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The Despooking of 1st Street SE, All But Complete
Jul 28, 2014 5:08 PM
The dinosaur is gone, the bat is gone, the soulless brown-bricks-instead-of-windows are gone, and all that's left is just a few final smidgens of what was once Building 213.
The aforementioned smidgens:
And, in other news worth noting, TaKorean at Twelve12 has its sign up and doesn't look too far from opening, and the first hints of vertical construction have peeked out above the fence at the Hampton Inn site at 1st and N. (That's how fast things can go when you're not digging out three levels of underground parking.)
Comments (0)
More posts: The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

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

Wine and Oyster Bar Coming to the Lumber Shed in 2015
Jul 15, 2014 9:37 AM
Today Forest City Washington is announcing another restaurant for the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park--the Navy Yard Oyster Company, a "wine-centric oyster bar," will be coming to the south side of the building, between Osteria Morini and Agua 301, with a target opening date of Spring 2015.
The venture is from August Paro and Elias Hengst, founders of Beuchert's Saloon and Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar on Capitol Hill.
The menu will feature oysters from Rappahannock and the Chesapeake Bay, along with other well-known oysteries. There will also be an "extensive by-the-glass wine list," and classic cocktails "featuring selections from the burgeoning local distiller movement." Ditto the beer menu. There will be lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch service.
The restaurant will occupy 1,887 square feet on the ground floor, but its two-story ceiling will be the exposed trusses of the Shed's roof. The announcement describes the expected ambiance as "low key, laid back elegance," but is also inspired by the building's ties to the Navy, the city, and the river.
The ownership group, in addition to Paro and Hengst, has members who have been involved in various ways in other local restaurants such as Tryst, The Diner, Mendocino Grill, and the upcoming Stanton.
There is now only one remaining restaurant unit available in the Shed, on the northwest corner, which may or may not have something in the works.
(Also snuck into the oyster bar announcement is the news that the Parcel N apartment building is going to be called Arris. Plus it gives "early August" as an expected opening date for TaKorean.)

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:

Out and About: Ice Cream Jubilee Opens at the Yards
Jul 12, 2014 1:45 PM
After a soft-opening on Friday, scoop shop Ice Cream Jubilee officially opened for business this morning in the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park, and it didn't take long for the masses to line up, thanks to the blistering weather.
My normal edict to only use my own photos is relaxed a bit with this image that Mr. JDLand provided of his scoops from a visit on Friday afternoon--banana bourbon caramel, blueberry pie, and Thai iced tea.
The store's summertime hours will be 10 am to 10 pm Monday through Saturday, and 11 am to 8 pm on Sundays.
If you wish to officially proclaim your favorite flavors, the comments are open for your use.

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.

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

Catching Up, Illustrated Version II: Tear Downs
Jun 29, 2014 6:04 PM
Part of my laziness over the past two weeks was being sure that Fort Spooky had probably completely disappeared while I was out of town, and I was hating having missed some final demolition shots. But whaddya know! Some of it is still hanging on:
My Building 213 Expanded Photo Archive gives you the before-and-afters from more than 50 angles, which still probably isn't every spot in the neighborhood that has/had the building in its vista.
And, late in the week another long-sought demolition wrapped up, as seen in this terribly exciting before-and-after:
Comments (1)
More posts: Trash Transfer Site/DPW, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

Catching Up, Illustrated Version I: Sweetgreen
Jun 29, 2014 10:39 AM
I was out of town for a bit (Detroit!), but it was mainly laziness (abetted by a lack of major news) that's kept me silent for nearly two weeks. When the lovely weekend arrived, though, I took a survey of the latest. I'll break it up into a few posts.
As scheduled, Sweetgreen opened at Twelve12 a little over a week ago. Here's the outside looking in, and the inside looking out:
As for Twelve12 itself, work is still on-going at the Vida empire, the Teeter, and the upper levels of the residential, but the streetscapes are finished, and the northeast corner of 4th and Tingey now looks well filled in:
(Judging by the ads, it appears that the opening date for the Penthouse Pool club has been pushed back to August.)

Photos: Sneaking Peeks All Over the Place
Jun 15, 2014 10:28 AM
It was Saturday. It was beautiful. I wandered.
(Click on any of the photos and get a pop-up gallery of all of them--at least for non-mobile, non-RSS, non-email readers)
First, the obligatory Building 213 demolition shots. Let's compare the state of things on June 2 (left) and June 14 (right):
It's also fun to move back a block and get a better view from the east side, from November 2007 to this weekend. Where did all that sky come from?
And of course there's your basic Om Nom Nom shots:
There's also more peeks at other spots. First, I bring you the holes in the ground at the Hampton Inn on 1st Street (left) and the new residential building at Yards Parcel N (right):
Next, the still-papered over Sweetgreen at Twelve12, in advance of its opening this week, and a nose-pressed-up-against-the-dirty-window shot of the progress at the Harris Teeter in the same block, scheduled to open Oct. 1:
And I'll wrap up with the two photos below. At left, Twelve12's all-but-completed new service nestled between the new building and Building 202. And at right, on 1st south of K, the trailer that arrived this week, which is the one I posted about on Friday--and my guess that it is to be the leasing office for River Parc across the street has been confirmed.
The links to the project pages will show you these photos and many more....

More Food Arrives: Sweetgreen Opening Next Week
Jun 12, 2014 2:22 PM
It's been officially announced that next week Sweetgreen will be opening its newest location, on the northeast corner of 4th and Tingey in the ground floor of the Twelve12 apartment/retail complex at the Yards.
The purveyors of food that is more healthy than should be allowed by law* are planning a soft opening on Wednesday, June 18, from 11 am to 4 pm, where you can pay what you want for food ordered during their test run, with proceeds going to FreshFarm Markets.
Then it's anticipated the restaurant will open on Thursday, June 19 for regular business, with hours of 10:30 am to 10 pm seven days a week.
This is Sweetgreen's twelfth location in the DC area. It's in the same block as Vida Fitness, TaKorean, and Harris Teeter, all of which should be opening over the coming months. Twelve12 expects its first move-ins this month.
(I kid because I love. I am a devoted fan of the Guacamole Greens salad.)

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

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

Taking a Look Inside the Twelve12 Apartments at the Yards
Jun 3, 2014 10:40 AM
I put a hard hat on my hard head for the first time in what feels like forever, and got my first look inside the soon-to-open Twelve12 apartment building on 4th Street at the Yards.
There's still a lot of finishing touches underway, but I got some photos of the model unit as well as some of the other parts of the residential portion of the development.
Forest City says that the building is somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter leased, with the first move-ins coming later this month. Current prices range from $2,100 to $3,100 for studios/1 BRs, and from $3,500 to $4,500 for the two-bedroom units.
I didn't get inside the various retail offerings (though I did press my nose up against the windows). Sweetgreen, TaKorean, and the various components of the Vida Fitness empire (including Aura Spa, Bang Salon, and the Penthouse Pool Club) should be opening over the next few months, and the Harris Teeter Twitter account recently pegged Oct. 1 as the opening day for its new home at 4th and M.
Go look at the entire gallery for lots more shots.
Comments (10)
More posts: photos, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

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

PN Hoffman to Bring a Condo Building to the Yards
Jun 2, 2014 10:07 AM
A move like this was previewed a few months ago, and now it's come to pass: it's being announced this morning that Forest City is selling the "Parcel O" site on the southeast corner of the 4th and Tingey at the Yards to PN Hoffman, who will be building a 130-unit/10 floor condo building.
The trapeze school is currently occupying the site, but they will be moving to the corner of New Jersey and Tingey once the NGA building demolition is completed.
This would be not only the first condo building at the Yards, but the first condo building in the neighborhood since Velocity was finished back in 2009. Judging by my inbox over the years, the demand for ownership opportunities in the neighborhood is strong.
The press release about the project gives some small amount of detail: "These luxury condominium residences will echo the unique industrial past of the site both in building architecture and unit finishes. A range of residence sizes are currently planned from studios to two-bedroom units. A rooftop resident’s lounge, outdoor kitchen and fire pits, private terraces and balconies, and front desk staff are just a few of the features."
Hoffman is a busy company these days, since they are the behind the massive Wharf development in Southwest. The company has been tied to the Yards before, having been attached way back when to the renovation of Building 202 (the big red brick building now just behind Twelve12), but that project seems to be in perpetual turnaround.
There won't be shovels in the ground next week--scuttlebutt says that Hoffman could start the project in late 2015 (about the time that the under-construction 327-unit apartment building across the street delivers), but there's nothing stated officially one way or the other.
This would be the fourth residential building at the Yards, following the 170-unit Foundry Lofts, the about-to-be-completed 218-unit Twelve12, and the aforementioned 327-unit building on Parcel N, which needs a name desperately.
Comments (6)
More posts: Development News, The Yards, Yards/Parcel O

Tuesday Tidbits: Cruising, Looking, Fattening, Crowding
May 27, 2014 3:47 PM
Long weekends mess with the mind.
* CRUISING BY THE HOOD: The Near Southeast Community Partners group, in concert with the 11th Street Bridge Park Project, Living Classrooms, and Anacostia Riverkeeper, are having a "Community Vision Cruise" along the Anacostia River on June 16 from 6 to 8 pm. Cruisers will ride the river on a 1928 boat and learn about the bridge park and programs to clean up the river, with food provided by Agua 301 and Ice Cream Jubilee. Tickets are $60 (and can bepurchased online), but note that space is limited.
* LOOKING AT THE HOOD: Urban Turf surveys the current state of the neighborhood, after the "rain delay" of the 2008-2012 time frame: "Now, Capitol Riverfront is seeing long-planned projects come to fruition, parks, restaurants and retailers are drawing visitors from across the city, and the streets no longer resemble a ghost town."
* FATTENING UP THE HOOD: The Tour de Fat is this Saturday at Yards Park, so get your bike and your liver tuned up.
* CROWDING IN THE HOOD: DDOT recently released the M Street Southeast/Southwest Special Events Study final report, which looks at the traffic impact along M Street of a number of potential entertainment venues, including of course Nats Park but also the potential new soccer stadium at Buzzard Point, all the attractions to come at the Wharf, and the movie theater eventually coming to the DC Water site. (The entire report is an 81 MB PDF, so get a cup of coffee.)

Yards Park Water Features Still Offline; Long Term Solution Sought
May 23, 2014 11:42 AM
During the flooding a few weeks ago, there was damage to the pump room that handles the water features at the Yards Park. At the time, the Capitol Riverfront BID (which handles the park's maintenance) had hoped that the waterfall, splash pool, and fountains would be up and running by Memorial Day weekend.
Alas, in a letter being posted at the park, the BID says that there is now no time frame for when these features will be back in action. It still has not been determined whether the damaged pumps can be fixed or will need to be replaced altogether.
The BID does say that their goal "is to find a long-term solution and to take steps that will prevent this kind of incident from happening again in the future."
Comments (2)
More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

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....!
Comments (1)
More posts: Boilermaker Shops/Yards, Retail, The Yards

Going Down, Down, Down at the Yards, Times Two
May 8, 2014 1:32 PM
Time to check in again on the conscious uncoupling of Building 213 from the rest of the neighborhood.
The 1st Street frontage now has quite a bite taken out of it (om nom nom), and some demolition is also now underway at the corner of New Jersey and Tingey.
A few closeups, from 1st Street on the left and New Jersey on the right:
Meanwhile, three blocks to the east, on the site of the still-as-yet-officially-named-apartment-project-we-are-forced-to-continue-calling Parcel N, there's a fair amount of downward action as well:
(Beta pages here and here, if you want the open-and-airy version of the details.)
And, for the heck of it, here's what the entrance to the Harris Teeter from M just east of 4th is looking like, with the new bite out of the historic brick wall finished:
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Flooding Damages Yards Park Pump Room; Water Features Impacted
May 1, 2014 2:00 PM
The Capitol Riverfront BID has just sent out an update on the condition of The Parks (Yards and Canal) in the wake of the heavy rain and flooding of the past few days.
The flood wall apparently performed as it should have, protecting the majority of the park from flooding, though a small portion of the boardwalk was under water before the high levels started to recede. There was no damage to any of the restaurants, and the boardwalk and bridge are open.
However, water did get into the park's pump room, damaging the mechanical and electrical systems there. Sayeth the BID: "systems. As a result, the following Yards Park water features will be closed until further notice – the Canal Basin pool, the dancing fountains and the waterfall."
This puts a damper (sorry) on the original plans to re-open the water features in time for the beginning of the Friday night concerts on May 9. At this point, they don't expect the pool, fountains, and waterfall to open before May 23rd.
On the bright side, Canal Park did not suffer any flooding, and today the fountains there have been turned on for the summer.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

Forest City to Spooky Building 213: Om Nom Nom
Apr 27, 2014 8:10 PM
If I were in control of this demolition, I'd have started by punching through right in front of the mouth of the dinosaur on the south end, but that's just me.
I've started an expanded photo archive that isn't too extensive right now but eventually will include before-and-afters of most every vantage point that this building is visible from--as I've said before, I'm not sure people will realize how much this building dominates the neighborhood until it's gone. I can't wait to not see it. And I'll certainly be continuing to document its demise.
For those not following along, once this building is gone Forest City will remake this block (known as the Yards's Parcel A) by creating a temporary public park, along with a new home for the trapeze school and a parking lot.
Comments (7)
More posts: The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

Friday Tidbits: More, More, More (and Less) Edition
Apr 25, 2014 2:00 PM
* LESS NGA: While demolition of Spooky Building 213 at 1st and M has technically been underway for a few weeks, the showy portion got started this week. But my camera hasn't gotten down there yet--look for photos this weekend, if you don't already have a front-row seat for the festivities.
* MORE CBS RADIO: WBJ provides more information on CBS Radio's move to 1015 Half Street, which was officially announced on site by the mayor and other poobahs on Monday. A CBS Radio exec is quoted as saying that the street-level studio and performance area "will allow an unfettered look into how we operate and provide fans of our stations with the chance to meet some of the top names in the music business and our own beloved personalities.” Another quote says that CBS Radio "wanted a ‘Today Show’ type street-level studio and the only place they could get that was in the city.” Construction on the space is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
* MORE XAVIER: Not exactly sure why the Wall Street Journal is so all-over the Barracks Row Entertainment bankruptcy, but here they are again with more details: "Lawyers for eight restaurants including Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Molly Malone’s and Boxcar Tavern [and Park Tavern and Willie's] said in new court papers that Xavier Cervera, who became a consultant for the restaurants in August after selling the restaurants in late 2012, intentionally hindered their performance," so that the new owners would struggle to make payments and then Xavier and his partners could retake the properties. There's a battle over a scooter, too.
* MORE RIVERWALK: DDOT announced this week that work is about to begin on the four-mile-long stretch of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail from Benning Road through the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to the DC/Maryland line.
* MORE FAT: Mark your calendars, the Tour de Fat returns to Yards Park on May 31. (Yes, the link includes the beer list.)
* LESS INCENTIVE: In the latest step to make all my work completely unnecessary, you can now go back in time on Google Street View. (But it's only to 2007, so at least my 2003-2007 photos aren't totally useless.)

Lineups Announced for Summer Film, Concert Series
Apr 24, 2014 8:52 AM
The Capitol Riverfront BID has announced the lineup for its 2014 Outdoor Film Series, with an "It's a Whole New Ballgame" theme of sports-related movies. The movies, all free and open to the public, will once again be shown Thursday nights beginning at sundown in the northern block of Canal Park, at 2nd and I Streets, SE. Here's the batting order:
June 5, The Sandlot
June 12, Happy Gilmore
June 19, Dodgeball
June 26, Wimbledon
July 10, Balls of Fury
July 17, Space Jam
July 24, Invincible
July 31, Bend it Like Beckham
August 7, Rudy
August 14, A League of Their Own
August 21, The Blind Side
September 4, Moneyball
And Yards Park will once again have its Friday summer concert series, beginning May 9. The concerts run from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, and feature a lineup of top-40, country, salsa, pop, bluegrass, and reggae.bands chosen by OnTap Magazine:
May 9, Jimi Smooth
May 16, Monster Band
May 30, Tour de Fat concert
June 6, Sam O
June 13, Texas Chainsaw Horns
June 20, Sin Miedo
June 27, DC Jazz Festival
July 11, Scott's New Band
July 18, Framewerk
July 25, Jah Works
August 1, White Ford Bronco
August 8, Back to Zero
August 15, 19th Street Band
August 22, Cazhmiere
September 5, Crowded Streets
September 12, Jeff From Accounting
For more information, visit capitolriverfront.org and yardspark.org. These will also be on the JDLand Events Calendar, once I wade through the lists.
Comments (1)
More posts: Canal Park, Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Friday Tidbits: CBS Radio Coming, Liquor License Applications
Apr 18, 2014 3:36 PM
If it weren't pouring rain at my undisclosed vacation location, I'd be leaving these until Monday, but boredom is overtaking me.
* MORE NEW NEIGHBORS: The move of CBS Radio to 1015 Half Street, rumored in February, is now confirmed, both in my inbox and now in WBJ. Mayor Gray is holding a press conference with various officials at the building Monday mornng. The radio folks are taking about 33,000 square feet on the second floor, and WBJ says they "will also lease about 3,000 square feet on the building's ground floor for use as a performance studio to host talent planning to play other venues during tour stops in D.C." (Maybe passersby will get to press their noses up to the glass to see who's there!) CBS Radio will be joining the National Labor Relations Board at 1015 Half, which announced its lease of 143,000 square feet in January.
* MORE BEVERAGES: Today's DC Register has two notices of alcoholic beverage license applications of note, both at the Yards. One is for 100 Montaditos, the Spanish small sandwiches restaurant coming to the Boilermaker Shops, and TaKorean, which will be bringing its Korean-style tacos to Twelve12. The apps say that Montaditos will have 74 seats, and TaKorean will have 60 seats, along with a 14-seat sidewalk cafe.
Now I shall return to watching the rain.


Wednesday Tidbits: Spring Break Edition
Apr 15, 2014 4:33 PM
The title of this post says it all (in other words, I am not in full blogging mode this week).
* PUMP IT UP: City Paper reports that DC Water is soliciting bids for the design of a new headquarters, which would move from Blue Plains to a new building atop the existing O Street Pumping Station. (NOT the beautiful Main Pumping Station just to the north!)
And, if one looks at the renderings that Forest City released during its quest for zoning approval to develop three blocks around the station, you can deduce that this idea did not crop up in the last few days. The rendering above shows the O Street station in the right foreground, and you can see how it does look similar to the description reported by City Paper: "[It] will have five stories of offices perched above the pumping station. The offices will be supported by columns; there may or may not be a small gap between them and the pumping station."
(Note that this is a separate issue from the stalled drive to move some of DC Water's operations before Forest City can start work on the proposed movie theater there.)
Here's the solicitation itself.
* THUMBS UP: The Zoning Commission has issued the final orders to allow veterinary hospitals in the Southeast Federal Center Overlay and for the Trapeze School to move to New Jersey and Tingey.
* BOTTOMS UP (OR NOT): An application for a Class C liquor license is now in the pipeline for the The Big Stick, the new restaurant coming later this year to 20 M Street, The application describes the venture thusly: "A sports bar featuring an alpine lodge theme and décor serving casual foods such as bratwursts, sausages and kielbasas, salads, sandwiches, wraps and crispy oven-baked macaroni and cheese. Occasional DJ. No nude performances."
That's all that's up with me. What's up with you?

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

It's Spring, and the Advertising Signage is in Bloom
Apr 5, 2014 6:46 PM
It ain't quite the cherry blossoms, but this year Near Southeast has spiffy fence signage erupting with full color as spring finally has sprung.
Ground zero for the new offerings is 1st Street between M and N (coincidentally, right where all those fans going to Nats Park will see them!).
Skanska has put up a new fence on the west side of the street and big ads for its 99 M office building (which also now has a web site, and the first clear rendering I've seen of the building). Click to enlarge:
Then, across the street, the Yards folks have unveiled their new logo along with other avatar-ready design elements and hipsteriffic promo photos:
A few blocks away, on the Tingey Street fence that will partially prevent me from watching the construction of Parcel N (boo), ads for the Twelve12 apartment building offer several tweet-appropriate slogans, though I will try to not add a magic marker-ed hashtag to "Find Your (#)Awesome."
I also got updated photos of the under-construction Park Chelsea and River Parc apartment buildings, but since they don't have new pretty signs on their fences they don't make the front page this time.

Tuesday Tidbits: Very Late Wednesday Edition
Apr 2, 2014 10:46 PM
* CSX I: Eleanor Holmes Norton tells USDOT to get moving: "I ask that you help ensure the prompt release of the Final EIS for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project so that the surrounding community is aware of the preferred alternative, any impacts this project may have on them, and any mitigation and benefits to the surrounding community."
* CSX II: ANC 6B writes to Mayor Gray: "We have serious concerns about the VAT project proposed in the draft environmental impact statement, and we urge you to ensure those concerns are adequately addressed before the District issues the requisite approvals for the project."
* POCKET CHANGE: The Wall Street Journal reports that "Investors who own the storied Hawk ‘n’ Dove bar and other Capitol Hill eating spots owe more than $9 million to D.C. restaurateur Xavier Cervera and his partners who sold the restaurants to them in late 2012." An earlier WSJ piece gives a wider view of the mess of financing this all appears to be.
* FOR THE RECORD: In Precinct 131 (Near Southeast), Muriel Bowser received 40 percent of the vote, Tommy Wells 30 percent, and Vince Gray 24 percent. And in the Ward 6 council race, Charles Allen beat Darrel Thompson 57-43. A grand total of 444 people cast ballots out of the 2,085 registered voters in the precinct. So, yay to 21.29 percent of you!
* BLUEJACKET AND BASEBALL: It seems like the brewery has already been here forever, but Bluejacket is about to embark on its first season of providing refreshments to Nats fans. They've announced that they will be "tailgating" on their patio at 10 am Friday for the season opener, and that their new outdoor grill will be open for business "weather permitting, all season long Thursdays through Sundays from 11 am until 10 pm and on all game days beginning two hours before the first pitch."
* SWEET!: Sweetgreen has gotten its tenant layout permit to begin the buildout of its space in Twelve12, on 4th Street across from Bluejacket.
* THROWBACK THURSDAY: I did a bit of purging in my office over the weekend, and found at least two museum-worthy items (here and here). That's in addition to the Canal Park groundbreaking shovel I still trip over on a regular basis.

Park Tavern, Willie's, Other Cervera Restaurants Declare Bankruptcy
Mar 29, 2014 8:32 AM
The DC Twitterverse lit up Friday night when the Wall Street Journal (?) reported the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Barracks Row Entertainment, the company behind the slew of neighborhood restaurants opened by Xavier Cervera, including the revamped Hawk & Dove, Lola's, Molly Malone's, Boxcar, Senart's, The Chesapeake Room, and Pacifico Cantina.
Barracks Row Entertainment is also behind the Park Tavern at Canal Park, and the will-it-ever-open Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, and those two entities are part of the bankruptcy as well. The filing says that the company has "between $1 million and $10 million in debt."
What does it all mean? I guess we will just have to see....

Southern Style Food Coming to the Lumber Shed?
Mar 28, 2014 11:49 AM
From Going Out Guide's preview of drinking options around the ballpark, there's this little tidbit: "By May 1, you’ll see a food truck preview of an as-yet-unnamed Southern-style restaurant, which Fairgrounds owner Bo Blair and Bayou chef Rusty Holman plan to open in the Lumber Shed in Yards Park, currently home to Osteria Morini and Agua 301. (Holman is a native of North Carolina.)"
If so, this would go into the empty space on the northwest corner of the building (across from Kruba Thai). It would also join Ice Cream Jubilee, which should be opening soon in the northeast corner of the building.
Forest City, as always, does not comment on leases before they are executed, so there is no confirmation of this as yet.
(Those Forest City staffers up on the second floor better all be getting memberships at Vida.)
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More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, Lumber Shed/Yards, The Yards

Tuesday Tidbits: Mmm, Mmm, Good Edition
Mar 11, 2014 3:58 PM
Goodness, these piled up all of a sudden. Let's start with the food and drink-related items:
* Strolling by the long-in-the-works Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops over the weekend, I saw that flat screen TVs are now up on the walls. I imagine they are dreaming of being open by Opening Day.
* Ice Cream Jubilee at the Lumber Shed now has its tenant layout permit approved, so work should be underway there.
* Tom Sietsema had good things to say about Osteria Morini.
* PoPville reports that Hill Country's attempts to open a temporary location on Tingey Plaza behind USDOT haven't worked out.
And, on the non-digestible front:
* SWill reports on ANC 6D's newest commissioner, Stacy Cloyd, who is filling the 6D02 vacancy left by Ed Kaminski. A resident of Southwest, Stacy will also be representing areas east of South Capitol, including Velocity, Capitol Hill Tower, and Nats Park (and River Parc, before long).
* DDOT has released its draft Request for Proposals to the short-list finalists for the first two phases of the South Capitol Street project, which include building the new bridge and also rebuilding the interchange of I-295 and the Suitland Parkway.
* The new owners of the lot at South Capitol and N just north of Nats Park have withdrawn the pending zoning case for the site, which predated the property's recent sale. The previous ownership group had long been working on an office project, but in its withdrawal letter 1244 South Capitol Residential LLC says it is "studying development of the property for residential uses," and that it plans "to submit a new application for Capitol Gateway review in the near future."
* Outside the boundaries, but Near Southeast residents may still be interested in the looming start of the huge Wharf project on the Southwest Waterfront, with a ceremonial groundbreaking scheduled for March 19. Here's the Post's story on the new development, along with a photo gallery (which might seem to have a somewhat familiar style) of the current waterfront, before it's gone.

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.
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More posts: bangsalon, Retail, vida, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Early Pre-Leasing Getting Underway for Twelve12
Feb 28, 2014 11:30 AM
Even though it's probably still at least a good three months before anyone can move into the new Twelve12 apartment building (i.e., the Teeter/Vida building) at the Yards, Forest City is about to softly begin the pre-leasing process.
Starting tomorrow (Saturday, March 1), leasing information will be available at the Foundry Lofts building just across the way at 301 Tingey St., SE, where interested parties can get the scoop on Twelve12's amenities beyond all of the well-discussed food and spa options.
The building will have about 218 units, and also Sweetgreen and TaKorean in the ground-floor retail spaces at 4th and Tingey.
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More posts: The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Beginning the Long, Slow, Joyous Farewell
Feb 27, 2014 2:57 PM
Yay!
It's not going to be all gone for a number of months, though. Clearly they're mostly working inside as of now. But still....
This will be probably the second-largest building to be demolished in the neighborhood, after the old Capper Seniors building at 7th and M. But I can't wait to see how Building 213's departure alters the horizon--when I look at my photos, it amazes me how many times there's a glimpse of it in the background from all manner of angles.
And then there will be a park. And the trapeze school. For a while.
My camera stands at the ready.
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More posts: The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

Photos: Much Catching Up to Do in the Name of Progress
Feb 23, 2014 3:53 PM
Finally, the weather and the calendar cooperated, and I spent Saturday taking a slew of photos around the neighborhood. To whit:
* HAMPTON INN: I can report that dirt is indeed being moved (if not necessary removed) from the site of the Hampton Inn on the northwest corner of 1st and N. This is the L-shaped hotel that will wrap around a planned two-story retail building right on the corner (which is not yet under construction). But, in case you weren't around pre-2008 and want to know what this hotel is "displacing," I give to you a peek at the hotel's N Street and 1st Street frontages in their previous lives:
* YARDS/PARCEL N: Men in hard hats operating heavy equipment are now found on most of the block where Forest City's next residential project is planned, south of Tingey and west of 4th. The new photos aren't really all that interesting other than as another tick on the historical timeline, so how about a shot of what the Parcel N lot looked like in 2004 (right), before any of the work on The Yards began.
* PARC/PARK: Toll Brothers's River Parc apartment building at 1st and K is almost topped out (below left). A couple blocks away, WC Smith's Park Chelsea has reached the halfway point of its vertical construction (below right).
* ST. MATTHEWS: While all sorts of newness is erupting around the neighborhood, there is one farewell worth noting, as St. Matthew's Baptist Church as New Jersey and L has left the neighborhood that had been its home since 1905 and the building that had been its home since 1972. Compare how it looked in 2006 (left) to today (right):
This site is part of the footprint for Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey apartment building, and with a raze permit application filed, this corner will probably be emptied before too many months go by. The church has found temporary quarters in Ft. Washington as it looks for a new permanent home.

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

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..

Zoning News: Yes to Vet, and Capper Hearing to Come
Feb 14, 2014 12:16 PM
Now that I've come out of my snow bunker (being a weather geek is a terrible disease), I'll pass along these notes from the past week or so in Zoning Land:
* VET: The commission on Feb. 6 approved 5-0-0 Forest City's request for a wording change to allow a veterinary hospital to operate in the Southeast Federal Center Overlay area (basically, the Yards).
As I wrote a week or so ago, a vet is a potential tenant in Twelve12's retail space on Tingey Street, but before a lease can be signed, "veterinary boarding hospital and veterinary hospital uses" needed to be added to the SFC overlay's allowed uses, subject to a number of conditions (no more than 50 percent of the tenant space can be for boarding, that any animal legally sold in the District can be boarded, incidental boarding of animals for convalesence is allowed, order and waste handling requirements, and that grooming and supplies can only be "accessory" uses). There was some back-and-forth about the word "incidental," and it was agreed that that wording be better phrased before the final vote.
Forest City does not announce tenants until a lease is executed, so the name of the potential vet has not been released.
* CAPPER: On Feb. 10, the commission voted to "set down" for a full hearing the Housing Authority's request to modify the Capper PUD to allow 30 of the affordable housing units planned for squares 739, 767 and 768 to be transferred outside the Capper boundaries to the block where the Park Chelsea is currently under construction. (See the this map culled from the Office of Planning Report to help you visualize.)
The planning folks have a number of issues they want DCHA to address before the hearing on this modification, but not among them is the biggest issue that ANC 6D has with Square 767: that the Housing Authority is thinking about a plan that would change the original plans for a single 147-unit mixed-income building to two buildings, one a market rate-only condo building and the other an affordable housing-only building. (This plan is not mentioned in the housing authority's filings with the zoning commission.)
During the discussion, commission chair Anthony Hood noted that ANC 6D is "one of the ANCs that this commission knows is very engaged," which was in reference to the strongly worded letter the commission received with 6D's concerns that they and the community still need to be "appropriately briefed" about DCHA's plans, and that the commission be able to "fully vet our concerns with them regarding the request for modification." Hood also said, "Let's make sure the next vote we see shows that everyone is working together."
Concurrently, the commission's vote also deferred action on DCHA's parallel request for a five-year extension to the PUD covering these same three squares, saying that the extension request decision hinges on the modification case's decision. The Office of Planning is recommending just a two-year extension, and zoning commissioner Marcie Cohen said that DCHA needs to provide much more detailed information on the steps taken up to this point to secure financing, since it is her opinion that the initial filing doesn't seem show a "compelling need" for an exemption.
The hearing date isn't yet set, and DCHA will have to go to ANC 6D (and probably 6B as well) in order to request support before its zoning commission appearance. The Housing Authority and 6D have had a pretty contentious relationship over the years in regards to the Capper redevelopment, and it's unlikely that the deliberations over this zoning request will change that.

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

Yards Zoning Cases: Trapeze Move, and Maybe a Vet
Feb 3, 2014 12:03 PM
In a nice break from its evaluations of boxy 13-story buildings, the Zoning Commission this week has on its agenda two cases dealing with somewhat unusual development requests at the Yards.
The first, which is being heard tonight, has to do with the reconfiguration of the block at 1st and M streets SE after spooky Building 213 gets demolished sometime in the coming months.
As I wrote back in December, Forest City is wanting to move Trapeze School New York from its current 4th and Tingey location to the northwest corner of New Jersey and Tingey, shrink and reconfigure the existing 1st Street parking lot by 22 spaces, and build a temporary public park on the north half of the block. (The overview drawing at right can help you visualize this.)
The parking lot and the trapeze school move each require zoning approvals for these new temporary five-year uses--if you want the serious details on why, and the evaluation of the zoning rules therein, read the Office of Planning report.
ANC 6D and the Office of Planning have both supported this request, and this week the National Capital Planning Commission is adding its support.
So, in honor of what apparently will be a year of change on this block, I've built a Yards Parcel A project page, to be sure that Building 213's soulless windowless existence (and its brief ArtYards fling with color) is not forgotten.
The second zoning request, to be heard on Thursday, Feb. 6, is to amend the text of the Southeast Federal Center Overlay to allow "veterinary boarding hospital and veterinary hospital uses" subject to a number of conditions within the footprint of the Yards.
This text is being added because of apparent interest from a veterinary hospital in leasing space in the ground floor of the soon-to-be completed Twelve12 apartment building at 4th and Tingey, and the SEFC overlay does not specifically allow veterinary services, so it has to be spelled out.
And it's not a surprise that a vet is looking at the area--the Office of Planning report sites a Capitol Riverfront BID survey saying that 40 percent of neighborhood residents have pets.
The Office and Planning and ANC 6D also support this request.
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More posts: The Yards, Parcel A/Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards, zoning

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.

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

Late Wednesday Tidbits
Jan 15, 2014 7:51 PM
Cleaning out the pending file:
* DIG IT: The shoring and sheeting permit has now been approved for the residential building currently known by the spiffy moniker of Parcel N at the Yards, which means that the parking lot on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey should start being dug up any time now (beyond just the DC Water digging up that's been going on for a while). This building will have 327 residential units and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail when completed in either late 2015 or early 2016.
* MMMM, BEER: Bluejacket is going to start offering tours of its brewery, beginning Jan. 31. The offerings range from a free tour with one complimentary taste of a Bluejacket brew to a $22 "tasting tour" to the $75 "Beer and Food Experience Tour." See the web site for more details.
* A REVIEW: Alas, the Post's Tom Sietsema did not have particularly good things to say about the food at the Arsenal (but he did like Bluejacket's brewed offerings).
* ANC VACANCY: The Board of Elections has officially certified the vacancy in 6D02 after Ed Kaminski's resignation, and the wheels are now turning for a special election. Petitions may be picked up at the BOE and circulated until Feb. 3, with challenges to those petitions allowed through Feb. 12. If more than one person successfully makes it through the petition process, an election will be held, most likely at 6D's March business meeting. If only one candidate qualifies, that person automatically fills the vacancy. So, if you're itching to be an ANC commissioner and you live in Capitol Hill Tower, or Velocity, or 909 New Jersey, or across the way in the northeastern sections of Southwest, here's your chance.
* SOUTHEAST BLVD: ANC 6B's Brian Flahaven has posted the commission's draft comments on DDOT's initial plans for the rebuild of Barney Circle and Southeast Blvd. Spoiler: "The committee recommended a number of clarifying changes to the comments including the addition of an opening sentence that conveys the commission’s opposition to the design concepts presented to the community on Nov. 21, 2013. The committee also wanted to make it clear that other stakeholders besides DDOT need to be brought into the project discussion."

A Sneak Peek Inside Agua 301, Now Opening Dec. 21
Dec 16, 2013 12:14 PM
With Agua 301 now set to open at the Lumber Shed in the Yards Park on Saturday, Dec. 21 (a day later than reported last week), of course I had to get inside with camera in hand to check it out.
I was sidestepping a busy crew of people still getting everything in place, so the images do not have the sheen of a minutes-from-opening space, but you can see the layout and take in the views that the various tables will have. (I even tossed in one "before" photo, which is just a teensy bit different.)
The modern Mexican restaurant will begin with just dinner service, expanding to lunch and then brunch probably at the beginning of next month. And in spring, an additional 44 seats will be available outdoors, along both the southern and western sides of the building.
And this will bring to a close 2013's run of restaurant openings in Near Southeast--it takes some remembering that, one year ago, there was no Gordon Biersch, or Park Tavern, or Bluejacket, or Buzz Bakery, Osteria Morini, or Nando's Peri-Peri.
As for what 2014 will bring, expected openings include Nicoletta, 100 Montaditos, Willie's Brew and 'Que, Sweetgreen, and TaKorean.

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

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

ArtYards DC Wrapping Up With 'Illuminated Ops'
Dec 12, 2013 8:55 AM
ArtYardsDC, the project that has been breathing a bit of life into the spooky old National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building at 1st and M SE for the past few weeks, is coming to a close this weekend.
For the finale they are presenting "Illuminated Ops," which will project three specially commissioned video art pieces more than five stories tall and twice as wide onto the NGA building's façade at New Jersey and N/Tingey. There will also be custom audio tracks, and the Wonka Factory-like NGA gate at New Jersey and Tingey will be open so that viewers can get up close to the building should they wish.
The display begins at 6 pm for the next three nights, starting tonight (Thursday, Dec. 12). The images seen here are stills provided by Forest City Washington showing what the video projections should look like.
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More posts: Events, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

Agua 301 Reportedly Set to Open on Dec. 20
Dec 11, 2013 3:02 PM
City Paper's Young and Hungry blog is reporting today that Dec. 20 is the expected opening date for Agua 301, the Mexican restaurant by the Zest folks on the southwest corner of the Lumber Shed in the Yards Park, next door to Osteria Morini.
CP says that the menu will have a "modern Mexican bent with a few less traditional touches." Tacos? Si! Small plates? Si! Guacamole? Si! Margaritas? SI! (But probably not fajitas, burritos, or enchiladas.) There will also be large entrees such as pan-seared black bass in case a small plate of beef barbacoa flautas doesn't quite fill you up.
The restaurant is expected to be open just for dinner to start, adding lunch and brunch service in January. And in the spring there will be 44 seats of outdoor patio seating, to take in the views of the Anacostia River.
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More posts: agua, Restaurants/Nightlife, Lumber Shed/Yards, The Yards

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

Temporary Park, Trapeze School Move Sought for 1st and M
Dec 5, 2013 9:59 AM
With the currently be-muraled former NGA building at 1st and M Street SE expected to be demolished early in 2014, Forest City Washington is making plans for temporary uses for that block while it works on longer-range plans to build office and retail space on the site, which is at the northwest corner of the Yards footprint.
To that end, the company has filed a request for the Zoning Commission's approval of a temporary (unfenced!) park/open space along M between New Jersey and 1st, as well as the relocation of the Trapeze School from its current location at 4th and Tingey to the northwest corner of New Jersey and N/Tingey.
There would also remain a parking lot on the site, but it would be shifted to just the southwest corner of the block, and would have 208 spaces instead of the 230 currently there. Access to the lot would be from N Street. (At the same time, because of DC Water's ongoing construction, the parking lot immediately to the south across N would be losing 50 spaces, down to 344.)
As you can (kind of) see in the site plan, there would be a path running from northeast to southwest across the park, making for a nice shortcut to the ballpark for fans coming out of the Metro at New Jersey and M. And it would give the four corners of this block a slightly different feel than the current vistas:
The filing says that the Trapeze School needs to be moved not only because the zoning order allowing it to be on its current site expires at the end of 2014, but also because development is planned for that 4th and Tingey site ("Parcel O") to be completed by 2016/2017. It also says that Parcel H, on the southeast corner of 1st and N where the Yards "tent" display and parking lot is, is expected to be developed beginning in 2015, and that an RFP process is currently underway to select an architect. This would be another residential building with street-level retail.
There is no timeline laid out for when this NGA block is expected to be fully developed, though it's always been expected to be part of the final phase of the Yard's planned 10-to-20-year timeline.
UPDATE: Speaking of the be-muraled building and the ArtYards project going on at this block, there will be a "Chalk Art Street Festival" at the site this weekend (Dec. 7 and 8). There will be hot chocolate and treats, along with lots of chalk for kids of all ages to create their own masterpieces on the parking lot.
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More posts: The Yards, Parcel A/Yards, zoning

ArtYards Giving the NGA Building a Makeover
Nov 20, 2013 3:35 PM
Covering cultural events is not quite my forte (plus I've got some other stuff going on this week), but since people might wonder why the former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building at 1st and M SE is suddenly awash in color, I'll pass along that it is an "Art Takeover" known as ArtYardsDC, running through Dec. 14.
Quoting from the official site (because I really *am* lazy), I can tell you that this project will bring "seven internationally renowned artists to turn the building and its surroundings into a massive, evolving canvas."
It officially started this morning, as many of you might have seen, when 111 gallons of paint were poured down the M Street facade, as you can see in this photo taken from Gordon Biersch and all manner of shots in the Yards Twitter feed and via the #artyardsdc hashtag.
As part of all of this, there is scheduled a two-night "Silent Disco at the Yards," this Friday and Saturday (Nov. 22 and 23) at 9 pm on the mezzanine level of the Boilermaker Shops. Everyone gets a set of wireless headphones and can choose their music from the three DJs working simultaneously. (You crazy kids and your crazy technology!) There is a $10 cover, which will be donated to BUILD Metro DC. It's a 21-and-over shindig, and there are cash bars.
There will be other numerous events as well, so keep checking the official web site for details.
And maybe I'll actually get down there and get some pictures.
This is all in advance of the NGA building being demolished sometime in early 2014. Which is the event I'm really waiting for!
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More posts: Events, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

Osteria Morini Opens Today at the Lumber Shed
Nov 19, 2013 10:57 AM
The neighborhood dining options take another leap forward today as Osteria Morini officially opens to the public in the southeast corner of the Lumber Shed at 3rd and Water in the Yards Park. There's a web site (though, um, oops), and City Paper has the menu.
Morini now joins Bluejacket, Buzz Bakery, Nando's Peri-Peri, Park Tavern, and Gordon Biersch on the list of new 'hood eateries in 2013. Morini's next-door neighbor, Agua 301, is under construction, but whether it makes it under the wire as the last opening of 2013 or ends up being the first of 2014 is still up in the air. Morini's sibling Nicoletta, which will serve pizza out of one of the retail bays along the Yards Park riverwalk, is expected to open next year.
What say you about the Morini menu?
UPDATE: And I guess I should have thought to include a small memory of what the exterior and interior of the Lumber Shed used to look like:

Photos: Morini De-Wrapped, Turret Makeover, New I Street Forming
Nov 11, 2013 11:21 AM
With the news that the window coverings had come off of the Osteria Morini space in the Lumber Shed, I went racing down there with hopes of pressing my camera up against all that glass to get some photos of the opening-any-minute-now restaurant from Chef Michael White. Alas, I arrived during training, and so was THWARTED (because I'm way too shy to have just gone ahead and taken the up-close shots with 40 people staring at me).
I did get at least a couple of surveillance-type shots from a respectable distance, which I posted in a new photo gallery you should check out, but here's a preview:
The restaurant is expected to open next week, perhaps the 19th or the 20th, but at this point we know it will open when it opens.
The photo gallery also has a few other fun shots from the other projects currently under construction (residential buildings Twelve12, Park Chelsea and Toll Brothers's River Parc), such as the turret at 4th and M getting quite a makeover:
Plus, the Park Chelsea has gotten new signage, but more interesting is the outlines now forming of the new stretch of I Street that will run between 2nd and New Jersey when it opens (probably not any sooner than spring 2014):
But just go ahead and check out the full gallery.
Also, while they aren't terribly showy just yet, I have built two more of what I call my Expanded Photo Archives for both the Park Chelsea and River Parc projects, to bring together more before-and-afters from a wider/farther array of angles than I usually display on the project pages. (Yep, I'm partying like it's 2007.)

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.

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.

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

Photos: Tearing Down, Filling In, Building Out, Building Up
May 27, 2013 9:54 PM
The showiest demolition in the neighborhood in years is coming to an end, and while I haven't been able to document it in the obsessive-compulsive way I would have liked, I did manage to make it to 11th Street this weekend to see the gator tail-like final remnants of the old flyover to the outbound 11th Street Bridges before it completely comes down.
At the same time, I was able to check out the progress on the filling-in of the sunken eastern portion of the Southeast Freeway to build Southeast Blvd., and dang if they haven't already piled the dirt up so that 11th Street is now level with the "land" just to its west.
Needless to say, I had to create a photo gallery of the remants and the progress, where you'll also see that work is speeding along on the new flyover to the outbound I-695 bridge.
But I wasn't just interested in the tearing down and filling in, so I continued down to O Street, where not only is the 11th Street Local Bridge inching ever closer to getting all of its lanes and pedestrian path opened, but the new asphalt Anacostia Riverwalk Trail path to the river has been laid, which also takes you to the spiffy new landing just completed by the riverside. And from that landing you can see the spiffy new overlooks that reach out onto the old bridge piers from the new local bridge. (For the record, I could have easily sidestepped the construction barrels and ventured onto the overlooks, but I am a good little citizen.)
Lots of images of the new trail, the landing, the bridge, and the surroundings are in a second new photo gallery.
If these two galleries aren't enough, you might take some time to browse my before-and-afters all the way down 11th Street, from the freeway to L to M to N to O to the river, as nearly four years of construction have altered the vistas from a maze of flyovers and embankments to, well, a completely different maze of flyovers and embankments. (But the new flyovers are a little lower on the horizon, at least.)
I also checked out the other projects that are in various stages these days, from Twelve12 to the Lumber Shed to the leafed-out and fountain-ed Canal Park to the hole in the ground that will be the Park Chelsea.
There's new pictures on each of those pages, but I also couldn't help myself and pulled together a third photo gallery, with photos from those spots and a few others that were particularly photogenic on a particularly photogenic day. (It even includes my very first visit to the footprint of one of the neighborhood's most central locations. Where might that be?)
[A postscript: I truly think Sunday was the most perfect day for taking pictures in the 10-plus years I've been wandering the neighborhood, with the achingly clear deep blue sky perfectly matched with the late-May sun strength and positions. I ended up walking more than eight miles in three separate treks, and came home with a smidge more than 1,000 photos, about 300 of which are now in my photo archive.]

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

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

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.

Osteria Morini Sibling Nicoletta Pizza Coming to Yards Park
May 13, 2013 1:29 PM
Thanks to a small tidbit on the notice of a liquor license application by Osteria Morini for its coming location in the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park, I can pass along that Morini's chef Michael White will also be bringing his Nicoletta pizza/pasta carryout and delivery operation to one of the small retail spaces built into the park's overlook, on the boardwalk near the pedestrian bridge.
Though the boardwalk retail spaces have been envisioned as housing "seasonal" offerings, Nicoletta will be a year-round tenant. The space Nicoletta will occupy is about 250 square feet, so it will have no interior seating, but it will have outdoor seating in the warm months.
Nicoletta is expected to open a few months after Morini, which is still targeting a late summer debut. So, it could be by late fall or by the end of the year, while keeping in mind that restaurant target dates are often a bit fluid.
Nicoletta NYC's web site includes the menu, if you want to start preparing your taste buds well in advance.
As for additional Morini information via the liquor license application, the space, in the southeast corner of the Lumber Shed, is described as a "full service, fine dining restaurant specializing in authentic Italian food" will have an interior seating capacity for 165 and two outdoor seating spaces/"summer gardens" totalling 136 spaces, though that's probably for both Morini and Nicoletta. It also says there will be background music, "and occasional live music and/or DJ will be provided."
There's no web site for Osteria Morini's DC location yet, but the sites for the Soho and New Jersey locations, as well as those for White's other restaurants, may provide some information if you're, ahem, hungry for it.
And if you're wanting to keep up on the neighborhood's new and pending food options, here's the map.

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

Teetering Along, So To Speak, at Twelve12
May 7, 2013 11:48 AM
I think I've mentioned before my understanding that construction photos consisting mostly of rebar and concrete pillars are not for everyone. But I can't shirk my duty to capture the progress at the Twelve12 project at the Yards, the building at 4th and M that will be home to Harris Teeter and Vida Fitness (and 220ish rental units) when it is completed in 2014. The vertical construction on the north/Teeter end of the site is now peeking above the historic brick wall along M:
But it's better to look north from Tingey to really get a feel for where construction is currently at:
More photos, and information and renderings of the project, are on my Twelve12 page.
In the meantime, I'm thinking that if you had told me when I stood at 4th and M in October 2003 to take this photo that in 10 years there would be a Harris Teeter rising behind the turret, I might have snickered at you:
(And, speaking of the Yards, I should also mention that when I took these photos last week I saw workers in both the Nando's Peri-Peri and Willie's spaces at the Boilermaker Shops. And I also snuck a peek through the Bluejacket window and got a glimpse of these.)
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More posts: The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

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

Willie's Gets a Building Permit; Other Permits of Note
Mar 26, 2013 12:07 PM
Now that the Park Tavern looks just about ready to open (and the grapevine tells me it got its liquor license on Monday morning), it looks like Xavier Cervera is turning his attention to the project we have known as Willie's Brew and Que at the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards.
According the latest batch of approved building permits, a building permit has been issued (to Williams Willies Sports, technically), for a restaurant with 109 seats and 156 occupancy load.
So now everyone can start keeping an eye out for any work in the space on the Boilermaker Shops' western end, on Tingey at 3rd Street. (The photo above is from a visit I made to the Willie's spot back in September.)
Other items worth noting in the latest permitting blitz:
* The Park Tavern has gotten its permit for a 75-seat summer garden.
* Gordon Biersch's outdoor seating has been reduced from a 94-seat area to a 60-seat summer garden.
Then there's this additional tidbit, which needs to have a glaring "CONJECTURE!" label attached to it. But a few weeks ago EYA got a soil boring permit for 908 2nd Street, SE, which is the empty parking lot owned by the Housing Authority between I and K and between Canal Park and EYA's now-completed Capitol Quarter townhouse project. I have heard rumors for a while now that there's been talk of another deal between EYA and DCHA, though not for townhouses this time around. The empty lot where the soil borings took place is part of the Capper Hope VI footprint, and the plans have always been for a six-story, 147-unit mixed-income building on that site. Is something in the works? All together now: We shall see!

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.
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More posts: Foundry Lofts/Yards, Retail, The Yards

Vats, Nats, Glass, Concrete, and Rebar
Mar 14, 2013 8:16 PM
I wandered around on Thursday, it was sunny, I had my camera in hand, etc., etc., yadda yadda yadda.
Some items of note (click photos to embiggen):
On your left, hard-to-get evidence of the ongoing work at Bluejacket at the Boilermaker Shops. They've covered up all the eye-level windows, but peeking through the (dirty!) glass above the large door on 4th shows the fermenters now installed on the mezzanine level.
At right, my first viewing of the renovated Team Store at Nationals Park's Center Field Gate.
Below, the Lumber Shed in the sun.
Agua 301's space is to the left, and Osteria Morini's is to the right. (On the ground floor.)
And, everyone's dream come true, a parking garage being born:
Of course, it's actually the parking garage that will be underneath the Harris Teeter in the Twelve12 apartment building at 4th and M, so it's probably allowed. If you want even more photos of rebar and concrete, my Twelve12 page has them.

Agua 301 Shooting For July Opening at Lumber Shed
Mar 12, 2013 9:54 AM
The Washington Business Journal has a short piece on Agua 301, the "modern Mexican" restaurant coming to the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park.
The restaurant, developed by the same people who run Zest Bistro on Barracks Row, will be on the building's southwest side (the left side in the photo at left, closest to the pedestrian bridge), and buildout is apparently now getting underway, with the owners "hoping for" a late July opening.
It is a 3,500-square-foot space, and will have 107 seats indoors, plus another 43 on the patio.
So, let's do a run-down of the next few months:
Canal Park's Park Tavern could be close to opening {ahem}, so let's call that March.
Gordon Biersch is aiming for Opening Day, April 1.
Bluejacket says "May/June" for its highly anticipated arrival at the Boilermaker Shops.
Nando's Peri-Peri says June for its opening, also at the Boilermaker Shops.
Agua shooting for July.
No dates other than "summer" have been announced recently for Osteria Morini, Chef Michael White's Italian restaurant planned for the southeastern corner of the Lumber Shed. So, August or September might not be out of the question, though until a buildout is underway, that would just be speculation.
Also no dates for Buzz Bakery or Willie's Brew and Que at the Boilermaker, though since Buzz is by the Bluejacket folks, perhaps it'll come around the same time? UPDATE: A Facebook commenter passed along this Hill Rag piece by the Capitol Riverfront BID's director, saying that Buzz is aiming for an April opening. Willie's remains a mystery, though.
Anyway, basically one new restaurant a month from now through summer is a little bit different from what the neighborhood has seen since, well, ever. (Though, of course, we know how targeted opening dates can sometimes slide...)
For Nats fans doing a little preseason salivating, here's my map of where the neighborhood's restaurants are, and will be. (If you haven't been to the neighborhood since last season ended, you'll also want to note the arrival of Kruba Thai and Sushi at 3rd and Water Streets, in the Foundry Lofts building at the Yards.)
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More posts: agua, Restaurants/Nightlife, Lumber Shed/Yards, 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!

Bluejacket Brewery Gets Big Preview in Post Food Section
Feb 19, 2013 8:45 PM
You don't have to wait for the Wednesday print edition of the Post to see the lead article in the Food section, previewing the Bluejacket brewery coming to the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards this spring.
Quoting: "If most craft breweries are akin to spacious but modest homes, Bluejacket, when it opens in May or June, will be a small mansion with all the amenities. The quantity and variety of equipment, much more than a brewery of its size would usually have and all custom-built, will arguably make Bluejacket like no other small brewery in the country: a facility that [Neighborhood Restaurant Group] hopes will turn out a staggeringly diverse, constantly changing array of topnotch beers."
After much describing of the how Bluejacket's approach to its brewery differs from many other ventures in the US, the Post asks, "So what, then, will be the end result of this perfect-world brewery buildout? Once we descended from the mezzanine to the ground floor, Engert began describing a wildly ambitious beer program: 15 drafts and five cask ales at all times, plus five drafts from other breweries, along with an assortment of house beers in 375- and 750-milliliter bottles and even magnums and Jeroboams. He wants to implement the same sort of constant rotation that is a hallmark of Birch & Barley/ChurchKey and other NRG restaurants."
I haven't been inside the space since September, but the photos I took that day, from before the buildout began, should help envision the setup that the Post piece describes.

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.

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.)
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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.

BID Says Kruba Thai Now Open, Except for Sushi and Alcohol
Nov 9, 2012 2:41 PM
A tweet just out from the Capitol Riverfront BID says that Kruba Thai is now open, although with the caveats that the full Thai menu is available, but alcohol and sushi aren't yet, so definitely consider this a "soft opening."
If you swing by and check out this temporarily liquor-free version, post your thoughts in the comments.
Even without the alcohol, Kruba is now the first sit-down/table-service restaurant to open in Near Southeast since Justin's Cafe arrived in spring 2010.
For those who haven't followed closely, Kruba is in the southwest corner of the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts building, just north of the Yards Park on 3rd Street, SE.
UPDATE: I wandered down, and they are indeed open. A couple of photos:

Canal Park Grand Opening Set for November 16
Oct 25, 2012 5:58 PM
A flyer just sent out by the Capitol Riverfront BID is announcing that Canal Park will have a two-day Grand Opening, on Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17, kicking off with a ribbon cutting with the mayor and other dignitaries at 11 am on the 16th.
The park's much anticipated ice rink will be the center of attention for the rest of the festivities, and it will be open from noon to 9 pm on Friday and 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday--admission is $8 for adults and $7 for kids/seniors/military, with skate rentals costing $3. There will also be "ice performances" at the top of each hour from noon to 4 pm, and coaches available to help new skaters.
Saturday will also have live music in the park from 10 am to 3 pm, various art-y options, and a "Get Active" program from Results Gym with boot camp, a kids obstacle course, and a Zumba class.
Considering that it was nine years ago this month that I first wrote about the plans to remove the school buses from the park's three-block site along 2nd Street between I and M, SE, I'd say this opening indeed qualifies as a milestone in the neighborhood. See my Canal Park project page for photos of what the footprint has gone through over the years.
(The BID also says that the management of Kruba Thai and Sushi says that their restaurant in the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts at the Yards is opening on Monday, Nov. 12. Will that come true as well? We shall see!)
UPDATE: I should add there's no word in this whether the Park Tavern restaurant will open on this same weekend--my guess is that the pressure is pretty strong to have it open in some format, but there's no announcement.
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More posts: Canal Park, Events, Foundry Lofts/Yards, The Yards

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.
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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.

Another Residential Building on the Boards at the Yards (Updated)
Sep 14, 2012 3:20 PM
With the Foundry Lofts having quickly reached 100 percent leasing earlier this year, and construction underway on the Twelve12 residential building with a Harris Teeter at 4th and M, it's interesting to hear that Forest City is starting to move on its next residential project at the Yards, an 11-story 325ish-unit rental building right next door to the Foundry Lofts, on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey (where a parking lot now resides, across from the Trapeze School). That would also put it just to the south of the under-construction Boilermaker Shops retail pavilion and kitty-corner from Twelve12.
The 35 percent design drawings will be presented to both the Commission on Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission over the next few weeks, with initial thoughts/plans/hopes that construction could begin in 2013.
That's all I know at this point--more will be revealed as the bureaucratic hoops are jumped through.
UPDATE: With thanks to Z. in the comments, here are some renderings, via the slides for the upcoming NCPC presentation, which has additional details. Note how the height of the building steps up so that it's not at its full 11-story height directly next to the six-story Foundry Lofts. And remember, these are just the 35 percent drawings--details are still to be fleshed out, and perhaps changed.
The view on the left is looking down 4th at Tingey; the right is looking pretty much from the Lumber Shed/Yards Park to the northeast.
Also worth mentioning, the design calls for 21,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and 250-300 parking spaces in a three-level underground garage.
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More posts: Development News, The Yards, Arris/Parcel N/Yards

Updated Photos From Under-Construction Projects, Finally
Sep 12, 2012 9:28 AM
Isn't it great that the icky humid cloudy weather of the past few weeks finally broke? Aren't the skies glorious and blue? Does that mean I finally got to get out to take some photos? Why, yes!
First up are new photos from ground level at Canal Park, including the new L Street streetscape and the sculptures:
If you're big on Canal Park, you may also be interested in the many before-and-afters in the Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive, which leads off with the first decent bunch of photos from 2nd Place and L Street since construction started on the park many moons ago and then takes you on a before-and-after walk around the park's perimeter.
And then there's the progress on L Street between 3rd and 4th as the Capitol Quarter townhouse construction continues to wrap up:
I also added a few sunny-day Boilermaker Shop exterior photos and a shot of the hole in the ground at the Twelve12 apartment/Teeter project, because the ones I took on back Gloomy Thursday, when I got to go inside the Boilermaker building, drove me nuts:
External construction has pretty much wrapped up at 200 I/225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/Old Star Plant, especially on the south side of the building, facing Canal Park. There was a ribbon-cutting on Friday for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities gallery in the building's new lobby on I Street, but unfortunately I wasn't able to make the event. Hope to get photos inside before too long. In the meantime, you'll just have to look at the outside, and compare it to the White Monolith that it used to be:
If these all aren't enough for you, you can spend some time in the Photo Archive, where you pick the intersection you want to see and then you can see the entire range of photos I've taken for all angles or just the ones of your choice. You may even end up in the Photo Archive without realizing it, if you click on the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon on any of the pages above, which also will give you the full range of photos for that angle. It's pretty much the Near Southeast equivalent of heading down the rabbit hole.

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.
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More posts: Bluejacket, Boilermaker Shops/Yards, photos, Retail, The Yards

How to Have a Less-Than-Optimal Yards Park Experience
Aug 24, 2012 10:10 AM
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

Bluejacket Brewery Debuting - The Beers, That Is
Jul 31, 2012 1:28 PM
It may still be a number of months before Bluejacket Brewery opens on the eastern end of the Boilermaker Shops in the Yards, but that's not stopping owner Greg Engert and brewer Megan Parisi from getting a head start on the beers that will be offered at the new restaurant. So, tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 1) at 6 pm, Bluejacket's first five beers will be unveiled in an event at sibling ChurchKey.
If you go to the ChurchKey web site and then click on Events (come on, people, direct links!), you'll see hints about the lineup, which are mainly "mashups" created in collaboration with other breweries around the US, but also includes Sidewalk Saison, Bluejacket's first solo brew. (via WaPo)
It's expected that Bluejacket itself will open in early 2013.
UPDATE: At the risk of not being 1 billion percent accurate, I'll draw attention to the fact that two of the beers have already been "released" (Snack Attack and the Black Berliner Techno Weiss) and three are new, with Sidewalk Saison being the only one that is completely Bluejacket's own creation. But since ChurchKey also bills the event on its own web site as "World Premier: Bluejacket 5 Drafts Unveiled," you can just pick which part of "Premier" and "Unveiled" you'd like to focus on.
UPDATE II: More on the brews from WCP/Young & Hungry.

Thursday Tidbits: Makeovers, Candidates, and a Busy Weekend
Jul 19, 2012 11:48 AM
* Canal Park's new web site launched today, and it indicates that they're still aiming for a November opening for the park, the ice rink, and the restaurant.
* The I Street McDonalds is going to be getting a makeover, judging by a recently approved building permit.
* Current 6D07 commissioner David Garber has picked up petitions to run for reelection. So far he and Ed Kaminski are the only potential candidates for the two single member districts that cover Near Southeast.
And, in this weekend's events:
* Tonight's Front Flick at Tingey Plaza is The DaVinci Code.
* The Nats are about to start their 12:35 pm Matinee as I type this on Thursday, then they'll play host to the Braves Friday-Sunday. This time around there's a Saturday 1:05/7:05 doubleheader, which includes the second NatsLive concert, with the Wallflowers. (Tickets for each game sold separately, and you need a ticket to the 7:05 pm game in order to see the Wallflowers.) It's a pretty big-time series against Atlanta, so expect big crowds.
* The Fairgrounds has its South on South Capitol Southern Rock festival on Friday and the Capitol GrooveFest on Saturday
* The Yards Park has Jah Works playing reggae for its Friday Evening Concert, then the Taste of Belgium beer/food/music event on Saturday.

Kruba Thai and Sushi Liquor License Gets ANC Support
Jul 10, 2012 8:53 AM
I wasn't at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, but commissioner David Garber tweeted the news that the commission voted to support the liquor license for Kruba Thai and Sushi, which apparently is now hoping to open in August in the southwest corner of the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts at the Yards. It will have "tons of outdoor seating facing Yards Park," given its location directly across from the Lumber Shed. This is another slippage of the opening date, but work does appear to be ongoing in the space, and movement on a liquor license application is good to see.
Kruba is another offering from the same people running Teak Wood Thai and Sushi and Regent Thai near Dupont Circle and Galae Thai & Sushi in Alexandria.

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.)

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).

Upcoming Events: South on South Capitol, Science, Ballpark, More
May 16, 2012 8:49 PM
A few new events and happenings to mention, along with some reminders:
* South on South Capitol: The Fairgrounds folks are launching a "South on South Capitol" southern rock concert series, featuring local and regional country and southern rock bands, along with mechanical bull rides (!), food trucks, and the Bullpen bar. The first one is scheduled for May 25, then June 22, July 27, and Aug. 24. (They're all Fridays.) Admission is free.
And, speaking of Fairgrounds, there's a corrected list of dates for their Sunday Family Days, which are just once a month (next one on June 3).
* Science + You: If you've wandered by the southeast corner of the Foundry Lofts building just north of the Yards Park, you may have already seen the Science + You exhibit. It's geared toward kids ages 3-8, giving them the hands-on chance to "become scientists for a day." It's being managed by Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region, and was developed by Kohl Children's Museum in Chicago in cooperation with scientists from Abbott. The web site has lots of photos of the various interactive stations within the exhibit. It runs until Aug. 5, and is open from 12:30-4 pm Tuesday-Friday and 10 am-4 pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.
* Ladies Night: The Nats' first Ladies Night of the 2012 season is Thursday (May 17), and they're going with a "Pretty in Pink" theme along with a Majestic women's apparel fashion show, drink specials, games, prizes, music, and whatnot. VIP tickets are $40 and include access to the party tent at 1st and Potomac from 5 to 7 pm along with special group seating. If you can't make the tent happy hour, you can buy a $25 ticket and enjoy the Scoreboard Pavilion festivities. (The tickets include a $10 concession credit.)
* Bike to Work: Friday, May 18 is Bike to Work Day, and the Yards Park is one of the pit stops, from 7 to 9 am. Alas, the free t-shirts for the first 11,000 registrants have already been snapped up, but you probably already own a t-shirt or two anyway.
* Battle of the Beltways: Be forewarned that the right-near-first-place (!) Orioles are coming to Nats Park for a Friday-Sunday interleague series, and so all three games will probably bring a lot of fans and traffic.
* Third Eye Blind: I mentioned last week about the Wallflowers being lined up for the 2nd of the NatsLive free post-game concerts, and soon after the word went out that Third Eye Blind would be playing the third concert, on Aug. 18 after the Nats play the New York Mets. Dierks Bentley kicks off the series on June 2, and tickets for all three games are on sale. (The concerts are free for game-ticket holders.)
And of course Friday also brings the Yards Park Friday Concert Series, with Justin Trawick performing this week. And, as a heads up, next Thursday (May 24), the Front Flicks Outdoor Movie Series gets underway, with Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Weekend Events: Truckeroo, Concert, Street Arts, Family Day
May 10, 2012 12:20 PM
Not much going on, so let's do a pre-weekend roundup, one day early to give you plenty of time to plan your schedule:
* Friday brings the first Truckeroo food truck festival of 2012, from 11 am to 11 pm at the Fairgrounds at Half and M SE. Its Facebook page today listed the truck lineup as including BBQ Bus, Big Cheese, Cajunators, Cap Mac, Chef Driven, Curbside Cupcakes, DC Empanadas, DC Slides, Doug the Food Dude, Hot People, Hula Girl, Tapas, Pleasant Pops, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Sinplicity, Sweetz Cheesecake, and Takorean.
* If you want to walk off some calories, you can also head to the Yards Park for the Friday Evening Concert, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. US Navy Band The Cruisers will be the music act this week, and food will be by Red Apron Butchery, Buzz Bakery, and Luke's Lobster, with beverages by ChurchKey.
* Saturday brings the finale of the Kennedy Center's Street Arts Across America festival with Street Arts in the Park, a day-long event at the Yards Park, from noon to 6 pm. The full lineup of music and events is available on the official web site.
* On Sunday, the Fairgrounds will be celebrating Mother's Day with its first Family Day, from 11 am to 4 pm, with "carnival games and prizes, inflatable and mechanical rides, children's entertainers and live musicians," plus food trucks.
Admission for all of these events is free. And the forecast looks pretty sweet.
And then the neighbors who live in that big building on South Capitol Street will be returning to town on Monday, for a series against the Padres that includes a 1:05 pm game on Tuesday (which is also Weather Day!), and then a weekend series against the Orioles, which should make for big crowds.
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More posts: Fairgrounds/Bullpen, Events, truckeroo, The Yards, Yards Park

Yards Park Friday Evening Concert Series Begins May 4
Apr 26, 2012 11:53 AM
The Yards Park folks are announcing today that the annual Yards Park Friday Evening Concert Series will be back again for 2012, running for an expanded 20 weeks, from May 4 through Sept. 14.
New this year is that the lineup of musical acts is going to be selected by OnTap Magazine, and that food will be provided by Red Apron Butchery, Buzz Bakery, and ChurchKey. (Buzz Bakery is one of the tenants slated to come to the Boilermaker Shops, and of course ChurchKey is the sibling of Boilermaker's Bluejacket brewery.)
The food options are described thusly by the press release: "Red Apron, a small-batch producer of locally-made and handcrafted charcuterie from Chef Nate Anda, will serve a variety of artisan hot dogs with housemade condiments. Buzz Bakery, a bakery and coffee shop led by award-winning Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac, will offer seasonal treats such as baked goods, ice cream, popsicles and fresh juices. Greg Engert, who manages the beverage programs at Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, Rustico and other area restaurants, will oversee a weekly rotating selection of hand-selected craft draft beers and wines." There will also be a rotating lineup of second food vendors each week, such as familiar food trucks Stix, BBQ Bus, Luke's Lobster, Dutch Mill Catering and Doug the Food Dude.
The music will be a "wide range" of styles, including jazz, Top 40, country, salsa, and reggae.
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More posts: Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Wednesday Tidbits: Osteen, Groundskeeping, and More
Apr 25, 2012 10:09 AM
After the flurry of the past few months, real news is taking a bit of a breather. In the meantime, here's some reading material I've scraped up, so that it doesn't look like I've completely quit working:
* Joel Osteen Ministries' "America's Night of Hope" is coming to Nationals Park on Saturday--here's the Washington Post's story on Osteen and the plans for the event. Doors open at 5:30 pm and the festivities start at 7 pm, if you're wanting to plan your evening around the crowds. If you're coming to the neighborhood for it, my Visiting Nats Park page can help you find your way.
* Want to know how the Nats Park field is cared for, and who takes care of it? The Post profiles head groundskeeper John Turnour and his work.
* A reader tells WashCycle about being stopped from biking on the Navy Yard portion of the Riverwalk. That promenade has always been signed as prohibiting bicycling, but with increased publicity for using the Riverwalk as a biking trail (including Tuesday's ribbon cutting of the new bridge across the CSX tracks), the issue of bicycles along the Navy Yard/Yards Park/Teague stretch is going to keep bubbling up, perhaps even moreso when the new 11th Street Local bridge opens soon with its wide pedestrian/cycling paths making the connection between both sides of the river even easier.
* Speaking of that new 11th Street Local bridge, much streetscape work has been done recently on O Street (new pavement, curbs, and brick paver crosswalks), and it looks like the concrete should be poured before too long to complete the connection from O to where the bridge begins to rise above the river. Maybe I'll actually get over there with my camera soon.
* Speaking of streetscapes, there's a new sidewalk on L Street between 1st and New Jersey, to go with the new sidewalk on Half between I and K.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID would love it if you'd fill out either their residential survey (if you live in the neighborhood) or the employee survey if you work here.
* Jonathan O'Connell at WaPo looks at how developer Opus East hit the skids, right as it was trying to finish 1015 Half Street. (Opus was also the developer behind 100 M, but it was completed before everything truly fell apart.)
* The Mayor is having a Ward 6 Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Town Hall Meeting tonight (April 25) at 6:30 pm at Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol Street.
* The next meeting of Police Service Area 106 is on Saturday, April 28, at 10 am at the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE.
What else is going on?
UPDATE: Adding a link to Washington City Paper's profile of "The Nautical Yards", a "site-specific dance and theater piece inspired by the Washington Navy Yard" being performed at the Yards Park Thursday through Saturday (April 26-29) at 7 pm. Premium seating is $30, general admission is free.
And I should probably remind that tickets for Springsteen at Nats Park on Sept. 14 go on sale Friday (April 27) at 10 am.

Tuesday Tidbits: Springsteen, Other Events, and Catching Up
Apr 17, 2012 2:25 AM
I didn't really intend to go completely off-grid for a long weekend, but a road trip to and from north Florida didn't leave me much time or energy for blogging. What did I miss?
* I assume everyone's heard by now that Bruce Springsteen will be playing at Nats Park on Sept. 14. Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 27 at 10 am at tickets.com. (If I'm not showing appropriate enthusiasm, I apologize, but Springsteen just hasn't ever really done it for me. I think I was permanently scarred by everyone around me going so crazy for him when I was in college, during the whole Born in the USA era. I just hid in my room and listened to R.E.M., and U2, and the Smiths, and Squeeze, and Elvis Costello, and....)
* The Nats' current homestand continues for the rest of the week, with tonight being the first $2 Ticket Tuesday of the season. Then there's Neighborhood Night on Thursday, April 19, followed by the season's first Pups in the Park game at 1:05 pm Saturday, April 21, and Kids Opening Day at 1:35 pm Sunday, April 22.
* If you're not availing yourself of tonight's $2 Ticket Tuesday, perhaps you might want to check out the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce's session on real estate development in and around Capitol Hill, which will be focusing on the areas east of South Capitol and south of East Capitol, which includes Near Southeast. Tommy Wells is scheduled to be part of the lineup. It's from 7 to 9 pm at the Meader Theater (NCC's new home) at 535 8th St., SE.
* Saturday, April 21 is Lantern Making Family Day at the Yards Park, as part of the lineup of events as the Cherry Blossom Festival comes to a close. There are two sessions, at 10 am and noon, followed by a parade/procession through the park.
* It's a bit outside my boundaries, but residents and others may be interested to know that the new Anacostia Riverwalk Trail Bridge crossing the railroad tracks just north of Pennsylvania Avenue will be opening on April 24.
And, some non-event tidbits:
* Square 696, the block bounded by I, K, Half, and First owned by DRI and Jamestown and originally branded as "The Plaza on K," is apparently being relaunched as "Congressional Square," though that doesn't seem to have filtered down to any web sites just yet. It's still an 825,000-square-foot office and retail project.
* On Opening Day, I noticed a lot of cars parked in the fenced-off lot on the southeast corner of 1st and M SE that belongs to the former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building. I asked Forest City about it, and they said that they will offer parking in that lot for certain games where big crowds are expected, but aren't planning to make it available for daily use.
* In the 700 block of Virginia Avenue, the Miles Glass building and the auto repair shop next door are no more, but at least they are now permanently enshrined as entries #168 and #169 in the Demolished Buildings Gallery. A parking lot is expected to be built for temporary use, while the National Community Church works on its plans for a larger events space on the site.

Updated Photos from the Usual Spots (Holiday Edition)
Apr 8, 2012 6:35 PM
Because of a need to burn off some calories before digging into my "Reeseter's Bunny" (milk chocolate-coated peanut butter bunny, which the label says is four servings [ha!] at 180 calories per), I did my usual wanderings this morning to grab updated photos around, Capper, 200 I, Canal Park, and the Boilermaker Shops. Alas, I did not hide any Easter eggs in any of these shots, nor did I find any.
The framing and Tyvek-ing is underway on 3rd Street south of L, in the shadow of the 300 M Street office building, as Capitol Quarter continues its march toward completion. I also took a lot of photos of other CQ Phase II blocks, so spend some time in the Capitol Quarter Phase 2 Expanded Photo Archive (and scroll down a bit) to hop through the many (many!) before-and-afters.
Then there's the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, where some work was being done even on Easter Sunday. The walling off the interior space for the different tenants has begun, with the studs visible--and some drywall has even gone in on the mezzanine level, as seen at right, in a view from 4th Street, through what will be the Bluejacket space.
The work is on-going at Canal Park, but continues to not be terribly exciting from a photographic standpoint, unless you're wowed by images of new curbs. But the Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive can take you for a walk around the park's perimeter to see the current views, if you don't see it every day. (I also like my barbed wire shot [above right], the result of desperation after being without photos from the east side of 2nd and L for a very long time now. But, no, I didn't jump the fence.)
I also enjoyed being watched very closely by a USDOT security guard with a clipboard as I took photos of the park's progress from the south side of M Street. "What are you taking photos of?" she finally asked, trying to sound stern. "Stuff," I replied, as I smiled and kept walking.
There's also updated shots from 225 Virginia/200 I (seen at right), with the landscaping now starting to go in.
If you want to see today's entire batch (213 of 'em), here they are, remembering to click the fun little Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see the entire range of photos for a certain location. If you want even more new-ish pictures, here's photos I took around 1st and Half Streets on Tuesday, to get the Fairgrounds exterior into the official archive.
Now I need to go find that peanut butter bunny. I think I earned it.

Thursday Tidbits: Roundup of Pre-Opening Day Roundups
Apr 5, 2012 11:18 AM
Before everyone disappears down the Nats Opening Day/Masters/Caps rabbit holes (myself included!), here's some links to items that might be of interest.
First, a few new entries in the What's New Around the Ballpark? lineup:
* On Tap Magazine surveys the neighborhood with "The Hidden Gem That is the Capitol Riverfront." (Another jewelry metaphor to go with the Post's "Diamond in the Rough" piece from Sunday.)
* WJLA wandered around looking at the ballpark environs.
* The Post's Going Out Gurus blog checked out the Fairgrounds' sneak peek on Tuesday. (Though what's the deal with the photos that look like they were taken through a veil? Will this Instagram obsession never ebb?)
* WTOP runs down the options for arriving at the ballpark by water taxi. (American River Taxi, by the way, says that they are almost sold out for the April 12 home opener.)
Some other items:
* Two reports from MLB.com on the Wounded Warrior Amputee charity softball classic, played Tuesday after the Nats-Red Sox exhibition. The Warriors pounded their celebrity challengers 17-4.
* "DC Modern Luxury" magazine's Men's issue picks the Foundry Lofts as one of the city's "Best Bachelor Buildings." Go here, then click on the Best Bachelor Buildings subhed to get to page 62, then look at the bottom of the page. (As an aside, the write-up sounds even better if you imagine it being spoken by Stefon.)
* Or, if you like your tidbits a bit less glossy, Multihousing News has "Foundry Lofts Blazes Trail on DC Riverfront."
* Bluejacket gets a big write-up and cover photo in Beer Advocate magazine, though we don't get to read it online. You'll just have to make do with the Sept. 2011 batch of photos from inside the Boilermaker Shops the brewery has put up on their Facebook page.
* Nineteen "experts" have picked the Nationals to make the playoffs this year. No pressure!
* The 11th Street Recreation Bridge meeting happened while I was out of town, but here's Greater Greater Washington's write-up of it. But, before the meeting, WCP's Alex Baca posted four thoughts about the concept, with some items of concern worth noting (though "it is a cool idea!" is the first bullet point).

Monday Tidbits: Justin's Block Party and Farther-Off Events
Mar 26, 2012 10:05 AM
I'm going to be a bit scarce this week, so here's few events-related tidbits to keep the home page from having the equivalent of electronic tumbleweeds blowing across it:
* Don't forget that the public meeting about the possible recreational re-use of the old outbound 11th Street Bridge span is on Wednesday, March 28, at 6:30 pm.
* Justin's Cafe has now posted the information on its April 14 block party, both on Facebook and its new JustinsCafeEvents.com web site. It will run from 11 am to 9 pm, offering a line-up of local craft brews (including "beer trucks" from Port City Brewery and DC Brau), and 106.7 The Fan FM will be broadcasting from there. "All ages welcomed, 21 and over to drink." Money is also being raised for free youth baseball and softball programs through the DC Grays and S.M.A.R.T. Camps and Clinics. (The Nats play the Reds at 4:05 pm that day.)
* On April 1 (well, April 2, technically), the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator bus starts its summer hours, running from 6 am to 9 pm weekdays and 7 am to 9 pm Saturdays, with extended service on Nationals game days.
* The Southwester reports that there's a Neighborhood Night at Nationals Park on Thursday, April 19. "The team will honor the vibrant spirit of the neighborhood by featuring local residents in various pregame activities, including throwing out the first pitch, delivering the lineup card and greeting the players as they take their positions on the field." Near Southeast and Southwest residents can also get discounted tickets to games throughout the season, but I'll make you follow the link to find out about that!
* The Earth Conservations Corps will be leading volunteers in a cleanup of the wetlands at Diamond Teague Park on April 21, from 9 am to noon, as part of the Anacostia Watershed Society's Earth Day events. (They do want volunteers to register/RSVP in order to participate.)
* A bit farther down the pike, the Kennedy Center is presenting "Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America," a week-long festival showcasing all manner of free performances and events from May 6-12. One of the May 6 kick-off events will be from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Nationals Park and the Fairgrounds (old Bullpen) on Half Street, and the closing event on May 12 from noon to 6 pm will be at the Yards Park.

A Little Present Left Over from the Old Days at 1212 4th
Mar 21, 2012 2:51 PM
When a "suspicious package" alert went out on Twitter this morning about the 1200 block of 4th St. SE and 400 block of Tingey being closed, my Spidey sense tingled a bit, given the recent speculation in comment threads that the halt in digging at the planned 1212 4th St. apartment building/Teeter project at the Yards was because of an "UXO" (unexploded ordnance).
One reader sent me both videos and a series of iPhone photos showing the activity, but it was DCIst that got the money shot: a photo clearly showing a big ole' UXO (oh, heck, let's have fun and call it a bomb). This site is of course part of the old Navy Yard footprint, where all manner of exploding items were manufactured for many years.
Since no one's reported any big BOOMs in the intervening time, the clean-up must have proceeded according to plan. The question is, will there be any more surprises once digging resumes?
UPDATE: Here's WJLA's report on the day's festivities, and then DCist unearthed these two videos of the gun factory from 1952.
UPDATE II: While we're all enjoying being a bit flip about all of this, it is of course a serious business to be doing this excavation with such items laying around. Forest City tells me that the work is being done in accordance with guidelines from the Army's Explosive Ordnance Division, and that indeed over the past several weeks sitework has needed to be stopped temporarily because of the unearthing of "munitions debris." Each time, the police department's bomb squad is called in, who then determine whether the EOD folks from Ft. Belvoir should be called in, as they were today.
Forest City also says that it's anticipated that most buried artifacts and debris are found within the first 10 to 15 feet of soil when excavation, so once they get past that level, they expect the finds will trail off. And, it's not just munitions being found--foundations of several homes that were on site prior to the lot being used by the Navy have been found, as well as a Civil War-era cannon.
But the company does want to emphasize that "public safety and the safety of the site workers are paramount for Forest City, so we will continue to strictly abide by the established practices and involve the qualified technicians whenever and as soon as necessary." This includes having a former Navy munitions expert on site at all times as a "spotter," and using a two-part method when excavating, scooping the dirt from the hole in small quantities and spreading it out to be looked at and cleared before it's then scooped into a truck for removal from the site.
Whether this will impact the timeline for 1212 4th's construction depends on how many stoppages there end up being.
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More posts: The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

New Boilermaker Shops Brewery to be Called Bluejacket
Mar 16, 2012 9:44 AM
The Washington Post reports today that the Neighborhood Restaurant Group has now decided on a name for the brewery it is bringing to the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards: Bluejacket, which it says is "historically a term for sailors in the US Navy."
The brewery also now has a web site, a Twitter feed, and a Facebook page. And an "Established 2013" tagline, so that's another confirmation that they don't look to be opened before the end of this year.
The brewery will be located on the eastern end of the Boilermaker Shops building, fronting 4th Street SE.

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.)

Tidbits: K Street Closure; Potbelly Opening Date; Brewers Ball; More
Feb 29, 2012 11:14 AM
* The portion of K Street SE within the Canal Park footprint will be closed through March 31 after workers found "major unmapped utilities" that have caused delays to the construction. Park head Chris Vanarsdale says that in order to meet spring planting requirements, it was necessary to close K now. (A little bit of hassle in exchange for purty plants this year, otherwise the planting would have had to wait until next year.) This means that to cross Canal Park drivers and pedestrians need to either use I Street or M Street.
* A sign posted at Foundry Lofts for its residents says that they expect the Potbelly to open the week of March 13. And here's the Store Locator page, still marked as "Coming Soon." (Here's what it looked like inside on Sunday morning.)
* If you can't wait until the Nationals finish Spring Training to drink beer at the stadium, there's the 2012 Brewer's Ball on March 13 at Nats Park, benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Guests can sample "a variety of handcrafted microbrews from more than a dozen of the region's best microbreweries and brewpubs, while also enjoying the cuisine of several popular restaurants." Individual tickets are $115, and deadline to purchase is tomorrow, March 1.

Photos from All Over, Feb. 2012 Edition
Feb 27, 2012 11:34 AM
Take a gorgeous Sunday, add an obsessive-compulsive need to document all the change underway, and what do you get? Nearly eight miles of walking and a shameful number of new photos.
The Foundry Lofts building is all but done, with only the retail spaces left to be built out, so I took a bunch of "after" photos that will probably last for a while. But that new Potbelly sign sure stands out! I also pressed my nose against the glass to peek inside the sandwich shop's space--it sure doesn't look far from opening.
Embarrassingly, I haven't had a camera in hand on the Navy Yard's portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk since 2004. (I'm always worried they're going to toss me in the brig as a security threat, especially after a run-in a few years back where I was chased down by both a gate sentry and the DC police after taking photos of the Hull Street gate from across M Street.) But I pushed forward yesterday and got a bunch of new shots that I've added to my Navy Yard page, taking care to demonstrate to the many security cameras that I was photographing the river and not the installation. (Don't miss the especially cool before-and-after of the gate to the Yards Park.)
I will probably be creating a separate Riverwalk page before too long, but not today.
Along 11th Street at N and M, photos are more notable for what's not there anymore, as the demolition of the embankment for the old outbound RFK ramp is done, and the path of the new ramp from M Street for traffic headed to the outbound 11th Street Bridges freeway traffic becomes more obvious. Also see this picture of the work on the 11th Street Local bridge, showing the demolition of part of the old outbound bridge approach, which has to be done before the new local bridge can hook up with 11th Street. (You can see it as well in my O Street before-and-afters, if you figure out what to look for.) Check my 11th Street Bridges photo page for more images.
Then there's Canal Park, where I mainly took some new photos of the pavilion under construction near M Street, since photos of digging and ground work don't quite rise to the level of "interesting." I also hit most of the angles for the Boilermaker Shops, as well as for Capitol Quarter Phase II, where the security guard expressed concern about my actions (I need a laminated Photography Approved card or something). And I wandered the 225 Virginia/200 I perimeter.
If you're a glutton for punishment, you can browse the 267 pictures from this trek that are now in my Photo Archive, using the links to see before-and-afters.

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.

ANC 6D Supports Park Tavern, Willie's Liquor Licenses
Feb 15, 2012 9:17 AM
While nowhere near as flashy as the Half Street/Fairgrounds news, it should be noted that ANC 6D on Monday voted to support the liquor license applications for Xavier Cervera's two upcoming restaurants, the Park Tavern at Canal Park and Willie's Brew & Que at the Boilermaker Shops in the Yards. The support is conditional on having voluntary agreements signed for both applications within the next two weeks.
There was a bit of drama with this, with the commission's ABC subcommittee chair Coralee Farlee refusing to recommend this support because of what she considered a lack of communication from Cervera over the wording of the voluntary agreement; Cervera's lawyer had apparently replied with a few comments, but Farlee had not heard from Cervera himself (who seemed a bit bewildered by it all). David Garber stepped in to say that he had been working the voluntary agreement issue as well, which clearly Farlee wasn't especially happy about either.
Garber noted Cervera's desire to not have the process delayed, given Park Tavern's planned June 15 opening date and the need for Cervera to have a license in place in order to move forward with Forest City and the Boilermaker Shops. Commissioner Cara Shockley expressed some concern about moving so quickly, and there was also discussion about how a vote to support without a signed VA is not 6D's standard operating procedure. (Audience member and former 6D secretary Roberta Weiner mentioned how at other ANCs the vote would be to protest the license until a VA is signed by all parties.)
But in the end, four commissioners voted to support the licenses, Shockley voted against, and Ron McBee voted to abstain. (Commission chair Andy Litsky was not in attendance.)
My post from last week gives a whole pile of details on both restaurants, which I'll not bother to rehash here. (That post is much more fun to read, anyway.)

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.

Tuesday Tidbits: Briefer-than-Brief Briefs
Feb 7, 2012 9:26 AM
I'm a bit under the weather these days, so I'll go with a minimalist approach of mostly Tweeted items:
* Lost in the digital piles on my digital desktop was the CapBiz tidbit about a Bang Salon being housed in the new Vida Fitness gym that is supposed to be coming to the neighborhood as part of the Yards' Teeter/Residential project on 4th Street. (As for the "at the Navy Yard" description, I'm pretty sure that this project isn't happening inside the walls of the Washington Navy Yard.) Note that Forest City has yet to officially announce Vida as a tenant for the project, though they sure came close a few weeks back.
* If the neighborhood seems locked down on Wednesday, it's probably because of this little get-together at Nats Park.
* Speaking of the stadium, the Nats have launched "Take Back the Park" to try to head off the Philly Fan Invasion for the May 4-6 games.
* The agenda for ANC 6D's next meeting is out, with the only Near Southeast item being "Half Street Shipping Container Fairgrounds Concept," which according to David Garber will be on the Das Bullpen site at Half and M and is something along the lines of this. Looks hipster-riffic! The meeting is Feb. 13 at 7 pm.
* Outside the boundaries updates from SWill: Z-Burger is supposed to be opening over yonder today, and a juvenile facility will be moving into that long low gray building on the west side of South Capitol between M and N.
* DDOT tweeted that the 11th Street Local Bridge "is expected to open in late spring." This is the bridge with the pedestrian/cycling path that will run from 11th Street south of N by the Navy Yard into downtown Anacostia.

Landmark Designation for Pumping Station; New Structures Coming
Feb 3, 2012 2:38 PM
I'm a week or so behind on this, but, honestly, I've moved slowly because I just can't believe that only now is the beautiful Beaux Arts WASA O Street Pumping Station being moved through the city's historic landmark designation process.
But it's true, and on Jan. 26 the Historic Preservation Review Board voted 8-0 to designate the 1907 building a landmark to be entered into DC's Inventory of Historic Sites. Then, after being "enhanced by additional research and context," it will be forwarded to the National Register of Historic Places.
The staff recommendation report describes the building, designed by local architect Clement A. Didden, as "an example of a high-style public works project and ... a premier example of Beaux Arts architecture and an important manifestation of the City Beautiful Movement." If you have spent much time looking at it, my refreshed DC Water page has photos from many angles (except inside!).
The first few minutes of the hearing actually are very much worth watching if you want to learn about the building's history and architecture. (Kind of like getting a building tour without going inside.) And it was good to see a representative of DC Water testify that it "stands ready to help" the landmarking: "we are proud of this beautiful building and its prominence on the waterfront." The staff recommendation report gives more information about the application, and you can even wander through the original 2005 (!?!) application.
This was not the only action taken in regards to the Pumping Station, however. DC Water needs to build two new structures--the Shaft Structure and the Tide Gate Structure--on the building's north side (facing Tingey Street) as part of the DC Clean Rivers/Combined Sewer Overflow project. Unfortunately, there are no drawings of these designs in the HPRB's staff report, but there are some descriptions, indicating that DC Water and city staff have worked to make them smaller and placed farther apart from each other to lessen the impact on the view of the main building from Tingey. "Overall, staff believes the new structures have been designed to be as compatible as possible with the Main Pumping Station given the significant design constraints." The conceptual designs were approved by HPRB 7-0. (You can watch that part of the hearing, too, should you wish.)
That wasn't the only neighborhood decision on the board's agenda. The HPRB also approved on its consent calendar Forest City's plans for rehabbing the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park, about which I've written much during its trip through the ANC and Zoning processes.
The board did request that Forest City work "to develop and incorporate interpretive signage for the site that will feature historic photographs of the Lumber Shed and narrative information about the history of the structure."
Hope they include shots of its salmon-colored glory days!
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More posts: Lumber Shed/Yards, DC Water (WASA), The Yards

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.

Another Look Inside the Foundry Lofts, Nearing Completion
Jan 26, 2012 11:15 AM
When last I visited the Foundry Lofts, it was about a month before the first residents moved in. I took a pile of photos, but while model units were furnished, a lot of the shared spaces were still being worked on. So I finally made a return visit this week to see all the finishing touches on the interior courtyard, lobby, community room, etc. And I took one or two photographs, of course.
The leasing office tells me that the 170-unit building is now about 65 percent leased and 40 percent occupied, and construction on the non-retail spaces is not far from 100 percent completion. The four priciest units--the corner penthouses, which were announced with rents in the $4,500 range--are all taken. And the two eateries in the ground floor--Potbelly and Kruba Thai and Sushi--have their building permits and are working toward opening within 90 days.
Also, because I can't walk past the Boilermaker Shops without taking pictures, I added a few new shots to that page, including the panorama at right that I got from one of the Foundry Loft patios.
As if this all isn't exciting enough, here's a first terribly not exciting photo of the excavation underway at the 1212 4th/Teeter site a block east of the Foundry Lofts and across the street from Boilermaker.
Plus, since I had to walk down 4th Street to get to all of this, I snapped some shots of the continuing Capitol Quarter progress at K and L.

More Beer News! License Process Starting for Two Eateries
Jan 25, 2012 3:38 PM
If yesterday's news about the brewery coming to the Boilermaker Shops in the Yards wasn't enough, today I can pass along that the liquor licensing process looks to be getting started for Xavier Cervera's two upcoming locations in Near Southeast, the Canal Park Tavern planned for the pavilion at Canal Park and the Willie's Brew and Que sports bar also at the Boilermaker Shops.
Both have been added to the agenda for ANC 6D's ABC Committee next meeting, on Jan. 31 at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Rec Center. Hopefully at this meeting there will be some details on both places (seating capacity, hours, when they expect to open, general menu concepts, etc.).
With the Tavern expected to open along with Canal Park sometime this summer and WBQ probably not until late fall or beyond, this is a pretty early start to the ABC process, so don't get your taste buds primed just yet. But all evidence of forward progress is worth noting.

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?

Tuesday Lack-of-Tidbits Post: Yards Park Kudos, 200 I Progress
Jan 24, 2012 9:52 AM
I guess I'm not unhappy that there's not much to pass along right now, given the firehose of content sprayed from these parts last week. So, while we all wait to find out whether Prince Fielder is going to be a new neighbor, here's the best I can come up with:
* The Atlantic Cities writes a paean to the Yards and the Yards Park, noting that Washington "is finally getting a green waterfront to be proud of," after years and years of poor waterfront access throughout the city for residents.
UPDATE: I'll toss this in, since I'm short on content: a writer at the Hill is Home is bummed that the Lumber Shed is going to be enclosed for retail space (and Forest City's offices upstairs), and is taking a poll to find out who does or doesn't agree.
* Exterior work continues to wrap up at 225 Virginia/200 I, with the new parking deck at 3rd and I mostly completed. Visitors to the building will park on the deck's upper level, via an entrance on 3rd just south of Virginia, while staff will enter the deck's lower level on I Street; there is also employee parking in the building's basement. I imagine traffic on 3rd is going to get even more interesting when the building opens to three city agencies later this year.

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.

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

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

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.
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More posts: Retail, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Tidbits: Disaster!, Tunnel Comment Period Extended, WP on Yards
Dec 12, 2011 1:31 PM
Tidbitiest of tidbits:
* Don't panic on Wednesday (Dec. 14) if you see what appears to be all heck breaking loose at Nationals Park--the DC Fire Department and the US Marine Corps' Chemical Biological Incident Response Force will be holding a "large-scale disaster preparedness exercise . . . simulating the joint response to a major terrorist attack." Alas, though, it won't be zombies, but rather a chemical attack. It will run from 10 am to about 2 pm. (Not open to the public.)
* DDOT and CSX have extended the comment period for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel concept offerings by 30 days, to January 30, 2012.
* Jonathan O'Connell of the Post wrote a summary of the goings-on at the Yards, none of which will be news to JDLand readers, but which might still be of interest. (The "office building with retail space" mentioned at the end is apparently the Lumber Shed, which probably would be better described as a retail building with some office space, especially since the office tenant will be Forest City themselves.)

Some Very Small Items: Velodrome, Bikeshare, 11th Street Bridges
Dec 7, 2011 11:14 AM
* There was a "Wait, what?" moment on Tuesday when DCist reported that a velodrome would be coming in 2012 "in the shadow of Nationals Park in Southeast DC." I did some quick sleuthing, looking at the organization's web site and seeing Akridge as a partner, but I just couldn't place the design as being along Half Street. Then, thinking about how people so often can't get Southeast and Southwest straight when it comes to anything near the ballpark, I took a look at the Google Maps view of Akridge's Buzzard Point land at 1st and V SW, and Ta-Da! A pretty clear match.
But this morning, Akridge is no longer listed as a partner on the web site, and the site rendering is gone, too. Perhaps this is all just because final leases and paperwork hadn't quite yet been signed. (A not uncommon tale, young upstarts getting all excited about a pending deal and blabbing just a little too much info for the comfort of the big company they're dealing with. Though it doesn't necessarily mean the deal is dead.) Of course, this is all actually outside my territory, so you'll want to go to SWill for updates.
UPDATE: Jonathan O'Connell has tweeted this out: "Akridge spokeswoman on velodrome: 'We don't have an agreement.' And: 'I would say that putting Akridge on the site was probably premature'."
* Last Wednesday, DDOT installed the new Bikeshare station at 3rd & G, SE, on the north side of the Results parking lot. This is technically outside of Near Southeast, but it's probably now the closest station for Capitol Quarter folks (and me!). It has 19 docks.
* DDOT is shooting for the weekend of Dec. 16 to open the new inbound/outbound freeway spans of the 11th Street Bridges, and they tormented me with some helicopter shots of the current progress. (Though remember that it's just the spans opening--they still have work to do on the ramps and flyovers to add the new movements to and from DC-295.) They also tweeted that the 11th Street Local bridge is ahead of schedule and will open spring/summer of next year. My construction progress photos from Nov. 1 are a smidge out of date by now, but still worth looking at.

A Slew of Shots Snapped on a Sunny Saturday Sojourn
Dec 4, 2011 5:24 PM
Yes, it's time for another batch of updated construction photos. This is a tough stretch of year to take these--the sun never gets very high in the sky, so anything facing due south is about impossible to get without glare. And, for places like Canal Park, it's hard to even get some locations out of the shadows long enough to get a photo that you can decipher. But you can see (below left, and on the project page) a couple of shots of the progress on the park's pavilion where the Park Tavern restaurant will be housed, along with plenty of shots vaguely showing the other ongoing ground-level work. Meanwhile, at Capitol Quarter (below right), they continue to just zip right along, with framing now well underway on the north side of L and around up 4th, and prep work for foundations continuing in the project's final block, on the south side of L.
In the Renovation/Rehabilitation portion of the tour, we have a few updated images of the Boilermaker Shops (above left), another building that's tough to shoot in winter, even more so when there's not much of it other than steel beams at the moment (though they have recently been painted white). Meanwhile, 225 Virginia/200 I is coming pretty close to the end of its exterior renovations, though work inside will continue in preparation for the arrival of three DC agencies later this year.
There isn't much new to see of Lot 38 Espresso (aka the Little Red Building 2.0, above left), which the grapevine says is now shooting for a mid-December opening. (But, really, at this point, it opens when it opens--the last batch of permits and approvals is always slow going, and I bet the owner wants it open even more than you do.) I also took a bunch of shots of the former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building at 1st and M (above right), not because there's been any changes to it, but because I really enjoyed finally being able to aim a camera at it without having guards reaching for their guns. (Nyaah! Nyaah! Click! Click! Click!)
I came home with 438 new photos (yikes), and you can browse the 180-plus I decided to upload to the online archive here. (Yes, it's true, you don't actually get to see every photo I've ever taken. Which is probably for the best.)
Remember to click the icon to see the entire range of photos for any location, while the project pages linked to above are your best bet if you're looking for paired before-and-afters and/or narrated tours.
And, in case you didn't see my tweet or my late-night update, the residential/Teeter project at 4th and M got all the dotted i's and crossed t's I mentioned in my initial post, and is officially now considered by Forest Ctiy as "commenced." (I just can't call it 1212 4th Street yet. Doesn't really make the location pop as well as "4th and M.")

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."

Artomatic Looking for 2012 Space, Eyeing 1015 Half, 101 M SE
Nov 27, 2011 5:00 PM
Jonathan O'Connell has a piece in Monday's WaPo Capital Business about Artomatic's search for a 2012 home, and how the organization wants to replicate the success of the 2009 version at the then-vacant 55 M St., SE: "This year's search is down to about four buildings, two near Nationals Park: 1015 Half St. SE, an empty 414,000-square-foot building being purchased by Prudential Real Estate Investors; and the former offices of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, at 101 M St. SE. Artomatic also is considering the People's Building in Northeast, and another location in Crystal City."
1015 Half Street (left), on the site of the old Nation nightclub, is currently home to more than 400,000 square feet of Class A office space emptiness right now. The NGA recently departed 1st and M (right), and while I would love for Artomatic to come to this spot merely for the chance to finally get inside the formerly armed encampment before its inevitable demolition as The Yards moves forward, I wonder how excited the organizers would be to have a building with almost no windows, except on the top floor. (I know that 55 M's large windows and great views of Nationals Park, Near Southeast, Southwest, and north to the Capitol were a big hit with 2009 Artomatic attendees.)
It was in December 2008 that word first began to trickle out on the 2009 Artomatic location, so perhaps the decision one way or the other won't be too long in coming.
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More posts: 1015 Half, artomatic, Events, square 697, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

Yards/Teague Bridge: Let's Try This Again (Sunny Day Version)
Nov 25, 2011 12:55 PM
There was no way I was going to let those gray, rainy photos from Tuesday's Yards Park/Teague Park connector bridge opening stand. So, give these a try instead:
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More posts: riverwalk, Teague Park, DC Water (WASA), The Yards, Yards Park

Yards/Teague Connector Bridge Rainy Opening Day Photos
Nov 22, 2011 3:02 PM
The weather was atrocious, and things got started late (as they so often do when overscheduled politicians are involved), but officials from the city, Forest City Washington, DC Water, and elsewhere gathered at the Yards Park today to officially dedicate the 627-foot-long bridge connecting the Yards with Diamond Teague Park, which is just across Potomac Avenue from Nationals Park's grand staircase.
I wasn't able to hang around for the actual cutting of the ribbon (check the Yards' Twitter feed for a slew of photos of the festivities), but I did take a gallery of photos from my first time walking on the bridge, showing the view of the Anacostia riverfront in all of its gray, overcast, rain-spattered splendor. Needless to say, I'll be returning once the sun is out for a replacement set.
This bridge is part of the planned Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, which continues to open segment by (not necessarily contiguous) segment.
(One side note: Demolition appears to be underway on the concrete tower at Florida Rock, so the new bridge won't seem to be leading directly to that scenic structure for too much longer.)

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

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.

New Yards Park/Teague Park Bridge Dedication Scheduled for Nov. 22
Nov 7, 2011 3:27 PM
The word is going out that the official dedication of the new pedestrian bridge connecting the Yards Park and Diamond Teague Park will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 1:30 pm. The mayor is expected to be there, along with George Hawkins of DC Water (since the bridge runs right past the main pumping station) and I'm sure a slew of other dignitaries.
This is the bridge that will allow for an easier and more enjoyable stroll between the Yards Park and Nationals Park, depositing stadium-goers right across the street from the Grand Staircase/1st Base Gate at 1st Street and Potomac Avenue. And it will also allow water taxi customers disembarking at Teague Piers to get to the Yards Park without having to hike up to Tingey Street and then over a few blocks. (Eventually the Yards Park will have its own marina and water taxi piers, but not for another few years.)
It is part of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, and eventually will also connect to a larger public plaza adjacent to Teague Park, as part of the easternmost development of the FloridaRock/RiverFront project.
Hope they have good weather for the ribbon cutting!
(This is probably also a good time to make quick mention of AtlanticCities' recent naming of the Yards Park as one of America's Best New Parks.)

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.)

Clean Rivers Project Launches, Work Zones Coming (Eventually)
Oct 26, 2011 11:45 PM
Two weeks ago, while I was busy biking around Florida's Space Coast, DC Water (aka WASA) had the groundbreaking for its massive Clean Rivers Project. This is a 20-year, $2.6 billion initiative to control the city's "combined sewer overflows," which is what happens when the current system where wastewater and rainwater move in single pipes gets overwhelmed during "certain rainfall conditions", causing the diluted sewage mix to empty into local waterways before it can get to DC Plains to be treated.
This map gives a good overview of where the Clean Rivers work will be done along the Anacostia, and it should be no surprise that Near Southeast is on the docket for some of the construction zones, given that DC Water's main pumping station is that lovely 1905 Beaux Arts building nestled between Nationals Park and the Yards Park. There are two components of the project that will directly impact the neighborhood:
The first workzone ("Division E") will appear next spring, to allow for digging along M Street SE between 9th and 14th Streets, with the work expected to take about two years. Parking along M will be restricted between 8th and 9th streets and 12th and 13th streets, and M will be completely closed during the project at the not-quite-an-intersection with 14th Street and Water Street.
The second workzone ("Division I") will be in a more central location, and for a longer period of time, as 1,200 linear feet of combined sewers and other infrastructure needs will be installed on Tingey Street SE between 2nd and 5th streets. (For those of you not 100 percent familiar with the grid, Tingey is the street just behind the US Department of Transportation that runs through the Yards.) They are estimating this work will begin in the fall of 2013 and last until the summer of 2017. But no major hauling during stadium events, they say! There will be some lane closures along Tingey, and parking will be restricted along Tingey as well.
These two projects, along with the much larger Tunnel Project That Shall Not Be Named along Virginia Avenue, will no doubt try the patience of residents and office workers, but DC Water says they are working closely with all manner of stakeholders (including the Navy Yard, the BID, DDOT, the Nationals, CSX, WMATA, and the Maritime Plaza folks) and will be coordinating with ANCs as well. (They gave a presentation on the project at the October ANC 6D meeting, which I alas missed.)
The web site for the project has a lot of information if you want to know more--plus DC Water's chief George Hawkins has his own blog with links about the groundbreaking and more.
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More posts: DC Water (WASA), The Yards

Tidbits: Truckerboo, Teague/Yards Bridge, Espresso Bar, Red Sox
Oct 17, 2011 6:06 PM
I'm back from a week by the beach in Central Florida--yes, of course we went to Disney, and the Kennedy Space Center, along with logging more than 100 miles of biking along A1A. Here are some small items while I regain my blogging legs:
* The October instance of the Truckeroo food truck festival, appropriately dubbed "Truckerboo," is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28, from 11 am to midnight at Half and M Streets, SE. In addition to the usual lineup of trucks and the drinks flowing at the Das Bullpen bar, there will be "truck trick-or-treating" for kids from 3 to 5 pm, along with costume contests (kids, individuals, and groups). They're requesting a "one buckaroo" donation this time around, with all proceeds benefitting the King Greenleaf Recreation Center in Southwest. More info here.
* The bridge between Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park is close to finished, as you can see in this not-totally-fabulous cellphone pic. When it opens, visitors will be able to walk along the west bank of the Anacostia from 1st Street SE (at Nationals Park) all the way to 11th Street SE (as long as the Navy Yard's stretch of boardwalk is open).
* Awnings for Lot 38 Espresso have now gone up at the old Little Red Building site across from Canal Park (reader photo here), along with a "Coming Soon" sign. The owner, Yung Park, told me this afternoon that he's shooting for a Dec. 1 opening date.
* The Nationals have announced that they will be playing a home exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, April 3, 2012. The team's regular season gets underway on April 5 at Wrigley Field, with the home opener scheduled for April 12, against the Cincinnati Reds. No game times have been announced yet.

Site Closure Ceremony for NGA at 1st and M SE Next Week
Sep 22, 2011 10:03 AM
A little birdie tells me that the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency folks are having a "site closure ceremony" sometime next week for their operations on the southeast corner of 1st and M, SE. (You know, the place with hardly any windows and the guys out front with guns.) As part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, their operations have moved to swank new digs down at Ft. Belvoir.
The closure ceremony is apparently for "cleared personnel only."
This site, officially known as Building 213 from the old Navy Yard/Southeast Federal Center days, is on the footprint of the Yards and as expected to be home to an office building someday, but not anytime soon.
In the meantime, maybe that parking lot will become available to the public?
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More posts: The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

This Week's Events Lineup: Bikeshare Bash, Opera, Nats Finale
Sep 20, 2011 5:20 PM
On the calendar for the rest of the week:
* Thursday, Sept. 22 brings both the Capital Bikeshare 1st Birthday Bash at the Yards Park and this year's Opera in the Outfield at Nats Park. Bikeshare's bash runs from 6 to 9 pm; Opera starts at 7:30 pm.
* The Nats play their final home games of the 2011 season against the Braves this weekend, and the team is promoting it as a FAN-tastic FAN-ale. There will be fireworks after Friday night's game (and perhaps during the game, since Strasburg is scheduled to be on the mound). Saturday and Sunday, both afternoon games, have limited $2 tickets available along with food and drink specials and giveaways. Details here.
* And on Saturday the 24th the Yards Park is hosting Blocktoberfest, with multiple stages, more than 10 acts, food, and of course beer. There were complaints from residents about noise levels during a 10-hour event at the park on Sunday the 18th; one reply from the BID to a resident in the aftermath says that they "have learned a valuable lesson about events in the Park and the noise level," and that they are evaluating the types of events that are appropriate rental use for the park.
What will I be doing for the next few days? Praying that my beloved Google Nexus One phone comes back to life after an overnight seltzer soaking (thanks, cat). It's in a Ziploc bag full of rice drying out as we speak....
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More posts: Events, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, The Yards, Yards Park

New NGA Campus Done
Sep 16, 2011 10:59 AM
Clark Construction has delivered the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency campus at Ft. Belvoir, says CityBiz Real Estate.
(Not coincidentally, the federally legislated deadline for BRAC moves was yesterday.)
Has NGA finished moving out of the armed encampment at First and M, SE?
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More posts: The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

New Photos: Catching Up on a Lot of Change in a Lot of Spots
Sep 12, 2011 2:32 AM
I took a lot of photos on Sunday, so many that I'm not going to waste time trying to come up with some pithy introduction. What you see below are just a taste of all the new images I posted, so be sure to follow the links for more.
At the Yards, the Foundry Lofts (left) are looking close to done, and it's striking to compare it to its Before shots to see just how well the exterior of the building has been cleaned up. Meanwhile, the Boilermaker Shops (right) is now defrocked, with work underway to transform it into the 46,000-square-foot retail space that will open about a year from now.
In the Yards Park, work will start this fall to make the Lumber Shed into another retail space, and earlier this summer test panels were hung on one corner of the building (left) to show how currently bare structure will look when it is completely enclosed in glass. And, over on the western edge of the park, the new bridge that will connect Yards Park to Diamond Teague Park (and Nationals Park) is coming along (right), with a number of the signature curved "fence posts" already installed. The bridge is scheduled to open in a few months.
I finally got some not-very-exciting shots of the under-construction pavilion on the south end of Canal Park (left), along with updating what photos I could of the perimeter (the fencing around 2nd Place in particular puts a cramp in my methodology). This pavilion is where a restaurant is planned, which could be home to the latest Xavier Cervera offering if a deal is finally reached. The park is expected to open next year. Plus, I captured the temporary home of the Capitol Hill Day School (right), so that some day many years from now there will be a record of the modular classrooms that stood for nine months or so on the site of the eventual Capper Community Center at 5th and K.
And change is happening at a ridiculously rapid pace at Capitol Quarter, so much so that a trip through the Phase 2 Extended Photo Archive is definitely recommended to see all of the new vistas in comparison to the old Capper footprint. Less showy but still moving forward is the transformation of 225 Virginia/200 I, including the beginnings of the work on the parking deck at 3rd and I.
Want to plow through all 213 new images? Have at it.

ANC Agendas, Possible Bus Route Change, NCPC Doings, Singles at Harry's, Crime at Capper, and a Rant About Dying Data
Sep 8, 2011 11:02 AM
Apologies for the torrent of words that follows:
* ANC Meetings: The agenda is now out for Monday's meeting ANC 6D meeting. In addition to the Capper apartments time extension request I just wrote about, there will be a discussion of the proposed Single Member District boundaries for 6D. (Ditto on both counts for the ANC 6B meeting the next night.) There is also an agenda item on the proposed renaming of both the Navy Yard and Waterfront-SEU Metro stations, with a DDOT representative. The 6D meeting is at 7 pm in the DCRA offices at 1100 4th St., SW, 2nd Floor.
* Changes to P1/P2/P6 Buses: WMATA has come up with a list of proposed changes to bus routes, and one of them would eliminate the P1 and P2 buses that run along M Street SE during rush hour and would re-route the P6 bus down M Street SE to 4th Street SW, away from its current route that runs along Virginia Avenue and through the southern part of Capitol Hill before heading to Federal Center SW and then across the Mall and into downtown. This could impact the residents of the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE, which has an eastbound stop right on its corner. (I'd also note that the planned closure of Virginia Avenue south of the freeway for two-plus years would necessitate a rerouting anyway.) And, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that this rerouting would have an impact on the JDLand household, since we often use this bus (which stops right at our corner) to get to and from downtown. This is not final yet, with public meetings on this and the other proposed changes still to come.
* NCPC Doings: Last week the National Capital Planning Commission approved by consent Forest City's plans to temporarily put their offices in the second floor of the Lumber Shed building at the Yards Park. NCPC also approved an installation of solar panels at the Navy Yard, while humminah-hummining that though the commission had said back in 2010 that "no future submittals at the Washington Navy Yard will be considered until an updated master plan is submitted," they decided that "this proposal is a minor one that does not increase the population at the installation, does not include any interior space, will have 'no adverse effect' on historic resources and is comprised of elements that reduce the installation's energy consumption." Plus, the report says the commission staff has been meeting with the Navy and expects a draft document for updating the Navy Yard master plan to be submitted to NCPC by the end of this year.
* Beer! And a Cookout: In tastier news, the folks at Harry's Reserve tell me they are now approved to sell single beers, and already are building their inventory of 32-40 oz craft beers, imports, and the like. Meanwhile, the Great Heartland Cookout is happening on Saturday at the Yards Park, benefitting the Fisher House Foundation, which donates "comfort homes" built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers for families of hospitalized service members. Cookout tickets start at $40.
* Crime At Capper, Before and After: The Urban Institute has published "Movin' Out: Crime Displacement and HUD's HOPE VI Initiative" that uses the crime statistics around Capper and other DC rehabilitated public housing communities to show that crime not only remains low in the immediate area after a HOPE VI renovation, but is lower in nearby areas as well. The report is a bit hard to read (I have to admit I gave up pretty quickly), but MetroTrends gives a good summary. You can also look at the crime statistics I've archived since 2005 to see how crimes in the neighborhood have changed over the years, while keeping in mind that the initial move-outs began at Capper in 2003. (The huge spike in Theft from Autos in 2006 was mostly a result of the neighborhood being empty except for the cars of construction workers, which were then pretty easy pickings during the daytime when they were busy at Nationals Park or the other projects at the time.)
* Waah Waah Waah: And, speaking of the crime statistics.... I have been downloading those reports from the city's Data Warehouse on a near-daily basis since they were first made available as XML feeds. I've also been able to get Public Space Permit Applications and Approved Building Permit Applications via XML for a number of years, and the many data feeds that were created are something that the city received numerous accolades for during the Fenty administration. However, the Public Space Permits feed now has not been updated since mid-July, and the Building Permits feed hasn't been updated since August 23.
Multiple e-mails to the data warehouse e-mail address have gone unacknowledged (after years of pretty prompt response, even if it was just to say "we know, we're working on it"). The Twitter accounts for both the Data Warehouse project and for OCTO Labs are equally moribund. I've let DCRA and DDOT know about the problems with the feeds, since they are the originators of the data, but if these data feeds are going to go to seed it's going to be a real loss for having easy access to this sort of data (even if I'm probably one of the few people who's ever bothered to take advantage). And, if the data isn't dying and is just getting worked on, a little bit of communication would go a long way (like, say, replying to any of my e-mails). Hopefully the crime feeds won't suddenly stop working, since that one certainly gets the most interest of any of them. (My complaints about the loss of depth in the city's web site offerings after the big redesign are for another day.) Just wait until OCTO moves into 225 Virginia next year and I can start picketing out front.

Bikeshare Birthday Party, Blocktoberfest, and Other Tidbits
Sep 5, 2011 11:33 PM
First, some events coming to the neighborhood later this month (if anyone can think past the return of Stephen Strasburg, weather permitting, ahem):
* Capital Bikeshare is celebrating its first birthday at the Yards Park on Sept. 22 from 6 to 9 pm, with live music, food, games, giveaways, and moonbounces. Note that this is the same evening as Opera in the Outfield a few blocks away, so you can double your pleasure and double your fun.
* Two days later, on Sept. 24, the park will host Blocktoberfest, "DC's Largest Oktoberfest Music Festival." I believe there is beer involved. See the web site for info on tickets, etc.
* In a more professional vein (i.e., probably no live music or moonbounces), the 2nd Annual Anacostia River Business Summit and Expo is being held at 100 M St. SE on Sept. 20 from 8 am to 12:30 pm. Former mayor Anthony Williams is scheduled to be one of the speakers, and there will be three separate panel discussions. There will also be boat tours given afterwards, though space is limited.
* And I mentioned it in my last tidbits post, but why not pass along again that the next Truckeroo is scheduled for Sept. 30.
Other pieces of this-and-that:
* The city's Office of Motion Picture and Television Development named the Yards Park the "One City Location of the Month for August," calling it "one of the city's most beloved, yet fairly untapped, attractions." The agency is doing this to promote "cinematically compelling locations that are available to film and television producers."
* Should have mentioned this sooner, but the Foundry Lofts folks ran a "Twitter Tour" of the building on Aug. 25, then posted some additional shots of the interior and the views.
* The Washington Business Journal reported last week (subscribers only) that Kaplan has abandoned its search for space to open a law school in the DC area. Late last year it had been reported that they had been looking for up to 130,000 square feet of space in Near Southeast. [Full but probably unnecessary disclosure: in my real life I work for the Washington Post newspaper, which is under the same Washington Post Co. umbrella as Kaplan.]
* The Sunday Post Magazine's cover story focuses on the McDonald's at 2 I St. SE, its staff, and its manager, Raul Reyes, who in 2009 won a Ray Kroc Award as one of the top 1 percent of managers from the 14,000 McDonald's nationwide.

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.)

Tuesday Tidbits: Ballpark Labor Day Weekend Doings and More
Aug 30, 2011 1:05 PM
A whole lot of little stuff:
* The Nationals have a lot of events on tap at the ballpark for "Grand Slam Labor Day Weekend":
There are still $5 tickets available for Friday night's game against the Mets, and there will be post-game fireworks as well. (I very strongly suggest heading over to the Yards Park and getting a spot right on the water for optimum viewing; I watched the last post-game fireworks there a few weeks back, and you are pretty much directly beneath the rockets' red glare.)
Saturday night's game will be preceded by "Team On-Field Photo Day," where for the first time fans will be able to go down to the warning track to take photos before the game. After the game, there will be a free concert by the band Lifehouse (but you have to have a game ticket in order to go to the concert.)
Sunday's 1:35 pm game is $1 Kids Day, plus the seventh annual "Kids Run the Show Day." And, following the game, there will be a softball game between the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team and a group of DC-area celebrities. If you purchase tickets to this game through nationals.com/woundedwarriorsoftball, each $20 ticket purchased will result in a $5 donation to the softball team.
Finally, for Labor Day Monday's 1:05 pm game against the Dodgers, there is another $5 ticket special.
You can read more about all these goings-on (and the other offers for these games) in this press release.
UPDATE: And it seems to be all but official that Strasmas returns to the neighborhood next week, with Stephen Strasburg expected to pitch against the Dodgers on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
* In non-baseball stadium doings, Opera in the Outfield will be back again, on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 pm with a free simulcast of the Washington National Opera's performance of Tosca (and What's Opera, Doc?, which really should be the headlining feature). You can bring food and a blanket to sit on, but no alcoholic beverages can be brought in, and bags can't be any larger than 16" x 16" x 8".
* In other concert news, the BID has extended the Friday summer concert series at the Yards Park through Sept. 9. The concerts are from 6 to 8 pm, and food trucks and other offerings will be on hand.
* Speaking of food trucks, Truckeroo 4 is scheduled for Sept. 30.
* The Capitol Hill Day School's move to its temporary home at 5th and K SE is in full swing, and the school is doing a great job of blogging it (along with the renovations on their Dent School digs).
* A raze permit application has been filed for 1008 3rd St. SE, a few doors south of Cornercopia. This rowhouse had a partial roof collapse along with cracks in the walls during the Feb. 6 2010 blizzard.
* Seems like the neighborhood fared just fine through Hurricane Irene, except for the flood of DC residents on Friday wanting sandbags from the DPW operations at New Jersey and K, SE. (The city ended up moving the sandbag operations to RFK on Saturday.) This should be the last time this happens, since DPW is expected to be moving out of the old trash transfer station this fall (perhaps even by mid-October).
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More posts: chds, Events, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, The Yards, Yards Park

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.
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More posts: Development News, Foundry Lofts/Yards, Retail, The Yards

Friday Tidbit Overload (Isn't August Supposed to Be Slow?)
Aug 5, 2011 2:30 PM
A slew of tidbits, some already tweeted, some not:
* The third Truckeroo food truck festival is now scheduled for next Friday, Aug. 12, from 11 am to 11 pm. They'll keep doing them monthly, through October.
* This isn't news for anyone who's seen the big holes punched in the sides, but work on the Boilermaker Shops retail space at the Yards is finally underway. It's expected to take about a year. This is where the new brewpub by the Churchkey folks will be, along with Buzz Bakery, Austin Grill Express, BRB, and Huey's 24-7 diner.
* Along with their announcement of a new Circulator route that will run from east of the river across the 11th Street Bridge and up 8th St. SE over to Potomac Avenue, DDOT has also announced that the Navy Yard Circulator route will no longer go into the Union Station garage. Instead, it will stop at a new location near the flagpoles in front of the building. There won't be any stop at Louisiana and D anymore, either. (See the DDOT presentation posted by DCist for the details, with the Navy Yard route stuff being on page 7.)
* The Capitol Hill Day School's blog is doing a good job keeping track not only of the renovation work at Dent School, but also on the progress on their temporary location at 5th and K, SE. The modular classrooms are arriving, plus there's now power!
* For people who don't stay glued to comment threads (for shame!), ANC commissioner David Garber recently posted with more details about the Georgetown University Health Disparities office moving into the retail space at Capitol Hill Tower: "I was reassured that this will not be a health clinic, and that it is better to think of it as the research center's "home base" on this side of the city. It will mostly be office space, and employees will spend most of their time outside the office at sites in Wards 6, 7, and 8, facilitating research on environmental health, obesity, and breast cancer research. I was told that no more than five clients would be visiting the office each day -- not as a medical clinic-- but that the space would likely also be used to hold meetings for the center's organizational and community-based task forces/committees."
* The Hill is Home gives an update on the 8th Street underpass, where a mural is about to be created to spiff up the space, and where the public parking lot is going to get new signage, lighting, and pricing to encourage Barracks Row visitors to use it.
* President Obama gave a big speech on jobs at the Navy Yard this morning, which will be notable mostly for how my Google News Alert for "washington navy yard" will take days to get back to normal.
There's probably more than this, but this has already cut into that mini-break I was trying to take....

A Few Photos Before Downshifting into the August Doldrums
Aug 1, 2011 3:31 PM
I'm anticipating that the next couple of weeks will be pretty quiet, at least the Foundry Lofts start their pre-leasing on Aug. 15, followed by the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force release of its first draft of proposed new ANC/SMD boundaries on or about Aug. 18. So here's a bit of a potpourri, and then I'm going to probably take a blog-breather unless really big news breaks. (As always, I'll still be popping up on Twitter or Facebook with tidbits here or there.)
A smidge belatedly, I've added the three garages demolished a week ago on the southeast corner of 1st and K to my Demolished Buildings Gallery, as entries 163, 164, and 165. (It might soon be time to create a Not Demolished Gallery, which would be far far smaller.) I was surprised when digging in my archives to find a couple of photos of the garages still in operation (above), from 2006 and 2007. You can also see how that stretch of 1st has changed since 2003, looking south from K and north from L.
I also grabbed a quick photo of the progress on the new bridge bring built by the city that will link Diamond Teague Park to the Yards Park, scheduled to be completed this fall. (And I guess it's time to also officially get rid of the "floating bridge" nomenclature, because, as we've seen for months, there are big ole' piles in the river.) It'll be interesting to see if usage of the First Base Gate at Nationals Park at 1st and Potomac increases noticeably next season with this new riverside walkway available. (It will also make arriving at Teague Piers via water taxi to attend events at the Yards Park involve a much more enjoyable walk, compared to schlepping up to N Street and over.)
And, with people now moving into the first completed houses in phase two of Capitol Quarter, I updated my photos of 3rd Street between I and K. And it reminded me how the intersection of 3rd and I has become quite an illustration of change in all directions, with not only new townhouses replacing old public housing but also seeing lots of new high-rises in the distance. (The White Monolith that was the old Post Plant on the northwest corner getting a facelift is an added bonus.)
If you're looking for other links to help kill time over the next few weeks, take a look at the JDLand Headlines to be sure you haven't missed any big items lately.

Rudimentary Ward 6 Block Population Map Tool; Other Tidbits
Jul 22, 2011 10:11 AM
* It's not as slick and ultra-cool as SOME online redistricting tools, but with huge thanks to Cody Rice for getting the data in order, I've built a rudimentary Ward 6 Census Block Population Map. Right now it's mainly just for clicking on a bunch of blocks and having the populations tallied for you (and you can then have a URL to send to someone showing just those blocks). I will be continuing to tinker with it, so we'll see what additional options I add in. It's a bit of a beast, so be prepared for slow loading.
The Ward 6 Task Force on Redistricting has now set up a blog, and has started its "listening sessions" in each ANC. They'll be having their ANC 6D meeting on July 28 at 6:30 pm in the DCRA Hearing Room at 1100 4th St., SW. The ANC 6B meeting (which may also be of interest to folks south of the freeway, given the realities of the numbers) is on Aug. 1 at 6:30 pm at St. Coletta's School, 1901 Independence Ave., SE.
* For those wondering about the lack of progress on the Little Red Building version 2.0 (the former Star Market on the northwest corner of 2nd and L, next to the Courtyard by Marriott), the new building permits finally came through last week, and the owner tells me that construction should be starting again soon. He says the new Lot 38 Espresso should be open in three months, though he hopes it's sooner.
* DDOT posted a way cool set of photos from the construction of the 11th Street Bridges back in 1963-1964. For some reason, a series of photos first showing what an area looked like before construction, then documenting the construction itself, speak to me....
* The BID reports on the Dalai Lama's visit to the Yards Park last weekend.

Zoning Commission Approves Office Space in Yards Lumber Shed
Jul 7, 2011 7:33 PM
In a wonderfully short hearing on Thursday night, the Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to approve Forest City Washington's request for an amendment to the current Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlay to allow the company to temporarily move its offices to the second floor of the historic Lumber Shed building at the Yards Park.
The company made the request because, while there has been "great interest" from potential retail tenants for the first floor of the building, the second floor has not as yet been as enticing, and filling the ground-floor spaces alone is not enough to get construction financing secured. Because Forest City is "anxious" to get the building started, their move to occupy the second floor can settle the financing issues and finalize deals with interested tenants, which means that construction on the 34,000-square-foot building could begin this year and be open by early 2013.
There had been some concerns at the setdown hearing back in April about the "temporary" request being for a period of 20 years, but Forest City's representatives emphasized (as they also did to the ANC in April) that their intent is to be in the Lumber Shed only until there is office space elsewhere in the Yards to which they can move. Alex Nyhan of Forest City explained that getting retail uses into the second floor is currently "challenging" because the building is "by itself" at the Yards (without much built out around it), which is exacerbated by the fact that it's a somewhat seasonal destination. But Forest City feels that once the other projects in the first phases of the Yards are built out, there will be a demand for the second floor, plus "the onus is on us" to make the Yards into a location where second-floor retail not only at the Lumber Shed but in other Yards buildings is attractive to tenants.
The discussion seemed to satisfy the zoning commissioners, and with the Office of Planning in support of the change and no voices in opposition, the unanimous vote came quickly.
Nyhan also gave the commission a quick update on the status of the other first-phase Yards projects, to help illustrate that "after many years of planning" things are starting to move:
* The Foundry Lofts 170-unit apartment building will begin pre-leasing in August, and will open in October;
* The Boilermaker Shops retail space has announced five restaurant tenants, and will begin construction this month, opening in Fall 2012;
* And 401 M Street, home to a planned Harris Teeter and 200ish-unit apartment building, is expected to start construction this fall.
If you want to give up 30 minutes of your time to check out the proceedings yourself, the hearing should be available for on-demand viewing sometime on Friday. My post from the ANC deliberations on the request also has more information.

Holiday Weekend Events: Baseball, FreedomFest, and More
Jun 29, 2011 10:32 PM
With July 4 being nice enough to fall on a Monday this year, the three-day holiday weekend is particularly chock full of events, with plenty of goings-on in Near Southeast. Here's a rundown. (Though, judging by how sparsely populated my office already is, just on Wednesday, I'm not sure how many people are left in town to read this.) And, for neighborhood residents, even if none of these events are on your dance card, you still might want to be prepared for heavier than normal crowds wandering around.
* For a headstart on the weekend, there's two events on Thursday, June 30. Ryan Zimmerman will host his 2nd annual "Night at the Park" fundraiser for his zIMS Foundation, which raises money for Multiple Sclerosis. It starts at 6 pm, and tickets are still available. Country star Rodney Atkins will be performing, as will David Blaine (for the VIP ticketholders). More details at the official web site.
* A few blocks away, in what could be considered a bit of counterprogramming, the Capitol Riverfront BID's Outdoor Movie Series will be showing "Shakespeare in Love," starting at 8:45 pm at Tingey Plaza behind USDOT.
* On Friday, the weekly Yards Park concert series continues, with rhythm and blues by the group Special Occasion rhythm and blues band Framewerk [my boo-boo, sorry], from 6 to 8 pm.
* The weekend at Nationals Park will be a busy one, starting with Saturday's doubleheader against the Pirates, the first of the Nats' upcoming 11-game homestand leading into the All-Star brealk. The first game (which won't be broadcast on TV, by the way), is at 3:35 pm, with the second game starting at 7:05 pm or later. The $2 tickets are sold out, but tickets bought for Saturday get you in to both games. And, bang zoom, there will be fireworks after the second game, "presented by Marvel Studios' new motion picture Captain America: First Avenger." (Might be interesting to wander to the Yards Park to watch from there, to see if it's a good vantage point.)
Sunday's 1:35 pm Pirates game is also "Nickelodeon Day" at the ballpark, with all sorts of family-friendly activities featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.
And, on Monday, July 4, the Nats will be hosting the Cubs at 1:05 pm, which will probably be a hot ticket. There's a series of special ticket offers for this "Patriotic Series" game.
See this Nats press release for additional details on all the promotions and festivities.
* Meanwhile, on both Sunday and Monday, the National FreedomFest concert will be in full swing at the Yards Park, from 2 pm to 9 pm on Sunday and 1 pm to 9 pm on Monday. The organizers say there will be more than 40 bands and DJs on five stages, along with food vendors, craft vendors, and more. Tickets start at $25, and are available via the web site, along with more information about the lineup and other details.
(Note that the concert and the baseball, running at the same time, may make finding spaces in the neighborhood surface parking lots a bit tougher than usual.)
I was going to include some other upcoming events in this post, but nobody's reading this anyway, so I'll save those for another time.
As always, if you want continuing updates on these sorts of events, my Near Southeast Businesses/Organizations Twitter list, which are also displayed in a box on the JDLand homepage, will give you all the news and late-breaking tidbits.

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.

Weekend Events: E.T., Concert, Ward 6 Family Day, Blood Drive
Jun 23, 2011 3:14 PM
A few items on the events agenda for this weekend that might be of interest. (And the Green Line is the only subway line that *won't* be having track work this weekend, so you might as well take advantage). The lineup:
* You can actually start your weekend tonight (Thursday), with E.T. as the offering in the Summer Outdoor Movie Series. It's at Tingey Plaza (behind USDOT, at New Jersey and Tingey), starting at either 8:45 pm or sundown (can't ever quite figure out what "8:45 pm/sundown" signifies--whichever comes last?).
* Friday night has the weekly free Yards Park concert, from 6 to 8 pm. This week's act is Jimi Smooth, for your Motown listening pleasure. There will also be BBQ and other food options.
* On Saturday (June 25), Tommy Wells is hosting his annual Ward 6 Family Day, bringing it to the Yards Park for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, and will have free food, live music, and all sorts of activities (including "arts and crafts projects to build boats to race in the water park"). There will also be a Diaper Drive (no, really), accepting both unopened and open packs of diapers. There's more information on Tommy's web site.
* If you want to add some additional community service to your Saturday, either before or after Family Day you can head to Nationals Park for the first of their two summer blood drives. The drive is from 8 am to 4:30 pm in the conference center, and "in exchange for their generous donation, those who donate blood will receive two tickets to a future Nationals game and a limited edition Adam LaRoche t-shirt." Appointments are required: Interested donors should call 1-866-BLOODSAVES (256-6372) or visit inova.org/donateblood, click 'schedule an appointment', then 'donate blood' and enter sponsor code 7665. (The next drive will be on August 27.) Read the Nats press release for more info.
* And the Yards Park events actually spill over into Monday, when at 10 am Mayor Gray will be giving an "update on his job creation and economic development agenda" at the Lumber Shed. (Probably no music or dancing at this one.)
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More posts: Events, JDLand stuff, Stadium Events, The Yards, Yards Park

A Few More Nats Park Photos (Eateries Etc.), and Other Tidbits
Jun 15, 2011 9:29 AM
I wandered down to Nationals Park last night to take in the atmosphere of not only the four new eateries, but also the return of Ryan Zimmerman. It was a healthy crowd (26,700+), and only about half of them seemed to be in line at Shake Shack and the other new food concessions (though by later in the game, the non-Shake Shack options had no lines).
I took another slew of photos (since the original batch from Monday's preview event proved to be pretty popular) mainly trying to get shots of these new "iconic" ballpark features from various angles, along with a few other shots of interest. As you can see in the shot at right, you can look at Blue Smoke and Box Frites with the Yards Park "iconic" pedestrian bridge and Navy Yard riverwalk directly behind, or with an east-of-the-river vista. I also grabbed a view of the progress on the bridge between Diamond Teague Park and Yards Park, my first shots of Das Bullpen, and both the sunset and the moonrise. And they would have all been even better if I had brought the official JDLand DSLR camera and not my less-than-fabulous point-and-shoot. Browse the gallery, and then mock me for leaving in the top of the 7th inning.
Other recently tweeted tidbits:
* The Yards' new Facebook page now includes a 2 1/2-minute virtual tour of what the neighborhood will look like when it's all built out. To see what it looks like now (and what it looked like a few years back), wander through my Yards project page.
* On Sunday morning a group of volunteers descended on the empty lot just east of the Velocity condo building to turn it into a demonstration rain garden. It's a project of the DC chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and is being funded by REI and the Cohen Companies (developers of the block), among others. They are having a meeting at Velocity on June 20 at 6 pm to discuss the project, and there will be another work day on the site on Saturday, June 25. The project's blog has photos and a lot of details; it's officially named the David Stemper Memorial Rain Garden, in honor of a Surfrider volunteer who passed away in 2010.
* The BID says that the next Truckeroo food truck festival at Half and M SE will be on Friday, July 15.
* Last week CSX sent a letter out to residents who live near Virginia Avenue introducing the plans to rehab the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. (It was probably quite useful for people who don't read JDLand!)

Foundry Lofts to Start Pre-Leasing Aug. 15, Open in October
Jun 10, 2011 12:43 PM
Just out from the Foundry Lofts Facebook page, a note saying "Mark your calendars Foundry Lofts fans! Pre-leasing starts August 15th, and we'll be opening this October!"
This is the old Pattern Joiner Shop on the southeast corner of 3rd and Tingey in the Yards, behind the US Department of Transportation building and just north of the Yards Park. Work to transform the 1918 structure into a 170-unit apartment building first began in 2008, but stalled later that year because of funding issues; work then re-started last August when new financing for the affordable housing units in the building was secured.
The building will also have ground-floor retail, with announcements on tenants expected "soon."
My Foundry Lofts page has plenty of additional information, as well as before-and-during photos.
UPDATE: With a hat tip to reader mikescorpio in a different JDLand comment thread, here's the prices that the Foundry Lofts Facebook Info page list: "1-Bedrooms from $2,100s, 2-Bedrooms from $2,700s, Penthouses from $3,400s. Apartments Available October 15, 2011, Penthouses Available December 15, 2011."
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More posts: Foundry Lofts/Yards, The Yards

Back from Across the Pond; Lots of Tidbits While I Recover
Jun 8, 2011 9:09 AM
I'm back in DC, having spent 11 wonderful days in Madrid, Barcelona, and cruising across the Mediterranean to Pisa, Florence, Rome, the coast south of Naples, and Mallorca. Needless to say, while I checked in on the news back home from time to time and tweeted an item or two if the timing was right, I wasn't following developments closely, and I'm pretty out of the blogging groove at this point. So I'm going to start back slowly with some easy items.
* Redistricting: The city council voted Tuesday to approve a redistricting map that, as expected, keeps Near Southeast in Ward 6. This continues to make Marion Barry extremely unhappy, and the Examiner reports that he'll be "asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to open a Justice Department review of proposed new D.C. ward boundaries because, Barry says, they violate residents' civil rights." There's still a final vote to be had on the plan, probably on June 21. As for the last-minute changes that ended up keeping much of Ward 6 intact (moving Reservation 13 to Ward 7 instead of other areas), you can read Tommy Wells's blog for more details.
* Riverwalk: The Navy Yard announced last week that its portion of the riverwalk along the Anacostia River, running from the 11th Street Bridges to the Yards Park, will now be open from 5:30 am until "official sunset," seven days a week and including holidays; though there will still be closures as needed, which are announced on the Navy Yard Riverwalk Twitter feed. (I admit that I got a bit of a kick passing along this news via Twitter while riding on a train north of Rome.)
* DPW Move: The council passed emergency technical legislation on Tuesday that allows Capper PILOT funds to be used to build a new location for DPW operations in Northeast, which means that they should be moving from the 2nd and K site this fall (before "leaf season").
* Ward 6 Family Day: Tommy Wells's yearly event for Ward 6 residents will be held on Saturday, June 25, and will be at the Yards Park for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, with "free food, live music, games and activities for the whole family as well as raffles featuring gift certificates from local businesses and sporting memorabilia from the Wizards, DC United and Washington Nationals."
* ANC 6D has its next meeting on Monday, June 13, at 7 pm at Arena Stage. The agenda is light on Near Southeast items, with only a resolution by David Garber about Near Southeast bike stations and requests by Cornercopia and Harry's Reserve to be exempted from the ban on the sale of "singles."
* Food Truck Festival: Bo Blair, the owner of the Bullpens and the organizer of Truckeroo on June 3, said in an e-mail that the event was a "massive, incredible success," with somewhere between 17,000 and 18,000 attendees and "zero problems." The next date for the event will be announced soon.
* Construction and Destruction: Construction has stalled on the Little Red Building v2.0 at 2nd and L, which ANC commissioner Garber says is a "building permit issue that is in process of being resolved - construction should start back 'soon.'" Meanwhile, the "re-dressing" of 225 Virginia is well underway, with the new exterior walls being hung on the north side of the building. And if it hasn't already happened, the trailer that was the original sales office for Capitol Quarter is being torn down, since construction of townhouses is now underway on that block. (Photos to come, at some point.)
* The Yards on Facebook/Twitter: I kind of stumbled across these (never saw any announcement about them), but the Yards now has an official Facebook page (which is available on Twitter, too) along with a separate one for the Foundry Lofts (its Twitter account is protected, though).
UPDATE: And, since this just came across Twitter: Dan Steinberg reports that Shake Shack and the other new Nats Park restaurants will open next Tuesday, the beginning of the homestand vs. the Cardinals.

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.

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

Spring Has Sprung Photos: 200 I, Capitol Quarter, Yards Park
Apr 25, 2011 9:18 AM
With the sun finally coming out, it shouldn't be surprising that I took camera in hand on both Saturday evening and Easter Sunday and did some wandering to catch up with the progress at two locations, and to get shots of a few new items I hadn't yet documented.
The old 225 Virginia, on its way to becoming 200 I (boo), is now almost completely disrobed. (I think I'll go with that from now on rather than "deskinned.") It's been such a monolith for so many years that it's strange to see it broken up. You can take a virtual walk around the block to see how the old Star/Post plant looked before along with its current state, and visit my 225 Virginia project page for more info and background. (If you haven't been following along, by this time next year 200 I is expected to be nearly complete, with three DC city agencies on the boards to move there.)
Just to the southwest, work continues on the first block(s) in the second phase of the Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhouse development, with bricking proceeding on the new houses along I Street while framing has made it around and up the new 3rd Place; plus, foundations have now been poured along 4th Street. Here's your walk around the block to be reminded of the old public housing units that stood there for a long time and to compare them with the construction going on now. For more information, see my Capper and Capitol Quarter project pages.
(If you want to see just the new photos taken Sunday, here they are in one batch.)
Meanwhile, down at the Yards Park, the flowers are in bloom, a geodesic dome that looks like the Earth is hosting foodies, and work appears to have begun on the floating bridge that will connect the Yards Park to Diamond Teague Park (right by Nationals Park) later this year. You can see my quick gallery of photos showing these items, along with a picture of the sign laying out the rules for using the Navy Yard portion of the riverwalk (since it was Saturday, I could only stand forlornly at the gate and look eastward), plus the progress on the Foundry Lofts building just to the north of the park. And some shots of the Navy Yard buildings that are adjacent to the park, just because I like being in a spot where I can take photos of them without having guards chase me down the street.

Outdoor Movie Lineup; FreedomFest; Harry's Grand Opening
Apr 22, 2011 9:33 AM
A couple of event tidbits:
* The BID has announced the lineup for this year's "Best of the Oscars" summer outdoor movie series, running on Thursdays from May 26 through July 28. The movies, which are free and open to the public, will start at 8:45 pm (or sundown) at Tingey Plaza, which is directly behind USDOT at the corner of New Jersey and Tingey. There will be food trucks, popcorn, cotton candy, and Micha's sorbet.
* The National FreedomFest, a two-day music and arts festival, is coming to the Yards Park on July 3 and 4. They are advertising "over 40 bands and DJs" on five stages, along with food and craft vendors (and yes, beer, since the event is co-sponsored by Budweiser). Tickets are $19.99 per day or $29.99 for a two-day ticket, or if you're feeling special you can get special VIP and/or "Taste of Freedom" tickets, which get you access to VIP areas, free beer, private bathrooms (!), and more, but which are a bit pricier.
* And, on a somewhat smaller scale (but sooner!), Harry's Reserve has passed along word of its official Grand Opening, scheduled for Saturday, April 30, from 4 to 7 pm. There will be appetizers, wine tastings, and "high-end whiskey tastings" (wheee!). Savita also tells me that they've added a selection of cheeses, patés, and salamis to their lineup, as well expanding their lineup of spirits. Harry's also does wine tastings every Friday and Saturday from 4 to 7 pm.
* I should also mention Marcatus, the "creative art market" being held on the first Sunday of every month at the Yards Park. It's from 11 am to 6 pm, and offers live music and food in addition to artists displaying their works. Next one is May 1.
* And, just as I posted this, the BID sent out the flyer on the summer Wednesday lunchtime concerts, running from May 11 to August 17 from 11:30 am to 1 pm in the Yards Park. This is in addition to the Friday evening concert series at the park that begins on May 13.

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

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.)
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More posts: ANC News, Lumber Shed/Yards, meetings, Retail, The Yards, zoning

Sensorium, Nats, Water Taxis, and Other Events and Tidbits
Apr 10, 2011 10:55 PM
Sorry I went off-grid most of last week--when I said that the weather on Opening Day reminded me of 2008, I wasn't expecting to then come down with pretty much the same bug that clobbered me after the big event three years ago. (I'm also getting too old to traipse around outside for many hours over multiple days in 40-and-rainy weather.) I'm still not 100 percent, but here's a few items I'm passing along as I work my way back into the swing:
* As already posted, ANC 6D is meeting Monday night at 7 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L SE. There's lots of Near Southeast items on the agenda, including the Market Deli landmarking nomination, a call for a combined M Street SE/SW transportation study, and Forest City's desire to move its offices to the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park. ANC 6B then meets on Tuesday, but there don't appear to be any south-of-the-freeway items on their agenda, so I'll be skipping that.
* Sensorium starts its six-week run at the Yards Park on Tuesday, April 12. The Post's Going Out Guide posted some photos of the dome last week during construction, as did the Sensorium folks themselves. If you haven't been following this, Sensorium pairs a 12-course tasting menu with visual/performance art into a production that sounds like unlike anything on the current or recent DC agenda. There are two seatings every night (except Mondays), with tickets $150 per person. If you go, tell us all about it!
* Also at the Yards Park this week is the DC Challenge race and festival on Saturday the 16th, where you can test out your Amazing Race-type abilities in this "Ultimate Urban Scavenger Race."
* The Nationals have a big home stand, starting with the Phillies Tuesday through Thursday (so beware the descending hordes) and then the Brewers Friday through Sunday. All weekday games are at 7:05 pm, Saturday's game is at 1:05 pm, and Sunday is the usual 1:35 pm start. I haven't heard yet if Das Bullpen will be making its debut this week or not. UPDATE: The owner of the Bullpen told me on Monday afternoon that Das Bullpen will be open on Tuesday evening for the Nats/Phillies game.
* American River Taxi has begun its service between the Georgetown Waterfront, the Southwest Waterfront (which we're now calling The Wharf, I guess), and Diamond Teague Park. They have an 8 am commuter run on weekdays from the Wharf to Georgetown, then regular runs between the three stops starting at 10 am until 6 pm weekdays and 9 pm on weekends. (If you're wanting to try out the service to get to any of the Nationals games this week, they say that the boat leaves Georgetown at 6:05 pm [updated time].) Ticket kiosks are at Tony and Joe's at the Washington Harbor in Georgetown and the Gangplank Marina in Southwest, and tickets can also be purchased on the ship. Tickets will normally be $9, but are currently discounted at $8, according to SWill, who's doing a fine job following the venture's launch. ART has just one boat so far (the Dolley Madison), they are still adjusting their run times (right now it takes 20-35 minutes between stops), so following them on Facebook and/or Twitter is a good way to keep up with their service. They hope to eventually expand their offerings to National Airport, Alexandria, and National Harbor. (As of now, the Potomac Riverboat Company is the only outfit sailing to Teague from Alexandria, and that's just for Nationals games.)
* Harry's Reserve at New Jersey and I had its first wine tastings on Friday and Saturday. If you want to keep up with their news and events, you can friend them on Facebook (they've set themselves up as a Facebook "person" rather than a product page to "like"--perhaps they'll rejigger that soon.)
Also, a site note: with more neighborhood information being tweeted these days than I could hope to write about or even retweet, I've created a Near Southeast Businesses/Organizations Twitter list, which you can also browse on the JDLand.com home page, in the box below the map in the right margin--which is below the box with my own latest tweets, so clearly you can get a lot of Twitter content right here if you haven't joined the cult social media outlet yet. I'm trying to keep this list to very-very local businesses and groups (and not DDOT or the Nationals or other feeds that aren't mostly about goings-on in this area). If I'm missing any, let me know.

ANC Agenda: Market Deli, M Street Traffic Planning, Lumber Shed
Apr 6, 2011 1:51 PM
There's nothing I like more when fighting a cold than to think about an upcoming ANC meeting, but these are the sorts of sacrifices I make for you people. Miraculously, ANC 6D has already posted the agenda for Monday's meeting, which is chock-full of Near Southeast-related items and is coincidentally being held in Southeast this time around, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. Up for discussions and/or votes:
* The Market Deli historic landmark application, which will get a vote from the ANC as to whether or not to support it (and of course we know that at least one 6D commissioner will be voting for it!). The hearing in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board is scheduled for April 28.
* A presentation on the zoning request to allow Forest City to "temporarily" include office space in the Lumber Shed building in the Yards Park. I've written about this Lumber Shed request before, and in fact Forest City did a information presentation on this at last month's ANC meeting, but I was hoping to get copies of the new pretty renderings of the buildings before writing anything, and that never happened, and I knew they'd be back again in order to have a vote on whether the ANC will support the zoning request, so.... I promise to write about it this time.
* A resolution on a long-term traffic and transportation study for M Street SE and SW, also to include a "complete streets" plan, according to David Garber. This would appear to be wider in scope than the transporation study discussed in the draft Performance Parking report I wrote about recently that seemed to only cover the east side of South Capitol, but I imagine all will be clarified at the meeting.
* It turns out that Das Bullpen needs a new separate liquor license rather than operating on the Bullpen 1.0 license, so that's on the agenda as well. The hearing for that is scheduled for May 31, but the ANC will be voting on a "stipulated license," which I believe means that the bar could operate while waiting on the full license hearing. (And no, I haven't heard when they might be opening, though it wouldn't be before the next Nats home game, on April 12 vs. the Phillies.)
* And the BID is looking for support for the "Home Run Classic Pacers 10K Race" on June 18, that appears to start and/or end at the Yards Park and which I would guess (but don't know for sure) would involve some street closings.
The meeting begins at 7 pm, and does allow for short audience questions/statements on any agenda item where a vote will be taken, just in case there's any particular agenda item that people may feel strongly about one way or the other. (And all of this assumes that a government shutdown wouldn't affect an ANC meeting? Anyone?)

NGA Move From 1st and M to New Springfield Campus Underway
Apr 4, 2011 8:35 AM
It can be hard to get much information when you're dealing with one of the more cloak-and-dagger-y agencies of the US Government, but word is filtering out that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has begun the BRAC-mandated move of its employees from the windowless fenced-off building at 1st and M SE to its $1.7 billion new Campus East facility in Springfield.
According to NextGov, the first of NGA's 8,500 employees arrived at their new home in January with more continuing to make the move, and I've confirmed that this includes some employees from the Near Southeast location as well as NGA's other locations in Bethesda, Reston, and Ft. Belvoir. The moves are happening in a staggered fashion, working toward the required "fully operational" date of September 15 in Springfield. (You can see construction photos of the new campus on Flickr, or learn more about the history of NGA via Wikipedia.)
The 1st and M building, known as Building 123 213 in Southeast Federal Center parlance, is the northwestern-most portion of the footprint of The Yards, and the long-term plans for the site are for new office space with ground-floor retail. Perhaps once NGA has completed the move there will be a freer flow of information about the site (if the building will be torn down or used for other purposes in the interim, if the fence will come down, etc.). It also is more than likely that there are other somewhat shadowy outfits operating in this space as well, and I'm not sure whether they're heading for even more shadowy pastures elsewhere during this move.
But the departure of NGA is a step toward replacing the armed encampment one block from Nationals Park with something a bit more welcoming--and I'm sure the building's security folks aren't terribly unhappy about no longer being surrounded by red-clothed hordes (toting cameras! the horror!) 80 days a year. (I will admit to once starting to point a camera at a few of the guards behind the fence--without coming close to squeezing the shutter--just for the fun of showing the people I was with how quickly the guards would reach for their guns.)
It's not like there's ever been a whole lot of detail about the goings-on on this corner: the Post reported back in 1964 that the CIA moved into the renovated Naval Weapons Plant warehouse in January 1963 with "no announcement, no little ceremony, no welcome-to-the-great-southeast-sector fanfare." There also hadn't been any announcement in November 1961 when the GSA awarded a no-bid contract to get the building renovated.
(Current residents and observers will get a kick out of the Post's 1964 description of the building's surroundings as "liquor stores, run-down shops, a railroad spur, and, right around it, a formidable chain link fence topped by five rows of unfriendly barbed wire," which WaPo said made "the six-story cream-and gray building [...] positively glamorous" in comparison.)
If you look at this map of the future layout of the Yards, you can see the 1st-and-M site at upper left, with plans for three buildings and a new east-west street (which this map says will be called Quander Street) about halfway down the block, along with the new "1 1/2 Street SE" running north-south from Quander to N Place.
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More posts: Rearview Mirror, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

DC Challenge at the Yards Park April 16; NatsFest Schedule
Mar 25, 2011 1:11 PM
The April lineup of events at the Yards Park continues to grow: on April 16 it will be host to the DC Challenge, an "Amazing Race" style scavenger hunt through the city. Competitors will "solve tricky clues" to plot the best route and race for cash prizes, and then afterwards there will be a "Finish Line Festival" with music, games, food drink, and the "crowd-judged costume contest." You can register online, and the web site has much more information on what's billed as "America's largest adventure race."
Also, in a slightly different vein, if you haven't already seen it, here's the schedule for NatsFest on Wednesday afternoon.
(One note on my handling of upcoming events--generally I'll post about something when I hear about it, and maybe give another reminder a couple days beforehand if the timing's right, and of course they're all always on my events calendar. But if you want lots of updates and reminders on goings-on at the Yards Park or other events handled by the BID, you'll want to follow those Facebook or Twitter feeds.)
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More posts: Events, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Performance Parking Brings Monies for New Bikeshare Station(s), Transportation Study; Some Parking Costs Going Up in 2011
Mar 24, 2011 1:38 PM
Michael Perkins at GGW got his hands on the draft version DDOT's 2010 Ballpark District Performance Parking Report, and while I'll leave it to him to handle the in-depth discussion of pricing and meter use in Near Southeast as well as other neighborhoods, there are a few action items in the report that might be of general interest (you should read all 31 pages if you want the nitty-gritty).
Now, this is a draft report, but assuming it becomes final...:
Revenues from the parking program have been able to provide $812,100 for "non-automotive transportation improvements" in 2011, which will include a new Capital Bikeshare location at the Yards Park and $135,000 for a new fence along New Jersey Avenue by the railroad tracks (presumably it won't hide the "Water Pylons" public art coming to the freeway underpass). There will also be two or three other new bikeshare stations somewhere in the Ballpark District parking zones (Near Southeast, Southwest, and southern Capitol Hill), but those haven't been announced.
There will also be a $70,000 grant to partially fund a Capitol Riverfront BID Transportation Study, which the page 25 of the report says will happen during this fiscal year and will look at:
* The need for additional traffic signals and stop signs based on pedestrian and vehicular patterns (and recent accidents);
* Neighborhood traffic circulation patterns including one way street circulation and freeway access and turning movements onto the freeway frontage roads;
* How the CSX tunnel reconstruction will impact traffic flow and SE/SW freeway access/egress;
* Existing and future parking demand and the proposed parking supply to meet that demand;
* On street parking strategies and supply for commercial, residential and visitor populations;
* Optimum Circulator routes and hours of operation;
* Recommended routes for bike lanes that tie into the Riverfront Trail system;
* The optimum route for a streetcar line in the M Street right of way and how it would service the Buzzard Point subdistrict; and
* How M Street is designed and works as a multi-modal transit corridor while exhibiting a high quality of design in the public realm.
Gosh, I'm just not sure if residents will be interested in any of these! If perchance a reader or two might have an idea or data point for the above items, feel free to discuss in the comments.
Note that this study doesn't quite seem to match the overarching Near Southeast/Southwest combined traffic study that got some discussion late last year, but perhaps there's more going on than what's mentioned in the DDOT report.
DDOT is also proposing that non-gameday parking rates at the multispace meters between South Capitol and 2nd Streets from the freeway to M Street go up to $6 for three hours (first hour $1.50, second hour $2.50, third hour $3). Plus, the boundaries of the parking zone will move eastward to 11th St. SE from 9th St.
By the way, if you have a fab idea for how some of the proceeds from the parking revenue can be spent on the aforementioned non-automotive transportation improvements, you can submit a written proposal to DDOT (further information on page 26 of the report). And if you want background on how the Performance Parking Pilot came into existence back in 2008, my Stadium Parking page can help with that.

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.)

Navy Yard Opening Their Riverwalk for 'Limited Public Access'
Mar 16, 2011 11:48 AM
Just released from the Navy:
"Gates at the east and west end of the waterfront promenade (Riverwalk) at the Washington Navy Yard (WNY), will open for limited public access on Apr. 1, 2011. The WNY Riverwalk terminates at the Yards Park to the west and 11th Street SE to the east.
"The gates at both ends of the WNY Riverwalk will be open during base working hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday excluding Federal Holidays. Exceptions to these operating hours will be made when restricted access is necessary to accomplish Navy operations. The Navy may block or restrict access without notice for safety or operational reasons.
"The Display Ship Barry, located along the WNY Riverwalk, will be open to the public with access directly from the Riverwalk when the Riverwalk is open. The Display Ship Barry and the Navy Museum can be accessed through the WNY during normal hours when the Riverwalk is closed. Holders of valid Department of Defense (DoD) identification cards will be able to enter the WNY via turnstiles along the Riverwalk during operating hours. Access for non-DoD identification card holders will continue to be via the WNY visitors center, located at the intersection of O Street and 11th Street SE."
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More posts: Navy Yard, riverwalk, The Yards, Yards Park

ANC 6D Agenda: Capper, Day School, Yards, 225 Virginia
Mar 11, 2011 12:37 PM
Very quick post to note that the agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now posted. The bevy of Near Southeast items include:
* An update on the Capper Hope VI redevelopment from the DC Housing Authority;
* The zoning case to allow Capitol Hill Day School to erect temporary structures on the Community Center lot starting in June while their school undergoes renovation;
* A Yards zoning amendment that would allow Forest City to "temporarily" (not more than 20 years) include office space in the second floor of the Lumber Storage Shed at the Yards Park, which would allow FC to move their offices there;
* And an update on "landscaping plans" at 200 I Street (still known in these parts at 225 Virginia Avenue).
There's also a lot of other items more of interest across the way in Southwest, although the items on "Safeway 'Customer Service' Procedures" and some others might be of note to Near Southeast residents as well.
Also, I might point out this item from the agenda, if you haven't noticed it before: "Community Concerns -- ANC6D residents may address the Commission for three (3) minutes, provided they have called the ANC office at 202-554-1795 at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting to supply the topic and request a time slot. (Statements must be submitted in writing for record purposes.) " The Community Concerns slot is now at the very end of meetings, however.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, at 600 M St., SW.

Vote for Summer Movies, and Yards Park Events Gearing Up
Mar 7, 2011 2:55 PM
With "Academy Award Movies" having been the winning theme for the Capitol Riverfront BID's 2011 summer outdoor movie series, the BID is now asking people to vote on which Academy Award movies should be screened. The series starts on May 26, and will once again be on Tingey Plaza, at New Jersey and Tingey just behind the USDOT building. (Last year's screening location, the Canal Park footprint, will be unavailable this summer because the locusts have arrived, dogs and cats are sleeping together, and it appears that construction is about to get underway.)
While the movie series isn't being held at the Yards Park (just a smidge to the north of it) the BID is working on an ever-growing list of events that will keep the park hopping through the year:
* Kicking off the slate, there will be a Family Fun Day on April 2 from 11 am to 4 pm, in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. According to the press release, activities at the free event will include sake tasting and a Japanese beer garden by Mie N Yu, lantern making, sushi from Nooshi Sushi, a moonbounce, and more. (Then everyone can take a leisurely walk down M Street to the Southwest Waterfront for the Fireworks Festival, which actually starts at 1 pm and runs until the fireworks kick off at 8:30 pm.) This is also the day of the first Saturday home game of the year at Nationals Park, just two blocks to the west, starting at 1:05 pm against the Braves.
* Sensorium, the "culinary and sensory experience" announced a while back, starts its multi-week run on April 12.
* The previously mentioned DC Music Fest on May 7 has now announced its lineup.
* While the summer movies will be on Thursday nights, the park will also host a free summer concert series on Friday nights from 6 to 8 pm, kicking off on May 13 and running through August 19. This will be in addition the the lunchtime concert series that the BID has run for the past three years, and is expected to feature music ranging from jazz and blues to rock and reggae. (If you're a food provider and you want to serve at the concerts, here's the RFP.)
* July 9 will see MetroDash, the "country's premier obstacle race series," which includes obstacles such as tire flips, rope swings, 15-foot cargo net climbs, wall jumps, monkey bars, the "strongman shuffle." You can sign up here (if you dare), though the web site doesn't seem to be responding right now.
There are also plenty of private events already on the park's calendar, so if you were thinking about throwing your own shindig there, you won't be alone.
UPDATE, 3/20: According to their web site, the May 7 DC Music Fest has been cancelled, "due to lack of funding and sponsorships."

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.
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More posts: Development News, Lumber Shed/Yards, Retail, The Yards

Pre-Monday Tidbits (Van Ness Meeting Reminder, Links)
Feb 28, 2011 9:47 AM
* I imagine most interested parties do not need to be reminded that tonight at 6 pm at 900 5th St. SE is the meeting with DCPS to find out what they plan to do with Van Ness Elementary. With laser-like precision, they picked a date when I absolutely can't be there, so anyone who wants to pass along the news as it's happening, please do. (I will be keeping an eye on Twitter.)
And, two recently Tweeted links that might be of interest:
* The Yards was named one of Five Projects that Will Transform Washington by the Washington Business Journal. "When completed, the neighborhood may finally achieve L'Enfant's vision for a bustling center of activity on the waterfront."
* The DC Fiscal Policy Institute takes a look at the possible $8 million tax break to bring Whole Foods to New Jersey Avenue, asking "why it makes sense for the District to continue putting money into an area that has seen tremendous public investments and is already on the cusp of development" and why the project would require a special subsidy to move forward, since they say that "Whole Foods already would qualify for a set of tax incentives on grocery-store development, including a 10-year property tax break on the store itself."

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.
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More posts: Retail, The Yards, Yards Park

Events News: Chocolate City, Sensorium
Jan 28, 2011 1:10 PM
Two events on the horizon (one near, one far) that might be of interest:
* On February 2 at 8 pm, Arlington Independent Media is hosting a showing of Chocolate City, the 2007 documentary by Ellie Walton and Sam Wild about families who were displaced by the redevelopment of Capper/Carrollsburg. There will be a conversation after the screening with Walton. (It would be interesting to know whether any of the families portrayed in the movie have since come back to the area by moving into any of Capitol Quarter low-income units, since the movie was filmed and completed before any of the construction at CQ started.) Tickets are $6, and the movie begins at 8 pm at the Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., in Arlington. (h/t reader P)
* Coming to the Yards Park in April is Sensorium, a "culinary and sensory experience featuring creative atmosphere and cutting-edge production." According to the press release, this will be a "sophisticated 12-course culinary production" from Executive Chef Bryon Brown, founder of Artisa Kitchen and the DC Supper Club series. A temporary structure (called a "geodesic dome" by the producers, but described to me by the BID as a tent) will be set up on the eastern side of the park, just south of the Trapeze School's tent, and there will be audio/visual and performance elements woven through the 12-course meal. (Cirque du Soleil meets Top Chef?) Each show will have only 30 tickets available, with two seatings per day (5:30 and 9 pm), running for six weeks beginning on April 12. Tickets are $150, but are discounted to $125 for the first four shows.
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More posts: Capper, Events, The Yards, Yards Park

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.)

Some Updated Photos, For the First Time in Forever
Jan 17, 2011 11:18 AM
I'm not quite as obsessive about taking photos around Near Southeast as I used to be, mainly because back when I started very few people lived or worked in the area, which meant photos were important to get across to readers the scope of the changes. But that's not the case now, and I figure most readers are seeing this stuff every day, which gives me a great excuse to not pull out my camera when it's 30 degrees and the winter sun angles make for less-than-optimal shots. But the mood struck me on Sunday, so now my photos are updated and my guilty conscience can be eased ever so slightly.
If you haven't wandered down to Third and Tingey lately, you won't have seen all the new windows in the Foundry Lofts building, which look pretty spiffy. When it opens this fall, it will have 170 apartments and ground-floor retail. (While I was there, I updated my 4th and Water Before and Afters, now that the area of the Yards Park south of the Trapeze School is landscaped and close to being finished.)
It hasn't been officially announced as "completed," but I always figure when the sidewalks open next to a newly constructed building, it's as good as done, so I went to get some After photos of 1015 Half Street, the 440,000-square-foot office building on the site of the old Nation nightclub. No tenants have been announced yet. (You can also see the expanded archive of before-and-afters for more shots, especially if you're more interested in remembering Nation.)
Taking photos of poured foundations in weak winter light is not really a recipe for exciting images, but I figured I still had to document the progress being made on the northern of the three Capitol Quarter Phase II blocks. The first framing of houses on this block could happen this month. (And before long it'll start to be apparent that this block is going to be split into two blocks, with the new 3rd Place running north to south.)
Alas, I only just now realized that I totally forgot to take any photos of the new construction at the old Little Red Building site. Will have to do that the next time the sun is out.
Here's the complete batch of Sunday's photos, with the See All Photos of This Angle as your guide to see the full set of before-and-afters for any photo.

Tidbits: Floating Bridge, 11th Street Bridge Closures, Water Taxis, Beer Garden
Jan 4, 2011 11:07 AM
A few small items that might be of interest:
* The National Capital Planning Commission at its Thursday meeting should be approving the design of the 611-foot-long floating bridge to connect the Yards Park with Diamond Teague Park. The "delegated action" document says that the bridge will also include an 81-foot-long platform that will be used as a "marine environmental education center" -- the platform is necessary to span three underground pipes at the DC Water pumping station. At the BID annual meeting in December, it was said that construction on the bridge could begin this spring. (UPDATE) And construction is expected to take 6-8 months.
* If you drive into downtown DC across the 11th Street Bridges late at night/early in the morning, be advised that the ramps from northbound I-295 and 13th Street, SE, will be closed between midnight and 5 am on both Friday, Jan. 7 and Monday, Jan. 10 to allow for work with overhead steel girders. But the South Capitol Street Bridge will be open for your Anacostia crossing pleasure.
* There hasn't been much apparent movement by American Water Taxi to get started with its planned service between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Teague Park, but an update on their web site within the past few weeks says that "Focus groups and working group meetings to start in January."
* The agenda for the Jan. 11 ANC 6B meeting includes an item on the "Resolution of the Bavarian Beer Garden [Liquor] License Protest." Does this mean that the ANC and the folks wanting to open the beer garden at 8th and L have gotten the voluntary agreement hashed out, after all the concerns recently expressed? We shall see.

DC Music Fest Coming to Yards Park on May 7
Jan 3, 2011 9:47 AM
Another DC arts festival is being inaugurated at the Yards Park -- this time it's the DC Music Fest, scheduled for May 7, 2011. With plans to "showcase some of the best artists and bands of the Washington, DC and surrounding areas," the event already has a lineup of 12 bands, three singer/songwriters, and 1 DJ on two stages. Other local artists who want to play at the event can submit themselves at the web site until February 1, and a panel of judges will choose which acts will be added to the lineup.
According to On Tap, tickets will be $25.
Back in October, the first RiverFrontFest debuted on the streets just north of the Yards Park, offering a day of local art and music.
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More posts: dcmusicfest, Events, The Yards, Yards Park

New Year's Eve Party by ReadysetDC at Trapeze School
Dec 30, 2010 6:02 PM
Just popping up in my inbox (which is hard to get to through the piles of opened boxes and discarded Toblerone wrappers) is news of the big New Year's Eve celebration ("Evolution 2011") being thrown by ReadysetDC Friday night starting at 9 pm at the Trapeze School's space at 4th and Tingey, SE at the Yards. Dance performance by Holly Bass, live music by Chelsey Green and the Green Project, AWR B-boy performance (you kids tell me what that is), aerial ribbon dancing performances, live painting by Brandon Hill of No Kings Collective, and much more.
Tickets are $95, and include an open bar, but you can get $20 off by using the discount code DC-LOVE. (They've even got a deal with the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L for a block of hotel rooms.)
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More posts: Events, The Yards, Yards/Parcel O

2010 Capitol Riverfront Annual Report; Connector Between Teague and Yards Coming in 2011?
Dec 14, 2010 2:27 PM
The Capitol Riverfront BID just wrapped up its 2010 Annual Meeting, which certainly seemed to be the largest of them so far. The big part of the meeting is the unveiling of the Annual Report, chock full of statistics and photos. I'm not going to summarize it, mainly because I've been writing all year about most of the news and data contained in it, and also because if you're truly interested in the neighborhood you should read it yourself. :-)
There were two items in Michael Stevens' remarks that I thought were of note, though:
* Apparently an agreement has been worked out with DC Water (aka WASA) that will allow the "connection" between Diamond Teague Park (across from Nationals Park) and the Yards Park to be built, starting this spring. In the past, a floating bridge has been discussed as how this connection would be completed, but have asked the BID for more info and will post when I know more.
* In discussing the many parks of the neighborhood, Michael Stevens said that they are "hoping" that Canal Park will be completed in 2011--though, as he said that, the slide being displayed showed 2012 as the expected completion date. Given that the park is supposed to take 12-14 months to build, it would seem to be unlikely that the entire park would be ready before the end of next year, though perhaps some portions of it might be able to be open sooner.
UPDATE: Here's the slides used by Michael Stevens during his remarks; the information on the connection between Teague and the Yards is on pages 22-24, with a rendering showing a walkway out over the water, looking exactly like an extension of the boardwalk at the Yards. The proposed project is listed as "a partnership among Forest City Washington, DC Water and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development." And, on slide 27, Canal Park is listed with a delivery date of 2012.
(PS: I also enjoyed seeing one of my Yards Park photos on the second of the slides shown by DC Water's George Hawkins; maybe next time they'll ask me if they can use it!)

Zoning Approvals for 401 M (Yards Parcel D)
Dec 2, 2010 10:03 PM
Tonight the Zoning Commission gave its approvals to Forest City's 401 M Street, the planned residential/retail/grocery project on the southeast corner of 4th and M at The Yards. The votes were 4-0-1 and 3-1-1 (more on that below), and with chairman Anthony Hood's new *streamlined* (read: speeded up) hearing process, the presentations, questions, and vote took less than 90 minutes.
In the past I've used Zoning Commission meetings to learn more about proposed projects, but I've already written a fair amount about 401 M, and there wasn't really much new tonight. The issues that the commissioners wanted to discuss got pretty far into the weeds of zoning law, particularly Commissioner May's concerns about whether Forest City's request to allow balconies along 4th Street to hang over into the required setback area was something that could be handled under a special exception. (If you really REALLY want to know about this zoning rule, see page 11 of the Office of Planning's report.)
May's fellow commissioners didn't feel quite as strongly, but in the end they voted on two motions to approve the project, unanimously to approve all of the project except the special exception request, and then 3-1-1 to approve the special exception request. (The best moment might have been during the discussion of whether refusing to allow balconies would impact the project, when chairman Hood said, "If it didn't have a balcony, Anthony Hood wouldn't buy one.")
For those just joining us, originally 401 M was going to be an office building with a ground-floor grocery store, but market forces have intervened and earlier this year Forest City unveiled a new design, featuring two long and thin residential buildings (connected by an elevator tower) with between 200 and 225 rental units (20 percent of which would be set aside for people making less than 50 percent of the area median income). The grocery store, with no tenant officially announced (*cough*Harris Teeter*cough*), would be 55,000 square feet on two floors, with its main entrance on 4th Street (as well as a previously approved cut in the historic brick wall on M).
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 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 that will be directly across from the "Transportation Walk" behind USDOT.
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.) ANC 6D voted unanimously to support the project back in October.
If you want to know more about tonight's proceedings, and about the many requirements of the Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlay, I would suggest reading the Office of Planning's report, and even watching the video of tonight's hearing, where you can see lots of grainy representations of site plans. (On Demand is a lovely thing!) You can also read the National Capital Planning Commission's staff report for another overview. Plus my previous 401 M entries and my project page, to see more renderings.
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More posts: The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

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.
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More posts: Harris Teeter, Retail, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

Quick ANC 6D Meeting Report
Oct 18, 2010 10:29 PM
A few items from tonight's ANC 6D meeting, which is still going on (I bailed after the last Near Southeast agenda item).
* The commission voted 7-0 to support Forest City's zoning requests for its Parcel D project, the combination residential and retail (and grocery store) development on the southeast corner of 4th and M, SE. I wrote about it in detail a few weeks back, and you can see my Parcel D project page for renderings and additional information, but the short of it is it's a 220ish-unit residential building (with 20 percent affordable housing), a 50,000-square-foot grocery store, and an expected 24,000-square-foot fitness/spa company.
The Zoning Commission hearing will be on December 2, and Forest City is asking for two special exceptions (having to do with roof structures and the proposed 110-foot building height, which will be above the 90 feet that's allowed) and two variances (for a curb cut on M east of 4th for a new private service drive east of the new building and also for some balconies overlooking 4th). Forest City's Alex Nyhan also told the commission that, while the entire Yards project is designed to be LEED Gold, they are going to shoot for LEED Silver on this particular portion.
ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel commended Forest City on the plans, though he made very clear that he and his constituents want a sit-down restaurant more than anything. Nyhan replied that the Boilermaker Shop project one block to the west on Tingey will have four or five restaurants including at least one sit-down one when it opens next fall. Siegel then made the motion to the support the project, Commissioner Sobelsohn seconded, and the vote was unanimous. The National Capital Planning Commission and the US Commission on Fine Arts have both recently voted to support the plans and designs.
* During the public safety report, Capt. Gottert of MPD mentioned that while there were a rash of car thefts in PSA 105 (and 106 and 107) during the past few months, the police had a suspect in mind, and now that he's been apprehended, the thefts have stopped. Gottert had no additional information on Saturday's carjacking at 1st and L, SE.
* The agenda had as one of its items a request by the Nationals to add the stadium to the Navy Yard Metro station name (coming on the heels of the Capitol Riverfront BID's request last month to add their name to the station). However, ANC chair Ron McBee said that the Nationals hadn't yet been able to get their request completely lined up yet, and so the item was postponed.
* Next month's meeting will be on Nov. 8, and will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. Expected agenda items include an update from CSX about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, a plan to give historic landmark status to St. Paul's church on the southeast corner of 4th and I, SE, and an update on the 11th Street Bridges construction.

Additional Areas of the Yards Park Now Open
Oct 17, 2010 10:17 AM
With thanks to reader Mike for the tip, I can pass along that some additional portions of the Yards Park are now open: the "River Street Gardens" on the eastern side is now available for your perusal, with its more shaded benches and even some lounge chairs; and, along with it, the boardwalk is completed all the way to the fence at the Navy Yard. (Still no word on when access to the Navy Yard's riverwalk for the general public might happen.) There's still some construction being done north of the Gardens (south of the Trapeze School), but the showiest parts of the 6-acre spread's first phase are now all finished.
If you're pondering whether to make another visit to the park, all I can tell you is--if the weather today is anything like it was on Saturday, you won't be disappointed. My goodness gracious, what a fabulous tableau. So of course I had to take a pile of new photos--mainly to get shots of the new areas, but also just to take advantage of the bluest clearest sky I've seen in a long time.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

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

Tuesday Tidbits: 401 M, What if the Blue Castle Weren't Blue, Austin Grill Express at Nats Park?
Oct 5, 2010 2:29 PM
Some news on Near Southeast, still not the 9th Most Dangerous Neighborhood in the US:
* The National Capital Planning Commission's staff has recommended approval of the new designs for 401 M Street at the Yards, the new-construction building now redesigned to have residential units on top of a grocery-store-that-totally-isn't-Harris-Teeter-because-they-haven't-said-so-officially. The staff "recommends that the Commission recommend" [I love that] "that the massing and facade scale and articulation of the new building on Parcel D be studied and refined further as the design is developed. Staff notes that the grocery store should be treated with cladding that differentiates it from the residential tower and clearly acknowledges the presence and complements the scale of the sentry tower." You can see the designs on my 401 M page. The NCPC meets Thursday, Oct. 7, but this is a consent calendar agenda item, so it won't be discussed at the meeting.
* A subscribers-only WBJ piece discusses the new "Austin Grill Express" food-court concession that serves wings, burritos, tacos, and salads, that already has 11 locations since it launched about a year ago. There's another 11 on the way by the end of the year, and the owner is hoping for another 40 to 50 of them next year. One of the locations the owners are talking to? Nationals Park.
* What would the Blue Castle look like if it weren't blue? Madison Marquette included a rendering of a revamped 770 M (with what looks like a grocery offering of some sort) in the slides it showed at last week's Southwest Waterfront public meeting. There's been no official news of plans for the building, or a timeline on when work might happen. For those just joining us, the Blue Castle was originally a "car barn" back when DC had trolleys and then streetcars.

The Anacostia Waterfront, Seen from On High
Sep 26, 2010 1:44 PM
With the opening of the Yards Park, I've needed to get up to the southeast viewing platform at Nationals Park to update my photos of the Anacostia's Near Southeast riverfront, and thankfully I chose this weekend's sunny Saturday to do it. The before-and-afters seen above of the Yards Park footprint are pretty cool, and I've posted enlarged versions of these shots on my Yards Park page (scroll down about five photos to see them). The other before-and-afters of the southeast platform views are here.
It was just a smidgen over three years ago that I first got to look out at the Anacostia River from this vantage point, on a very memorable day while the stadium was under construction, and it's a spot that I really like returning to. With Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park completed, and Potomac Avenue and First Street reconstructed, the view has certainly changed, even if there isn't the overwhelming amount of redevelopment that had been envisioned. (And that includes the still-untouched tracts of land at Poplar Point on the other side of the river.)
So, just for the heck of it, I tossed together a single collage, looking from USDOT and the Navy Yard all the way around to South Capitol Street and Buzzard Point, capturing nicely what this entire stretch of waterfront looks like in the fall of 2010. It's a view that won't change much until the RiverFront/Florida Rock concrete plant site starts getting redeveloped (whenever that might be), but it's still a nice image to have.
And if you want to know what the Capital Bikeshare station at First and N across from Nats Park looks like, here you go.
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More posts: Florida Rock, The Yards, Yards Park

Photo Gallery of the Yards Park After Dark
Sep 25, 2010 11:28 AM
It took me a while to get there, but I finally visited the Yards Park after dark last night, with camera in hand (but not a tripod, so be forewarned about the quality of some of the shots). I think the biggest surprise was how much of a presence Nationals Park is, from its lights to the sounds of the crowd cheering (and they had a lot to cheer about last night). I didn't stay around to watch the final ballpark Friday Night Fireworks of 2010 from the Yards, but I have no doubt that it's a great vantage point, and will be there in April 2011 to check it out myself.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

Free Tickets to RiverFrontFest for Hood Residents
Sep 21, 2010 1:32 PM
I wrote over the weekend about RiverFrontFest, a new arts and music festival that will be held on Saturday, Oct. 9, on Fourth and Water streets near the Yards Park. While tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, the organizers are offering complimentary tickets for residents of Near Southeast. The tickets are limited to two per resident, and proof of residency with ID must be shown. The tickets can be picked up any time between now and Oct. 9 at either Justin's Cafe or Cornercopia, though both businesses ask that if possible people avoid coming to get tickets during the busy 11 am to 2 pm rush times. Here's the flyer with details on the free tickets, which you'll probably also see being handed out in the various apartment buildings in the neighborhood over the next few days.

Back from the Midwest; A Few Events This Week
Sep 20, 2010 9:39 AM
I'm back from spending the past week wandering around Ohio (Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland) and then spending some time in the Detroit area, where my husband grew up and where I lived for a few years as a tyke many years ago. If I was sent back in time 10 years and told to be a city blogger again but that I couldn't do Near Southeast, I would gladly have chosen to document the decay (and perhaps eventual return) of Detroit, because it's really on a scale that is hard for people to understand unless they've spent a lot of time driving all around the city (and not just on the freeways). It also means I would have spent the past 10 years eating plenty of Detroit Pizza at Buddy's and Cloverleaf and having far easier access to a bazillion breakfast options (at the Coneys and other "family dining" establishments) than we'll ever have in the DC Metro area. Plus there's the cider mills.
We also very much enjoyed Columbus, particularly the Short North and German Village neighborhoods (and driving through the Ohio State campus in my University of Florida-festooned car--ha ha!), and my husband also noted the bars and restaurants in the Arena District and asked if that's what will eventually be coming to Half Street. (I then asked him if he ever reads my blog.) Downtown Cincinnati has some great "old stock" storefronts and signage (which we're always big fans of), but we also enjoyed the Kentucky towns of Covington and Newport, right across the river from Cincy's two stadiums. It helped that our hotel was three blocks from the massive Covington Oktoberfest celebration. And yes, we ate chili. Cleveland was mainly a pilgrimmage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for me, but we did wander around to eat in the Tremont and Ohio City neighborhoods, and took a peek at Shaker Heights.
(Are you as worn out from our vacation as I am? We do tend to cover a lot of territory.)
I don't think I deprived you of any big news while I was gone, so, instead, we'll look ahead at a few events this week:
* Today begins the Nats' final homestand of the 2010 season, against the Astros, Braves, and Phillies, with the final home game on Wednesday Sept. 29 at 7:05 pm. And note that this Thursday's game (Sept. 23) against the Astros is a 4:35 pm start, and Saturday's game (Sept. 25) against the Braves is at 1:05 pm. Then you can start looking ahead to the 2011 Nationals schedule, where they get an Opening Day home game on March 31 against the Braves.
* Tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 21) is ANC 6B's monthly meeting (delayed a week to avoid coinciding with the election), and the agenda includes CSX's plans for an archaeological dig at Virginia Avenue Park. The meeting is at 7 pm at the People's Church, 535 8th St., SE.
* Thursday is the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's "Moonlight Ride at Yards Park", which includes an 11-mile ride starting from the Park at 8:30 pm heading west to the Potomac River, and a 6-mile ride starting at 9 pm that will go east over the Anacostia River into Anacostia Park and Historic Anacostia. The rides are free and open to the public, but they ask that you register in advance.
* And, looking ahead a bit, the newly redesigned "Parcel D" residential/retail/grocery development on the southeast corner of 4th and M in the Yards will be presented to the National Capital Planning Commission on Oct. 7.
UPDATE: I guess I should also be mentioning the launch of Capital Bikeshare today, with two locations in Near Southeast, at New Jersey and M by USDOT, and what the map says is another station at First and N, SE, by Nationals Park (which I had heard wasn't coming until next spring).

First 'RiverFrontFest' Coming on Oct. 9
Sep 18, 2010 3:35 PM
A new arts and music festival is coming to "space adjacent to the" Yards Park next month, named RiverFrontFest (my years of journalism training prevent me from calling it the "First Annual"). On Oct. 9 from 11 am to 7 pm, this event will feature "independent, creative artists and musicians in a fun, vibrant, family friendly setting," which is scheduled to include demonstrations from Trapeze School New York, a breakdance competition, and three stages of bands. There will also be local food and arts and crafts vendors.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the "door" (fence?); proceeds raised through the event will benefit local organizations including the Earth Conservation Corps, Kids Set Sail, and Living Classrooms.
If you're a performer who would like to participate, or an vendor/sponsor/other organization wanting to get involved, or someone wanting to volunteer at the event, the web site has the details, as well as "Festival Vision" page that describes a pretty wide-ranging bar that the organizers are trying to reach.
[It's taken a while, but I think i've puzzled out the "space adjacent to the Yards Park" designation--they say they'll be closing down Fourth Street and Water Street (the "Street" that runs between the Lumber Storage Shed and the Foundry Lofts) as well as "using an adjacent large green space," so I'm thinking this is more over by the Trapeze School and on the streets than anywhere on the park footprint.]
The Capitol Riverfront BID is one of the sponsors, but is not running the event, unlike many of the other parks/arts/happening events around the neighborhood over the past few years. (In fact, it's kind of hard to tell who *is* running it.)
(h/t Examiner and CP)
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More posts: Events, RiverFrontFest, The Yards, Yards Park

Yards Park Opening Weekend Thread: Your Thoughts?
Sep 10, 2010 12:40 PM
The three days of opening festivities for the Yards Park are getting underway this afternoon, and so now everyone who wants to check out the nearly six acres of waterfront goodness will get their chance. The weather now looks kind of iffy for Sunday, but today and Saturday were forecasted to be pretty dang nice (except for the clouds that rolled in about an hour ago!), so while there's a ton of activities on tap, be sure to also just take some time to wander the grounds on your own.
And remember that the park isn't done yet--still to come over the next few years will be the renovating of the Lumber Storage Shed into a retail space, along with the construction of two smaller retail pavilions on the grassy lawns just to its east and eventually a marina. The bottom of my Yards Park page has the details, and you can also learn about the under-construction Foundry Lofts apartment building just to the north of the park, and the Boilermaker Shops retail building, which Forest City is now publicly saying is 60 percent pre-leased.
My husband and I bought our house on the southern edge of Capitol Hill in 1995, and there were many times in those first few years that we'd stand on Third Street, looking south under the freeway through a neighborhood we rarely ventured into, and talk about how we could see the Anacostia River flowing by. "Wouldn't it be great," we'd say, "if someday we could be able to walk from our house down to the waterfront, and stroll along the river?" (In the early days, such musings would usually be followed by a beat of silence and then peals of cynical laughter.) But a mere 15 years later (heh heh), we'll be doing just that, probably twice, both late this afternoon and again in time for the Nats Park fireworks to see the park at night for the first time.
With that, I leave the rest of the Yards Park-ing up to you guys. What do you think?
[But, as an advance response to anyone commenting on the current size of the dog run at the park, I'll pass along this statement from Forest City: "We certainly want to be sensitive to the needs of our four-legged friends and their human companions in The Yards Park. As Forest City finalizes its negotiations with DC Water and the District Government, we look forward to working with the community to expand the dog park, if the park is able to expand westward in the future."]
UPDATE: Here's Channel 7's video report on the opening.
UPDATE, 9/12: At the Post's article about the opening, and about What It Means for the rest of the neighborhood.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

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

Yards Park Before and Afters (and a Moonlight Ride)
Sep 8, 2010 12:47 PM
As promised, I've updated my Yards Park page to incorporate some before-and-after photos to highlight the transformation of this patch of land from a bunch of nothingness to a waterfront destination. But I'd also suggest looking through my Expanded Yards Park archive for a more complete set of photos that really show how these five acres have changed since 2005. (And I'll be adding more pairs to the expanded archive this weekend, having missed a few spots in my recent visits.) They really are a pretty striking batch of photos, if I may say so myself....
And, in other Yards Park-related news, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (with the BID and Forest City) is sponsoring a "Moonlight Ride at Yards Park" on Sept. 23, which includes an 11-mile ride starting from the Park at 8:30 pm heading west to the Potomac River, and a 6-mile ride starting at 9 pm that will go east over the Anacostia River into Anacostia Park and Historic Anacostia. The rides are free and open to the public, but they ask that you register in advance so that they know how many people to expect. (There's also discounted tickets available for that afternoon's 4:35 pm game at Nats Park versus the Houston Astros, if you want to watch a game with your fellow cyclists before heading out on the ride.)
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Yards Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Photos
Sep 7, 2010 2:55 PM
The weather gods smiled on the Southeast Waterfront today, with an absolutely picture-perfect day for inviting scads of dignitaries down to the Yards Park to make some speeches and cut a ribbon. Here's my quick photo gallery of the event, with photos not only of politicians wielding scissors but also plenty of shots of the park itself. I will soon update my Yards Park page with real before-and-afters, but that will take some time.
The 5.5-acre park, a $42 million partnership between the city, the feds (who owned the land until this morning), and the BID (which will be responsible for the upkeep and programming), is very simply like nothing else anywhere in DC. It not only has the pedestrian bridge and the light tower and the water features to gawk at, but it has so many different spaces for strolling, sitting, hanging out, playing, or just staring at the river, with its views all the way down to the Potomac River and further to Alexandria. There were many references during the remarks to Chicago's Millenium Park, and all involved with the creation of the Yards Park clearly see its potential as a "destination" attraction. The BID will be working hard to provide a lot of activities to draw people in, and down the road (if the reality ends up matching the vision), when the Lumber Shed becomes a retail-and-restaurant spot with river views, and the Foundry Lofts and Boilermaker Shops just to the north of the park open and become attractions in their own right, this could be quite a jewel in the city's crown.
Add to that the eventual building of a floating boardwalk that will connect the Yards Park to Diamond Teague Park by the baseball stadium, making it an easy stroll along the river to go back and forth between the two venues, and you can start to imagine the fans streaming out of the ballpark on Friday nights to watch the post-game fireworks firing off above the Anacostia River from the Great Lawn or the boardwalk. (I'm told that the boardwalk is in the design stages, though there's no timeline for when it might be built.)
As for the area east of the park, I'm hearing that there is "progress" in working with the Navy Yard to open its boardwalk (that leads to the Display Ship Barry and 11th Street), but again, no timeline on that.
There was a lot of media present today (especially since both Mayor Fenty and Vince Gray were in attendance), so I'll update this post with whatever stories appear. UPDATE: Here's the press release from the mayor's office. Also there's ABC7's report, which also is about today's other Anacostia River event, where council members (but not Mayor Fenty) showed up to sign a pledge to work with the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up six designated toxic sites along the Anacostia, which include in Near Southeast the Navy Yard, the Yards/Southeast Federal Center, the Washington Gas site east of 11th (more on that from Fox 5, including that the Anacostia Riverkeeper and Anacostia Watershed Society groups are concerned that monies from the city's tax on plastic bags are so far not being directed toward cleaning up the river).
Also, it sounds like the fences at the park will be closed again for the next few days while they get some finishing touches done (the eastern end of the park is still being worked on), but it will then have its Grand Opening Weekend starting Friday at 3:30 pm. And then I can get some nighttime photos, because apparently the park's lighting is something to be seen.
(I've also gotten--and forwarded along--some e-mails from residents grousing about what they see as the less-than-adequate size of the dog park on the park's western edge; I've asked Forest City for more information about the current and future plans for the dog park, and will post about it when I hear back.)
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More posts: Dog Parks, The Yards, Yards Park

Looking Back at the Pre-Yards Park Waterfront
Sep 6, 2010 1:25 PM
Tuesday morning at 10:30 am is the grand opening ceremony for the 5.5-acre Yards Park along the Anacostia River, and if you're planning on getting down there for Tuesday's event, or for some of the many weekend offerings, or just for a visit on your own (or if you've already sneaked a peek, like some people), take a moment to appreciate just what a change has come to this formerly barren spot by checking out the photos I took in August 2005 along Third and Fourth streets during a visit to what was at that time still the Southeast Federal Center.
You may be so new to the area that you don't even remember the days of the Lumber Shed's salmon-colored tin exterior, or Building 160 before the work started to turn it into the Foundry Lofts. But what I remember most about that quick visit five years ago (other than how hot and hazy and dusty it was) was thinking about how great it would be to be able to have such a big portion of riverfront available for people to visit and use, instead of having it hidden far behind a red brick wall and lots of cyclone fences. And, even though the site had been tidied up a bit (as shown in the photo below) by the time of the park's groundbreaking ceremony in May 2009, there's also a few photos in that bunch that you'll appreciate even more after you see what this stretch of waterfront has become.
(Don't worry, I'll be putting together a real before-and-after set, but I'm waiting until the park is officially opened, and mostly clear of construction workers and debris, before I create that gallery.)
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park