streets SE on Wednesday, Oct. 21, joining Wells Cleaners, GNC, EVO Furniture, and Unleashed by Petco as non-food retail at the Yards.
* B-DUBS: The latest BID newsletter says that Buffalo Wild Wings "anticipates" opening its location on Half Street SE just south of M Street on Monday, Nov. 16. The BID also says that the first 100 guests will each receive 52 coupons good for once-a-week orders of snack-sized traditional or boneless wings. The restaurant's space is in the ground floor of the 55 M Street office building, just south of the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station entrance.
Comments (4)
More posts: 55 M St., Boilermaker Shops/Yards, bww, pacers, Retail

Philz Coffee Announced as First Arris Tenant; Pacers Running Confirmed
Aug 11, 2015 9:18 AM
Forest City is announcing today that San Francisco-based Philz Coffee has been signed as the first tenant at Arris, the 327-unit residential building now getting its upper levels of glass on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey Streets, SE.
Philz is described as a company "on a mission to better people’s days by reinventing the coffee drinking experience," with not only "an impressive array of exclusive, handcrafted, flavorful blends," but also excellent customer service.
DC is the first place Philz is expanding outside of California (with another outlet coming soon to Adams Morgan), and this move also will bring back a coffee shop to the Yards, after the recent closing of Buzz Bakery.
The Philz will be located in a 2,400-square-foot space on Tingey Street across from the Boilermaker Shops, and will open in spring 2016. (Arris's retail spaces total 19,000 square feet.)
Pre-leasing at Arris is expected to begin this fall, with move-ins targeted for early 2016, according to Forest City.
Also today Forest City is finally officially confirming the news that's been out there for a while, that locally-based Pacers Running will be taking the final retail space at the Boilermaker Shops, with an opening expected in October. Forest City says that "While Pacers Running stores carry top-of-the-line footwear, as well as running and exercise clothing and gear, along with personalized expert advice and fitting, they have also branched out to be a major organizer and promoter in the area of events aimed at runners who are serious and even not so serious about their running."
Also tucked into the press release is that Due South is expected to open in "late August," and that there is no announced opening date for Nicoletta Pizzeria.

Banfield Pet Hospital Now 'Soft' Opened at the Yards
Jun 14, 2015 8:33 PM
It took a little while longer than it seemed like it would, but I have confirmed with my own eyes that the Banfield Pet Hospital on Tingey Street east of 4th has finally opened its doors.
I inquired within (ignoring the bewildered look of the nice lady at the front desk when I explained that I was merely the "neighborhood blogger" requesting information), and apparently they are dubbing this a soft opening, so they are not offering the full slate of care just yet.
In the coming weeks--perhaps in late July--there will be an official Grand Opening.
Banfield will be open seven days a week, from 9 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, and 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday.
With the spaces at Twelve12 and the Boilermaker Shops all but filled, those desperately hungry for news of more retail at the Yards will probably start casting glances toward Forest City's next delivery, the 325-unit Arris apartment building and its 20,000 square feet of ground-floor space (though there's been no announcements as yet, and the building is still a number of months away from completion).
Comments (2)
More posts: banfield, Retail, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Pacers Running Coming to the Boilermaker Shops
May 15, 2015 2:48 PM
From HillNow: "Pacers Running is expected to arrive on Tingey Street SE in August, the chain’s chief executive officer, Kathy Dalby, said today. "
It will be coming to the Boilermaker Shops, and will fill the last available retail space in that building, which opened in 2013. It will be the seventh Pacers location nationwide, and fifth in the DC area, and will join Unleashed, Hugh & Crye, GNC, and Wells Cleaners in the lineup of current non-food offerings in the rehabbed building.
Comments (5)
More posts: Boilermaker Shops/Yards, Retail, The Yards

Banfield Pet Hospital Opening Soon - Again
Mar 27, 2015 12:03 PM
When we last checked in on the Banfield Pet Hospital on Tingey in the Twelve12 apartment building, we had heard "early 2015" for its opening. And then we blinked and it was late March, and still no Banfield.
I checked in with Forest City, and they've passed along that there were some last-minute changes requested by the DC Board of Veterinary that needed to be made to the facilities, and it took a little time to then get approvals.
Things once again appear to be on track for an opening, in April--when I hear a date, I will alert the masses.
The Banfield web site has the page for this location up and ready to go, and it shows operating hours as 9-7 Monday through Saturday and 10 to 5 on Sunday.
Comments (3)
More posts: banfield, Retail, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

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

Menswear Store Hugh and Crye Coming to the Yards
Feb 3, 2015 3:26 PM
Forest City announced this afternoon, and this tweet and its accompanying photo would seem to confirm, that local men's clothing store Hugh & Crye is coming to the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards.
Known for their slim-fit dress shirts and other offerings that are tailored (ahem) to a buyer's physique type, the company operated out of a Georgetown storefront until recently, along with its main offices in Shaw.
The press release from Forest City says that the location will open "next month," but We Shall See.
On its web site, Hugh and Crye bills itself as a "new kind of retail company" that's "here to shake up the retail establishment along with its ridiculous margins and unsustainable practices," but that "deep down, we're a Mom and Pop." They have a program where shoppers can bring in old dress shirts and receive 10 percent off their next order, with the old items donated to Martha's Table.
This is the last next-to-last empty retail space--for the moment--on Tingey Street. And note that Hugh & Crye is the first clothing retailer to open at the Yards, and in the entire neighborhood itself (unless you count the team store at Nats Park, I guess).
(Note: Editing and fixing boo-boos on the fly today. Too much happening too fast.)
Comments (8)
More posts: Boilermaker Shops/Yards, hueandcrye, Retail

2014 Year in Review: Restaurants and Retail
Dec 26, 2014 9:44 AM
Trying to narrate what's gone on progress-wise in 2014 in Near Southeast/Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard Territory/Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards would require a torrent of words that would be too over the top even for me, so I've decided to go visual.
Quite simply, here's the lineup of restaurants and retail offerings that opened east of South Capitol and south of the Southeast Freeway since January 1, 2014:
Coming in 2015, assuming all goes well? Banfield Pet Hospital at 4th and Tingey is the only retail offering announced, but in terms of food, there's The Brig beer garden at 8th and L, the Navy Yard Oyster Company and Due South at the Lumber Shed, Bonchon at 1015 Half Street, and Scarlet Oak at 909 New Jersey. Plus CBS Radio. And maybe Nicoletta? I would also imagine there will be some things we haven't heard about yet.
You can see full list and locations of all the neighborhood's eateries on my Near Southeast Food Options map.
Comments (14)
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail

Nov. 20 Meeting on Declaring Portion DC Water Site as 'Surplus'
Nov 5, 2014 11:40 AM
The fate of Forest City's planned movie theater, residential, and retail project on the east side of 1st Street near Nats Park has remained stalled while DC Water works to find a suitable spot to relocate some (but not all) of its activities.
There has been no public news of a new site, but the DC government has announced that there will be a public meeting on Nov. 20 at 6:30 pm "to receive public comments on the proposed surplus" of a portion of the DC Water site, which presumably includes all or some of the footprint of the Forest City planned development.
The meeting announcement also contains this string of caveats:
"Because DC Water will continue to occupy the Property while pre-development is ongoing, declaration of the Property as surplus will be conditioned on (i) DC Water receiving rights to occupy suitable relocation/replacement property(ies), (ii) available funding for activities necessary to allow DC Water to relocate to and operate on such relocation/replacement property(ies) and (iii) approval by an independent engineer procured by DC Water of an operational plan during and after relocation."
The meeting is at the Boilermaker Shops at 3rd and Tingey, in Unit 140 (the empty space next to Nando's). In addition, written public comments will be accepted until Nov. 25.
If you're just joining us, it was a smidge over two years ago that news first started bubbling up that Forest City was looking to bring a "high-quality theater operator" to a six-acre portion of the DC Water site. In November 2012 the potential operator was revealed to be Showplace Icon, and in 2013 the plans for the entire site went through the Zoning PUD fun factory, and were approved late in the year.
The first phase of the project, which received Stage 2 PUD approvals from the Zoning Comission, will be the movie theater, a two-story 16-screen offering, built above a four-story parking structure, located at a new intersection of N Place SE and the to-be-built 1 1/2 Place.
The rest of the project envisions two residential buildings totaling 600 units, built along 1st Street directly across from the ballpark. with the facade of the existing red brick building at the corner of 1st and N Place preserved and incorporated into one of the buildings. Potomac Avenue would be extended eastward to the new 1 1/2 Place, and Diamond Teague Park would be expanded northward. There would also be a minimum 40,000 square feet of retail.
But all of this has to wait until DC Water can find a suitable new home for some of the operations that currently live at 125 O Street SE.
It's also worth noting with each post on this project that DC Water will not be departing the site completely--the beautiful historic Main Pumping Station building will keep right on pumping, as will the less-beautiful and less-historic O Street Pumping station. In addition, earlier this year DC Water solicited bids for the design of a new headquarters building, which would bring the agency's HQ from Blue Plains to a space on top of the O Street station.

Unleashed Open at Boilermaker Shops; A 100 Montaditos Peek
Nov 4, 2014 10:53 AM
(First off, go vote! Second, if you're in ANC 6D07, read about your candidates before you go vote.)
I fear I'm reaching maximum velocity in the posting department, but I don't want to let these terribly important Boilermaker Shops observations slide:
* Unleashed(!) by Petco is open. Apologies for the blurry interior photo, but the two staffers froze in terror when I said I'd like to take a photograph inside, so I didn't really dilly-dally.
* The door to the 100 Montaditos space just happened to be open when I walked by, and, well, you know....:

First Look: Inside Harris Teeter, Opening Tuesday Evening
Nov 3, 2014 4:57 PM
At 5:30 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 4, the ribbon will be cut and Harris Teeter, the neighborhood's first grocery store, will at last open at 4th and M, SE. And, after the ceremonies and a free tasting event that runs until 8 pm, the store will be open for shopping until midnight, and then will open at 6 am Wednesday for its first full day.
And of course heaven forbid that I'd just wait until the doors open to the public--the folks at Teeter were nice enough to give my camera a quick tour, while dodging the hive of activity that you can imagine marks a 50,000-square-foot grocery store 24 hours before it opens.
I took way too many photos of something that will just become part of the neighborhood's fabric quite quickly, but, well, it was fun.
Check out the gallery. There's a lot more than just these.
UPDATE: Since the numbers just arrived, I thought I'd mention that this store is 6,000 square feet larger than the Jenkins Row store at 14th and Pennsylvania, SE, and basically the same size as the one at 1st and M, NE.
Comments (9)
More posts: Retail, teeter, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Unleashed by Petco Opening Nov. 3 at the Boilermaker Shops
Oct 21, 2014 1:40 PM
I mentioned this last week at the bottom of my Willie-is-opening post, as an update, but acknowledge that that may have not seeped into the news-stream consciousness appropriately, so here's an official entry:
The neighborhood's newest retail establishment, Unleashed by Petco, says it will be opening at the Boilermaker Shops in the Yards on Monday, Nov. 3, thus beating Harris Teeter to the finish line by two days.
As you can see in the photo provided by my personal stringer, the store will be open from 9 am to 9 pm six days a week, and 10 am to 7 pm on Sundays.
The shelves are already looking well stocked, and certainly this could become a prime destination for the bajillion dog owners who live nearby. And I suppose I should make a full disclosure that I assume I will duck in there on occasion, as my not-dogs continue to eat us out of house and home. (It's a good thing they are cute.)

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?

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

First Look: Inside the VIDA Fitness Complex, Edging Toward Completion
Sep 18, 2014 2:22 PM
It's still a few weeks from opening, but today my camera was taken on a tour of the mammoth VIDA Fitness space on the northeast corner of 4th and Tingey, including the Bang Salon, Aura Spa, and Penthouse Pool Club offerings. (Does walking through four floors and 30,000 square feet of a fitness center count as a workout?)
I've put a pile of photos in this gallery as a narrated walking tour, so that you can see spots like the "experiential cycling studio" with a virtual reality wall, the "inner fitness" room (with its own HVAC system to allow for hot yoga and rapid cooling afterward), the locker rooms, the pool deck, and much more--you'll just need to pardon their dust as they race toward an opening probably in the first week in October.
The VIDA web site has much more information on all the offerings, which also will include a Kids Zone for babysitting while Mom and Dad sweat. I was told that VIDA expects to have about 900 memberships within the next few weeks--and pre-opening membership rates are still available. (There's also 50 on-site parking spaces, though be sure to appreciate the irony of driving to the gym.)
Here's a couple of shots, but check out the full gallery.
Meanwhile, just up the street, in the same Twelve12 complex, the Harris Teeter is looking very spiffy with its signage--but alas is seeing its own opening date slip, probably to early November.
Comments (2)
More posts: Retail, teeter, vida, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

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.

TaKorean Opening Officially on Monday at Twelve12
Aug 17, 2014 10:08 AM
After two soft-opening days last week, food truck-turned-brick and mortar outlet TaKorean will be having its official grand opening on Monday, Aug. 18 in the ground floor of the Twelve12 apartment building at 4th and Tingey, next door to Sweetgreen.
Initial hours of operation will be 11 am to 7:30 pm Monday through Friday, and 11 am to 4 pm on Saturday, but closed Sunday--with plans for longer hours in coming months.
For those who have never come across TaKorean's truck or Union Market space, the menu takes classic Korean items like Bulgogi, Dak Galbi, Bo Ssam, and tofu and gives them a "Mexican twist" -- served taco style or in bowls with rice or slaw (including a kimchi-style offering) and with an array of toppings ranging from lime crema to Siracha sauce to sesame seeds.
The Twelve12 location also will have draft beer, sake, and soju.
The company pledges 1 percent of all gross sales to local environmental and youth-based nonprofits.
(And now I shall apologize for going AWOL this month. I drove to and from Wyoming to deal with various aspects of my mother's estate and to breathe the fresh air--sneaking in some touring of festive places like Lincoln, Neb., Scotts Bluff, Fargo, N.D., and Cedar Falls, Iowa, along the way. The house had no internet connection, except for my smartphone or if I set up my laptop close to a window and caught a neighbor's unsecured WiFi signal--all of which made it easy to go off-grid. So I'll be playing catch-up over the next few days. And I'll be disappearing again at the end of the month for what is hopefully just a brief stint on the DL. Getting old stinks.)

Out and About: Pending Arrivals and Departures
Jul 13, 2014 12:26 PM
Some photos from Saturday, taken before I melted into a puddle. (Anything over 80 degrees is kryptonite to me.) Click to enlarge and view as a photo gallery, if you're on a desktop machine, that is.
At Twelve12, where the first residents have begun moving in and Sweetgreen is now open, TaKorean looks to be making progress toward its own launch:
Up above TaKorean, VIDA Fitness's signs have gone up, with an opening looming probably in August.
(And, no photos, but 100 Montaditos at the Boilermaker Shops appears to finally have its building permit.)
Over at 1st and L, fence signage has sprouted for the River Parc apartment building (announcing a web site at, you guessed it, riverparc.com, though there's nothing pertinent there just yet). Plus the leasing trailer is now landscaped and outside the Akridge fence.
In grocery store news, I haven't yet posted photos of the fun artwork hanging on the historic brick wall outside of Harris Teeter's space at 4th and M (below left). And below right, the Whole Foods/800 New Jersey hole in the ground is indeed being dug. (Never say I withhold important information.) Teeter is expected to open this fall, while Whole Foods is not going to be seen before 2017.
But of course, the showiest action in the neighborhood continues to be the long (LONG) farewell to Spooky Building 213, which is starting to edge into How Can We Miss You If You Won't Go Away? territory. But the very south end of the structure began its march into the sunset this weekend, which means that, yes, the bat is about to vanish.
Finally, given the vagaries of both Mother Nature and the summer calendar, it's possible I might not get too many more shots of St. Matthew's church at New Jersey and L, with its raze permit now approved and demolition expected to get underway in the next couple of weeks to make way for 1111 New Jersey. So, maybe a final before-and-after, comparing the view eight years apart:

Something Appears to be Happening at 909. What, I Don't Know.
Jul 11, 2014 3:33 PM
There's been enough traffic on Twitter and in my inbox to make mention of the subtle changes in recent days and weeks on the northwest corner of New Jersey and K, where the empty retail space in the 909 New Jersey apartment building has sat since 2009.
The For Lease signs that have been in the windows have come down, and there's fresh landscaping around the terrace in front of the space.
ANC Commissioner David Garber has been saying that something should be announced soon, but as of now, the powers that be are tight-lipped. Rumors aren't hard to find, though, with one report of an "American bistro" coming.
I don't have anything to hint toward myself, but will definitely be ready to post the second I hear something. (Which, who knows, might be as soon as this post goes up, if someone wants to whisper.)
Comments (3)
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Retail, scarletoak

Ice Cream Jubilee Opening at the Yards Park July 12
Jul 7, 2014 4:35 PM
With summer heat beginning to approach red alert stage, residents and visitors will be thrilled to learn that Ice Cream Jubilee is scheduled to open its "scoop shop" on Saturday, July 12, on the northeast corner of the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park.
The store's summertime hours will be 10 am to 10 pm Monday through Saturday, and 11 am to 8 pm on Sundays.
The initial menu will include at least 12 ice cream and sorbet flavors, along with Zeke's coffee (drip and iced). Sundaes and other treats are expected to follow in the coming months.
Victoria Lai, Jubilee's founder, began making and selling ice cream three years ago while still working her day job at the Department of Homeland Security, and in 2013 her creations won the People's Choice Award for Best Ice Cream at the 2013 DC Scoop competition. This is the company's first shop.
Jubilee is the third eatery to open at the Lumber Shed, joining Osteria Morini and Agua 301.
See the shop's web site for more details on flavors and whatnot.
UPDATE: Here's the Post's Going Out Guide on Jubilee and some other new ice cream arrivals.

Is a Pet Store Coming to the Boilermaker Shops?
May 8, 2014 3:03 PM
The Washington Business Journal reports today that a "retail pet establishment" has been proposed for the Boilermaker Shops at 300 Tingey St. SE in the Yards.
No deal has been announced by Forest City, so no retailer is officially named, but WBJ does ponder the notion of perhaps the smaller, more boutique "Unleashed by Petco" being the potential tenant.
This would apparently be different from the veterinary offering that may be coming to the Twelve12 apartment building a few steps away, as was discussed during zoning hearings a few months back to tweak the rules so that a vet could be allowed.
We shall see....!

Details on Bang Salon at the Yards, Coming this Summer
Mar 5, 2014 4:19 PM
Some details out today about Bang Salon at the Yards, which will be coming in late summer as part of the "$6.5 million, 30,000-square-foot fitness and lifestyle complex" anchored by VIDA Fitness at Forest City's Twelve12 apartment and retail project in the Yards.
The 1,500-square-foot space will have a design described in a press release as "a fusion of modern, fresh and lively configurations that incorporates sophisticated hues of purple, black and white to create a classic, chic retro look," as can be seen in the rendering. There will be 15 stations, which will be encased in "glossy dove grey pods with tufted silver leather panels."
Bang, which already has three locations elsewhere in the area, apparently uses a performance-based pricing system--rating the stylists, not the clients--as well as an online booking option. Not surprisingly, Bang's own hair and body products will also be available for purchase.
VIDA's other affiliates, the Penthouse Pool Club and the Aura Spa, are also coming to Twelve12's three-story glass-enclosed retail complex at 4th and Tingey. In addition, Sweetgreen and TaKorean have signed leases to occupy ground-floor space on this corner, and Harris Teeter is now working on its own build-out at the north end of the block. It's also right across the street from the Boilermaker Shops, home of Bluejacket and Buzz Bakery, in case you need a reward after all the self-pampering and good living.

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

Tidbits: Train Tracks, Training, Treadmills
Jan 27, 2014 5:28 PM
* TRAIN TRACKS I: There was another public meeting about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project on Saturday, again hosted by DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. It was billed in advance as meeting with both her and representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency. However, EPA decided not to attend, apparently releasing this statement (tweeted out by a DCist staffer) saying in part "EPA remains invested in the views of all stakeholders[.] ... However, the agency believes it is appropriate to first allow the DDOT and FHA time to consider the comments of EPA and others on the draft EIS."
* TRAIN TRACKS II: The Post covered the "heated" meeting, highlighting that "CSX Transportation says residents in a Southeast Washington community who have raised concerns about trains carrying crude oil passing through the District can rest assured that crude oil transportation through the city is rare, and that there is no market in the area for it." CSX stated that it transported three loaded cars of crude oil through the tunnel in 2013, on separate trains, with none of them being the "unit trains" that cause such concern. However, last week the National Transportation Safety Board released recommendations for stricter federal oversight of crude oil transportation. It also quoted Del. Norton as being "totally outraged" about the EPA no show. (And, just as the Tidbits went up, there's another link to add, this summary of the meeting by ThinkProgress's ClimateProgress arm.)
* TRAIN TRACKS III: And there were offerings from the two ANC commissioners whose districts include the tunnel but who have close to diametrically opposed views of the project. ANC 6D07's David Garber's letter to the Editor in the Post says "There is no better time than now for [Mayor] Gray to show his leadership and stop this harmful project before it starts," while 6B03's Kirsten Oldenburg's description and thoughts about Saturday's EPA-less meeting concludes with "[A]ll that can possibly be said about this proposed tunnel reconstruction is out there in the public domain. My hope is that the FEIS is released before we have anymore public meetings hosted by political leaders."
* TRAINING: I mentioned in last week's Tidbits that Teeter and VIDA would be starting the buildouts of their spaces at Twelve12 "very soon," and today VIDA sent out a press release announcing that Feb. 1 is in fact their start date. The release says that it's expected the Penthouse Pool Club will open in early July, Bang Salon in mid-July, VIDA Fitness itself in August, and Aura Spa in October. A few renderings of the VIDA spaces (lobby, pool, and kids zone), courtesy VIDA's Facebook page (click to embiggen):
The release also mentions new-to-VIDA offerings at the Yards such as the "experiential cycling studio," the "Synrgy 360 globular multipurpose exercise apparatus," a hot yoga studio, "well-appointed, gender-specific European sauna and steam rooms," and the 1,000-square-foot Kids Zone shown above.
* TREADMILLS: But what about memberships for cats who like to workout on treadmills? (That's my George.)

Ice Cream Jubilee Coming to the Lumber Shed
Jan 21, 2014 3:19 PM
Perhaps a snowy January day isn't the best one to announce this, but Forest City has just put out the word that Ice Cream Jubilee will be opening in the Lumber Shed at the Yards this spring. This will be the brand's first dedicated store location, and will be a 1,076-square-foot space on the northeast corner of the Shed, on the edge of the Yards Park. In addition to scoops, the store will sell pre-packaged half pints of many of its flavors.
Ice Cream Jubilee was the winner of the People's Choice award at the DC Scoop competition last July.
The army of kids who are brought to the Yards Park throughout the year will certainly figure out this new offering pretty quickly.

Inside Bluejacket and Arsenal - In Daylight!
Nov 10, 2013 2:46 PM
This weekend the Bluejacket/Arsenal folks have opened the bar and restaurant for lunch, which turned out quite well when I wandered by the Boilermaker Shops with my camera. I threw together a quick gallery, but here's a sampling:

TaKorean Coming to Twelve12 in 2014
Nov 4, 2013 12:45 PM
City Paper reports today what's been rumored for a for a few months now, that TaKorean will branch out from its food truck and Union Market stall to a fast-casual restaurant space in the under-construction Twelve12 apartment building
The 1,700-sq-ft restaurant will face 4th Street, SE, adjacent to the Sweetgreen at the corner of 4th and Tingey, in the building on the south end of the project that will also be home to the Vida Fitness/Penthouse Pool and Lounge/Bang Salon/Aura Spa empire. At the north end of the block will be Harris Teeter, and up above will be 220ish rental apartments.
According to City Paper, "the location will offer a few new options beyond Korean-style tacos, including rice bowls with all the same toppings. TaKorean will also continue to offer salad bowls."
Forest City, which only confirms tenant deals when leases are signed, hasn't piped up yet, but I'll update if/when they do.
UPDATE: Forest City has now made it official with their own press release, which says that the Twelve12 retail spaces are now 92 percent leased, and that residential leasing for Twelve12 will begin in the first quarter of 2014, with initial move-ins expected by June.
It also says that, at the Lumber Shed, Osteria Morini is expected to open "in mid-November" and Agua 301 in early 2014--but, well, let's give it a little cushion and just say they'll open when they open. And it gives a basic 2014 date for 100 Montaditos and Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops.

Buzz Bakery Opening Thursday at Boilermaker Shops
Oct 30, 2013 8:57 AM
With Bluejacket Brewery and its Arsenal restaurant having now opened to the public (with a launch last night that would be the envy of most restaurant/bar operators), the Neighborhood Restaurant Group is now putting the finishing touches on sibling operation Buzz Bakery, next door to Bluejacket at the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards.
The original plans were to open this morning, but the bakery then tweeted that "there's still a little beautifying & final touches that need to happen," and a sign on the door now says that it will open Thursday at 7 am.
Buzz's web site doesn't yet have information on this location, {deleted}. UPDATE: Buzz Bakery has gotten in touch with me and said they don't know what their hours will be yet, but that they will be different from their other locations and so would I please remove the part of this post mentioning the publicly posted hours for their Ballston location. {shrug}
Buzz and Bluejacket are on the east end of the Boilermaker Shops, at 4th and Tingey streets, SE. They join Nando's Peri-Peri, Wells Cleaners, and GNC Nutrition in the building, with Willie's Brew and 'Que and 100 Montaditos slated to join them in the future.

Post Says Bluejacket (and Arsenal) to Open Tuesday, Oct. 29
Oct 23, 2013 4:14 PM
According to an article just put up at washingtonpost.com, the long-awaited Bluejacket Brewery will officially open for business at 4 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 29, with dinner service beginning at 5:30 pm.
And there's this, which is interesting: "The restaurant and bar inside Bluejacket will go by another name, the Arsenal, a moniker that draws on the building's history. [...] Chef de cuisine Dan Hahndorf, formerly of Vermilion, will be running the kitchen. Bailey told me his menu will put a modern spin on beer-hall food, with an emphasis on Mid-Atlantic ingredients. He'll also be using the spent grains from the beer production to make pastas."
It means that Bluejacket is the brewery itself, "which has the capacity to produce 5,000 barrels a year, or roughly 10,000 kegs. Engert expects to sell about 60 percent of Bluejacket's production via retail, but as of now, the brewery does not have a distribution deal. Large-format bottles of Bluejacket beer will be available for take-away at the Navy Yard location. Bluejacket will not sell growlers."
There's some nice interior photos in the Post spread, which may have to do if you're unable or unwilling to brave what will probably be massive crowds at first.
It was announced way back in June of 2011 that the brewery--along with Buzz Bakery--would be coming to the Boilermaker Shops.
UPDATE: And here's another piece on the opening, from City Paper's Jessica Sidman.
UPDATE II: Here's the menu, via City Paper.

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

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

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

Catching Up on Photos - Boilermaker Shops
Sep 29, 2013 4:01 PM
A sunny Sunday peek at new tenants GNC and Nando's Peri-Peri, which both opened in August in the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards:
Or, if you want to see them all in one long-lens shot:
Also in August, it was announced that fast-casual Spanish-small-sandwiches outlet 100 Montaditos will be coming to the Boilermaker Shops as well. And, who knows, maybe someday Bluejacket, Buzz Bakery, and Willie's Brew and 'Que may actually open.
See more new photos, as well as before-and-after photos and information about the project here.

Sweetgreen Confirmed For Twelve12 at the Yards
May 21, 2013 1:20 PM
With this photo yesterday from the little Yards tent display at 1st and N lighting the fuse, the announcement was made today that local salad chain Sweetgreen will be coming to Twelve12, the new 218-unit apartment building now under construction at 4th and M SE that will also be home to Harris Teeter and Vida Fitness.
Sweetgreen is currently expected to open in mid-2014, and will be located right on the corner of 4th and Tingey, with "exposure" on both streets, as seen in the image at right.
Forest City's press release for today's news also gives some timeline updates for the Boilermaker Shops, saying that Bluejacket and Buzz Bakery are expected to open in June late July/early August, Nando's Peri-Peri "this summer," and Willie's Brew and Que "in late summer." Over at the Lumber Shed, Osteria Morini is expected "in mid-late summer of this year," and Agua 301 is coming "this summer." And, as reported last week, year-round pizzeria Nicoletta will be coming to the Yards Park boardwalk "in late 2013." In the non-food category, Desi Living Loft Furniture is still expected in June.
UPDATE: Forest City sent an update to the expected opening date for Bluejacket/Buzz Bakery.

Baseball Not Far Off; A Visitor's Guide to the Neighborhood
Mar 21, 2013 10:38 AM
It seems like it's been forever since baseball was at Nationals Park (except for that Game 5, which feels like yesterday), and now we're in the final homestretch before the team returns to town, first for an exhibition game against the Yankees Friday, March 29, at 2 pm, followed by the season opener at 1 pm on Monday, April 1.
So, once again I highlight my Visting Nationals Park page, which I built last year to bring together links and information both about the ballpark itself and what's available and interesting outside the stadium.
For those wanting to know what's happened in the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards (#NeCaBaRY) neighborhood since last season, my What's New and Notable list fills in the headlines, while the Google Map of Food and Drink options shows both the currently opened eateries and the ones coming soon.
There's also links to information on the Riverwalk, the Yards Park and new-to-you Canal Park, and the Navy Yard, for people looking for other ways to pass the time before and after games.
As for the ballpark itself, there's my map of official and "cash" parking lots, a "Getting There" guide, and of course all of my photos of the stadium's construction and milestones.
But, for people who can't even bear to click a link, I'll give the headlines that I know are most of interest:
* Brewery/Restaurant Gordon Biersch should open on Opening Day at 1st and M.
* The Park Tavern at 2nd and M could be opening Any Minute Now.
* Kruba Thai and Sushi at 3rd and Water in the Foundry Lofts has been open since November.
* Highly anticipated brewery Bluejacket is expected to open at 4th and Tingey in the Boilermaker Shops in late spring or early summer, as will Nando's Peri-Peri, Buzz Bakery, and (maybe) Willie's Brew and 'Que.
* Later in the summer should see the opening of the first two restaurants in the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park: Agua 301 (which has just begun its buildout), and Osteria Morini.
There's also still Justin's Cafe, Five Guys, Subway, Potbelly, Lot 38 Espresso, McDonald's, and the Fairgrounds.
And, alas, there's also still the hole in the ground at Half and N.
On the bright side, there are two new holes in the ground where work is actually underway, for new apartment buildings the Park Chelsea at New Jersey and I and Twelve12 at 4th and M, both expected to open next year.
And the Camden South Capitol apartments directly across South Capitol from the stadium are opening in just a few weeks.
In other words, believe it or not, good things are actually happening outside the ballpark. And it seems like good things should be happening inside the ballpark this year, too.
So bookmark the guide and use it whenever you come down to Near Southeast/Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard/Nats Town/#NaYa/#NeCaBaRY.
Comments (35)

Desi Living Loft Furniture Store Coming to Foundry Lofts
Mar 19, 2013 1:12 PM
The Yards has announced on its Twitter/Facebook feeds that furniture store Desi Living Loft Furniture is coming to the Foundry Lofts in June.
The company, which according to its web site currently has locations in Rockville, Arlington's Pentagon Row, and Annapolis Towne Center, bills itself as "the DC area's premier stop for the most affordable, stylish, and unique concepts in living room furniture." Presumably this is coming to the retail space on the building's southeast corner, next to Kruba Thai and across from the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park.
This would be the first non-food non-services retailer to open in the neighborhood (other than CVS).
I've reached out to Forest City for more information, and will update when I get it.
UPDATE: The store will be a 3,000-square-foot showroom, and the official press release says "late spring" for opening. The release also gives a slightly different name for the company than its own web site, calling it "Desi Living Loft Furniture," apparently because this will have a slightly different type of furniture mix, so I've changed the title of this blog post.
Comments (33)
More posts: Foundry Lofts/Yards, Retail, The Yards

Movie Theater Zoning Plans Submitted; Late '15 Opening?
Mar 1, 2013 11:06 AM
Forest City Washington is moving forward with the plans for a sixteen screen movie theater near Nationals Park, having submitted a truckload of documents this week to the Zoning Commission for its plans to redevelop more than five acres of land currently occupied by DC Water.
This site, which sits between the current footprint of the Yards and the ballpark, would be turned into four new city blocks with 600 residential units in two buildings, an expansion of Diamond Teague Park, and somewhere around 50,000 square feet in retail, which would include the theater that we first heard about a few months ago.
The plan apparently would be to build the theater first (and in fact FCW is requesting second-stage PUD approval for the theater plans, for those of you who know what that means), and in the zoning filing FCW says that they intend to file for building permits by this fall and start construction by the beginning of 2014, with an expected opening of the theater by late 2015.
There would be 337 parking spaces at the theater, which would be above-ground and contained within the first four floors of the theater building. DC Water would continue its operations on the other three blocks that are part of this plan while the theater is constructed and operating, with the development of those blocks waiting until those operations can be relocated (and, of course, "subject to market conditions)."
A few months ago I wrote in great detail about the plans for the theater itself, expected to be operated by Showplace Icon, after a public meeting was held for residents about the crowds that might be drawn, who seemed mostly mollified by the "policies to encourage courteous behavior." Read that post for more.
There should be a hearing on these plans within the next few months. And I'll dig through the documents to look for more tidbits, but mainly I wanted folks to finally see a rendering!

Retail, Restaurant, and Recreation News (New and Old)
Feb 11, 2013 11:40 AM
A hail of bullets on various retail, restaurant, and recreation-type items, some of which are relatively new, but some of which decidedly aren't:
* The boxing and fitness club DCBFIT opened last week in the ground floor of Capitol Hill Tower, at the corner of New Jersey and L SE. While their web site makes me tired and sore just looking at it, I'm sure there are plenty of folks who will find this offering intriguing.
* Gordon Biersch, coming soon to 1st and M, has "Now Hiring" signs up: go to Work4GB.com.
* Also hiring, according to commenter JT who passed along the Craigslist link, is the Park Tavern at Canal Park. The Hill is Home says that it's opening "very soon," even saying "around the 20th of February," but We Shall See.
* Nando's Peri-Peri now has signage up at the Boilermaker Shops--it's a little more than halfway down Tingey between 3rd and 4th, closer to the Bluejacket end of the building. It's supposed to be opening this spring.
* The Navy Yard portion of the Riverwalk was supposed to reopen today--anyone give it a shot yet? And, if so, is there any actual trail once you go out the east gate? As I showed a couple of weeks ago, the old asphalt had been ripped up as part of the 11th Street Bridges work, though of course it will be back at some point.
* Maybe now is finally a good time to mention the opening of petcare store Wagtime Too at 900 M Street, where it has been for a number of weeks now, offering boarding, daycare, grooming and "cool stuff." And I actually have taken a photo of it.
* Apparently the Quizno's at 8th and Potomac closed permanently back in December. And Chicken Tortilla at 8th and L was closed when I walked by a few weeks ago, though I don't know the story on that.
UPDATE: Yes, the Riverwalk is apparently open. And I meant to also mention that Kruba Thai and Sushi's web site is now up and running.

Sneaking a Quick Peek Inside the Gordon Biersch Space
Feb 2, 2013 5:33 PM
When wandering by the Gordon Biersch space earlier today, I managed to sneak a peek inside:
I also caught some more fermenters arriving, plus some signage (click to embiggen):
The sign kind of says it all, right? "Early April" -- will they manage to make Opening Day?
Seems hard to believe this is actually coming. There is also a public space permit application in the window for unenclosed sidewalk seating, so you can look forward to dining al fresco at 1st and M while hordes of Nationals fans traipse past in the summer.
(I also added these photos, and a few others, to my 100 M page, which I kind of hadn't really looked at since the building opened in 2008.)

Progress Check: Lumber Shed and Twelve12 at the Yards
Jan 29, 2013 1:55 PM
Some quick shots from today of the other projects underway at the Yards, in case a new dry cleaners just isn't exciting enough for you.
The new exterior glass is now almost completely on the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park, where Osteria Morini and Agua 301 are slated to be tenants when it opens later this year (along with Forest City Washington on the second floor):
A before-and-after that can't possibly be resisted:
Facing the Anacostia:
Meanwhile, over at the Twelve12 apartment building project on 4th Street (more popularly known as the Harris Teeter/Vida Fitness building), the progress isn't quite as showy, unless you're a construction nerd and you know what the arrival of a tower crane means:
Yes, it means that vertical construction is not far off. The building is expected to be completed in 2014. And in case you want one more shot of the hole in the ground:
See the project pages for the Lumber Shed and Twelve12 for renderings and additional details.

Wells Cleaners Now Open in the Boilermaker Shops
Jan 29, 2013 11:16 AM
The Boilermaker Shops at the Yards now has its first operating retail tenant, with Wells Dry Cleaners having at last opened its doors to the public. (Note that I avoided any "it's about to open" posts, having learned my lesson the hard way too many times in the past!)
It's open from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am to 6 pm on Saturdays, and is closed on Sundays. It's right next door to the Willie's Brew and 'Que space, much closer to 3rd Street than to 4th.
(Fun signage, too! Check out another view of it from the side, to see the smaller sign sticking out for easy reading when walking the long length of the building.)
Comments (2)
More posts: Boilermaker Shops/Yards, Retail, The Yards

Nando's Peri-Peri Coming to the Boilermaker Shops
Jan 22, 2013 10:28 AM
A press release sent out this morning says that "fast-growing international chicken restaurant" Nando's Peri-Peri will be coming to the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, with an expected opening in June of this year. It will be the restaurant's 12th US location, including the one on 7th Street NW in Chinatown and eight others in the DC area.
Nando's would join planned restaurants Bluejacket brewery, Buzz Bakery, and Willie's Brew and 'Que, along with opening-any-second-now Wells Cleaners at the Boilermaker Shops.
If you haven't tried it, "Nando's is known worldwide for its succulent Peri-Peri chicken, marinated for 24 hours, flame-grilled to perfection, and basted to the customer’s preferred flavor and spice."
The press release did not come from Forest City, but they have confirmed the lease.
(And props to reader Jaybird who had this rumor a few months ago, and mentioned it in a recent JDLand comment thread.)

Vats of Beer! Or At Least the Vats to Make Vats of Beer
Jan 15, 2013 12:32 PM
Within the past few days, readers have sent tweets with photos of brewing equipment being delivered to soon-to-be-Gordon Biersch at 100 M and inside the space at the Boilermaker Shops that will become Bluejacket.
No official timeframe on when either of these restaurants will open, though a Biersch employee told the Post that he "expects the new Biersch branch to be operating in time for the Craft Brewers Conference in March and the Nats' home opener in April."
As for the other beer joint on tap for the neighborhood (see what I did there?), there doesn't appear to be any action so far in the Willie's Brew and 'Que space at the Boilermaker Shops, but with owner Xavier Cervera's long-in-the-works redo of the Hawk 'n' Dove reportedly about to debut, perhaps he'll then be able to shift resources both to Willie's and to the Park Tavern at Canal Park.
UPDATE, 1/17: This Esquire interview with Bluejacket bigshot Greg Engert says that the bar will open "in May."

Agua 301 Restaurant Coming to Yards Lumber Shed
Nov 29, 2012 3:05 PM
Forest City Washington is announcing today that a "modern Mexican" restaurant to be called Agua 301 will be coming to the Lumber Shed building at the Yards next summer.
The 3,600-square-foot restaurant, to be located on the Shed's southwest corner (nearest to the Yards Park's pedestrian bridge) is coming from the creators/owners of Zest Bistro on Barracks Row, and takes its name from the address of the Lumber Shed, at 301 Water St., SE. The menu is being developed by Zest's executive chef, Dot Steck.
The Lumber Shed is already the announced location of Italian restaurant Osteria Morini (on the building's southeastern corner) and has spaces still to lease for three additional restaurants.
The press release from Forest City also says that Bluejacket and Buzz Bakery are still expected to open in the Boilermaker Shops in the "first quarter" of 2013, with Willie Brew and 'Que opening there "by spring." UPDATE: But one thing I am noticing that isn't mentioned in the press release: any reference to Huey's 24-7 Diner, which was one of the originally announced restaurants for the Boilermaker Shops. Hmmm. Anyone close by want to check and see if that banner has been pulled down from the Boilermaker facade?

Prospective Yards Movie Theater Operator: Showplace Icon
Nov 15, 2012 10:39 PM
At a public meeting on Thursday night, Yards developer Forest City Washington presented very early plans for the portion of the DC Water/WASA site on 1st Street that the company is currently working to secure the development rights for.
While people are always interested in projects for more residential buildings with ground-floor retail, it was the plans for a movie theater on the site that drew a decent-sized crowd to the meeting, and the attendees learned that Showplace Icon is the heretofore unnamed operator that Forest City is currently in negotiations with.
It would be a 16-screen theater with more than 2,000 seats on N Place SE (see my quickie map for placement in regards to Nats Park and the main WASA pumping station), and Icon's more upscale amenities and approach to movie-going were extensively touted, including all reserved seating, VIP areas in each theater with extra-wide seats and person tables, wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-floor digital screens, no on-screen pre-show advertising, fresh-not-frozen food prepared on site, and their "lobby lounge," with about 100 seats and 21-and-over-only admittance.
But it was Icon's "policies to encourage courteous behavior" that seemed to defuse the "ZOMG GALLERY PLACE" concerns about the theater that had been cropping up on neighborhood mailing lists and elsewhere over the past few weeks. The theaters will not allow children under 17 after 7 pm without an adult, no one is admitted after the movie starts, no children under seven are admitted to PG-13 or R movies after 7 pm, and the adult admission price also applies to children.
Bob Gallivan of Kerasotes Showplace Theaters said that the company's theaters in Chicago and suburban Minneapolis are "bringing people back to the movies who haven't been for awhile" thanks to these policies, because they are trying to "create a civilized atmosphere." ("We're not a babysitting service," he also said.)
Thanks to being an all-digital theater, the venue would also be able to offer other content, such as simulcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, sporting events, and other events. And the theater would also have some small retail and maybe artist space along N Place.
As for the rest of the plans for the site, along 1st Street across from Nationals Park there would be two residential buildings, totalling 625ish units, each with ground-floor retail; and the northern one of the two would incorporate the brick/industrial facade of the existing DC Water fleet management building on 1st between N Place and O (seen at left).
O Street would be re-established from 1st east to the new 1 1/2 Place, and Potomac Avenue would be extended east from 1st as well to 1 1/2 Place.
Forest City's planners envision a "lower-scale" retail experience along 1 1/2 Place (smaller "eclectic" retailers, not "low-end"), with more "large-scale" offerings long 1st thanks to the size of the street and its location across from the ballpark. All told this area of the Yards would have about 50,000 square feet of retail.
Diamond Teague Park would also be expanded somewhat to the north of its current footprint, up to the new Potomac Avenue. It's possible that Potomac Avenue and the lower part of 1 1/2 Place could be closed at times for street festivals, etc.
As for any timeline on all of this, first Forest City has to actually acquire the land from DC Water and the city, and then has to complete the negotiations with Showplace Icon. (The fact that Forest City has even named Icon before executing the lease is a pretty big departure for the company, and shows an understanding of the need to clearly define what sort of theater experience would be on the boards.) Then the project has to go through the zoning process (it will be a PUD), and then get building permits. Forest City "hopes" to begin the approximately two years of construction for the theater in 2014, but that's a lot of ducks to get in a row first. (The residential buildings would come later.)
Audience members had questions about security (Icon uses off-duty police in Chicago, and Forest City would have its own security as well), types of films that would be offered (art-house and blockbusters), worries that the Lobby Lounge might become a club (not an issue, Icon says), and how traffic generated by the development would co-exist with 40,000 fans one block away at Nationals Park 81 nights a year (or more!). Because it's still early in the process, there weren't concrete answers to some of the concerns, but this project still has to go before ANC 6D and the Zoning Commission before being approved, so there will be plenty of opportunities for additional detail to be insisted upon.
Should I mention again that this is all still subject to both the DC Water land deal and the lease with Icon getting finalized?
Much more to come on this, obviously. And, for people who weren't at the meeting who didn't get to see any of the EARLY CONCEPTUAL NOT FINALIZED drawings, I have asked for at least the EARLY CONCEPTUAL NOT FINALIZED rendering of the glass-walled theater exterior to post, and hopefully before too long Forest City will be ready to share it.

Public Meeting Thursday on Proposed Yards Movie Theater
Nov 13, 2012 1:30 PM
This Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 pm, there is a public meeting being hosted by ANC commissioner David Garber about the proposed movie theater at the Yards.
Yards developer Forest City Washington will be there, plus their planners and architects. Also in attendance will be what Forest City took pains to emphasize to me is the prospective theater operator, because no deals have been signed, and because (as we all found out with Vida Fitness), Forest City never confirms a specific tenant until a lease has been executed. (They're not even naming who this prospective operator is in advance of the meeting.)
There will be some draft images of potential designs for discussion and feedback, but this is earlier in the process than these sorts of presentations are often given, so don't be looking for firm plans just yet.
As I wrote when this news first broke in September, developer Forest City Washington is working on bringing a theater operator offering an "elevated experience" to land currently controlled by DC Water along First Street SE between Nationals Park and the Yards, along with residential and retail. But the deal with DC Water for the site is still not finalized, let alone the theater lease, so none of this is happening next week.
The meeting is at 200 I Street SE (aka 225 Virginia Avenue, aka the old Post Plant, aka the old Star Plant) at 7 pm.

WBJ: Gordon Biersch Confirmed for 100 M
Oct 31, 2012 6:01 PM
The Washington Business Journal confirms today what I've been chasing and rumoring for just over a year now, that brewery/restaurant Gordon Biersch is indeed coming to 100 M, the office building on the northeast corner of 1st and M, SE, one block north of Nationals Park.
No timetable was announced, but you'd think Opening Day 2013 would certainly be a goal. (Then again, we once thought that Opening Day 2012 would be a goal.)
The building permit application I saw a few weeks ago that I assumed was Biersch indicated the restaurant will have up to 236 seats indoors, and 94 outdoors.
Comments (4)
More posts: 100 M, biersch, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail

Vida Fitness Finally Confirmed for Twelve12 at the Yards
Oct 23, 2012 11:18 AM
It took a loooong time to get past the unconfirmed stage (and even included an oopsie cat-out-of-the-bag last year by some PR folks), but today Forest City Washington is finally officially announcing that Vida Fitness is coming to the south end of the Twelve12 apartment building, now under construction on 4th Street SE between M and Tingey in the Yards.
Also in the 28,000-square-foot facility will be Vida's "affiliated concepts" Bang Salon and Aura Spa, and will also feature Vida's Penthouse Pool Club and Lounge, shown in the above-right drawing and described as a "membership-only urban resort featuring a rooftop pool deck with city and riverfront views and a variety of poolside lounging options and amenities."
Twelve12, when completed in mid-2014, will also be home to the neighborhood's first grocery store, a 50,000-square-foot Harris Teeter located on the north end of the block at 4th and M, in addition to the building's 218 apartments. There is also still 10,000 square feet of as-yet-unleased retail space. It is across the street from the Boilermaker Shops retail pavilion, set to open in early 2013, and kitty corner from both the Foundry Lofts and what will be a new 325ish-unit apartment building on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey, expected to start construction in 2013.
Comments (9)
More posts: Retail, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Negotiations Ongoing to Bring Movie Theater to DC Water-Yards Site
Sep 27, 2012 11:57 PM
The cat got let out of the bag during a recent neighborhood walking tour (probably a bit sooner than desired) that Yards developer Forest City Washington is working on bringing a "high-quality theater operator" offering an "elevated experience" to land currently controlled by DC Water along First Street SE between Nationals Park and the Yards.
FCW tells me that it is still early in the process, that an overall deal with the city and DC Water for the land needs to be finalized first, but that if it all moves forward, "the theater operator would be new to DC and would offer a premium quality option that is differentiated by quality of design, food and customer service."
It's probably worth noting that Forest City was awarded the right to "enter into exclusive negotiations" for a six-acre portion of the larger then-WASA site by the now-defunct Anacostia Waterfront Corporation in December 2005, at a time when a development strategy was being formulated by Forest City, Western Development, Cordish, and Monument Realty for the "Ballpark District" (remember that?)
Forest City's plans for the DC Water site would also include residential and retail in addition to the theater, and with this site being close to the possibly-getting-started-next-year residential building and plaza at the foot of 1st Street that will be Florida Rock's first phase, the ballpark's eastern and southern sides would certainly begin to be "activated," even on the 280ish days of the year when the Nats aren't playing.
However, despite the oft-stated desire of residents to have a movie theater in Near Southeast, as well as the continued yearning for more development in general, there has been a bit of trepidation about this particular plan in some comments on a neighborhood mailing list, especially given that it could be a pretty large theater. Would it bring too much traffic, would it be too much of a draw for boisterous crowds--Gallery Place was mentioned a number of times as an example to avoid at all costs. For others, of course, the notion of a theater so close to home is exciting news, and a plan to be supported.
Forest City anticipates it will go before ANC 6D sometime this fall to brief the community on the plans and to get feedback.
Earlier this year, there was an item about Landmark Theatres wanting to open a second DC location, with the Yards being a possible destination (though city officials apparently were/are for something east of the river). However, Forest City's statement saying that the operator they are talking to "would be new to DC" seems to take Landmark out of the running, along with AMC and Regal, the two largest chains in the US.

Inside the Boilermaker Shops, Under Construction
Sep 6, 2012 12:52 PM
Construction continues at the Boilermaker Shops, the World War I industrial building at the Yards that Forest City is adapting into a retail and office space. And today I was able to see the interior for the first time since 2007, with camera in hand, of course.
None of the tenant spaces are looking like their final versions yet, but it's still cool to check out the bones before the spaces really get going with their installations. Though I sure wish it hadn't been pouring rain, to get a better sense of how much more natural light will come into these spaces when the sun is out. Next time....
The photo gallery shows the spaces where Bluejacket Brewery (above), Buzz Bakery, Willie's Brew and Que (below left), Huey's 24-7 Diner, and Wells Dry Cleaners will be, along with the office space being built out on a new second floor that runs along much of the interior of the building (below right) and some of the as-yet unleased sections.
The photos you see here are just a smattering, so be sure to check out the whole gallery.
It's too bad that the mondo-cool Shaw 15 Ton Crane left from the building's original incarnation is up in the office space, rather than somewhere in the public areas, but hopefully the office workers will take good care of it.
There are no official opening dates for any of the tenants, though it sounds like the dry cleaners will be the first to open (yay...?). Bluejacket has previously announced they are shooting for an early 2013 opening.
For additional information, including lots of (not especially new) photos of the exterior from when the sun is actually out, see my Boilermaker Shops project page.
I also tossed in a photo of the hole in the ground where Twelve12 4th will be sprouting, to be home to apartments and Harris Teeter. I was told that they've dug as deep as they're going to go, and pile work is next on the agenda.
UPDATE: Also, I was going to grouse about why I don't take photos when the weather is bad by pointing to this batch I shot along L Street catching the homestretch progress at Capitol Quarter, but strangely enough most of the "before" shots aren't exactly under bright blue skies. Juggling a camera and an umbrella is not my cup of tea, though.

Restaurant Permit Application at 100 M; Gordon Biersch, Finally?
Aug 31, 2012 10:38 AM
A building permit application has been filed with DCRA for an "interior alteration for new restaurant" at 100 M Street, one block north of Nationals Park at the corner of 1st and M SE.
The application information as seen online doesn't give any specifics of the applicant, but I wouldn't be surprised that this is at last the signal that brewery/restaurant Gordon Biersch is indeed coming to this corner ground-floor retail space in the 220,000-square-foot office building, as was first rumored last October.
I know absolutely nothing more than this, and perhaps now the hounds will now be released to get something confirmed. But no matter what tenant ends up in there, a restaurant in that space will be most welcomed by residents and fans.
(I'm guessing a by-the-playoffs timeline might be a bit aggressive, though.)
UPDATE: Meant to include that the application mentions 236 seats indoors, and 94 outdoors. And remember, this is still just an application, it's not approved yet.
Comments (7)
More posts: 100 M, biersch, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail

Fitness Club Files Building Permit Application for Capitol Hill Tower Retail Space
Aug 23, 2012 2:26 PM
Today a building permit application was filed for a new tenant layout in the retail space on New Jersey Avenue at Capitol Hill Tower between the Georgetown medical space and the Courtyard by Marriott. The permit application says: "Construction of Boxing-Fitness Club located on the lobby level approx 2685 sq. ft. as per plans." Whispers I'd been hearing about this have said that the boxing is kickboxing, but until the (as yet unmasked) tenant steps forward, people will probably have to settle for wild speculation. So have at it!
More as I get it.
Comments (7)
More posts: Capitol Hill Tower, New Jersey Ave., Retail

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

Boilermaker Shops: Construction Progress, But Two Tenants Gone
Jun 24, 2012 8:30 PM
I checked out the progress at the Boilermaker Shops on Sunday, and of course have posted a slew of new images, which show some pretty striking changes to the building's exterior, including large glass panels at Bluejacket's space on Tingey near 4th, along with marketing banners to let passers-by know what's coming after the building opens later this year.
As you look at the photos, you'll see the banners for Willie's Brew and Que sports bar, Wells Dry Cleaners, Huey's 24-7 Diner, Buzz Bakery, and Bluejacket Brewery.
What you don't see, however, are banners for Austin Grill Express and brb ("be right burger"), and this is no oversight. Forest City has passed along word that the leases with Thompson Hospitality for those two food outlets have fallen through. But work continues to find replacement tenants, along with others for the spaces not yet filled.
It's still expected that the building will open later this year, although Bluejacket is aiming for an early 2013 opening.
(If you haven't gotten enough of Yards construction photos, here's the hole in the ground still being dug for Twelve12, the Teeter/apartments building at 4th and M. And bless whoever cut a few camera-sized holes in the fence along 4th Street.)

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

Construction on Lumber Shed at Yards Park Set to Begin
Jun 19, 2012 3:22 PM
Yards developer Forest City Washington is putting out the word that construction is about to begin to transform the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park from its current open-air skeletal structure to the 30,000-square-foot glass-walled retail and office structure that has been in the works for a number of years.
Construction is expected to take 12-14 months, so look for completion probably in early fall 2013. The southeast corner of this building will be home to Osteria Morini, the Italian restaurant from New York City chef Michael White, and Forest City will be moving its offices to the second floor. The ground floor is designed to offer indoor and outdoor seating for five restaurants in all, and apparently a second unnamed offering is expected to be announced later this summer.
Look for fences to be going up around the structure by the end of this week, with actual construction activity probably beginning by early July.
See my Yards Park Phase 2 section for more renderings of the Lumber Shed's final form, along with photos from its faaaaahbulous salmon-exterior days and the more recent stripped down version. There are also plans for two more pavilions directly to the east of the Lumber Shed, though there's no timeframe for them.
And, in other Yards news:
* Kruba Thai and Sushi is expected to open in July in its location on the southwest corner of the Foundry Lofts (directly across from the Lumber Shed).
* The Boilermaker Shops are still expected to open "later this year," with its lineup of Bluejacket Brewery, Willie's Brew and 'Que, Buzz Bakery, Huey's 24-7 Diner, Austin Grill Express, and brb ("be right burger") well known by now, along with a dry cleaners and with spaces for other non-food/service retailers yet to be filled/announced.
* And the 218-unit residential building at 4th and M with the ground-floor Harris Teeter and unnamed-fitness-club-that's-Vida-Fitness is going to be called Twelve12 (for its address, 1212 4th Street SE). Excavation of the site has taken a little longer than expected (thanks to those surprises that kept being dug up), so the official start of construction there is now going to be "later this summer," with the opening in early 2014 (which is pretty much what I kept telling people to anticipate, anyway).

Diverse Markets Management Pulls Out of Fairgrounds
Apr 18, 2012 1:41 PM
Diverse Markets Management, the company which was overseeing the "market" portion of the new Fairgrounds shipping container market and events space on Half Street, alerted its vendors and other exhibitors via e-mail that "[a]fter much deliberation, DMM has concluded it must drop out of this project, effective immediately."
In the e-mail, DMM executive director Michael Berman said he was sorry that the plans didn't work out, having had "high hopes for the venue," but: "Taking a hard look at the site, I believe it cannot support retail, vending, artists or farmers as we had imagined that it might. I think the space is well designed to serve alcohol products and that the stage, sound, and food trucks compliment that use, but the vending and retail aspect does not fit in at all, without a complete redesign, which is not envisioned."
In what is probably related news, the Fairgrounds web site now says that it will be open "daily" (i.e., operating on non-game days in addition to game days) beginning May 4. The food, drink, and entertainment portions of Fairgrounds's operations were not being handled by DMM and presumably will be continuing. I've reached out to Fairgrounds developer Bo Blair to find out whether another vendor will be brought in to try to revive the market aspect of Fairgrounds' plans, and will update with any information I get.
UPDATE: Describing the Fairgrounds team as "disappointed" that DMM pulled out after only five days of business, Bo Blair had this to say via e-mail:
"From the beginning of the Fairgrounds concept, we all were very aware that the retail aspect was going to be a difficult task. Unfortunately, DMM was not the right fit. We are fully committed to moving forward quickly with a host of other vendors, artists, real estate brokers, and entrepeneurs who see the incredible potential to create something unique and interesting on the site. We did not go out and spend over $350,000 and waste an incredible amount of time and effort to have the containers sit empty. We will fill them soon. The other aspects of Fairgrounds, such as the food trucks, The Bullpen, games, and live music have been very well received. We have many events planned for the summer and will be open daily starting May 4th. We look forward to new ideas and concepts to fill the container stores as soon as possible and are excited for the great season ahead."
Comments (15)
More posts: West Half St., Fairgrounds/Bullpen, Retail

Potbelly Opening for Business Tuesday at 10 am
Mar 11, 2012 10:03 PM
Unless things fall apart in the final few hours, the Potbelly Sandwich Works at 301 Tingey St. SE should officially open for business on Tuesday, March 13, at 10 am. (At least, that's what the sign says!) On Sunday afternoon workers were on site getting training, and on Monday there will be a dress rehearsal/dry run for "friends and family."
It will be open from 10 am to 7 pm seven days a week, and, if you're unfamilar with Potbelly's menu, you still have a little time left to bone up.
It's in the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts building, about two blocks east of Nationals Park, and one block south of M Street behind the US Department of Transportation headquarters. It's also the first "chain" food establishment to open in Near Southeast since Starbucks opened at USDOT in fall 2007. (Five Guys opened on 2nd Street waaaaaay back in May 2005.)

Harry's Reserve First Anniversary Events This Weekend
Mar 8, 2012 1:09 PM
Harry's Reserve, the "fine wine and spirits" store at the corner of New Jersey and I SE, is celebrating its first anniversary (how the time does fly!), and are getting out the word about some events over the next three days to mark the occasion.
Tonight and tomorrow (Thursday and Friday), they are having wine tastings from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Then, on Saturday (March 10), they are throwing a barbeque out front from 1 pm to 5 pm, and tastings until 7. They are also raffling off more than 15 bottles of the good stuff.
Details on all the offerings will hopefully be up on their Facebook page--I'd reel off the entire list of wines and spirits they are making available during these tastings and for the raffle, but then we'd just have a conflagration in the comments about how the Ruca Malen Malbec is soooooooooo much better than the De Martino Legado Syrah, and how the Three Saints Pinot Noir was so much better until the hipsters discovered it, and then I'd have to start suspending people, and there'd be rioting.
Comments (0)
More posts: Events, Harry's Reserve, Retail

Thursday Tidbits: Wagtime, Potbelly, Ballpark Taxis, More
Feb 22, 2012 10:33 PM
[Yeah, yeah, the title says Thursday but I messed up and pulled the trigger before midnight.]
For those not following my precious prose on Twitter or Facebook, some tidbits:
* Pet day care/supplies retailer Wagtime is wanting to open a second location to go with its Shaw operations, and is looking at the 900 M St. SE building (where Domino's is located). This would, however, require a zoning change, and a BZA hearing for a special exception and a variance is scheduled for May 8 at 1 pm.
* Potbelly must truly be coming to the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts, because its sign is now up.
* WashTimes: "The D.C. Taxicab Commission will allow so-called 'shared riding' outside Nationals Park to manage the chaotic jumble of pedestrians who leave in search of taxis and sometimes engage in what the agency calls 'aggressive behavior.' [...] The commission says shared riding, in which separate groups of passengers may get in the same taxicab if they are heading the same way, is needed to quell disorder and stop the use of unlicensed cabs from surrounding areas that are 'illegally pilfering' fares from the District's licensed drivers." There is already a taxi stand at Half and M; it sounds like the one the article mentions as where riders will need to queue up in order to get cabs.
* Forest City's Deborah Ratner Salzberg has been named co-chair of Mayor Gray's new task force on affordable housing.
* The Coalition for Smarter Growth looked at 2010 census figures and determined that Near Southeast has one of the city's higher totals of households without a vehicle, at somewhere between 53 and 67 percent.

Florida Rock Zoning Update - Revised Plans OKed for Set Down
Feb 15, 2012 10:46 AM
I wrote recently about the bumpy first trip back to the Zoning Commission for the new designs for the project known as Florida Rock. The developers (MRP and FRP) want to build a residential building at 1st and Potomac instead of the originally planned office building, and also are looking for some tweaks to the plans originally approved in 2008 by the Zoning Commission for the rest of the six-acre site.
At that meeting on Jan. 30, reactions of the zoning commissioners ranged from generally supportive of the changes to concerned about specific aspects of them to labeling the new filing "an affront." Because commission chair Anthony Hood was not in attendance, and because there were a few items that the commissioners wanted from the developers, the vote on whether to "set down" the case for a full hearing was deferred.
On Monday, Feb. 13, the full commission took up the case again. Despite the developers offering to increase the total amount of retail for the entire site by about 11,000 sq ft (up to 36,370 sq ft total), vice chair Konrad Schlater again felt the retail offerings to be lacking, describing the designs as having "no vision" and a "missed opportunity" for one of the city's few large-scale waterfront developments, adding that he doesn't get the sense that the design takes full advantage of the site and "how it can meet the waterfront."
Commissioner Michael Turnbull, who had unleashed the strongest broadsides last time around, said that he was "not going to go down the same road," but echoed Schlater's concerns about the lack of retail, especially the design of the east residential building that shows "four red doors" along Potomac Avenue, with no retail on that street despite being directly across from Nationals Park. "This is a destination, a prime piece of land that begs for a gripping design," Turnbull said, agreeing that there is a lack of vision for the entire site.
Commissioners Peter May and Marcie Cohen both said there are parts of the new design they prefer, with Cohen mentioning how the old design "had its back to the river," and that the new residential building opens up toward the Anacostia. But May also echoed the others by saying the idea that the project is "lacking in vision and missing an opportunity along Potomac Avenue is certainly right on."
Chairman Hood also expressed his concern that this is a prime site and that "we don't want a lost opportunity," but is happy that there is a new residential component in the revised design.
"Are we fully satisfied? No," Hood said, and while he feels the designs need "some refining and revisiting," he felt that "the applicant has heard us." With that, the commission then voted 4-1 to approve the motion to "set down" the case, with Turnbull voting against. Now the developers will work with the Office of Planning to come back to the Zoning Commission with detailed plans for the new Phase 1 residential building and general revisions to the rest of the project that they feel can get the commission's approval.
For more details on the latest design, read my two recent posts, and also check out my Florida Rock page for drawings from the initial filing in December that will now presumably be tweaked before the hearing, whenever that may be. The developers will also need to come before ANC 6D before the zoning hearing to get that commission's support (or not) before going to zoning.
Comments (2)
More posts: Florida Rock, Retail, zoning

Late Tuesday Tidbits: Tweets Possibly Lost in the Deluge
Feb 14, 2012 9:02 PM
It's starting to feel a lot like 2007 around these parts, with all the big news flying. (In fact, today's posts brought JDLand its highest traffic since all the ballpark opening falderal in early April 2008.) But I wouldn't want people to miss a couple little items tweeted over the past few days:
* New Dry Cleaners - Buried in the press release on Osteria Morini is the news that a dry cleaners is now the first non-food retailer signed as a tenant at the Boilermaker Shops. According to Forest City, Wells Cleaners will be taking 800 square feet of space.
* A Theater? Or Even A Theatre? - The Examiner reports that indy-friendly Landmark Theatres is wanting to open a second location in the District to go along with its E Street Cinema. While the article emphasizes that city officials are very much hoping that Landmark will consider an East of the River location, the director of the city's Office of Motion Picture and TV Development says that Landmark "is also looking at the Yards neighborhood[.]" Whether this truly means in the Yards itself or somewhere in the general Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards area, this news is certainly the sort of tidbit that gets residents veeeery excited. (Full disclosure: I see a lot of movies at E Street.)
* Concerts and Pups: The Nats released their 2012 promotional schedule, which includes three post-game concerts, fireworks after the July 3 game, and four Pups in the Park dates. My cat is currently contacting attorneys. Also, single-game tickets go on sale March 8 at 10 am.

Lumber Shed Restaurant Announced: Osteria Morini
Feb 14, 2012 2:25 PM
The first tenant for the Lumber Shed building at the Yards Park has just been announced by Forest City: the Italian restaurant Osteria Morini, by New York City chef Michael White. It will be a 4,250-sq-ft space, and is expected to open in the summer of 2013.
Osteria Morini currently has two locations, in Soho and Bernardsville, New Jersey, and is described in Forest City's press release as a "mid-priced, casual restaurant with lunch and dinner menus featuring innovative pasta dishes, grilled meats, fish and regional specialties."
It is part of the Altamarea Group, which also includes Marea, Ai Fiori, Due Mari, Al Molo, and the soon-to-be-opened Nicoletta. Chef White is a James Beard nominee and was named best new chef by Esquire magazine in 2002.
The Lumber Shed is one of the Yards Park's planned retail pavilions, which will also (temporarily) house Forest City's offices on the second floor. The restaurant will be located on the southeast corner of the building (seen at right), facing the Anacostia River and the Navy Yard, and will have outdoor seating on the east and south sides. With this announcement and Forest City's occupancy, the building is 60 percent leased, with the unleased space all on the ground floor for additional retail/restaurants.
This building is just to the south of the Foundry Lofts that opened in late 2011, and one block south of the Boilermaker Shop, where six restaurants will be opening over the next year or so. All three buildings are "adaptive reuse" projects of structures from the site's old days as part of the Navy Yard.
UPDATE: A bit of additional detail on the venture from Washingtonian's Best Bites blog. And here's the full press release.

Half Street 'Fairgrounds': Shipping Container Market, Events Space
Feb 13, 2012 11:56 PM
After three years of operating The Bullpen(s) on one of the empty lots just north of Nationals Park, landowner Akridge and Bullpen/Georgetown Events owner Bo Blair are opting to try something new for the 2012 season: "Fairgrounds," a combination food, market and events space that will be open seven days a week from the beginning of baseball season through October 1.
Modeled on Brooklyn's Dekalb Market and designed by Schlesinger Associate Architects, Fairgrounds will use salvaged shipping containers as retail spaces for vendors, in a program overseen by Diverse Markets Management, the people behind the flea market across from Eastern Market and the downtown holiday market. DMM touts a database of more than 2,000 vendors that it says it will tap into to "keep the market busy and diversified."
The Market (seen above and at left, click to enlarge) will be positioned on the Das Bullpen site at Half and M, across from the Navy Yard Metro station entrance. It will include "permanent" food truck versions of two of Blair's restaurants: Bayou and its New Orleans/Southern-themed food and drinks, and Surfside with its beach-type offerings. There are also plans still being worked out to have a rotating roster of additional food trucks every non-game day.
This space will open at 11:30 am every day; on game days, the market and food trucks will remain open until two hours after the game ends; otherwise, it will stay open at least through Happy Hour, or later if patrons are still around. There will be a "spectator" deck built on top of the shipping containers as well as a music stage, with plans to continue to have local and regional bands play on game days. And of course there will be 20 HD televisions and plenty of cornhole sets. (Which I totally don't get, but you kids have fun with it.)
Nats fans already quivering in fear can rest easy knowing that the two liquor licenses that were in place for the Bullpens are still active for this new venture, and a permanent bar will be built in addition to the drinks served by the Bayou and Surfside trucks.
To the south of the main food area, there is a larger open area where Fairgrounds can offer bigger events. The site will host another series of Truckeroo food truck festivals throughout the summer, along with potential music events, arts festivals, farmers' markets, etc. Every Sunday, there will be a "Family Day," with children's concerts, face painting, balloon artists, and the like. The area can also be rented for private events.
The Market's offerings can also be expanded on days when there are ballgames that might be bigger draws than others (*cough*Yankees*cough*).
Shipping containers and pallets will replace the existing long black fences all along Half Street and along M (as you can see in the drawing at top left), with possibly some work done by local artists to liven up the containers even more.
But, in what will probably be even bigger news to people who have been watching this area closely for a long time, Akridge says that they hope to begin construction this summer on the first phase of their 700,000-square-foot Half Street mixed-use development. Their intent would be to start with the 280ish-unit residential building on the south end of the block (directly across from the stadium), and the Fairgrounds' design would make it easy to just move the wall of containers further north on the site to still leave an events area available if indeed they do get underway before the end of the baseball season. The project also includes plans for two office buildings on the north end of the block, along with ground-floor retail along Half, M, N, and a pedestrian walk between the office buildings.
At Monday night's ANC 6D meeting where these plans were presented, the commissioners expressed enthusiasm, and a resolution of support was passed 6-0. Blair and his team are working with DCRA and other city agencies to get necessary approvals and permits in place so that containers can be brought in and the market can get underway by the start of the baseball season. (Whether that means the official home opener on April 12 or the April 3 home exhibition vs. the Red Sox remains to be seen. It will certainly be easy to see when the shipping containers start to arrive.)

Some New Details on Park Tavern, Willie's Brew and Que
Jan 31, 2012 10:03 PM
At a meeting of ANC 6D's ABC committee on Tuesday night, we got some new details on two restaurants coming to Near Southeast in 2012, the Park Tavern at Canal Park and Willie's Brew and Que in the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards. Both are from Xavier Cervera of Lola's/Molly Malone's/Boxcar/Hawk n Dove/etc. fame, and Cervera was in attendance to answer questions from the committee. Let's go to the bullet points, shall we?
Park Tavern - This casual restaurant in the pavilion on the south block of Canal Park near M Street is aiming to be the city's first LEED Gold restaurant, thanks to a green roof, solar panels, and the various stormwater management aspects built into the park itself. And:
* There will be fewer than 100 seats inside the glass-and-steel structure, but outside Cervera expects another 75-125 seats, both in a private "summer garden" area by the park's skating rink/water feature and in a sidewalk cafe on the eastern side, along 2nd Place. Because the building is long and narrow, Cervera said that all of the inside tables will be along the windows. There will be additional space on the roof, where visitors can go to look out over the park or walk through the big light cube, but Cervera isn't planning service up there except for private functions.
* The menu will include Neopolitan pizzas and flatbread offerings along with seafood, steaks, and more, along with full liquor service; Cervera is asking for a CR license, with hours until 2 am Sunday through Thursday and 3 am Friday-Saturday.
* The restaurant is planning to offer breakfast service beginning at 8 am, though Cervera sounded a little skeptical of whether there will be enough business to support it. (Maybe via Congressional-type breakfast business meetings?)
* June 15 is the target opening date for both the park and the Tavern.
Willie's Brew and Que - A few blocks to the south, Cervera is waiting for Forest City to finish construction on the Boilermaker Shops renovation so that he (and other tenants) can then begin their build-outs. It will occupy the western end of the building, at 3rd Street (seen at right), where the full two-story space to the roof will be open. Details:
* There will be 230 seats inside the restaurant, with another 125 or so at outdoor tables in front of the building at 3rd Street.
* It will have "live" barbeque: Cervera said that he has put a lot of money into the kitchen, with charbroilers and custom-made smokers to churn out authentic North Carolina barbeque.
* And there will be plenty of booze to go with the food, as Cervera will be requesting a CT ("tavern") liquor license, mainly, he says, because with 81 home Nats games a year two blocks away at the ballpark, he can't envision being able to meet the requirements of a CR license where 47 percent of sales must be food. (Tavern licenses don't usually go over very well with ANCs, so this will be interesting to watch.) Full operating hours until 2 am Sunday-Thursday and 3 am Friday-Saturday will be requested on the license, along with an "entertainment endorsement" to allow live music inside until 11 pm Sunday-Thursday and 1 am Friday-Saturday and recorded music on the patio. (The entertainment endorsement discussion for both locations sidetracked into whether dancing will be part of the endorsement, with Cervera bemused at the notion of having to make people stop dancing if the music has moved them: "This isn't 'Footloose.' ")
* Cervera has no opening date for Willie's, but he says he expects Forest City to release the space to him for build-out within 2-3 months.
The discussion surrounding Willie's showed the committee members being a bit hesitant to make decisions for this restaurant that then will set the standard for the other Boilermaker Shops tenants who aren't yet applying for their liquor licenses, such the brewery from the Churchkey team. The issue of noise, especially from the outdoor seating space, and how it will effect residents of the Foundry Lofts across the street was brought up, though 6D commissioner David Garber said that no one is moving into this area without knowing that it's going to be an entertainment destination of sorts. Cervera, in arguing his cause, said that he fully expects himself and the Churchkey operation to be "good stewards" of the new nightlife in the neighborhood. The first three years of operations will be "painful fiscally," he said, but they want to be here first and be good tenants.
In the end, for both operations, the committee voted to recommend approval of the license applications to the full ANC, subject to the successful negotiation of a voluntary agreement between the commission and Cervera. (Note that neither liquor license application has actually been filed yet, but Cervera says he expects all paperwork to be completed by early next week.) The full ANC could take these applications up at its Feb. 13 business meeting, if papers have been appropriately shuffled by then.

Tuesday Tidbits II: Some Info on the Boilermaker Shops Brewery
Jan 24, 2012 7:43 PM
There hasn't been much said so far about the restaurant planned for the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards by the Birch and Barley/Churchkey team, but the Post's All We Can Eat blog posted some morsels today:
* The still unnamed venture will "contain a full-scale production brewery, a brewpub-like tasting room [...] and a 200-plus-seat restaurant."
* A head brewer has been hired: Megan Parisi, former lead brewer at the Cambridge Brewing Company in Massachusetts. And, as a fun side fact, Parisi used to play clarinet for the US Navy Band, right next door at the Navy Yard.
* "Barrel-aged sour beers" will be a major focus. A comparison is made to Belgium's lambic beers, which means I'll be camping on the doorstep (Lindeman's Peche is a personal favorite). Owner Greg Engert called it all "a giant experiment."
* The operation will "open in about a year."
The brewery's neighbors in the building at 4th and Tingey SE, as announced so far, will be an Austin Grill Express, brb ("Be Right Burger"), Buzz Bakery, Huey's 24-7 Diner, and Willie's Brue and 'Que sportsbar, which will be another option for drowning any Prince Fielder-related sorrows, though by the time these places open the Nats will have had a fabulous 2012 season and no one will remember any of the recent drama. Right? Right?

Boilermaker Shops, Now With More Windows and a Mezzanine
Jan 11, 2012 10:49 AM
Do you get excited about new windows? Then this latest batch of photos of the Boilermaker Shops rehab is for you!
But, in addition to all the new glass, you can also see that the construction of the mezzanine level has begun as well. (There's a rendering midway down the page of how the mezzanine level will look, if you're having a hard time envisioning it.)
If you're just joining us, this is the project at the Yards that will bring six restaurants to this historic building by the end of 2012: a brewery by the Birch and Barley/Churchkey Folks, Austin Grill Express, BRB burger joint, Huey's 24/7 Diner, Buzz Bakery, and Willie's Brew and 'Que.
And, speaking of restaurants at the Yards, interested parties will like to hear that construction has begun on the Potbelly Sandwich Works shop in the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts building, just south of Boilermaker on the southeast corner of 3rd and Tingey. It is expected to open this spring, as is Kruba Thai and Sushi, which just received its building permit last week for its space in Foundry's southwest corner, just north of the Yards Park.

Quick Batch of Lot 38 Espresso Photos
Dec 22, 2011 10:14 AM
I missed out on Lot 38 Espresso's Grand Opening on Wednesday, because, well, it was raining. (How's that for dedication?) But I wandered down first thing this morning to check out the new digs, and of course snapped a few pictures. (I opted for a hot chocolate, since I am one of those heathens who doesn't drink coffee.) Here's the photos, and I included a couple of the progress on the two pavilions at Canal Park while I was at it.
I should also mention that they're now on Twitter (@Lot38Espresso) and Facebook, and I've added them to my Near SE Businesses Twitter list. Their web site is technically "coming soon," but it does at least list their hours, 6:30 am - 8 pm Monday-Friday, and 7 am - 7 pm Saturday and Sunday.
UPDATE: Here's City Paper's Young and Hungry blog about Lot 38, along with some blurry photos (dude, at least hold the camera still).

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

Great Moments in Social Media Boo-Boos
Dec 20, 2011 11:18 AM
There's always a lot of interest in what retail establishments will be coming to the many spaces at The Yards, but developer Forest City Washington is usually pretty good at keeping its cards close to its vest on potential tenants until lease agreements are signed.
But sometimes the PR arms of companies can't help themselves--especially in the Twitterverse--and get a little ahead of the game. At which point (as the Post's Jonathan O'Connell then commented) it's pretty hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
So, if you're wanting to know what fitness company will be coming to the retail space at 4th and Tingey (in the same residential/retail development as the Harris Teeter), it's not confirmed to be Vida Fitness. Yet.
Comments (2)
More posts: Retail, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Lot 38 Espresso Bar Opening Wednesday, Dec. 21
Dec 19, 2011 10:59 PM
Lot 38 Espresso, the new coffee bar in the old Little Red Building/Star Market location on the northwest corner of 2nd and L SE, will at last be opening its doors this week. The owner tells me that the Grand Opening will be on Wednesday, Dec. 21, but that they will also be serving free coffee on Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 11 am to 6 pm.
Leave your impressions in the comments....
Comments (8)
More posts: Little Red Bldg/Lot 38 Espresso, Retail

Teeter/Residential Building Really About to Start Construction
Dec 2, 2011 11:37 AM
You know how I always like to say that something is expected to happen Any Minute Now? In the case of construction getting started on the southeast corner of 4th and M on the new residential/Teeter/retail building in The Yards, that's now actually a pretty true statement. On Thursday Forest City received the shoring/sheeting permit approval that the project has been waiting for, which will allow the start of digging at the site as soon as some other i's are dotted and t's are crossed.
Also, on Monday night, with almost no discussion, the Zoning Commission approved 5-0 the project's itsy bitsy teeny weeny design modifications discussed recently.
Getting construction started Any Minute Now should allow the Harris Teeter to open in late 2013 or early 2014, if all goes according to plan, though hopefully once the shovels hit the ground, we can get a more detailed timeline as to when the entire project will be finished.
LATE UPDATE: And, just like that, i's have been dotted and t's have been crossed, and Forest City tells me that this project is now considered "commenced."

Canal Park Signs Lease with Xavier Cervera for Restaurant Space (Updated)
Nov 17, 2011 11:45 AM
This was rumored a number of weeks ago, but today it is official that Capitol Hill restaurateur Xavier Cervera will be opening a restaurant in the pavilion space at Canal Park. I hope to have more details later today, so check back for updates, but for now I'll repeat what the last rumors were, that the menu would feature "Neopolitan pizzas and a raw bar." (We'll see if that holds up.)
Cervera also has another Near Southeast eatery in the works, with Willie's Brew and Que planned for the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards. He is also the man behind Lola's, the Chesapeake Room, Senart's, and the under-renovation Hawk 'N' Dove.
(This is a can't-wait-an-instant-to-get-the-news-out post, so like I said, I'll have more later today, including hopefully timelines and whatnot.)
UPDATE: The restaurant will be named the Park Tavern, and Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association says they are "still working out the details of the menu." Cervera will be designing the 3,500-square-foot LEED gold or platinum space over the next couple of months, and it will open at the same time the park is completed, which is now expected to be June 2012. There will also be outdoor seating.
And, probably less exciting news but news nonetheless is that the CPDA also now has an agreement with Rink Management Services to operate the ice skating rink in the park's southernmost block, near M Street. (They operate the Reston Town Center rink along with lots of other seasonal and year-round rinks across the country.) Needless to say, that part of the park probably won't be functioning when the park opens next summer, but look for it in the winter of 2012/2013.
Construction on the park continues, with lots of infrastructure work still being done (though the pavilion where the Park Tavern will be continues to rise up). My Canal Park page has more information, renderings, and some not-altogether-outdated photos.
Comments (10)
More posts: Canal Park, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail

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

Teeter/Residential Building at the Yards on 6D November Agenda
Nov 10, 2011 5:08 PM
While you're spending your weekend trying not to head toward the Navy Yard Metro station by mistake, you can take a moment or two to add Monday's ANC 6D meeting to your calendar. The agenda doesn't seem to be getting updated online these days, but an e-mailed version shows that the only Near Southeast item to be discussed will be the Harris Teeter/residential building in the Yards, on 4th Street south of M. There are few minor modifications to the design approved by the Zoning Commission nearly a year ago that need new approvals (including an "upgraded" design for the entrance to the residential building), and so those are what will be presented to the ANC.
There was a bit of a flurry on Thursday morning when a tweet from a local business symposium indicated the work would begin on this project "next week." However, I checked with Forest City, and there's still a building permit that hasn't yet been approved, so while they hope to start construction reallyreallyreally soon, "next week" might be a bit optimistic.
If you're just joining us, this project originally was planned to be an office building on top of the Harris Teeter, but will now instead be two long and narrow apartment buildings with a total of 200ish-units, with their entrance at 1212 4th St. SE. The Teeter will be 55,000 square feet and will have its main entrance near M Street. While the executive architect for the entire project is Shalom Baranes, the interior designer for the apartments is Core Architects out of Toronto, and you can see a few renderings on their site as being for "The Yards" (looks like a lobby or community room space, maybe?) , along with their many other projects.
On the south end of the block, at 4th and Tingey, there will be a four-story building with another 55,000 square feet of retail space, with what's expected to be a spa/fitness center/gym tenant on the top two floors and retail on the bottom two (seen at above left). There will also be a new narrow service road running south from M between this new development and Building 202 for loading zone access. Access to residential parking will be from Tingey, and the grocery and retail parking entrance will be on 4th, next to the residential lobby entrance. The retail spaces are being designed by Kenneth Park Architects.
You can check out my Yards 401 M/Parcel D page for more information, photos, and renderings. (Plus, in case you're wondering, this building site is just across 4th Street from the Boilermaker Shops retail space, about a block to the northeast of the Foundry Lofts, and a block from the Yards Park.)
The ANC 6D meeting is on Monday Nov. 14 at 7 pm at 1100 4th St., SW (the Safeway building), in the 2nd Floor DCRA meeting room.

Whatever Happened To: The Beer Garden at 8th and L?
Nov 8, 2011 1:29 PM
It was one year ago today that we heard the first rumblings of plans for a beer garden to be built on the northwest corner of 8th and L, SE. It would have 99 indoor seats and space for an additional 200 customers in a "summer garden," and would offer live music.
The project went through all manner of liquor license wrangling, followed by a lot of work on the design in order to satisfy the Historic Preservation Review Board (which it finally did, in March). At many of these sessions, the owner spoke of wanting to get the project underway as quickly as possible, but since the HPRB approvals in spring, it hasn't seemed like anything has been happening.
However, late last week, when I was playing around with DDOT's new Public Space Permit locator app and figuring out how to import its Occupancy Permit data into my own list of Near Southeast Public Space Permits, I saw that a construction staging area permit had been issued for 720 L St. SE on Sept. 22. Some digging into the city's building permits application also found building permits applied for on Aug. 18, but still not yet approved.
I contacted the owner, Mark Brody, and he tells me that they indeed are working on permits, but "it's taking longer than expected." (I know, this is a shocker.)
So, no timetable for the project's opening at this point, but it appears it hasn't fallen completely off the map.
For more, you can see my 8th Street Beer Garden project page, or read the posts from the approvals process.
(And, speaking of the permits feed on the JDLand home page, I've tinkered with both the public space and building permits so that they're now sorted and grouped by address.)

First Look Inside the Foundry Lofts Building at the Yards
Nov 1, 2011 1:52 PM
The fine folks at the Foundry Lofts leasing office were kind enough to give me a hard-hat tour of the still-under construction building today, and of course I went with camera in hand. It was hard to pare down my photos to a manageable amount, but I think this Foundry Lofts Construction Progress Gallery does a good job of showing the general aura of the building's units and public spaces. (I even got to visit a few of the penthouse units, although there's still much work to be done on them.)
The 170-unit building is now about 43 percent leased, and the first residents are expected to move in at the end of this month. And within the next month or so, Potbelly Sandwich Works and Kruba Thai and Sushi will start work on their ground-floor spaces, with both looking to open during the first quarter of 2012.
One aspect of the building's design that many people may not be aware of--since it isn't visible from the outside--is the large interior open-air courtyard, which even includes a yoga platform complete with bamboo. (I did confirm, though, that attendance at the daily yoga sessions will not be mandatory for residents.)
And, because I can never resist, I also got a couple photos of the so-close-to-being-finished bridge between the Yards Park and Diamond Teague Park (which should be opening Any Minute Now), as well as the increasingly naked Boilermaker Shops building. Those photos are at the bottom of the gallery.
For more about the project, see my Foundry Lofts project page, which includes many "before" photos that are worth looking at to be reminded at just what an amazing job has been done in transforming this 1918 building. And for much more detail about floor plans, available units, and other information, visit the official leasing office web site. Rents, according to the web site, start at about $2,000 a month for the one-bedroom units, $2.900-ish for two-bedroom units, and $3,200 and up for the two-story penthouses. (The corner ones with the great views run at about $4,500 a month.)

Madison Marquette to Launch Blue Castle Redevelopment Process
Oct 28, 2011 1:44 PM
Today's Washington Business Journal reports (subscribers only, alas) that Madison Marquette, owners of the "Blue Castle" at 770 M Street SE and co-owners of a series of additional parcels across 8th, "will soon formally launch its Lower Barracks Row redevelopment process, hiring land use planners, wooing an anchor retailer for the historic car barn and tackling a range of hurdles that stand in the way."
It's that "range of hurdles" that the article focuses on--MM will need to figure out where will parking for the car barn be able to be placed and how much additional height can be added given not only historic and building height restrictions but the Navy Yard's concerns with having buildings that can look over their walls.
Then there's the looming CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction, which could impact all of the landowners along Lower 8th given the disruptions that will no doubt ensue during the project. Mark Batterson of the National Community Church, which now owns all of the properties along Virginia between 7th and 8th and is looking to build a large coffee house/performance space and offices there, says in the article that their planning is very much tied up in CSX's timeline. "It doesn't make sense to do our project and then have them come through and rip everything up and make it difficult for us to even access our property."
Back in 2009 and 2010 there was a long Lower 8th Street Vision Process, which suggested allowing building heights of 65 to 85 feet on new structures 20 to 30 feet behind existing historic 8th Street structures. (The process report has a lot of drawings on how the 45-foot limit along 8th could co-exist with these potential greater heights further off the street.)
And, while not mentioned in the WBJ article, there's still the question of whether the Marines will end up building a new barracks in this area, as they have been hoping to do.
So, while the current Blue Castle leases are up in 2012, giving MM the opening to begin the process, the article makes clear that any makeover of Lower 8th will probably proceed slowly, at best.
Oh, and when it's all done, the Blue Castle probably won't be blue anymore:
(Rendering courtesy Madison Marquette. And maybe there's a hint in it of where they think the parking could go!)

Gordon Biersch to 100 M? and BID Surveys/Planting Day
Oct 20, 2011 8:19 PM
My post on Wednesday about the rumors of a not-quite-yet-signed tenant for the ground-floor restaurant space at 100 M Street SE shook loose quite a few mouths, and it is unanimous amongst those gabbers that the newcomer in negotiations is Gordon Biersch, the brewery/restaurant that already has a location at 9th and F Streets NW, not too far from the Verizon Center. With 100 M being within sight of Nationals Park, it would seem a plausible destination, assuming the final papers get signed (which does not appear to be imminent). It'll be interesting to see their timeline, especially vis-a-vis the baseball season (getting it done by Opening Day, 5 1/2 months from now, would seem to be a bit optimistic, I think?).
On a 100 percent unrelated note (I really do hate teeny tiny posts, so felt the need to combine these), the Capitol Riverfront BID's latest newsletter is out, and they're asking for respondents for their annual "online perception surveys" for both the BID itself and for the Yards Park.
But don't you dare click on either of those survey links if you haven't yet filled out my readership survey--my feelings will be terribly hurt! (Argh! I'm snakebitten with the dang survey. This link was a bad one until about 9 am on Friday. Sorry! Please try again!)
The BID also is co-hosting a Community Planting Day on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 9 am to noon, along with the US Green Building Council National Capital Region. They're going to plant thousands of daffodil bulbs throughout the neighborhood.
The rest of the newsletter is here.

Rumors of A Pending Tenant for 100 M Restaurant Space
Oct 19, 2011 6:30 PM
Word is starting to bounce around that a tenant is close to being signed for the prime restaurant space in the ground floor of 100 M Street SE, on the northeast corner of 1st and M, one block north of Nationals Park.
As to who the tenant may be, I don't have confirmation, but rumors are mentioning a "semi-chain type place." (I'm trying to find out more, but since recent surveys indicate that 93 percent of all JDLand readers are interested in retail/restaurant news, I'm just going to go with what I've got.)
The location is advertised as 8,500 square feet, and I don't know if this rumored lease is for the entire space (though I imagine it is). One way or another, it will probably be a level of food and dining experience that's a step up from the last eating establishment on that corner, the old On Luck Cafeteria that was demolished five years ago.
I hope it goes without saying that as soon as I know more, I'll pass it along. And please remember that this is all still rumor territory, so until there's an official announcement, don't be skipping meals waiting for the new offering to arrive.
UPDATE: The rumor mill is strong that the not-yet-signed tenant is Gordon Biersch. But there's no official confirmation of that. But I've heard it from enough different places since yesterday to pass it along.
Comments (17)
More posts: 100 M, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail, Square 743N

Willie's Brew and Que Coming to Boilermaker Shops; Pizza and a Raw Bar at Canal Park?
Aug 31, 2011 4:31 PM
After a bit of a false start a few months ago, Forest City is now confirming that Capitol Hill restaurant magnate Xavier Cervera will be opening "Willie's Brew & Que" in the Boilermaker Shops at The Yards. On the Yards's just redesigned web site, Willie's is listed as opening in Fall 2012, along with the other Boilermaker Shops restaurants previously announced (Austin Grill Express, brb, Buzz Bakery, a craft brewery by the Churchkey folks, and Huey's 24-7 Diner).
In a Going Out Gurus post today about Cervera's purchase of the Hawk 'n' Dove, Willie's is described as a sports bar, with the "'Cue" in the name referring not to pool but to barbecue that will be smoked on site. Plus, "Cervera promises 'the audio and video system is going to be very cool in there' when the place opens in 2012, including custom-built 12-foot plasma screens." (Note that GoG says it's "Brew & 'Cue", while Forest City's web site says "Brew & Que.")
Look for some new signage on the fences around the Boilermaker within the next few weeks, trumpeting all of the announced restaurants. (And I'll also point out that the web site says "more to come.")
The Going Out Gurus post also says that Cervera will be opening a restaurant at Canal Park, which they say will be LEED-certified, serving Neopolitan pizzas and featuring a raw bar. I've got a request into the Canal Park folks for confirmation and/or details. The park is expected to open in spring 2012. (UPDATE: The leasing negotiations for the Canal Park site are apparently not yet finalized, so don't consider this a done deal just yet.)

Pre-Leasing for Foundry Lofts at the Yards Now Underway
Aug 15, 2011 6:45 PM
In a big milestone for the continued transformation of the old walled-off Southeast Federal Center into the huge mixed-use development known as The Yards, pre-leasing has begun for the Foundry Lofts, which developer Forest City has been transforming from its previous incarnation as the historic Pattern Joiner Shop building in Navy Yard shipbuilding days into a 170-unit apartment building. (Pre-leasing was officially supposed to begin today, but with the leasing trailer on site and open to visitors for the past week or so, interest from potential residents overtook the planned launch and leasings actually have already started.)
The units will have 12-14' ceilings, exposed brick, and concrete beams (befitting the term "loft"), along with the hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops that would be expected in this sort of building. Rents will start at $2,000 a month, going up to $3,100 a month for one of the 33 two-level penthouse apartments in the new floors added to the top of the original building. (There are also a small number of affordable units available as well, though I don't have details on those.) Forest City expects move-ins to begin in October.
And, as previously announced, a Potbelly Sandwich Works and Kruba Thai and Sushi will occupy ground-floor retail space early next year. Plus it's pet-friendly, too!
With its location on Tingey Street SE, immediately north of the Yards Park (and surrounded by parking lots used by fans heading to Nationals Park), the Foundry Lofts building is probably already familiar to many people who've come to Near Southeast over the past few years. It's the first residential component of the huge Yards redevelopment to be coming to completion, and will be the first multiunit residential building to open in the neighborhood since 2009. The renovation of what used to be known as Building 160 began in 2008, but was halted for well over a year at the height of The Economic Difficulties before work began again in August of 2010.
There is also plenty of construction activity right around the Foundry Lofts that will bring additional offerings to the Yards over the next two years. Just to the north, work has begun on the renovation of the Boilermaker Shops into a retail pavilion (to house a number of restaurants when it opens later in 2012), and soon work should get underway a block to the east on the second Yards residential project, the apartment building at 401 M Street that will have a Harris Teeter in the ground floor. Plus, construction on the Lumber Shed building in the Yards Park to make it a retail pavilion (and home to Forest City's offices, temporarily) should begin later this year.
For more information, you can visit the leasing trailer now open from 9 am to 6 pm at 3rd and Tingey, SE, or go to FoundryLoftsDC.com, which hopefully will have some more complete information soon. (There's also their Facebook page, or Twitter feed, if you're feeling particularly social media-y about it all.) I haven't made it to the leasing office yet, having been gloriously unplugged in Wyoming for most of early August, but I hope to get there this week. And my Foundry Lofts page gives additional before-and-during photos of the construction and a few additional renderings, including one of the building's interior courtyard.

Georgetown University Applies for 'Medical Office' Building Permit in Capitol Hill Tower Retail Space
Jul 28, 2011 4:03 PM
A building permit application was filed today with DCRA for 1000 New Jersey Ave., SE--the Capitol Hill Tower residential co-op--for "Interior Tenant Layout, First Floor, Medical Office. Georgetown University Health Disparities."
A Google search brings us to the Georgetown-Lombardi Health Disparities Initiative, which could be (or, I guess, could not be) the tenant applying for the building permit. The web site says the office "actively engage[s] in research focused on reducing cancer disparities among the underserved and ethnic minority populations in the District of Columbia including African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans." They also state their mission as "addressing the biological and environmental basis of cancer health disparities via research, training, communication, and education." The group says it works closely "with the impoverished wards in the District, with particular emphasis on Wards East of the River," because the highest cancer rates in DC are found in wards 7 and 8.
This is first firm confirmation of the rumored tenant for the space; I tweeted about the possibility of a tenant 10 days ago and put out requests for confirmation, but received no reply from CHT's developer, and Georgetown University would not confirm their leasing of the space. A tenants' meeting at CHT seemed to provide little information other than that this 4,000-square-foot space would be used by Georgetown for some sort of "community outreach" effort. There is nothing as yet on the Disparities web site about a new location, though they do have a number of community and research programs that could be needing space.
CHT tenants were told that construction is supposed to begin soon (though not until that building permit gets approved!). Perhaps now that the word is seeping out, a little more information will be forthcoming. I've contacted Georgetown again (no reply yet), but wanted to get this out there before too many resident heads explode, given the fretting in this comment thread about who the tenant might be.
CHT's only other retail tenant is Congressional Cleaners, which opened in 2007. The residential building itself, with 340ish units, opened in 2006, along with its sibling, the Courtyard by Marriott.
Comments (40)
More posts: Capitol Hill Tower, Retail

Forest City Announces Restaurants at the Yards; Teeter Confirmed
Jun 27, 2011 8:48 AM
A press release went out this morning with the news that so many residents and office workers have been waiting for: the initial list of restaurants that will be opening at the Yards, along with confirmation that Harris Teeter is coming to the building at 401 M Street.
At the Foundry Lofts apartment building currently heading toward completion, there will be a Potbelly, plus Kruba Thai and Sushi, from the operators of Teak Wood Thai and Sushi, Regent Thai, and Galae Thai and Sushi. Both are expected to open in the first quarter of 2012. (Pre-leasing of the residential units is expected to begin in August, with move-ins starting in October.)
The Boilermaker Shops, the 1919-era building nestled between the Foundry Lofts and the US Department of Transportation, will have a number of different offerings:
* There will be Buzz Bakery, a full-service bakery, coffee shop, and "dessert lounge," plus an as-yet-unnamed craft brewery, both operated by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the people behind the Evening Star Cafe, Vermilion, Rustico, Tallula, EatBar, Columbia Firehouse, Birch and Barley, and ChurchKey.
* Austin Grill Express, a "casual, funky Tex-Mex restaurant drawing on the experience of Austin Grill to deliver a unique menu and environment."
* BRB ("be right burger").
* Huey's 24/7 Diner, a "classic diner experience." (But will it actually be open 24/7?)
It's expected that Huey's, Austin Grill, and BRB will open in the fall of 2012, with the others in "late 2012."
And, at the 401 M Street residential building (the only one of the three buildings that is 100 percent new construction), a Harris Teeter will be coming to the ground floor, which has been rumored for a number of years but is now finally confirmed. The press release says it will open in 2013, though for that to be the case, they need to start work on the building pretty much, um, now.
More as I get it, and you can read the official press release for additional details. For more on each project, see my Foundry Lofts, Boilermaker Shops, 401 M, and main Yards project pages, or see the official Yards web site. Especially don't miss the photos from the interior of the Boilermaker Shops, which is a space very much unlike anything else in DC.
UPDATE, June 2012: Because this post is linked to in so many places, it's necessary to update that in late June 2012 it was revealed that Austin Grill Express and BRB would not be coming to the Boilermaker Shops after all. However, Willie's Brew and Que sportsbar had been announced as another tenant in late 2011.

Redistricting Latest; Navy Yard Riverwalk Hours; Singles; A Break
May 26, 2011 5:14 PM
A few tidbits going into the holiday weekend:
* Nothing changed for Near Southeast as a result of Thursday's Redistricting Committee meeting, but it certainly wasn't boring. Tommy Wells took some swipes at Jack Evans, Marion Barry threatened to sue, Harry Thomas, Yvette Alexander, and Muriel Bowser talked about the need for unity, and when committee chair Michael Brown refused to recognize Barry for a second round of statements, the two talked over each other for a number of moments while Phil Mendelson and Jack Evans tried to reach Barry's microphone. Finally, while Barry continued to talk, Evans called the motion, they voted to approve the draft map that keeps Near Southeast in Ward 6 (with some small changes on the Ward 2/Ward 6 border), the hearing ended, and the microphones were shut off. I don't often suggest council hearings for an On Demand Popcorn Special, but if you have an hour (or want to fast forward to the last 10 minutes), it should be available on the OCT web site soon. Here's DCist's report on the hearing, along with Mike DeBonis's pre-hearing post on the "Jackmandering" that has Tommy Wells unhappy. Next up is the public hearing on June 1 at 6 pm, which should be even more festive.
UPDATE: No need to wait! TBD has the video of Barry vs Brown. And here is a short Examiner piece on Barry's lawsuit threat.
* The Washington Navy Yard Riverwalk's Twitter feed announced yesterday that, starting on Tuesday, May 31, their gates will open at 5:30 am instead of the current 8 am. The gates will still close at 5 pm, and this is still Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), and the area can still be closed at the WYN's discretion. The Twitter feed has been good at announcing when closures are planned. Perhaps this expansion on the beginning the day means that further expansions might someday come down the pike?
* Also on June 1, the ANC 6D Alcohol Beverage Committee will be taking up requests from both Cornercopia and Harry's Reserve for exemptions from the ban on selling "singles." The agenda says that this "will cover exemptions for 25 to 70 ounces of beer, NOT single beers from a six-pack, or miniatures, small pints." The meeting is at King Greenleaf Rec Center at 7 pm. Any recommendation to allow the exemptions would then taken up by the full ANC for approval at its monthly meeting on June 13.
And, with that, I'm going to take a bit of a breather. Between the flurry of high-emotion news items over the past few months, the upcoming holiday weekend, and some stuff on the boards in my "real" life, it's a good time to step back for a little while. I expect to be away from blogging all next week, and maybe a little past that. If really big news breaks (and I mean *really* big), I may try to put something up, but I definitely won't be operating at normal warp speed. I may do some not-very-timely Tweeting if I can't bear not to, but I really am going to try to take an actual break. There haven't been many of those in eight-plus years...
In the meantime, feel free to use this spot as an open thread on matters of neighborhood interest. But behave, because I'll still be reading....!

Tidbits: Redistricting Latest, Retail, Outdoor Movies, Kittens, Events
May 24, 2011 2:17 PM
News has gotten a little sparse of late, though there's suddenly plenty of little updates and whatnot, some that I've tweeted (and some that I haven't). Sorry that this is a bit of a monster post, but that just means you need to read it all carefully!
* Redistricting: With the redistricting committee's proposed map of redrawn boundaries coming out no later than their meeting at 1 pm on Thursday, news has begun to trickle out of what it will look like. Mike DeBonis reported on Monday that any part of the city west of the Anacostia River being moved to Ward 8 is "off the table," since the split neighborhood of Fairlawn is expected to be moved entirely into Ward 8, which would satisfy the ward's population requirement. (He also lays out some of the other "on the table" moves.) In an "op-ed" today at The Hill is Home, Tommy Wells says that Ward 6's new eastern boundary may be 17th Street NE and SE, moving Hill East and its landmarks (RFK, Eastern High School, Eliot-Hine Middle School, and Reservation 13) into Ward 7. After the committee votes on its map Thursday, there will be a public hearing at 6 pm on June 1, before the entire council votes on the plan on June 7.
* Retail: The big International Council of Shopping Centers' REcon convention is underway in Vegas, and the Post's Jonathan O'Connell is tweeting all the DC-related retailer news, including that Mayor Gray and members of the city council had lunch on Monday with representatives of Forest City, who gave a presentation on The Yards. Will there be an announcement soon on things getting started at the Boilermaker Shops, as Forest City said there would be a few weeks ago? A Post feature on Capitol Hill restaurateur Xavier Cervera mentioned that he has "deals in the works for 400-seat and 140-seat restaurants on the waterfront," the first of which would seem to be the sportsbar rumored for the Boilermaker space. The rumblings below the surface that the official Boilermaker announcement is coming soon continue to be strong (with any opening being at least a year away, since there's a lot of exterior work to be done to the building), but there's been no official announcement of this or any other Boilermaker lease.
* In an Examiner article about Wegman's being wooed for DC's Walter Reed site, it's mentioned that Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID and city officials are meeting with AMC Theaters to discuss potential locations. The article describes a possible spot as "First Street, south of M Street and adjacent to Nationals Park." I'm a little skeptical of "First Street", mainly because the big empty lot along First (Nats parking lot F), owned by Willco and slated in the past for a mixed office/residential/retail development, hasn't seemed to be in play for any movement on any development. On the other hand, there's been talk that Akridge has been interested in having a movie theater as part of its Half Street development, also south of M and adjacent to Nationals Park, and construction could be starting there late this year. Either way, nothing is firm.
* Kittehs: Are you looking to adopt a cat? How about a Market Deli-branded kitten? Some residents have captured and spayed/neutered/vaccinated two of them, estimated to be 4-6 months old, and are looking for someone to adopt them. Here's the additional information. (I would have leapt at this, but my two cats, ages 17 and 14, would kill me in my sleep if I brought home new "siblings" for them.)
And, some upcoming events to note:
* The Yards Park folks have passed along the news that the fountains are off all this week for maintenance. No water-based frolicking for you!
* The Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Movie Series gets underway this Thursday (May 26). The theme this summer is Best of the Oscars, and they're starting off with "Casablanca." Movies start at 8:45 pm (or sundown), and there will be food trucks and snacks for sale. The movies have moved back to Tingey Plaza, just south of US DOT at New Jersey and Tingey.
* Harry's Reserve Wine and Spirits at 909 New Jersey is going to be having a free "community cookout" on their courtyard on Friday, May 27 from 5 to 8 pm, and again on Saturday, May 28 from 4:30 to 8 pm. They are doing it to thank the neighborhood for the support they've received since opening. There will be free "high-end" beverage tastings in addition to grilled offerings. The owners also want to pass along that they're getting fresh shipments of a variety of cheeses this week, and that they now have 800 beers in stock.
* Ryan Zimmerman's annual "A Night at the Park" fundraiser is scheduled for June 30, benefitting his ziMS Foundation. Tickets are now on sale, and it's been announced that country star Rodney Atkins is the featured performer.
* The Zoning Commission hearing on allowing Forest City to temporarily use the second floor of the Lumber Shed building as office space has been scheduled for July 7.

Food Truck Festival 'Truckeroo' Coming to Half and M June 3
May 8, 2011 11:00 PM
From Monday's Capital Business from the Post, the news that the owner of the Bullpen and Das Bullpen is following through on the desire he stated a few months back to hold "food truck festivals" on a regular basis in the parking lots at Half and M, SE. Apparently, the first "Truckeroo" festival will be held on June 4 June 3, and the Post says it will "include food trucks like Lobster Truck, Fojol Bros., Eat Wonky, Curbside Cupcakes and D.C. Slices, is scheduled to run from noon to 9 p.m., and occur monthly through October. The idea is to drive business to the ballpark area on non-baseball nights."
(The blurb also says that the Bullpen "is the biggest cash cow in the burgeoning Blair empire.")
Nothing on the Bullpen web site about Truckeroo yet, but I'll post more as I hear.
This site will eventually be the location of Akridge's 700,000-square-foot mixed-use development that will run along the length of Half between M and N north of the ballpark, but no start date for construction has been announced.
UPDATE: Bo Blair has told the BID (and now me directly) that the Post got the date wrong, that it's actually scheduled for Friday, June 3.
UPDATE II: Here's the flyer announcing the event, showing vendors that I assume are planning to be there. It also has the hours as 11 am to 9 pm. They also now have a web site.

Whole Foods Tax Abatement Dead; Is the Entire Deal Kaput?
May 1, 2011 5:15 PM
The Washington Post is reporting that developer William C. Smith is "no longer seeking" a proposed $8 million tax abatement to bring Whole Foods to a planned 375-unit apartment building at 800 New Jersey Ave., SE, and that in fact the news coverage of the proposal may have killed the deal altogether.
The article quotes a statement from Whole Foods saying that the company "was not involved in any tax break or lease agreement negotiations" with WC Smith, and Michael Stevens of the BID is quoted as saying "I used to know that Whole Foods wanted to be in the neighborhood. After that article, I don't know anymore."
Whether the entire Whole Foods deal is truly dead or there's just some steam being let off is not 100 percent clear in the article, though it quotes an anonymous source as saying that Whole Foods could still end up somewhere in the area and is "fielding entreaties from other developers."
This is/was not the only grocery store planned for Near Southeast, with Forest City including supermarket space in the apartment building that it has planned for 401 M St., SE at the Yards, which could be getting underway late this year or early in 2012. (Standard statement whenever mentioning this: it's long been reported that Harris Teeter will be occupying that space, but neither Forest City nor the grocery chain have ever publicly announced a deal.)
Comments (8)
More posts: Retail, WC Smith/Square 737, wholefoods

ANC Recap No. 2: Lumber Shed Zoning Change Request OK'ed
Apr 12, 2011 2:31 PM
Although the Yards Park has been open since September of last year, the historic Lumber Shed that sits just south of Water Street between 3rd and 4th is not yet in its final form. Second-phase plans have always been for the shed to be turned into a glass-enclosed retail pavilion; however, as Forest City has been seeking tenants they have discovered that the vast majority of leasing interest has been for the first floor, not the second.
In order to get the building to the required percentage of leased space in order to get financing to start construction, Forest City is wanting to move their offices to the second floor of the shed, which requires a text amendment to the site's zoning. It would be on an interim basis, for no more than 20 years, and would allow Forest City to move its offices elsewhere before the end of that 20 years, and would require a return to retail or restaurant uses on the second floor after they move out. If the Zoning Commission approves the change, Forest City says they are looking to start construction this year and open the building in 2012. As part of the process for this zoning change, Forest City prepared a series of renderings of the completed renovation, which they have been kind enough to pass along to me. (Click on them to see enlarged versions.)
When Forest City first came to ANC 6D with information about this zoning text amendment request in March, the commissioners had concerns on three areas: the design of the roof (and whether it would be "green"), whether there would be controls in place to prevent the office workers from marring the look and feel of the glass walls by hanging posters or papers on them or putting other clutter too close to the glass, and whether the nighttime lighting of the shed on both floors would be designed to create a desired "jewel box" look.
Forest City addressed these issues at Monday's meeting. A green roof was studied, they said, but ultimately it was decided that it couldn't be implemented in a fashion that would respect the historic profile of the roof and the building, and given that the building is surrounded by almost 100,000 square feet of "permeable" surface (i.e, the park), they felt that another 300 or 400 square feet was not a necessity. The color of the roof will be a charcoal gray. As for the "Post-Its on the Glass" issue, Forest City said that they will stipulate rules as to not hanging items on the glass and how far away other items should be. And the company also agreed to the "jewel box lighting" concept of both floors, provided that it's left up to Forest City to determine the appropriate lighting levels. The rendering at top right (see larger version) shows the nighttime lighting of the building as envisioned.
In addition, David Garber suggested/requested that a sign or plaque of some sort be affixed to the building (but not on the glass!) to explain its historic significance, which Forest City also agreed to.
With questions answered, agreements reached, and plaques affixed, the ANC voted 6-0 to support the zoning change. No date for the hearing with the Zoning Commission has been set as of yet.
The Lumber Shed is not the only retail pavilion planned for the park's later phases--designs call for two additional buildings along Water Street on the empty lots to the east of the shed. You can see more information and renderings on my Yards Park page (scroll down a ways if the link doesn't jump you down to the Second Phase section).
(Coming tomorrow, one more post on 6D's meeting, with a roundup of the other Near Southeast-related items on the agenda.)

Baseball Back for Fourth Season at Nationals Park; Neighborhood Update, Parking Map for Returning Fans
Mar 28, 2011 9:44 AM
It's hard for me to believe that this week marks three years since the first Opening Day at Nationals Park, but time does march on. Wednesday evening's NatsFest followed by three games against the Braves (starting with Thursday's 1:05 pm season opener) will bring a lot of people back to Near Southeast for the first time since last summer.
If you're one of them, and you haven't diligently been reading my posts (gasp!), you might be interested in knowing what's been going on since the last time you ventured into this neck of the woods. Here's the big items:
Yards Park: In early September, the first phase of the six-acre Yards Park opened on the banks of the Anacostia, just two blocks east of the ballpark. It's a space unlike any in Washington, and is definitely worth a visit, perhaps even on your way to Saturday's afternoon game, since the park is holding a Family Fun Day that starts at 11 am. (Even if you don't make it to the park right away, you can easily see it from the ballpark's southeastern viewing platform.)
It will probably be a neat place to watch the Friday night post-game fireworks as well (UPDATE: waah! no fireworks this year!), a trip which will be made even easier when a floating bridge connecting Diamond Teague Park--just across Potomac Avenue from the First Base Gate--with the Yards Park is completed, perhaps by the end of the season.
Unfortunately, most people visiting the park in conjunction with a Nationals game won't get to walk along the river all the way to 11th Street: while the Navy Yard has announced that its stretch of the boardwalk is opening April 1, the initial hours will only be from 8 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday.
Foundry Lofts: Just to the north of the new park, work re-started last September on the stalled Foundry Lofts building at 3rd and Tingey, and it is expected to be completed this fall.
Bullpen: It may not be ready by Thursday, but the open-air bar and live music gathering place across N Street from the stadium known as the Bullpen is opening a gameday beer garden to the north of its current spot, on the corner of Half and M across from the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. With close to 80 picnic tables, it will have a capacity of over 600 and will offer European beers, sausages and other like fare, and a quieter environment than the original Bullpen (which will be remaining open for this season as well). The name of the new spot? Das Bullpen. (Yes, that's the moniker I flippantly gave the project back when the news first broke, which the owners decided to go ahead and use. #winning!)
Capitol Quarter: If you park in lot T on 3rd Street, SE, you'll see new townhouses going up directly across the street as part of Capitol Quarter's second phase of construction.
200 I: Just to the north of lot T and right by the Southeast Freeway, you'll see the old Star/Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue in the process of losing its exterior "skin" as it moves toward becoming 200 I Street, a DC government office building that will be completed next spring.
Canal Park: Right in the middle of things, across from the Five Guys and Subway, you'll see construction at last underway on Canal Park, the stretch of 2nd between I and M that at one time was a schoolbus parking lot and which has been plain open space for the past two years. The park is expected to be open by spring of next year, and so during the next 12 months expect there to be almost no parking along 2nd; the eastern part of the street is closed altogether. Also, note that L Street is closed for this one block, so you can't use it to get from New Jersey to 3rd or vice versa.
Harry's: If your path to and from the ballpark includes a walk down New Jersey Avenue (perhaps from the Capitol South Metro station), and you find yourself in desperate need of adult beverages, Harry's Reserve has now opened on the southwest corner of New Jersey and I, in the ground floor of the 909 New Jersey apartment building.
Florida Rock: While it hasn't happened yet, plans are for the concrete plant just south of the ballpark to be razed sometime this year, bringing unobstructed views of the Anacostia River to the southeastern viewing platform and clearing the Florida Rock site until the proposed 1.1-million-square-foot RiverFront project can get some financing and get started.
Getting Here: I've got my Stadium Parking map ready to go for 2011, though I've made no additions or deletions on it yet for the new season. I'll wander around this weekend and see if any new lots have popped up or old ones have gone away, though first impressions are that there are no major changes, certainly not in terms of the official Nats lots. (If you see any new lots or old ones that have gone offline, let me know so I can update the map.)
But with this area being a multimodal paradise, your better bet is Metro, or the Circulator that runs from Union Station and Eastern Market, or even Capital Bikeshare, now that there's a station at 1st and N. UPDATE: Forgot to mention the water taxi running from Alexandria, and it's possible that the new American Water Taxi service may get started up soon.
Retail? Eats? Unfortunately, if you were expecting this post to include a litany of new food and retail offerings, you will be just as disappointed as the residents and officeworkers currently are with the continuing lack of options beyond Subway, Five Guys, Justin's Cafe, and Cornercopia. There could be at least two additions before the end of the season, however: another beer garden (separate from Das Bullpen) is under development at 8th and L, SE, and the old "Little Red Building" site at 2nd and L is on its way to becoming "Lot 38 Espresso." Neither project has an announced opening date.
There is also lots of under-the-radar chatter of various restaurateurs starting to look at the area (which I haven't bothered posting, because a) I don't do rumors and b) it shouldn't really be news that they're looking in such an underserved area). With the above projects underway, along with DDOT and the FAA soon moving into 55 M, 20 M now 97 percent leased, and 100 M off the DL thanks to its foreclosure sale, there is a definite shift in the economic winds, and it would not be surprising to get some announcement of some new retail before the end of this season.
For more information on what's changed and what might be changing, check out my 2011 State of the Hood. The BID also did a recent roundup of changes.
If you want to relive the glory days of the ballpark's construction, you can wander through all my exterior and interior photos from that heady time, along with my many photo galleries from ballpark-related events over the years, from the groundbreaking to the topping out to each Opening Day. You can also check out what that part of the neighborhood looked like before the stadium's arrival. (Yes, I'm wallowing in nostalgia. It was a fun time.)
(UPDATED headline, because I can't count.)

Florida Rock Raze Permit, and Other Tuesday Tidbits
Mar 22, 2011 11:03 AM
All sorts of small stuff that has recently been Tweeted, or just left to molder until I finally got around to posting:
* A raze permit application has been filed by the Florida Rock folks for the concrete plant operated by Vulcan Materials Co. on Potomac Avenue just south of Nationals Park. This in an of itself is quite interesting, made even more interesting by a lack of response from Florida Rock Properties when I inquired as to what this planned razing might mean. From what I'm told, raze permits are valid for one year from the date of issuance (and this one hasn't been issued yet). The plan has been for a 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project that would include office, residential, hotel, and retail in four buildings, plus lots of open space. (Note that the western part of the project can't be built until the new Douglass Bridge is built and the current one is demolished, which doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon). Whether the current plans will still be going forward with the current owners or if changes are in the works, we'll just have to wait and see, though considering that it took FRP a decade or so to get zoning approvals for the site, it would be no fun to see the process start over again.
* There was a kitchen fire on the 3rd floor of the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St. SE on Monday night, according to tweets from DCFireEMS. The bulk of the fire was handled by the sprinkler system, they say, and there were no injuries.
* The DC Music Fest planned for the Yards Park on May 7 has been cancelled "due to a lack of funding and sponsorships."
* The Five Guys at Nationals Park will not be back for the 2011 season, says Curbed DC. (The one on 2nd Street across from Canal Park is not affected by this.)
* Speaking of the ballpark, in case your attention hasn't yet turned to baseball, note that Opening Day is next Thursday (March 31), with NatsFest being held at 4 pm the day before. The first series of games (Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday) will all be early afternoon starts (1:05 pm on Thursday and Saturday and the normal 1:35 pm start on Sunday).
And Saturday's game is bookended by Family Fun Day at Yards Park, being held from 11 am to 4 pm in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (Plus there's all the goings-on that day on the Southwest Waterfront, including the big fireworks display.)

Harry's Reserve Opens its Doors, Spirit-Starved Residents Rejoice
Mar 10, 2011 2:26 PM
I haven't been there myself, but readers are reporting via Twitter and Facebook that Harry's Reserve Fine Wine and Spirits is now open for business on the southwest corner of New Jersey and I, in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey. It's been almost 10 months since the owners first signed a lease and started the liquor license process, but it's now the neighborhood's first outlet for the hard stuff in a number of years. It's also the first retail space at 909 New Jersey to be occupied, and the first new retail offering in Near Southeast since Justin's Cafe opened last April.
This is apparently a bit of a soft opening (so be gentle!), with a true "Grand Opening" coming in two weeks or so. The owners are the same folks who own Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits in the 300 block of Pennsylvania Ave., SE, and who owned the Harry's liquor store in the old Waterside Mall in SW. When the owners met with ANC 6D's ABC subcommittee, they indicated that "they would sell beer, wine, and liquor, as well as milk, sodas, juice, cheese, and other "quick stop" items, and are very much wanting to emphasize that this is going to be a 'community' store, with higher-end products, wine tastings, and other offerings beyond what people normally think of when they hear 'liquor store.'"
I will get down there myself to check it out if the rain ever stops, but if you've paid a visit, let us know in the comments what's on the shelves and any other impressions.
Comments (14)
More posts: 909 New Jersey, Harry's Reserve, Retail

Forest City Looking to Move Offices to Yards Park Lumber Shed
Mar 4, 2011 10:55 AM
Tucked away in today's DC Register is a zoning request by Forest City Washington to allow the second story of the currently de-skinned Lumber Storage Shed at the Yards Park "to be used for general office purposes, on an interim basis, for no more than 20 years." The filing says that Forest City wants to temporarily relocate "in order to facilitate the leasing of the ground floor and to finance the building's restoration."
The intention has been for the shed to be given glass exterior walls and be a retail space--this new plan would still include ground-floor retail (in a very picturesque location at the Yards Park, right by the 3rd Street Plaza and the overlook). There are two other retail pavilions planned for later phases of the park as well, on the open spaces just to the east of the shed.

Courtyard Hotel on New Jersey Ave. Bought for $68 Million
Feb 28, 2011 5:54 PM
Just crossing the wires: "Chesapeake Lodging Trust announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the 204-room Courtyard Washington Capitol Hill/Navy Yard located in Washington, DC for a purchase price of $68 million, or approximately $333,000 per key." The hotel, at New Jersey and L, SE, opened in spring 2006 along with its next door neighbor, the Capitol Hill Tower co-op; both were developed by Valhal Corp. (whose principals then formed Ranger Properties in 2007). It will apparently remain a Courtyard; no word of what if any impact this sale would have on Capitol Hill Tower.

8th Street Beer Garden Design Historic Preservation Review
Feb 21, 2011 11:09 AM
Posted on Friday was the Staff Report from the Historic Preservation Review Board on the design for the proposed Bier Garden at 8th and L, SE, as the owners of the site at 720 L continue to work toward constructing a one-story building with an accompanying summer garden and roof deck. (You can look to the left, or see a slightly larger version of the design, as it was presented to ANC 6B last week; 6B voted to support the design.)
If you're not up for reading all six pages yourself, here's my Zagat-style report on the report:
It makes for good reading if you're interested in how new buildings in historic districts are evaluated; you might be surprised (I was!) that design guidelines actually "discourage the exact duplication of historic styles," opting instead to encourage applicants to consider a new building as an "enhancement" to the district "while respecting the historic context." The report discusses how the decision to go with a one-story structure could draw on "the vernacular of Washington's modest industrial buildings and alley warehouses," and in fact the report includes a photo of the Bier Garden lot in 1949, when a one-story building housing a laundry/tailor stood on the site.
The report finds that the proposed massing of the new building does reflect the character of the historic district and "references recognizable attributes" of both industrial buildings and traditional beer gardens. The report also sees the rain screen and other more contemporary design choices as reflecting the "whimsy, casualness and somewhat ad-hoc nature of many outdoor beer gardens."
However, there are concerns that there are so many finishes applied "in so many different directions" that the result is a "somewhat chaotic and unfinished appearance," and suggests selecting one or two key ideas that would allow the building "to be showcased in a less hectic manner." Other major issues cited include choices on the roof deck (and the lack of any lighting or shade up there in the current design), the proportions of the doors, and the designs of the rain screens, as well as how the building's "streetscape presence" along both 8th and L.
The report ends with a recommendation that the applicants "restudy the issues outlined [...] as they pertain to the principles of design cohesiveness, proportion and scale, and streetscape presence." It's also recommended that the board delegate final approval of the design to the board staff once the comments from staff and the board are addressed in the revisions.
The hearing begins at 10 am on Thursday, and can be watched live, or on demand starting the next day. (And this will actually be the first HPRB hearing I'll have ever watched!) You can read my previous Bier Garden posts if you're needing to get caught up.
UPDATE: And now we return back to "Beer Garden" from "Bier Garden," as Mark Brody informs me that it was a typo on the plans.

WC Smith Looking for $8M Tax Break to Bring Whole Foods to 800 New Jersey Avenue
Feb 14, 2011 10:06 PM
From Tuesday's Washington Post, confirmation at last at what has been reported since 2002, but with a bit of a twist:
"Whole Foods Market and a D.C. real estate firm are interested in building a new store in Southeast Washington near Nationals Park, but the developer says that luring the grocer would require $8 million in tax breaks. William C. Smith and Co. is proposing a 39,000-square-foot Whole Foods for 800 New Jersey Ave. SE as part of a building that would include 375 apartments."
More: "Smith said the $800,000 annual tax break would cover requests by Whole Foods including an additional level of underground parking, extra elevators and higher ceilings on the bottom floor. Without the tax break, he said, he would either wait to develop the site or build a smaller apartment building with little or no retail."
Tax breaks for developments are being requested more frequently during this Era of Economic Difficulties, but the city's own financial troubles, and the amount of assistance that has been going to Ward 6 in comparison to other parts of the city, may make a request like this a tough sell, the article says.
There are already plans to bring a not-officially-named grocery store (*cough*Harris Teeter*cough*) to the neighborhood perhaps in 2013 at 4th and M in the Yards. This Whole Foods site, though, would also be a draw not only for Near Southeast residents but for folks on the south side of Capitol Hill, given its location just on the other side of the Southeast Freeway. You can see some photos of the site here.
WC Smith has been planning a four-building, 1.1-million square foot office/residential/retail project on this block (Square 737) for some time. The transfer of a small plot of land known Reservation 17A was finally completed last year from the Feds to the city, clearing a long-time bureaucratic hurdle to getting the site redeveloped. (This will also allow I Street to be built through between 2nd and New Jersey once the DPW building just to the south is demolished, which may happen this year.)
There has been chatter over the past few months that Smith was pitching the entire site for the 1.1-million-square-foot Department of Homeland Security lease that GSA currently has out for bid--this movement on getting a residential building started might seem to signal a shift from that possibility, along with being another indication that developers are sensing Near Southeast is a strong residential market.
This lot is next to 225 Virginia Avenue, the old Star/Post plant that is hours away from starting its transformation into 200 I Street, which will be home to three city agencies when its "re-skinning" and renovation is completed within the next two years.
(A note: The article says that WC Smith purchased the land from the Post in 2000 for $50 million; I think a decimal point got lost somewhere, because DC Property Records say that the lot, which used to be home to an old warehouse owned by the Washington Star and then the Washington Post, sold for $50,000 in December 1999. That number might not be right either, but considering that even now, in a completely changed neighborhood 11 years later, the 800 New Jersey land is assessed at just over $19 million $58 million, I doubt that Smith paid $50 million. [UPDATED because I looked at only one assessment record instead of three.] The WC Smith parcels were assessed at about $2.5 million in 2001, the oldest records that I have.)
Comments (91)
More posts: Retail, WC Smith/Square 737, wholefoods

Meanwhile, at the Beer Garden to the East....
Feb 8, 2011 11:33 PM
While the neighborhood's big Beer Garden News last week was the plan by the Bullpen folks to create one at Half and M, SE, the other proposed beer garden in the area, at 8th and L, SE, is continuing to proceed through the city's bureaucracy. With its liquor license having been dealt with last month, this "Bier Garden" is now undergoing the Historic Preservation Review process, a necessary step thanks to its location within the Capitol Hill Historic District (which I'm sure Das Bullpen is thankful to be well outside of).
Original plans for a temporary structure were undoable thanks to historic district restrictions, so now the applicant, Mark Brody, and his architect have opted to go with a one-story building with a roof deck, in addition to the proposed ground-level summer garden. The look of the building (which is closer to 1 1/2 stories high) is very industrial, with large multi-paned windows and lots of "wood rainscreening" on the exterior and the roof deck. (I've asked for electronic versions of the color renderings that were shown at Tuesday night's ANC 6B meeting, but Mr. Brody is still pondering whether to pass them along.) UPDATE: Since the renderings have been submitted to the Historic Preservation Office and have been shown at a public meeting, an interested party passed them along. (UPDATE 1A: And Mr. Brody's architect has now sent it to me as well--thank you!) Here is the main image, looking at the corner of 8th and L:
The ANC's Planning and Zoning Committee had a first look at the designs on Feb. 1, and, according to the committee report, expressed a number of concerns about "the proposed materials, the open deck design, and the lack of letters of support from other establishments and or affected neighbors" as well as the "unfinished appearance" and issues with not having received details such as "views of the affected area with relationship to existing structures and plat specifications."
By the time the full commission met Tuesday night, Brody had made some changes to the initial designs, and forwarded letters of support from two neighbors on L Street as well 18 letters from Capitol Quarter residents (thanks probably to an e-mail that went to the private CQ mailing list asking for support). When asked, Brody said that Mark Batterson of the National Community Church (which is buying up the north side of this "Saints and Sinners" block to build a new office and performance space) has decided that he "will take no position" on the beer garden plans.
There ensued much discussion, with the bulk of concerns coming from Kirsten Oldenburg (in whose SMD this is) and David Garrison, who both clearly are unhappy with the design, especially the roof deck. (Perhaps Kirsten will write more about this project on her blog so I don't have to try to summarize, HINT HINT.) But other commissioners made clear their desire to get something built on this portion of Barracks Row south of the freeway to help jump-start the area.
After an initial motion to oppose the designs while the applicant and the city's Historic Preservation Review Board continue to make refinements failed 3-7, a second motion to take no position failed 4-6, followed finally by a motion that passed 7-3 to support the designs, with an accompanying letter to the Historic Preservation Office detailing the commission's concerns about safety on the roof deck, the design of the doors (too stubby, Oldenburg says), the "parapet" that is above the front door, and the design's "historic character." Commissioners Oldenburg, Garrison, and Norman Metzger were the three commissioners in opposition. The HPRB may hear this case at its Feb. 24 meeting, though that agenda has not yet been set. (Note that the Capitol Hill Restoration Society will be a source of comments about the project as well.)
Interestingly, the liquor license apparently will not cover the roof deck, so Brody will have to come back to the ANC if he intends to serve alcohol in that space. There was also mention made of wanting to have sidewalk tables during warm weather, which will require a public space permit and another trip back to the ANC (athough the bus stop right out front might make for a space issue).
There's probably more to write about this, but I'm pacing myself, since I'm guessing there will be plenty of additional chances to cover the process. And hopefully I'll get some renderings to post soon, but when the project gets onto an HPRB agenda they'll become part of the public record, so I'll definitely have them then.
There were some additional South of the Freeway tibits that came out during these discussions, but I'll save those for another post.
UPDATE: Here's Kirsten Oldenburg's thoughts and concerns about the design.

Bullpen Looking to Add Beer Garden at Half and M
Feb 2, 2011 9:22 PM
The Bullpen, the outdoor bar and festivities spot that has operated just across the street from Nationals Park during stadium events since 2009, is making plans to open a "Beer Garden" at the northern end of their current block, at Half and M streets, SE, facing the western entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. (See my high-quality graphic at right.) With 79 picnic tables holding eight people each, it would have a seating capacity of 632 people, and would offer draft German beers (and perhaps other European beers) along with German sausages, kielbasa, and other light (ahem) fare.
"Das Bullpen" [copyright JD] is being envisioned as having a very different atmosphere from the current Bullpen, with the beer garden not having game areas with lots of kids running around. There would be no amplified music, and it would operate during the same hours as Bullpen 1.0 (which will be remaining open this year as well). It would have its own entrance, right across from the Metro station's entrance, and would be fenced in and partially covered/tented in the same way as the existing Bullpen.
At an ANC 6D ABC subcommittee meeting tonight, a Bullpen rep explained that Akridge, the owners of the entire block bounded by M, N, Half, and Van, has informed the Bullpen owners of plans to begin construction perhaps as early as October of this year on the southern end of the block, where Bullpen 1.0 is located. (There seems to have been some sort of "hint" that if the Bullpen wants to have a shot at a permanent home in the new ground-floor retail spaces that will be available when the block is completed, they need to expand to this additional area this year.) If Akridge's plans are unchanged from what went through the zoning process a few years ago, the southern end of the block would be a 300-unit residential building with ground-floor retail. You can see renderings on my Akridge Half Street page.
As you can see on my cruddy map, there will still be substantial parking available between the two locations. (For old-timers, this new site is where WMATA's old Southeastern Bus Garage entrance was located.)
The Bullpen's lawyers are trying to determine whether this constitutes an expansion of the current operation, to allow Das Bullpen to open under their existing liquor license, or whether a new license (and then a new voluntary agreement with the ANC) will be needed. More to come, I'm sure.
UPDATE: And it should be noted that this is a completely separate venture from the Bavarian Beer Garden plans at 8th and L, SE. Beer gardens to the left! Beer gardens to the right!
UPDATE II: To clear up any confusion, they are intending to have Das Bullpen open this spring, with Bullpen 1.0 open as well through the end of the 2011 baseball season.
UPDATE III: Another clarification: The new site has no official name yet. "Das Bullpen" is purely my invention, because I wanted something catchy to describe it.

Small Retail Bays Getting Prepped on Yards Park Boardwalk, Forest City Looking for Tenants
Feb 1, 2011 11:11 AM
Eagle-eyed Twitterer @kpbrady alerted me yesterday to doors and windows being installed in the lower level of the overlook at the Yards Park, in the bays along the boardwalk that were designed to be retail spaces.
I contacted Forest City, and they've told me that they are intending to have "seasonal tenant offerings" in these spots starting (hopefully) this year. There are 4 to 6 of these spaces (depending on how layouts and done), ranging from 366 to 506 square feet, and Forest City is anticipating they would be used for refreshment/light food sales and/or recreational equipment rentals--but they're open to discussing other uses. If you have your heart set on one (for perhaps a banana stand or some other offering), contact Brenda Temple at Forest City at (202) 496-6600.
Eventually the (currently naked) Lumber Storage Shed will be a retail pavilion, and later phases call for two additional retail buildings to be constructed just to the east of the shed (see the renderings way down at the bottom of my Yards Park page). And there will be ground-floor retail space at the Foundry Lofts just to the north of the park when that building opens later this year, not to mention 46,000 sq ft of retail space at the Boilermaker Shops.
Comments (3)
More posts: Retail, The Yards, Yards Park

ANC Doings/The Beer Garden and The Bullpen
Jan 31, 2011 9:28 AM
Here's what's on tap over the next two weeks in ANC Land:
* Tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 1), ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning subcommittee will be getting a first look at the construction plans for the Bavarian Beer Garden 8th and L, SE, as the owner has now begun the Historic Preservation review process, required because the site is within the boundaries of the Capitol Hill Historic District. This meeting is at 7 pm at the Caesar Chavez Public Charter School at 714 11th St., SE.
* Then, on Wednesday, Feb. 2, ANC 6D's Alcohol Beverage Control subcommittee will be meeting at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Rec Center, 201 N St., SW, with an agenda item that says "proposed expansion into adjacent space for The Bullpen at 26 N St., SE." This is the outdoor bar just north of Nationals Park on the footprint of Akridge's Half Street project. I assume that an expansion would be northward, across a little alley and staying within Akridge's land; to expand westward would mean going across Van Street into Monument's property on the old BP Amoco site at South Capitol and N, and to expand eastward would mean going across Half Street into a very big hole.
* Both of these items, along with plenty of others, will then be on the agendas at the ANC's official monthly meetings--ANC 6B's is at 7 pm on Feb. 8 at the LDS Church at 522 7th St., SE, and 6D's is at 7 pm on Feb. 14 at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 600 M St., SW (the agenda for which probably won't be available until very [very very?] late this week).

Progress at Harry's and LRB; Other Chilly Photos
Jan 24, 2011 10:52 AM
A Sunday morning checklist: Variably sunny? Check. Temperature 22 degrees? Check. Winds 15-20 mph? Check. Then clearly it was time to walk around taking the photos I forgot to take last week.
Signage is up on both New Jersey Avenue and I Street for Harry's Reserve, the upscale wine and spirits store coming to the ground floor of 909 New Jersey, and a peek inside shows a big space with lots of dark wood cabinets. Don't know if they'll hit their Feb. 1 target date for opening, but they do look like they're in the homestretch.
Meanwhile, the framing is done and exterior walls are starting to go up at Little Red Building v2.0 (or Lot 38 Espresso, which is apparently the new new name), and it's interesting to see that the profile of the new building is pretty similar to the old one--maybe it'll be like an actress of a Certain Age, getting rebuilt from the ground up while trying to not look like she's had any work done. No timeline at this point for when the shop might open. UPDATE: I heard from Lot 38's owner today, saying that he's now looking toward an April opening for the coffee/sandwich shop.
I also took a pretty full series of photos of 225 Virginia (soon to be 200 I), not to document any changes but to get what might be a final set of "before" images, since the word had been that construction was supposed to start in December, and then January. (There are a few piles of construction fencing now on site, but I wouldn't expect work to be truly imminent until that firetruck parked on site at 3rd and I disappears.)
You can browse the entire batch of Sunday's photos, clicking on the icon to pair any shot with its "before" image. There's also last week's new photos, in case you missed them, showing the progress at Capitol Quarter, 1015 Half, and the Foundry Lofts.

Tuesday Tidbits: Harry's, NatsFest, Yards Park, Etc.
Jan 18, 2011 3:04 PM
Some recently Tweeted items, and a few new ones, worth wrapping up into a quick post:
* Last week I heard from the owners of what will soon be the Harry's Reserve "upscale" wine and spirits store at New Jersey and I, saying that they hope to be open by February 1.
* This year's NatsFest at the baseball stadium will be held on March 30, the day before the Opening Day home game against the Atlanta Braves. The schedule of events is still to come, but hopefully the decision to better tie in the event to the hoopla surrounding the start of the season won't be offset by it being on a Wednesday, when it's harder for kids to be there. (Especially kids who may already be playing hooky the next day!)
* The Yards Park web site now has information about renting space for public, private, or community events. And if you wander through the calendar, you can see what events might be on tap for this year, though the main calendar shows what's been confirmed, such as the Capitol City Beer Festival on May 28, the previously discussed DC Music Festival on May 7, the MetroDash obstacle course race on July 9, and a monthy Art Market.
* Stephen Strasburg, working on his degree while rehabbing, has written a thesis on the effects new stadiums have on neighborhoods, with a focus on Nationals Park. If he was looking for information on what the neighborhood looked like "before," I hope he found it! (And no, the thesis isn't available anywhere.)
* The National Capital Planning Commission will be looking at the final 11th Street Bridges site and building plans at their February 3 meeting. Gosh, I hope they like where the bridges themselves are placed in the designs!
* Off-topic, but the hunt seems to be back on for a new DC United stadium location, with one of the potential spots being across South Capitol Street at Buzzard Point in Southwest. (Please note that I said Buzzard Point. There is no s on the end. In case you missed 642 tweets about it today.) SWill has some additional information.
And, coming on Thursday (I hope), my 2011 State of the Hood roundup of the past 12 months' worth of activity, and what might be on the horizon. (I'm telling you this to force myself to actually get it done.)

ANC 6B Supports Beer Garden Liquor License, Van Ness Elementary Reopening
Jan 12, 2011 1:22 PM
At Tuesday night's ANC 6B meeting, two south-of-the-freeway issues were voted on (remember, the section from 7th Street to M Street eastward is 6B04, not 6D07):
* By a 7-3 vote, 6B will now support the liquor license application by the Bavarian Beer Garden at 8th and L streets, SE, provided the Voluntary Agreement hammered out by 6B and BBG is approved by ABRA. (Back in December, 6B had voted to not support/protest the license until a VA was agreed to.) Under this agreement, the beer garden's overall hours of operation will remain from 11 am to 1 am Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 3 am Friday and Saturday, but there are now slightly amended hours for entertainment. Entertainment indoors is approved from noon to midnight on Sundays, 6 pm to midnight Monday through Thursday, and noon to 2 am on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays. Hours for "summer garden entertainment and dancing" are from noon to 11 pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and 11 am to 1 am on Fridays, Saturdays, and Holidays, with none allowed outdoors on Mondays.
Kirsten Oldenberg, the 6B04 rep in whose single-member district the beer garden will be located (and who now has a blog!), expressed lingering concerns about allowing a tavern license in this location, while David Garrison reminded the meeting that there are residences on 7th Street whose backyards will be directly across from the outdoor garden. Norm Metzger mentioned that this establishment doesn't exactly fit in with the ideas for revitalizing the area as seen in the Lower 8th Street Visioning Draft Report. But despite the concerns, the liquor license application will be moving forward, with only new 6B chairman Neil Glick, Garrison, and Metzger opposing.
The commissioners still have not been shown any designs for the beer garden; however, while the lot's co-owner, Mark Brody, told the commission last month that he planned to build a temporary structure as quickly as possible with a permanent building coming (perhaps) in a few years, it's now been determined that since the block is in the Capitol Hill Historic District a temporary building is not allowed. So there will have to be a "real" building, and its design will be subject to historic review by all applicable organizations before it can move forward.
* New 6B02 rep Ivan Frishberg brought to the commission a draft letter to DCPS in support of reopening Van Ness Elementary, since interim chancellor Kaya Henderson said last month that the school system is "committed" to making a decision on the school this month. There was a lot of discussion, and a lot of questions brought up by David Garrison about the boundaries of the school, how it might impact the schools on the Hill, costs to get the school reopened, and more, but in the end the commission voted to approve the letter. (I *think* the vote was 7-2-1, but am trying to get it confirmed.) UPDATE: Oops. The vote was 9-0-1.
UPDATE: Here's another wrap-up of the meeting from The Hill is Home, who could hear what was going on a lot better than I could....

Tuesday Tibits: ANCs, 1345 South Capitol, More
Jan 11, 2011 10:52 AM
* I skipped out on the first ANC 6D meeting of 2011, not seeing any Near Southeast-specific items on the agenda. I did check in with Damon Harvey of DDOT before the meeting, though, to find out what he was going to be speaking to the ANC about, and it was to tell residents that 2011 Visitor Parking Passes will be sent out in the middle of March (right before baseball season starts). If you have any feedback or questions on the parking passes (which were instituted in 2008 as part of the stadium Performance Parking Pilot), you can contact Damon at damon.harvey [at] dc.gov.
* Tonight (Tuesday) is ANC 6B's meeting, at Brent Elementary at 7 pm. The agenda indicates there could be some news about the Bavarian Beer Garden proposed for 8th and L, SE, so I'll be there to check it out.
* SWill across the way has the news (via Bisnow) that Camden's long-delayed 1345 South Capitol Street residential project across the street from Nationals Park is reportedly going to finally get underway during the first quarter of this year. The design that was approved back in 2007 showed a 276-unit apartment building with about 3,300 square feet of ground-floor retail. I used to track this building, but pulled my coverage boundaries back to the South Capitol Street median when SWill hit the ground running with the "Southwest... The Little Quadrant that Could" blog. So while I'll probably mention milestones on the project, I'm going to leave the laser-like focus on it to Will.
* Newly minted ANC 6D07 commissioner David Garber was featured this past Sunday on HGTV's My First Sale, documenting his not-altogether-smooth road to selling a house he renovated in Anacostia. I don't see any repeats in the listings, but eventually the episode should be posted online.
* The city's web site about the various Anacostia Waterfront Initiative projects, TheAnacostiaWaterfront.com, is going to be decommissioned as of Feb. 1, with content about projects like the 11th Street Bridges, the Douglass Bridge, and the Anacostia Riverwalk having already been rolled into the DDOT web site. The new URL is ddot.dc.gov/awi.

Residents Day at Holiday Market Saturday
Dec 16, 2010 11:07 AM
The BID wants to remind neighbors that Saturday is Residents Day at the Holiday Market at 1100 New Jersey Avenue. It will run from 10 am to 3 pm, and in addition to the lineup of craft exhibitors, Christmas greens, and live music at lunch time, there will also be empanadas, free coffee and pastries from Starbucks, free doggie treats from Metro Mutts, the Eat Wonky and Dangerously Delicious Pie trucks and.... The Red Hook Lobster truck at lunchtime. (The footsteps you hear are my husband's, as he races to be first in line.)
Of course, the market is also running today and Friday as well, from 11 am to 7 pm, with the CapMacDC pasta truck scheduled to make an appearance on Friday. Here's the flyer, for more details on vendors and whatnot.
Comments (0)
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Retail

6B Protesting 8th Street Beer Garden Liquor License (While Working on a Voluntary Agreement)
Dec 15, 2010 1:01 PM
On Tuesday night the full ANC 6B commission took up the issue of whether to support the liquor license application for the new "Bavarian Beer Garden" that a businessman is trying to open at 8th and L, SE. I wrote a lot about it last week when the ANC's ABC subcommittee met, and you can read that (long) entry for most of the background, as well as read the committee report that came out of it.
Commissioners are still very leery of approving a tavern license "with an entertainment endorsement" without having much more information about the plans for the bar, worrying that if they give their support and what is currently billed as just being some "oompah" music turns into a nightclub with music late at night seven days a week, there will be little recourse. (The fact that this is the first restaurant venture by the applicant has them a bit nervous as well.) Their desire is to write various hours/occupancy/entertainment-type restrictions into the Voluntary Agreement, perhaps including some that can then be revisited a few years down the road when it's clear how the bar is operating.
Mark Brody, the applicant, told the commissioners that he is willing to sign a voluntary agreement, and is willing to negotiate over the requested hours of operation and occupancy load (which is at 399 on the initial application), so the negotiations will soon get underway. (The vote by the commissioners to support the license once a voluntary agreement is signed was 7-3.)
However, because the deadline for protesting the license application before ABRA is Monday (Dec. 20), and because the full ANC would need to approve any voluntary agreement by vote at a business meeting, the ANC is going officially be "in protest" with ABRA on the license until the agreements are worked out. (You can read the ABRA Protest Process FAQ for more details, including about how the parties would then be scheduled for a "settlement conference" with an ABRA mediator.)
The hearing date is January 3.

Rainy Sunday Tidbits: Garage Art, ANC, Akridge/Half St.
Dec 12, 2010 11:28 AM
A few bullet points to pass along on this lovely day (man, I wish I was in Minneapolis right now):
* I took a few photos (belatedly) of the newly installed stainless steel baseballs hung this week on the Nationals Park garages on N Street. You can see a hint of the red and blue LED lights that will "activate" the balls, though I imagine it will be more impressive when it's dark out. (Also, if you're as desperate in your Christmas shopping as I am, remember that the Nats Team Store at Half and N is open from 11 am to 5 pm every day except Sunday.)
* A reader reported this morning that the fences have been taken down around the all-but-completed 1015 Half Street office building, on the site of the old Nation nightclub. Douglas Wilson Companies, which took over the project when Opus East went belly up, had said when construction restarted in May that they would deliver 1015 Half by the end of the year, and they seem to have basically hit that date. No announcement of any tenants for the 440,000-square-foot building, though.
* The ANC 6D meeting is on Monday at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW, but, as of now, no agenda has been posted. I'm sure it'll be a wonderful holiday potpourri of topics, though. (The agenda for Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting has been up for quite a while, and includes the new beer garden at 8th and L.)
* A reader passed along this DCMud piece trying to play up movement on Akridge's Half Street project (just north of the ballpark), but I see a lot of "expects" and "luck" and "hope to" rather than any concrete start dates, and so, to me, that means there's really no news of impending construction. The fact that the Bullpen has apparently gotten it's lease renewed for the 2011 season would point to Akridge not expecting to do any work before fall. (And I'd also note that the first sentence gets everything wrong about the disposition of the Southeastern Bus Garage site, as is so often the case with DCMud items on Near Southeast: Akridge was the winning bid for the entire bus garage site in 2007, while Monument [which itself is not bankrupt, though its financial backer Lehman Brothers did croak] had earlier gotten the Metro station entrance on the other side of the street. Monument had owned land south of the bus garage, on the Bullpen site, but then sold that to Akridge in 2008.) The post also gives some background on the project, which might be new for people who haven't been following along, but which is basically what Akridge has been saying since they first unveiled the project two years ago.
You can see my Akridge Half Street project page for all of the details and renderings of the 700,000-square-foot office/residential/retail project, or, heck, read the zoning hearing transcript from January 2009. I think new residents will be happy about Akridge's long-mentioned plans for the "stall"-like vending area along the "Via" as well as a "neighborhood retail" feel for the Van Street side of the project, though people will probably be even happier about that once they know the project is actually going to start....

8th Street Beer Garden at 6B's ABC Committee
Dec 9, 2010 9:55 PM
Despite having arrived fashionably late to tonight's ANC 6B ABC committee meeting, I still managed to get there in time to hear the initial presentation by Mark Brody on his plans for the "Bavarian Beer Garden" that he is looking to bring to the currently vacant northwest corner of 8th and L, SE. (This is the "Saints and Sinners" block, which is also going to have the National Community Church's new operations on the Miles Glass site on the north end of the block.)
As I've written previously, he and his business partner (who has owned the property for more than 20 years--Brody appears to have bought a half-interest in the lots earlier this year for $600,000, according to property records) are applying for a liquor license for a tavern/beer garden that would seat 99 customers inside, with space for another 200 outside in the summer garden. They're looking to be open from 11 am to 2 am Sunday through Thursday, and until 3 am on Friday and Saturday, with the hours of alcohol sales matching those "open" hours. They also want to have live entertainment (oompah! oompah!) from noon to midnight on Sunday, 6 pm to midnight Monday through Friday, and noon to 2 am on Saturday. Brody said it would be "upscale," with beer running around $7, and there would be food, though no menu has been determined yet.
Brody brought no drawings or designs, but said they would put a newly constructed building along 8th Street, with the entrance on the corner, and the beer garden would be behind it, butting up against the driveway from Miles Glass that punches through to L Street. (Brody and his partner own the two small buildings on the west side of the driveway.) Brody suggested that having a large nightlife offering south of the freeway would help pull people south on 8th, and make them less reticent to use the parking lot beneath the freeway (which tied into the discussion around the previous agenda item, another restaurant in the 500 block of 8th). He also mentioned the large surface parking lots that exist nearby that would have more than enough capacity to hold the large number of patrons his plans are for, though certain bloggers in the audience mentioned that the big one at 7th and L is probably going to see construction start on its north portion before too much longer.
There was considerable skepticism from the commissioners (especially chair David Garrison) when Brody said that he hopes to be up and running "by spring," especially since the lot is in the historic district and he would still need all of his designs approved by the Capitol Hill Historic Society and the city's Historic Preservation Review Board, as well as go through the not-always-smooth building permitting process.
He and his partner (who is in construction) are looking at building a smaller "temporary" building now, with a more permanent three- or four-story structure to come later. But when the commissioners expressed their concern about having very little to go on in terms of design and concept before they make a decision as to whether to support the liquor license application, Brody said that he and his partner won't be building anything without getting the license first.
Commissioners also mentioned "Heart and Soul" a few times, which Hill veterans will remember as the venture at 8th and Pennsylvania that got its approvals as a restaurant with some live entertainment and turned into a nightclub that became a nightmare for residents. "What you're giving me screams 'nightclub,' " said 6B05 rep Ken Jarboe.
Neil Glick of 6B08 talked about the size of the plans, that this would be the largest space on the Hill except for maybe Remington's, and that "we can't just give away" support without much to go on, especially since Brody has not had any dealings with 6B before.
Kirsten Oldenberg, in whose single-member district (6B04) this site is located, listed similar concerns, as well as the fact that, if the temporary building is a success, why would the owners ever then tear it down to build something better? She also mentioned the Lower 8th Vision draft plan that has just been submitted to the Office of Planning, wondering if this project fits in to that vision.
6B07 commissioner Carol Green separated herself a bit from her brethren by saying that she feels the area south of the freeway needs something now.
Jarboe then mentioned the possibility of writing into the voluntary agreement that the liquor license be temporary (three or four years) so that the project can get started soon, but "to give [the license] to you forever and ever opens us up for mischief later on."
The license is on the agenda for the full ANC 6B commission meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 14), at 7 pm at the People's Church at 535 8th St., SE, but with things like a voluntary agreement still needing to be written, along with probably some strong feelings about wanting more information, I'm not sure how the timeline is going to work out, with the liquor license hearing date set for January 3.
UPDATE: After deliberations (which were public but I mistakenly didn't stick around for), the ABC Committee has decided to support the liquor license application contingent on the applicant and the city's ABC Board agreeing to a Voluntary Agreement that limits hours and occupancy (terms to come). 6B is also going to argue for a temporary license (as I described above), but it's not clear that the ABC Board would go along with that. There will be more discussion of this at Tuesday's full ANC meeting.

Upcoming Calendar of Events (Through Dec. 17)
Dec 6, 2010 10:46 AM
This is a painful post for me to write. (No, seriously--I hurt my left thumb last week, and typing doesn't help.) But I will power through to bring you news of upcoming events, all while wondering why Decembers are always so busy with public meetings--because it's not like we don't we have enough to do already....
ADD: Oops. Tonight (Dec. 6) is the 4th Annual Livable Walkable Community Awards, at Arena Stage at 6:30 pm.
* Tuesday (Dec. 7) is the second Marine Barracks site search public forum, in Eastern Market's North Hall. I can't find the agenda for it, but the CIMP web site describes it thusly: "Session 2 will begin with at 5:00 pm with an open house where information will be provided in displays, and subject matter experts will be present to discuss various aspects of the CIMP with a facilitated discussion to authenticate community development objectives to begin at 7:00 PM." You can see the draft community objectives handed out at last week's meeting, and read my summary of that session, as well as the scads of posts through the past year of this process.
* Wednesday (Dec. 8) is the neighborhood meeting with DC Public Schools interim chancellor Kaya Henderson on the movement to reopen Van Ness Elementary at 5th and M, SE. The meeting is at 6 pm (note the time change) at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, and while no decision on reopening the school will be announced, DCPS will be talking about the preliminary findings from the survey they did this fall about whether there would be enough students to justify reopening the school. Read my previous posts for details.
* On Thursday (Dec. 9) the ANC 6B ABC Committee will meet at 7 pm at the Southeast Neighborhood Library at 403 7th St., SE, and it will be taking up the new liquor license application for the Bavarian Beer Garden at 8th and L, SE. It's looking to be a 99-seat tavern, with an additional 200 outdoor seats in summer, and would operate from 11 am to 2 am Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays. There's also apparently the possibility of live entertainment. The application will also be taken up by the full ANC at its regular meeting on Dec. 14 at 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE.
* Monday (Dec. 13) is ANC 6D's monthly meeting--the agenda should be out later this week.
* Tuesday, Dec. 14 is the BID's Annual Meeting, at 11:30 am at 100 M St., SE. There will be a keynote address by George Hawkins, general manager of DC Water, plus the BID will release its 2010 Annual Report and State of the Capitol Riverfront.
* The BID also launches its Holiday Market on the 14th, running daily through the 18th on the sidewalk outside of 1100 New Jersey Ave., SE, across from the Navy Yard Metro station. "Shop the market for wool sweaters and mittens, homemade soaps, jewelry, antique maps, wreaths and holiday greenery, paintings, and much more!" See the flyer for more details, or the latest BID newsletter.
* Also on the 14th is the aforementioned ANC 6B monthly meeting, which includes a report by Michael Stevens of the BID on the Lower 8th Street Visioning Process report that's being submitted to the Office of Planning. (This will also be presented to the ANC's Planning and Zoning Committee on Dec. 7 at 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE.)
* Finally, on Dec. 17, the James L. Brooks movie "How Do You Know" opens--this is the one that was filmed at Nationals Park (and all around DC) back in 2009, and stars Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson.
Ow.

Phone Survey on Harris Teeter M Street Store
Nov 17, 2010 10:06 AM
I received a report from reader K on being part of a telephone survey on Tuesday night about neighborhood grocery stores. It apparently started with generic questions on where K shops, followed by questions about what kind of new grocery store K would like to see in the neighborhood, with options like Harris Teeter, Trader Joe's and Yes! being on the list. (Interestingly, given last night's Twitter eruption on Wal-Mart perhaps coming to DC, K says there were lots of questions about whether the neighborhood would support a "low-price" store.)
The interview then moved to specific questions about what K "would like to see at the new Harris Teeter at 5th and M by the Navy Yard." K said that the interviewer made the store sound like a done deal--which it certainly has seemed to be for a while now given all the hints and not-confirmed media stories about letters of intent, but there still has never been an official announcement from either Forest City or Harris Teeter that HT is indeed coming to the new residential building planned for 401 M St., SE at The Yards. One way or the other, it appears that construction on this building may be getting started next year--see my recent entries for details.

Beer Garden Coming to 8th and L?
Nov 8, 2010 5:23 PM
An Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Notice of Public Hearing appeared in last Friday's DC Register for an outfit called "Bavarian Beer Garden" seeking a Retail Class "C" Tavern license to open a "new tavern, beer garden with European/American food" on the northwest corner of 8th and L, SE. This corner is currently an empty lot (sorry for the old photo), and is next to some of the land that the National Community Church just bought as part of its purchase of the Miles Glass site (a small amount of the Miles Glass property runs all the way through to L Street).
The hearing notice says that the tavern/beer garden would seat 99 customers inside, with space for another 200 outside in the summer garden. They're looking to be open from 11 am to 2 am Sunday through Thursday, and until 3 am on Friday and Saturday, with the hours of alcohol sales matching those "open" hours.
This is part of the "Lower 8th Street" area that the Barracks Row folks are trying to revive; but I'll also note that it's in the block directly north of the Blue Castle, which I believe still has charter schools operating inside, so I wonder if there's going to be an issue there.
The lot resides in ANC 6B, and I don't believe anything has come before its ABC subcommittee yet.
The ABRA hearing date is set for Jan. 3, 2011, with petitions to appear before the board about this application needing to be submitted by Dec. 20.
(h/t Prince of Petworth, who has photos of the site taken today)

Little Red Building Site Switching to Coffee House
Nov 2, 2010 1:40 PM
I've just received an e-mail from Yung Park, the owner of the no-longer-Little-Red-Building site at Second and L, where the plans have been for years to reopen a liquor store known as "Parkway Wine and Spirits" once the new building is constructed (the old LRB for a long time housed the Star Market). However, apparently that's all now changing.
According to this e-mail, the site is now going to be a cafe, to be called the Aroma Espresso Bar, and it will feature an Illy coffee bar, plus "gourmet sandwiches and gourmet pastries." He says that the new building's exterior design will be the same, with the interior having modern finishes. The first floor will be the kitchen and coffee bar, and the second floor will be the seating area. (They're also hoping for sidewalk tables, though that will have to go through the city's Public Space permitting process.)
"If we have decent weather," Mr. Park expects the building and store to be ready by February.
With Harry's Wine and Spirits (which I think is now being called Harry's Reserve) opening at 909 New Jersey within a few months, the notion of two "gourmet" wine and liquor stores so close to each other must not have looked quite so appealing. And, with Parkway/Aroma's location next to Canal Park, switching to a more all-ages business plan is probably a wise move. Will post additional information as I get it.

11th Street Bridges Status Update; Other Catching Up
Nov 1, 2010 9:52 AM
I'm now back after a week wandering the Midwest again, this time spending a few days in Chicago and then going up to Milwaukee, where touring time was cut short thanks to that epic windstorm (but at least I got to see the Historic Third Ward and the Milwaukee Public Market). Lots of photos of streetscapes and buildings are here, if you feel like looking at some non-Near Southeast images for a change.
To catch up....
* Dr. Gridlock gave an update on the progress of the 11th Street Bridges project, which is now more than 25 percent complete. A pretty showy part of the construction will be starting soon, "when steel girders arrive for the new bridge spans. They will be trucked out onto the old bridges and lowered onto barges in the river below." The story gives this timeline: in spring 2011, the new alignment of southbound 295 opens; in fall '11, the freeway bridges (the upstream ones) will open; in winter 2012/13 the local (downstream) bridge between Anacostia and Near Southeast will open, with the entire project expected to be completed in summer 2013. (If the alignments and uses of the new bridges aren't clear to you, check my 11th Street Bridges project page for more detail.)
There's also some new lane restrictions that started last week and will run through Nov. 23: the left lane of 11th Street SE from M to N is closed, and N Street SE between 11th and 12th is closed overnight Tuesdays through Fridays. There are other restrictions and closures as well on 295 and the SE Freeway.
* The Post's Capital Business weekly has more information today on the foreclosure sale of 100 M, including this part that is probably of most interest to residents: "Although thousands of fans pour out of the Metro station nearby for baseball games, the Opus bankruptcy has prevented retailers -- other than a SunTrust bank branch -- from occupying ground-level storefronts. Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, said he hoped that with new ownership, that would change. The retail broker for 100 M St., he said, 'has had some tenants that were interested in that property, but he couldn't sign any leases because it was in bankruptcy.' "
* It wasn't exactly a shocker that Greater Greater Washington endorsed David Garber for ANC 6D07 commissioner. Along the same lines, there's a good piece by Housing Complex this morning on the dysfunctional aspects of the ANCs, with some ideas on how to fix them. Having been tortured by sitting through many ANC meetings for more than five years now, I can certainly vouch for a lot of the issues mentioned. Perhaps there needs to be a Rally to Restore ANC Sanity.
* If you've wanted to know about Ann of Ann's Beauty Supply and Wigs Co. at 125 L St., SE, People's District recently profiled her. (Except I think they either mistranscribed the date of her shop opening, or this interview was done when her store was still in the old Waterside Mall in Southwest, because her store opened on L Street SE in 2005, not 1995.)
* American River Taxi, which is working to begin boat service between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Diamond Teague Park, is hiring deckhands and captains. No word on when they'll get underway.
* Work has started in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey for the new Harry's Wine and Spirits. Alas, their timeline for opening has slipped (as all construction timelines do), and the owners now have their fingers crossed that they will be open by Christmas.

401 M Street Project at the Yards Switching to Residential, Could Deliver a Grocery Store in 2013
Sep 9, 2010 10:59 PM
One of the top three questions that gets asked here at JDLand is "When is a grocery store coming to the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards area?" (Well, maybe it doesn't get asked quite like that.) For a number of years there's been a planned grocery space on the southeast corner of 4th and M, as part of the first phase of development at the Yards; but thanks to the Economic Difficulties there hasn't been any recent indication of when (or if) that building might get underway.
However, it seems that the wheels are finally beginning to turn, and Forest City is now starting the process of shepherding a revised design for the site (known as "Parcel D") through the city's planning processes. And it appears that a full-service grocery store could be arriving in the neighborhood by late 2013 or early 2014. While that's not exactly right around the corner, those dates would seem to be an improvement over "someday, we hope."
These new designs replace the original plans for one office and one residential building with a single 220ish-unit apartment building, with 20 percent of the units earmarked as affordable housing. The 50,000 square feet of ground-floor grocery store space would still be at the north end of the block (near the red brick wall and turret), plus there would be additional retail space that would include a three-story fitness and spa facility. (And note that this is new construction, on a currently empty lot--the large red brick Gun Mount Shop just to the east of Parcel D is a separate project known as "Factory 202", designed as condos in the original plans.)
Forest City is hoping that construction could possibly start in early 2012, with a delivery in late 2013 or thereabouts. (But, repeat after me: dates like this are not written in stone.)
No names are officially attached to either big retail space at this time. However, WBJ reported a year ago that Harris Teeter has signed a letter of intent for the grocery store space, and, gosh, Vida Fitness sure is hanging around in the neighborhood a lot these days! Plus Vida said a few months ago that they have plans to open a branch in the Navy Yard area in 2013.
These new designs will apparently be presented to ANC 6D on Monday (a meeting which I, alas, will be missing), plus they are on the agenda for Thursday's Commission of Fine Arts meeting. They should also be going to the Zoning Commission at some point, so more details should become available as the process goes along.
I hope to have renderings of the new design soon, and will update this post when I get them. In the meantime, you'll have to settle for some renderings on my project page of the old original designs for 401 M and 400 Tingey from back in 2007.
UPDATE: Renderings have now been added to my 401 M/Parcel D page. A little taste of Southwest DC in the apartment building design, isn't there? The fitness/spa facility at Fourth and Tingey is much more modern (and I believe it will have space for some additional retail as well).

Harry's 'Upscale' Liquor Store on Track for Fall Opening
Aug 23, 2010 5:21 PM
Today was the day that the city's Alcohol Beverage Control board was to have had its hearing on a liquor license for Harry's, the new "upscale wine and spirits" store looking to open on the southwest corner of New Jersey and I, SE, in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey. However, there were no protests filed, so all systems would appear to be "go" for this store to open. I talked with one of the owners, and she told me that they are looking toward somewhere in October-November time frame to open, and that construction work should start to be visible within a few weeks, and some "Coming Soon" banners should appear before long as well.
I wrote in detail about their plans for the store a few months ago--the owners are the same people who currently own Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits in the 300 block of Pennsylvania Ave., SE, and previously they ran the Harry's liquor store that was in Waterside Mall until about five years ago. The hours would be 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday (or possibly 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays), and closed on Sunday. They would sell beer, wine, and liquor, as well as milk, sodas, juice, cheese, and other "quick stop" items, and are very much wanting to emphasize that this is going to be a "community" store, with higher-end products, wine tastings, and other offerings beyond what people normally think of when they hear "liquor store." This is a similar path to that being taken by the owner of the soon-to-be Parkway Wine and Spirits at Second and K (on the site of the late lamented Little Red Building), which is also looking to open by the end of the year.
Whether the neighborhood in its current incarnation (and size) can support both stores plus Cornercopia remains to be seen, although each store's location could be said to have its own "sphere": Harry's will be positioned to serve the foot traffic to and from Capitol Hill/Capitol South along New Jersey Avenue as well as the residents from the three I Street apartment buildings; Parkway will have the Courtyard guests, nearby office workers, and Canal Park visitors; and Cornercopia will have its existing loyal clientele as well as the ever-growing Capitol Quarter population (and also Capitol Hill foot traffic and Canal Park-goers).

Articles on Cornercopia, DHS Space Needs
Aug 4, 2010 10:25 AM
Two Post articles of note this morning:
* A nice little piece in the Food section on Cornercopia; it notes that Albert and Danica are surprised that the majority of their business comes from their jam-packed deli sandwiches, instead of the groceries, beer, and wine part of their operation. If you don't follow @Cornercopia on Twitter, you're missing alerts on specials, hours of operation, and the occasional alert to cops ticketing cars and/or jaywalkers.
* Jonathan O'Connell's article on the Department of Homeland Security's search for 1.1 million square feet of office space (apart from their new HQ at St. Elizabeth's) mentions that, with the SEC's leasing of 900,000 square feet at Constitution Center (the old USDOT) in Southwest, the presumed top contender for the DHS lease is now out of the running. The article quotes an Akridge senior vice president as saying that "a number of companies with properties atop stations along Metro's Green Line, both in Prince George's County and Southeast Washington, were likely in play."
There are two current development sites in Near Southeast that would appear to meet the DHS lease requirements of space and proximity to the Green Line (Navy Yard, of course). Those would be the Yards (designed to eventually have 1.8 million square feet of office space), and WC Smith's planned development at 800 New Jersey (the parking lot north of the trash transfer station and west of 225 Virginia, nestled just south of the SE Freeway), which has been billed as a 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project. Neither of those would be ready for quick move-in, which I believe was originally part of the DHS solicitation (points for anyone who can find the RFP online--I can't put my hands on it). The WC Smith site would need DPW's move from the trash transfer site completed (which I've been hearing may not be all that far off) so that the various parcels of land on squares 737 and 739 can be properly squared off, which includes the building of I Street through to New Jersey Avenue (and H Street as well).
Comments (3)
More posts: cornercopia, Retail

Vida Fitness Coming [Somewhere] in 2013?
Jul 27, 2010 3:56 PM
From a story in today's Post on the growing Vida Fitness empire, a sentence that has set some hearts aflutter: "Next spring von Storch will open Vida's fourth location in five years in the renovated 1612 U, with a fifth planned for the Navy Yard in 2013." So, I checked with the folks at the Navy Yard (since, despite some peoples' desperate desire to call the entire neighborhood "Navy Yard," there is still a functioning entity with that name that's only been around for 210 years, and so to call something "Navy Yard" means that every single time it's used it will force the question "Do you mean inside the walls of the Navy Yard itself, or the neighborhood around it?"). While there was no firm denial, it was explained that fitness facilities on Navy installations are operated by the service's own Morale, Welfare, and Recreation personnel, and that that business model probably isn't changing.
Without anything else to go on--and with no neighborhood projects currently touting a 2013 delivery date--we'll just have to wait and see which developer cops to being in talks with Vida. Though, if I had to guess, I'd just say this--it would certainly be easy for someone who perhaps doesn't know the terminologies and layout of the neighborhood to easily mix up "the Navy Yard" with "The Yards."
[And now I'll return to mending from some recent medical stuff (nothing to worry about, but I do need to do some of this "resting" I've always heard about). Apologies if posting/Tweeting/replying/whatever remains slow for a bit.]
Comments (0)
More posts: Navy Yard, Retail, The Yards

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

Demolition Day Nears for the Little Red Building
Jun 30, 2010 10:27 PM
I've gotten an update this evening on what is affectionately referred to around here as the "Little Red Building," the two-story townhouse on the eastern edge of the Courtyard by Marriott on L Street, SE. The owner has passed along the news that he has received his construction permits for a new two-story building that will house an upscale liquor store to be known as "Parkway Wine and Spirits." This does mean that the LRB is going to be demolished, and fences should go up tomorrow (Thursday) around the site. He expects the construction to take about five months, and since there will be some noise and disturbance while the work is underway, he wanted neighbors and residents to have advance notice.
Here's the design plans for the exterior of the new building; hopefully we can also get some information on his operational plans (and what sort of goods he'll be stocking) soon. Looks like the new building will be brick as well, and of a similar design--I hope it'll still be red!
(And I have to admit that I'll be sorry to see it go, since it's the subject of one of my very first [and still one of my most favorite] photos.)

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

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

Justin's Applying for Sidewalk Tables; Additional Info on the New Liquor Store (and the Little Red Building)
Jun 3, 2010 10:49 AM
The report from Wednesday night's ANC6D ABC Committee meeting:
* Justin's Cafe is seeking to add four tables, with umbrellas and four chairs each, on the sidewalk directly in front of the restaurant. They would be available the same hours as the restaurant itself, until 1 am Monday through Thursday, 2 am Friday and Saturday, and 10 pm Sunday. There were concerns from a commissioner or two about whether people might walk away from the outdoor seating area with alcoholic drinks, about the additional noise brought by 16 or so people outside, and about whether cigarette smoke from the tables would waft up and bother the Velocity units directly above. Justin Ross replied that a sign would be posted about alcohol only being consumed on the premises, and that smokeless ashtrays would be available for the tables (and that since people can't smoke inside the restaurant, there's already a lot of smoking going on outside on the sidewalk). Velocity's management had sent along a letter in full support of the plan.
The committee voted 4-0 in favor of recommending that the ANC support the application, and that vote should come at the ANC's June 14 meeting, if Justin's voluntary and community cooperation agreements are revised in time.
* The owners of Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits on Pennsylvania Avenue SE came to talk with the committee about their plans for a new "upscale" liquor store at 909 New Jersey Ave., SE, which they will be calling Harry's SE & SW. (For about nine years they ran the Harry's liquor store at Waterside Mall in SW, which closed about five years ago.)
They have signed a lease agreement to take the two retail spaces on the north side of the building, at the corner of New Jersey and I, and they will be knocking down the wall between them in order to end up with about 2,200 square feet of space. The hours would be 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday (or possibly 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays), and closed on Sunday. They would sell beer, wine, and liquor, as well as milk, sodas, juice, cheese, and other "quick stop" items, but would not sell sandwiches as had been mentioned on the meeting agenda. They hope to open in September or October.
Much of the discussion centered around whether they will try to get an exemption in order to allow sales of "singles," which is a very hot-button issue. The owners said that they want the exception so that they can sell "high end" Belgian beers, which come in single bottles, and have no intent to sell the cheaper singles that can attract a somewhat less desirable element. However, ANC 6D chairman Ron McBee said that he imagines it would be very difficult to get support from the full ANC for the exception, and that there would also be concerns about any attempts to amend the singles law that might make it look like the law was targeted toward one socioeconomic class and not another.
Also discussed was the possible impact of this new store on the long-held plans for a similar high-end liquor store at Second and L SE on the site of the "Little Red Building." The ABRA rules state that liquor stores can't open within 400 feet of each other, and these two would be more than 500 feet apart as the crow flies. But Mr. Park, the owner of the LRB, is clearly concerned about whether the neighborhood can support two very similar operations. He is moving forward with plans to demolish the LRB and put up a new structure, and is also looking at an October-ish opening date. (He said he'd send me the building plans soon.)
In the end, the committee voted 4-0 in favor of recommending that the ANC support Harry's license application. A voluntary agreement and a community cooperation agreement will now need to be hammered out, and those involved weren't sure if one could be ready by the June 14 ANC meeting, in which case it would probably come up at the July 12 one.

Near Southeast Residents Demand a Grocery Store! (The More Things Change...)
Jun 1, 2010 8:49 PM
I'm just now coming across a Washington Post story entitled "Housing Area Pushing for Supermarket," which says that a group of residents "in a small triangle of Southeast Washington launched a 'supermarket project' yesterday to persuade a grocery chain to build a store in their neighborhood," with a planned petition drive looking to get 1,500 signatures.
But, of course, I'm yanking your chain, since this Post article is dated Dec. 16, 1965.
The group, the "Community Commitee Group," planned to visit the regional offices of Safeway, Giant, and Kroger to present the case that the residents of the area bounded by 8th, Virginia, M, and New Jersey had only two corner groceries, with the closest supermarket being at Seventh and G, SE, which was too far for the "aged who live in the Carrollsburg Dwellings project at Fourth and M." Also, because many of the residents in the area qualified for food stamps, they needed to be able to shop at a full supermarket, where the stamps would stretch farther.
The group "also hopes to interest a chain drug store and a combination dry cleaning-shoe repair shop to locate next to the proposed supermarket." Their suggested locations? "The west side of New Jersey Avenue between K and L Streets to replace some condemned buildings [ahem], the Washington Navy Yard parking lot on 2nd Street between M and I Streets [ahem], and the Lennox School annex at 4th and M Streets [ahem]."
In the meantime, while you're mourning the fact that no progress has been made in the brief 45 years since this article was published, you can think about another big development that Near Southeast missed out on: In the early 1990s the Federal Bureau of Prisons was looking for a location for a new 1,000-bed federal detention center, and one of the spots it considered was on the north side of I Street between South Capitol and New Jersey, the spot that's now home to the Axiom and Jefferson apartment buildings. And McDonald's. And Splash. (The other possible locations were in Northeast, but after battles with the National Capital Planning Commission and thanks to some pretty staunch opposition by city officials and residents, the Justice Department scrapped the plans in 1993.)

Liquor Store Coming to 909 New Jersey?
May 25, 2010 2:31 PM
Some potential retail news might have just come onto the radar screen: on the agenda for ANC 6D's next ABC Committee meeting is a proposed Class A license at 909 New Jersey Avenue for an entity called "Harry's SW & SE". They are proposing apparently to sell beer, wine, bread, milk, cheese, and sandwiches (and no "singles"), which is in line with a Class A/liquor store license. If anyone who lives at 909 has heard any rumors, or if anyone else has some scoop, drop me a line. I'm trying to find out more, and will update as I can. (Though the last time I started asking questions about a license application when one appeared on the ABC agenda was a few months ago for 55 M, and it disappeared from the lineup almost as soon as I hit "send." So be forewarned.)
Also on the ABC agenda is a change to Justin's Cafe's license, with Justin now seeking to add a sidewalk cafe.
The meeting is on June 2 at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Recreation Center.
UPDATE: There was a Harry's Liquor Store at 401 M St., SW back in the old Waterside Mall--I don't think it's reopened in the new building(?). I imagine this is the same owner.
UPDATE II: It is indeed the same owner as the old Waterside Mall store, and he also owns Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits in the 300 block of Pennsylvania Ave., SE.

Justin's Cafe Gets Liquor License; April 16 Opening
Apr 6, 2010 8:32 PM
I've just received the news from Justin Ross that he got his liquor license today, and that Justin's Cafe is on target for an April 16 opening. (Yes, I know I was skeptical of that date a while back, but now that I've heard it from the guy who's name is on the sign....)
If you haven't been following along, Justin's will be a restaurant with full bar serving pizzas, sandwiches, and salads, open seven days a week with regular "bar hours," just a few blocks up First Street from Nationals Park. Here's an electronic version of the menu.
We'll have to do a JDLand get-together there in late April.

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

Links Roundup (Evergreen Media Coverage, Justin's, Nexus Gold Club Memories, Marines Meeting Reminder)
Mar 23, 2010 9:46 AM
* WBJ is first out of the gates with what I expect to be an avalanche of whats-new-around-the-ballpark stories, tied to Opening Day and now a March staple for all DC media outlets. Nothing new in it, and a few quibbles (Justin's Cafe isn't open yet, the water taxis also ran late last year, Sayres lease is 20k), but I guess it's a decent quick roundup if you're not keeping track. Which, if you're reading this blog, you are. :)
UPDATE: Ah, now I know where WBJ got the idea--the BID's State of the Capitol Riverfront Spring Update. Basically a straight copy-and-paste. (Not the end of the world, of course, but never a bad idea to be straight with readers about your sourcing.)
* Speaking of Justin's, ABRA said yesterday that there were no protests filed for its liquor license application. A reader reports that Velocity is telling residents that the restaurant will open April 16, but after watching rumored opening date after rumored opening date come and go for other places in the past, I remain skeptical of any rumor other than "it's opening tomorrow." (That isn't to say that the dates that get floated are necessarily propaganda--just that the final road to opening a business has a lot of potential pitfalls, especially in the permit process.) On the other hand, a reader passed along an electronic version of the menu, if you want to whet your appetite while waiting; though note that the web site listed hasn't launched yet.
* From the Post: the nude dancing license that used to belong to the Nexus Gold Club--on the site of what is now 909 New Jersey--is now being rebirthed as the "Stadium Club," a strip club getting ready to open on Queens Chapel Road, NE.
* Don't forget that the second public workshop in the Marines' project to build a new barracks, focusing on potential development sites, is tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Van Ness Elementary (1150 5th St., SE), with a repeat tomorrow from 8:30 to 10:30 am at the North Hall of Eastern Market. The agendas are here (and if you're trying to figure out how to get into Van Ness, the project web site says: "Enter through the main doors on the eastern side of the building (where the parking lot is) and follow the signs to the auditorium downstairs"). If the discussion going on in this comments thread is any indication, it's going to be an interesting meeting.

Robbery on Tuesday at Ann's Wigs
Jan 27, 2010 7:35 PM
A police alert went out on Tuesday afternoon about a robbery at 125 L St., SE, the address of Ann's Beauty Supply & Wig (which I forwarded to my Twitter followers, so there's another good reason to follow me there or on Facebook). I sent a message to the MPD 1-D mailing list asking for details, and here is what Lt. Durbin wrote:
"I would like to update the community on the Assault with Intent to Rob in the 100 block L Street SE. On Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 1D officers responded to the 100 block of L. St, SE, where 2 subjects entered the business producing handguns as they entered. One subject grabbed the complainant by the hair, trying to force her to the cash register area. She resisted and was able to exit the front entrance with the first perpetrator still holding her hair.
"The perpetrator threw her to the ground just outside the front entrance. She yelled out "help police!" The perpetrator let go and fled on foot down the alley next to the building towards M Street. The second perpetrator fled the store by exiting the rear door of the business.
"Both suspects left without taking anything. Both, then entered the Navy Yard Metro Station elevator. One got on a train, the other made good his escape on M Street SE.
"Both weapons were recovered they were replicas of a Glock handgun
"The suspects are described as
"-B/M 20-25 skinny, med-dark complexion close hair, light moustache, jeans, and dark hooded jacket
"-B/M 20-25 skinny, light complexion. No further clothing description
"The victim received minor abrasions.
"On January 27, 2010, a follow-up was conducted with the victim, who is doing fine(abrasions). PSA 105 officers will continue to monitor the area.
"We are still investigating this case and anyone with information is encouraged to call our tip line 888-919 CRIME or text to 50-411. Thanks."
Comments (2)
More posts: crime, Retail, Square 743N

Justin's Cafe Liquor License Hearing March 22
Jan 26, 2010 10:23 AM
For those keeping track, the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration has finally posted the hearing date for the liquor license for Justin's Cafe, and it's scheduled for March 22 at 10 am. From the notice: "NATURE OF OPERATION: New cafeteria-style restaurant serving salads, sandwiches, and pizza with 33 seats. Occupancy load of 61. HOURS OF OPERATION AND SALES / SERVICE / CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: Sunday 11:30 am - 10 pm, Monday through Thursday 11:30 am - 1 am and Friday & Saturday 11:30 am - 2 am."
As I've written, Justin is also asking for a stipulated license, which will allow him to open the restaurant and sell alcohol before the March 22 hearing date. But I haven't heard of an opening date yet, though a reader reports that the amount of construction "stuff" in the space seems to have lessened.

ANC Supports Liquor License for Justin's Cafe
Jan 11, 2010 11:46 PM
Tonight ANC 6D gave its support in two separate votes to restaurateur Justin Ross's liquor license application for his new "Justin's Cafe" sandwich/salad/pizza place in the ground floor of the Velocity condo building at First and L streets, SE. There was little discussion, other than some concerns by commissioner Roger Moffatt about voting to support the full liquor license before the hearing is even "placarded," i.e., posted on the restaurant site, because he felt that this might prevent residents' concerns from being part of the ANC's decision (though, of course, the ABRA liquor license hearing process specifically allows for public comment). Two residents in the audience spoke strongly in favor of the proposed plans, and, in the end, the votes were 6-0-1 for a temporary "stipulated" license and 6-1 for the full license (Moffatt voting present/against on the two motions).
There's still no date set for the license hearing (Justin filed his application on Dec. 30), but he indicated that things should be moving pretty quickly in terms of getting the restaurant opened, and the stipulated license will allow him to serve alcohol until the full license is voted on.
Other Near Southeast-related tidbits:
* The Marines are going to be hosting an open house on January 27 from 5 to 8 pm at Eastern Market's north hall--they are formulating a new master plan for all of their space needs, and are looking to "partner" with residents, developments, government agencies, or any organization that can provide the space they're looking for. The open house seems to be the first step in "reaching out," though it all seemed a bit murky, and perhaps will be better explained when announcements for the open house are released. (Though "lower Eighth Street" was mentioned.)
* The commission also elected its offers for 2010, with Ron McBee being named chair. Vice chair Robert Siegel, secretary David Sobelsohn, and treasurer Jane Jorgensen retained their posts.
* This was the first time in all the ANC 6D meetings I've attended (starting in probably 2004) that I actually stayed until the very end (it lasted a mere three hours). Whether this is something to celebrate is another issue, especially on a night like this one where the heat at St. Augustine's seemed particularly, um, nonexistent. They did announce that soon the ANC and the Southwest Neighborhood Association will be moving to new digs at Waterfront (the new development about to open at the old Waterside Mall site at Fourth and M, SW). They will also have a public meeting space that presumably will have both sufficient HVAC offerings and decent acoustics, so that I will actually be able to *hear* what's going on.

Tidbits (ANC 6D, Boathouse, Georgia Ave, Cupcakes!)
Jan 11, 2010 12:00 PM
A few items of note:
* Tonight is ANC 6D's monthly business meeting, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church, Sixth and M, SW. But, as is so often the case, there's no agenda yet released. However, the commission should be voting on whether to support the liquor license application of Justin's Cafe, which was approved by the ANC's alcohol/beverage subcommittee last week. Other than that, the lineup will just be a bundle of surprises! UPDATE: The agenda is now posted.
* The folks with A rower from the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association has started a blog to track the move of the boathouse operations away from its current home in between the 11th Street Bridges up-river to the Anacostia Marina. The move is happening because the new bridges are going to necessitate the demoition of the two existing boathouse buildings. (UPDATED with a new name for the blog, along with a clarification)
* The Hill is Home has a "Lost Capitol Hill" post about the original Georgia Avenue, SE, which is now Potomac Avenue. On these maps from the early 1900s of Near Southeast, you can see Georgia Avenue in 1903, but not in 1909. (If you haven't wandered through these maps before, they're worth a few minutes. Go to the main page, click on a section of the neighborhood, and then you can use the links to go from 1903 to 1909 to 1915 to 1921.
*The Curbside Cupcake folks are venturing into Near Southeast these days, and will be at New Jersey and M tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 12) from noon to 1 pm. (They set up shop there for a while last Tuesday, too.)
* And, while outside my boundaries, I think it's worth mentioning that Big Chair Coffee opened at 2122 MLK Avenue in Anacostia this morning--And Now, Anacostia has a pile of photos of the place, which is one of the only (if not the only) coffee house east of the river.

Justin's Cafe Gets 6D's ABC Committee Support
Jan 6, 2010 9:40 PM
A very quick update from tonight's meeting of ANC 6D's alcohol/beverage committee, which voted 3-0 both to recommend support Justin's Cafe's application for a liquor license, and to recommend that a "stipulated license" be granted. This means that the restaurant could operate under a temporary license until its (still as yet unscheduled) hearing in front of the liquor board is completed. The full ANC will vote on these recommendations at their meeting on Monday (Jan. 11).
Owner Justin Ross said that the build out isn't quite complete yet and that there's still a few weeks of work to take care of, but he's hoping to open within four weeks or so.

BID Holiday Market; Justin's Cafe Photos
Nov 27, 2009 9:28 AM
News from the Capitol Riverfront BID:
* They've announced their second annual Holiday Market, running Dec. 15-18, from noon to 6 pm each day, at Second and M, on the Canal Park footprint.. "For four days, the Capitol Riverfront will present a festive holiday market with local artisans selling handcrafted jewelry, crafts, photography, holiday trees and greenery, and more. Enjoy a variety of festive foods and live music daily from noon - 2 pm."
* The BID has also posted a few photos of the construction work (and the sign) at the "soon-to-open" Justin's Cafe at Velocity on their Facebook page.

Roundup of Recent Little Items
Sep 28, 2009 7:23 PM
Some recently Tweeted tidbits, and a few other morsels:
* Cornercopia is now open on Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm, according to a Tweet from Albert today.
* It's the last homestand of the 2009 season at the ballpark, with a 7:05 pm start on Tuesday and a 4:35 pm on Wednesday. (Oh--it's the Mets.)
* There's going to be a big Halloween shindig at the Bullpen on Oct. 31 from 9 pm to 1 am; three bands, a DJ, and costumes required.
* Velocity Condos is having its "Grand Opening" event on Oct. 3 and 4. Settlements on units in the building were supposed to begin on Sept. 21, but I haven't heard whether they have indeed started.
* WAMU did a brief report this morning on the BID's work (via events like the recent picnic and walking tour) to drum up interest in the neighborhood, especially to show retailers that there's a customer base. "Some 2,100 people live in the redevelopment zone, but McManus says more 'urban pioneers' need to arrive before retailers can move in."
* A group of owners, merchants, and residents working on ideas to perk up the southern end of Eighth Street (south of the freeway) now have a blog. There are apparently going to be a series of public meetings as part of the "visioning process," on Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Dec. 15, and Jan. 19, at 8:30 am and 7 pm. Their aim is to "attempt to gain consensus on a vision for the area and to address issues of height, density, mix of uses, parking and access, as well as what should be the character of a redesigned Virginia Avenue Park as an amenity or community benefit for the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood and Capitol Hill. If consensus can be reached on the vision, it could serve as the basis for asking the Office of Planning to develop a small area neighborhood plan that could then be used as justification for any agreed upon zoning or density changes."
* The Examiner reported last week that CSX is proposing to expand the amount of freight it moves through DC, which would require the expansion of the Virginia Avenue tunnel, the New Jersey Avenue overpass, and other locations to allow for double-height rail cars. The plan is supported by the National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board and by DDOT.

Zoning Commission Approves Trapeze School at the Yards; A Revised Tentative Phase I Timeline
Sep 21, 2009 7:47 PM
In a blissfully short 26-minute hearing, the city's Zoning Commission approved tonight the series of amendment requests to allow the Trapeze School New York to set up shop on Parcel O at the Yards, on the southeast corner of Fourth and Tingey.
The commissioners seemed satisfied with the information they had in the Office of Planning report and the submissions from Forest City and the Trapeze School, and asked few questions (Chairman Hood was clearly trying to move things along). This is a temporary approval, allowing the Trapeze School to be at the Yards for five years, or longer if a Special Exception is later granted. The text amendments also waved the on-site parking requirement for the school, with new commissioner Konrad Schlater saying he was "comfortable" with it because parking "is definitely overbuilt" in the area around the ballpark. ANC 6D had voted 7-0 in support of the case as well. It's now expected that the National Capital Planning Commission will address the Trapeze School at its Oct. 1 meeting.
No date for the opening of the school in its new home was mentioned, though it was explained that Forest City was trying to expedite the process since the school is having to vacate its home at the old convention center site. There will still be building permits to be filed for and approved before the tent can be lifted.
Toward the end of the hearing, Ramsey Meiser of Forest City gave a bit of an update on the other projects in the first phase of the Yards. Here's the latest:
* They are continuing to work with the city's Housing Finance Agency to get the money together to (re)start on the Foundry Lofts, with a hoped-for completion date of late 2010 or early 2011.
* The Boilermaker Shop could open in 2011; this dovetails with what a commenter in this thread reported hearing over the weekend, although earlier today Forest City would not officially confirm for me any scheduled start date for the project, only that some retail tenants have been signed, but that Forest City can't name them publicly just yet. (Maybe in October.)
* The first retail in the Park at the Yards (in the old Lumber Shed building) could open in 2012; the park itself is expected to open next summer.
* "Parcel D", on the southeast corner of Fourth and M, is the site of the expected Harris Teeter (though Meiser didn't name them, saying only "a grocery store," since neither Forest City nor Harris Teeter have confirmed this rumor yet), and is now apparently going to be a residential building instead of office, which had been hinted at recently. It's expected delivery date is currently 2013.
* The Factory 202 lofts building at Fifth and M is not expected before 2014.
And all that's just the first phase! Meiser also said that Parcel N, the site of a surface parking lot on the southwest corner of Fourth and Tingey, would probably be the first project of Phase 2. But no date on that yet.
If you want to watch the hearing, visit DCOZ's On Demand Video page.

Update on Little Red Building Plans
Sep 12, 2009 11:35 PM
After seeing the raze permit approval earlier this week for 156 L Street, the former Star Market (aka the "Little Red Building"), I contacted the building's owner for an update on his plans. Mr. Park (whose father used to own Bernstein's Liquors at Half and M SW) says that his plans are now to build just a liquor store; previous plans to include a second-floor deli have been set aside. He's hoping to get a building permit for a new structure within the next month or so, and expects construction to take about five months. So possibly the store could open next spring, though hopefully readers are becoming suitably cautious when hearing development timelines.
I know neighbors at CHT and the Marriott have been working on agreements with the store, but I haven't heard where they stand; anyone in the know please give everyone the scoop, in the comments. And keep an eye out for demolition of the old building, which should take about 10 minutes once it starts.

Snippets, Reminders, and Whatnot
Sep 9, 2009 10:47 AM
Pulling together smallish items from hither and yon:
* Last night saw the first arrival of a commercial water taxi at Diamond Teague Pier; WTOP covered the trip, which is a good thing, since I neither rode the boat nor stood on the dock to watch it sail in. I suck.
* A stroll through the city's building permits feed (which alas isn't as easy or useful as it used to be, since they pile every single permit into the feed over and over, rather than just posting new/updated ones) uncovered that back in August, a raze permit was issued for 156 L Street, home of the old Star Market and better known as the "Little Red Building"; the owner has spoken of plans to build a new two-story structure that would be a combination liquor store and deli. I haven't heard of any timeframe for the demolition, new construction, or store opening.
* From And Now, Anacostia, a heads up that today's Kojo Nnamdi show will include a segment called "Paris on the Anacostia: A Provocative Idea for DC's Waterfront," which will discuss the idea of *narrowing* the Anacostia River, "with the goal of bringing in new businesses, training new workers, and completely changing the relationship between folks East and West of the River." It'll be available online here.
* Tomorrow night (Thursday) is the second Outdoor Space Movie at Canal Park; this time it's Star Wars. The Force will be with you, starting at 7:30 pm.
* And Thursday night is also the deadline for pre-registration for ULI Washington's Urban Marketplace conference and expo on Sept. 15. Among lots of other sessions about urban development, it includes a panel discussion about the ballpark neighborhood, with Michael Darby of Monument Realty, Matthew Klein of Akridge, Michael Stevens of the BID, Harriet Tregoning of the Office of Planning, and me. It'll be a barn-burner!
* Saturday night is the second annual Opera in the Outfield at Nationals Park; the Washington Times previews it here. It's the Barber of Seville; but don't be alarmed when the first lines aren't "Welcome to my shop/let me cut your mop, let me shave your crop/Daintily, Daintily!"
* Forest City announced its second-quarter earnings, for those who know how to decipher these things. It does mention the Park at the Yards, still listing the completion date of the first phase as summer 2010. And their outlook? "While some see signs of a potential end of the recession, we are taking a conservative course based on what we can observe and are experiencing directly: continued weak fundamentals and little improvement in overall near-term conditions. As a result, we remain very cautious going forward. We expect the second half of the year to be challenging for our Company and for the entire industry, and we do not anticipate meaningful improvement in market conditions in the near or mid-term."
* I don't think I've officially linked to Cornercopia's Twitter feed, if you haven't seen it yet. (And there's my Twitter feed, too, of course.)

Long-Rumored Harris Teeter/Yards Deal Closer?
Sep 7, 2009 9:38 PM
Tonight WBJ is reporting that Harris Teeter--which has long been rumored to be the grocery store planned for the southeast corner of Fourth and M at the Yards--has signed a letter of intent, though Teeter isn't confirming.
But don't start making your shopping list just yet--even before the Economic Difficulties, Forest City wasn't expecting to open a building on that parcel before 2011, and that date now looks tough to meet. But there are hints in the article that maybe Forest City is rethinking the plan to have an office building topping the grocery store: "We are currently evaluating the overall development program on that parcel, which may result in a revised mixed-use concept," is the quote from Forest City's Ramsey Meiser.

Cornercopia Liquor License Change Application
Aug 8, 2009 12:46 AM
Quick post: here's notice, on page 14 (and I'm told this was posted on the building today) of Cornercopia's application for a "substantial change" to the existing liquor license from the old Third & K Market--the new owners are looking to be open (and selling alcohol) on Sundays from 9 am to 6 pm (the old market was closed Sundays), and they're also looking to extend the weekday hours to 7 am to 10 pm (with alcohol sales starting at 9 am). A hearing date for anyone objecting to the change in the license has been set for October 5.
Readers are flooding me with mistaken "they're open!" messages as well as "they told me they'll be open on [x] day!" messages, so, just to be fair--if you're gunning for the free sandwich as the first reader to report that Cornercopia is open, I'll be asking to see your receipt to verify that the market was indeed doing business. (You can send a picture of it from your cellphone!) This is to prevent the I-drove-by-and-it-looked-open messages....
Comments (7)
More posts: Alcohol/Liquor Licenses, cornercopia, Retail

Neighborhood Gumshoes Report on Cornercopia
Jul 27, 2009 10:53 PM
I personally don't have anything new to report on Cornercopia (I'm starting to feel a bit of deja vu to all the "no, really, the school buses are leaving soon" statements I heard from 2003 to 2009), so I'll just pass off to two readers who couldn't bear the suspense and visited the store themselves this weekend, then wrote/Tweeted what they heard (and I'll note that there's been varying reports between "they have all their permits" versus still needing their liquor license):
First, reader J reported via e-mail: "They are going to open sometime next week (the exact day was not disclosed). They will be open from 7 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week. Besides the gourmet deli, they will have produce, fresh sushi delivered daily (not sure where it's coming from), limited frozen items, milk/eggs/cheese, sodas, gourmet beers, and a lot of wine. In fact, they are going to have a back room full of wine. There were a lot of rows of canned goods, pastas, etc. as well. They are doing a last push right now with painting, stocking, etc. All permits are in, just waiting on a few other things. There will also be an ATM inside the store, though they will accept all major credit cards. They said when they open, the credit card machine may not be working quite yet, though. Other than that, they are all excited about joining the neighborhood."
Then, mhoffy tweeted an unintended followup: "met the owner of cornercopia yesterday and he said he is working on a contract with Sticky Rice for sushi. Yay!"
Will it happen this week? We shall see....
Comments (5)
More posts: cornercopia, Retail

Upcoming Events, and Other Linky Goodness
Jul 14, 2009 12:14 PM
* This Sunday (July 19), there's going to be a "Grill-Off" at Nationals Park before the 1:30 game against the Cubs. Phil Bucco, who oversees the menus at the ballpark, will be competing against Teddy Folkman, the executive chef at Granville Moore's. It'll be an Iron Chef-like challenge, where the chefs won't know the ingredient they're working with beforehand. The event starts at noon, but the first-come first-served seats (in the Nats Family Fun Area) can be grabbed starting at 11 am, when the gates open. Plates will be judged at 1 pm.
* On Tuesday, July 21, the BID is hosting a "Mental Mapping" event, where they're asking residents to "Sketch out your shopping route to assist in a study about neighborhood retail needs." It's at Capitol Hill Tower at 6:30 pm; RSVP to rsvp@capitolriverfront.org.
* On Saturday, Aug. 8, the 3rd Annual Youth River Sports Day will be held at the Anacostia Community Boathouse, from 10 am to 2 pm. Rowing and paddling instruction, guided river tours, and more will be offered; my photos from last year's event give a taste of the activities.
* This is a ways off, but SWDC Blog reports that the next ANC 6D meeting, on Sept. 14 (no August meeting) will be held in Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. I've been attending ANC meetings off and on for six years, and this is the first one I remember that will be crossing South Capitol Street.
* Even farther off (well, the next day), Urban Land Institute Washington is holding its third Urban Marketplace Conference and Expo, which brings together "the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to explore redevelopment opportunities and best practices in emerging neighborhoods and corridors across the Washington metropolitan region." One of the day's discussions will focus on the ballpark district (and I'm one of the panelists). Early-bird registration ends July 31.
* In non-event news, Fox 5 reports on how the Nationals' problems on the field "are making the city's $700-million stadium look like a bad investment." To wit: "Before the stadium was built, the city projected average attendance at 34,708 per game and tax revenues from tickets and merchandise of $15.1 million for this season. The reality, average attendance is about 23,213, ranking the Nationals 24th out of 30 teams. Based on attendance figures through June, the city now estimates tax revenues of about $8.9 million. The office of the Chief Financial Officer says tax revenues could increase because average attendance has improved slightly since June." However, "The office of the Chief Financial Officer estimates the city will raise $50.2 million through its Ballpark Revenue Fund, more than enough to make the $32-million bond payment on the stadium with money left over. The bulk of that however does not come from the Ballpark itself, but rather from a utility tax and a business tax in the city."
* Since I was out of town this weekend, I missed all the Elton/Billy hullabaloo. Here's a pile of reviews and blog posts having to do with the big show.
* For your (off-topic) Real Estate Development Collapse reading pleasure, a long piece on Williamsburg, NY: "Most unsettling are the cases of the developers who seem to have vanished, leaving behind so many vacant lots and half-completed buildings--eighteen, to be precise, more than can be found in all of the Bronx--that large swaths of the neighborhood have come to resemble a city after an air raid."

No News Is.... No News (Well, Barely Any News)
Jul 6, 2009 4:24 PM
I haven't gone anywhere, I just have barely any news to pass along these days. This is the best I can do:
* As I tweeted last week, I heard from the owner of the Cornercopia Deli at Third and K, saying that the "wheels are turning a little more slowly" than they had hoped, thanks to red tape. No opening date, but that shouldn't stop you from leaving your thoughts in the comments about what you'd like to see sold in the store--and maybe we can get Mr. Oh himself to say hello...
* Here's a post from WBJ's Breaking Ground blog with Opus East's schedules and statement of financial affairs, as a result of its Chapter 7 liquidation filing late last week. (The documents are pretty much Greek to me, but maybe those with some experience in the area might find them interesting.) The city's recorder of deeds database also shows eight liens filed against Opus's 1015 Half project from late May through June 24, and construction does appear to have ground to a halt.
* In Friday's print Washington Business Journal, Missy Frederick writes that sports bar The Greene Turtle is looking to open five more locations by the end of 2009, with two of them in DC, "particularly near Capitol Hill or by one of the college campuses." Hmmm, what neighborhood with a fair amount of already available retail space (and a guaranteed influx of sports fans) is "near Capitol Hill"? (But I'd note that the biggest available retail spaces in Near Southeast, on the ground floors of 100 M and 55 M, are in buildings where the owners [Opus East and Monument Realty] are in rough patches; does that make signing a retail lease less enticing, or more? On the other hand, the ballpark has all that empty retail space along First Street....)
Comments (13)
More posts: 1015 Half, cornercopia, Retail, square 697

Domino's Coming Soon to 900 M Street
Jun 26, 2009 1:02 PM
With thanks to reader JW for the eagle eyes, I can pass along that there is now a "Domino's Coming Soon" sign in the window in one of the three retail slots at 900 M Street, the beige building that was recently a dialysis center but originally was a Hudson car dealership. (Out of date photos here; guess I'd better get over there this weekend.) The leasing company has said they are looking for national tenants for the spaces--I haven't heard if there are any leases signed for the other two units. (Though my mind always wanders back to this story from last August that mentioned a Dunkin Donuts franchisee scouting locations near the Navy Yard.)
Now, will people consider this "new" retail in Near Southeast, or just a restoration of the old order? After all, Domino's used to be one of the few food options in Near Southeast, at its original outpost at South Capitol and M, until it closed in early 2008. (That site is owned by Monument.)
Comments (8)
More posts: 900m, Restaurants/Nightlife, M Street, Retail

Filming at Nats Park Today; Lots of Other Tidbits
Jun 12, 2009 9:37 AM
* Reader S. reports in from Nats Park that filming is happening there today on the Owen Wilson baseball movie. S. is an extra, and says that Owen is there, but hasn't seen any other stars yet.
* The Navy Yard Museum is presenting "American Girl Day" on June 27, saluting the series of books that has taken the youngsters by storm. Valerie Tripp, one of the authors, will be signing books, and there will be hands-on activities, prizes, and more. RSVP required; it runs from 11 am to 3 pm. See the flyer for more.
* Two readers confirmed my Tweet yesterday that the "Taxation Without Representation" street signs have now been posted on South Capitol Street between N and Potomac.
* The new owner of the Little Red Building at Second and L formerly known as the Star Market is moving on getting the existing liquor license changed to allow more than just beer and wine (a process originally started by the previous owner). My intern reported that the sign now posted says that the deadline for filings on the case is July 20 and the hearing is (I think) August 10; however, the hearing notice hasn't yet appeared in the DC Register, and the ABRA web site is woefully out of date these days.
* Greater Greater Washington discusses attempts to get USDOT security to back off from hassling photographers; I've had problems there for years, even though there is no law prohibiting the photographing of federal buildings. (They even hassle me when I'm taking photos of The Yards, which, to be gentle about it, is *really* none of their damn business.)
* I hear that the Cornercopia Deli is still about three weeks from opening; we'll see if that date holds. And yes, my free-sandwich offer to the first reader who alerts me to the deli actually being open for business still stands.
* There's a couple sales/leasing events at Velocity and Onyx over the next few days that readers have alerted me to; but if those sorts of tidbits are of interest to you, you'll want to check in with the BID; I'm going to shy away from adding those type of shindigs to my already overburdened lineup of items I track.

L Street Doings, and Stories on Stuff There's Already Been Stories On
Jun 4, 2009 11:21 PM
* ANC 6D's meeting on Monday night (June 8) looks to be a little shorter than usual, with only a few agenda items, one of which is a public space permit request by the Courtyard by Marriott to expand (?) their sidewalk cafe.
* Speaking of L Street, a reader wrote today about the Little Red Building at Second and L, once known as the Star Market. Apparently the owner was posting a liquor license hearing notice, which gives me a feeling of deja vu, since this also happened in September 2006. The owner told my anonymous tipster about his plans for the building, which are pretty much what we've been hearing since 2006: tear down the building and build a new two-story structure, with the first floor being a liquor store and the second floor being a deli (at other points over the past few years it was a sushi bar and then a wine bar on the second floor). The plans have even stayed mostly the same after the building changed hands last year for $900,000. See my various posts from 2006 through 2008 about the previous attempts to change the building's liquor license and the negotiations with the ANC.
* Lots of coverage today of the city "landing a movie project," though it's the Owen Wilson/Reese Withersoon/Paul Rudd baseball movie that was first reported on back in May. Parts of it will be filmed at Nationals Park.
* In a similar vein, the Post reports today on the trapeze school coming to DC, which we discussed a few days back. Negotiations are still underway to have them "land" (ar-ar) at The Yards after they spend the summer on the old Convention Center site.

A Slew of Tweets, Links and Little Items
Jun 2, 2009 9:41 AM
Some recent items of note, some Tweeted over the past few days and some I just lazily haven't gotten around to mentioning until now:
* Several readers wrote in to mention the awnings now in place at the Cornercopia Deli at Third and K, which were installed on Friday. Still no word on when it might open--but to make sure that I hear about it ASAP when its doors do open, I pledge to buy a sandwich there for the first reader who alerts me that the deli is open to customers.
* If you haven't been in the unit blocks of either I or K streets--the Wendy's (on the site of the on-hold 23 I Street apartment building by JPI) is now completely demolished, and glass is now being hung on 1015 Half Street. If you're wondering why the west side of 1015 Half is not glassed but has just a plain beige exterior--remember that that side will just be facing an alley, with 1000 South Capitol someday rising between it and South Capitol Street. (Emphasis on the *someday.*)
* The Obama Five Guys on Second Street has seen a 50 percent jump in business since the president's visit on Friday, says Politics Daily. And plenty of people are ordering the "Obama Burger," a cheesburger with lettuce, tomato, mustard, and jalapenos.
* A little excitement at USDOT on Monday when a suspicious package forced the evacuation of the Fourth Street building. According to DC Fire and EMS's Twitter feed, it was a package leaking diesel fuel.
* Greater Greater Washington spent some time looking more closely at the schematic of the new 11th Street Bridges that I posted about last week.
* The Post had a good report on Saturday's high school baseball Congressional Bank Classic at Nationals Park.
* UrbanTurf.com took a look at Capitol Hill Tower.
* "Artomatic Moves to DC's Empty Ballpark District."
* The Mayor wants to clean out the Community Benefits Fund funded by the ballpark to pay for 10 weeks of his summer jobs program, says the Examiner. Members of the council say that six weeks (the amount that can be paid for by the original amount budgeted for the program) is good enough, and that money should go to various projects they've earmarked. (UPDATE: The council voted today *not* to cut the program to six weeks.)

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.

Sports Bar at Velocity?
Apr 9, 2009 9:35 PM
From a piece in Friday's Post about [the lack of] food and drink options near Nationals Park: "The Velocity Capitol Riverfront condominiums, slated to open at First and L streets SE in the fall, will have a sports bar as part of its ground floor retail space." This is slightly different from what the Velocity sales office was telling prospective buyers earlier this year, which was that an Italian bistro was being planned.
The article also gives more details on the Akridge "block party" space at Half and N, mentions Artomatic, and talks about access via Circulator bus to the restaurants on Barracks Row.

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

New Photos: 909 New Jersey
Mar 22, 2009 9:31 AM
Part of my trek(s) on Saturday included getting a slew of updated photos of 909 New Jersey, the 237-unit apartment building between I and K that's now all-but-completed. The landscaping is done, and the fences are down from most of the sidewalks--which will make baseball fans walking to and from the Capitol South subway station happy, I imagine. No word yet on any tenants for the ground-floor retail spaces.
Comments (6)
More posts: 909 New Jersey, jpi, Retail

Catching Up With a Few Small Items
Mar 8, 2009 11:05 AM
I've been out of town for most of the week, so posting was kind of haphazard. Here's some additional items, starting with news from just this morning:
* Reader atweber passes the news via Twitter that workers have told him that the Third and K Market will be opening next month. So, those wishing to stay in the neighborhood to shop won't have to use CVS as their "supermarket." (And the new windows and door are so pretty!)
* Not officially confirmed, but the WashTimes is reporting that President Obama has agreed to throw out the first pitch at the April 13 Nationals home opener.
* Via the BID's latest newsletter: the little beige building at 900 M Street that once was a Hudson car dealer (and more recently a dialysis center) is scheduled to open in April in its new incarnation as a retail building. It's said that the owner has received one letter of intent from an undisclosed tenant. (Just speculating, but maybe it's the Dunkin Donuts franchise that was reportedly looking in the Navy Yard area?)
* The BID has also announced the lineup for this summer's lunchtime concert series at the plaza behind USDOT, though you have to page through their calendar to see the schedule of artists. It runs on Wednesdays at noon from May 20 through Sept. 16.
* When I posted about FiOS internet at 70/100 I and asked "is this news?", I should have referenced this post from last summer, about the "First Community to Offer FiOS" sign on Half Street, where we discussed that FiOS internet was already listed as available at those addresses on the Verizon web site.
* The day after I posted about the calls from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to convert the Capitol Power Plant from coal to natural gas, ABC7 reported that "several thousand demonstrators "urged Congress to pass legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, and they targeted the government's own Capitol power plant as a symbol of the problem. An enthusiastic crowd of mostly young people marched from a park near the Capitol to the power plant several blocks away, where they planned to block entrances and were prepared to get arrested. The group chanted along the way, 'We don't want the world to boil, no coal, no oil!'" Darryl Hannah and Robert Kennedy Jr. were among the protestors. When they arrived at the power plant they were met with "about a dozen" pro-coal counter-demonstrators.
* On Thursday the Post looked at how the office building development biz in DC has all but ground to a halt: "Not a single office building has been started in the District since October, a sign that the slowdown that began in the far-out suburbs has now reached prime city locations." The Hood (surprisingly) isn't mentioned, though WBJ reported a few months back that Donohoe was looking for (but unable to secure) funding for 1111 New Jersey.

Yards Park Phase 2 Plans Approved
Mar 3, 2009 9:20 AM
Last night the Zoning Commission unanimously approved Forest City's Phase 2 plans for the waterfront park at The Yards, which include three glass-enclosed pavilions offering 50,000-sq-ft of retail and a 60-foot "visual marker" at the edge of the water on the boardwalk. You can see more renderings and designs on my Yards Park page (scroll down a bit for Phase 2), and this National Capital Planning Commission report has a lot of information as well, with many of the same drawings that were presented last night. I described it all thusly a few months ago:
The "light tower," designed by James Carpenter Design Associates, is made up of stainless steel prisms that reflect light during the day and will be subtly illuminated at night. The top is actually 70 feet from the top of the water, but 10 feet of that is the boardwalk; the structure itself is only 60 feet high.
The storage shed, as I've mentioned in the past, will lose its faaaahbulous salmon-colored corregated skin and will be enclosed with non-reflective glass. The other two buildings (currently given the wonderfully descriptive monikers of P2A and P2B) will also be mainly glass structures. There will be a restaurant court in front of the center building, overlooking the area of the park that steps down toward the waterfront.
The commissioners were very complimentary of the designs, with only a bit of concern expressed about whether the tower (made of stainless steel prisms) was either a bit too small for its surroundings (commissioners Jeffries and Keating) or if perhaps its base was a little too plain (May and Turnbull). Turnbull was also concerned about sustainable design features of the pavilions, and, more succinctly, that the walls made all of glass would just make the buildings into "a very hot box." May also said that Forest City needs to come up with better names for the vertical marker and the retail pavilions, though he also dryly added he was "not advocating selling the naming rights."
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development testified in support of the project, and the Office of Planning recommended approval--their staff report is worth reading for more details on the project and on the various zoning exceptions and speical requests Forest City was seeking. ANC 6D voted last month 6-0-1 to support the project, and there were no other witnesses either for or against the plans.
In the end, with the commissioners having made no requests for additional materials or clarifications, it was decided to take their vote immediately, and approval was given 5-0. Because this was a Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review, this was the only vote that will be taken.
The first phase, which is expected to begin construction in the next three months and be completed by mid-2010, is the basic layout of the park and the boardwalks. The third phase will be the piers and marina, which Forest City said last night is targeted for completion in 2012 or 2013.
Comments (6)
More posts: meetings, Retail, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

Nats Announce Deal with Levy Restaurants
Feb 17, 2009 4:15 PM
This news has already come through here as a rumor, but the Nats announced it officially today (via WBJ): "The Washington Nationals have chosen Levy Restaurants to run concessions at the team's ballpark, just one of many changes planned for the 1-year-old stadium's second season."
The article also describes the changes in store for the Red Porch Restaurant, which have also been in the media previously but are worth reposting in case you haven't been following along: "The Nationals are also working with HOK Sport, the ballpark's architect, to replace the center field restaurant's fixed glass wall with sliding glass to develop a better connection to the game, said team President Stan Kasten. The plan is to remove the last row of 32 fixed seats in center field in front of the restaurant, called the Red Porch, and add more tables, seating 44 people in the space. The concrete back wall will be removed and replaced with roll-up garage doors that open up that side of the building, creating 88 outdoor seats facing the center field plaza. [...] Other changes to the center field plaza include installing a stage for live music, building a larger pre-game set for local broadcasters to use on game days and erecting statues honoring Washington baseball legends Walter Johnson, Josh Gibson and Frank Howard."
And, there's this, which might be of interest to residents and workers desperate for food other than Five Guys and Subway: "The Nationals would like to open the Red Porch for lunch and dinner on nonevent days when the team is on the road, but nothing is definite for extended hours, Kasten said. 'We may experiment,' he said. 'We'll see.'"
Comments (2)

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."

More Office Leases Signed at 100 M
Jan 27, 2009 1:58 PM
While everyone continues to nervously eye the commercial real market, Opus East has continued to sign tenants at 100 M Street. In addition to Parsons (who signed for 30 percent of the building's space early on), deals have now been completed with Battelle's transportation group (about 6,000 sq ft) and NAVSEA contractors CDI Marine (6,000 sq ft) and Orbis (7,400 sq ft). This brings the building to about 43 percent leased, according to Opus, with contracts closed to be completed for another 8,000 sq ft.
As for retail, SunTrust is still planning to open a branch there (perhaps as early as this spring, but nothing's confirmed), and Opus continues to look for a restaurant (or restaurants) to fill the remaining 8,500-sq-ft of ground-floor retail space.
Comments (3)
More posts: 100 M, Retail, Square 743N

100 M Close to Being Sold; More Tenants Signed
Dec 15, 2008 3:01 PM
Washington Business Journal passes along the latest on 100 M Street, Opus East's office building that's just about to open. Apparently the building is set to be purchased by Detroit-based MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors LLC on behalf of an unnamed fund they represent, though the financial climate is slowing down completion of the transaction. It's expected to be finalized in January.
Meanwhile, Parsons's transportation unit moves in January 1, occupying the top four floors (30 percent of the building's total square footage). Another 7,400 square feet has been leased by federal contractor Orbis Inc., and WBJ says that "Opus also has signed letters of intent with three more small tenants and has concluded final negotiations with them[...]. Those three leases will absorb an additional 20,000 square feet in the 240,000-square-foot building." SunTrust Bank is also still planning to occupy 3,600-sq-ft of ground-floor retail space.
Comments (1)
More posts: 100 M, Retail, Square 743N

City Paper on the 'Capitol Riverfront', and Other Links
Dec 10, 2008 1:10 PM
Piling a bunch of stuff together, again:
* Just posted on its Housing Complex blog (and in this week's print edition), the City Paper takes a look at the "Capitol Riverfront," both in the attempts to brand the neighborhood and in how empty it currently is (the subhed for the piece says "Developing a Name for the Southeast Waterfront Is Easier Than Actually Developing It" ).
UPDATE: I should also mention that Housing Complex has also posted occupancy numbers for the new buildings in Near Southeast: 70 and 100 I are 18 and 14 percent leased, Onyx is at 8 percent, Capitol Hill Tower is at 75 percent, Capitol Quarter Phase I is sold out, and Velocity is 25 percent sold.
* Reader J. reported yesterday that interior work seems to have begun at the old dialysis building at 900 M Street. They're rehabbing the interior and the exterior to create three retail storefronts, though no tenants have been announced yet.
* The Douglass Bridge is having another early-Sunday-morning-closure on the 14th.
* Planners are trying to figure out where to put all the charter buses coming to town for the inauguration. I'm guessing that the surface parking lots all around Near Southeast are going to be pretty enticing.
* The WBJ picks up on what I reported last week about 810-816-820 Potomac Avenue going up for sale in a sealed bid.
* One more add: Dr. Gridlock reports that Metro will be testing more eight-car trains on the Green line.

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

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?

Connect Barracks Row Presentation on Dec. 18
Nov 28, 2008 9:09 AM
The group of urban planning students at the University of Maryland who have been studying the lower part of Eighth Street will be presenting their "Connect Barracks Row" findings at a public meeting on Dec. 18 from 7:30 pm to 9 pm at the Navy Yard Car Barn, better known as the Blue Castle, at 770 M Street, SE. You can see the presentation from their Oct. 29 community meeting and read a little more about the project on their web site.
The students' work also got a write-up in today's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only), which says: "Their findings so far come as no surprise: Walking beneath the noisy highway is undesirable, parking isn't easy to find and there is little reason to go to the site in the first place."
In describing lower Eighth Street, WBJ also says: "A developer had plans to turn one block into housing and residential space, but that plan apparently went nowhere." Sounds like a reference to the original plans for the Admiral at 801 Virginia, which as I've been writing over the past few weeks has been redesigned as an office building and received its Board of Zoning Adjustment approvals on Tuesday.
There's also mention of the hopes by Madison Marquette to turn the Blue Castle into a 99,000-sq-ft retail destination, but no progress has been announced.
Comments (0)
More posts: 8th Street, meetings, Retail, zoning

BZA Approves Revised 801 Virginia Design
Nov 25, 2008 11:06 PM
This afternoon the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment approved unanimously two requested variances that will allow 801 Virginia Avenue to go forward as a 19,000-sq-ft office building with 3,000 feet of ground-floor retail. I admit to listening to the webcast with only about half an ear, but the bulk of the discussion seemed to be centered around the applicant's request to only have 17 underground parking spaces instead of the required 30 (17 is still four more than were allotted in the original condo-building design). As I wrote about a few weeks back, the developers say that groundwater levels and potential soil contamination issues would make it prohibitively expensive to dig two additional levels of parking (and having to have the garage entrance on L Street apparently doesn't help, either).
The 17 spaces will all be assigned to the office tenants, so there will be no parking for retail customers. (There was some discussion of creating overflow parking if necessary at 816 Potomac Avenue, another property owned by the same developer.) The applicant's traffic consultant also laid out the proximity of the site to Metro subway stations and bus lines, and with the request having the full support of the Office of Planning, ANC 6B, and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, the board voted to approve the variances.
No word on when the project might get underway.
Comments (1)
More posts: 801va, 8th Street, meetings, Retail, zoning

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

Quick Photos from the Anacostia Waterfront Fair, Plus a Few Other New Photos and Pages
Nov 15, 2008 4:35 PM
I have to admit that information fairs aren't quite my gig (especially since I'm immersed in this stuff everyday), but I did wander past today's Anacostia Waterfront Community Information Fair at the ballpark to see what there was to see. I got there pretty early and left pretty early, so didn't see any of the panel discussions (and didn't take any of the bus tours), but if you want to see how they configured the exhibitions within the Stars and Stripes clubs at the ballpark, here's a batch of photos. (And, if you were there, maybe you're in one or two of them!)
I also took a few new photos on First, Third, and New Jersey of 909 New Jersey, Velocity, Onyx, and the Foundry Lofts, which will serve mainly as a reminder of why I don't normally go on photo expeditions on cloudy days. If the weather finally shifts, I expect to be out taking some additional ones on Sunday, especially of 1015 Half, since the first columns are visible above ground-level.
Plus, I felt a burst of inspiration yesterday the likes of which I haven't seen in months, and *finally* created project pages for William C. Smith's 800 New Jersey Avenue development and for the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction. The 800 NJ page has almost no information (since there's so little to be had about the project beyond the basic 1.1-mil-office-residential-retail-and-maybe-Whole-Foods profile); the 11th Street Bridges page is a little better, but still is just a lot of pictures of overpasses and flyovers. Better than nothing in both cases, though!

Dogfish Head Alehouse, Jazz Club May Come to the Yards (Teeter, Too); Whole Foods and Square 737
Nov 14, 2008 9:27 AM
Today's print edition of the WashBizJournal has some big retail-related Near Southeast items of interest:
* "The developer of The Yards, the 42-acre Anacostia riverfront project near the Nationals ballpark, is close to landing a jazz club and Dogfish Head Alehouse and may move its local headquarters to the former Navy Yard. The two retail tenants would be the first in the Boilermaker Shops, a three-story industrial building with walls of red brick and plate glass on Tingey Street between Third and Fourth streets SE." (The Boilermaker Shops are scheduled to open in mid-2010, along with the Park at the Yards and the Foundry Lofts.)
* The planned office building at 401 M could become home to Forest City Washington's headquarters; it's the one with the grocery store space in the ground floor. WBJ says Forest City "is 'nearing a deal' with a grocer for 50,000 square feet and an announcement could come in 60 days. He would not reveal the chain, but sources say it is Harris Teeter Inc. which has two D.C. stores and plans a third in Northeast." 401 M is not expected to be constructed before 2011, however.
* Also on the grocery store front, confirmation of the rumor that's been hashed around here lately: "William C. Smith & Co., meanwhile, has been in discussions with Whole Foods Market Inc. about a store in its planned 4-acre development between New Jersey Avenue, H and Second streets, known as Square 737." (See, I tried to tell you folks it wasn't going to be at New Jersey and K; and Jonathan, you're welcome for this tip.)
UPDATE: Finally getting *some* piece of news about 800 New Jersey finally spurred me, after all this time, to create a project page for it. There's no renderings, just a bunch of "before" pictures, but at least it's something. And, since talk of grocery store on this site back in *1999* was one of the first tidbits that led me to start paying attention to the neighborhood, I guess it finally deserves its own page.

More Upcoming Events: Wachovia Branch Grand Opening, 'Night at the Yards' Benefit
Oct 2, 2008 8:40 AM
Two upcoming events, mentioned in the Capitol Riverfront BID's e-mail-only newsletter:
* On Friday (Oct. 3), the new Wachovia Branch at 20 M Street is having its official Grand Opening celebration, from noon to 4 pm. Stop by "for some food, music, and prizes!"
* On Oct. 24, the nonprofit group Living Classrooms is holding an event dubbed "A Night at The Yards," to raise money for their operations, including the Discovery Creek Children's Museum, and the City Kids Wildreness Project. It's at at Fourth and Tingey streets, from 7 pm to 12:30 am. Tickets are $125 each. There will be food and drinks, and a performance by the English Beat. (No, seriously.) Living Classrooms, a non-profit group that "uses maritime settings, community revitalization projects and other challenging learning environments" to provide hands-on education and job skills training for students (especially at-risk youth), has plans to eventually build its new "main campus building" on the far eastern edge of the Waterfront Park at the Yards
Comments (0)
More posts: 20 M, Retail, The Yards, Yards Park

Capitol Hill Tower Restaurant Space: 'Stay Tuned'
Oct 1, 2008 4:51 PM
I've gotten a couple messages over the past few days from people passing on rumors that perhaps a restaurant is getting ready to occupy some or all of the 7,500-sq-ft space in the ground floor of Capitol Hill Tower on New Jersey Avenue, north of L. Here is the complete response I got from CHT's developer when I asked if there was any news: "Not yet ready to announce but stay tuned."
Comments (5)
More posts: Capitol Hill Tower, Retail

Ballpark Sales Tax Revenue Short of Projections, and No One's Moving to the Neighborhood
Sep 18, 2008 11:22 PM
Two pieces in Friday's Post of interest to Near Southeast fans: "Nationals Park Revenue Falls Short of the Mark," detailing how tax revenue for the first year at the ballpark is expected to be about $2.6 million short of the $13.5 million originally projected, and a sidebar piece, "Though Developers Built It, The Tenants Did Not Come," about the empty buildings in the neighborhood, using Lerner's 20 M Street as a jumping off point: "In many ways, the Lerner building -- owned by the Bethesda real estate family that also owns the Nationals baseball team -- is symbolic of the emerging district around the ballpark. Sleek new buildings with offices, condos, apartments and retail space have popped up all over. But many remain empty, seeking tenants in a sluggish economy."
The first piece, on the taxes, also talks about the ongoing dispute over whether the stadium was "substanially complete" by Opening Day, and that the Nationals are still withholding their $3.5 million rent payment. On the other hand, the article says that the city has enough money to cover the debt service on the stadium financing because the special ballpark tax on city businesses is bringing in more revenue than expected.
Comments (14)
More posts: Retail, Nationals Park

Rumor Patrol: Whole Foods on New Jersey Ave.?
Aug 22, 2008 3:00 PM
Rumors started flying in a few places lately that Whole Foods is coming to New Jersey and K, SE. I usually shy away from writing about rumors, but this one is persistent enough that it probably needs some addressing. It's not listed on their Stores in Development page, and no one's leaping to tell me this is or isn't true (which isn't surprising), but it's not completely out of the realm of possibility. There's been references here or there to "two grocery stores" coming to the neighborhood (with space for one set aside at the The Yards, coming in 2011 or later), and I've heard nonspecific Whole Foods/Near Southeast rumors a few times over the past year.
But I'm skeptical about it coming to the New Jersey/K intersection. There's only 6,000 square feet of retail in 909 New Jersey (not enough for a grocery store), and the plan for the trash transfer station has always been for it to be part of the Capper Hope VI project, with an apartment building that probably won't start before 2011. That leaves the southwest corner, where the Cohen family owns the small lots along K between New Jersey and First; there's also the Positive Nature lot at 1021 New Jersey and one to its south owned by Potomac Development Corp., who it should be noted picked up 51,000 square feet of transferred development rights earlier this year. (Can someone at CHT look out their window and confirm that the Positive Nature sign is still there?)
So maybe the "New Jersey" part is right, but not the "K"? My gaze (and my betting dollars) might head north a block or two, to 800 New Jersey (also sometimes known as 120 Canal), where for years William C. Smith has envisioned a grocery store as part of its planned 1.1-million-square-foot four-building development on the Square 737 block bounded by Second, H, New Jersey, and the eventually reconstituted I Street. No timeline for the start of this project has been announced, though. (In fact, there's so little information about the project that I haven't even felt compelled to build a project page for it.)
In other words, there aren't really any tea leaves to be read on this one, so if someone wants to spill the beans, I'm always listening.

Late Night Update on Hood Happenings
Aug 21, 2008 9:12 PM
* As I mentioned below, the garage that housed both the Merritt and Four Star cab companies started getting brought down today. They didn't get it all on Thursday, but I imagine by sundown Friday the rest will be gone. (See pictures from midmorning, though it's hard to see much in the way of a difference from First and K, since they took out the back of the building and only a smidgen of the K Street facade.)
* Only a few hours after I said that Capitol Quarter framing would start "in the next few days," lumber went up on the first house on the south side of L east of Fourth. (No pictures yet--this weekend!)
* Sometime this week the crane was put up at 1015 Half Street, so we should be seeing vertical construction before too long.
* Building permits for the external renovations to 900 M Street are now winding their way through the bureaucracy. No word yet on any retail tenants.

Yards Park Phase II Zoning Hearing in March; Living Classrooms Plans Main Campus Building
Aug 19, 2008 9:05 AM
It's more than six months away, but the second phase of the Waterfront Park at the Yards is now scheduled for a Zoning Commission SEFC Overlay District Review on March 2, 2009 (after having briefly been scheduled for Nov. 17, 2008). It's in this review that we'll see the plans for the renovation of the Lumber Shed into a glass-walled retail building, plus the designs for two new two-story retail pavilions connected to the shed's east side. There will also be the first look at the proposed "public art tower" that Forest City is wanting to build right on the waterfront at Third Street.
You can see early designs for the three retail buildings (and the position of the art tower, if not the design itself) in the rendering on my Yards Park page, right at the center, and of course plenty of photos of what the area currently looks like.
One other project at the Yards park that is just starting to pop up on the radar is a new "main campus building" for Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region, to be located on the far eastern edge of the park (just off the right edge of the rendering), along the waterfront just before the park meets the Navy Yard. Living Classrooms is a non-profit group that "uses maritime settings, community revitalization projects and other challenging learning environments" to provide hands-on education and job skills training for students (especially at-risk youth). They will be handling the design and management of the new environmental center at Kingman Island further up the Anacostia, and currently operate out of Building 74 at the Yards (the little brick building--to be townhouses someday--just west of Hull Street at M, seen here). And, according to their web site, Living Classrooms has been "asked to oversee and manage marina and some waterside activities" at the new Yards park.
There is no timeline for when Living Classrooms' new building will get underway. It's currently in the design phase (see an early rendering here), and when that's completed, there will be a fundraising drive to finance the project.
Comments (2)
More posts: Retail, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

Smattering of Tiny Items (Burglaries, Wachovia, Nats)
Aug 12, 2008 9:43 AM
Pulling together some previously Twittered items (the most recent of which you can always see on the JDLand home page, beneath the big map):
* This morning's Crime Incidents feed update shows two recent burglaries, one yesterday in the 900 block of New Jersey and one Friday in the 200 block of K. No narratives as to what happened are available yet.
* There's now a big Wachovia sign on the western end of 20 M Street.
* The Nats start a home stand tonight, first against the Mets and then this weekend against the Rockies. Because of DC United home games at RFK, the Nats Express will be operating out of Lot 7 both tonight (Tuesday) and Thursday (Aug. 14).
* On Thursday night there's a Ladies Night Out and Home Run Happy Hour at the ballpark, with all sorts of enticements to get the girls to come out to the ballpark. Tickets are $30. More info here.
* The Nats "First Ladies" (the players' wives and girlfriends), partnered with the UPS Store and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, collected over eight bins of school supplies and $6,500 in cash donations during their second annual Back-to-School Drive on Aug. 2 and 3.
Comments (2)
More posts: 20 M, crime, Retail, Nationals Park

New Yards Photos: Inside the Boilermaker Shop, and New Pattern Shop Pics; WTDW The Hole in the Wall
Jul 22, 2008 7:39 AM
Last week the folks at Forest City were gracious enough to take me on a behind-the-fences tour of the The Yards, so that I could stock up on "before" photos before too much more work gets underway. The first stop was Building 167, also known as the Boilermaker Shop, on the northeast corner of Third and Tingey streets behind the US DOT HQ. This steel-and-glass industrial workshop (such a rarity for Washington) was built in 1919, and by the end of 2009 Forest City expects it to be transformed into a 46,000-square-foot retail space, with a new loft-like mezzanine in the middle of the building that will provide additional square footage without sacrificing the wide-open feel of the high glass-lined ceiling. I have wanted to get inside this building for a long time, so I'm glad to now have photos in advance of the shop's makeover, which you can see on my Boilermaker Shop page along with renderings of what's coming.
Across the street at the old Pattern Joiner Shop, interior demolition work continues, along with the removal of all the windows and the white paint from the building's exterior. We didn't get to go inside, but I've still posted some updated photos, which you can compare to shots from the past three years to see what's been done in just a few months. By late 2009 this will become the Pattern Shop Lofts, with 170 apartments, ground-floor retail, an interior courtyard, and two new floors on top.
I also snagged some photos from a few other locations, too, and I'll get those posted soon.
And, if you're wondering What's the Deal With the big hole punched in the historic red brick wall on M Street east of Fifth--apparently that's the start of the necessary work to create 5 1/2 Street, SE (no, I'm serious), which will run between the big red brick Building 202 (to be turned into condos by 2011) and Building 74 (forecast to be converted into townhouses in a future phase of the Yards). Here's an overhead photo of the spot in question, taken from the roof of the old Capper Seniors building before it came down last year.

Pre-Holiday Wrap Up
Jul 3, 2008 9:40 PM
Not that there's probably anybody left in town (*tap* *tap* -- is this thing on?), but just in case, here's a few items before I downshift into low-posting holiday mode over the weekend and into next week:
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's Post covers some of the latest news on retail (i.e., banks) I've posted here over the past few weeks (Wachovia at 20 M, SunTrust at 100 M, plans for 900 M). There's also a blurb on the month-old news of the zoning approvals for the Waterfront Park at the Yards. The column normally appears in just the District Extra, but If you live in Prince George's County, you got a crack at it this week as they snuck it in on page 11 of the P.G. Extra, too. But note that we're scaling way back on how often the column will appear (probably just monthly from now on) since the news isn't flowing as fast and furious-ly as it was last year.
* No one's invited me to the roof of any of the sparkly new Near Southeast buildings to watch the fireworks. I'll say it: I'm miffed. I do and I do and I do for you people, and this is the thanks I get.... [/sarcastic martyr mode off]
* I've tinkered again with the big homepage map, trying to have it make a little more sense. I've added checkmarks for the completed projects, and turned the list of projects down the left side (marked on the map with boxes) into only ones that are under construction or ones which the developers have done an especially good job of making me believe they'll start soon. The rest of the map is a whole lot of stars marking proposed projects. And they're all color-coded to differentiate between office, residential, and recreational/retail.
My real desire is to completely redesign the homepage, but I haven't had any inspirations come to me yet. Although, in the meantime, I've added another three random before-and-after photo pairings down on the bottom right of the homepage (after you do a lot of scrolling), just to fill some space. I also expanded my Neighborhood Blogs list of links.
Happy 4th, everyone!
Comments (1)
More posts: 900m, Retail, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

Tiny Items of Note from This Weekend's Wanderings
Jun 23, 2008 12:53 PM
* DDOT told me these were coming a long time ago, and a reader whose e-mail I've lost gave me a heads up a few weeks back, but now I've finally visited for myself to see that the ugly cyclone fences on the South Capitol and M overpass have been replaced with pretty gray-painted ironwork.
* You have to look kind of closely, but construction has indeed started at Capitol Quarter, with pretty new curbs being installed on the south side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth. You can see them if you squint at the photos on my Capitol Quarter Phase I page.
* The owner of the Third and K Market at, um, Third and K must be keeping track of what's going on nearby, because there's now a For Rent sign tucked in the door. (Alas, all the info sheets were gone when I got there.) If you've ever dreamed of running a corner market, here's your chance. The market's been closed since about 2006.
* The "Wachovia Coming Soon" sign is back in the window at 20 M, so my building permit reading was on the mark. (It's in the window on the far western edge of the building.)
UPDATE: Speaking of 20 M, GlobeSt.com is reporting (tucked in a piece on LEED Gold certification for 1100 New York Avenue) that several leasing deals are pending for 20 M. So perhaps that's why Wachovia has decided to start moving forward.
* I did a bit of needed housingcleaning to the home page map and project directory--adding in 88 K as a "featured project", demoting 1345 South Capitol to "star-only" status until the project starts moving forward again, and adding a few additional stars for projects like the coming retail renovation of 900 M Street.
I also did some updating of the tabs with the lists of projects--if you don't realize the tabs are even there (look just above the map for "Residential/Office/Retail/Hotel"), take some time during this lazy summer to click on them and be stunned and amazed by the easy access to project information....

The Plaza on K: New Web Site, Fence Ad Renderings
Jun 21, 2008 5:44 PM
During two looooong photo treks today I found a new fence draping on First Street between I and K, advertising the three-building office-and-retail project on Square 696, now dubbed The Plaza on K. It indicates, as I was gleaning a few weeks ago, that DRI/Transwestern are indeed planning to move forward with 88 K, the first phase of the project, later this year, with delivery in mid-2010. There's now an official ThePlazaonK.com web site, for those of you looking to lease office or retail space.
Thankfully the nice sunny day allowed me to snag really good photos of the two renderings on the fence sign, which are shown above but which you can see in non-micro version on my Plaza on K page (scroll down a tad to see them--you have to be looking pretty close to realize they're not digital files). Both renderings show the planned 8,000-sq-ft public plaza on K Street just west of First Street. The project page also has lots of photos showing how much Square 696's "neighbors" have changed in the past few years.
Now we're just waiting to see when the old cab garage at First and K gets demolished....
(And--lots more photo updates coming over the next few days, so keep checking back.)
Comments (0)
More posts: Retail, Plaza on K/Square 696

First Peek at Elevations for 900 M
Jun 19, 2008 12:46 PM
With thanks to architect Gregory Powe, I've got the early elevations for the planned renovations of 900 M Street, the beige one-story building that is being converted into a retail space. (You can see a larger version here, showing both the M Street and Ninth Street facades, which you can compare to current photos of the building). As I wrote a few days back, this building that was once a Hudson automobile dealership and more recently a dialysis unit is looking to become home to "three national tenants," though none have been named. Historic Preservation Review Board staff have now approved the design, and it's also been presented to the Capitol Hill Restoration Society and ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee. Building permits for the exterior renovations are expected to be applied for this summer.
Comments (1)
More posts: 900m, Retail

20 M Street Certified LEED Gold
Jun 12, 2008 2:08 PM
From GlobeSt.com: "20 M St. SE, a 190,000-sf office building developed by Lerner Enterprises and designed by WDG Architecture, has been awarded LEED Gold certification--the first in the city to achieve this certification level for Core & Shell Development, according to the US Green Building Council. [...] Green features include roofing that reduces heat island effects, plumbing fixtures that reduce water consumption, high-efficiency HVAC systems and humidity control, extensive use of recycled materials and locally manufactured products, low-emitting paints, carpet, adhesives, and sealants, monitoring systems for environmental comfort, advanced stormwater management measures and easy access to public transportation." The blurb also states that 20 M is expected to be 50 percent occupied by the end of the year. But so far, no tenants have been announced. (Although perhaps Wachovia's moves toward opening a branch at 20 M hint toward some tenants coming soon.) 20 M is the big silver building at Half and M, visible to most everyone in the upper decks at the ballpark.
Comments (0)
More posts: 20 M, Retail

11th and M Exxon Closing; Retail at 900 M?
Jun 8, 2008 7:18 PM
Within the past few days there has been some news from the eastern end of the neighborhood (and thanks go out to the folks who live up that way for passing along the information). Here's what I've heard:
* The Exxon on the northwest corner of 11th and M will apparently be closing this week, having been sold. There's rumors of development of some sort planned for the site, so I'm trying to find out if there's any details available yet, and will post if and when I find something out. This is the last gas station in Near Southeast, joining the departed Exxons on South Capitol at I and K, the Sunoco at Half and M, and the BP Amoco at South Capitol and N. Nowhere left for me to track gas prices anymore!
* The low-slung building at 900 M Street, which apparently was once a Hudson automobile garage and most recently was home to a dialysis unit, is going to get a facelift to become a retail space, with most likely "three national tenants" who presumably would be seeing the many Navy Yard employees across the street as an enticing opportunity. I'm told the plan is to reintroduce the historic storefronts that this building apparently used to have, and designs have been presented to the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee, and the DC Preservation Office; I'm hoping to get some renderings soon. The current expectation is building permits for the exterior renovations will be applied for this summer.
Comments (7)
More posts: 900m, M Street, Retail

Building Permits Hint at Wachovia's Arrival at 20 M
Jun 8, 2008 9:52 AM
My retrieval this morning of the DC Building Permits Feed (which has been on vacation for a few weeks) lets the cat out of the bag that Wachovia Bank is preparing to come to the first floor of 20 M Street. For most of 2007 there had been "Coming Soon" signs in the ground floor window of 20 M for both Wachovia and FedEx/Kinkos--when those disappeared earlier this year, there were concerns among observers (read: me) that the two retailers had bailed, but now it does appear that Near Southeast's Bank #2 will be opening before too long. (Bank #3--SunTrust--is expected early next year at 100 M.)
Comments (5)
More posts: 20 M, Retail

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.)

In Case You Missed It (Last Week's News Again)
Jun 2, 2008 10:11 AM
There was a big pile of news this past week from Near Southeast, so I'll boil it down to bullet points and links in case you couldn't keep up:
* Construction is really about to begin on the first townhouses at Capitol Quarter, now that financing has been closed for the public housing units;
* The first phase of the waterfront park at The Yards got the thumbs up from the Zoning Commission, and is expected to be completed by summer 2009;
* Onyx on First will be opening its first five floors of apartments in late July or early August, and initial rents have been announced;
* 100 M will be substantially completed in November, and tenants should start moving into the office building early in 2009. SunTrust Bank is the first retail tenant, and the developer is looking for restaurants for the other spaces;
* The planned office building at 250 M got Zoning Commission approval for a modification to its design; and
* Street vendors will start popping up for ballgames north of M Street on Tuesday (June 3). You can see the map of where they'll be.

Yards Park Phase I Gets Zoning Approval
May 31, 2008 7:19 AM
In what chair Anthony Hood remarked might have been the Zoning Commission's first-ever landscape architecture-only case, the Zoning Commission on Thursday night approved the design for the first phase of the waterfront park at The Yards, the nearly 6-acre green space along the Anacostia River on the site of the once walled-off Southeast Federal Center. My project page has a number of the renderings that were displayed during the presentation, and additional descriptions of what's planned for the site can be found in these two blog entries.
Representatives of Forest City said that they are committed to opening the first phase of the park in the summer of 2009. The second phase, which will include the renovation of the Lumber Storage Shed and the construction of other retail pavilions and buildings, is expected to come before the Zoning Commission this fall. Phase 3 will be the piers and marinas. Somewhat surprising was the news that the floating boardwalk connecting the Great Lawn on the western side of the park to Diamond Teague Park and the ballpark is now going to be built by the city as part of the construction of Teague rather than by Forest City as part of this park.
Much of the discussion by the zoning commissioners (that I saw--I watched from home in my fuzzy slippers and the webcast went wonky a few times in the middle) centered around the pedestrian bridge that runs across the bulkhead and the new freshwater canal. Its very "forward" design---described by Commissioner Etherly as an "aggressive architectural play" and by vice chair Jeffries as a "Slinky," a moniker that I'm sure the developers would probably prefer to not catch on--was not met with universal acclaim. The commissioners did seem recognize its intended role as a piece of art and one of the iconic elements of the park. Jeffries emphasized--and others agreed--that because the designs for the buildings and for the "art tower" are coming at a later date, the bridge is setting the stage for the rest of the architecture at the park, and that the future designs must play off what the bridge has started.
Peter May did not like the bridge (though I missed a lot of his comments because of the webcast problems). He expressed a worry that the bridge, along with the not-yet-designed art tower and whatever's planned for Poplar Point, could create a series of "Look at Me" moments along the Anacostia, all trying to compete for attention. "The 'Look at Me' moment for a waterfront park should be the river itself," he said.
There were also discussions of the lighting plans, and concerns as to whether or not the bridge has a railing (it does). Jeffries asked a lot about the vegetation planned for the different sections of the park, and expressed a wish for some landscaping that is a bit more "wild" in nature, to which Forest City seemed receptive.
There were letters of support from ANC 6D, which voted 7-0 on May 12 to approve the plans, as well as from the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the National Capital Planning Commission, which approved the park's design back in February. So, in the end, the commission decided to go ahead and vote for approval of the plans immediately, although the issuance of the final order is subject to the commission receiving some new renderings showing more clearly the railing on the bridge. The vote was 4-0-1, with commissioner Turnbull not present.
Comments (1)
More posts: ANC News, Retail, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

Meanwhile, Next Door at 100 M.....
May 30, 2008 2:24 PM
Getting the scoop on Onyx today spurred me to check in on the doings next door at 100 M Street, the 240,000-sq-ft office building that's been built in tandem with Onyx (though they are being developed by different organizations). Opus East tells me that they expect 100 M to be "substantially complete" in November, with tenants beginning to arrive in January 2009. Reports last year indicated that Parsons Technology has leased about 30 percent of the building. You can check my project page for before-and-after photos, especially if you want to gaze longingly at the On Luck Cafeteria....
And, since retail is what folks really want to know about, I can pass along that 100 M has SunTrust Bank signed up as their first retail tenant, and is looking for restaurants for their other spaces.
Comments (4)
More posts: 100 M, Retail, Square 743N

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

Retail Space Survey, in Graphic Form
May 14, 2008 10:13 AM
Handy timing: not long after my long and wordy survey of retail space that will be coming online in Near Southeast over the next few years, the Capitol Riverfront BID has released a Retail Opportunities map, showing basically the same data in a purty graphic format, for those of you who prefer colors to prose....
Comments (1)
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Retail